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More Companies Embrace 4-Day Work Week in Japan

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More companies in Japan have implemented flexible work arrangements to help their employees juggle work and life.

The latest company to use this new work scheme is Panasonic Holdings Corp. Last month, the company said they plan to give some employees a third day off to help with their work-life balance.

By offering a third day off, their employees could use it to have more time with their family, acquire more skills, or discover new hobbies during their days off.

Panasonic Holdings Corp joins conglomerate Hitachi Ltd., Mizuho Financial Group Inc., and Fast Retailing Co. — which operates Uniqlo, in offering an extended days-off.

However, if this new work scheme gains more traction in Japan remains to be seen.

According to Kyodo News, this new work arrangement allows companies to incentivize their skilled employees and retain them, as training new employees take more time and cost to bring them to the same level.

Companies could also benefit from this new work scheme by attracting more talents to their company.

According to the survey conducted by the labor ministry, out of over 4,000 companies, 8.5% of them gave their employees more days off than under a five-day workweek last year.

The pharmaceutical firm Shionogi & Co. already began to implement the 4-day workweek scheme in April.

The company hopes that by offering their employees a third day off, they will acquire new skills or gain new contacts through additional education or even have a second job.

“We want workers to meet new people and experience things that they cannot at this company, and thus make use of them in their jobs here,” the company’s public relations officer said.

Shionogi & Co. is offering their employees under the 4-day workweek 80% salary of their regular salary and also allows them to have second jobs.

Meanwhile, Hitachi said they are offering their employees a more flexible work schedule by allowing them to have a third day off, as long as they can complete the working hours required each month.

Because of the new labor system, employees in Hitachi who chose the 4-day workweek scheme will still receive their regular salary.

Moreover, Panasonic said that they have yet to decide the salary schemes for employees on a four-day workweek scheme before they implement it.

In the Philippines, the 4-day workweek was also given consideration amidst the rising fuel prices in the country.

This would help employees save money from the cost of commute and daily expenses. Companies could save on energy expenses.

However, the Malacañang said that the work scheme would not be applicable to all businesses, especially the production sector.

Moreover, some local government units (LGUs) and government offices have already implemented the 4-day workweek. (ASC)

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