By Belén Carreño
MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish companies with fewer than 250 workers have one month to apply for a pilot government scheme to reduce their work week to four days with full pay, the leftist administration said on Thursday.
The 9.6 million euro ($10.6 million) scheme will focus on small and medium-sized industrial companies, the government said as it outlined requirements for participation in the project first announced in December.
Around 25% to 30% of employees will work at least 10% fewer hours on full salary. Employers will be partially compensated for up to 200,000 euros per applicant and the consultancy costs of designing new work schemes.
The government has until November to respond to applications and companies are asked to run the trial for at least two years, after which their performance results will be audited.
In parallel, the coastal city of Valencia is running a month-long trial of the four-day work week, with the city council arranging for local holidays to fall on four consecutive Mondays for the city’s entire population of 800,000 people.
It will study the impact on aspects including fuel emissions and people’s wellbeing, with results to be published by July.
In Britain, employees at 61 companies worked an average of 34 hours across four days from June to December 2022 on full salaries in the world’s largest trial of a four-day work week so far. Most participants decided to retain it in what activists hailed as a breakthrough for a better work-life balance.
($1 = 0.9050 euros)
(Reporting by Belén Carreño; Editing by Aislinn Laing and Richard Chang)