UK bank reduces working hours and introduces four-day week for all staff – without cutting pay

STAFF at Atom Bank will be able to choose to take Mondays or Fridays off work – and won't lose a penny from their pay packet.

The 430 workers at the Durham-based digital bank can now choose to work 34 hours over four days instead of 37.5 hours across five.

And they won't lose a penny if they opt for the new working pattern.

Bank boss Mark Mullen said the creative move was inspired by the pandemic.

He said: "Before Covid, the conventional wisdom was you had to commute in, sit at a desk all day and repeat that process when you commuted home.

"Covid showed us that it wasn't necessary.

"I think doing 9-5, Monday to Friday is a pretty old-fashioned way of working."

An internal review found the move wouldn't affect customer service or employees' productivity.

On a 37.5-hour five-day week, staff would work 7.5 hours a day.

If they opted for a 34-hour four-day work, a typical working day would be 8.5 hours.

The banks 430 employees have been able to sign up to the voluntary scheme since November 1.

Mullen said it was the way Atom was going and that staff would be expected to follow the new rules soon.

What are my flexible working rights?

Under current laws, Brit employees must be in a job for 26 weeks before they have the legal right to request working from home.

Butthis could be set to change as new rules could give employees the right to request home working from day one.

This became the norm for many workers during the Covid pandemic, but there are concerns about the long-term effect on cities and town centres.

Offices are a crucial part of the urban economy, bringing hundreds of billions of pounds to British high streets each year.

Yet employees also have a legal right to ask for flexible working after six months, law firm Doyle Clayton partner Dan Begbie-Clench told us.

That doesn't mean your employer has to grant it to you, though.

They can reject the request on the grounds of "good business reasons".

Begbie-Clench said: “It’s likely to be more difficult for employers to completely reject requests to work flexibly if the employee can show that they performed the job well whilst working from home during the lockdown.

Employees should "explain whether their request to work flexibly might have an impact on their team, performance and the business and how they would deal with it", he added.

Meanwhile Citizens Advice recommends you show some flexibility on your part too, offering to come into the office part-time when possible.

They explained: "Start by having an open conversation with your employer about your wishes, and consider making a flexible working request, which is a legal right all employees have.

"You can include your reasons why working from home is better for you and will also help the business."


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