Spanish telecoms firm Telefónica is set to offer long-serving staff aged over 53, the opportunity to stay at home, and not work, on 68 per cent of their salary.
The company is attempting to reduce its wage bill and staff who meet this criteria will be given the option of stopping work in return for receiving just over two-thirds of their salary until the day that they retire.
Spain is still struggling to overcome the after effects of the economic crisis and unemployment rates, especially among younger people, remain stubbornly high. As part of a new pay and working conditions agreement negotiated with Spanish unions in July 2015, eligible staff will remain under contract while the company continues to pay their social security and private health contributions up until they turn 65.
Up to 7,000 people will be eligible for the voluntary Individual Suspension Plan, which will runs until the end of 2017, and are, at anytime, free to return to full-time work.
Telefónica expects the scheme to bring in €370m (£280m) worth of savings.