Spain poised to trial four-day working week

Spain poised to trial four-day working week

Spain is poised to become one of the first countries in the world to trial a four-day working week.

The plan would allow workers to spend fewer hours in the office – with no reduction in pay.

The test run has been proposed by the left-wing party Más País – which argues that longer hours don’t necessarily mean higher productivity.

Details of the project have not been thrashed out but the party has proposed a three-year, €50m, a project that would allow interested companies to join the trial with minimal risk.

Companies’ costs would be covered at 100% the first year, 50% the second year, and 33% in the third year.

Iñigo Errejón of Más País said on Twitter that the four day week was launching the debate of our times, adding that its time had come.

From New Zealand to Germany, the idea has been steadily gaining ground globally. Hailed by its proponents as a means to increase productivity, improve the mental health of workers and fight climate change, the proposal has taken on new significance as the pandemic sharpens issues around wellbeing, burnout, and work-life balance.

Leftwing parties in Spain – where a 44-day strike in Barcelona in 1919 resulted in the country becoming one of the first in western Europe to adopt the eight-hour workday – have seized on the idea. “Spain is one of the countries where workers put in more hours than the European average. But we’re not among the most productive countries,” said Errejón. “I maintain that working more hours does not mean working better.”

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