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Batchewana First Nation implementing four-day work week for staff

May 24, 2024
By The Canadian Press/Kyle Darbyson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Batchewana First Nation (BFN) is adopting a four-day work week with the hope of creating a “healthier work environment” for its employees.

After a successful trial run that began last May and ended in October, BFN officials announced on Thursday that they will use this modified Monday to Thursday work schedule “for the foreseeable future” to allow staff to work “smarter rather than longer.”

Thursday’s news release announcing this change also clarified that BFN employees will not receive a reduction in pay as a result of the modified schedule.

“Our staff are hardworking, dedicated individuals who often are responsible for much larger workloads than their counterparts in other organizations,” BFN Chief Mark McCoy said in Thursday’s release.


“The intent of the four-day work week is to prevent burn out and reduce staff turnover while increasing productivity, as well as to show our appreciation for their efforts.”

BFN officials said they conducted numerous surveys with staff and community members to assess the impact of the new schedule throughout the trial run period.

According to Natalie Atkinson, the First Nation’s chief operating officer, the results of a community survey show that 80 per cent of respondents said their access to services was the same or better, which encouraged BFN leadership to adopt the four-day work week on a permanent basis.

“BFN has proven to be a progressive employer that values work-life balance,” Atkinson said in Thursday’s release. “Servicing our community and supporting our staff remain our top priority.”

Moving forward, BFN officials said they will continue to evaluate the adjusted schedule to ensure that it is in the best interest of both staff and the community.

A four-day work week has become an increasingly tangible prospect for Canadian employers.

Smaller businesses such as Toronto-based software company Sensei Labs and Montreal-based architecture firm L’Abri recently adopted modified schedules for its staff after participating in a pilot project organized by the non-profit advocacy group 4 Day Week Global.

Of the 41 North American companies that participated in this program, 35 said they were keeping, planning to or leaning toward keeping the new working scheme, according to an analysis from CBC News.

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