Employees at TravelgateX in Palma. | Pep Verger

PSOE, the main partner in the current coalition government in the Balearics, will be including the proposal for a four-day week in their election manifesto.

Responding to news of this, the CAEB Confederation of Balearic Business Associations has put out a statement saying that the four-day work week "is just another electoral proposal at a time when we are going to hear and read many". If this were to be seriously considered, "we would have to see the fine print of what is really wanted and how it is intended to be applied".

The CAEB statement on Monday added that the confederation could not accept a policy of public subsidies to make a four-day-week system viable - PSOE have indicated that aid would be made available to companies which wished to adopt the four-day week. "We do not agree that a public administration subsidises companies with aid in order to reduce their hours. Each company must be free to manage its resources according to its interests and with what helps the most to increase its productivity, something that is essential for competitiveness."

Jordi Mora, the president of the PIMEM federation of small to medium-sized business associations, said on Monday that it would be "very difficult" for such a proposal to come to fruition. He pointed out that if employees were to work a four-day week and maintain the same salary conditions as a five-day week, this would imply "a direct loss of 20% for companies in terms of salary costs, as they would have to hire new staff to do the work not carried out on one day".

PSOE could not force a four-day week in the Balearics, as this would require national legislation. It would therefore be voluntary, the party nevertheless believing that it is something that will be introduced sooner rather than later in Spain. Spokesperson Iago Negueruela said after a party meeting on Sunday that "all of Europe is going in this direction and it is important that we take a step forward here".

Initially, PSOE would want a four-day week for small companies and for less "intensive" work, accepting that there are sectors, e.g. hospitality, where labour is more intensive than others.