United Kingdom experiment with a four-day work week: 3,000 workers from 73 companies without losing pay


The proposal for a 4-day week global forum has also been adopted in Spain

Employees at the MG Rover plant in Longbridge, Birmingham on arrival at work
Employees at the MG Rover plant in Longbridge, Birmingham on arrival at workEFE

The United Kingdom has joined a pilot program to reduce working hours without pay cuts that it promotes Digital Platform ‘4 Day Week, Global’ (four days a week) under the 100-80-100 rule, i.e. 100% pay, with 80% working time and maintaining 100% effectiveness. The initiative, which is set to be launched in Spain as separate initiatives of the Generalitat of Valencia and the Central Socialist government, “benefits the worker, society and the environment”, as explained to El Mundo by Andrew, the co-promoter of the proposal. Barnes.

up to 73 British companies,With a combined workforce of over 3,000 employees, Yesterday (this Monday) launched the pilot plan for labor reform, designed by Barnes and his partner Charlotte Lockhart based on their professional experience in New Zealand. Audited performance at his firm, the legal advisor Perpetual Guardian, increased nearly 25% when, in 2018, he reduced monthly working hours without applying similar cuts to workforce pay. Some employees opted to take an extra day off per week and others, especially parents with children, chose to cut back on the daily work day.

Elasticity in the application of the fundamental rule – fewer hours of work for the same money – is maintained among companies that adhere to the program. The trial lasts at least six months. And various teams of academic experts analyze the evolution of each experience. “The basic principle is to reduce the hours devoted to work without paying less. It’s about giving people the time that each one values ​​or needs the most, whether with their family.” Be it living, doing social work or helping the community,” Barnes says.

many passes

The formula is being tested in about 150 companies Private companies in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with a global workforce of 7,000 employees. In Europe, Ireland took the lead in the first pilot project with seventeen companies launched in January. In all or most cases they are private firms that have agreed to honor the formula for half a year. Before going live, they receive mentorship and support from a global forum. “The research teams are analyzing the results, but it is too early to offer preliminary conclusions,” continues the program’s promoter.

In Spain, the main initiative in this area is led by the regional government of Valencia. Well, at the end of May the Valencian capital hosted the International Summit on a four-day work week and the Barnes team participates in the regional administration’s pilot program. On the other hand, the Ministry of Industry is preparing a similar project at the entire state level, based on a proposal by Ms. Pass, the political formation of Igo Erasion. According to Barnes, these are the first public-private projects in this area worldwide. The governments of Iceland and Scotland finalize their respective programs to reduce working hours.

The biggest obstacle is the fear of performance degradation as the office hours are reduced in the company’s office, workshop or telecommuting computer. in wider adoption of the initiative. “The main problem is that it is hard to believe that productivity is maintained even when fewer hours are worked. Many believe that performance is related to hours of work and do not recognize how to identify creativity. And there are better ways to take advantage of that. Employees”, insists the promoter of the ‘4 day week’.

Barnes recalls that the five-day workweek was introduced decades ago, but the push to curtail the tradition has barely caught on. In a way, the coronavirus pandemic is acting as an impetus to the reform movement that, as they say, “has opened people’s eyes to other ways of working.” In addition, personnel shortages in countries such as the United Kingdom will force companies to revamp their job offers to “hire and retain high-quality professionals”. In short, the balance between work and rest will improve.

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