Industry takes the first step to approve aid to SMEs that apply the four-day working week

The Ministry of Industry has taken to public consultation the draft order that will regulate the aid of the pilot project to promote the four-day working week in SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). The department led by Reyec Maroto has taken this first step for the approval of the ministerial order with the project, which will mean direct aid to companies that apply this reduction in the working week without reducing the salaries of the workforce. The measure was agreed with Más País in the last General State Budgets, with an allocation of 10 million euros.

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The public consultation allows the submission of allegations until June 30, includes the publication of the Ministry. The pilot projects must reflect "a reduction in the minimum working day for a number of workers determined according to the size of the company, without a reduction in salary," Industry recalls. The ultimate goal, for which the need to incorporate "organizational measures and production processes" and "training actions" is also foreseen, is to achieve "an improvement in productivity that compensates for the higher salary costs".

The pilot project to be launched by Industry provides for "temporary direct aid for the costs assumed by the company as a result of the reduction in working hours, as well as for the costs of implementing new organizational formulas and training that, in the medium term, generate that increase in productivity that makes the pilot viable beyond its duration”, indicates the public consultation.

The pilot projects should incorporate "organizational or training measures to optimize working time" with the new work week and also "indicators that measure the improvement in the evolution of work productivity in the company or work center that will be evaluated periodically" .

The pilot grants may finance "partially the salary costs of the personnel affected by the reduction in working hours", as well as "the costs of training related to the optimization of working time" of the workforce and "the costs of external collaborations or costs of internal personnel necessary for the design or redesign of processes affected by the pilot project and directly linked to the production of the company's goods and services”.

More Country trusts that they will be ready "in weeks"

The spokesman for Más País-Equo in Congress, Íñigo Errejón, celebrated the passage of the Ministry. "The future of work in Spain is starting," declared the deputy, whose training is focused on defending the four-day work week. Errejón has trusted that the aid can be ready "in a few weeks".

In his opinion, "reducing the working day improves the physical and mental health of workers, increases the productivity of companies and favors the reconciliation between life and work".

Last month, a Summit on the four-day working week was held in Valencia in which companies and also trade unions and political formations interested in reducing the working day participated. While some voices, such as Más País, are more inclined towards the four-day work week, others opt for maintaining the five-day work week but with shorter hours.

Although there are already companies that are applying these reduced weeks, many are reducing the salary of their employees, such as Desigual and recently Telefónica. The president of the employers' association, CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, recently rejected this debate, which he said was promoted to "win elections." "Right now five days are necessary," he said..

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