A four-day week would make it easier to balance life and work responsibilities. This would decrease the pressure on women to drop out of full-time employment and make it easier for others to rejoin full-time employment if they wish. It would also decrease underemployment, lessen the costs of paid childcare, and help level the playing field for unpaid care work by keeping men at home longer.
A recent policy paper published by the Women’s Budget Group comments in regard to a four-day week: “As the marginal worker is usually female, this effect could reduce gender gaps in both employment and income.” As the definition of full-time employment is decreased, more women will surpass the £10,000 a year threshold for autoenrollment and also have higher sustained pension contributions throughout their working life.
Belmont Packaging in Wigan, a company that practices a four-day week, asked its employees how they spend their three-day weekend. One employee said, “It’s like a bank holiday every week. Not exactly like one, because the wife has me doing chores every Friday.” During the early months of the pandemic, when many workers were kept at home, research showed that men took on a greater share of housework and women’s disproportionate burden decreased.
Author(s): James Derry
Publication Date: 25 March 2022
Publication Site: Jacobin