Wales moves a step closer to four-day working week as Senedd launches inquiry

Some Welsh businesses have adopted their own four-day week. Credit: Media Wales

Wales could be moving one step closer towards adopting a four-day working week, after a Senedd Committee announced it would explore the potential benefits in an inquiry.

More than 1,600 people signed a petition calling on the Welsh Government to lead the way by supporting trials of a four-day week with no loss of pay.

Trials are already underway in countries including New Zealand, the US, Ireland and Canada.

Many businesses across Wales have adopted their own four-day weeks, with staff at one Cardiff hair salon saying they feel "happier and healthier".

A study revealed that a shift to shorter hours could create almost 40,000 new public sector jobs and would be supported by more than 60% of people in Wales.

Studies have shown a shorter week can boost workers' wellbeing. Credit: PA Images

Numerous studies have shown that moving to a four-day week boosts productivity and workers' wellbeing.

Around 30 UK companies are currently taking part in a six-month pilot scheme, which will measure whether employees can operate at 100% productivity for 80% of the time.

The world's largest ever trial in Iceland between 2015 and 2019 was recently hailed as an "overwhelming success", while in Japan, a trial at Microsoft saw productivity went up by 40%, according to researchers.

The Welsh Senedd Petitions Committee is planning to take evidence from a range of people and organisations.

Research found 62% of the public would like a shorter working week if there was no decrease in salary. Credit: PA Images

Jack Sargeant MS, Chair of the Petitions Committee, said: "This is an exciting policy area which is developing momentum across the globe.

"As Chair of the Petitions Committee, I look forward to taking evidence from a range of witnesses about the possible benefits of a four-day working week."

Mark Hooper, who organised the petition, said: "As someone who has led an organisation that ran a four-day week, I'm really pleased that the Committee has decided to undertake a short inquiry.

"It's not appropriate to wait and see what others do on an issue as important as this."

"I'm looking forward to sharing my real-life experience; good, bad and indifferent, as well as putting forward a case for specific Welsh-based learning on the subject."