Swiggy announces 4-day workweek for employees: Can 4-day workweek policy work in India?

Online food delivery company, Swiggy announced a four-day workweek for employees for the month of May. This announcement came on Monday where it announced the new policy and also stated the reason to be the growing number of COVID-19 cases in India. The company wants to keep in mind the physical and mental well being of the employees. The employees will be allowed to choose the four days of the week they want to work on.  

“As a mark of respect for the efforts and the month that May can be with the Covid cases escalating, we want to offer a 4-day work week to all of you. Please decide the 4 days that each of you would work and utilize the extra day to take rest, take care of yourself, take care of your family and friends. As many of you are aware, we have put together a Covid task force and we can definitely do more with more hands-on the deck. Hence, if any of you would like to volunteer and actively help on the break day, you’re welcome,” Girish Menon, head of Human Resources at Swiggy said in an internal e-mail to employees.

In addition to this, Swiggy has set up a pandemic support mechanism, and an emergency support team. This is for their employees. The mechanism comprises a Covid-19 support infrastructure including hospital beds, ICUs, plasma and oxygen cylinders, ambulance support, and other emergency services through Swiggy`s network of partners, volunteers and healthcare providers. 

India’s plan for a four day work week policy

The proposed new labour codes as per what was proposed initially this year suggest that it could provide companies with the flexibility of four working days in a week. There will be long working hours if the working days are reduced. 

The labour secretary clarified that this does not mean a cut in paid holidays by the company. This set of rules will help in providing flexibility. 

The government also cleared that they don’t have any plans to introduce four days a week or 40 working hours a week system for central government offices.

Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said, “The working days/ Holiday/ working hours in administrative offices of Central Government of India are recommended by the respective Central Pay Commissions. Based on the fourth pay commission recommendation, five days a week and eight and half hours working per day in civil administrative offices of Government of India was introduced.”

Tried and tested?

Microsoft Japan tried this policy with 2,300 of its employees. They were given five Fridays off in a row. The results were very good in fact. The productivity jumped by 40 percent. Nine in ten employees said they preferred the shorter working week. The company also saved up a lot on weekly electricity use. It went down by 23 percent. 

The Spanish government is testing a four-day work-week policy. It would be piloting this 32-hour workweek policy for over three years, without any reduction in the worker’s pay. 

Unilever too planned the same in November 2020 in New Zealand. This will give the staff a chance to reduce their working hours by 20% without hurting their pay. The trial will come to an end in December 2021. 

Would you like a four-day work-week setting?  

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