The Scottish government says it will launch trials of a four-day working week, with a new survey showing that 80% of workers are in favour of the idea.
The SNP confirmed it would follow through with its manifesto pledge of running at least one trial of a four-day week, which would see hours reduced by 20% without a loss of pay.
Proponents of the policy argue that giving workers an extra day off can help boost mental wellbeing, which in turn could increase productivity on the remaining four work days, with 65% of those polled by IPPR Scotland saying they thought they would be more productive if they had a shorter working week.
There are few details so far as to what the Scottish trial might look like, however suggestions include adding the extra days off to worker’s annual leave, increasing the number of public holidays or even directing the hours towards training or volunteering.
Similar proposals have already been launched in Iceland, where for the past six years the majority of workers have seen their working week cut by four hours, and in New Zealand, where the BBC reports a trial found that productivity increased by 20% among workers offered reduced hours, with staff also reporting an improved work-life balance.
News of the trial in Scotland comes after Unite the union announced that it had successfully negotiated reduced working hours alongside a 5.5% pay rise for workers at Clyde’s nuclear bases, while another union said that Brexit-related labour shortages were creating opportunities for workers to push for better pay and other working conditions.
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