Belmont moves to four-day week

Hannah Jordan
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Belmont Packaging has launched a four-day working week, with all employees enjoying a three-day weekend from this week.

Belmont's 31 staff now fit their full-time hours into four days
Belmont's 31 staff now fit their full-time hours into four days

The move follows a successful trial period within its manufacturing division since July 2019, which it has decided to extend across the whole business from this week (20 September).

Commercial manager Gareth Rollo said the business looked carefully at how the system could extend across all 31 staff, with eight office employees and the rest in production, planning and manufacturing.

“We sat down with everyone and discussed what the impact would be on everyone, whether everyone wanted to do it, which they did, and so we came up with what we thought would be a workable plan together.”

Rollo explained that staff, from yesterday, now work compressed hours fitting their normal working week hours into four days instead of five. So most work from around 7am to around 5pm, with some variation depending on which division they work in.

“There are some tired faces in the office this morning, but the factory employees got used to it very quickly so I know they will too and the great thing is they all wanted to do this and it’s brilliant that we’ve been able to roll it out.

“The sales team have been really delighted at the opportunity and the feedback from staff in the factory has been really encouraging. It means a day less childcare, less fuel, more time with family or doing things they enjoy. It’s nice to be able to give that opportunity to everyone in the business now,” he said.

Rollo added that no customers or jobs had been impacted and that the business had worked with its transport partners to ensure that any jobs due for Monday delivery would now leave its factory on Thursday afternoons.

Belmont’s announcement follows a similar move earlier this year by Glasgow-based independent packaging supplier UPAC, which also moved to a four-day working week in July. Similarly, it followed two months of trials in which the business said it had noted a marked decrease in stress amongst its employees.

Staff at the firm work on different days to ensure uninterrupted operations, while they remain on full pay with holiday and benefits remaining unchanged.

Elsewhere, a consultation document is due to be published this week on government proposals to give new employees the right to request flexible working hours from the start of their new roles. Currently, new employees have to wait six months to make such a request.

The proposals are expected to look at broad flexible working arrangements such as working from home, working fewer or different hours, compressed hours and job shares.

Additionally, it is expected that under the proposals, due out on Thursday, employers would be forced to respond quickly to such requests, rather than the current allowed time limit of three months.

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