11 Aug, 2012 @ 12:19
1 min read

New work hours to threaten Spanish siesta

spanish siesta under threat longer hours
Naptime declared for 2 pm to 5 pm

THE Spanish siesta is coming under threat after larger shops were given the right to open for longer hours.

In a bid to revive the ailing economy, shops larger than 300 square metres will be able to open for 25% more hours each week, increasing the previous 72-hour limit to 90 hours.

The majority of these extra hours are expected to be during the traditional three-hour Spanish lunch break.

They will also be allowed to open on 10am rather than 8am Sundays or public holidays a year.

Local officials predict the change will create 20,500 jobs nationwide, which are desperately needed to combat the 25% unemployment rate that currently plagues Spain.


  1. Good idea, provided that those employed outside will always be able to enjoy a siesta from the heat of the day. There should be strict laws preventing employers forcing people to work outside during these hours, it must be damaging to health.

  2. Welcome to Europe, the 21st century and air conditioning. Don’t worry about outdoor workers Antonio, most of that graft has been bunged on to temporary foreign workers and, of course, they don’t count.

  3. antonio2 – “There should be strict laws preventing employers forcing people to work outside during these hours, it must be damaging to health.”

    “Strict laws” are very rarely the solution. Employers should be able to decide 100% when their business will open and what they require of their employees. If an employee doesn’t want to work in the heat then they can refuse and find a new job. There are many people who have no problem working in the heat of the day in Spain, as well as all over the world (myself included).

    The same is true for laws restricting opening hours. This creates a non-competitive environment that holds the economy back. Anyone notice how few shops are open 24/7? Not because they don’t want to be, or because they wouldn’t make money, or benefit the economy, but because Spanish laws enforce a non-competitive work environment in the idea that it wouldn’t be “fair” to the less aggressive or competitive businesses.

    Remove restrictions on work hours and allow businesses of all sizes to choose the hours they will open and close. If laws must be enacted to protect individuals (e.g. minimum wage), they should be incentives, not punitive. For example, a bonus for the hours worked during the hottest hours of the day, or graveyard shift. An insurance policy that covers heat-related injury or compensation. Not prohibitions that stifle the success of individual workers, business owners and the Spanish economy as a whole.

    It is also disturbing to see that this only applies to what are essentially large outlets – over 300 square meters. These are generally large, successful chains that are already making a lot of money. It just increases the potential for revenue further for already successful businesses. The real incentives need to be for the smallest vendors, such as the tobacco stands. A tobacco stand, bar, corner store or restaurant allowed to stay open 24 hours could make the difference between having half of the locales closed and shuttered throughout Spain.

  4. I was always amazed at how the desk jockeys got a siesta – why, when they have air conditioning and the construction workers have to work through the incredible afternoon heat.

    Antonio2 – outside workers never had siestas – they are the lowest of the low – why do you think Spanish parents never let their unemployed kids work in the fields – a social no-no.

    It was mooted in Granada a few years ago that they were going to change the hours for construction workers so that they would start at 06 and finish at 13 hours.

    Nothing came of it, I suppose because of the collapse in all construction work.

    However practically it can’t work, simply because of the appalling lack of insulation and really crap designs by the idiot architects of all Spanish housing – quite simply it is impossible to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. Homes only cool down for a few hours between 03 – 07 hours. Don’t suggest a/c it is expensive and strips what little humidity is in the air intake. A healthy humidity level in homes is between 60-65%.

    I’ve often thought that the huge level of head-on crashes in Spain in perfectly good light was down to how little sleep people get.

  5. Reality,
    everything you like and advocate can be found in America.

    Spain is a part of Europe, if you don’t like the European way of life – simple buy a one way ticket and don’t come back.

    Don’t forget to take your shoes off at the airport and as soon as you can buy lots of guns to protect yourself with. Make sure you don’t stray into the wrong neighbourhood or you may get ‘clipped’.

    If you have children let’s hope they don’t go to a school where a fellow classmate may decide to bring an assault rifle and kill as many other children as they can.

    Don’t forget the drive-by shootings and don’t lose your job or you will have no health insurance, like 40 million Americans.

    All the above are part of the American dream – why are you still living in Europe?

  6. Because allowing businesses to stay open the hours they choose without penalizing them means we need to lock down the airports and distribute firearms to the population. Letting stores stay open 24 hours will also lead to drive-by shootings, school violence and locking down the airports. Good point, Stuart.

    And instead of advocating a positive economic change in our own country we should, instead, leave the country and go to a different one. Good point also.

  7. Spain is about 30 years behind the UK in many ways. At one of my places inland if you want to buy a household item where you have good variety or some decent clothing you have to drive 70 miles as all of these local shops don’t stock much. I would have thought the most you would have to drive in the UK if you leave the Islands & highlands out would be 15 miles or thereabouts. When you need to go out and buy something the shops are closed half the time. I am sure the shops miss out on many sales. Most shops are open 09.00 or 10.00 to 20.00 in the UK and the Tesco’s near me is 24 hours… In another location I visit they have shops open 7 days a week so when you arrive on the plane on a Sunday you can actually buy food, so not having shops open even effects the planning a flight arrivals.

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