A shorter working week: A Future Fit for Wales?
by Rethinking Poverty
The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and think-tank Autonomy this month published their new report, A Future Fit For Wales: The roadmap to a shorter working week.
It characterises the shorter working week as ‘a “multi-dividend” policy that speaks to a number of economic, environmental and social challenges that Wales faces’, including issues ‘pertaining to health, income, the social security system and the labour market’.
This report advocates a three-pronged strategy to achieve a four-day week in Wales. It recommends the governments ‘trial shorter working hours in parts of the public sector’, which could ‘potentially create 37,859 jobs in Wales’. It argues this policy could be particularly impactful in Wales, ‘as among Welsh NHS staff, sick absences are particularly high amongst UK nations’. It also recommends government ‘encourage and support private sector firms to transition to shorter hours’ using ‘public sector procurement strategies – in line with the Fair Work Commissions and the Well-being of Future Generations Act’. Finally, the report argues that trade unions have historically led the charge for working time reduction, and therefore worker voice should be strengthened in the workplace ‘to allow for more effective collective bargaining on the issue of working time’.
Sophie Howe, The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, concludes:
”Wales’ Well-being of Future Generations Act requires Welsh Government to use joined-up thinking to develop long-term solutions, to take all reasonable steps to meet its well-being objectives and prevent problems. A shorter working week in Wales could form part of a preventative set of measures addressing carbon emissions, entrenched inequality, skills improvement and enhanced employee well-being. This is about shifting to a well-being economy and having an economic model that puts people and purpose before profit.”
Visit the The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales’ page here.
Read the full report here.