This Monday the rehearsal of the four-day work week began in Valencia through which the city council will analyze the impact that this schedule has on three areas of the city: health and social well-being, the climate emergency and the economy. The study will be conducted by the Las Naves social innovation center and will be carried out over the next few weeks, taking advantage of the festivities of April 10, Easter Monday; on Monday, April 17, San Vicente Ferrer; on Monday, April 24 (due to the transferred festivity of San Vicente Mártir from January 22) and on Monday, May 1.
Clarified concepts. Therefore, “it is not a program to reduce working hours”, as the Valencian mayor Joan Ribó pointed out in statements to Europa Press, since the annual calculation of hours worked will not decrease. However, it is the first time that a city evaluates, from a multidisciplinary point of view, the influence of the 32-hour work week without salary reduction.
The conclusions in summer. The results of the study will be available around July 20. They will verify the effect of working one day less a week in aspects such as the use of time, the reconciliation of work life, rest, air quality, traffic or domestic tourism, as indicated by the consistory to end of March.
By and for Valencia. In this sense, Joan Ribó affirmed in a conference held on April 3 that this test is a measure “at the level of the city”, indicating that, if the results are positive, the unions will have to negotiate with the employers. “Just like the eight-hour day was done at the time.”
The neighbors approve the plan. On the other hand, the truth is that there is a lot of expectation around this test. In that same talk, Ribó recalled that the last municipal barometer, carried out with a sample of 2,358 residents, the four-day week’s essay obtained a rating of 7.9 points out of 10. Enthusiasm, in fact, is shared among the companies located in Valencia that already operate with this schedule.
A competitive advantage. Such is the case of Growara, a Human Resources consultant who has been working four days a week since 2022. Given their experience, they seek to convince their clients to implement this reduction since, as their CEO Julio Braceli recently explained in statements to La Vanguardia, “those who have taken advantage of this conference have a competitive advantage over others to attract talent.” .
Two drops of water. Coincidentally, that was the same conclusion reached by a small Irish recruiting firm late last year after establishing the four-day week and seeing how its income and the well-being of its workers increased while job turnover decreased.
Work better. However, Braceli pointed to the existence of “mental barriers.” In this sense, for the CEO of Growara “the main concern is whether the customers are really going to understand it and secondly, how it will affect the team’s productivity”. To resolve these issues, the key is to “work 32 very good hours,” not to “stuff the hours,” Braceli said. It is, therefore, to work better in less time.
Care and the environment. For their part, the unions are optimistic. In the colloquium held on April 3, Ana García Alcolea, general secretary of CCOO-PV, stated that the objective was to improve “the working and living conditions of the working class”, as well as boost the economy since “having more leisure equals more productivity, more consumption and more job creation”.
In addition, in statements to La Vanguardia, Alcolea pointed out that this essay can open the debate on a possible change in the production model, as well as placing a public care policy “at the center.”
Productivity is the key. In conversation with this same outlet, Ismael Sáez, general secretary of UGT-PV, pointed out that the key to the measure is productivity, suggesting that perhaps the solution to work better in less time is the six-hour day. In addition, he wanted to slightly lower expectations regarding a future general implementation, since “we are not going to convince any employer that they can work with the same productivity four days as five days,” he said.
advanced Mediterranean. The truth is that the four-day work week is taking off in Spain, albeit experimentally, in the eastern part of the country. In addition to this trial carried out in the city of Valencia, the Generalitat Valenciana offers subsidies to help those companies that want to reduce the working week without cutting the salary of their employees.
Optimism. Finally, the Ministry of Industry also announced in December 2022 financial aid for SMEs that decided to try the four-day work week without salary reduction. We will see if the positive results that have been obtained in other countries are achieved here as well.
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