Spain is already known for its afternoon siestas, but now the country may take a new approach to work-life balance with the introduction of a permanent four-day work-week. The idea was proposed by Spanish political party Más País and recently received government approval for a pilot programme trialling the shortened work-week. By Jessica Poitevien
According to The Guardian, the president of Más País, Íñigo Errejón, said, “Spain is one of the countries where workers put in more hours than the European average. But we’re not amongst the most productive countries. I maintain that working more hours does not mean working better.”
The exact details of the pilot programme are still being discussed amongst government officials, but Errejón’s party has proposed a three-year, 50-million-euro (INR 4,30,79,37,544) project that would allow companies to try reducing their hours with minimal risk. The costs of a company trialling the four-day workweek, for example, could be covered at 100 per cent the first year, 50 per cent the second year, and 33 per cent the third year.
“With these figures, we calculate that we could have around 200 companies participate, with a total of anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 workers,” Héctor Tejero of Más País said, according to The Guardian. “The only red lines are that we want to see a true reduction of working hours and no loss of salary or jobs.”
Tejero also said that the pilot programme could launch as early as this upcoming fall, adding that “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.”
Though no other country has officially tried to implement a four-day work-week, the idea has been gaining popularity in recent years. Several European government officials, including those in Germany and the UK, have expressed their support for a four-day work-week. New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, also once suggested it might be a way to help the country recover post-COVID-19.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel+Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she’s always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides travelling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.