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Four-day week gets closer for Defra staff

20 Mar 2024 2 minute read
Photo Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

Civil servants employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have taken a step closer to working a four-day week.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has agreed to provide evidence of the benefits – including value for money for taxpayers – of a four-day week as part of ongoing discussions about the feasibility of such a scheme.


PCS general secretary Fran Heathcote said: “The rewards of a four-day week are clear to see which is why 92% of employers who have trialled the scheme have gone on to adopt it.

“The trials show a happier, healthier and more productive workforce – things that benefit the employer, the employee and the taxpayer.

“Our agreement with Defra is a significant step forward in achieving a shortening of the working week with no loss of pay for our members.

UK-wide trial

Organisations such as Defra and Merthyr Valleys Homes took part in the six month trial with no loss of pay for employees.

Around 2,900 employees took part in the trial, which kicked off at the beginning of June 2022 and was run by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, and researchers at University of Cambridge and Boston College.

Joe Ryle, Director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, said: “This is a major breakthrough moment for the movement towards a four-day working week.

“Across a wide variety of different sectors of the economy, these incredible results show that the four-day week with no loss of pay really works.

“Surely the time has now come to begin rolling it out across the country.”

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