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'Benefit' to well-being

Four-day working week backed by SNP conference

home working

Workers now demand more flexibility

Scotland has edged towards a four-day working week which is likely to form part of SNP policy.

Delegates to the party conference voted overwhelmingly to back the idea after hearing that Covid had change their work-life balance.

The SNP Government will establish a £10 million fund to allow companies to pilot and explore the benefits of a shorter week to be introduced “when Scotland gains full control of employment rights”.

Recent research by IPPR Scotland found 80% of people believed that cutting their number of days at work with no loss of pay, would have a “positive effect on their wellbeing”.

Employment legislation is, however, reserved to Westminster.

As a result, SNP members said the trials of the scheme would be used to “consider a more general shift to a shorter working week as and when Scotland gains full control of employment rights” following the party’s commitment to securing a second independence referendum.

The resolution passed at the SNP conference recognised the huge impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the way that many people work, as well as the interest in and support for more flexible working practices.

Delegates agreed with the Social Justice and Fairness Commission’s finding that “with a fair work agenda, and the increased productivity it creates, there is a strong argument for introducing greater provision for a four-day week”.

Commenting, Emma Harper MSP said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on how many people work, and as we move into a period of recovery from the crisis it’s clear that we must do more to recognise that new reality, build a wellbeing economy, and help people achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Two years ago research by the Centre for Policy Studies found that if implemented on a UK wide basis, the policy would cost the Treasury £17billion when using “the most optimistic assumptions”.

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