The next UK government must normalise 4 day work week

A 4 day week with no loss of pay can transform how we work.

The next UK government must work with trade unions and employers from across the public, private and third sectors to promote and normalise the many benefits of a 4 day working week with no loss of pay, say the Scottish Greens. 

As part of the Bute House Agreement that saw the Scottish Greens in government, the party delivered a series of trials across different Scottish Government departments, a practice that they want to see expanded all across the UK government with incentives for employers to do the same.

In October 2023 the UK government took steps to halt four day week trials in local authorities in England.

The Scottish Greens have themselves already adopted a four day working week for staff, with positive results. Better work-life balance, less stress, and more control over their lives are just some of the benefits which staff have reported.

Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “A four day week is an idea whose time has come. It would transform the way we work and have huge benefits for the health and wellbeing of our country.

“There are four day week trials taking place in Scotland, and we want them to be rolled out across all levels of government in the UK. But beyond that, we want to see governments working with employers and trade unions to identify how they can make the shift and what support they would need to do so.

“A 4 day week without any loss of pay empowers workers and allows them to spend more time with their families, friends and loved ones. It can also help employers who want to retain staff and boost productivity.

“The Scottish Greens want to build the kind of society where people are working to live rather than living to work. We believe in an economy based on fair and rewarding work and good wages. The normalisation of a four day working week will be a key part of that change.”

The commitment is part of a bold package of measures in the party’s manifesto to transform the way we work and live, including better rights for trade unions and a ban on zero hour contracts.

The World Economic Forum recently noted that pilots of the four day working week in Spain increased productivity, improved the physical and mental health of workers and reduced CO2 emissions as a result of fewer cars being on the road during the working week.

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