The move comes after many companies taking part in an international trial of the four-day working week said they would continue with it after the pilot.
Every worker in the UK would have the chance to work a four-day week under plans tabled by the Labour MP Peter Dowd.
The new bill – which is due for debate in the House of Commons in mid-October – would see the official working week reduced from 40 to 32 hours, with those working overtime paid 1.5 times their ordinary rate.
While the government is unlikely to back the bill, this is the first time a four-day working week bill has been presented in parliament.
“I am introducing this legislation because we’re long overdue a shorter working week,” Dowd, who is the MP for Bootle, said of his plans.
“In the UK, workers put in some of the longest working hours across Europe, while pay and productivity remain low in comparison,” he continued.
“In numerous examples across the world, the four-day week, with no loss of pay, has been shown to boost productivity and the wellbeing of workers.”
Mr Dowd’s plans come after many of the British firms taking part in a four-day week trial said they will keep the arrangement in place after the six-month pilot ends.
Data from the trial’s halfway point showed that productivity had been maintained or improved at 95% of the 73 firms taking part from around the world, while employees benefited from lower commuting and childcare costs.
However, some ‘old-fashioned’ companies taking part in the pilot are said to have found the shift to the new scheme – which sees employees retain full pay while working 80% of their hours – “trickier”.
Commenting on the proposed bill, Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Campaign – which is running the pilot scheme currently underway in the UK and around the world – said the reduction in working hours had the power to make us all “happier”.
“It would give us the time to properly rest, enjoy a better quality of life and boost productivity at work,” he said. “The 9-to-5, five-day working week is outdated and no longer fit for purpose.”
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