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Counter Culture / October 6, 2021

Government should allow public sector employees to trial four-day week

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash
Counter Culture / October 6, 2021

Government should allow public sector employees to trial four-day week

Words: Dylan Murphy

The Four-Day Week Ireland Campaign will tell an Oireachtas committee today that a four day working week would reduce carbon emissions and improve wellbeing.

Today, the chairperson of the Four-Day Week Ireland Campaign, Joe O’Connor will tell an Oireachtas committee that public sector workers should be permitted to take part in a trial of a four day work week in Ireland without a reduction in pay.

Formed in 2019, Four-Day Week Ireland operates on the basis of a  100-80-100 model, which means workers receive 100 per cent of the pay for 80 per cent of the time spent working in exchange for 100 per cent of the productivity.

Joe O’Connor will suggest to the committee that the four day week should be introduced gradually across all sectors of the economy. The campaign asserts that working one day less but still receiving the same provides a host of benefits, including reduced carbon emissions, lower childcare fees and improved wellbeing.

“Our campaign seeks to challenge the ‘always-on’ culture that has crept in to aspects of the Irish economy, which lionises long hours as a perverse badge of honour, and to shift public, political and media narratives about working time reduction,” the joint Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment will hear today.

“A shorter working week is not about lazy workers wanting more time off, as some might have you believe. It is a business improvement strategy centred on working smarter rather than longer, and investing in the wellbeing of the most important asset to any business – their people.”

It comes after news that 17 companies will participate in a six month trial in 2022.

Recruitment firm ICE Group, SCL Sales and a host of other companies have already adopted the campaign’s submission and looking further afield companies like Kickstarter have revealed their own plans for a four day work week in the United States.

He will tell the committee that academic studies have shown there is no correlation between longer hours and greater productivity.

“Many companies who have trialled or introduced the four-day week report happier, more focused employees, and critically higher productivity. They have experienced reduced employee burnout, stress, sick leave, absenteeism, and turnover.”

We’ll have more news as it comes.

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