Long lunch breaks or shorter working days?

Spain's Prime Minister set to 'drop siesta' to shorten working day by two hours 


The Spanish Prime Minister has announced moves to cut the working day by two hours and bring an end to the traditional siesta, in an attempt to bring the country into line with its European counterparts.

 Mariano Rajoy, the head of the centre-right coalition government, wants to scrap the traditional extended midday break.

 Mr Rajoy said: "I will find a consensus to make sure the working day ends at 6pm." While the siesta is no longer universally observed - its impact on the length of an average working day can still be felt.

The siesta was founded historically on the basis of allowing the country's largely agricultural workers to avoid the searing midday heat, the Times reports.

Despite working longer hours than their German counterparts, statistics from the OECD show Spanish workers' productivity is much lower.

A 2013 Spanish parliamentary commission said: "We need more flexible working hours, to cut our lunch breaks, to streamline business meetings by setting time limits for them, and to practise and demand punctuality."

The report explained cutting the siesta would raise the quality of life, raise the low birth rates and reduce marriage breakdowns.

It is thought Mr Rajoy is backing this popular decision in an attempt to win votes in the upcoming general election in June.

He is also looking to return Spain back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as it is currently one hour ahead of London, the same as eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic.

This odd time arrangement dates back to 1942 when former dictator General Franco showed his support for Hitler's Nazi regime by adopting German Time.

 Source: The Independent


What do you think of this idea? 

Do you like having a long lunch break? Do you have a siesta? 

Would you prefer a shorter working week?


Comments

Silvia Manzano said…
I know a lot of people which don't have a siesta. Me neither. This idea from Prime Minister, Mr Rajoy is a trick. This idea must be done by de Government. I usually read in the newspapers and on tv or radio Spanish people want a European schedules because the majority of people during the week don't have a snap and it's crazy the long timelunch. I'd prefer a shorter lunchtime, so I could arrive at home in a suitable time.

But I remember when on 2004 won Mr. Zapatero the election , his Minister in charge of the staff civil servant tried to close the buildings at 6:00, but it was impossible. This Minister (Jordi Sevilla) even said that a team mate ask him "What do you think I can do at home at 6:00? The Minister answered..."You can read, go to the gym, walk around the city, go to de cinema, stay with your children, family or wife.....Some politics don't want change those schedules.
Graham said…
Hi Silvia,

I'm sorry for not getting round to answering you sooner.

I'm not sure I understand a point you make in your comment. You say that this proposal of Rajoy's is a trick, but then you go on to say that it should be implemented by government. Do you mean that they would not allow civil servants to finish earlier?



I know a lot of people who don't have a siesta. Me neither. This idea from Prime Minister Rajoy is a trick. This idea must be done by the Government. I usually read in the newspapers and on tv or radio that Spanish people want a European schedule because the majority of people during the week don't have a nap and the long lunchtime is crazy. I'd prefer a shorter lunchtime, so I could arrive at home at a suitable time.

But I remember when Mr. Zapatero won the election in 2004 , his Minister in charge of the civil service tried to close the buildings at 6:00, but it was impossible. This Minister (Jordi Sevilla) even said that a colleague asked him what he thought he could do at home at 6:00. The Minister answered that he could read, go to the gym, walk around the city, go to the cinema, be with his children, family or wife.....Some politicians don't want to change the working times.



I try to have a siesta at the weekend.

This idea would make no difference to me. I'm just paid for the lessons I give. If there is a gap between lessons, it is unpaid time.

I wish I had a job in which I worked from 9 to 5.


José said…
Hi Graham,

To say that Spanish workers’ productivity is much lower than German counterparts is a stereotype or a cliché. In my opinion, Spanish workers’ productivity is similar to other European Union’ workers. The OCDE keeps in mind the amount of salary which every Spanish worker earns and everyone knows that it’s incorrect because in German the workers earn more salary than in Spain. The OECD makes a mistake, but as German people are more “superior” than Spanish people, it doesn’t matter.

There are other stereotype, for instance, the German beer is better than the English beer, the Germans are superior lovers, as you said in your old post, people of the South work less than the North, countries of the Third World are much more violent than the rich countries and so on.

See you.
Graham said…
Hi José,

I think you are confusing stereotypes and clichés.

A stereotype is usually related to a person and their habits (English teachers wear cardigans and cords while the Scots play the bagpipes and drink whisky all day long).

A cliché is something that people say which is overused and has lost the power of its original meaning.


I have just come back from Germany and the spectators in the marathon were cheering everyone on. They went up in my estimation after that day.


