A six-month experiment has been launched by the Four Day Week Ireland campaign aiming to deliver positive results for business and work / life balance for employees.
Four Day Week Ireland has launched its pilot program that will test the effectiveness of a four-day working week, with no loss in pay for employees, beginning in January 2022.
Under the new program, organizations will receive support, training, and mentoring on how to make the four-day week work. The Irish government will also fund research to assess the economic, social, and environmental impacts of the program.
Employers in Ireland are encouraged to contact the Four Day Week Ireland campaign if they would like to learn more.
The Irish campaign is part of a larger, multinational coalition of businesspeople, academics, researchers, and authors in calling for signatures on an online petition that goes live on June 23 to make the 4 Day Week a reality for businesses and workers around the world.
Joe O'Connor, Chairperson of Four Day Week Ireland, said on Tuesday: "In the last year, we have seen radical shifts in our working practices. More flexible ways of working are here to stay.
"The launch of the four-day week pilot program represents an exciting moment of change for employers and employees, and it’s up to the business community now to show that they are willing to lead and support this change for the better."
He added: "We know from international research that a shorter working week doesn’t mean a loss in productivity - in many cases, it is the opposite."
The #4DayWeek pilot provides business supports, advice & mentoring to help companies roll out the scheme across their workplaces. #FourDayWeek is better for business, better for workers, better for women & better for the environment. Go to https://t.co/q4zvBhlFap for more info⏳ pic.twitter.com/ocOyNrfb0O— Four Day Week Ireland (@4DayWeekIreland) June 22, 2021
Tánaiste (Deputy leader) and Minister For Enterprise and Employment Leo Varadkar said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has caused us to rethink and re-evaluate how we work.
"It's been shown that huge numbers of people can be just as productive while working at home rather than having to come into the office every day and it has accelerated the shift towards more flexible and family-friendly working hours."
Varadkar added "It's too early to say whether a four-day working week could work in Ireland. The idea is ambitious, to achieve the same outcomes and productivity, for the same pay with 20% fewer hours worked.
"I can see how that might work for some roles but it’s hard to see how it would work in others particularly in health, education, and manufacturing for example. But we need to keep an open mind when it comes to innovations in the world of work."
Minister for Environment Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said: "As we recover from the Covid pandemic, we have a chance to improve and reimagine our working lives in a way that benefits people and the environment.
"We’ve seen how adaptable and flexible people can be even in difficult circumstances, and we want to find out more about how we can keep some of the gains that have been made in terms of less commuting and more family time."