Four-day week set for Spanish national pilot

Spain is set to become the first country to trial a national test of a four-day working week, if a new bill comes into play. Earlier this year, the progressive Spanish party Más País revealed that the Government had accepted its proposal to trial the idea

It’s now looking to launch a pilot programme for companies interested in the idea of reduced working time. Más País  leader Iñigo Errejón said it was an idea “whose time had come.”

Más País is not alone in its quest for a four-day week, which has gained traction globally, with Microsoft Japan and US-based burger chain Shake Shack trialling the idea within their own organisations.

Since the onset of the pandemic several other companies are seeking to address newfound flexibility by looking at more flexible working time options.

Meanwhile, Fórsa has been leading the campaign for a four-day week in Ireland. The union pioneered the establishment of 4-day week Ireland, a campaign group made up of unions, businesses and NGOs representing women and climate action.

The Irish leg of the campaign is advocating for a gradual, steady, managed transition to a shorter working week for all workers, in the private and public sectors.

A recent survey conducted by the union showed that 77% would the Government exploring the introduction of a four-day working week.

Some 80% of those expressing an opinion felt that it was a “realistic and achievable” ambition, while 93% would favour a trial. Among employers, more than two out of three (67%) have supported the idea.

Earlier this year, the union called on the Government to open a dialogue with unions and employers, aimed at strengthening the legal framework around remote working.

Fórsa’s campaign director Joe O’Connor said the four-day week, with no loss of pay, offered the potential of a genuinely better future for workers and employers alike. “The strong support for a four-day working week among Irish people is consistent with similar studies internationally. What may once have seemed like a radical concept is now, for many, a reasonable and rational ambition,” he said.

Fórsa wants to echo of the Spanish experience, and 4-day week Ireland will be announcing details of a pilot programme in Ireland this coming May.

Visit the campaign website HERE.

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