Scottish Government urged to expand four-day working week trials

Businesses in Glasgow are moving to a four-day work week, as support for the idea grows.

All you need to know about four-day weeks. Pic: Pixabay.

What: A four-day work week would see people working fewer hours but making the same amount of pay, with supporters saying the change would have numerous benefits.

What are the benefits: It is argued that four-day work weeks would give staff better health and wellbeing, increase productivity and reduce unemployment.

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Why are there calls for a four-day working week: A new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has recommended that the Scottish Government project should be expanded so trials are carried out in a range of sectors.

It said a fund should be put in place to allow up to 20,000 workers to have their hours cut - with their pay staying the same - over three years.

The report notes that 83 per cent of working-age people in Scotland and a majority of MSPs would support the idea of a four-day working week.

What Glasgow businesses are doing it: Deals and events website Itison announced in July that its teams across the UK - including at its base in Glasgow - would be trialling a four-day work week. Founder and CEO Oil Norman announced that staff would work less while getting the same salary. Packing supplier UPAC, also based in Glasgow, has been trialling a scheme this year.

Does it work: According to UPAC, it does. Its trial started May, and the business said it had noticed no drop in productivity, while staff stress levels had decreased.

What does the Scottish Government think: Union PCS Scotland called on Scottish Government to pilot a four-day work week for its staff earlier this month, after a survey found that 87 per cent of its workers supported such a change. It comes just months after the SNP said it would create a fund to support businesses which wanted to trial the scheme, if it won May’s Holyrood election.

Do other countries do it: National level pilots are planned for Ireland and Spain, while one has already been carried out in Iceland.