Grants for companies testing four-day work weeks in Spain

The Spanish government has launched a call for grants worth €9.6 million for small and medium-sized enterprises willing to experiment with the four-day working week. This pilot project is similar to previous projects in the UK and in the city of Valencia, where companies can enjoy the impact of reducing working hours without affecting employees’ salaries.

Conditions of Make a call Participating companies must receive public funding of up to 90% of their working week reduction program, up to a maximum of €200,000 per company. If all grants are awarded at their maximum amount, 48 companies will be selected for the pilot project.

Companies wishing to participate in the scheme must reduce their employees’ working week by at least 10% over a period of at least two years. Additionally, this reduction applies only to employees with a permanent employment contract for full-time work. Employees’ wages should not be affected by a reduction in the working week and the reduction should be applied proportionately based on the gender composition of the workforce. Interested SMEs have till May 13, 2023 to submit their application.

To participate in the scheme, companies must have a minimum number of employees. For small and medium enterprises with less than 20 employees, the reduction of working hours applies to at least 30% of employees, while companies with more than 21 employees must apply the measure to at least 25% of employees.

In addition to reducing the work week, selected SMEs should take organizational or training measures to improve working hours and improve productivity over the life of the project. They should also have indicators to assess the evolution of the company’s productivity through regular evaluations.

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A pilot program launched by the Spanish government has some similar examples. In the United Kingdom, the government introduced a similar scheme in which 61 companies could experiment with a shorter working week. Employees responded positively to the move, with 40% reporting feeling less stressed and sleeping better. Companies were also satisfied with the results and decided to keep a shortened work week after the pilot program, except in five cases.

A more recent and closer test was recently launched in the municipality of Valencia. During the April and May 2023 holidays, the city will operate for four consecutive weeks with only four days. The City Council will use this opportunity to assess how a shortened work week affects productivity, leisure time, mobility, the economy and health.

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