A total of 41 small and medium-sized industrial enterprises (SMEs), each with fewer than 250 employees, including three located in the Canary Islands, have applied to take part in the Ministry of Industry‘s pilot programme aimed at reducing the working week to four days, without cutting workers’ wages.
The Minister of Industry, Héctor Gómez, said on Wednesday that this first pilot programme shows that companies are willing to adopt new ways of organising their working hours, including reducing working time without affecting employees’ salaries.
The small and medium-sized enterprises that have shown interest in participating in the four-day working week pilot are spread across thirteen different autonomous communities: Catalonia (11), Andalusia (6), Galicia (4), the Basque Country (4), Asturias (3), Navarre (3), the Canary Islands (3), Madrid (2), Cantabria (1), Castilla y León (1), Castilla-La Mancha (1), Extremadura (1) and the Balearic Islands (1).
The programme is designed to encourage productivity gains in small and medium-sized private companies in the industrial sector, offering subsidies of up to 200,000 euros to those that undertake to reduce working hours by 10% for at least 24 months, without reducing their employees’ salaries.
Although the budget allocated for this call is 9,650,000 euros, the total eligible expenditure requested by the 41 proposals submitted is considerably lower, totalling only 2.83 million euros, which represents less than a third of the available budget credit.
According to the Ministry of Industry, the four-day pilot project package will involve a total of 503 workers. The pilot programme stipulates that, in order to participate, at least 30% of the workforce in companies with up to 20 workers and 25% in companies with between 21 and 249 workers must be involved. In addition, it applies only to those employees who, at the time of the start of the project, have a full-time permanent contract.