A FOUR-DAY working week pilot for public sector workers in Scotland has got underway.

Last year, First Minister Humza Yousaf included a pledge to trial a four-day working week for some public sector workers in his first Programme for Government.

Now, the Scottish Government has confirmed that 140 staff at South of Scotland Enterprise are now working a 32-hour-week with no loss of pay.

Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray said: “Work has commenced on the four-day working week public sector pilot to assess the wellbeing, environmental and productivity benefits a four-day working week could bring.

“We have appointed [think tank] Autonomy as our expert partner to support the pilot.

“The team involved in this project have previous four-day working week pilot experience including from the Valencian Government pilot, and the Icelandic public sector pilot.

READ MORE: Scotland to Europe ferry: Plans to reintroduce service ditched

“The South of Scotland Enterprise four-day working week pathfinder work is being folded into Autonomy’s methodology, and engagement will continue with other public bodies interested in participating in the 32-hour working week pilot.

“Autonomy will also provide support and evaluate organisations moving to a contractual 35-hour working week.

“This will capture valuable insights from a wider range of public bodies on different shorter work week models and be included in the four-day working week evaluation report.”

The think tank Autonomy is known for its work conducting the largest four-day working week trial to date, which saw 61 companies in the UK take part in a six-month trial in 2022.

Following the conclusion of the trial 92% of the companies decided to continue with the four-day week, with 18 companies confirming that the change was permanent.

The National: ROSS GREER

Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer (above) said his party has already embraced a four-day week for their staff.

“The four-day working week has a transformative impact on work-life balance, health and happiness.

“It means people can spend more time with their families, friends and loved ones and it helps employers retain staff and boost productivity.

“We introduced a four day work for Scottish Green staff in 2022 and have seen the benefits for ourselves, including better job satisfaction and a reduction in stress.

“Our staff wouldn’t go back, so I’m delighted that through our role in government we are giving other workers this opportunity.

“The Scottish Government is rightly leading by example with these pilots.

“They will provide a lot of useful evidence and lessons which will in turn help other sectors and businesses to make the shift.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar challenged on Keir Starmer's £28 billion green pledge

“Scottish Greens want a society where people are working to live rather than living to work.

“That means building an economy based on fair work, good wages and positive terms and conditions. The normalisation of a four day working week will be a key part of that change.”

Will Stronge, director of research at Autonomy, added: “We're very pleased to be working with the Scottish Government on this historic trial.

“Alongside those who are already underway with the pilot and others who have already expressed interest, we will be looking to sign up a number of public sector organisations as the year progresses.

“A four-day week with no loss of pay has been trialled extensively across the private sector and parts of the public sector to great success: it’s important that we find out if it can also work in public sector organisations in Scotland.”

The National previously told of how one brewing business in Edinburgh embraced a four-day week while continuing to grow.