The four-day workweek bill is back, but will it garner enough support from lawmakers this time around?
Democratic Congressman Mark Takano of California has reintroduced the 32-Hour Workweek Act.
The legislation aims to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and reduce the standard workweek from five days to four days with no change to employee pay.
Rep. Takano says it’s a necessary culture shift that would give American workers more time for family, leisure and education.
“Workers across the nation are collectively reimagining their relationship to labor — and our laws need to follow suit,” Takano said. “We have before us the opportunity to make common sense changes to work standards passed down from a different era.”
The proposed bill would require employers to pay overtime to employees who log more than 32 hours. It would also provide flexibility for workers to adjust their schedules to meet their needs.
Researchers in the U.K. recently conducted a four-day workweek study involving nearly 3,000 workers from 61 companies. The results showed 39% of employees were less stressed, 62% said it was easier to balance work with their social lives, and 55% reported an increase in their productivity at work.
Meanwhile, company revenue remained broadly the same over the trial period, rising by 1.4% on average.
Of the 61 companies that participated, 56 said they are continuing with the four-day workweek and 18 are making it a permanent policy change.
The 32-Hour Workweek Act has garnered support from several labor unions and rights groups.
History shows that the bold change we are seeking IS attainable. Only a century ago, it wasn’t uncommon for workers to work six days a week. Rapid innovations in technology and increases in worker productivity means it’s time to take the next step and embrace a #32hourworkweek.
— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) March 1, 2023
“It’s vital that health, well-being and basic human dignity are valued over employers’ bottom lines. Establishing a 32-hour work week would go a long way toward finally righting that balance,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “And as new data from a recent pilot program show, the 32-hour work week is not only good for workers — it’s good for companies too.”
The bill wouldn’t place any limits on the number of hours that an employee may work, but changes the definition of the workweek in federal law and lowers the number of required hours to be considered a full-time employee.
The bill is expected to be referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor, where it will be debated and possibly amended before it can be brought to Congress for a vote.
By Gage Jackson, Scripps News.