Four-day working week

October 14th, 2022

Report reveals employer’s attitudes towards the four-day working week

British workers work longer hours than workers compared to any EU country. The number of British workers suffering from work related stress, depression or anxiety has been rising quickly since 2014. 79% of British adults in employment experience work-related stress.  More than half of UK employees feel obligated to answer work emails and calls out of hours. Two in five UK employees struggle to take annual leave due to workload. Only 17% of British workers take a full lunch break. These worrying statistics, and many more, are the backdrop for the often mooted but yet to be widely implemented four-day working week. 

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of UK employees are in favour of switching to a four day week with the majority thinking they could still fulfil their duties within a more limited number of hours. What has been less clear is the extent to which employers are in favour of the switch, until now. 

CIPD has published a new report detailing employer’s perspectives on moving to a four-day working week. The report reveals many interesting findings, including that 34% of employers think that the four-day week is likely to materialise in the next ten years and that 10% of employers have reduced working hours without reducing pay in the last five years.  

The most telling set of statistics however is that 55% of employers (presumably worried about reduced productivity) say reducing hours without reducing pay could never happen in their organisation and only 11% of employers say they would be willing to take a pay cut to achieve a four-day working-week.

The implementation of the four-day working week may hinge on this discrepancy. If neither employee nor employer are willing to budge on pay, it’s difficult to see it happening. 

However, there is hope. A recent year-long four-day working week trial involving over 70 firms is at its halfway point and data shows that productivity has been maintained or improved in the majority of firms. Trials such as these may be what’s required to persuade employers to budge.  

This blog was written by Jack Dooley, Trainee Solicitor at didlaw.  

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