Public sector four-day week


There are increasing demands coming from campaigners, unions and public sector workers to move to a four-day working week of just 32 hours, with no loss of pay. In this note we set out the value of working time lost if the whole of the public sector adopted this policy.


Key findings

  • Moving to a 32 hour four-day working week will mean the loss of £30 billion of working time in the public sector.

  • There is no evidence to support the theory that moving to a four-day working week will significantly improve productivity.

  • Public sector productivity has only increased by 4.1 per cent in total in the twenty years up to 2019, before the pandemic.

  • A 14.4 per cent increase in productivity in the public sector would be required to offset the loss of hours caused by a four-day week.

  • The loss of working time caused by a four-day week will result in either poorer public services or a substantial increase in taxes or borrowing to pay for more staff to make up the shortfall.




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