A four day working week is fine if it is voluntary

Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation has proposed the introduction of an option to work a four day week. He has argued that this should be thought about flexibly. People could work shorter hours in either five days in four days, which he alleges would offer enormous social and economic benefits. More specifically, he thinks gardening brings health benefits so people should perhaps spend a day a week gardening.

Philip Booth argues that whilst it is sensible for people to be able to freely negotiate their working hours, it is not a good idea to dictate working hours. Economic evidence suggests that work sharing schemes are negative for both productivity and employment. As a society gets richer it tends to work less. The idea that we could generalise this for the whole of the developed world is ridiculous and the proposal is not a workable solution for most economies. Voluntary four day week arrangements are fine, but a national scheme is a move from voluntarism to paternalism.

Listen here. Segment starts at 18:10.

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