The costs of a four-day week to the public sector

This report from the UK think tank the Centre for Policy Studies evaluates the costs for the public sector of a four-day week.

At its recent party conference, the Labour Party committed to reducing average working hours to 32 hours a week – effectively creating a four-day week. A new paper by Jethro Elsden, Data Analyst at the Centre for Policy Studies, attempts to evaluate the costs for the public sector. While it is extremely difficult to predict the state of the labour market in 10 years’ time, Elsden shows that at current productivity levels, the cost of this measure would be £45 billion – the equivalent of a 10p rise in the basic rate of income tax. Making extremely generous assumptions about the productivity gains from employees working more efficiently during those shorter hours, this might fall to £17 billion – though it should be stressed that there is very little academic evidence to support such an optimistic forecast.

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