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Prominent Doctor: 4-Day Work Week Would Relieve Stress, Unemployment

(credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty Images)

(credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Would a four day work week take a load off your shoulders?

A prominent doctor in the United Kingdom says for the majority of workers, the answer is yes, and he’s advocating for change.

In an interview with The Guardian, Professor John Ashton, the President of the U.K. Faculty of Public Health, says cutting the traditional five-day week down by a day would not only relieve stress and reduce unemployment, it would also help address certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and “mental ill-health associated with overwork.”

Ashton is calling for a switch to a four-day work week in Britain, citing the “maldistribution of work” as a reason.

“We’ve got a maldistribution of work. The lunch-hour has gone; people just have a sandwich at their desk and carry on working,” Ashton explained in the interview. “We need a four-day week so that people can enjoy their lives, have more time with their families, and maybe reduce high blood pressure because people might start exercising on that extra day.”

Ashton’s comments reportedly came the day after Britain extended the right to request flexible work hours to all employees, rather than just “carers and people looking after children.”

While the Guardian article mentions that British people work some of the longest hours in Europe, a 2013 CNN Money roundup ranked the United States the seventh-most hardworking country in the world on a list of 10.

Britain was not on that list.

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