As the world looks beyond COVID-19 a four day working week is catching on.
From Canada to New Zealand to Scotland and Wales, a four day week with no reduction in pay is seriously being considered as part of Covid recovery plans.
Since the 1980s, workers in the UK have seen almost no reduction in their working hours and while our productivity lags behind, we work longer hours than most other European countries. As a result, more than two-thirds are stressed or overworked and one in four of all sick days lost are the direct result of overwork.
As a small organisation run by volunteers with no financial resource, the 4 Day Week Campaign has already played a key role in shifting the proposal for a four day week from the periphery to the centre of political discourse. It is now seen by many as a reasonable and achievable aim for our society.
In the last month alone, we coordinated a letter to the Chancellor urging the government to explore introducing a four day week which gained coverage in The Guardian, Daily Mail, Ladbible and Vogue Magazine.
Building on this, we worked alongside MPs to table an Early Day Motion in Parliament which has been signed by 42 cross-party MPs, secured a meeting with Treasury Minister Kemi Badenoch and released new polling showing that two thirds of the public, including 57% of Conservative voters, want the Government to explore introducing a four day week.
We have also spoken to a number of individuals and businesses asking for practical advice about how to move towards shorter hours. They have then gone on to make the change successfully themselves.
We stand at a critical moment in time, amidst political and economic crises. Rebuilding our economy offers an opportunity to affect much-needed change to the lives of millions of people, but this will only happen by maintaining political pressure.
We have a plan to make a four day week a reality, with your help we will step up our campaigning work by:
- Paying for a Campaign Officer for the next three months (£5500)
- Producing original polling and research that supports the case for a shorter working week (£2500)
- Producing video content and running a major advertising campaign on public transport that raises public awareness of the benefits of reduced working hours (£2500)
Shorter working time would bring multiple benefits to society, the environment, our democracy and our economy through increased productivity. One of the most immediate impacts would be better mental health and well being with more time available for socialising, family and community life.
At its heart, the aspiration of more free time is a recognition that the economy should exist to improve people’s lives; that people do not exist purely because of a narrow sense of economic worth.
The historical victories that brought us the introduction of the weekend, the 8-hour day and paid holiday only happened because of the courage of dedicated campaigners.
To achieve a better society where we work to live, rather than live to work, please donate whatever you can to make a four day week for the UK a reality. Our world is immeasurably better with more free time and we deserve more of it.