- 93 years since Henry introduced 40-hour work week
- Working smarter to create more leisure time
- Workers’ Day in South Africa observed since 1994
PRETORIA, South Africa – We all understand the need to rise and grind to make a living but we also understand the importance of well-deserved time off for rest and relaxation.
May 1st is International Workers’ Day which commemorate the global struggles of workers and trade unions for fair employment standards but few folk will know how hard the workers of previous generations had to fight for the five-day work week and eight-hour workday.
Once upon a time men, women – even young children – worked in factories, mills, and mines six days a week, 10 to 16 hours a day but on May 1 1926 the Ford Motor Company in the US adopted a five-day, 40-hour, work week – without a cut in wages.
IT WAS GOOD FOR BUSINESS, TOO
Henry Ford also knew that leisure increases consumption so people who worked five days a week would consume more goods than people who worked six days a week. The move ended up not only benefiting the health and well-being of his employees but also business and the general US economy.
The ground-breaking policy was soon extended to Ford’s office workers. Other manufacturers all over America – the around the world – followed and the Monday-to-Friday work week became standard.
Henry Ford predicted, however, that the work week would continue to evolve. “The eight-hour day was not the ultimate, and neither is the five-day week,” he said. “Probably the next move will come in the direction of shortening the day rather than the week.”
Consequently, The Corner is happy to pass on the modern Ford brand’s wish for everybody in South Africa to have a peaceful 2019 (and all future) Workers’ Day on Wednesday, May 4.