The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been urged to consider a four-day working week by MPs, to help kick start the economy.
Rishi Sunak has received a letter signed by former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Green MP Caroline Lucas calling for the introduction of a four-day working week.
It sounds pretty ideal to us!
The letter argues that reducing working hours provide greater opportunities amid growing levels of unemployment, the Independent reports.
It comes after New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, suggested employers could consider a four-day working week in response to the Covid-19 crisis in order to boost the economy, specifically the tourism industry.
In their letter to the Treasury, MPs said: “A four-day week would give many more opportunities to the growing list of unemployed people which already stands at 2.8 million people.”
It continues: “Shorter working time has been used throughout history as a way of responding to economic crises. They were used as a way of reducing unemployment during the Great Depression of the 1930s, which led to the normalisation of the eight-hour day and the 40-hour week.”
Campaigners believe that a ‘shorter working time presents itself as one of the best options for fundamentally restructuring the economy so that work is shared more equally’.
Back in December, the Labour party considered a policy of a 32-hour working week with no loss of pay to be delivered within ten years.
Former Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery – who has also signed the letter – added: “A four-day week would bring multiple benefits to society, the environment, our democracy, and our economy (through increased productivity).
“One of the biggest impacts would be better mental health and wellbeing across the board with more time available for socialising, family and community.
“Three-quarters of UK workers already supported a four-day working week before the coronavirus pandemic hit and millions of workers have now had a taste of working remotely and on different hours. It’s in no one’s interests to return back to the pressure and stress that people were under before this pandemic.”
The letter also makes reference to Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who said in May that proposals for a four-day working week are ‘no longer things we should be just talking about’.
She added: “these are things we should be encouraging employers to look at embracing and there are a whole range of things that fall into that category”.
A four-day working week looks to boost employee satisfaction, company commitment and teamwork, while it also can simultaneously decrease stress levels.
Research has found that a four-day working week doesn’t harm productivity levels or company output.
The letter to Mr Sunak, which has over 20 signatures, concludes: “We’re urging your government to show the same commitment towards a better future for the UK by setting up a similar commission – looking at the range of options and models related to shorter working time which the UK could deploy.”
Are you for or against a four-day working week? Let us know!