Four-day working week could create 500K new jobs in UK, study says



a man holding a sign: Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/Rex/Shutterstock


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/Rex/Shutterstock

A four-day week in the public sector would create up to half a million new jobs and help limit the rise in unemployment expected over the coming months, according to research by the progressive thinktank Autonomy.

Amid concerns that the jobless total is set to rise sharply as the Treasury’s furlough scheme is wound down, the thinktank said the time was right for Rishi Sunak to pioneer a shorter working week.

The Autonomy study represents the first attempt to quantify the jobs impact of a four-day week, with the thinktank saying it would be possible for public sector workers to go on to a 32-hour week with no loss of pay.



A sign is seen outside a branch of Jobcentre Plus, a government run employment support and benefits agency, as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, August 6, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville


© Thomson Reuters
A sign is seen outside a branch of Jobcentre Plus, a government run employment support and benefits agency, as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in

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Four-day working week in public sector could create 500,000 jobs, says thinktank report



a group of people walking on a sidewalk


© Provided by The Independent


The public sector should switch to a four-day week to create 500,000 jobs and help ease a predicted spike in unemployment following the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report.

The Autonomy thinktank said “the time has come” for a shorter working week as the end of the government’s furlough scheme in October is expected to cause an unemployment crisis.

Research by the thinktank suggests public sector workers could move to a 32-hour week without any loss in wages at a cost of up to £9bn a year.

This figure, according to Autonomy, represents 6 per cent of the public sector salary bill and costs the same amount as the furlough employment scheme brought in to save jobs during the peak of the pandemic.

Moving to a four-day week would have the biggest impact in so-called “red wall” seats in the north of England and the

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