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Spanish siesta under threat

slaverySpain’s autonomous region of Catalonia is to challenge the country’s social norms by becoming the first region in Spain to change its working hours.

The reform would see working times more closely resemble the rest of Europe with hours streamlined into something similar to nine to five.

The long siesta, enjoyed by everyone across the nation, may be a thing of the past.

At present, Spaniards often wind up working some 300 hours more than people in many other countries owing to the pattern of an early start with a long lunch break stretching from 2pm to 5pm.

Most workers don’t get home before 7pm or 8pm. This can end in dinner taken at 10pm. Spaniards get about an hour less of sleep than other Europeans.

Campaigners have been arguing for a decade that shorter working days would roll out many positive results, including greater productivity, fewer accidents in the work place, and a better division of household chores.

But it would also disrupt social patterns which have developed over many years.

MPs in Madrid said two years ago, following a parliamentary commission recommendation, that they would consider the change but in the would-be separatist region Catalan politicians have taken the initiative.

It is not at all certain that they could go ahead without approval from Madrid which has authority over such matters as labour issues and business hours.

In 1942 General Franco decided that Spanish time should be the same as that in Germany.  If the reform of working hours in Spain does go ahead, the Spanish time zone might also be changed.


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-15 #3 Joao Martins 2015-04-13 12:30
My local (small) hardware shop were all upset at me (in a nice way) when i ran in at 1pm to buy a tap fitting to help my elderly neighbor whose' tap broke and was flooding the house, they wanted me out of the shop even though i had the part in one hand and the cash in the other,, you see '' it's closing time and if the GNR sees you here we are liable for a big fine, i don't want to close but it's the law or be fined, i have to close the doors and you have to leave'' and the country stops for 2 hours, go home and wait. Remember it's a government law, but the Chinese shops don't close, you figure, the law for one but not the other.
-13 #2 liveaboard 2015-04-13 10:48
I've talked to a lot of people about this here in Portugal; the siesta was a great idea when most workers were agricultural and other outside labor.
Today, most people work indoors. Most live too far from home to go there during the long mid-day closure, so they hang around somewhere waiting for work to restart.
As the article said, they are late home, missing family time and opportunities for other activities.
Of all the many workers I talked to, not one appreciated the unpaid mid day break, excepting the construction men who still do hard physical labor.
-12 #1 mm 2015-04-12 20:17
spain (a large part of it anyway) would benefit greatly if they had the same time as as portugal and uk...how true the old farmers saying "an hour in the morning is worth two at night2

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