Second four-day week pilot to begin in UK this autumn

four-day week pilotA second pilot of a four-day work week is scheduled to launch this autumn.

The four-day-week pilot has opened for organisations to sign up for a November start, with findings to be presented to the government in summer 2025. It will also assess other flexible-working arrangements, including a shorter working week, flexible start and finish times, a nine-day fortnight and compressed hours.

It will be run by the UK’s 4 Day Week Campaign and Timewise, the flexible working consultancy, with training for employers starting in September. Researchers at the University of Cambridge, Boston College and the Autonomy Institute will support the analysis.

More than 60 employers took part in the first UK four-day week pilot in 2022, with 54 keeping their new working arrangements 18 months later.

Former Conservatives ministers clashed with Liberal Democrat-run South Cambridgeshire District Council over its 15-month trial. Last summer, the then local government minister Lee Rowley wrote to the local authority asking it to “stop your experiment immediately”.

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This week, the South Cambridgeshire four-day week trial showed improvements in performance in 11 out of 24 areas, little or no change in 11 areas, and a worsening of performance in two areas, according to the analysis by the universities of Cambridge and Salford. It found that fewer refuse collectors resigned from their jobs and that planning decisions were made and calls were answered faster.

Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, said: “With a new Labour government, change is in the air and we hope to see employers embracing this change by signing up to our pilot. As hundreds of British employers and one local council have already shown, a four-day week with no loss of pay can be a win-win for workers and employers. The nine-to-five, five-day working week was invented 100 years ago and is no longer fit for purpose. We are long overdue an update.”