It will solve in due course all our unemployment problems, improve public health and happiness, and the quality of life generally.
Some may argue that there is no law saying people must work 5 days a week, but actually there are numerous laws that say so, as composed of various contracts, and for example most government offices and schools function on the assumption or legal requirement that they will be “open for business” at least 5 days, Monday to Friday.
My personal belief is that reducing the standard working week from 5 days to 4 would bring absolutely massive benefits for our quality of life in almost every way.
Firstly, it would more or less eliminate the unemployment problem, because theoretically at least it would mean as hours would be reduced 20%, there would be an adittional 25% (i.e. 20/100-20) of jobs created to cover that deficit, so there would be FULL EMPLOYMENT for all those who wanted it.
Of course this would mean a lot of people or the majority also having SALARY CUTS, but the cuts would not be 20% in most cases, because people would pay LESS TAX.
However, there is no question that people would on average earn less, and that would mean they’d have to trade down their luxuries. But that would not be half as difficult as they imagine, if they thought about what they really NEED as opposed to what they want. e.g. people who spend 20k on a car, would then be oliged to budget a 16k (i.e. 20% cheaper) one. How hard would that really be? Or those who spend £2000 on a holiday abroad would have to cut that to £1600. None of this is difficult, if people will just learn to ECONOMISE a bit.
Because let’s look at THE ALTERNATIVE – which is somebody who earns the national average wage i.e. around £26,500 at present, if they lose their job, as is on the cards for MILLIONS right now or has already happened, then they end up on maybe Jobseekers Allowance which is about £65 currently (though of course most people can claim rent or whatever, but nevertheless, it’s still a pittance in comparison to a good wage)i.e. just on the AVERAGE way, that’s a cut in pay of ROUGHLY 88%!
So there are those who may feel secure in their jobs and have the “I’m alright jack” mentality, who don’t want to see their pay packet slipping in the way I feel is sooner or later inevitable, whether the government does it by taxes or whatever.
But that is also to overlook the other benefits of having a shorter 4 day working week, and a 3 day weekend.
We can all have much better QUALITY OF LIFE, with a 3 day weekend, we can all enjoy life much more and spend more time with family, friends and our children, and with a week that runs from Tuesday to Friday, we can end the “I don’t like Mondays” syndrome forever, the feeling of work till 65 (or 66, 67 or DEATH coming soon) being abject slavery, which millions of people feel it is already, can then end.
Or is that all the purpose of our live is? To work till we drop to make our employers rich for the rest of our lives, while we go round endlessly on the treadmill and struggle even to stay in the same place economically speaking?
Just as we have come to see (in the UK at least) free (i.e. TAX PAYER FUNDED, so not REALLY free at all) NHS medical treatment and social security benefits when we need them as civilised, it’s high time we began to see a shorter working week as civilised also, and I think that governments will in the end see that as machines have taken over so much of human labour (including the farm machines that have replaced the labour of millions by a few thousand who operate the machines and run farms nearly single-handed)the real truth is that a 5 day week is no long NEEDED for the vast majority of people, because their labour is simply not needed any more.
So the only reasonable thing to do is to share the work out more evenly, so everybody has a good living wage, instead of the present situation, where the 80% who have jobs, manage or in many cases have far more than they need, and the maybe 20% who don’t (for one reason or another, not just the JSA claimants, but the carers, disabled, etc. ) struggle to survive at all, or live a dismal quality of life, simply because they are one of the have-nots, and being a have-not principally means NOT HAVING A JOB, which a 4 day working week would guarantee almost everybody who wanted one would have.