For one council, plans to trial a four-day working week over three months seems the best way forward to tackle staff shortages and changing work-life habits after the Covid lockdowns.

South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) says it has only been able to fill around eight in 10 vacancies in over a year, with half of available roles filled between January and March this year.

Around 470 desk-based staff will be able to take part and receive the same full-time pay for a 30-hour week in the trial from January.

Councillor Bridget Smith, Liberal Democrat leader of SCDC, says agency staff could cost the council over £2m, while permanent staff would cut that cost to £1m.

“We are leading the way on this,” said Cllr Smith.

“Not only could it help with the wellbeing and retention of our existing staff, but I am hugely keen that we open ourselves up as an employer to a more diverse workforce.”

SCDC’s move comes after 3,300 employees started working a four-day week under the 4 Day Week Campaign, which began in June.

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