Spain plans to introduce a four-day work week to stop the coronavirus from boosting the economy.
The experiment would take three years and include a 32-hour week as the country seeks to boost both the economy and corporate productivity.
But could Britain be next?
Proponents of a three-day weekend would increase productivity, improve mental health and also fight climate change – all things that have been particularly focused on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In December, the Autonomy think tank published a report that found that a four-day work week is affordable for most companies with 50+ employees. He urged the government to look for ways to introduce these into the UK, starting with the public sector.
According to the report, the majority of the companies surveyed could cope with change through higher productivity or price increases.
Will Stronge, director of research at Autonomy, said, “By providing a hypothetical“ stress test, ”we can dispel all myths about the affordability of a four-day work week.
“Any political move needs to be carefully crafted and different strategies would need to be used for different industries. What is noteworthy, however, is that if it happened overnight without planning, most businesses would continue to remain profitable.
“The four-day week is picking up pace worldwide after Covid-19 and we urge the government to investigate the best options for adoption.”
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Labor MP Peter Dowd backed the calls, saying, “If the government is serious about improving this country, they should consider the four day week as it is one of the best ways to get the work done more evenly across the economy divide.
“I am in favor of introducing the four day week as all the evidence shows it would increase wellbeing, improve productivity and give UK workers a much better work-life balance.”
There is even a campaign to introduce a four day week in the UK. The 4-day weekly campaign argues that it would benefit our society, economy, environment and democracy.
Some companies here have already introduced a four-day week for workers – and haven’t looked back.
Essex-based Target Publishing brought in a four-day week during the first coronavirus lockdown following a staff wage cut.
Owner David Cann said the shift brought immediate benefits – so much so that he decided to keep the extra day off when they reintroduced full pay.
Spain would use EU funding of EUR 50 million (GBP 43 million) for the change. The money will compensate around 200 medium-sized companies for their adjustment.