Morrisons, one of the leading supermarket chains in the UK, has decided to scrap the four-day working week for its head office staff based in Bradford, citing feedback from employees.
The initiative, which was introduced in 2020, aimed to reduce the standard 40-hour workweek to 37.5 hours, with the requirement for staff to work 13 Saturdays throughout the year.
Approximately 2,000 employees at the Bradford headquarters will now work 37.5 hours over a four-and-a-half-day week as the supermarket giant heeds complaints from its workforce regarding weekend obligations.
According to reports from The Grocer, the decision to abandon the four-day workweek was prompted by dissatisfaction among employees with the Saturday working requirement.
A spokesperson for Morrisons stated, “The Saturdays have now been dropped following colleague feedback, and we will work an extra half-day per week instead. The hours remain unchanged.” The move to include Saturday working initially aimed to provide support to the company’s 497 stores, which operate on weekends.
“Still quite a long way off”
Joe Ryle, director of the 4-Day Week Campaign, commented on the development, saying, “Morrisons’ four-day week experiment was an important first step but still quite a long way off a true four-day, 32-hour working week. Being required to work on Saturdays was never going to be popular and isn’t really a four-day week.”
Ryle emphasised the importance of a shorter working week without a reduction in pay, believing it would have positive impacts on workers, employers, the economy, society, and the environment. He welcomed Morrisons’ decision to continue reducing staff working hours.
This decision from Morrisons comes on the heels of a similar move by rival supermarket chain Asda, which introduced a four-day working week just last week. In 2022, a trial involving almost 3,000 workers across 61 UK companies reported extensive benefits, particularly in terms of employee well-being. Notably, 56 of the participating firms expressed the intention to retain the four-day working week policy following the successful trial.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.