The United Kingdom joins the countries that are experiencing reduced working hours

The dream of spending less time working without pay cuts is about to become a reality for more UK employees. The project, which seeks to reduce working days to four days a week, will begin in June this year and so far she will join the test, although she is expected to reach 30. The six-month program will allow employees to work 32 hours without them. Adjusted salaries or benefits.

One of the main goals of the experiment, organized by the 4 Day Week campaign, the British research center Autonomy and researchers from the universities of Oxford, Boston and Cambridge, is to see if it is possible for employees to work at 100% with the least available time.

Workers walk to work during the morning rush hour in London’s financial district of Canary Wharf, Photo: Reuters

And Bloomberg reported that the test will allow employees to work up to 32 hours a week without cutting wages or benefits, and some may ask employees to extend 32 hours over five days.

Participating companies will receive a support package that includes workshops, tutorials, networking, and more. Likewise, the pilot project will include a group of experts who will work with companies to measure the impact on workforce wellbeing, the environment and gender equality.

Participants say it will allow for a better balance between personal and professional life. On the other hand, critics of the study say that making work more intense can cause more stress.

“Productivity is improving along with the corresponding increase in workers’ welfare,” said Joe Ryle, UK campaign manager 4 Days a Week. At the same time, the promoter of the initiative asserted, in a report with Bloomberg, that “moving to a four-day week would be beneficial for businesses.”

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A sign asking people to wear face masks at Euston Tube Station in London. Photo: AP

2022 “will be the year he travels into a bold future for work,” Joe O’Connor, director of this pilot program, said in a statement. “More and more companies are betting on productivity-focused strategies that allow workers to reduce the workday without cutting their salaries,” he adds.

Some of the companies that will be part of the initiative to be implemented in the UK are Canon and Canon Medical Research Europe, which will test the new way of working among its 140 employees, according to The Guardian.

“As responsive employers, we are always looking for ways to adapt our work practices to ensure that employees find their time with us useful, satisfying and productive,” said Ken Sutherland, president of the company.

Belmont Packaging was one of the first British companies to test the four-day workweek method, specializing in the manufacture of plain and printed corrugated board.

Iceland is one of the countries that has already launched the new business model. That is, after two trials were conducted between 2015 and 2019, in which workers earned the same salary for fewer hours worked.

In Iceland, the experiment was carried out in the city hall of the capital Reykjavik, and at national government posts, and it involved about 2,500 workers, which is approximately 1% of the active population of the country.

A woman travels by bicycle in Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo: Reuters

Researchers at the British Autonomy Research Center and the Icelandic Association for Sustainable Democracy (Alda) explained that many of them have gone from 40 hours a week to 35 or 36 hours a week. The tests were “a resounding success,” according to those responsible for the study.

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Experiences have led unions to negotiate new work patterns, and now 86% of the Icelandic workforce has decided to work fewer hours at the same pay or will have the right to do so soon, according to the BBC.

In Japan, the experiment was conducted by Microsoft Japan. For a month, he tested his work reform project with 2,600 employees, with no pay cut. According to data collected by Sora News 24, productivity for the month increased by 39.9%.

Company employees clean snow from a business on Gran Vía, after heavy snowfall in Madrid, Spain. Photo: Reuters

At the beginning of 2021, Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish president, announced a plan to create a four-day working week and to allocate 50 million euros to companies in their adaptation to this new model. For a year, Software del Sol had a four-day workday that allowed it to cut from 40 hours a week to 36 hours in the winter and 28 in the summer, without having to cut salaries.

Meanwhile, in the US, the idea of ​​a four-day workweek appears to be gaining popularity, with a group of Democratic lawmakers in Congress last December introducing a bill that would shorten the standard work week from 40 to 32 hours. If the bill is passed, employers will have to pay overtime to workers who exceed 32 hours in a workweek.

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