Spanish MPs Want Long Lunch Breaks To End and a Return To GMT

Spanish MPs have called for a full debate on reducing traditionally long lunch breaks and returning to GMT in order to improve productivity and quality of life in a country mired in recession and suffering from chronic unemployment.

A parliamentary panel has now voted through a report by the Subcommission on Rationalising Working Hours, which noted that many workers take breaks of two hours or more in the middle of the working day, “a singular working practice, which is nothing like the rest of Europe.”

“A working day split up by an excessive lunch break needlessly adds to the hours workers spend away from home, with a consequent drop in their productivity,” the report concluded.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that while Spaniards, on average, work considerably more hours than in Eurozone powerhouse Germany, they produce much less.

Long breaks hark back to the days when farm workers had to take refuge from scorching midday heat, many people needed to juggle two jobs to make ends meet, and most women worked at home.

Another anachronism targeted by the panel was that Spanish clocks are up to three hours out of synch with daylight because Spain adopted Central European Time in 1942, when the government of the day sympathised with Nazi Germany.

“The fact Spain hasn’t had a suitable time zone for more than 71 years means we get up too early and sleep an hour less than recommended by the World health Organisation,” the panel added. “As well as productivity, this has a negative impact on absenteeism, stress, accident rates and school drop-out levels.”

In order to help people get a good night’s sleep, MPs have also recommended that state broadcasters end prime time programming by 11 p.m.

– The Telegraph