As well as offering the benefit of a three-day weekend, experts have said a four day working week would make many Brits better off financially.
The findings have come from the New Economics Foundation, a think tank attempting to solve the UK’s ongoing productivity crisis.
For ten years in a row, Britain has had feeble labour productivity growth. The last decade has seen the worst real earnings growth for more than two centuries – in part because productivity growth has collapsed by two thirds, The Mirror report.
According to the New Economics Foundation, the total number of days lost to work related stress or depression rose from 3 million to 15.4 million in 2018.
Overwork is reportedly the major reason for sickness at work, with one in four of all sick days lost as a direct result of workload.
So far politicians have let the crisis fall through the cracks.
The New Economics Foundation, along with almost every other working Brit, I imagine, are in favour of gradually reducing time spent working while also raising minimum wages faster than planned.
According to The Mirror, their research shows that moving to a four-day week by 2030, while lifting the national living wage to around £19 per hour rather than an expected level of £12 per hour, would result in an average of a 13 per cent rise in disposable income for the poorest 50 per cent of households.
For the poorest 10 per cent of families, income would rise by an average of 26 per cent. Incomes for the richest 10 per cent would be 8 per cent lower.
Alfie Stirling, Head of Economics at the New Economics Foundation, said:
The problems are deep and structural, ranging from high levels of inequality to an ageing population. The policy response needs to be equally transformative.
Raising demand by growing the incomes of the poorest families, while giving people more time off to spend it, should be part of the mix of options that policy makers should be urgently looking at.
Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, showed her support for the change at the organisation’s 150th annual gathering, saying:
In the 19th century, unions campaigned for an eight-hour day. In the 20th century, we won the right to a two-day weekend and paid holidays.
So, for the 21st century, let’s lift our ambition again. I believe that in this century we can win a four-day working week, with decent pay for everyone. It’s time to share the wealth from new technology, not allow those at the top to grab it for themselves.
I think the movement would certainly be welcomed by many!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.