The Scottish National Party (SNP) is making good on a campaign promise to try and reduce worker hours in a bid to boost productivity and worker happiness. Spain, New Zealand, Japan and Iceland have previously adopted a four-day work week – experience that Scotland will draw on as it implements its own trial.
Workers will see hours reduced by 20% without any impact to wages, Forbes reported.
The SNP has pledged 10 million GBP ($13.8 million) to fund the switch to an abbreviated workweek.
Some businesses already started their own shortened work week, each with support from employees. Polling by the SNP showed that 80% of people would support the change.
The shift to fewer hours supposedly boasts a number of benefits, including increased productivity, great sense of value and overall better attitude among workers.
Six years ago, Iceland started phasing in a shorter work week after observing positive results when introduced among some of the highest stress jobs. Around 86% of the working population opted for a shorter work week now, the BBC reported.
New Zealand started a similar program pre-pandemic and has seen a bump in productivity by about 20%, with many employees stating they felt they had improved their work-life balance.
However, not all countries have found success from the model, according to German outlet Deutsche Welle.
Sweden’s trial met mixed results, mainly from opposition to the plan among employers, and the plan was not renewed for a longer period.
In most cases, the reduction is not a flat day less but rather is spread over a number of days: In Sweden’s case, the hours were chopped from each day, resulting in five days of six hour shifts while others embrace free afternoons.
Scotland would follow Iceland’s model, though, which sees a three day weekend.