If you are interested in trialling a 4-day week…

Caroline Cobain
Caroline Cobain
Legal Director
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Earlier this month, more than 3,300 workers at 70 UK companies started trialling a 4-day work week for full-time staff, with no loss of pay.

This widely-reported UK campaign is being led by 4 Day Week Global (www.4dayweek.com). Similar trial arrangements are taking place in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as part of the same initiative, making this 6-month scheme the biggest trial of a 4-day working week yet.

The initiative is motivated by research showing that a 4-day working week could be the solution to long-standing workplace issues, such as employee burn out, low productivity and difficulties with recruiting new staff. Many employers are therefore hopeful that the 4-day working week arrangements will make them a more attractive employer to a wider talent pool.

While the arrangement may indeed present many benefits, employers interested in trialling the concept should nevertheless give due consideration as to how and whether it might work in their particular organisations, and to the process which ought to be followed to propose and implement it.

As contractual changes are likely to be required for a temporary or permanent move to a 4-day week, a certain level of consultation with staff will be advisable in order to secure their agreement to the change. Failure to consult could adversely affect employee relations and could potentially lead to employment tribunal claims.

It’s equally important that employers simply wishing to trial the arrangements on a temporary basis do not unwittingly tie themselves to a contractual obligation.   Any correspondence and staff communications need to be carefully prepared.

If you are an employer considering trialling or implementing a 4-day working week within your business, or you are considering making any other changes to employee terms and conditions, we recommend obtaining specialist employment law advice beforehand.

If you would like to discuss the introduction of a 4-day week or any other employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team on 0141 331 5150.

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