A new four day working week?
A number of Labour, SNP and Greens MPs signed a letter asking the Chancellor to establish a commission to explore the implementation of a four day working week as a response to the emerging economic crisis. Nicola Sturgeon expressed her support for further exploration of the idea, which is also being considered by the Scottish Futures Commission, established in May 2020 to identify and address the major issues that will affect Scotland post-COVID 19.
The concept was being explored prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year and had been previously raised by the Labour party in 2019. The pandemic has since provided employers and employees with an opportunity to trial different work patterns including remote working and variable work hours and many have found their new systems and patterns to be effective.
Arguments in favour of a reduced working week include improved mental health and wellbeing; the opportunity to share work and thereby provide working opportunities for more people; increased productivity; environment sustainability; and that decreasing working hours has been effectively implemented in previous recessions including during the Great Depression.
Notwithstanding these perceived benefits (and the unlikelihood that there will be a return to pre-Covid working patterns and levels in the short term) the government has, thus far, shown a reluctance to legislate on this.
As soon as we hear more on this, we will let you know.Back to news list