Madrid, December 16 – Spain is supporting small and medium-sized industrial companies that want to test fewer working hours for the same pay as part of a pilot project on productivity. The reduction in working time must be at least half a day per week and the project must be implemented for at least two years, the Ministry of Industry said on Friday. In the first year, the government will provide salary support. Only full-time employees are allowed to participate and, depending on the size of the company, at least 30% of employees must be involved. The government is providing a total of ten million euros for the project.
Proponents of the so-called “Scandinavian model” argue that working fewer hours can lead to higher productivity. The debate has been fueled around the world by the coronavirus pandemic. In Spain, the telecom giant Telefonica offers its employees a four-day week. The salary will be reduced by twelve percent. Andalucia-based software group El Sol reported in 2021 that a four-day week with full pay maintained had boosted sales by a fifth and drastically reduced the number of days away. Along with increased productivity, customer and employee satisfaction has also improved, marketing director Pedro Cortes told Reuters news agency at the time.
Various companies and authorities outside Spain have also experimented with similar projects in recent years. In Japan, Microsoft reported a 40% increase in productivity in 2020, after the US software company released its 2,300 employees there on Friday. In New Zealand, after a pilot project in 2018, the Perpetual Guardian, which specializes in estate planning, has listed the four-day week as the norm. “The company is not suffering, it is thriving,” founder Andrew Barnes told Reuters.
In other cases, however, new hires have become necessary to make up for lost working hours per employee. According to the media, the Icelandic government had to spend millions on new jobs, especially in the health sector. In Germany, Matthias Bianchi of the Deutscher Mittelstandsbund warned in September during a field test in Great Britain: “The four- or three-day week is not suitable today for general use in small or medium-sized enterprises.” says the Tagesschau.
Spanish Productivity Pilot – Less work for the same pay
Photo symbol: photo by olivier gobet on Pixabay
Here you can find current live streaming episodes. No more Web3, NFT and Metaverse.