A pilot project with a four-day working week – with no loss of wages – is being tested in the UK.
A new survey found that more than eight out of ten Scots would support the introduction of a four-day week.
Research for think tank IPPR Scotland found that 80% of people believed that reducing the number of working days – without sacrificing wages – would “have a positive effect on their wellbeing”.
In addition to finding that more than 80% would support such a change, the survey found that 88% would be willing to participate in trial programs set up by ministers in Holyrood.
Pilots will be conducted in the wake of changes in labor practices brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, with SNP pledging a £ 10 million fund for companies testing a four-day week.
However, IPPR Scotland said the Scottish government should expand such programs to include more sectors of the economy, people working in non-office based jobs, shift workers and part-time workers.
The think tank argued that the testing programs may not properly test the effects of such a switch unless lower-paying sectors are included in the pilot, along with those that may make the switch to a four-day week difficult.
However, the survey, which interviewed around 2,203 people between the ages of 16 and 65, also found that nearly two-thirds (65%) believe that a shorter work week could increase Scotland’s productivity.
Rachel Statham, Senior Research Fellow at IPPR Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government is right to test a four-day week because today’s evidence shows that it is a policy with overwhelming public support and a positive step towards the Building an economy that is hardwired for wellbeing.
“But any successful transition to Covid-19 must include all types of jobs and all types of work. The 9 am-5pm full-time office job is not the way many people work across Scotland – and shorter work time attempts need to reflect that reality.
“So we have to examine what shorter working hours look like from the point of view of shift workers who can make ends meet, or who currently have fewer hours than they would like.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The pandemic has helped build interest in and support for more flexible work practices, which could include a shift to a four-day week.
“Shortening the working week could help keep more and better jobs and improve wellbeing.
“We are in the early stages of developing a £ 10 million pilot that will help companies explore the benefits and costs of moving to a four-day week. The pilot will allow us to better understand the impact of a wider switch to a shorter work week across the economy. “
Roz Foyer, Secretary General of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, said: “Moving workers to a four-day week with no loss of wages would bring a number of benefits.
“We welcome the recommendation that the Scottish Government extend its four-day-week pilot to additional sectors, including non-office-based workplaces and people working in different shifts.
“A four-day week should be for everyone, and research on that should include workers other than office workers between nine and five.
“If Scotland is serious about creating a welfare economy, a four-day week is an important way of making progress on that path.”
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