The Traditional Spanish Siesta Could Be Coming To An End

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If you snooze, you lose, according to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. This week, Rajoy announced plans to end the traditional Spanish siesta, the 2- to 3-hour mid-day nap time many Spanish businesses and schools still observe. While outlawing nap time might sound like the kind of threat a mean Kindergarten teacher would make, Rajoy says he's actually trying to improve work-life balance by allowing workers to return home earlier, The Guardian reports.

Most Spanish employees work from between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and then again from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. This mid-day siesta was originally implemented, in part, to allow agricultural workers to rest during the hottest time of the day. However, today most employees just take a long lunch or go shopping. Rajoy says he hopes to end the siesta in order to end the workday at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.

In addition to allowing workers to go home earlier, the shift in scheduling would make picking up children from school a much simpler process, according to The Guardian. With the siesta in place, many parents end up having to pay for extra childcare or pick up and drop off children four times a day instead of just twice. Canceling the siesta tradition would bring the schedules of children and adults in line.

But the new plan wouldn't just be popular among parents. Mashable explains that many employees aren’t able to go home during siesta, and end up just waiting around for work to start up again. Ending siestas could not only give workers more control over their free time, but, according to some reports, could even improve productivity.

[h/t The Guardian]