Spain is trying to kill the siesta

spain time zone
Spain has essentially been using the 'wrong' time zone for over 70 years, leading to longer work days and later meals.

Spain is hoping to kill off its famed "siesta" naps by moving to a new time zone.

Labor minister Fátima Báñez has this week revived a proposal to change the country's clocks, saying the move would help ensure the working day ended at 6 p.m. and give workers more time with their families. It's expected the move would boost worker productivity.

Spain has flirted with a change for years because the country's clocks don't jive with when the sun rises and sets, leading to longer work days.

Spain's long-time dictator Francisco Franco moved the country's clocks forward an hour to Central European Time in the early 1940s to align with Nazi Germany. But the change has stuck for more than 70 years.

This long-lasting quirk means Spanish workers tend to wake up in the dark, take mid-day siestas -- aka naps -- and eat late dinners. Bedtime for Spaniards can be well after midnight -- which means less sleep and lower productivity.

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A 2013 government report said the status quo doesn't give people enough evening time with their families.

Báñez wants Spain to revert one hour to Greenwich Mean Time -- in line with the U.K.

The latest push is part of a wider move to overhaul the Spanish labor market.

The country's unemployment rate is currently just above 19%, the second worst in Europe behind Greece.

Still, that's an improvement from 2013, when the rate surpassed 25%. Since then, well over 1.5 million new jobs have been created.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that even though Spanish growth has zoomed higher, more work needs to be done. It expects the economy to be held back in 2017 by "feeble productivity growth and high structural unemployment."

-- Samuel Burke contributed to this report.

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