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Four-day work week trial launched as government offers €150,000 to support research

Employees involved in the scheme will not experience any loss of pay.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Shutterstock

A NEW TRIAL programme which aims to allow employers to test the effectiveness of a four-day working week is being launched today.

The six-month experiment is being driven by the Four Day Week Ireland campaign. The group claims a four-day work week benefits employees, who enjoy a better work/life balance, and can also lead to greater productivity for businesses.

Organisations engaging with the scheme will receive supports, training and mentoring on how to implement the concept successfully. Employees involved in the scheme will not experience any loss of pay.

The pilot scheme will run on a parallel basis in a number of countries including Ireland, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

The government also announced today that it will fund research into the social, economic and environmental implications of a four-day working week.

Announcing the €150,000 research fund, Tánaiste and Minister For Enterprise and Employment Leo Varadkar said it’s “too early to say” whether a four-day week could work in Ireland, but the idea is “ambitious”.

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“I can see how that might work for some roles but it’s hard to see how it would work in others particularly in health, education and manufacturing for example,” Varadkar said.  

But we need to keep an open mind when it comes to innovations in the world of work.

Minister for Environment Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said a four-day week could help reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, improve people’s work-life balance and support gender equality. 

“We need to look at the potential and assess the impacts of such a change, and this research will help us figure that out,” he said.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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