70 UK Firms Adopt 4-Day Week, Giving Employees 100 Percent Pay in New Trial

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.
June 6, 2022 Updated: June 6, 2022

Thousands of workers across the United Kingdom are set to begin a four-day work week trial from Monday while still receiving 100 percent of their wages.

The experiment has been arranged by not-for-profit organization 4 Day Week Global in partnership with the think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College, who are campaigning for a shorter working week without impacting wages.

During the trial run, which will last for six months, employees in the UK will work four days a week while receiving 100 percent of their pay with the aim of boosting productivity and well-being among workers.

Similar pilot schemes are taking place in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

In the UK, more than 3,300 workers at 70 UK companies are taking part in the trial, Joe Ryle, campaign director for the 4 Day Week campaign told “Good Morning Britain.”

Restaurants, recruitment firms, charities, and digital marketing companies are among those taking part in the trial, according to multiple reports.

Sam Smith, co-founder of Pressure Drop Brewery in Tottenham, north London, told the BBC that it felt “like a good time” for the firm to try out a new approach to working practices, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which saw the majority of companies ask employees to work from home.

“The pandemic’s made us think a great deal about work and how people organize their lives,” he added. “We’re doing this to improve the lives of our staff and be part of a progressive change in the world that will improve people’s mental health and well-being.”

Ed Siegel, chief executive of Charity Bank, which is also taking part in the trial, told The Guardian that a four-day week with no change to employee pay or benefits will “create a happier workforce and will have an equally positive impact on business productivity, customer experience, and our social mission.”

“The 20th-century concept of a five-day working week is no longer the best fit for 21st-century business,” Siegel added.

For its part, 4 Day Week Global states that reducing the number of days employees work will improve business productivity, worker health and well-being, boost recruitment, retain employees, and reduce the carbon footprint of firms by reducing both commuting and energy use.

It also states that the four-day working model will provide a “better distribution of caring responsibilities between mothers and fathers” and reduce childcare costs.

However, opponents believe cutting down the working week could lead to increased stress among both employees and companies, while noting that the slash to working hours simply isn’t suitable for many industries.

“You’ve got to work harder in those four days so there’s some evidence in those four days trying to get so much done, it’s actually more stressful and there might be more mental health problems,” entrepreneur Richard Farleigh told “Good Morning Britain.”

Multiple Japanese firms, including Panasonic Holdings Corporation ADR, global bank Mizuho, and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing Co., have already moved to a four-day week in an effort to achieve optimal work–life balance for employees.

Elsewhere in the United States, the Jasper Independent School District announced in April that it is adopting a four-day school week for the upcoming year amid staff and teacher shortages.

A four-day week trial at Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand in 2018 found engagement levels among workers rose between 30 and 40 percent, work-life balance metrics rose by 44 percent, empowerment by 26 percent, and leadership by 28 percent, according to 4 Day Week.

Meanwhile, work stimulation rose by 27 percent, and organizational commitment increased by 29 percent.

Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.