A MAJOR Scottish advice centre has introduced a four-day working week for its staff to increase productivity and reduce absenteeism.

Advice Direct Scotland has ensured all 68 members of staff in Glasgow and Stornoway will work fewer hours while receiving the same wages as before.

The moves comes as Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), calls for a four-day week which would allow workers to share in the wealth generated by technological advances.

Advice Direct Scotland is a charity that provides free advice and information on a range of subjects including benefits, debt, money worries and consumer issues.

It delivers a full citizens advice service over the phone and online, through live chat, email and social media.

This week, the TUC is calling for people to work fewer hours, with around 1.4 million people thought to be working seven days every week.

David Rutherford, quality and compliance manager at Advice Direct Scotland, said: “This is a major first step by a large and growing organisation to introduce a four-day working week, and everyone is very confident it will increase productivity and reduce absenteeism.

“Advice Direct Scotland is a modern consumer-facing employer, and we want all workers to be positive about their job and look forward to coming to work.

“Too many people across Scotland and the UK are working excessively long hours, and that’s not good for society.

“The four-day working week has given staff more time to do what they love. I used my extra day off to take my six-month-old son swimming and go to one of his dentist appointments for the first time. Everyone in the office is sharing stories about what they did on their day off. It’s created a really positive atmosphere, and everyone loves the better work-life balance.”

Research by the TUC found that four out of five employees want to cut their working hours without losing any pay as new technology makes work more efficient.

The TUC believes moves should be put in place to try to cut the working week to four days over the course of this century.

In her to the TUC congress this week, Ms O’Grady accused employers of making staff work unpredictable or unsocial hours because of an “always on” culture.

The general secretary said: “Bosses and shareholders must not be allowed to hoover up all the gains from new technology for themselves.

“Working people deserve their fair share – and that means using the gains from new technology to raise pay and allow more time with their families.”