Spain might turn into one of many first international locations on this planet to trial the four-day working week after the federal government agreed to launch a modest pilot mission for firms within the concept.
Earlier this yr, the small leftwing Spanish social gathering Más País introduced that the federal government had accepted its proposal to check out the concept. Talks have since been held, with the following assembly anticipated to happen within the coming weeks.
“With the four-day work week (32 hours), we’re launching into the actual debate of our instances,” mentioned Iñigo Errejón of Más País on Twitter. “It’s an concept whose time has come.”
From New Zealand to Germany, the concept has been steadily gaining floor globally. Hailed by its proponents as a method to extend productiveness, enhance the psychological well being of employees and combat local weather change, the proposal has taken on new significance because the pandemic sharpens points round wellbeing, burnout and work-life stability.
Leftwing events in Spain – the place a 44-day strike in Barcelona in 1919 resulted within the nation turning into one of many first in western Europe to undertake the eight-hour workday – have seized on the concept. “Spain is without doubt one of the international locations the place employees put in additional hours than the European common. However we’re not among the many most efficient international locations,” mentioned Errejón. “I preserve that working extra hours doesn’t imply working higher.”
Whereas the precise particulars of the pilot can be hashed out with the federal government, his social gathering has proposed a three-year, €50m mission that will enable firms to trial decreased hours with minimal threat. The prices of an organization’s foray into the four-day work week, for instance, may very well be lined at 100% the primary yr, 50% the second yr and 33% the third yr.
“With these figures, we calculate that we might have round 200 firms take part, with a complete of wherever from 3,000 to six,000 employees,” mentioned Héctor Tejero of Más País. “The one purple traces are that we need to see a real discount of working hours and no lack of wage or jobs.”
Tejero estimated that the pilot might get beneath manner as early as autumn, ushering within the first nationwide initiative to cut back working hours since France started shifting in the direction of capping the work week at 35 hours in 1998. “Spain would be the first nation to undertake a trial of this magnitude,” mentioned Tejero. “A pilot mission like this hasn’t been undertaken wherever on this planet.”
The social gathering has advised the pilot be guided by a panel of consultants – together with representatives from authorities, employees unions and enterprise lobbies – who may even assist analyse the outcomes.
What Más País is hoping to see is an echo of the expertise of Software program Delsol, the southern Spanish agency that final yr grew to become the primary within the nation to implement a four-day working week. “They noticed a discount in absenteeism, productiveness went up and employees say they’re happier,” mentioned Tejero.
A supply with Spain’s trade ministry mentioned talks over the pilot mission have been of their preliminary levels. At this level every part is up for debate, from the price of the pilot to the variety of firms concerned and the timeline, she added.
The concept has confronted opposition in some quarters, with one of many leaders from the nation’s most important enterprise associations describing it as “insanity” within the wake of the nation’s worst recession for the reason that civil struggle. “Getting out of this disaster requires extra work, not much less,” Ricardo Mur of CEOE instructed a discussion board in December.
As Spain inches ahead with the fledgling pilot, its progress is being carefully tracked within the UK and world wide. “My understanding is that this may be the first-ever nationwide stage pilot of the four-day week,” mentioned Joe Ryle of the 4 Day Week Marketing campaign. “We’re calling on governments internationally to observe the Spanish instance in paving the best way for the four-day work week.”
He described a discount in working hours as lengthy overdue. “Clearly the best way that we work is making folks pressured, burned out, overworked and inflicting huge office and psychological well being points,” he mentioned. “The four-day week can be good for the financial system, good for employees and good for the atmosphere. What’s to not like about it?”