Today, a four day working week is being trialled for a period of six months in 70 companies across the UK, which accounts for 3,000 employees over 30 sectors. In early Spring 2023 we will be able to find out whether this has increased productivity, encouraged happier staff and overall- whether it could be rolled out to more companies across the UK. Currently other countries such as Spain, Iceland and Belgium have already adopted the four day week so it’s possible in the next few years that the UK could be on the list too. 

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Image courtesy of Unsplash

It is argued that a four day week means you are better rested, more efficient in your job and more motivated to get things done. Consider how you feel after the Bank Holiday weekend- did the extra down time make you more effective in work today?  

But what would a four day working week mean for parents? Let's take a look...

Lower nursery fees: If employees are able to take an additional day off during the week, parents of young ones won’t have to pay for the extra hours of childcare which is generally priced at around £50 a day. Approximately £200 a month is a huge saving to any family who has children in nursery, so this means more money in the pockets of parents as the price of living goes up. Even more so if the parents can have their fifth day land on different days of the week. 

More quality time with their kids: If parents have very young children who are too little to be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare (before the age of 2), they will acquire extra time with their baby during their first and second year. Time they wouldn’t have had if they had been working. Most parents will only see their children for snippets of time before and after work or on the weekend so this affords more opportunities for parent and child bonding during the most crucial time. 

Cheaper days out: All parents know that taking your child out on the weekend is expensive and busy- to take preschoolers out on a weekday will mean more time saved queuing and competing with other families for space and availability. It could mean a saving too as days out are generally pricier at peak times.  

It puts less pressure on grandparents: If parents are relying on grandparents to look after their little ones while they are at work, this takes the pressure off them as a means of unpaid childcare. They may feel obliged to care for their grandchildren if there is no other option in a bid to help out their children, even if they don't want to. 

A day to catch up: For parents who have children in school- this extra day off work will ensure they have time to catch up on household chores in the absence of their children who would inevitably delay their progress if they were at home. A day to reset the space, do laundry, tidy up, clean and do dishes means the weekends are free to do whatever the family wishes rather than being held back by jobs.

Six weeks holiday: This is a difficult time of year because parents have to find childcare for a large block of time or take holiday. An extra day a week will help to alleviate childcare issues slightly over the summer, meaning there are fewer days to cater for. 

Parent's day: Should the extra day fall on the same one every week, parents of school children could spend the day together and go on a date without their children or just put their feet up at home and read, watch TV or do some gardening together. A four day week would help to rekindle the relationships of many parents up and down the country who feel they have no time together alone- all without having to arrange a babysitter!

RELATED: Psychologist Emma Kenny discusses the benefits of shared feeding for father-baby bonding time

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