Four day working week pilot scheme launched in Ireland today
"This year has also given people a chance to reflect on what they value most."
A four day working week pilot scheme has launched in Ireland today.
The experiment, which will commence in January, will monitor the productivity, work/life balance, well being, and household division of labour of employees across a number of businesses working under a four day week with no loss of income.
The campaign is headed by the Four Day Week Ireland campaign, a group featuring members from trade union Fórsa, the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI), ICTU, and more.
Research into the project is being supported by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.
Four Day Week Ireland Chairperson Joe O'Connor said that the scheme should enable Irish workers to better manage a work/life balance. “In the last year we have seen radical shifts in our working practices," he said. "More flexible ways of working are here to stay.
"This year has also given people a chance to reflect on what they value most and how they want to manage their working lives, and so now is absolutely the right time to rethink, review and change the way we do things, and move to a four-day week. We know from international research that a shorter working week doesn’t mean a loss in productivity – in many cases, it is the opposite.
“The launch of the four-day week pilot programme represents an exciting moment of change for employers and employees, and it’s up to the business community now to show that they are willing to lead and support this change for the better.”
The scheme will be trailed in tandem with similar pilots in New Zealand, the US, and the UK. Similar programmes are already being developed in Spain and Scotland, while the four day week system has already been successfully trialled in some companies in Ireland.
Paul McNulty, CEO of Donegal company 3D Issue, already introduced a four day working week, initially as a reward for his staff. He said he soon realised the benefits of a shorter working week.
“At the time, we did not necessarily think that reducing staff hours would lead to an increase in sales and productivity, yet it did," he said.
“Our staff our happier, more refreshed and more engaged in their work. Covid-19 has changed people’s perspective of the optimal working environment and of work-life balance."