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Telefonica to offer employees four-day work week, widening pilot project

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FILE PHOTO: A man speaks by a mobile next to Telefonica's tower in Barcelona
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MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish telecom giant Telefonica will offer its employees the opportunity to work a four-day week, extending a pilot programme that has involved around 150 workers so far, three sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

In exchange for a 12% pay cut, the deal would let staff work four days, or 32 hours, a week instead of 37.5 hours now, on a voluntary basis, a union source said.

The pilot project was launched in 2021 as part of wider negotiations with unions in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, and will now be available to around 17,000 employees from September, the sources said.

A shorter working week has been debated for a while in Europe and gained momentum during the pandemic, with some pilot projects envisaging no pay cuts, just a pledge to maintain the same level of productivity as during the five-day week.

A maximum of 10% of employees in each Telefonica unit can join the programme. Initially, employees who apply now can join the plan during the last quarter of 2022, the sources said, but the company and the unions are discussing its annual extension.

Telefonica declined to comment.

The telecoms operator also allows two days of remote working a week, which employees can accumulate and use flexibly if their supervisor agrees.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo, editing by Andrei Khalip and Bernadette Baum)

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