Lebanese billionaire tycoon, Carlos Slim, has called for the introduction of a three-day working week, offset by longer hours and a later retirement, as a way to improve people’s quality of life and create a more productive labour force.
Slim made the comments when speaking to a business conference in Paraguay, suggesting that the workforce could be spread over a full week, with employees working up to 10 or 11 hours a day.
“With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life,” the Financial Times reports Slim saying.
The business conference, Growing Together – States and Enterprises, was held in Asuncion and was attended by business and political leaders from across Latin America.
“Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied,” Slim said. He said current retirement ages come from a time of lower life expectancies, and should rise to 70 or 75.
Slim – routinely identified as one of the two richest people in the world – is the CEO of Telmex, a fixed phone line communications company which recently offered its employees a new form of contract.
Telmex employees who joined in their teens can access early retirement, and anyone who wants to work beyond retirement can do so at full pay but a reduced load of four days a week.
Slim, who is also the head of mining company Minera Frisco, is estimated to have apersonal net wortn of 80 bn – around the same as Bill Gates.
Some small companies in Australia have instigated a four-day week flexible workplace policy, and advocates cite improvements in employee health and environmental impact as possible benefits.