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Should a National Four-Work Day Week be Introduced?

1191 words (5 pages) Essay in Employment

18/05/20 Employment Reference this

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Five-day workdays are operated in more than 150 countries and regions; however, in recent years, with the economic globalization, the Internet develops itself under such circumstances as economic downturn. Working five days a week makes it impossible for employees to get enough leisure time; hence, employees are under great pressure for overwork. This pressure, coming from the excessive drudgery, deteriorates the health condition of employees and thus decreases their efficiency and enthusiasm towards their jobs. The movement to add one more day to weekends is the key for solving the health problems of loads of workers. The movement will further benefit the economy for that it increases people’s demands on travelling and shopping. This essay shows that by adopting the rule of working four days per week, people can see great improvement on both the workers’ health condition, including mental and physical health condition, and the economy in a more general scope.

Working four days a week is beneficial to employees’ health, including physical and mental health, which helps them work more efficiently. Recent studies find that overwork greatly imperils people’s health, both mental and physical. It induces cardiovascular illness and causes mental problems. In most countries around the world, employees have to work five days a week, which already makes them exhausted; recently, some companies have even introduced a working policy, “996”, which deprives employees’ leisure time more excessively. The policy is called ”996” working hour because it makes employees work six days a week from 9 am to 9 pm. According to article 41 of the <Labour Law of the People’s Republic of China> stipulates that employers extended working hours under normal health conditions may not exceed 3 hours per day, may not exceed 36 hours per month; so this “996” working hour makes employees’ working time greatly exceeds the amount which satisfying the regulation. Whereas some companies have used sneaky ways to get around the law. They set up incentives to make employees work overtime. In contrast, in the face of great work pressure, lots of employees choose to voluntarily stay to work overtime. Thus, companies can order staffs working on Saturday but not break the law. This is extremely bad for employees’ health.

First, there are studies show that long working hours can seriously affect employees’ health condition and life quality. (Peng,2015). Overwork have been claiming loads of lives. In China, more than 600,000 people die each year due to excessive work stress; in addition, 98.8% of IT employees suffer a great impact on their personal health due to work stress and overtime(Monet, 2014).The vast majority of these situations have occurred in the companies which adopt “996 working hours. Second, People who work overtime do not get enough sleep, and it has a serious impact on their mental health. Excessive sleep deprivation can increase the risk of mental illness, while a good quality of sleep is the perfect way to ensure brain maturity and good mental health (Faustin,2016). The physical and mental health of people are seriously damaged by excessive fatigue.

Working four days per week is a tremendous way to reduce the work time of employees. Based on the law, workers are allowed to extend working hours for no more than 36 hours per month, that mines staff may have more than two days to relax a week. Having more time to relax can help workers have enough sleeping time, and it is extremely useful to improve employees’ health from physical fatigue and mental stress.

Besides improving workers’ life quality and increasing workers’ efficiency, working four days a week can boost the economy. In many countries, people work for five days and have only two days off. This means that people only have two days for weekends for most of the time except for statutory holidays and national. Compare to the rule of working four days a week, which allows employees to have more time for short trips, there are more people using weekends to travel, since they have one more day. If working four days a week becomes to the routine, a growing number of people will choose to travel on weekends. The increase in the number of tourists will directly promote the development of tourism, the expansion of transportation, since more income comes form it, and other industries related to tourism. This directly promotes economic development. Even they may not travel for long distance, people still can go visit shopping malls and parks around their houses. All of these activities can greatly pull up demands and stimulates the increase in economy. Notice that all these demands on travelling and shopping can only be achieved when working class people have more leisure time.

The example of how three-day weekend in China can benefit economy is rather representative. In China, at some statutory holidays, such as the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn festival, when people have three days for their weekend instead of just two days, a increasing number of people incline to travel despite the leisure time only increases by one day .In the 2019 Dragon Boat Festival holiday, the total number of domestic tourist receptions in China was 95.78 million, an increase of 7.7% year-on-year; the tourism income was 39.33 billion RMB, an increase of 8.6%.(chinadaily,2019) There are also several articles that analyze the importance of tourism to the local economy. In the UK, Travel and Tourism expansion is forecast to continue at a stronger rate than last year, with the total contribution to GDP is expected to increase by 3.7% in 2015. (Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2015 World,2015) Qian and other researchers take two villages in Huangshan region of China as examples to analyze the impact of tourism on local economy. This paper analyzes the influencing factors including community-based and lease-to-operate tourism, and concludes that lease-to-operate tourism is the second largest influence after community-based (Qian C et al.2003,pp.221-223).

Through the above analysis, it can be concluded that the implementation of the four-day work week can promote short-term tourism, and short-term tourism can stimulate economic growth.

In conclusion, the disadvantages of the five-day week have become increasingly apparent, companies can rely on unethical but not illegal means to ask employees to work overtime, and people do not get enough time to relax. The movement to shift to a four-work day per week can reduce fatigue and related health problems caused by overwork and in addition boost tourism by giving workers more free time. This benefits both the workers and the economy. It is urgent and necessary to implement the 4-day working week.

  • Vellas, F., and Becherel, L. 1999, The International Marketing of Travel and Tourism: A Strategic Approach, Macmillan.
  • The World Travel & Tourism Council.2015.Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2015 World.Available at:
  • www.tourism-generis.com/_res/file/4225/49/0/UnitedKingdom2015.pdf
  • Qian ,C.et al.2017.Local livelihood under different governances of tourism development in China. A case study of Huangshan mountain area.Tourism Management, 61 : p. 221-233.

 

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