The concept of a shorter working week in the UK is being pushed as a way to help stop "burnout for millions".

It has been argued that Britain’s long hours culture is “pushing people to the brink” and a trial of a four-day working week would be a benefit. 

A four-day working week has already been trialled in various private companies but it is hoped it can also be extended to the public sector.

More than 150 companies are accredited to the 4 Day Week Campaign, with benefits said to include better retention of staff and less stress.

Back in October, the Government put out guidance for councils saying a four-day working week should not be adopted as it does not “offer value for money for residents”.

This was after South Cambridgeshire District Council became the first local authority to begin trialling it, who argued it helped save money and addressed worker shortages.

Government department workers want 4-day working week

Civil servants at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have submitted a petition calling for a four-day week trial.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said its proposal would involve a 20% reduction in working hours for staff with no loss of wages.

The move followed pressure from some government ministers to increase the amount of time civil servants spend in their workplaces.

Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, told the PA news agency that recent official figures showing that almost two million workers reported suffering from work-related ill health in 2022/23 demonstrated the urgency of a cut in the working week.

He said: “Our very British culture of long working hours and low pay is pushing people to the brink.

“We work some of the longest hours in Europe which is causing burnout for millions and not producing good results for the economy.

“We are long overdue a reduction in working hours. The time has come for a four-day working week, with no loss in pay.”