Does The UK Have A 4-Day Work Week? (Status: Trialing…)
Does the United Kingdom have a 4-day work week?
The UK does not have a four-day work week. A group of private companies in the UK are trialing a four-day work week and there has been a bill proposed and discussed in the House of Commons, but there is no official four-day work week in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Why are people talking about a 4-day work week in the UK?
There are two reasons that the four-day work week is gaining popularity in the United Kingdom.
1) Through the end of 2022, 4 Day Week Global, a non-profit, ran a trial of the four-day work week with 70+ participating companies and more than 3,000 workers. The trial has received coverage by major publications around the world.
2) In September of 2022, A four-day work week bill was proposed by MP Peter Dowd. The bill started to be discussed in the House of Commons on October 18, 2022, without any resolution yet. Known as the “32 Hour Working Week Bill,” the proposal would reduce the maximum work week from 48 hours to 32 (ie. overtime pay would kick in at 32 hours per week).
“British workers are fed up with long working hours and low wages. It was almost exactly a century ago that British workers switched from working a six-day week to a five-day week. The time has come to move to a four-day week with no loss of pay.”Labour MP Peter Dowd, United Kingdom
How many hours per week do people work in the UK?
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).
- 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 the UK?
Yes: The “32 Hour Working Week Bill” proposed in 2022.
MP Peter Dowd proposed a four-day work week bill to change the 1998 Working Time Regulations Act. The bill is still in discussion. Known as the “32 Hour Working Week Bill,” the proposal would reduce the maximum work week from 48 hours to 32 (ie. overtime pay would kick in at 32 hours per week).
Track every four-day work week bill around the world here.
Have there been any 4-day trials or studies done in the United Kingdom?
A non-profit, 4 Day Week Global, conducted a trial with 70+ private companies (totally 3,000+ employees) in the United Kingdom during the second half of 2022. Participating companies provide a four-day work week with no loss in pay to their employees for the six-month trial, and then report back on changes in productivity, employee happiness, and more. The results will be published into a study.
The most well-known four-day work week studies have taken place in Iceland (a country-wide study), Spain (a three-year, €50 million study), Japan through Microsoft’s Japanese arm, and New Zealand through a private company called Perpetual Guardian.
Track every four-day work week study here.
How many companies in the UK have a 4-day work week?
63 UK companies have a permanent four-day work week*. An additional 70+ companies trialed the four-day work week during the second half of 2022.
*This figured is pulled from Buildremote’s database of four-day work week companies, the most comprehensive list available.
Here is a list of notable UK companies with a four-day work week:
Advice Direct Scotland
"David Rutherford, quality and compliance manager at Advice Direct Scotland, told the Herald: “The four-day working week has given staff more time to do what they love. I used my extra day off to take my six-month-old son swimming and go to one of his dentist appointments for the first time."
Permanent 35 Hours
Permanent 32 Hours
Brett Nicholls Associates
October 1, 2018
Permanent 35 hours
MRL Consulting Group
January 6, 2020
January 6, 2020
Well... Starting 6th January for 12 weeks, we are trialling a four-day week. All full-time employees, of which there are currently five in the company, will be cutting their hours by 20% whilst retaining full pay. A rota system will ensure the office remains open as usual from Monday to Friday."
January 16, 2020
February 13, 2020
The changes include a reduction of weekly hours from 40 to 37.5 – working nine instead of eight hours a day over four days, plus a six-hour day one Saturday per month."
Vault City Brewing
Escape the City
In this post, we'll outline how we did it, what we discovered in our trial and why the four-day week is an important step for any organisation."
The UPAC Group
July 27, 2021
September 6, 2021
November 22, 2021
Team Custard Kraken
January 20, 2022
January 5, 2022
"As of today, we’re proud to offer a four-day working week option for all our employees with no reduction in salary. The move comes as we aim to further improve employee wellbeing, make our business more sustainable, and take account of the realities of flexible working."
January 16, 2022
"Of course, Covid has had a huge impact on how we go about our work from day to day, but one of the positive effects is that it has shown businesses that there is huge potential to adapt and change. On the less positive side, it has also contributed towards this “great global resignation wave” that we are facing. 4 Day Work Week Global’s pilot programme manager, Joe O’Connor believes however that “reduced working time” could be the key to solving this problem now that employees want more freedom as life slowly returns to normal."
February 14, 2022
February 22, 2022
Geeks For Social Change
Highfield Professional Solutions
April 4, 2022
"We already measure our teams based on output not attendance.
We have added 30 minutes to each day and removed 1 full day per week. The working week becomes 32 hours not 37.5 hours."
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.
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.