A six-month trial of a four-day working week in Ireland is being launched to test how it affects workers’ well-being and productivity.
The scheme is being run by a number of trade unions, businesses and academics under the combined name of Four Day Week Ireland.
Any businesses interested in joining the pilot scheme are encouraged to contact Fórsa, the largest trade union in the country.
It will also be sending out communications to all local authorities urging them to consider taking part in the trial.
The scheme is set to begin in January and will see employees work only four days in a week instead of the usual five.
There will be no reduction in pay, and it is hoped that productivity will remain the same or even increase as workers will be less stressed and more focused to achieve their goals.
Chairperson of the Four Day Week Ireland Joe O’Connor spoke to RTÉ about the potential benefits of the scheme.
He said: “In the last year we have seen radical shifts in our working practices. More flexible ways of working are here to stay.
“The launch of the four-day week pilot programme represents an exciting moment of change for employers and employees, and it’s up to the business community now to show that they are willing to lead and support this change for the better.
“The strong support for a four-day working week among Irish people is consistent with similar studies internationally. What may once have seemed like a radical concept is now, for many, a reasonable and rational ambition.”
All businesses that sign up will be given training, mentoring and support to run the program efficiently.
Ireland is one of many countries that have agreed to trial the system. The Irish government has pledged to fund research into the scheme to measure its effectiveness in Ireland compared to other nations.
Two countries that has already seen successful four-day working weeks schemes put in place are Denmark and the Netherlands.