Tracking the four-day work week movement

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), which represents most trade unions in England and Wales, has called for the implementation of a four-day working week. It says this can happen this century if businesses are forced to share the profits from new technology and automation with the workforce.

However, 51 percent of people TUC surveyed said they expected such profits would go to managers and shareholders. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady plans to address the issue at the TUC annual conference this week, according to Sky News.

O’Grady will say “in the 19th century, unions campaigned for an eight-hour day. In the 20th century, we won the right to a two-day weekend and paid holidays … this century we can win a four-day working week, with decent pay for everyone.”

Countries with a four-day working week

United States

  • From 2008-2011, all state government employees in Utah began working 10-hour days from Monday to Thursday (CNN).


  • From 2013-2017, Gambia had a four-day workweek, with 10-hour working days. Then, Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow, made Fridays a half-day of work.

New Zealand

  • New Zealand firm Perpetual Guardian let its employees work four days a week while being paid for five in a two-month trial this year (New York Times). After finding productivity increased, the firm is looking into making the change permanent.

Add other countries and companies


History of work

Most employed people had to wait until the early- and mid-twentieth century for an eight-hour day to be widely accepted in the industrialized world.


• In 1840 the average worker worked 69-hour weeks, according to The Huffington PostWomen and children in England were granted the 10-hour day in 1847.


• After the February Revolution of 1848, the working day was reduced to 10 hours in Paris and 11 in the provinces (Bechuza 1983).

  • Expand these entries and add other countries


Campaigns for four-day working week, a niche retail website, published a great infographic about the four-day workweek, including its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Add calls for four-day working week here



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