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Four-day week could be on the cards for public sector workers in Scotland

Public sector employees in Scotland could be offered the option of having a four-day working week, as the government looks at ways to settle claims over lower wages.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes announced cuts to services other than health and social security last week, however over half a million workers in the public sector are facing pay cuts. In order to settle disputes and provide compensation for those on lower wages, there is potential for them to be offered a four-day working week.

The medium-term financial strategy states:

“Work has been ongoing to consider standardising the 35-hour working week, across public bodies where the pay policy directly applies, to introduce the right to disconnect and where possible, to explore a four-day working week.

In the longer term, this could be an opportunity to limit the cost burden of pay awards to employers, act as a lever to improve productivity, and optimise the role of automation and digitalisation of services, all while creating high value job opportunities and contributing to the wellbeing economy.”

This leaves options open for the exploration of non-pay benefits on the part of the government.

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, many employers are offering more flexible, hybrid working and the move towards a four-day working week is a further development of that. From today (6th June) thousands of workers are trialling the idea of the shortened week, with no loss of pay.

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