Four Day Work Week Could Help The Economy Recover After Coronavirus
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Leftwing politicians and union officials from across Europe are urging world leaders to consider the positive effects off implementing a four-day working week.
Experts believe having a shorter work week, while still working the same amount of hours could help economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
A letter has been sent to leaders of the UK, US, Germany, Spain, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland, and it suggests that a reduced work week could not only boost wellbeing but also help slow the effects of climate change.
"Throughout history, shorter working hours have been used during times of crisis and economic recession as a way of sharing work more equally across the economy between the unemployed and the over-employed," the letter said.
"We believe they should be deployed again now to help deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic.
"Across the world, people are reimagining a better future post Covid-19 and overwhelmingly they want a better work-life balance."
"Since the introduction of the weekend and the 8 hour day after the Great Depression in the 1930s, working hours continued to gradually decrease until around the 1980s. Since then the reduction in working hours has stalled."
"Despite promises, huge technological advances and automation have not ushered in a new era of more free time."
"For the advancement of civilisation and the good society, now is the moment to seize the opportunity and move towards shorter working hours with no loss of pay."
The proposed change has already been backed by notable public figures, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Kiwi company Perpetual Guardian undertook a two-month experiment that saw their staff given a three-day weekend while still getting their regular pay.
The trial was so successful that the company now wants to make the change permanent, with satisfaction in work-life balance jumping to 74 per cent after the trial from 54 per cent the year prior.
Engagement levels also increased by 5 per cent and employees were more willing to put in extra effort to their work, relating to a jump in job satisfaction from 77 to 81 per cent.
Joe Ryle, a supporter of the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, also added that such a change would give businesses a chance to 'rethink how we work'.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the world of work up in the air, offering a much-needed opportunity to rethink how we work," her said.
"The four-day working week has hit the mainstream and it's now up to governments, business leaders and trade unions to work together to make it a reality."
It will be up to individual employers to see whether they would like to implement the change and give people an extra day to inject money into their local economy.