The wave of the four-day week has spread all across the U.K. and Ireland, and Belfast City Council is the latest to join in on the initiative.
Belfast City Council is the latest workplace to reveal they are considering a four-day week with full pay.
Council staff will benefit from the initiative that has been trialled in various cities throughout Europe, the U.K. and Ireland.
Boasting several benefits for the health of staff and worker productivity, the four-day week seems like a promising prospect.
A new way of working – the importance of a work-life balance
Belfast City Council is currently looking into implementing a four-day week for its staff.
The extra day to recover at the weekend, however, won’t mean any loss of pay. The council has stated employees will still receive their full paycheck while only working four days of the week.
Sinn Féin brought the motion forward at a recent council committee. The party called for a report on a trial of the modern working model.
The DUP agreed to the study. However, the party also stated that there were ‘misgivings’ in the working model. The motion was then approved by councillors.
Belfast City Council considering four-day week – with full pay
The motion calls for plans to be put in place within the next 12 months. These plans will see implementation a four-day week trial for council staff.
Following examples set by other cities, including Dublin, the council and relevant Stormont departments would receive quarterly progress reports throughout the trial.
According to Belfast Live, the motion brought forward at the council committee cited the problems faced by businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It read, “Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and workers have re-evaluated and re-assessed the issue of work-life balance and productivity.”
Better for businesses and employee wellbeing – the importance of downtime
As Belfast City Council unveils plans to trial a four-day week with full pay for workers, many have come out in support of the motion.
Those in favour argue that the reduction in working hours has numerous benefits. These are not only for human wellbeing but also for the environment and the economy.
Many argue that the reduction to a four-day or 30-hour week would incentivise workers to increase their productivity.
Previous trials show that many employees complete the same amount of work in just four days as they usually spread over five.
Almost 100 years since the introduction of the weekend – time for another shift?
The motion brought forward to Belfast City Council for the implementation of a four-day week highlighted the ‘overwhelming success’ of the initiative in other countries.
It read, “It has been almost 100 years since trades unions secured workers the right to a weekend. It is important that, as part of the economic recovery, we consider how we can modernise the working arrangements to the benefit of workers and employers.
“There are numerous examples from across the world where a four-day working week has been successfully trialled.”
It explained that previous trials lead “to increases in positivity and an improved work-life balance.
“The latest trial from Iceland has been hailed as an ‘overwhelming success’, with productivity remaining unchanged or actually going up and the health and wellbeing of workers improving significantly.”