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Hey, excellent!

The UK is currently taking part in the biggest ever experiment of a four-day week, with no loss of pay for workers: 70 companies and over 3,300 workers are taking part in a pilot run by 4 Day Week Global, the thinktank Autonomy and the 4 Day Week campaign. A survey of the companies taking part at the halfway point suggests the trial is going extremely well, with 86% of employers stating they are likely to continue with a four-day week once the trial comes to an end.


The pandemic has led to increased support among workers for a four-day working week with no loss of pay; this week, I’m introducing a new bill in parliament that could make this a reality, by reducing the maximum weekly hours to be cut from 48 to 32.

Err, no. Let’s see how the experiments end shall we? Then decide?

19 thoughts on “Hey, excellent!”

  1. Fast forward a few years; “A government spokesperson confirmed that a workers liberation bill will be introduced reducing the maximum working hours from 8 to zero which has full support among workers. Funding will come from increasing the rate of Corporation tax.”

  2. Help me out with the maths here. The maximum is being cut from six eight hour days to four? That’s more than one day, surely?

    If office workers have saved a couple of hours a day on their commute, then they can do four ten hour days at no loss of time to themselves and still put in forty hours a week. So no need to change anything as far as I can see.

    “What! Every Wednesday?!”

    You know the rest.

  3. The comments are hilarious. Divided in to two camps the commentators are either sane or drunk on Left-wing propaganda. The second group exhibit doublethink just as Orwell parodied.

    Production will remain the same if we work less as miracles will occur and simultaneously less working means a need for more workers to service the same level of demand.

  4. WTF has this got to do with government? A contract freely engaged between employer and employee needs no third party.

  5. If your job is to answer the phone you need to put in the hours.
    If your job is to get things done then it takes just as long as it does to get things done.
    This difference used to be recognised; hourly pay or salary. Not any more it seems.

  6. One of the star comments asked if farmers would recognize a 9-5, 5 day week.

    The problem always with these grand schemes is that the people proposing them only have a narrow view of what constitutes ‘work’.

    Plenty of seasonal workers work their backsides off for 6 months then have 6 months off for example.

    What works for some, won’t work for others, but that’s ok. People are free to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment.

    Perhaps the one advantage of this type of scheme is it may give some employers ideas on how to work more flexibly to their own advantage and that of their employees. Just like companies saw the advantage of allowing people to work from home during the Covid kerfuffle.

  7. Or perhaps this is subtle way of acknowledging what (likely) most of us round these parts understand, that most effective output is produced by a relatively small percentage of staff. They’re the ones you properly need to look after. The rest, meh, 5 days/4 days, not so consequential?

  8. Sorry sir, we can’t send fire engines to your house fire, it’s their day off.

    So the EU working hours directive which the UK opted out, is back ‘despite’ Brexit. A directive which has increased unemployment and reduced output in EU Countries with even France trying to find ways round it.

    There is a difference between the situation where businesses and workers for which/whom reduced hours with no loss of output, or increase in headcount is possible and undertaken by voluntary arrangement, and one where they are coerced to do so by Govt diktat irrespective of the practicality or desire of workers.

    Also it needs to be seen if less hours with no drop-off in output is sustainable over time and as the business evolves.

    Getting the same output with less hours inevitably means higher pace of work, or maybe automation or changes in routine (job losses). Not all workers might want this. It may not be possible in all businesses depending on operations.

    For example: a coke plant has to operate round the clock using shift-workers. A four day cycle would require an increase in the work force = increased cost.

  9. @PF

    ‘… most effective output is produced by a relatively small percentage of staff. ‘

    Price’s Law: 50% of the work is done by the square root of the total number of people who participate in the work.

    So if you employ 100 people, 10 of them produce half the output.

    Also, the Law of the vital few (Pareto Principle: 80% of a given effect is due to 20% of the possible causes.

  10. John B
    re Price’s law, wrt the NHS
    Square root of number of staff = approx 1,200
    Therefore nearly 1.4 million people are semi redundant.
    Even I am not sure they are all that bloody useless.

  11. Bloody hell. Inflation, U-turns in the government, and now a shorter working week. All we need now is a Bay City Rollers comeback tour.

  12. @John B – “So the EU working hours directive which the UK opted out, is back ‘despite’ Brexit.”

    That’s because the “take back control” was just a deceptive slogan. The real intent was merely to replace one set of rulemakers with another.

  13. I live up the road from Bootle. And the day their MP tries to get them to work a whole 4 days a week is the day he needs to think seriously about his retirement.

  14. I’m all for this.
    I work four on four off. 12 HR days and nights.
    Bout time the rest of you feel my pain instead of this cushy 9-5 lark.

    Wait, this isn’t what’s being suggested?
    Awww. Me sad now.

    On a less flippant note. Government should stay the fuck out of it. None of their business.

  15. That’s because the “take back control” was just a deceptive slogan. The real intent was merely to replace one set of rulemakers with another.

    But at least we can vote the UK rulemakers out, unlike those in the EU. Of course, this doesn’t work so well when all 2/3 major parties have largely indistinguishable policies.

  16. @Chris Miller – “But at least we can vote the UK rulemakers out”

    No, we can’t. We have a very restricted choice between Labour or Conservative government, but not who is Prime Minister or any other positions.

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