Home Education A four-day week? Five? Not so long ago it was five and a half | Work-life balance

A four-day week? Five? Not so long ago it was five and a half | Work-life balance


Your report (Four-day week could be within reach for British workers, 10 June) begins: “Five days on, two days off has been the defining pulse of British labour for more than 80 years.” Oh no it hasn’t! I reach 80 later this year. When I was a child my father worked five and a half days a week in the City of London. My secondary school had a five-and-a-half-day week. We had lessons on Saturday mornings. We still had early closing days – usually a Wednesday or Thursday, when all shops would close in the afternoon to give shop workers a five-and-a-half-day working week. This continued until well into the 1970s.
Graham Mytton
Coldharbour, Surrey

While we’re questioning the shape of the working week, can we stir the deadness of Mondays into the debate? Museums, galleries, cafes and restaurants are increasingly running a Tuesday to Sunday schedule (or worse, Wednesday to Sunday). Monday is becoming the new Sunday.
Barbara Crowther
Leamington, Warwickshire

It would be wrong to assume that a four-day week could worsen the climate crisis (Letters, 6 June). People could use their longer weekends to fly abroad, but there’s no evidence to suggest that this would happen at scale. A recent study showed that the introduction of a four-day week with no loss of pay could actually shrink the UK’s carbon footprint by 127m tonnes a year by 2025. This is because of less commuting, reductions in energy use in offices and the ability to live a more sustainable lifestyle with more free time available.
Joe Ryle
4 Day Week Campaign

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