Valencia’s Four-Day Work Week Pilot Begins Today


For four weeks, the Valencia City Council will verify the impact and effects of shortening the working week by one day, analyzing issues such as the use of time, conciliation, well-being or rest of the workers.

Starting this coming Monday, April 10, the city of Valencia is examining how the four-day work week works for four weeks, by coinciding with three consecutive bank holidays and moving a holiday from January to this month. Thus, the weeks of April 10 (Easter Monday), April 17 (San Vicente Ferrer), April 24 (for January 22, San Vicente Mártir) and May 1 (Labor Day) will only be four weeks. working days, in a pilot project promoted by the City Council to test the impact of the application in the city and the consequences on productivity, leisure, mobility, the economy and the health of people working 32 hours a week.

The Las Naves innovation center of the City Council will evaluate the results to have the conclusions of this test as of July 20. The proposal stemmed from a process of dialogue with the sectors involved – unions, companies, neighborhood associations, institutions and other social agents – and the experience adds to other similar ones carried out in various countries, including Lithuania, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, Portugal or Japan. The mayor, Joan Ribó, points out that Valencia is a European benchmark in innovation and this is an innovative experience.

“We want a friendly, healthy, people-caring city. We want people to work to live, not live to work,” he said March 24 at the launch of an information campaign on the four-day workday. The reduction of the working day is a matter subject to negotiation between the unions and the employers’ association, but the consistory wants to do the test and study “what happens” with quantitative and objective data. From the pilot program, three large areas will be studied: health and social well-being, the climate emergency and the economy.

Specifically, issues such as the use of time, the reconciliation of work life, the feeling of well-being, rest, the impact of the measure on greenhouse gases, air quality, silence, energy consumption, etc. will be analysed. traffic, the public transport network, domestic tourism, hospitality, commerce and purchases in shops and stores, among other issues. According to the mayor, the pandemic created the possibility of working remotely, aided by technological advances, and brought a change of conception in the way of working, different from face-to-face.

The fight against climate change has introduced another factor to try to reduce polluting emissions with a smaller number of daily trips that also favors this change of culture towards other ways of working. “I am optimistic and now we have to go one step further”, as has been done with the pedestrianization of spaces in the city center, where it has been shown that the reduction in vehicle traffic does not reduce sales of businesses, according to Mayor. To “stimulate” the reduction of working hours, in the Valencian Community the Ministry of Sustainable Economy, Productive Sectors, Commerce and Labor offered aid to companies for its application, without affecting the salaries of staff. By 2022, it offered aid of more than 9,000 euros to companies for each worker who joined the 32-hour day, always with a prior agreement with the employee’s legal representation and a productivity improvement plan.

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