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The concept of the four-day week, where people do the same job for in fewer hours without a loss of pay, is growing in popularity. Not only among labour market economists but also – and many might suggest, unsurprisingly – among the public.
Last week’s confirmation that the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens will enter a power-sharing deal in Holyrood paves the way for an SNP manifesto pledge to establish a £10m fund to allow companies to pilot and explore the benefits of a four-day working week.
The SNP aims to learn from such trials to consider a more general shift to a four day working week, “as and when” Scotland gains full control of employment rights, enabling it to “identify additional employment opportunities and assess the economic impact of moving to a four-day week”.
Scotland’s Institute for Public Policy Research has now published research suggesting overwhelming public support north of the border. Nine out of 10 (88%) of working-age people in Scotland would be willing to take part in the shorter working time trial schemes set to be piloted by Scottish government.
The Changing Times report finds that a shorter working week – in which workers’ hours are reduced without losing out on any pay – could improve wellbeing and help to narrow gender divides, which would contribute toward realising a “wellbeing economy”.
Large-scale trials of