Spain is set to become the first country to experiment with a 32-hour workweek, which would allow workers to spend less time at the office without any change in pay.
With 8 hours of work put in per work day (9 – 5), this means 4 work days per week, rather than the standard 5 work days per week.
The test run was proposed by Más País, a left-wing party that has argued that longer hours don’t necessarily lead to higher productivity.
Más País is now in talks with the government to figure out the exact details of the arrangement.
According to Spanish media outlets, the pilot program is intended to reduce employers’ risk by having the government make up the difference in salary when workers switch to a four-day schedule.
“Spain will be the first country to undertake a trial of this magnitude,” Héctor Tejero, of Más País, told the Guardian. “A pilot project like this hasn’t been undertaken anywhere in the world.”
The experiment is expected to cost about 50 million euros and last three years.
According to the Guardian, it could begin as early as this year.
Exactly what the pilot program will look like is unclear. An individual with the industry ministry told the Guardian that nearly every detail was still up for negotiation, including how many companies will be involved.
For years, advocates for a four-day workweek have argued that lesser work hours could lead to more productivity and a better work-life balance.
In May 2020, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern suggested employers should consider the switch to a four-day week “if that’s something that would work for your workplace.”