The Spanish government will invest €50million in a pilot of the Ministry of Industry. The scheme will look at the effects of a four-day working week on productivity and the well-being of employees.
Employees of companies participating in this experiment will work four days instead of five while retaining their current salary. And the €50million the government is investing in for this comes from the European recovery fund. It was not included in the national budget for 2021.
National pilot joint agreement
This national pilot is the result of an agreement between Spain’s first deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo and party leader Íñigo Errejón of the center-left / left party Más País. For Errejón, the 32-hour working week is the showpiece of his party program. Details of the project, led by Héctor Tejero from Más País and the Ministry of Industry, will be elaborated further.
Four-day working week better for productivity, the environment, and employees
The project was approved in parliament on Thursday. Más País wants to financially support companies wishing to increase productivity, reduce their ecological footprint and improve employees’ health. During negotiations for the national budget of 2021, Errejón already wanted this pilot included. However, at that time, his proposal was rejected.
Also an incentive for a more equal distribution of unpaid work at home
If the results of the pilot are positive, this will lead to an amendment of the Labour Act. Más País mentions in its party program that shortening working hours offers social and ecological benefits. “Fair and equal distribution of paid labour; fairer distribution between men and women of unpaid work and care within the household; less commuting; more time for environmentally friendly activities such as sports, culture, etc. and a prosperous economy with healthier employees,” the text reads.
Coalition party Unidas Podemos in favor of short-time working
Despite the fact that Más País’s proposal for the national budget for 2021 was rejected, coalition party Unidas Podemos is also in favour of the reduction of working hours. Furthermore, party leader Pablo Iglesias anticipates that this measure will have a positive effect on employment in Spain.