Spain to trial 4 day work week

Will the uk follow?

Didn't find your answer?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/15/spain-to-launch-trial-of-f...

So Spain are taking the first steps in trialling a 4 day work week. It looks like the government will be subsidising those companies willing to take part, as full-time employees will still get paid as if they were working 5 days.

Do you think this will be considered in the UK or is the UK culture more American than continental Europe? Can you see your practice or business ever considering such a proposal?

Replies (42)

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
19th Mar 2021 09:10

Spain?

That'll be 4 mornings a week then. Come lunchtime, everything stops for the afternoon!

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
19th Mar 2021 11:29

And then you go back to work and sometimes do not finish until late.

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By Duggimon
19th Mar 2021 09:16

Don't Spain have significantly longer work days due to the pause in the middle? I had some friends living and working in Valencia a few years back and they worked 10-11 hours a day (with a huge gap in the middle for a siesta).

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By Duggimon
19th Mar 2021 09:18

In any event, due to the weird English xenophobic response to anything outside England, I think adoption across the UK is made less likely by anywhere else in Europe adopting it first.

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Replying to Duggimon:
Psycho
By Wilson Philips
19th Mar 2021 10:31

The same applies within the UK. If England decide not to go with it, you can be pretty sure that Nicola will try to foist it on the Scots, and vice versa. (It may of course be that Nicola herself will soon be on a 0-day week.)

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Replying to Wilson Philips:
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By accountaholic
19th Mar 2021 13:18

I think Scotland already floated the idea, but they couldn't decide which horse to back, and threw two conflicting arguments into the same discussion:

1. It'll create more jobs - this works if people do less work in less time, therefore more people get hired to fill the gap.
2. It'll improve productivity - this works if people just get the same work done in 4 days rather than 5

They can't both apply!

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By Paul Crowley
19th Mar 2021 09:40

So holidays in Spain will have a 3 day gap each week?
Bars shut
Shops shut
No Emergency services

Or is it just for civil servants and solicitors

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
19th Mar 2021 10:04

It's for Manuel workers!

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
Melchett
By thestudyman
20th Mar 2021 00:41

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

It's for Manuel workers!

I si what you did there!

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
19th Mar 2021 09:44

My new no.2 is on a 4 day week.

I must admit I am jealous and seriously thinking about doing the same.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
19th Mar 2021 10:13

I was effectively on a 4 day week whilst training, attending day-release college on the fifth day.

But be careful - my employer used to shoe-horn 5 days' work into 4 days and expect me to somehow get it all done!

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By ImNotSureBut
19th Mar 2021 10:20

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

I was effectively on a 4 day week whilst training, attending day-release college on the fifth day.

But be careful - my employer used to shoe-horn 5 days' work into 4 days and expect me to somehow get it all done!

Not sure if we can link but https://dilbert.com/strip/2000-08-24

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Replying to ImNotSureBut:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
19th Mar 2021 10:26

Ha! Very good, and that's exactly it!

I was on 80% pay compared to my colleagues, but with the same workload. And during the summer hols I'd be carpeted for only turning up 4 days!

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Replying to ImNotSureBut:
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By lionofludesch
19th Mar 2021 10:47

ImNotSureBut wrote:

Not sure if we can link but https://dilbert.com/strip/2000-08-24

This one looks like HMRC's Self Assessment project.

https://dilbert.com/strip/2000-08-28

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By paul.benny
19th Mar 2021 09:45

The UK government negotiated a derogation from the EU working time directive allowing employees to 'voluntarily' agree to work longer hours. Having left the EU, the direction of travel on statutory employee protections is to reduce rather than increase.

On the other hand, reductions in working hours (restrictions, even) may spread from Nordic companies extending local practices to UK employees. There are also limited signs of 'look how few hours I work' becoming a brag by high status people rather than 'I get up at 4:30 to run a marathon every day before I get to the office'.

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By bernard michael
19th Mar 2021 09:48

Who will pay for the reduced GDP and demand on health and other Govt services ?? They'll still expect the same wages currently received for working 5 days

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By Duggimon
19th Mar 2021 09:52

The idea behind it, and I have no idea if it works, is that the efficiency gains from working less means there's no drop in productivity.

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By bernard michael
19th Mar 2021 10:10

Duggimon wrote:

The idea behind it, and I have no idea if it works, is that the efficiency gains from working less means there's no drop in productivity.

Does that mean Spanish bars will close for a day but make up for it by selling more on the 4 days they are open to fewer customers who will be working harder to improve efficiency to pay for their extra day off

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Replying to bernard michael:
By Duggimon
19th Mar 2021 10:15

You are aware that a five day work week currently allows bars to be open for seven days? It's five days (dropping to four) per employee, the employees of a business don't all have to do the same five (or four) days.

I would have thought bars would benefit substantially from the move, giving the nation an extra day off thereby allowing an extra late night, I would imagine giving them an extra weekend night would allow pay rises across all staff.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By bernard michael
19th Mar 2021 10:29

Duggimon wrote:

You are aware that a five day work week currently allows bars to be open for seven days? It's five days (dropping to four) per employee, the employees of a business don't all have to do the same five (or four) days.

