The reduction of the ordinary working day to 37.5 hours is the star measure of the PSOE and Sumar Government agreement. When the agreement was reached, the Ministry of Labor indicated that it would benefit about 12 million workers in the private sector. A study published this Tuesday by CC OO believes that the measure will reduce the working hours of more employees: 12.9 million. That is the conclusion reached by the union when analyzing the microdata from the Active Population Survey, where it also indicates that the reduction of hours will benefit men more than women, that the communities with the largest share of the affected employees are La Rioja and Castilla-La Mancha and that, by sectors, where it is most felt in construction and industry.
The first key data from the union’s analysis is that 88.7% of private sector employees will benefit from the measure. In other words, 10.97 million people. “With part-time workers in the private sector,” explains CC OO, “a priori we do not know the impact that the measure can have on reducing the maximum legal working day. -as their presence in companies with agreed working hours of more than 37.5 hours is the same as that of full time, then 88.7% of part-time employees in the private sector will also benefit and the measure will come of 1.97 million workers. Thus, the total number of beneficiaries amounts to 12.94 million people.
Men will benefit more from this policy than women: 93.2% of full-time men will see their working hours reduced, compared to 82.1% of female employees. “The difference is that full-time salaried women in the private sector are more likely than men to be in jobs with an agreed working day of no more than 37.5 hours,” explains CC OO.
A breakdown by age shows that the move would cut hours for 87.3% of employees ages 16 to 29 and 88.9% of those aged 30 or older. Likewise, 89.4% of employees with permanent contracts and 83.1% of those with temporary contracts will benefit.
There are also notable differences in the autonomous communities: in La Rioja (92.1%), Galicia (92%), and Castilla-La Mancha (92%) there is the highest proportion of benefiting employees. On the other side of the scale are Ceuta (70.8%), Melilla (73.1%), the Basque Country (83.2%) and Andalusia (84.9%).
By sectors, where a greater percentage of its salaried population will benefit are the manufacturing industry (97.9%), construction (97.8%), extractive industries (94.3%), and transportation and storage (92,4% ). The smallest beneficiaries are in education (52.3%), public administration and social security (53.4%) – private sector workers who work in the service of public administrations – and health and social services (72.1%). In these sectors, agreed working hours below the 40 hours established by the Workers’ Statute are common.
More time than in Europe, same agreed day
If this reform ends up being approved, Spain will be the leader in Europe in labor rights. In Europe, only France has established an ordinary 35-hour day, although it is common for longer working days. The ordinary day is also shorter in Belgium, where it is established at 38 hours. However, the most common thing in Europe is the ordinary 40-hour day, as OECD data shows.
Another important factor is the agreed average working day, that is, how many hours are generally included in collective agreements. There are countries where this aspect is in the hands of collective bargaining, such as Germany, with 38.2 hours on average, the same record as Spain. This is less than Finland (38), Netherlands (37.4) and Denmark (37). In Spain there are company or sectoral agreements that detail an ordinary working day of fewer than 40 hours. The best-known case is that of the public sector, where the working day has been established, as a general rule, at 37.5 hours. There are also private workers in this situation, but they are a minority, as CC OO data shows.
Regarding the average working hours, according to Eurostat data, in 2022 Spanish employees will work an average of 36.4 hours per week, slightly above the European average (36.2). This situation contrasts with the Netherlands (31.1), Norway (33.2), Denmark (33.7) or Germany (34.4), countries with high per capita income, unlike those with more hours of work per week: Serbia (42.2), Greece (39.7), Romania (39.7) or Poland (39.5).
To continue the reform agreed upon by PSOE and Sumar, they need the support of right-wing nationalist parties. Employers have spoken out against it, while unions have applauded the initiative.