Four-day working week unlikely in the UK

Would you be willing to reduce your working hours if it meant a reduction in wages?

8 out of 10 British employees would not favour a four-day working week at the cost of their wages, according to research by cross-party thinktank, the Social Market Foundation (SMF).

This research saw a clear divide in the sectors, with white-collar workers and those in high-paying jobs in favour of cutting their working hours, even if it resulted in a loss of earnings.
In comparison, care workers and those in the hospitality sector said they would rather work more hours.

This scheme has been trialled in Iceland and has seen huge success. Participants have reported increased wellbeing, whereas productivity at work has either stayed the same or, in some cases, improved.

The SMF has warned that the four-day week is unlikely to become the norm in the UK unless it becomes clear who will be picking up the tab. There are also concerns that it would be deemed elitist, with only the highest earning members of society able to benefit.

“This presents a problem for campaigners: if they wish to make the scheme as attractive as possible then they need to explain who, if not workers, will bear the cost,” said Jake Shepherd, researcher at the Social Market Foundation.