Spain's deputy Prime Minister has confirmed that the government is looking into the possibility of introducing a four-day work week.
Pablo Iglesias said reducing the number of working hours in a week to 32, without loss of pay would 'undoubtedly' lead to more jobs.
The leader of the left-wing Unidos Podemos party - part of the Socialist-led ruling coalition - said that Podemos has 'always been in favour of reducing working hours,' The Local reported.
Iglesias added that Minister for work Yolanda Díaz is exploring the idea.
Íñigo Errejón, leader of the Más País party, has also voiced support for a shorter working week.
'Now that we have to rebuild our economy, Spain has the perfect opportunity to go for the four-day or 32-hour week, he said, referencing the economic damage wrought by responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
Spain's deputy Prime Minister has confirmed that the government is looking into the possibility of introducing a four-day work week. Pablo Iglesias said reducing the number of working hours in a week to 32, without loss of pay would 'undoubtedly' lead to more jobs [File photo]
'It is a policy for the future that allows for an increase in the productivity of workers, improvements to physical and mental health,' Errejón said.
He added said that a four-day working week would also benefit the environment, with less commuting and a reduced need to light, heat and cool office buildings contributing to a reduction in pollution and energy consumption.
If implemented, the shorter working week would initially be limited to a small number of companies.
The move is being considered by the Spanish Treasury as part of negotiations ahead of budget talks, The Local reported.
It comes after the regional Valencian government introduced a similar idea in its draft budget.
Supporters of the four-day working week say it boosts productivity, while being friendlier to the environment and workers' mental health than the five-day week [Stock photo]
A small number of companies have already independently adopted a four-day working week, reportedly leading to an increase in productivity.
Changes to work patterns are often introduced at times of economic crisis - for example the introduction of the weekend and the 40-hour working week during The Great Depression - but supporters say a shorter working week has benefits beyond the economic.
Business Psychologist Pedro Sánchez told 20minutos that having an additional day off is better for people's mental health as it allows them to 'dedicate more time to personal and family life'.
However not everyone is convinced the four-day working week can deliver all the benefits assigned to it.
Director of the Centre of International Work and Family Nuria Chinchilla told 20minutos that job flexibility would be a greater benefit to employees.
'It would be useful if companies, when possible, could have more flexible hours depending on their needs,' she said.