More than 3,000 workers across 70 companies are starting a four-day week today, webcluetech on full pay, in the world’s biggest pilot scheme, as the nation struggles with more job vacancies than staff available.
The programme is being coordinated by campaign group 4 Day Week Global, think tank Autonomy and academics at Oxford, Cambridge and Boston College in the US.
There are a range of businesses and charities taking part, including the Royal Society of Biology, hipster brewery Pressure Drop, Southampton computer game developer Yo Telecom, a Manchester medical devices firm, and a fish and chip shop in Norfolk.
Staff will be given 100 per cent pay for 80 per cent of their time — but they have made a commitment to produce 100 per cent of their usual output.
However some critics say the concept would be impossible in customer facing jobs, or 24/7 operations including where overtime payments would present an extra cost to employers or the taxpayer.
A trial of the four-day working week in France found workers were putting in the same amount of hours even with a day fewer and companies were having to pay them for their extra time.
Some economists have argued that working fewer hours would decrease the standard of living and the leader of one of Spain’s main business associations has previously described it as ‘madness’.
It comes as airlines struggle to recruit enough staff to manage the spring travel demand and upcoming summer holiday pressures.
The transport industry has been struggling with a shortage of lorry drivers that has been ongoing since last year — impacting the supply chain.
And industry experts have warned that shoppers could struggle to get their hands on their favourite fruit and vegetables this summer due to a shortage of seasonal crop pickers.
Pressure Drop brewery in Tottenham, North London, is one of the businesses in the trial
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS news" data-version="2" id="mol-2618d0c0-e58e-11ec-bcf8-73224bb30cf1" website than 3,000 staff begin a four-day working week pilot on FULL pay