To say that Spanish workers’ productivity is much lower than their German counterparts is a stereotype or a cliché. In my opinion, Spanish workers’ productivity is similar to other European Union workers. The OECD takes the amount of salary which every Spanish worker earns into account and everyone knows that it’s incorrect because in Germany the workers earn more than in Spain.

There are other stereotypes, for instance, German beer is better than English beer, the Germans are superior lovers, as you said in your old post, people of the South work less than the North, countries of the Third World are much more violent than the rich countries and so on.


Did I really say that???

I don't get your point about salary and productivity.

I really do think that they are more efficient than others. You don't see Germans having a long mid-morning break.

José said…
Hi Graham,

I thought that the all Scottish are drunks and you tell me now that it’s a stereotype. Sorry. You must give me an explanation about it in order to change my opinion. You said that the Scots drink whisky all day long but I think that they drink whisky, beer, wine, that is, everything less water. LOL

German beer is better than English beer and the Germans are superior lovers are stereotypes witch I saw in your old post, the rest of stereotypes are mine.

I really don’t think that the Germans are more efficient that the Spanish. I don’t agree with you. Common German people have only one employment, while common Spanish people need two or three employments to ear the same salary. Who is more efficient?

In other hand, the Germans work less time that the Spanish, so they don’t need a long mid-morning break.

See you.
Graham said…
Hi José,

I can't deny it. The Scots tend to drink a lot.


I thought that all the Scottish were drunks but now you tell me that it’s a stereotype. Sorry. ... I think that they drink whisky, beer, wine, that is, everything apart from / except water. LOL

German beer is better than English beer and the Germans are superior lovers are stereotypes which I saw in your old post, the rest of the stereotypes are mine.

I really don’t think that the Germans are more efficient than the Spanish. I don’t agree with you. The average German has only one job, while the average Spaniard needs two or three jobs to earn the same salary. Who is more efficient?

On the other hand, the Germans work less time than the Spanish, so they don’t need a long mid-morning break.



Let's just say we agree to disagree.

Hi Graham!!

I think that´s a good idea that a lot of people muts have siesta, but right now i know that people don´t have siesta because the timetable worker is very long. I think that mr. Rajoy should to change this because a lot of people don´t have a good lunch time.

During the week, some people don´t have nothing of time to relax and it´s very important that the goverment can to change it. In my opinión siesta is very important because sometimes it´s very neccesary
Graham said…
Hi Vicente,

Congratulations! You managed to send a comment this time.

I don't thing there can be many people who are able to have a siesta during the week. However, a lot of people enjoy having a siesta at the weekend.


I think that it is a good idea to have a siesta, but right now I know that people don´t have one because the working day is very long. I think that mr. Rajoy *should change this because a lot of people don´t have a good lunch time.

During the week, some people don´t have any time to relax and it´s very important that the goverment changes it. In my opinion the siesta is very important because sometimes it´s *absolutely neccesary.

* auxillary verb - should, can, must, would...(no "to")+ verb

* You can't use "very" with ungradable adjectives. absolutely + freezing, impossible, ridiculous ...



I hope I'll see a few more comments from you before the course ends.



Anonymous said…
Whether it was an attempt to win votes or not, from my point of view, it is a fact that productivity could be improved by shortening the length of working days so I will skip the political issue. While in Spain we have one hour to have lunch, in some other countries such as Germany they have a better timetable and it doesn't mean a lower productivity. According to the "siesta" time, I really think that the hour given by employers to their employees is not to have a nap but to have a lunch without being stressed. However, some workers feel stress because of the lack of spare time they have. I have an example to give, because my father works from 9-1:30 and to 3-7 and he doesn't have enough time to spend in his hobbies. If he would have a shorter schedule he could spend more time with his family as well, that will make him the happiest, and being happier could mean a better quality of work. Let's short the working days! :P

Cristina Jaurrieta
Graham said…
Hi Cristina,

I think most workers have more than an hour for lunch. And they have regular breaks throughout the day.


Whether it was an attempt to win votes or not, from my point of view, it is a fact that productivity could be improved by shortening the length of the working day so I will skip the political issue.

... It may be called "siesta" time though I really think that the hour given by employers to their employees is not to have a nap but to have a lunch without being stressed. ...

I have an example to give, because my father works from 9-1:30 and to 3-7 and he doesn't have enough time to spend on his hobbies.

If he had a shorter schedule he could spend more time with his family as well, and that would make him the happiest, and being happier could mean a better quality of work. Let's shorten the working days!