The Dominican Republic is launching a trial of a four-day workday to see if this one-time-fantasy for employees may be able to work on a permanent basis in the Caribbean nation. 

This voluntary pilot program is has governmental support and is being embraced by both public and private companies. Employees will work from Monday to Thursday, receive the same salary, and reduce their working hours from 44 to 36 per week.

The island nation of more than 11 million is following in the footsteps of Chile and Brazil, which have both initiated similar trials, while Uruguay and Mexico each continue to consider and discuss the measure.

The project “gives priority to people, improving health and well-being, and promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly productivity,” said Luis Miguel de Camps, minister of labor in the Dominican Republic,

Some notable companies participating in the four-day trial are telecommunications giant Claro, electric utility EGE Haina, heavy equipment company IMCA, and the government’s National Health Insurance Agency. Employee productivity and happiness will be among the key metrics studied by those at Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), the local university that will oversee the results of this test phase.

Overall, the objective is to evaluate whether workers achieve the same productivity in the reduced workday, as the university that will collect the data and prepare the technical reports of the pilot plan. The health and well-being of the worker, the reconciliation between work and family life, absenteeism and the contribution to the environment will also factor heavily into the results.

“We have embarked on a journey that prioritizes people, improving health and wellness and promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly productivity,” said Labor Minister Luis Miguel De Camps Garcia at the program’s presentation.

Juan Gabriel Faxas, vice rector for research at the university, emphasized that this initiative has shown that it can contribute to sustainability and reduce environmental impact, and serves as a stimulus to the local economy, derived from activities that citizens do in their free time.

“Undoubtedly, it is a modality that has demonstrated its benefits in other countries,” he said last month when the plan was announced. “But is it possible to adapt it in the Dominican Republic? The plan presented today seeks to answer this question.”

“It is not about working more,” he added, “but about working better and at the same time raising the quality of life of Dominicans. Our objective is not only to apply, but to meticulously analyze the impact of this labor reduction. The university, with its academic rigor, will be in charge of objectively evaluating the effects of this program in the participating companies.”

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