Many businesses in Mallorca are highly seasonal. | Jaume Morey

On Thursday, a national pilot scheme was launched in Spain whereby small to medium-sized businesses can apply for financial aid from the ministry of employment to introduce a four-day week. There will be three days off rather than two (for those employees who only work five days a week at present), but the salary will remain the same. The scheme applies to businesses with less than 250 employees.

In Mallorca, the PIMEM federation for small to medium-sized businesses says that "on paper" the scheme seems very good. "But in practice and in reality, it is unthinkable for some sectors that lack manpower to cover certain jobs. We have a labour and business market that is very focused on the high season, so there are peaks with a lot of work, for which there can already be a shortage to cover demand."

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When the measure was raised in the Balearic parliament by Més, PIMEM sought the opinions of member associations. The general view was against, as they didn't believe it was feasible.

The proposal for a four-day week came from Más País, a party that was formed by a one-time leading light in Podemos, Íñigo Errejón. Its support for Spanish government's budget was dependent upon a pilot scheme being launched. It was envisaged for 2022 but held over until this year. Más País argue that it will improve business productivity and give solutions to problems associated with excessive working hours and the reconciliation of work and family life.

The programme has a budget of 9.65 million euros and its conditions include a four-day week for at least 30% of the workforce for companies with up to 20 workers and 25% for companies with between 21 and 249 workers.