Monday, December 26, 2016


When you hear the word “siesta” you’d most likely think of Spain, which has been famous to tourists for how the country seems to shut down for a bit after the midday meal, as everybody tries to catch a few winks before resuming activities in the early afternoon. Popular imagination has made the siesta an ingrained feature of the country and all other nations it has influenced in history, from the Hispanic American nations to the Philippines. But the siesta as it is practiced in Spain now is something of a recent development from World War II, and nowadays it’s being held responsible for a reduction in worker productivity.

Fortune has it that a daring proposal has reached the desk of Labor Minister Fatima Bañez this week, regarding how best to make up for production lost during the siesta nap break. The solution involves making a profound change, by transferring Spain’s time zone from Central European Time (CET, or GMT+1) to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), setting clocks back by one hour. This would put Spain, along with neighboring Portugal, in the same time as the United Kingdom, as a result both increasing productivity in daytime workers while giving them more time to spend at home with family…but also drastically cuts down or eliminates time for a good long siesta.

Usually tourists won’t get to understand until they visit Spain themselves, but the clocks in that country at the current status quo are way off from when the sun visibly rises and sets. It all started in 1940, during the Falangist regime of Caudillo Francisco Franco. Having gravitated towards Nazi Germanyand the Axis powers due to their aid in putting him in power (but remaining neutral in the ensuing war), Franco switched Spain’s time zone to that of Germany’s, CET. It has stayed that way for over 70 years.

While a sign of rapport with fellow Fascist nations, the CET for Spain resulted in workers waking up when the sun is yet to rise, resulting in the large midday gap that’s just right for a siesta. However this causes workers to eat dinner late, and even see them in bed sometime after midnight, due to the discrepancy of the clock and the position of the sun.

The change of time zone to GMT – resulting in an end of workday at 6PM – is but one of several steps being undertaken by Spanish policy makers to thoroughly overhaul the slumping labor market.

CNN has it that the unemployment in Spain has become the second worst in Europe after Greece, and the current working times with the siesta is pegged as one factor of this state.

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