What it is

Four Day Week Ireland is a campaign advocating for a gradual, steady, managed transition to a shorter working week for all workers, in the private and public sectors.

We want to start a public conversation in Ireland on the case for reduced working hours. We want to change the false narrative that working long hours is good for productivity and a badge of honour, challenge the worst excesses of the ‘work-first, always-on’ culture, and champion the importance of family time, leisure time, caring work and community work.

Our medium term objective is to move towards the four day week being the standard work arrangement across the economy, with no loss of pay.

As with the five day week today, it will not be the only work arrangement – For some sectors, employments and workers, different variances of reduced working hours and a shorter working week will need to co-exist alongside the benchmark of the four day week.

We do not mean that everyone will have a ‘three day weekend’ – Strong management and clever rostering will need to ensure that businesses and public services can function for 5 or in some cases even 7 days, alongside a shorter working week for all workers.

We believe that this is not only achievable but essential as a response to technological change – Preparing for the future, and sharing the benefits with workers.

This can be achieved through a combination of the following necessary interventions:

  1. Labour market competition – Public demand and business leadership
  2. Strong trade unions and collective bargaining
  3. Government influence and public contracting

Who we are

Four Day Week Ireland is a campaign coalition of trade unions, businesses, environmentalists, women’s rights and civil society organisations, academics, health practitioners and global advocates.

The composition of the Four Day Week Ireland steering group is representative of each of these pillars, and its current membership is as follows:

  • Joe O’Connor, Director of Campaigning, Fórsa Trade Union (Chairperson)
  • Orla O’Connor, Director, National Women’s Council of Ireland
  • Oisín Coghlan, Director, Friends of the Earth Ireland
  • Felim McDonnell, Director, ICE Group
  • Aileen O’Carroll, Researcher, Maynooth University & Policy Manager, Digital Repository of Ireland
  • Aidan Harper, Researcher, New Economics Foundation & 4 Day Week Campaign UK
  • Charlotte Lockhart, Chief Executive Officer, 4 Day Week Global
  • Laura Bambrick, Social Policy Officer, Irish Congress of Trade Unions
  • Kevin Donoghue, Lead Organiser, Fórsa Trade Union

This is a global campaign and an international movement. We are working closely with our partners at https://4dayweek.com/ and https://www.4dayweek.co.uk/

The Benefits

We believe a Four Day Week will be #Better4Everyone

Better for Business

There is no correlation between working longer hours and greater productivity. The evidence of both international academic research and business case studies in recent years would suggest the opposite. The four day week has led to more focused, energised and happier workers from Galway to New Zealand, with many companies who have trialled or introduced the four day week reporting an increase in productivity and profitability.

Better for Workers

Throughout history, sharing advances in productivity and technology with workers in the form of working time has been a core demand of the trade union movement. There is a huge desire among workers for greater control over their working hours in order to better balance all aspects of their lives. This is partly due to concerns for the mental and physical health of workers. A four day week is an idea whose time has come. Trade unions won us the weekend, and the 8 hour day, and together we can win the four day week.

Better for Women

A four day week would be particularly beneficial to women, allowing better distribution of caring responsibilities between mothers and fathers. While currently women still do the majority of care work, reduced working time will allow men to spend more time with their families and take on more caring responsibilities. This in turn can remove barriers to women achieving senior positions in work, and allow women to take on more training opportunities. Alongside a better work life balance, a four day week would also lead to reduced commuting time and reduced childcare costs for women and families.

Better for the Environment

Research suggests that moving to a four day week would reduce carbon emissions by around a fifth, through cutting back on commuting and energy use in buildings. The transition to a zero pollution future is not a cost to the economy but rather an opportunity to value what really matters to us. In the context of climate change, the transition to a four day week is one of many radical actions we need to take quickly to protect our increasingly fragile environment.

Campaign News

Campaign News
October 5, 2021

PRESS RELEASE: 17 companies signed up to Four Day Week pilot programme to date

Press Release: Wednesday, 6th October 2021 17 companies signed up to Four Day Week pilot programme to date - Four Day Week Ireland presenting to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on…
Campaign News
September 2, 2021

Questions you May Ask Yourself About the 4 Day Week

Dr Orla Kelly and Prof Juliet Schor With government restrictions lifting and vaccination certificates in hand, Irish people are beginning to return to the "new normal". Crises such as pandemics…
Campaign News
July 26, 2021

Four Day Week can Transform Irish Work Practices

Joe O’Connor  Chairperson of the Four Day Week Ireland campaign    Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen radical shifts in our working practices. What is becoming…
Campaign News
July 19, 2021

Three things COVID revealed about working time

Dr Aileen O’Carroll. Maynooth University  When COVID hit last March, work changed for people throughout the world. Many lost their jobs or had their working hours cut. Overnight thousands and…

Media Coverage

Media Coverage

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A list of media coverage from various sources from September 2019 (more…)

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