Four-day week proposed by Sinn Féin for Northern Ireland

Four-day week proposed by Sinn Féin for Northern Ireland

SINN FÉIN have called for a four-day working week pilot for Northern Ireland, following in the footsteps of the Republic.

The party believes it could increase productivity and deliver a better work/life balance.

A programme was launched in Ireland in June, with the six-month pilot scheme to begin in January 2022.

And this week it was revealed that Scotland is planning a similar trial.

Sinn Féin MLA Jemma Dolan, the party's spokesperson on workers' rights and employment, has now reiterated her calls for the North to follow suit.

Requests refused

"The announcement by the Scottish government that they will conduct a pilot scheme on a four-day week follows the lead of the government in the south and countries like Iceland and New Zealand which have found that a four-day week can increase productivity and deliver a better work/life balance," said Dolan.

"For the past few months, I have written to three successive Economy Ministers on this issue and asked each of them to conduct a pilot scheme on a four-day week so that employers and workers can assess if it fits their needs.

"To date, each Economy Minister has refused this request.

"With Scotland now being the latest country to undertake this pilot scheme, I am again calling on the Economy Minister not to let the north fall behind on this issue and to establish a pilot scheme on a four-day week for workers."

Global campaign

Ireland's four-day week pilot, due to commence in January, is part of an international collaboration with 4 Day Week Global.

It will run on a coordinated, parallel basis with a number of other countries including the United States and New Zealand.

Speaking at the launch in June, Joe O'Connor, Chairperson of the Four Day Week Ireland campaign, said: "We know from international research that a shorter working week doesn't mean a loss in productivity — in many cases, it is the opposite."