Tuesday, March 10, 2009

four-day week

For some time I’ve thought that if most people worked
a 4-day week unemployment could be reduced.

If there is only enough work to fill 80% of the working week
then as many people as possible should work 4 days a week only.
I realise that this isn’t practical, there are some workers
who can’t do 4 out of 5 days. For many, though, it is possible.
For example, nurses and doctors would greatly benefit
from working only 4 days a week and having 3 days off.
(maybe not enough doctors but why make the nurses redundant?)
This seems to me better than sacking hundreds of nurses,
but they would have to choose this option in preference to
some (10% or more?) losing their jobs.
The shorter week would mean less stress and more time to recuperate.

With most of us working 4 days then if, or when,
there was an upturn in the economy and full time work
was necessary we would all be trained and ready.

If most of us worked a 4day week more people would have
self-respect and maybe fewer would turn to crime.
(This cost can’t be calculated!) Would the extra numbers
paying tax and the lower amount of unemployment claims
off-set the loss of some/all current tax income?
Lower numbers of prisoners in jail would also reduce
public expenditure. If you ask a person in their 50’s, or older,
would they be prepared to work 4 days and give up one day a week
so that their child or a relative could have a job
I guess most would say, ‘yes!’

Unemployed folk should be given the opportunity
to register to seek odd days, loosing only one day’s
unemployment benefit (say 25% of a week’s benefit?)
for each workday they gained. They could even be given
a year-or-two’s grace to find up to 4 days, possibly in
different jobs. Relatives and friends might be willing to
give up 1 day a week. Some older folk don’t have such
heavy outgoings as youngsters trying to set up a home.
This form of job-share would enable some to offer
holiday and sickness cover for a week or two.
It may even give some the chance to go on extended holidays
of 3 or 4 weeks. The occasional bonus of work for a week or more
would also give the unemployed the chance to earn a lump sum
(for their holidays?) could special concessions be considered here?

If people in full time work (5 days a week) are willing to give up 1 day a week
then the government should allow unemployed folk to gather
4 days work from friends and relatives who are willing to do this.

Tony Ryder
01 216 931 905
70 Rowheath Road
Kings Norton B30 2EX July 1997

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