Legal considerations for the four day work week

Thursday 23rd June 2022

What legal considerations are needed regarding the four day work week full pay?

Employers will need to consult with employees to implement the changes to their employment contract and will need to obtain the employees’ agreement to change to a four-day working week.

If some employees do not agree to change to a four-day working week then the employer would have to impose the change on the employees. To avoid employment disputes the employers could require legal advice on implementing the change.

Four day work week contract changes

Employees must be notified of any contractual changes to their working terms and contract of employment within one month of the change and changing to a four-day week would be classed as a change, even if this is temporary. Employers will need to decipher how best to implement these changes and discuss this change with staff. Employers would have to amend their policies and benefits packages for the employees.

Reduced annual leave will also need to be considered as employees are technically working fewer days in the office and this may cause disruption within the workplace.

Employees will also need to think about whether all staff members and employees will be able to have the same day off. This is unlikely as the whole business would be unavailable for one day. There may then be complications as to how employers decide who has what days off etc. and this could cause friction between employees.

Four day work week complications

Another issue is when employees may not be able to take their chosen day off and may instead need to work through to complete a transaction or sale etc. Businesses will then need to decide how they are going to deal with this.

Some employees may prefer to keep to a five-day week as these fit in better with personal arrangements. Employees with children or who have dependants may not appreciate a four-day week and this may not suit everyone’s lifestyle.

Will part-time staff’s pay be affected by the four day work week?

The reality of a four day work week applies to full time workers and pay should not be deducted or changed. The way that this will affect a part time member of staff is yet to be known, however their hours and pay should not be impacted.

It is difficult: if an employee is already working a four-day week on a part time basis will their pay be increased to the same as a full-time employee who is now working a four-day week?

What other employment factors will be affected by a four day work week?

It is expected that people will need to work longer hours in a four day working week as they feel they cannot leave work unfinished, therefore they may continue to work until a certain piece of work or project has been complete. This could also come with decreased levels of productivity which would in turn do exactly the opposite of what the four-day working week is supposed to achieve.

There is a potential that employees become more stressed at work trying to fit five days’ work into a four-day week. Customer and client satisfaction may decrease if work is not completed in the usual Monday to Friday week and lots of employees are off on the same day.

Dealing with other members of staff and communication between staff members may also decrease which may not be productive.

How can Waldrons help? 

We have plenty of legal advice for employers who need more information on how their business could be impacted by the four day work week, as well as legal advice for employees who would like to know their options regarding working hours and contracts. Get in touch with Waldrons today for expert legal advice.