Jennifer Whitmore TD, Social Democrats spokesperson on Children, has backed calls for the Government to commission an expert report to examine the feasibility of a four-day working week.

Deputy Whitmore made her comments after attending a public briefing event by the Four Day Week Ireland campaign this morning.

She said:

“The Social Democrats fully support this proposal and believe there are many societal and economic benefits that would accrue from the introduction of a four-day working week. The results of a survey carried out by the campaign show very strong support for such an initiative by employers and employees alike.

“The recent campaign to extend maternity leave highlighted a strong desire by parents to find practical solutions to achieving a sustainable work-life balance. The introduction of a four-day week would provide greater flexibility for both parents in terms of sharing childcare and would put family life front and centre of employment policy.

“More flexible working arrangements would also be welcomed by those who are caring for an older person or a family member with a disability.

“International experience has shown increased levels of productivity and enhanced job satisfaction for employees who are permitted to work a four-day week without loss of pay. This is a win-win situation for employers and workers.

“Covid-19 has led to a seismic change in workplace norms and shows that employees and employers can adapt to new practices when required. I believe the time is now right to explore different models of how we work.

“It is clear from the uptake of existing flexible work options that there is a high demand for change. A four-day week is already available and promoted in many other countries and the outcomes have been generally very positive.

“At this morning’s briefing, Fórsa called on the Enterprise, Trade and Employment Committee to commission an expert report on the feasibility of a four-day week. This evidence-based approach is strongly supported by the Social Democrats and is similar to what we proposed in our party’s manifesto.”

September 17, 2020

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