An article by CNN Money highlights Spain’s time change proposal that seeks to cement the end of the work day at 6 p.m. and eliminate the need for an afternoon siesta. What could this mean for international business and local Spanish workers? Is Spain Really Saying Adios to the Siesta?
Labor Minister Fátima Báñez is seeking to revert the country’s time by one hour – to align with the U.K.’s Greenwich Mean Time – in order to boost productivity and give employees a healthier work-life balance. Currently, Spanish employees have longer work days, often waking up before sunrise, working and going to sleep after midnight, making the siesta vital to their health and productivity. This schedule, however, leaves very little family time, which does not sit well with the family-oriented culture.
Spain’s unemployment rate is currently over 19%, making it the second worst in Europe, after Greece. Although the country is working to lower this number and create millions of jobs, experts at the International Monetary Fund estimate that the country will experience very slow economic growth due to “feeble productivity growth and high structural unemployment.”
If Báñez is successful in reverting Spain’s time zone, the country’s economy could experience a noticeable growth pattern. If productivity increases as a result of the change, there will be a need for more jobs, businesses will grow and expand internationally, thereby gaining new clients and business partners. By regulating the workday to match that of other countries, Spain may see much-needed growth in its economic sector.