Strong appetite among Irish employees for four-day working week

Employer-sponsored childcare and subsidies also strike chord with workers, says Lockton

A four-day working week and more flexible employment arrangements are the most sought after non-traditional workplace benefits in the Republic, with employer-sponsored childcare also striking a chord among employees.

A new survey by Lockton People Solutions Ireland, part of the UK-owned insurance broking group, indicates that a significant proportion of Irish workers would also opt for unlimited annual leave, a common benefit offered to workers in the multinational tech sector, if given the choice.

Almost seven in 10 (66 per cent) women surveyed expressed a desire to switch to a four-day work week compared with 59 per cent of men. Additionally, 63 per cent of women would prefer more flexibility in working hours, surpassing the 54 per cent of men who shared the same sentiment.

Tom Curran, head of wellbeing at Lockton People Solutions Ireland, said the survey results highlighted the “evolving dynamics” of workplaces in the Republic. “It’s interesting to note that women in particular are eagerly embracing the idea of a four-day work week and flexible working arrangements, which could be interpreted as a tangible expression of their desire for work-life balance,” he said. “More needs to be done to encourage and facilitate female participation in the labour force.”


Mr Curran said the four-day working week movement was “gaining traction” and although it would not suit all workplaces, organisations could, with strategic planning, implement the arrangement over a six to nine-month transitional period.

Separately, against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, some 27 per cent of respondents said that employer-sponsored spending cards would be their top option if given the choice.

Close to one-fifth (19 per cent), meanwhile, expressed a preference for extended maternity or parental leave.

Employer-sponsored initiatives such as on-site childcare facilities or subsidies also “emerged as noteworthy considerations for employees”, Lockton said. Among those surveyed almost one in five (18 per cent) women and one in 10 (11 per cent) of men ranked this option in their top three preferences, “indicating the growing significance of family-friendly benefits”.

Mr Curran said: “As we move forward the demand for family-centred and employee-centric benefits will undoubtedly become the hallmark of progressive organisations that prioritise the holistic wellbeing of their staff.”

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times