A four day working week has been introduced by the Liberal Democrat administration at South Cambridgeshire District Council for all Council staff. Under this policy, full-time employees have had their working week reduced to four days but they still get paid for five days’ work. Part-time employees also get an equivalent reduction in hours of 20% with no reduction in pay.
The policy began as a three-month trial in January 2023 for desk-based staff and was later extended for a year for all council staff, including bin collection teams.
The Council says the policy will help them to reduce their reliance on agency staff because they will be able to attract and retain more permanent staff. They also claim that they can maintain their previous service levels to residents, despite the 20% reduction in staff working hours.
Others have noted that the initial results of the trial indicate that spending on agency staff during the initial trial period actually increased and the Council has confirmed that extending the policy to bin crews will cost an additional £130k in the first year, which would rise to £200k in year two if the four day week continues. The Government does not support four day week working in the public sector and has now issued guidance against it, instructing the Council to end its trial immediately. So far, they have refused to do so.
The four day working week has never appeared in any Liberal Democrat election Manifesto, and residents in South Cambridgeshire were not consulted prior to the start of the trial. Furthermore, the policy has never been debated or voted on in a full District Council meeting. This may be your only chance to have your views heard on the four day working week.
The below survey only takes around 2-3 minutes, so please fill it in to help me better understand what local people think about the four day week policy. I will share the results with the Council and the Government and with everyone who completes the survey.
Anthony Browne MP