Some frequently asked questions about the four-day week and how to get there.

What is a four-day week?

The four-day week is a 32-hour working week (or less) worked over four days with no reduction in pay.

Does working a standard working week (40 hours) over four days instead of five count as a four-day week?

No this is not a four-day week. This is a five day week with compressed hours resulting in four very long work days. This is not what we’re campaigning for.

Is a four-day week realistic?

Yes the four-day week is 100% realistic. Many companies across the world, including in the UK - have already switched to a four-day work week with successful outcomes for employers and employees.

Is it difficult to implement a four-day week?

The best implementations of the four-day week are well planned and involve a thorough consultation with staff beforehand. There is no one-size-fits-all model. Implementation will need to be flexible and carefully calibrated. Employers and unions will need to cooperate to reduce hours in each sector. For more advice on implementation see here.

How would it work for the construction and manufacturing industries?

Rota and shift patterns would have to be smartly re-organised and as a result of workers getting more rest and therefore being in better physical shape, productivity would likely go up in the longer-term.
Construction work can be one of the hardest jobs in terms of physical impact so there is a strong argument for a four-day week in the industry to protect workers from injury and physical-ill health, and to prevent early retirement.

What happens to employees' hours/salary where they are already working part-time but the rest of the organisation is moving to a four-day week?

The most important thing is to speak to everyone and come to a solution which works for as many people as possible, but there are four basic options available:

  • Increase the pay of staff on part time hours to adjust for hourly increases in pay the reduction in working time would result in
  • Reduce the hours of people working part time in line with reductions everyone else is going through
  • Adjust annual leave entitlement to recognise the large uplift created by a four-day week
  • A combination of the above.

How does a four-day week apply to the self-employed and those on zero hours contracts?

Many self-employed people already have the freedom to choose to take a four-day week. However, for the self-employed and zero hours contract workers on low-incomes that can't afford to take home less pay on a four-day week we need to see wider policy changes implemented across the economy. For example; a higher living wage, a ban on zero hours contracts and an extension of workers rights. Ultimately, implementing a four-day week with no loss in pay across PAYE sectors will put upwards pressure on legally and socially accepted wages in all sectors.

Is a four-day week just for people in office jobs?

No. In the UK there are already examples of construction, engineering, retail, hospitality and packaging companies all moving to a four-day week. In Germany, the IG Metall trade union won an agreement which resulted in 3.9 million metal and engineering workers being offered a four-day week with no loss in pay.

What happens with holiday allowances?

It tends to be the case that during a trial period holiday allowances stay the same. However when implemented permanently, it's expected that holiday allowances would be reduced in line with the overall reduction in working hours. For example, for those dropping down from a full-time 5 day week to a four-day week, they would see their holiday allowance reduced by 20%. This is seen as a fair option given that workers will be getting an extra day off each week with no reduction in pay.

Will I get paid less?

No. We are campaigning for a four-day week with no reduction in pay. This is the model which nearly all four-day week organisations have adopted and the model which is being used for Government-led trials in Scotland, Spain and Ireland.

For more detail, see our advice for employers and advice for workers pages.