For years, there have been concerns in Spain that this is not the best way to do business. In 2016, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy attempted to cancel the long lunch break, to bring the country’s working hours more in line with its neighbours. There are also concerns that the system is not ideal for achieving work-life balance. “In Spain, people spend about 12 to 14 hours outside their homes,” Junque says. They may only work eight hours with a pause in the middle, but most people don’t have the ability to go home [during their lunch break] Because they live far from where they work.”
But unions in Belgium and Germany believe that longer lunch breaks will ensure workers stay safe during the heat. At temperatures above 24 degrees Celsius (75 Fahrenheit), not only do workers run the risk of heatstroke, but the risk of accidents in the workplace also rises when people start to feel lethargic, says Claes-Michael Stahl, deputy secretary general of the NGO European government based in Brussels. The trade union, which is campaigning for the European Commission to introduce a law that would set a uniform maximum temperature limit for working.
At the moment, tips across the block vary greatly. For outdoor work, the maximum temperature is 36 °C (97 °F) in Montenegro, 28 (82 °F) in Slovenia, and 18 (64 °F) in Belgium, while some countries, such as France, have no limit The maximum temperature ever.
“The reason most people work outside in hot weather is because it’s a job that needs to be done. But it doesn’t have to be done exactly at a time when the weather is very hot,” says Stahl. If a temperature cap is set, it is believed that employers can respond by adjusting working hours. “If you go to countries in southern Europe that have a long experience in the heat, you will find that they have naps,” he says. “I think this reflects generations of wisdom, and I think we need to listen to that wisdom.”
As temperatures rise, a union in Germany is also calling for a longer lunch break so construction workers can avoid the hottest part of the day. “Climate change is here, and the number of hot days will only increase in the next few years,” Carsten Burckhardt of the Industrial Building, Agriculture and Environment Federation (IG BAU) said in a statement. “We should think of a much longer lunch break. In Spain this is called a nap.” At high temperatures, he adds, construction workers experience heat stroke in addition to skin damage, and they also have to deal with extremely hot materials. Roof tiles, for example, can reach temperatures of 80 degrees (176 F) in the sun.
Not only does rescheduling protect employees from heat stress, but it can also boost productivity, says Lars Nybo, professor of human physiology at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, adding that’s what he found when he studied agricultural workers in Italy.
However, Nybo realizes that the long lunch break comes with trade-offs, something Spain has already recognized. “From a physiological point of view, it makes perfect sense,” he says. “But in a practical setting, it might make sense to see if you could start two or three hours earlier and end the day sooner.”
“I don’t agree that the solution is to normalize grieving jornata,” says Junki, who also thinks it would be better to start and finish the workday earlier. And if Northern Europe wishes to embrace a Spanish-style working day, she urges them not to forget the questions that long lunch breaks ask in other parts of society: How are working hours synchronized with schools? Does this mean that shops have to stay open at a later time? And will people get paid for those long lunch breaks?
How Siestas can help Europe survive deadly heat waves
Source link How Siestas can help Europe survive deadly heat waves