The Green party has pledged to phase in a four day working week with a maximum of 35 hours, in its ‘Green Guarantee’ manifesto published ahead of the general election.
Speaking at its launch, Green party co-leader Caroline Lucas called for a “new kind of economy”.
“By working together and standing up for what matters we can change the course of history,” said Lucas. “We will transform people's lives with bold policies like a basic income and shorter working week.
“By being here today, we are choosing a future of opportunities for pioneers and innovators like them. A new kind of economy, that meets people’s needs and protects the environment.”
Cary Cooper, 50th anniversary professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, told HR magazine that a shorter working week could prove beneficial.
“The UK has the lowest productivity per capita in the G7, and is seventeenth in the G20,” he said. “A two-year experiment in Gothenburg to reduce the working week to 40 hours for public sector workers saw workers take less sick leave and better productivity. If those results could be replicated in other sectors, then why not introduce it here?”
The Green party has also pledged:
- To scrap age-related wage bands and raise national minimum wage to living wage levels for all
- To take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income
- A ban on exploitative zero-hours contracts
- A reduction in the gap between the highest and lowest paid
- A minimum 40% of all members of public company and public sector boards to be women
- An abolition of the cap on employees' national insurance so the wealthiest pay more
- To provide free universal early education and childcare for all children, with formal education starting at age seven
- A referendum on the detail of whatever deal is negotiated for Britain’s departure from the EU, with the option to reject the deal and remain in the EU
- To immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and urgently seek reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens in the EU
Jonathan Bartley, Green party co-leader, highlighted the need for the public to have their say regarding the terms of a Brexit deal. “No one should tell you that your voice doesn’t matter, that when it comes to the biggest decision this country has faced in generations, you will not get a say on whether… we should choose that future or choose to remain,” he said.