Spain is well-known for its “siesta” naps, but the long-standing tradition is killing worker productivity.
Labor minister Fátima Báñez revived a proposal this week to change Spain’s time zone from Central European Time to Greenwich Mean Time, Reuters reports, meaning work days would end at 6 p.m. The move would give workers more time with their families, as well as an opportunity to boost worker productivity within the country. If the proposal passes, Spain would be in the same time zone as the United Kingdom.
Dictator Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain for 36 years, adopted the country’s current time zone in the 1940s to align with Nazi Germany. But the decision nearly 70 years ago to push clocks one hour ahead resulted in longer work days. In the westernmost part of the country, for example, the sun doesn’t rise until 9 a.m., meaning workers wake up in the dark, take midday naps, and return home late in the evening for dinner. Currently, most people in country don’t get off work until around 8 p.m.
Policy makers are looking for ways to overhaul the Spanish labor market, CNN reports. Currently, Spain’s unemployment rate is at just above 19%—the second worst in Europe behind Greece.
“We want our workdays to finish at six o’clock and to achieve this we will work towards striking a deal with representatives from both companies and trade unions,” Báñez told Reuters.
The proposal has a decent chance of passing through the country’s parliament, Reuters reports, since The People’s Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the Ciudadanos party, and the Socialists—the main opposition party—all supported the change.