Japanese restaurant in S’pore hires crew for 4-day work week and resolves labor issues

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Staff at Japanese restaurant Tenya Singapore have a four-day work week and 10% increased wages

The pandemic has caused a global labor shortage, in part due to demands for better working conditions from rank-and-file workers who realized they were actually quite important.

This is especially true for Singapore’s F&B industry, which was notorious for labor issues even before Covid-19.

The Japanese restaurant Tenya Singapore, however, has found a solution that would make some employers hesitate: hire a team for a four-day work week.

Source: Google Maps

This not only solved their labor issues by attracting more workers, but also persuaded existing staff to stay.

Tenya Singapore previously struggled to hire staff

Since Tenya Singapore opened its first outlet in Orchard Central in October 2020, they have faced labor shortages, Shin Min Daily News reported.

The restaurant, which is a franchise of Japanese chain Tempura Tendon Tenya, is reportedly struggling to attract applicants.

This would force their current staff to frequently work overtime, said their administrative director Bhakt Yap, 54.

Inevitably, the long hours caused some of their employees to consider quitting.

Restaurant hired on the basis of a four-day work week

After Mr. Yap had a discussion with management, the restaurant decided to start hiring a kitchen and service team on a four-day work week, instead of their previous work week of five days.

Source: Shin Min Daily News on Facebook

According to a job advertisement posted on Tenya Singapore’s Facebook profile on May 6, the implementation of a four-day working week was in line with the “work-life balance initiative” of the ‘company.

The kitchen team would receive a monthly salary of S$2,300-2,400, while the service team could expect the same.

Source: Tenya Singapore on Facebook

Wages increased by 10%

As if that weren’t enough, the company also increased the salaries of all employees by around 10%.

This included current staff as well as new hires.

Previously, starting salaries for new recruits ranged between S$2,000 and S$2,300, The Straits Times (ST) reported.

Reduction of staff working time from 60 to 44 hours

Cook Karen Yu, who joined Tenya in April 2021, said she worked up to 60 hours a week when she was short on manpower.

This is more than the 44 hours that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has regulated for workers in Singapore.

So, she admitted that she thought about quitting, but the company promised to do something about the situation.

Now, under the new four-day work week, not only has his total working hours decreased, but his work pressure has also decreased, thanks to the increase in the workforce.

Tenya employees Karen Yu (left) and Zhang Yiyun. Source: Shin Min Daily News on Facebook

Tenya’s full-time staff currently work 11 hours a day, but four days a week, or exactly 44 hours a week.

The rest of the shifts are occupied by part-time employees.

Full-time staff may still have to work more hours if there is a shortage resulting from circumstances like a Covid-19 outbreak.

Labor issues resolved

Implementing the four-day work week and raising wages has worked wonders, Yap said.

When Tenya made the switch in July, they quickly hired eight crew members, ST reported. This compares to the fact that they often get no candidates despite having a five-day work week.

The restaurant has now successfully filled its full-time crew positions.

It also means they are less dependent on part-time staff.

Even senior staff, who resent the four-day working week, applied because they were attracted to Tenya’s job offers, Mr Yap added.

Now their Orchard Central branch has seven full-time employees working a four-day week. A second outlet in Ion Orchard has six full-time employees working a four-day week.

Restaurant shows four-day workweek has benefits

Many Singaporean employers might be reluctant to offer their staff a four-day working week, perhaps perceiving a drop in productivity.

However, Tenya’s example shows that this decision has its advantages, at least in the F&B industry.

After all, given the unpopularity of F&B jobs here, companies are already offering various incentives to new hires.

Given the growing desire to balance work and personal life, why not try the four-day work week?

Do you have news to share? Contact us by email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from Google Maps and Shin Min Daily News on Facebook.

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