NICOLA Sturgeon today vowed £10million to support companies to trial a four-day week for their staff if she wins the Scottish election.
The First Minister, launching the SNP’s manifesto ahead of the Scottish elections, said she wanted to help people to get a better work life balance after Covid.
She also said such a policy would “help business employ as many people as possible” which would help the nation recover from the pandemic.
Millions of Brits have been working from home since last March when the PM ordered the nation to stay home.
Both in England and Scotland people are still being told to stay away from the office if they can.
Speaking this afternoon the First Minister said: “Before the pandemic struck, many people were already worried about work-life balance.
“We want to do more to support people to achieve a better balance and help businesses employ as many people as possible.
“As part of that, we will establish a £10 million fund to support willing companies to explore and pilot the benefits of a four-day working week.”
However, No10 confirmed that there were no similar plans on the cards for England.
Downing Street said today: “There are no plans for a four day week.”
Former shadow Chancellor John McDonnell previously vowed to deliver a four day week if Labour ever got into power.
Labour’s radical leftie 2019 manifesto under Jeremy Corbyn vowed to reduce the average full time weekly hours to 32 across the economy – promising it wouldn’t affect pay.
Ms Sturgeon, who is battling to hold onto seats in the Scottish Parliament in May, also vowed to freeze income tax for the duration of the next session if the SNP wins.
And she promised to boost spending for the NHS and speed up cancer diagnostics too.
Covid-19 has given Scotland the chance to “build a better nation”, she added.
“As we recover, we have the opportunity to reimagine our country.
“In this manifesto the SNP is setting out a serious programme for serious times.”
Campaigners for a four-day week welcomed the news and hailed it as great for businesses and for the environment.
Joe Ryle, a campaigner with the 4 Day Week Campaign, said today: “It’s fantastic to see the SNP laying the foundations for Scotland to move to a four-day working week.
“The four-day, 32 hour week with no reduction in pay is the policy we need coming out of the pandemic to create a better future where work is shared more equally across the economy and everyone benefits from a much healthier work-life balance.
“This announcement is great news for workers, great news for business and great news for the environment.”