University research: Calls for employers to cut hours, not jobs

Cut hours not jobs Credit: Judge Business School

Companies are being urged to cut hours not jobs in a bid to boost both the economy and people's mental health.

Research by the Judge Business School in Cambridge suggests that if we adopted similar working practices to countries like Germany it would help tackle the economic impact of Coronavirus.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak in Downing Street Credit: PA Images

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the latest measures to help safeguard jobs in the House of Commons yesterday. There's also been some reports that tax hikes will be needed in order to reimburse the Treasury for the Covid-19 mitigation measures.

Economists have estimated that by the start of April around 15% of people in the UK had lost their jobs compared to 5% in Germany.

The research team say that millions of people have been impacted by the measures designed to fight Coronavirus, these include being made redundant, made to work from home or having to self-isolate - all of which can have an effect on mental health.

But in a study of 70,000 uk residents by the university's Employment Dosage Research Team found by working as little as an eight-hour week, it could help reduce unemployment as well as provide mental health benefits to staff.

In fact the mental wellbeing of employees working eight hours was similar regardless of the length of the working week up to 48.

Lil Woods, a freelance arts charity worker, described how she had been hit by the crisis.

The study shows where possible reducing hours of all employees is better than mass redundancies or inflexible furloughing.

This is already happening in other European countries, such as Germany and Austria, have traditionally used short-time work programmes to deal with economic crises.

Employers can reduce the hours of employees, typically with some compensation from the state.