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Blog  »  February 2022  »  Pilot Testing the Four-day Working Week - Blog
Feb 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Pilot Testing the Four-day Working Week

For many years campaigners have been promoting the idea of a shorter working week. Nicola Sturgeon, ahead of Scottish Election in 2021, proposed a £10 million fund to allow companies to pilot and explore the benefits of a four- day working week. It was criticised that the standard 9-5 five day working week was outdated. In a recent poll it was reported that 64% of Britons would support the introduction of a four-day working week with no reduction in their pay. There is no doubt that the pandemic has influenced changes to the workplace with a lot of employers adopting the hybrid working method. The six-month pilot programme will start in the UK in June 2022. It will be conducted by a pressure group, 4 Day Week Campaign. There is hope that the four-day working week will replace the traditional 9-5. However, there are a few considerations to this implementation such as the changing of contracts, dealing with holiday entitlement and change in pay and productivity.

Changing Contracts

Once a contract is made the employer cannot make any changes without the consent from the employee. In this case changing the terms of an employment contract will need approval from the employee.

Holiday Entitlement

Legally employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday a year (28 days inclusive of band holidays for employees working a five-day week). For someone who works four-days a week would be entitled to 22.4 days a year (inclusive of bank holidays). It is suggested that if the four-day working week was to become permanent the holiday allowances would have to reduce in line with the overall reduction in working hours. Those who worked a five-day week would result in a 20% reduction in holiday allowance.

Change in pay and productivity

The four-day working week comes with fear that employees will have to work longer hours each day to compensate for the missing day. Employees also fear that it will lead to a loss in pay for working four days instead of five. However, the Campaign calls for no reduction in the employees pay.
Furthermore, some employers who were resistant to the pilot had a concern of a decrease in levels of output leading to affects in the organisations profit. Iceland has been leading this campaign since 2015. The trials were a success, and it was found that participants maintained the same level of performance and productivity.
All in all, the campaign is advocating no reduction in the pay of employees who want to reduce their working days. It is up to employers whether they want to permanently adopt a four-day working week, there will be no change to the law to reflect this.

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Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employment Contract, News, Staff Handbook


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