South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) is set to be the first council to trial a 4-day working week if a proposed plan is approved at a cabinet meeting on 12 September.
The trial will be for the same rate of pay for 30 hours a week and would run for a three month period from January 2023. An evaluation would then be carried out to assess service performance, and it would only become permanent if there were no drop in standards of service to residents and an improvement in staff wellbeing. There are around 470 staff at the council who would be eligible to take part.
The benefits are seen as making the organisation stand out thus more attractive to prospective people and encouraging staff to stay. Another aspiration is that it could help to make the council more diverse in its workforce, with perhaps those with families or caring responsibilities being attracted. The council, like others, have struggled to fill vacancies, with only half filled between January and March this year. SCDC says it could cut £1 million a year with staff appointed permanently rather than agency staff.
If this is successful a trial of the council’s blue-collar workers, such as bin collection crews, will begin later next year.
The 4-day week campaign began testing this in June, involving 70 companies and 3,300 employees and consist of brewers, software designers and even a chip shop in Norfolk.