A number of MPs including Mhairi Black from the SNP and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas put the idea forward in a signed letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
The MPs noted that a shorter week would not only benefit our mental health but also the environment and the economy, arguing the premise of a shorter working time has been used throughout history as a way to respond to economic crises and rises in unemployment.
Ah, the four-day working week. We get a taste for it every May when we seem to have a run of short weeks when there’s more time for us to do the things we love plus a greater incentive to get through our workload at record speed.
It looks like we might not have to rely on bank holidays to give us our four-day fix because MPs are currently pushing for it to become part of normal business. Excellent news, don’t you think?
The MPs wrote the four-day week was 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.”
The letter explained, “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.”
The letter added, “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 idea isn’t just being considered in the UK, Scottish and New Zealand governments are also looking into rolling out a four-day week, believing the move to be a way to boost tourism.
We’ll keep our fingers firmly crossed.