Four-Day Working Week With No Loss Of Pay Being Trialled In The UK
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Scotland is progressing plans to trial a four-day working week after the results of a survey showed overwhelming public support for the proposal.
Research carried out on behalf of the think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) Scotland, found that 80% of those asked believed that cutting their number of days at work - with no loss of pay - would have a 'positive effect on their wellbeing’.
As well, the survey revealed that 88% would be willing to take part in trial schemes currently being set up by ministers at Holyrood.
The pilots come as ‘temporary’ changes in working practices brought about by the coronavirus pandemic are fast becoming more permanent, with the SNP having pledged a £10 million fund to aid those companies willing to trial a four-day working week.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The pandemic has served to intensify interest in and support for more flexible working practices, which could include a shift to a four-day working week.
“Reductions in the working week might help sustain more and better jobs, and enhance wellbeing.
“We are in the early stages of designing a £10 million pilot that will help companies explore the benefits and costs of moving to a four-day working week.
“The pilot will allow us to develop a better understanding of the implications of a broader shift to a shorter working week across the economy.”
Rachel Statham, senior research fellow at IPPR Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government is right to be trialling a four-day working week because today's evidence shows that it is a policy with overwhelming public support, and could be a positive step towards building an economy hardwired for wellbeing.
“But any successful transition post-Covid-19 must include all kinds of workplaces, and all types of work. The full-time, nine-to-five office job is not how many people across Scotland work - and shorter working time trials need to reflect that reality.
“So we must examine what shorter working time looks like from the perspective of shift workers, those working excessive hours to make ends meet, or those who currently have fewer hours than they would like to have."
The poll, which saw 2,203 people aged between 16 and 65 questioned, also found that almost two-thirds believe a shorter working week could boost Scotland's productivity, while previous reports have shown that a statutory four-day week would slash the UK's carbon footprint.
A trial of the four-day week by a private employer in New Zealand - which began pre-Covid - monitored by an Auckland university found that productivity among staff increased 20%, while workers also reported significant improvements in work-life balance.
Prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, argues that more leisure time will also increase spending in New Zealand's tourism sectors, which are on a scale similar to Scotland's.
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