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Spain to pay €150K to SMEs that roll out four-day work week

The Local Spain
The Local Spain - [email protected]
Spain to pay €150K to SMEs that roll out four-day work week
Spanish companies such as Desigual and telecoms giant Telefónica have also offered their employees reduced working hours, but this also came with a reduction in wages, which ultimately meant the schemes did not succeed. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty/AFP

The Spanish government will give up to €150,000 to small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) that implement a four-day work week without reducing their employees' salaries. 

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Spain is slowly pushing forward with its plans to be one of the first countries in the world to introduce a four-day work week, an idea that’s been in the pipeline for at least two years.

Spain’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce has confirmed it will pay up to €150,000 to SMEs who for a period of two years trial a four-day work week among their employees.

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Companies will have to slash employees’ weekly work hours by at least 10 percent - which technically constitutes half a day less of work rather than a full day - and stick to the pilot scheme for at least two years.

The decision is part of an agreement between the Spanish government and left-wing political party Más País to guarantee their support for Sánchez’s 2023 national budgets.

The aim of the four-day work week is to increase productivity as well as to offer a better work-life balance together with improved physical and mental health conditions to workers. 

Sponsored SMEs will have to incorporate organisational measures that help them evaluate company productivity during the reduced work week as well as offer training to improve said productivity.

The trial will initially be available to between 60 and 70 SMEs in Spain and have a budget of €10 million as a means of covering potential losses incurred by companies during the trial as well the cost of any training aimed at increasing efficiency.

Several countries around the world have already started testing the four-day work week, with promising results overall. 

The largest trial so far was carried out in the United Kingdom, where 86 percent of the 70 companies that participated in the four-day work week trial were satisfied with the results and intended to continue with a reduced week for employees.

There is also talk of Japan’s big corporations venturing into the four-day work week and strong interest in the concept in New Zealand, the US and Canada.

Spanish companies such as Desigual and telecoms giant Telefónica have also offered their employees reduced working hours, but this also came with a reduction in wages, which ultimately meant the schemes did not succeed.

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