An office building
Representational image AFP

The Dominican Republic is all set to roll out a voluntary pilot program under which workers in both public and private companies can have a four-day workweek.

The program, considered one of its kind in Latin America, is slated to begin in February. It will run for six months, as per Labor Minister Luis Miguel de Camps.

According to the Dominican government, employees will receive the same salary for the duration of the program, but their work hours will be reduced from 44 to 36 per week, as they will work from Monday to Thursday and have their rest days from Friday to Sunday.

The labor minister said the program "prioritizes people, improving health and well-being, and promoting a sustainable and environmentally friendly productivity," AP News reported.

Several companies — including Latin American telecommunications giant Claro, power company EGE Haina, heavy equipment business IMCA and the government's National Health Insurance agency — are expected to participate in the program. A local university will be responsible for analyzing its outcomes, including its effects on the workers' health, their relationships at work and their personal lives.

Employees of public and private companies in the Dominican Republic currently work eight hours a day throughout the week and four hours on Saturdays. Workers are allowed to distribute these hours however they wish, granted that they don't go beyond 44 hours a week.

The Dominican Republic seems to be following in the footsteps of Great Britain, which launched a four-day workweek last year. The said move showed positive results, with employees experiencing less stress and having a better work-life balance. Out of the 61 companies that entered the trial program, 56 have extended its implementation and 18 have made it permanent.

Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, called this a "major breakthrough moment," adding that "across a wide variety of sectors, wellbeing has improved dramatically for staff; and business productivity has either been maintained or improved in nearly every case," according to The Guardian.

"We're really pleased with the results and hopefully it does show that the time to roll out a four-day week more widely has surely come," he added.

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