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

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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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