I would have thought bars would benefit substantially from the move, giving the nation an extra day off thereby allowing an extra late night, I would imagine giving them an extra weekend night would allow pay rises across all staff.

But the customers will need extra money to pay for the extra day's drinking to make the bars efficient enough to take part in the scheme

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
19th Mar 2021 09:54

No way am I going to work an extra day

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By Mr_awol
19th Mar 2021 10:05

It isn't feasible to subsidise it nationwide long term, i don't see many employees jumping at the idea* and i don't see many employers offering to fund it.

So no - in a capitalist economy it appears not to work.

* Although many people seem to have been happy at being paid 80% of their wage in benefits for doing no work at all, i suspect it would be a different matter if they had to do 80% of their work for 80% pay

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By Tax Dragon
19th Mar 2021 11:19

Thought experiment

would an employee give you greater output (never mind greater value output - just greater output full stop) if s/he 'worked' 24/7?

No? What about 20/6? I'd still guess not. S/he'd get tired. S/he'd make mistakes. S/he'd have to redo more and more as s/he got tireder and tireder and made more and more mistakes.

15/6? Same applies.

So the optimal level is less than 15/6.

What makes you all think the optimal level is between 7/5 and 8/5?

I think if folk actually did some research on this, rather than supposing they know the answer because it's 'obvious', they might be surprised at the findings.

And what's wrong with paying people their full wage, if they give you the same output in less time?! Why do wages have to be based on time?

Edit: only spotted (and corrected) two typos in that comment. Does that mean I'm fresh (only made two) or tired (made loads but spotted only two)?

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
19th Mar 2021 11:37

Employees' energy levels vary, as do attention spans.

In t'old days, when we made things, skilled factory workers used to be paid on "piece rate" i.e. on output. But their shift would still be a set number of hours.

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By paul.benny
19th Mar 2021 11:51

And those so paid worked how to game piece work to their advantage. There was always the challenge of how you incentivised people around quality, safety and all the activities which didn't attract piece rate payments.

Meanwhile, the tech companies think they've invented something new. Calling it the gig economy and pretending workers aren't employees doesn't alter the fact that it's day labour paid by piece rate.

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
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By Tax Dragon
19th Mar 2021 12:58

Arthur Putey wrote:

Employees' energy levels vary, as do attention spans.

Your point being there isn't a 8/5 one-size-fits-all answer?

Arthur Putey wrote:

In t'old days, when we made things...

Yeah I know, my thought experiment was about office staff. Folk in this forum and employees of folk in this forum.

I get that there'd be a fuss if you paid G the same for her 4 days as you paid H for his 5 [the parable of the workers retold in 2021]. And I get that certain greybeard codgers that respond in this forum are stuck in their boxes and wouldn't accept the findings of any study that disagrees with their views, but... even without doing a study, my thought experiment shows that more time in doesn't mean more work out. Maybe 80% effort 100% of the time gives the same result as 100% effort 80% of the time?

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By Mr_awol
19th Mar 2021 14:33

Maybe but we are still in the realms of pondering and wondering.

I'd also say that whilst i agree with your outline hypothesis on energy levels, concentration, etc and the negative effects of overworking/burnout, my own thought experiment suggests that the benefits of this are less likely to be felt by a shorter week than they are by a shorter day.

So taking our accountancy staff as a prime example it may well be that a 32 hour week can be just as productive as a 40 hour week if the staff worked 6.4 hours a day over five days rather than 8 hours a day over four days. That is, of course, apart from the fact that they'd still have 5 x 15 minutes eating their breakfast they didn't bother to have at home, eating lunch, etc

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By Tax Dragon
19th Mar 2021 14:49

Mr_awol wrote:

Maybe...

That'll do me.

The irony here is that I think the reaction to the 4-day suggestion is visceral. Emotional. Irrational. Jeremy Corbyn was famously laughed at, etc. I am fully aware that my reaction to posts dismissing it without any pause for thought or room for fact or finding is itself visceral. Emotional. Irrational. Hence just finding someone willing to be open-minded enough to say...

Mr_awol wrote:

Maybe...

defuses me. Thanks.

That'll do me.

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
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By Hugo Fair
19th Mar 2021 14:38

"factory workers used to be paid on "piece rate" i.e. on output. But their shift would still be a set number of hours."

These are complementary not contradictory ... 'set number of hours' was targeted at maximising access to the labour resource; whilst 'piece-rate pay' was targeted at minimising cost of that labour force as portion of overall manufacturing costs.

The reason it fell out of favour is not because of moral principles, but because it fails to address the most important aspect of modern manufacturing ... the ability to forecast & control the type / quantity of units made by specific delivery dates.

Here endeth the lesson in social history (or the Rise and Fall of R Perrin Esquire if you prefer)!

