SPAIN is one step closer to implementing a four-day week as it approves plans to help combat the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government’s Ministry of Finance has approved initial plans to introduce a 32 hour working week with no losses of pay compared to the standard hours.
The plans were introduced by the minority left-wing party, Mas Pais, and was given approval in congress in return for the party’s support for Sanchez and the Socialist government.
Mas Pais’ support is required in order for the government to apply for access to the COVID-19 recovery fund.
The estimated cost for the new scheme is expected to exceed 50 million, however the side effects of the plan is hoped will rejuvenate the country’s economy.
“It is a policy for the future that allows for an increase in the productivity of workers, improvements to physical and mental health and reduces our impact on the environment,” said Inigo Errejon, an MP from the Mas Pais.
Founder of the 4 Day Week Campaign and successful businesswoman Maria Alvarez urged the government to push forward the scheme, calling it an ‘invaluable tool’ in any country’s arsenal coming out of COVID-19.
The plan has come under some criticism with skeptics accepting that the idea is good in principle, but in reality understand that Spain ‘might not be ready for it’.
“What would be really useful is if companies, as far as they are able, introduced flexible working hours according to their needs; cutting the working week to four days could actually be counter-productive – five days but with less-rigid hours is more sensible,” said Nuria Chinchilla of the International Work and Family Centre.
The 4 day week plan has been proposed across the EU to help recover financially from the pandemic.
Boris Johnson was the subject of a letter drafted by EU officials bolstered by research by British think tanks such as Autonomy, to consider the scheme in the UK.