Government crackdown on four-day week

By Ellie Ames | 26 October 2023

The Government is exploring measures to ‘ensure the sector is clear’ four-day weeks should not be pursued.

Non-statutory guidance issued for English councils published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) reinforced that the Government does not support local authorities pursuing four-day working weeks and does not believe the practice delivers taxpayers’ value for money.

DLUHC said if councils disregarded its advice and there was evidence of ‘service decline or failure’ the Government may ‘raise concerns directly with the authority, monitor performance more closely and consider options to correct declining performance’.

The guidance added the Government did not support ‘trials, experimentation or pilots’ of the shortened week within local government and any councils that currently employ a four-day week ‘should cease immediately’.

Chair of the Local Government Association’s resources board, Pete Marland, said: ‘It is councils that know what works best for their community, workforce and in their wider labour market conditions.

‘They should be free to pilot innovative solutions to address local challenges and deliver crucial services to their residents.

‘Voters should be the ones making a judgement on whether council leaders have made good choices and delivered value for taxpayers.’

Opinion: Not for turning on the four-day week

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