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
19th Mar 2021 14:49

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omjLTRv6JPU

Nine hundred and fifty-four...
Nine hundred and fifty-bloody-five....

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Hugo Fair
19th Mar 2021 16:46

Them were the days, lad.
Not sure why he's moaning about 'only' earning £14-3s-2d pw in 1960 ... my first proper job (book-keeping with day-release for ACCA) was a little over 10 years later - and only paid £400 per annum!

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
19th Mar 2021 17:14

Ahha, so you remember Ted Heath's 3 day week then!

Did you spend all your extra days off studying? It was pre-internet and pre-daytime-tv and pre-all-day-opening of pubs, so there wasn't all that much to do except play football, chase after women, and work on the Ford Capri.

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By Hugo Fair
19th Mar 2021 19:08

Nice link to a decreasing number of days/week ... but of course the 3-day week was a misnomer - in that it was actually an edict that the commercial consumption of electricity would be limited to three consecutive days each week.
However my boss was happy to open the office without electricity (no computers etc), just candles for lighting and coats indoors to keep out the cold! The main impact was scouring the Evening Standard each day to find out which parts of London had a scheduled supply that night - in order to work out whom to visit so that you could watch favourite TV programmes (like the Prisoner).
Mind you, it never felt that there was a shortage of ways to occupy yourself ... I usually skipped the 1st item on your list and remained focused on the 2nd one (one of the few advantages of no electricity was it being interpreted as romantic by the fairer sex, plus of course my concern that they kept warm)!
Nevertheless, much though I'm enjoying the wander down the byways of my addled memory, I fear we are wandering off topic (and also veering into a wholly non-PC era) ... so it's back to the spreadsheets for me.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
20th Mar 2021 20:34

Ooer, I had a similar experience working on ETBs by candlelight; all wrapped up in my duffel coat. And like you, we were heavily dependent upon the goodwill of the typing pool to help pull us through.

In the immortal words of J M Barrie, All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again

Although, economic circumstances aside, the obvious similarity with what's on our current horizons is that the 3-day-week was an attempt to allocate and apportion scarce resources. And when furlough pay concludes and work becomes a scarce resource, you and I already know that this time around a 4-day-week will mean not candlelight, but moonlight(ing) on the fifth.

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By Tax Dragon
21st Mar 2021 07:48

Reread this thread (it keeps bouncing back up the page) and would like to apologise for the emotional way I made my points above. And to any greybeard codgers that were offended by being called that.

Calmer me tends to agree with Duggimon's comments.

If an economy thrives on churning cash, then the observation that people with more spare time are minded to spend more (time and cash) in the local economy is an argument I hadn't thought about that surely weighs in favour of the change. And as for Bernard's "they'll need more cash" point... Duggi had already said that the increased churn would enable pay rises. Win win.

And there's nowt wrong with moonlighting btw - a change is as good as a rest and it further tops up the moonlighter's spending power in the local economy. (So long as that's where it goes... not into the pockets of Jeff Bezos.)

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RLI
By lionofludesch
21st Mar 2021 08:00

Tax Dragon wrote:

Reread this thread (it keeps bouncing back up the page) and would like to apologise for the emotional way I made my points above. And to any greybeard codgers that were offended by being called that.

No offence taken. I don't have a beard, grey or otherwise.

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By Hugo Fair
21st Mar 2021 11:54

Offended?!? Like any died-in-the-wool old codger, I'd automatically assumed that TD was talking about someone other than me!

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By lionofludesch
21st Mar 2021 12:26

Hugo Fair wrote:

Offended?!? Like any died-in-the-wool old codger, I'd automatically assumed that TD was talking about someone other than me!

Old codger ?

I see myself as approaching middle age.

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By Hugo Fair
21st Mar 2021 13:04

I admire the positive outlook ... but in my case that would (mathematically) mean expecting eventually to see my 140th birthday - which would smash a hole in the pension plans below the waterline!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By lionofludesch
21st Mar 2021 15:04

Hugo Fair wrote:

I admire the positive outlook ... but in my case that would (mathematically) mean expecting eventually to see my 140th birthday - which would smash a hole in the pension plans below the waterline!

Me too.

Crowd funding is the answer.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
19th Mar 2021 11:37

I am already on a three day week, though Covid has meant I have to do odd bits of work on Thursdays and Friday mornings. I am now going downstairs ,I will tidy kitchen and lounge before other half returns from school (they pack up lunchtime on a Friday) and I ought to be sitting eating lunch in the garden in a bit over an hour followed by the rest of the afternoon pottering about in same.

I have to drill a brick wall to fit eyes for climbers and there is some joinery I can do if I feel in the mood, the sun is shining like yesterday and in direct sun it will be pretty pleasant though cold outwith its rays- frankly everyone should get more leisure time if it is possible.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
19th Mar 2021 11:52

Buenos Dias, Señor Citizen!

Better get your skates on before Mrs DJKL gets back! And finish that drilling before your afternoon nap :)

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