Calls for study into four-day working week for Glasgow council workers

A four-day working week on full pay for council staff in Glasgow could be on the way if councillors back a study on the idea.

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Councillor Dan Hutchison, Greens, wants officials to investigate the impact of cutting the number of days worked by employees across Glasgow City Council.

He believes the local authority should be “at the forefront of the improvement of workers’ terms and conditions.”

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The Govan councillor is expected to present a motion to Glasgow’s full council meeting on Thursday which calls for a feasibility study to be carried out. It would consider reducing workforce hours by 20 per cent while maintaining current pay.

Thousands of UK workers are currently taking part in the world’s biggest four-day week trial, which is based on the 100:80:100 model — 100 per cent of pay for 80 per cent of the time, with a commitment to maintain 100 per cent productivity.

Glasgow City Chambers - home of Glasgow City Council.

Councillor Hutchison said: “We have been through the pandemic and I think a lot of people have realised the work environment – 35/40 hours – isn’t necessarily what works best. Folk had time to look after the weans or take the dog for a walk.”

He added fitting in visits to the doctors or pharmacy isn’t easy for workers during a five day week. The councillor works for Patrick Harvie MSP and has been on a four day week since February.

He said: “We noticed immediately the benefits for us. We had concerns about productivity but if anything it has improved.”

He said the working environment is now more flexible and staff are more rested. But he has suggested a study, rather than rolling out the policy immediately, as different employers will have different experiences.

Councillor Hutchison said the research could show how a four day week might impact different sectors of the council, such as teaching and cleansing.

He said: “It’s not a one-size fits all. There will be a way to introduce it. “

His motion asks councillors to agree that the council must be “at the forefront of the improvement of workers’ terms and conditions and in doing so must accept responsibility to investigate the council’s ability to reduce the work week by a day.”

It also looks to secure an agreement on the need to “transition to a wellbeing economy”.

If Councillor Hutchison gets support, council officials would look into a possible pilot scheme and how quickly it could be rolled out.

The world’s biggest four-day work week trial launched this month, with 70 employers across the UK participating.

It has been organised by 4 Day Week Global, thinktank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.