Norfolk chippie cuts staff's hours for same pay

Platten's fish and chips. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Platten's fish and chips. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk fish and chip shop is trialling a new scheme that sees its staff work fewer hours without having their pay cut.

Platten's, in Wells-next-the-Sea, has joined more than 70 companies across Britain in introducing a four-day week, in what is thought to be the world's biggest pilot project into the working pattern.

Under the six-month scheme, staff will get 100pc pay for 80pc of the hours they would usually work.

Researchers believe both staff and bosses could benefit from the arrangement, with workers becoming more productive.

Academics from Oxford and Cambridge universities, as well experts at Boston College in the US, are co-ordinating the experiment, in partnership with the think tank Autonomy.

Wyatt Watts, 25, a team leader at Platten's, said that the fish and chip shop decided to join the scheme to create a better "work-life balance" for employees. 

Mr Watts explained that the shop will continue to be open seven days a week but staff will instead work lower hours for the same pay. 

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This will enable them to take an extra afternoon off or have a few more non-working hours. 

The scheme started this week and will run until November. Mr Watts said there had already been a boost in morale and that there was a "little extra positive atmosphere".

He added that although everyone was productive before, since announcing that the firm was joining the trial "people are happier and even more productive". 

Mr Watts also believes that it will help with recruitment and that would "definitely entice people" to join the business.

The scheme - considered the largest ever four-day working week trial - is based on a '100:80:100' working model, where staff earn 100pc of pay for 80pc of the time, but are committed to maintaining 100pc productivity.

An estimated 3,000 workers are taking part in the pilot and it is running alongside smaller trials taking place in Ireland, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  

During the six-month project researchers will work with the companies to measure the impact fewer working hours is having on productivity and the wellbeing of staff.

They will also carry out confidential impact assessments to measure how successful it has been. 

Similar schemes are also due to be launched in Spain and Scotland in the coming months. 

Where did the five-day working week come from?  

Henry Ford (1863-1947) - US car manufacturer, who pioneered mass production.

Henry Ford (1863-1947) - US car manufacturer - Credit: PA

Henry Ford, owner of the USA-based car giant Ford Motor Company, is often credited with establishing the five-day working week when he began shutting down his automotive factories for all of Saturday and Sunday in 1926. 

In the UK, however, it was the industrial revolution that saw the start of what we now call the weekend.

In the early 1800s a voluntary arrangement between factory owners and workers in the industrial north saw employees finishing work at 2pm on Saturday afternoon.

Bosses hoped that this would see workers sober and refreshed ready to start their jobs again on Monday morning. 

This led to our currently typical two-day weekend. 

Since 2018, 4 Day Week has been campaigning internationally for a four-day working week to become the norm.

Campaigners argue that it improves productivity, along with work-life balance.