Anna Coote, head of social policy at the NEF, an independent think-tank, said: “It’s time to make ‘part-time’ the new ‘full-time’.
“We must rethink the way we divide up our hours between paid and unpaid activities, and make sure everyone has a fair share of free time.”
Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany have shown it is possible to make changes like these without weakening their economies, the books claims.
It adds: “Time spent providing unpaid care constitutes an important civic contribution that is often unrecognised.
“A shorter working week would both ease the pressure on carers, most of whom are women, and enable their responsibilities to be more widely shared with men. It could therefore help tackle the entrenched domestic bases of gender inequalities.”
Tim Jackson, professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey, Robert Skidelsky, emeritus professor of political economy at Warwick University, and Juliet Schor, professor in the sociology department, Boston College, are among the book contributors.
Ms Coote said: “We all know the saying ‘time is money’, but it is much more precious than that.
“Inequalities between rich and poor are widening. This scandal masks another inequality – between those who have plenty of control over their time, and those who don’t.
“Time poverty and money poverty often go hand in hand.”
“Having too little time to call our own can seriously damage our health and wellbeing, our family life, friendships and communities.
“No one should be made to work long and unsocial hours to make ends meet. Low pay and long-hours working must be tackled at the same time.”