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Four-day working week could be key to a ‘people’s recovery’ from the pandemic

Scotland’s TUC called on the country’s political parties to include the policy in their manifestos for elections to Holyrood on May 6

A FOUR-DAY working week could be key to a “people’s recovery” from the Covid-19 pandemic, the TUC and charities in Scotland said today.

With countries such as Denmark and Norway already operating a four-day week, Scotland’s TUC called on the country’s political parties to include the policy in their manifestos for elections to Holyrood on May 6.

The STUC said the policy should include government subsidies for firms which make the change and implementation of a four-day week for all Scottish government staff.

In a statement, Scottish TUC said: “There have been major technological developments resulting in increased productivity over the last 100 years. We have become progressively more productive yet are still expected to work the same amount of hours as before. 

“As we face the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, shorter working hours are a way to share work more equally across the economy. 

“Workers deserve time: time with loved ones, time to help their community, time for learning, time for their health. 

“If the government really wants to tackle poor mental health and for the economy to recover from the pandemic, it should put its money where its mouth is and create a national subsidy for companies which switch to a 32-hour working week with no loss of pay.”

The statement added that the Scottish government has a role as a direct employer and can take a lead with its own directly employed staff and its funding for public services.

The call came after consumer charity Advice Direct Scotland, whose staff have worked a four-day week since 2018, urged political parties to “send a strong message” to employers by including plans for a four-day working week in their election manifestos.

The charity said absenteeism had fallen by 75 per cent since it introduced the four-day week.

Chief executive Andrew Bartlett said: “This isn’t about businesses just giving staff a free day off each week. We know from our own experience that staff are far happier and more productive as a result of the four-day week and that absenteeism has fallen significantly.

“By including this in their manifestos ahead of the May vote, Scotland’s political parties can send a very strong message to businesses of all sizes about the value of this approach.”

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