Tag Archives: work life balance

Encouraging a four day working week

Years ago, I thought the idea of a four-day working week was an unrealistic socialist policy, however over the past 18 months I’ve come around to the idea. After work, most people would like to relax (or canvass for the Liberal Democrats!), but many of us find that there is scarcely the time, especially those who commute and have dependents. After housework and life administration, there is sometimes little time to do anything else besides get ready for bed. 

I still study for professional qualifications and a day off work to study, rather than trying to only squeeze it in on the evenings and weekends, would be useful. I imagine many others who would like to retrain or continue with their studies whilst working feel the same way. 

We shouldn’t force companies to give people an extra day off per week, but we can encourage the option by introducing an Employer National Insurance (NI) tax break for companies offering an extra day off per week. At the moment, the Employer NI rate is 13.8% on the value of salaries and benefits above £166.01 per week. The offer would have to be made to all employees if the individual company wishes to take advantage of the scheme – this would prevent discrimination as there would be no tax break for the company for employees earning below £166.01 per week. Companies would not be forced to offer the extra day off per week, but if they do, it must be offered to all employees. 

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Being a PPC: The Work/Life Balance

Following last week’s blog on why I’m a PPC, I’m reflecting this week on the conundrum facing every PPC: how to manage a healthy work/life balance.

I’m starting from the premise that I am a much better PPC when I’m living in a balanced way, finding time for family, walks, reading books and (in my case) going to church. If all I did was politics, 24/7,  I don’t think I’d have perspective.

For many PPCs, it is a real struggle to balance work, downtime and the demands of being a PPC. I can relate. I’m self-employed, so in some respects it’s easier for me as I set my own schedule, and in other ways it’s more difficult in that I keep sacrificing work time for the never-ending asks coming my way.

I’ve managed to record two discs of music since being selected as a PPC in June. It has not been easy. But I am happier because of it. Until I am gainfully employed as a Member of Parliament, I need to keep up my day job – not only as a job, but also because it is who I am at the moment.

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Can we afford NOT to have a shorter working week?

One of the policies that got the most attention during the Labour conference was the idea of a 4 day working week. Of course, this set off the barrage of accusations of fantasy politics, but what is now seen as a bit of a mad idea was once a mainstream view of the inevitable.

After the Industrial Revolution, workers found themselves working seven days a week and leisure time was seen as a virtue of the rich not to be wasted on the immoral poor. But, as technology and political will evolved, the working week shortened. Great industrialists like Henry Ford, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 14 Comments
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