The four-business-day work week looks set to be one of the talking points for the coming year. The reduction of working days and, finally, of the working day; the forecasts are that they increase the productivity of the companies without neglecting the mental and physical health of the workers. The Ministry of Labor has published a ministerial order that regulates the operation of a package of financial aid for small businesses for next year.
The idea is to financially help SMEs that implement measures and solutions that reduce their workers’ working hours by at least 10% without reducing wages. The budget for this project is 10 million euros, which will be distributed in grants of up to 150,000 euros for each SME or company.
As specified in the ministerial order itself, the aid will be allocated to “pilot innovation projects in business organization that will improve the productivity of SMEs” and address, for this, measures aimed at reducing working hours to 4 days “without wage loss”.
Requirements to request aid for the 4-day shift
The first thing to know before applying for aid is to know what types of companies are intended. The idea is to distribute the budget among companies that carry out an industrial activity that are considered small or medium-sized companies. They can have their own legal personality, be legally constituted in Spain and not belong to the public sector. Industrial activities may be of the following types: production on an industrial scale, recovery on an industrial scale, complementary to industrial production or service activities for the industry.
One of the first requirements will be that the small or medium-sized company has at least a track record of three years or more in any of these sectors of professional activity. Likewise, the tax domicile of the applicant SME must be in Spain, as is its main place of work. This situation must be maintained throughout the duration of the financed project, which must last at least two years.
With regard to the project to implement the reduction in working hours in pursuit of work-life balance, the company requesting this aid must commit to reducing the working day by a minimum of 10% full-time. At the same time, the reductions will not affect the salaries of workers participating in the project, which must last 24 months.
Finally, there is a minimum number of workers who will participate in your company’s pilot project, depending on the number of workers you have hired. Thus, in SMEs with up to 20 people, at least 30% of the workforce must participate in the project to reduce working hours. In medium-sized companies with between 21 and 249 employees, at least 25% of the workforce must be included in this work-life balance project.
How to submit applications
The beneficiaries of the subsidies, once they have accessed the aid, must also comply with a series of obligations specified in the BOE published on December 16. The deadline for submitting applications to qualify for these aids is two months from the publication of the regulation of subsidies in the BOE.
Applications must be submitted and submitted to the EOI Foundation and, together with the corresponding application form, a report of the project to reduce working hours must be sent, in addition to proving that they are up to date with payments and tax obligations with the Treasury and Social Security.