Business

Are companies ready to implement a 32 hour work week? The government is looking for volunteers

The government and Más País-Equo have launched a national pilot project

Are companies ready to implement a 32 hour work week? The government is looking for volunteers

The government has reached an agreement with Más País-Equo, the coalition led by Íñigo Errejón, to launch a nation-wide pilot project with an approved fund of 50 million euros. A fund that will be offered as financial assistance to all companies that volunteer to reduce the working day to 32 hours (or four days a week) for their employees. The first 140,000 million euros will come from European funds intended for COVID-19 corresponding to Spain.

With the approval and start of this pilot project, Errejón explained that it is intended to cover the salary costs arising from this reduction in work, so that it does not entail costs neither for the worker nor for the ‘business. Likewise, companies will be helped to reorganize production and productivity through transformations that facilitate the momentum of digitization within them.

Are businesses prepared for 32-hour workdays?

As Más País explains, the aim is to support these volunteer companies throughout the pilot program, with the idea that this process lasts three years. After this deadline, it is planned to evaluate its results and to study its possible benefits and possibilities of extension.

In this sense, Errejón acknowledged that they are aware that this is not an option for all companies in Spain, since a minimum of conditions must be met to take advantage of this project. However, it has influenced the fact that the teleworking established by many companies as a working model in 2021 in the wake of the pandemic is starting them to discover new “healthier” ways to balance work and personal life. The objective, they underline from the training, is that the companies which take advantage of this measure can “increase their productivity, reduce the environmental impact and improve the health of their employees”.

However, according to media like El Economista, Spanish companies are not ready to implement this new work schedule. As they indicate, the application of this measure would cause a fundamental controversy, since, according to this media, up to 42% of companies in Spain would see their labor costs increase automatically.

The project starts after several refusals

To date, only the success of the launch agreement for this pilot project has been communicated. A proposal that comes a long way, since Más País has already presented an amendment when processing the general state budgets, a proposal which, at the time, was rejected by the government. Today, months later and in the midst of the distribution of European funds, the executive reconsiders its decision and approves the project, which has become a demand of Errejón’s party to support the decree-law that regulates the management of European funds.

At the moment, the measures of the project are unknown, as well as its implementation timetable, as these details will start to be negotiated in the coming days during a meeting between Más País-Equo and the Ministry of Industry, of the Commerce and Tourism, to mark lines of how the government will implement it.

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