4-Day Work Week and Consultation on Minimum Service Levels

Feb 28, 2023

Legal Update:

4 Day Work Week

The 4-day working week trial has been seen as a success by those taking part, with 56 out of 61 firms keen to maintain the new working pattern following the conclusion of the trial in December 2022. 18 firms have now made the change permanent.

The scheme took place between June and December 2022 and featured a variety of firms from sectors including software, manufacturing and recruitment. Those companies report the trial to have had extensive benefits on the well-being of employees, but it remains to be seen if this is the beginning of a paradigm shift in working attitudes. Some see a lot of risks with this working pattern and in that case, why did the trial go so well?

Some reasons provided include the removal of “timewasters” such as meetings which could be dealt with in other ways, and a reduction of calls between colleagues. Other factors included the ability for employees to work harder knowing that they will have a further day’s rest in the middle of the week.

The 4 Day Week Campaign has said it aims to persuade hundreds more firms to adopt the 4-day work week trial with no loss of pay for workers. Productivity growth has been the key to an improvement in living standards over the past few decades. It is important to note that the government has not yet displayed any enthusiasm towards the idea. Other companies have condensed the 40 hours of a 5-day week into 4 days, rather than reduce working hours as the trial had done.

It remains to be seen whether the practice will catch on, but it is easy to understand why the move would be popular with employees and could be an enticing benefit to attract and retain talent.

Government Consultation on Rail Services

Last week the government launched a consultation on the implementation of minimum service levels for rail services during strike actions. This comes off the back of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, which is working its way through Parliament. The Bill enables the Secretary of State to enact “minimum service regulations” which will apply during strikes affecting health, transport, fire, rescue, border control and education services resulting in minimum service levels which must be maintained during the strike.

The consultation focuses solely on rail services and will remain open until 15 May 2023. The consultation seeks opinions on the principles to be applied when determining the minimum service levels. The government has suggested that the criteria include the assurance of safe and reliable services which allow passengers to travel so they can access work and public services such as healthcare. The consultation also seeks views on which rail services should be specified as essential and which ones should be excluded. Suggestions include maintaining a specific percentage of full services compared to a normal day or identifying a set number of passengers that must be allowed to travel throughout the whole of the rail network.

It is interesting to see the government valuing input from all those effected by strikes and who would be affected, both positively and negatively, by the implementation of this Bill. Time will tell what the results of the consultation will be and how they are implemented, but it is likely that the Bill will pass through Parliament in due course.

For further information on these topics or to discuss the issues raised in this update, please contact our Employment Group on 01276 854 663 or email employment@herrington-carmichael.com.

This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

Darren Smith

Darren Smith

Rian Simmonds

Rian Simmonds

Latest News & Insights

All in a Day’s Work: Employment Podcast Series

Our Employment team bring you a monthly podcast covering all aspects of Employment law for businesses and individuals. You can browse our podcasts below…

Contact us

    The information you submit will be handled in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Top Legal Insights


    Contract Law

    Material Breach of Contract

    What is a ‘material’ breach of contract by a party to a commercial contract? This is a critical issue regularly considered by the courts. What constitutes a material breach and what are the remedies?

    Property Law

    Commercial Lease: The Financial impact on Landlord and Tenant

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the restrictions now in place to control its spread, are having a significant effect on many business sectors.

    Divorce and Family Law

    Divorce in Lockdown: Can I get some discreet legal advice?

    We have spoken to clients who are unfortunately experiencing some family issues, and would like to obtain expert legal advice, yet don’t know how...

    Land & Property Dispute

    Restrictive Covenants – The Price of Modification

    Having identified that your land is burdened by a restrictive covenant and for the purposes of this article the covenant in question will be that only one residential building can be erected on the land. What do you do next?

    Wills, Trusts and Probate

    Why is having a will so important?

    It is entirely up to you if and when you want to create a Will, but it is important to be aware of the consequences of not having a Will.

    Award winning legal advice

    Herrington Carmichael offers legal advice to UK and International businesses as well as individuals and families. Rated as a ‘Leading Firm 2023’ by the legal directory Legal 500 and listed in The Times ‘Best Law Firms 2023’. Herrington Carmichael has offices in London, Camberley, Reading, Ascot and Wokingham. 

    Building 2  Watchmoor Park, Riverside Way, Camberley, Surrey  GU15 3YL
    +44 (0)1276 686 222

    Reading (Appointment only)
    The Abbey, Abbey Gardens, Abbey Street, Reading RG1 3BA
    +44 (0)1276 686 222

    Ascot (Appointment only)
    102, Berkshire House, 39-51 High Street, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7HY
    +44 (0)1344 623388

    London (Appointment only)
    60 St Martins Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4JS
    +44 (0)203 326 0317

    Email: info@herrington-carmichael.com

    Privacy Policy   |   Legal Notices, T&Cs, Complaints Resolution   |   Cookies  |   Client Feedback   |  Diversity Data



    Our Services

    Corporate Lawyers
    Commercial Lawyers
    Commercial Property Lawyers
    Conveyancing Solicitors
    Dispute Resolution Lawyers
    Divorce & Family Lawyers
    Employment Lawyers
    Immigration Law Services
    Private Wealth & Inheritance Lawyers
    Startups & New Business Lawyers

    Pay Online >

    Please be aware that we have no plans to change our bank details. If you receive any indication that any of our bank details have changed please contact us before sending us any funds. We take no responsibility for monies you transfer into the wrong bank account.

    © 2023 Herrington Carmichael LLP. Registered in England and Wales company number OC322293.

    Herrington Carmichael is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with registration number 446245.