Employees would be able to work longer hours on fewer days of the week. / sur

A four-day working week in Spain is debated at a week-long conference

The original idea was for 200 companies to trial a 32-hour working week last year, but the Spanish government postponed the plan

SUR Malaga

Work for four days a week and have three days off: the idea of a shorter working week in Spain is still on the table. In fact, this week in Valencia the issue is to be debated at a major international conference.

The Four Day Week International Summit will be attended by Spain’s deputy prime minister Yolanda Díaz; the leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón; the Podemos party’s head of Economy and the secretary of State for the Economy, Nacho Álvarez; the vice-president of the Valencian government, Mónica Oltra; and the general secretaries of the CCOO and UGT unions, Unai Sordo and Pepe Álvarez, respectively.

To change to a four-day working week, the other working days would need to be an hour or two longer. So far, Belgium is the only country in Europe to have given the green light for this initiative. The Belgians will be able to work the same number of hours in the week, but spread them over four days instead of five. They will work up to 9.5 hours a day, or 10 hours maximum if agreed between the company in question and the unions. Employees will also be able to work more hours one week if they want to work fewer hours the next.

Shorter working week

In Spain, Más País has agreed that the Budget for this year should include 10 million euros to develop the idea of a shorter working week. Employees would not earn any less as a result of the scheme. The original plan was for 200 companies to trial the initiative last year, but the government then postponed the plan, believing that more flexibility will be needed in terms of working hours if a four-day week is to be successful.

The conference is due to end on Friday.