SPAIN is on the verge of launching a €50 million trial of the four day working week.
The national government has reportedly informally agreed to a pilot project proposed by left wing political party Mas Pais.
Discussions are still taking place with the next meeting due in the coming weeks,
Iñigo Errejón of Mas Pais said: “With the four-day work week (32 hours), we’re launching into the real debate of our times.”
He added: “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. I maintain that working more hours does not mean working better.”
Details of the plan are still under discussion, but Mas Pais has proposed a three-year, €50 million scheme under which the government would help cover extra expenses run up by participating companies.
Mas Pais has suggested that these costs should be paid 100% in the first year, 50% in the second and 33% in the third.
The party’s Hector Tejero said: that he expects 200 businesses to sign up to a trial, with between 3,000 and 6,000 workers affected. He said: “The only red lines are that we want to see a true reduction of working hours and no loss of salary or jobs.”
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He added that the project could be launched this autumn, saying: “Spain will be the first country to undertake a trial of this magnitude. A pilot project like this hasn’t been undertaken anywhere in the world.”
A Ministry of Industry spokesman confirmed that talks were under way, but said that the size and cost of any scheme were yet to be decided.
Business leaders have previously criticised the plan, saying the government should concentrate on getting the country working in order for the economy to emerge from the coronavirus crisis in good health, rather than cut the hours worked.