A new trial programme to test out a four-day working week is being launched today.
The six-month programme aims to test out the benefits and effectiveness of a four-day working week and is being driven by the Four Day Week Ireland campaign.
The campaign claims not only can a four-day working week benefit employees by striking a better work/life balance but can also improve productivity for businesses. No loss of pay will be experienced by employees involved in the scheme.
Businesses and employers that wish to pilot the scheme will receive training, supports and mentoring to ensure the transition to the four-day week happens smoothly.
The campaign is being run by several trade unions, organisations and academics, with a Fórsa representative writing to all local authorities to urge them to adopt a four-day week as part of the pilot scheme in recent weeks.
“In the last year we have seen radical shifts in our working practices. More flexible ways of working are here to stay, Joe O’Connor, Chairperson of the Four Day Week Ireland, told RTÉ.
“The launch of the four-day week pilot programme represents an exciting moment of change for employers and employees, and its up to the business community now to show that they are willing to lead and support this change for the better,” Mr OConnor said.
Mr OConnor said the four-day week, with no loss of pay or productivity, offered the potential of a genuinely better future for workers, employers and the environment.
The strong support for a four-day working week among Irish people is consistent with similar studies internationally. What may once have seemed like a radical concept is now, for many, a reasonable and rational ambition, he said.
The initiative will begin in January and will be part of a global pilot with various nations adopting the programme. Unions say several businesses have already signed up, including Donegal-based digital publishing company 3D Issue. The Irish Government is also to fund research into the scheme to specifically detail Irish results of the pilot.
Denmark and the Netherlands have been the frontrunners with regard to a four-day working week with Danish municipalities adopting the innovation in 2019.

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