GRANTS of up to €200,000 per company will be offered as an incentive for Valencian Community businesses to move some of their staff onto a four-day working week.

The regional government also wants the number of weekly hours worked cut to 32 hours.

It’s being regarded as an important test in Spain to see if such a move can bring improvements both for companies and workforces.

It’s been argued that four-day weeks will reduce workplace energy bills; cut pollution with fewer journeys to work; and improve employee morale and boost production.

Valencia employment secretary, Enric Nomdedeu, said: “We are working over 100 hours year more than the European average, but we are one of the least productive countries.”

“The equation of that the more hours you work leads to greater productivity, is not true,” he added.

Enric Nomdedeu Gva Image
ENRIC NOMDEDEU(GVA image)

The scheme is expected to be launched later this year.

The subsidies would run for three years with the aim of insuring that workers won’t be paid less.

Each participating company would get a total of €9,611 per employee with a grant limit of €200,000.

All of the workforce would not necessarily go onto new hours but a basic minimum has been proposed.

To qualify for the subsidy, firms with less than 10 workers would be asked to offer new schedules for at least two people.

Companies with up to 49 staff would have a a minimum of three participants.

Businesses with 50 or more workers would need 20% of their staff to go onto the new hours.

The Valencian government insists employers will have have to sign agreements with unions to maintain current pay levels but crucially to improve productivity.

Valencia University economist, Joan Sanchis, who advises the employment ministry, says decisions to take part should not be taken unilaterally and everybody has to agree to avoid this ‘appearing to be counter-productive and generating negativity’.

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