Spain is once again considering a move once considered unthinkable: doing away with the midday siesta to shorten the workday. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy recently announced that he is looking into doing away with the long break in the workday, which is blamed for Spanish workers having one of the lowest productivity rates in Europe despite working longer hours than most, the Independent reports. The typical working day currently runs from 8am to 8pm with a break from 1:30pm to 5pm, which workers use for lunch, errands, and picking children up from school as well as napping, NBC News reports. Rajoy says he wants to bring in a 6pm finish time across the country, where siesta observance varies from region to region.
There have been complaints that ditching the siesta would wreck the traditional rhythm of the Spanish day, though polls have found most Spaniards favor the change, reports NPR, which notes that Spanish media has focused more on stereotype-heavy foreign coverage of the proposal than the plan itself. Rajoy has also revived a proposal to move the clocks back an hour to put Spain on the same time as the UK and other countries on the same longitude. Generalissimo Francisco Franco moved the time forward in 1942 to put Spain on the same time as Nazi Germany. (This columnist argues that the US should adopt a Spanish schedule, at least for meals.)