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Scotland Could Be Trialling A Four-Day Working Week Without Cutting Wages

By Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd

Scotland Could Be Trialling A Four-Day Working Week Without Cutting Wages

Three-day weekends? Yes, please.

Five days can take its toll on the best of us, and luckily for Scots, the working week might even be getting a reduction. With Scotland announcing a trial of a four-day week, it might lead to us being even more productive, despite the decreased hours.

When we heard back in March that Spain would be trialling a four-day week, we were left envious and it seems notes may have been taken. Plus, although the working week may be down to four days, this trial will not see hours or wages cut across a number of sectors. The theory is that employees will enjoy greater wellbeing, meaning higher productivity and less sick days.

IPPR Scotland (the Institute for Public Policy Research) has called on the Scottish government to expand its commitment to four-day working week pilots, particularly in the health care and hospitality industries. This announcement follows a report published by the think tank that found that 80% of workers would support a four-day week, with the same proportion saying it would improve their wellbeing.

four-day-working-week-office
Credit: Campaign Creators, Unsplash

The IPPR has suggested a Low Hours Commission to help drive this forward, and a Scottish trial across sectors with the aim to see how this works in non-office employment, on lower pay, and among those with condensed or part-time hours. Its report suggests that there is a need not only to cap maximum hours but to put a minimum-hours floor on employment. The IPPR also added that the reduced hours could be handed to workers as annual leave entitlement, as more public holidays, or as parental leave for those who qualify.

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According to a survey by IPPR Scotland, 88% of respondents said they would be willing to participate in a four-day week trial. A number of Scottish firms have already moved to a four-day working week with some success and further afield Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern argued for a four-day week pre-Covid saying that more leisure time would boost the country’s tourism sector.

Monitoring by an Auckland university found that productivity increased by 20% during a trial. Plus, Iceland started their programme to cut the working week six years ago, with 86% of the working population now working 4.5-day weeks. So, who’s up for a four-day working week?