Does Scotland Have A 4-Day Work Week? (Status: Trialing)

Scotland's 4-day work week trial

Does Scotland have a 4-day work week?

No. Scotland does not have a four-day work week. In September of 2023, the Scottish government committed to a trial of the four-day work week by the end of the calendar year.

Why are people talking about a 4-day work week in Scotland?

Scotland’s 2023 Trial Promise

On September 5, 2023, Humza Yousaf, First Minister of Scotland, outlined in his Programme for Government (PFG) that a public sector trial of the four-day work week will start “by the end of this calendar year.”

Scotland’s 2021 Push For The 4-Day Week

The Scottish National Party made a campaign promise in 2021 to trial a four-day work week. In this trial, workers would have their hours reduced by 20% (32 hours and four days instead of 40 hours and five days) without a loss of pay. The trial has funding of £10 million.

The Institute for Public Policy Research Scotland conducted a study of workers and found that 80% would consider a 20% reduction in hours without a reduction in pay a “positive effect on their wellbeing.” 88% would be willing to take part in the trial.

“We agree there are many benefits potentially from introducing a four day working week, that is why we are taking the very ambitious and radical step of piloting, at a cost of £10 million in this parliament, a pilot to look at the cost and benefits of a four day working week in Scotland.”

– Employment Minister Richard Lochhead (2022)

How many hours per week do people work in Scotland?

The average work week in the United Kingdom is 25.6 hours.

In ranking countries from the shortest work week to the longest, UK ranks 10 out of 187 countries tracked by OECD (95th percentile). The OECD does not track Scotland by itself.

  • 9 countries have a shorter work week than the UK
  • 177 countries have a longer work week than the UK


The average work work is calculated by taking the total annual hours worked per year divided by the average number of people in employment per year, divided by 52 weeks. Therefore, the average work week includes hours for full-time, part-time, and self-employed people. It is not the standard work week for full-time employees.

Source: OECD (2022), Hours worked (indicator). doi: 10.1787/47be1c78-en

View the average work hours per week for every country.

Have any 4-day work week bills been proposed in Scotland?

Yes (for a trial). The Scottish government approved the six-month, £10 million trial. It launched on January 18, 2022, according to Scottish Business News.


Track every four-day work week bill around the world here.

Have there been any 4-day trials or studies done in Scotland?

Yes. A trial of the four-day work week launched in January of 2018.

Here are the original plans of the proposed pilot:

  • £10 in funding
  • 6-month trial
  • Reduction to a 4-day, 32-hour work week (without a loss of pay)

Other well-known four-day work week studies have taken place in Iceland (a country-wide study), and New Zealand through a private company called Perpetual Guardian.

A non-profit, 4 Day Week Global, runs just about every well-publicized four-day trial you’ve read about. Recent trials have occurred in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland.

Track every four-day work week study here.

How many companies in Scotland have a 4-day work week?

63 companies have implemented a four-day work week permanently in the UK, with many of those headquartered in Scotland. The first four-day work week company in Scotland is Advice Direct Scotland, switching to the four-day week in 2018. YWCA Scotland switched in 2021.

This comes from Buildremote’s database of four-day work week companies, the most comprehensive list available.

Do you think our database is missing a company? Add a company here.

In which countries are the most 4-day companies located?

Right now, we have 177 four-day work week companies in our database across 20 countries. 38% of four-day work week companies are located in the United States, 36% are located in the United Kingdom, 7% are located in Canada. No other country takes more than a 3% share.

Here is an analysis of company adoption of the four-day work week by country.

4 day work week country adoption

View every country that has tested or implemented a four-day work week.

Learn more about the 4-day work week

I’ve personally run a four-day work week company since 2020. I’ve seen employee happiness and retention increase with no loss to productivity. Now I strive to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the four-day work week.

It seems that many individuals, companies, and countries are finally starting to question to standard, 40-hour work week for the first time in nearly a century. Follow along as we break down the trend.

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