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Scotland plans to try a four-day workweek. The decision is a follow-up to a campaign promise by Scottish National Party (SNP). Some countries and companies have experimented with the work model ending with some positive comments. Is the 4 day work here to stay?


Pilot Programs

Spain’s government agreed on a pilot program of a 32-hour workweek without cutting employee compensation. Spanish pilot program requires the government to chip in the difference in salary to reduce employers’ risk when the country switches to a four-day schedule.

Japan is also following Spain. It is a shift from the Japanese culture of working for many hours that some people on salary die due to overwork. It is so frequent that the Japanese developed the term karoshi for the deaths.

Microsoft Japan led the way by trying a shorter workweek program in summer 2019. The company allowed employees to choose flexible work styles according to work and life circumstances. The experiment got positive results because workers were 40% more productive and happier.

Unilever in the past initiated a four-day workweek in New Zealand. The employees got five-day compensation although they were on duty for four days. The Managing Director of Unilever New Zealand, Nick Bangs, said they hoped the trial results in Unilever becoming the first global company to embrace working ways with tangible benefits for the staff and business.


Scottish Campaign

Back to Scotland trial, the work hours will reduce by 20%, but workers will not lose any compensation. SNP will release £10 million (($13.8 million to fund experiments with a shorter workweek.

The government refers to a recent poll showing that 80% of people in Scotland responded positively to the idea of a four-day week. Respondents believe the program will increase their happiness and health.

The government also points out positive results in New Zealand, Japan, and Iceland. Scotland mainly refers to strong results from Iceland as the biggest reason for giving a four-day workweek a chance. A survey of more than 1% of Iceland’s workforce showed people were more productive and happier while working for fewer days.

In addition to the ruling party, some Scottish businesses had already introduced working for a shorter week. UPAC Group recently announced employees would work four days a week and enjoy the same salary. Edinburg-based Orocco also said it would implement a three-day weekend.


Is the 4 day work here to stay, or is it just a trial?

Mark Takano, a Democratic Congressman, introduces legislation to reduce the standard workweek by eight hours from 40 to 32. Takano said statistics showed the employers and employees would benefit. If congress passes the legislation, a four-day workweek will be here to stay because the law will back it, and the effect will spread to other countries.