Discover our content for free!

Receive daily social, legal, European or international news by email

Great Britain: Labour party commits to implementing a 4-day working week should it win a general election
Planet Labor, 25 September 2019, n°11377 -

During the annual Labour Party conference that comes to a close on 25 September, Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell stated, “the next Labour government will put in place the changes needed to reduce average full-time hours to 32 a week within the next decade. A shorter working week with no loss of pay.” UK workers currently work an average of 42.5 hours per week. Working 32 hours would be the equivalent of a 4-day week, but how the working hours would be arranged could differ per company. Warmly welcomed by the trade unions, this statement, like others, comes at a time of potential early legislative elections, and has all the hallmarks of an election campaign pledge (c.f. article No. 11354). In contrast, business leaders were aghast, with CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn warning, “without productivity gains it would push many businesses into loss.” Employers are similarly upset over Labour’s wish to eliminate the UK’s derogation from the European Working Time Directive, which restricts average weekly working hours to 48. Employers are relieved that UK employees can nonetheless decide to exempt themselves because they argue the derogation is necessary for maintaining labor market flexibility.