The Valencian Community, the first Autonomous Community to promote the four-day work week: will launch an aid program endowed with 10 million euros
The Valencian Community is on the way to becoming the first autonomous community to promote measures to encourage the extension of the four-day work week. According to the newspaper El Independiente, the Generalitat is preparing a project that it will launch in the coming months, and that will provide a budget of 10 million euros, so that companies that wish to can test this working day without fear of a possible reduction in income derived from lower productivity.
The idea of the Valencian Government is that companies achieve the same performance that they have now with a four-day work week, but The executive understands that this requires a transition period that this grant will facilitate. Thus, the companies that sign up for this project will receive full compensation for the day of less during the first year, 50% the second, and 25% the third.
With this plan, in addition, the Generalitat intends to reduce unemployment in the Community, since it foresees that companies hire more employees with grant money to fill the gap left by workers who go on to the four-day workweek.
To receive the money from these grants, the Government emphasizes that companies must meet two inescapable requirements: not to lower the salary of the employees who take advantage of the new work week and not to distribute the hours of the fifth day in the four remaining days. Therefore, these professionals will not be able to work more than 32 hours a week.
To ensure that these requirements are met during the three years in which the grants will be in force, The Valencian Government will monitor the companies and will evaluate the results in each case.
Towards the reduction of working hours
The four-day workweek is increasingly in the public eye. Más País, the party headed by Iñigo Errejón, has already proposed to the Government of Pedro Sánchez that it include an item to promote this reduction in working hours in the General State Budgets for 2021, without success, and the newspaper El Confidencial reported in July that the former member of Podemos would have already achieved the commitment of the Spanish Executive so that the General Budgets for 2022 incorporate 50 million euros for a pilot project similar to the Valencian one.
The Government of the Valencian Community, for its part, had already included an item for this same purpose in its 2021 budgets, but the representatives of the executive have explained to El Independiente that, as it is an initiative that has not been carried out before, they have not been able to go as fast as they would have liked. For this year, the fund was endowed with four million euros, which will be part of the 10 million of the project budget for 2022.
Beyond these types of state initiatives, the private sector is also testing the four-day work week, albeit tentatively for the moment. Last June we learned that Telefónica was going to become the first large Spanish company to offer this reduction to its employees through a pilot project. However, in this case The big drawback is that the workers who decided to take advantage of this measure would have to accept a salary reduction proportional to the hours they would stop working..
Another Spanish company, in this case Software del Sol, from Jaén, already addressed this change almost two years ago and without touching the salary of its workers. The change meant that Andalusians began to work 36 hours a week in winter and 28 in summer, and the results are being positive: absenteeism has been reduced by 28% compared to 2019, billing, despite Covid, has grown 20%, and customer satisfaction surveys and work environment have improved, as explained by the company to Xataka.
And other companies, such as Good Rebels, announced shortly after Telefónica that they were also going to try to reduce their workweek through a pilot project.