Private and public companies in the Dominican Republic are preparing for a voluntary six-month pilot program aimed at creating a four-day workweek, the first move of its kind for the Caribbean country.

The initiative announced Monday will launch in February, with employees earning the same salary, according to the Dominican government. The move would reduce the standard workweek from the required 44 hours to 36 hours, with employees working Monday through Thursday only.

“It prioritizes people, improving health and well-being, and promoting a sustainable and environmentally friendly productivity,” said Labor Minister Luis Miguel de Camps.

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Companies expected to participate include Claro, the Latin American telecommunications giant; power company EGE Haina; IMCA, a heavy equipment business, and the government’s National Health Insurance agency.

Dominican flag

The Dominican flag is photographed flying against a clear sky. (Photo by Tony Savino/Corbis via Getty Images)

A local university is tasked with analyzing the results, including any health changes in workers and the relationship between work and their personal lives.

Currently, companies in the Dominican Republic usually allocate eight hours of work during the week and another four on Saturdays, although they are free to distribute the hours as they see fit, as long as it’s not more than 44 hours a week.

The Dominican Republic is following in the footsteps of Britain, which launched what was considered the world’s largest trial of a four-day workweek and found positive results last year.

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A growing number of U.S. companies also have switched to a shorter workweek, while in Chile, legislators approved a bill last year to reduce the work week from 45 to 40 hours.

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