August 10, 2020

A Busy Month...

It’s been a busy month for the 4 Day Week Campaign. We launched our first-ever Crowdfunder  and, with two days still left to donate, we wanted to let you know everything else we’ve been up to:


Time for Change: Autonomy’s new report


We worked with the think-tank Autonomy on the press launch of their new report.  The report proposes a Shorter Working Time Subsidy Scheme which would replace the current furlough scheme by allowing companies to reduce employees hours, with the Government making up the drop in wages.  This would support the economy through the Covid crisis and help transition to a four-day working week. The report was covered by the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, The Metro and we secured a comment piece in the Times.


Meeting with the Treasury


We worked with Clive Lewis MP to submit a question to the Chancellor at Treasury Questions about the government exploring a four day week. Treasury Minister Kemi Badenoch surprised us all by agreeing to a meeting.


At that meeting, Clive put forward all the benefits of a four-day week as well as  Autonomy’s proposal for the Shorter Working Time Subsidy Scheme.


Kemi agreed to a continued dialogue with Clive and the campaign and asked to read a full copy of the Autonomy report. Watch this space!


New polling in the Sunday Mirror


We commissioned new polling into how people would spend their extra free time if everyone moved over to a four day week, which was covered in the Sunday Mirror. The most popular response - by a clear margin - was spending more time with family. 


53% of those surveyed said they would spend more time with family, 39% picked recuperation and rest, 38% socialising with friends, 36% exercise and in a boost to the UK tourism sector, 30% said they would go on more short holidays in the UK.


Early Day Motion


We worked with MPs on the launch of an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling on the Government to set up a commission to consider a range of options and models in relation to shorter working times. After a lot of lobbying work, we’re very pleased that 43 MPs from Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and the SDLP have now signed up.


Further Research


Working alongside various organisations, three further pieces of research are currently underway in relation to moving to a four day week. These pieces of work will explore mental health, the environment and a four day week in the public sector.

July 15, 2020

Make the 4-Day Week a Reality

Campaign Launches Crowdfunder

We stand a critical moment in time, amidst political and economic crises. Rebuilding our economy to be fairer and more equitable will bring about much-needed change to the lives of millions of people, but this will only happen by maintaining political pressure.

We have a plan to make a four day week a reality, with your help we will step up our campaigning work by:

  • Paying for a Campaigns Officer for the next three months (£5500)

  • Producing original polling and research that supports the case for a shorter working week. (£2500)

  • Producing video content and running a major advertising campaign on public transport that raises public awareness of the benefits of reduced working hours. (£2500)

July 02, 2020

New Polling on the Four-Day Week

42 cross-party MPs back four-day week as new polling shows two thirds of the public want government to explore introducing it

42 cross-party MPs are backing a four-day working week as new polling by Survation shows that two-thirds of the British public, including 57% of Conservative voters, want the government to explore introducing it.


The polling, commissioned by the think-tank Autonomy, asked the public: “to what extent would you support or oppose the government exploring the introduction of a four-day working week?”


The new polling suggests there is significant support for a four-day working week with no reduction in pay for workers (except for the highest earners), as one way of recovering from the impact of COVID-19 and to create a better future as we come out the other side.


57% of Conservative voters at the 2019 General Election also support the government exploring a four-day week.


The polling comes as 42 cross-party MPs from Labour, SNP, Plaid Cymru, the SDLP and the Green Party have signed an Early Day Motion calling on the Government to set up a commission to consider the proposal.


The Scottish and Welsh Governments are both examining a four-day week and Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, has spoken about the four-day week as a key way in which New Zealand’s economy can recover from the crisis.


Will Stronge, Director of Research for Autonomy, said:


“The research demonstrates that a shorter working week is beneficial to the environment, to our wellbeing and to staff performance in businesses. It’s a ‘multi-dividend’ policy. 


“The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the inadequacies of our labour market and has hit those on low incomes in stressful, key worker jobs hardest. A fairer, post-COVID economy that benefits workers is the right thing to do and shorter working hours with no reduction in pay should be part of that.”


Joe Ryle, a campaigner with the 4 Day Week Campaign, said:


“The four-day week is an idea that is gaining momentum across the world right now because people are reimagining a better future for themselves post COVID-19.


“A four-day working week is a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t we want to be happier, healthier and at the same time - more productive at work?”

June 19, 2020

Open Letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer

Dear Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP,


We are writing to you to request that the government consider exploring shorter working time for the UK, including a four-day working week, as one route out of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Work patterns have already been dramatically altered as a result of the pandemic and we believe the time is now right to explore putting a four-day, 30-hour working week (or any equivalent variation) front and centre – including protections for those on low incomes - as the country unites behind building back better out of this crisis.

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.

We know that more than half of UK workers are unhappy in their jobs and more than two thirds are stressed or overworked. According to the Health and Safety Executive, one in four of all sick days lost are the direct result of overwork.  


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 life and community.


Furthermore, with an unemployment crisis on the horizon, shorter working time presents itself as one of the best options for fundamentally restructuring the economy so that work is shared more equally. A four-day week would give many more opportunities to the growing list of unemployed people which already stands at 2.8 million people.


Shorter working time has been used throughout history as a way of responding to economic crises. They were 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. Shorter working time should once again be seen as a powerful tool to recover from this crisis. Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister has already spoken about the four-day week as a key way in which New Zealand’s economy can recover from the crisis.


As you will be aware, the Scottish Government announced in May a new Post-Covid-19 Futures Commission which will explore the potential for a four-day working week. We're urging your government to show the same commitment towards a better future for the UK by setting up a similar commission - looking at the range of options and models related to shorter working time which the UK could deploy.


We're very keen to work with you on this and look forward to hearing your response.


