Following a pilot scheme, British citizens will work for just four days a week without a pay cut for the next six months. Wondering if we in India too can follow the Britons? Let’s find the answer
After over two years of mayhem, the world is heaving a sigh of relief. Covid-19 seems to have lost its sting, and its spread has been contained. No one knows if it’s the new normal or another wave will strike the world again.
But, in the meanwhile, life has returned to normal. A lot of people have resumed offices. Some joined willingly, while a lot of them were told to do so. The pandemic has also forced the companies to do a rethink on work culture. There seems to be no fit-for-all solution and a churn is going on.
The world’s largest pilot scheme of four-day work week kicked off in the United Kingdom this Monday. Over 3,300 workers from 70 firms have signed up for this trial for six months. It is being organised by not-for-profit ‘4 Day Week Global’ with the thinktank Autonomy and backed by researchers from Cambridge and Oxford universities and Boston College.
“More than 3,300 workers, based throughout the UK and representing more than 30 sectors, are receiving 100 per cent of the pay for 80 per cent of the time, in exchange for a commitment to maintain at least 100 per cent productivity,” says ‘4 Day Week Global’.
It is not just Britain. Spain and Scotland are also planning to start four-day week trials later this year, and the initiative is being backed by the government. The organisers of the UK event claimed that a similar trial in Iceland was an “overwhelming success”. The Philippines too is toying with this idea.
Calls for shortening the work week have been gaining ground worldwide for years. Pandemic gave it a little more urgency. Citing several examples, experts claim that it will improve the productivity of the employees.
Speaking to Business Standard, Ajoy Thomas, VP & Business Head, TeamLease Services says a proposal in the new labour code gives the option to shift to four-day work week. But 48-hour weekly cap will remain. Industries can’t shift to this mode since they have eight-hour per day cap, he says.
So, will employees in India also see a similar work model in the days to come. The government has come up with new labour codes which it plans to implement in the next financial year. It may pave the way for a four-day work week.
A number of aspects related to work culture, including take-home salary of the employees, working hours and the number of weekdays will be changed. The government has already finalised the rules under these codes and now states are required to frame regulations on their part as labour is a concurrent subject.
The government has also said that if the proposal comes through, employees have to work 12 hours on four days — as they meet a 48-hour weekly work requirement.
Varun Sachdeva, APAC Recruitment & Business Leader, NLB Services says four-day week is possible in tech, banking and financial sectors, but for manufacturing, agri and healthcare it’s a distant dream. In future, we will move to an outcome-based working model, he says.
There will obviously be teething problems in the beginning. Like what a lot of companies witnessed during their shift from six days a week to five days. But there is no reason why Indians cannot enjoy the four-day work week model. The government has already proposed it to the industries in the labour codes. But different sectors have different requirements, and they will have to adjust it according to their needs.