Scotland to experiment 4-day work week

Think tank report includes ideas on how it could be done

Muhammad Mussa   | 01.09.2021
Scotland to experiment 4-day work week File Photo


The Scottish government is to try out a four-day work week after a poll revealed that a majority of Scots are overwhelmingly supportive of the idea.

In a survey conducted by IPPR Scotland, a think tank, 83% of respondents supported a four-day work week with no loss off pay.

“Reductions in working time are overwhelmingly popular ... 83 per cent of working-age people in Scotland support the introduction of a four-day working week, with no loss of pay. Levels of support vary across workers in different types of workplaces,” it said in its report.

“To maximise opportunity for learning, however, trials should be more ambitious in terms of scale and design. Trials should be extended to span a range of sectors, including physical (non-office) workplaces, shift-workers, and settings such as social care, the NHS and hospitality."

According to the think tank, a shorter work week with no loss of pay will improve mental and emotional wellbeing, and narrow the gap between "part time" and "full time" work. If managed effectively, it can also support workplace innovation and boost productivity.

The research found that almost two-thirds of respondents (65%) believed that a shorter work week would boost Scotland’s productivity.

The government has been urged to set up a Working Time Commission that would make recommendations on fair work, and advise recommended reductions in working times that would aim to improved employees lives.

It also has been advised to work with employers and workers to develop fair work agreements that would see increased support and investment in the hospitality, tourism, social care, and childcare sectors, which have all been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” said Rachel Statham, author of the report and senior research fellow at the IPPR.

“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."

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