Kind regards,


Aidan Harper, 4 Day Week Campaign

Will Stronge, Autonomy

Mary-Ann Stephenson, Women's Budget Group

John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington

Mhairi Black, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion

Jon Trickett, Labour MP for Hemsworth

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South

Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck

Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South

Kate Osborne, Labour MP for Jarrow

Ian Bryne, Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby

Claudia Webbe, Labour MP for Leicester East

Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Human Geography at Oxford University

Neal Lawson, Director of Compass

Faiza Shaheen, Director of Class

Dave Ward, General Secretary of the CWU

Ian Waddell, General Secretary of the Confederation of Shipbuilding & Engineering Unions

Owen Jones, Guardian

David Graeber, Anthropology Professor at The London School of Economics

Deborah Hermanns, Project Manager Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung GB (personal capacity)

Mark Hooper, founder of IndyCube

September 22, 2019

Victory for the 4-Day Week Campaign!

Labour adopt radical plan for 32-hour week with no reduction in pay within 10 years in response to calls from the Campaign, trade unions, and party members.

The Party has voted to implement a series of measures to move the country towards a 32-hour week within a decade. These measures include a gradual increase in bank holidays, strengthened trade unions, and limits on maximum hours of working time.


The Campaign enthusiastically welcomes these concrete proposals which will help to address the crisis of overwork and ensure that the gains of the economy – especially in relation to new forms of automation – are shared fairly with workers in the form of more leisure time. This decision follows a positive response to a report released by the Campaign earlier in the year.



Statement from the campaign:


Moving to a four-day week will drastically improve the lives of people up and down the country by giving them back the time to spend with their communities, their friends, their families and their loved ones. This is the boldest attempt to transform and improve people’s lives in a century.


For press enquiries please contact:

Aidan Harper


May 18, 2019

We were disappointed to hear that the Wellcome Trust abandoned its plans to trial a 4 day week. A reduction of working hours implemented at such a large and prestigious organisation would provide an inspiring example to other companies looking to make a change, and we believe they’ve missed an opportunity to create a happier, healthier and fairer workplace.

Momentum backing grassroots campaigns including the four-day week @Labour4DayWeek and a Green New Deal @LabGND – driving Labour’s radical agenda to be even more ambitious.

Labour members formed a Labour 4 Day Week group to push the demand within Labour for a reduction of working time without loss of pay.

The Wellcome Trust has scrapped plans to trial a four-day week for its 800 head office staff , saying it would be “too operationally complex to implement" and unfair on some staff.

Click here to read our statement in reaction to this announcement.

March 05, 2019

The Scotsman

A vote will be held at next month’s SNP conference on whether Scotland should adopt a four-day working week.

January 18, 2019

Wellcome Trust could become first big employer to launch four-day week

The Wellcome Trust is considering moving all of its 800 head office staff to a four-day week in a bid to boost productivity and improve work-life balance. A trial of the new working week could start as soon as this autumn, giving workers Fridays off with no reduction in pay.

October 06, 2018

The shadow chancellor said Labour will “look at the working week” as part of an examination of working practices ahead of drawing up the party's manifesto for the 2022 election.

October 03, 2018

The Green party announced it would make free time a key measure of UK wellbeing - replacing GDP as a barometer of economic progress.

Around 120,000 Royal Mail workers won a one-hour reduction or equivalent benefit to their working week. This reduction, is the first stage of a scheduled flight path from 39-hour to a 35-hour working week to anticipate the impact of the fourth industrial revolution in respect of new technologies and protect jobs whilst also protecting public service.

September 09, 2018

TUC is using its annual conference to call on the government to take action to help people work less but get paid the same.

Paddy Bettington looks at how technology shapes the nature of work and the impact of longer hours on the job market. He argues that we need to build stronger notions of collectivism, and that this could start with a focus on reducing working hours.


Jason Hickel argues that the growth-driven economic model we have adopted is killing our planet and that a shorter working week is part of the solution.

March 28, 2018

Perpetual Guardian is trialing four-day working weeks for its staff, while still paying them for five. If successful, the four-day week will be implemented for staff indefinitely.  CEO Andrew Barnes said the experiment had potential implications for everything from work/life balance to the gender pay gap and the mental well-being of workers.

March 14, 2018

Aidan Haper explains his vision for a new work/life settlement.

You can also listen to him reading and discussing his piece Robots are going to make England’s north-south divide even worse - that's why we need the four day work week, with Kirsty Major.

February 07, 2018

German workers won a key victory in their fight for a better work-life balance when a big employers’ group agreed to demands from the country’s largest trade union for the introduction of a 28-hour working week.

January 19, 2018

The Guardian - long read

Work has ruled our lives for centuries, and it does so today more than ever. But a new generation of thinkers insists there is an alternative. 

BBC Victoria Derbyshire

The analysis given exclusively to this programme by the workers' union the TUC, has found one in eight of us are working over 48 hours a week, something they warn can have a severe impact on our health.

        Reporter Michael Cowan has been to meet the companies pioneering new approaches to improve the work-life balance.

January 08, 2018

German workers strike for 28-hour week

More than 15,000 workers down tools at 80 companies as part of metalwork union’s campaign to improve work-life balance.

Huffington Post

Aidan Harper discusses the history of our 5 day week, issues of productivity and 4 key arguments for a shorter working week.

Open Democracy

Work is currently undergoing a complex and multifaceted crisis. In order address these challenges we need to radically rethink the way that work — both waged and unwaged — is distributed, the role that work should play in society, and the response to automation and the threat of mass unemployment.

The Independent

Jeremy Corbyn said that the new economy could be a “gateway to a new settlement between work and leisure”.

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