New Zealand mulls 4-day workweek post-coronavirus. Could that work in Canada?

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As countries around the world begin to reopen amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, some are considering creative ways to help jump-start their economies — including shortening the workweek.

During a Facebook Live on Tuesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern floated the idea of shifting to a four-day workweek saying it “certainly would help tourism all around the country.”

“I hear lots of people suggesting we should have a four-day workweek,” she said. “Ultimately that really sits between employers and employees, but as I’ve said, there’s just so much we’ve learned about COVID-19 and that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that.”

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The idea of shortening the workweek has been thrown around for some time in Canada, but has never been implemented.

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Here’s a look at what experts think about Canada switching to a four-day workweek.

Would a four-day workweek help stimulate the economy?

Moshe Lander, an economist at Concordia University, said thinking that implementing a four-day workweek will help to stimulate the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is “optimistic” but “misguided.”

He said giving people an extra day off of work likely won’t change their spending habits.

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