A four-day pilot work week has begun for thousands of UK workers

Thousands of UK workers began a four-day weekly pilot on Monday without pay cuts.

The pilot project, the largest trial of its kind to date, involved 3,300 employees in 70 companies ranging from car parts retailers to animation studios, marketing agencies and fish and chip shops.

It is based on a “100-80-100” principle, which means 100% pay for 80% of the time – with the expectation of 100% productivity.

“As we emerge from the epidemic, more and more companies are acknowledging that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-centric work is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge,” said Joe O’Connor, 4 Day Week. CEO of Global, a non-profit organization.

“The impact of the ‘Great Resignation’ is now proving that workers in different industries can deliver better results when working small and intelligently.”

The six-month trial was coordinated by 4 Day Week Global, think tank Autonomy and researchers from Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University. This follows the start of a similar project involving 40 companies in the US earlier this year. There are also pilots in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

A short working week advocates demand various benefits for employees, reduce stress and improve well-being. There are also potential benefits for employers. A study conducted by the Henley Business School at Reading University suggests that businesses across the UK that operate four-day weeks may reduce sick days, lower employee turnover and increase productivity.

Pilot projects such as 4 Day Week Global are designed to showcase a range of benefits, but taking a short week can help unravel some of the challenges that real-world businesses face, says Rita Fontinha, associate professor of strategic human resource management. Henley Business School, University of Reading

“We need to understand in more detail where the savings and costs and the operational processes behind the implementation of the 4 day work week are – so this pilot scheme is very important as it will help to answer these questions before moving on to a larger policy. “, Fontinha said in an interview.

Four-day weekends have been shut down for decades without significant progress, but in recent years the interest of pilots from companies including Microsoft, Unilever and Kickstarter has grown again. The hospitality gig-work platform Quick, for example, launched a trial last month. Workers switched from their usual five-day, 38-hour week to 32-hour week with the same level of pay spread over four days.

Some organizations, such as the UK’s Welcome Trust, ran into complications during a four-day trial in 2019.

The widespread acceptance of the concept remains elusive. In March, the job-posting site actually said that less than 1% of March 11 job postings included the term “four-day week,” whereas a poll by research firm Gartner’s Business in April indicated that currently only 6% of employees have four-week workdays. Proposal.

Politicians in the United States. Trying to enact new legislation has drawn attention to the concept of a four-day week.

A bill introduced by California Assembly members Evan Lowe (D-Dist. 28) and Christina Garcia (D-Dist. 58) would require employees with more than 500 employees to pay the same amount for 40 hours for 32 hours. This will enable employees to work the equivalent of four eight-hour days instead of five.

The California State Assembly’s Labor and Employment Committee subsequently refused to move the bill forward, although Assembly member Low is apparently working on the proposals and the bill could return to the final stages.

A similar rule has been proposed at the federal level by US Republican Mark Takano (D-CA), who last year proposed legislation that would shorten working weeks.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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