Bill to make the 4-day workweek the national standard reintroduced

The four-day work week bill is back, but will it get enough support from lawmakers this time?

Democratic Congressman Mark Takano of California reintroduced the 32-Hour Workweek Law.

The legislation is intended to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and reduce the standard workweek from five days to four days with no change in employee pay.

Rep. Takano says it’s a necessary cultural change that would give American workers more time for family, leisure and education.

“Workers across the country are collectively reinventing their relationship with work, and our laws must do the same,” Takano said. “The opportunity is before us to make common sense changes to labor standards inherited 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 UK recently conducted a four-day workweek study involving almost 3,000 workers from 61 companies. The results showed that 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, the company’s revenue remained broadly flat during the test period, increasing 1.4% on average.

Of the 61 companies that participated, 56 said they are continuing the four-day workweek and 18 are making it a permanent policy change.

The 32-Hour Workweek Law has gained support from various unions and rights groups.

“It is vital that health, well-being and basic human dignity are valued above the bottom line for employers. Establishing a 32-hour work week would go a long way toward finally correcting that balance,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “And as new data from a recent pilot program shows, the 32-hour workweek isn’t just good for workers, it’s good for businesses, too.”

The bill would not place limits on the number of hours an employee can work, but it changes the definition of the work week in federal law and reduces the number of hours required to be considered a full-time employee.

The bill is expected to be referred to the House Labor and Education Committee, where it will be debated and possibly amended before it can be brought to Congress for a vote.

By Gage Jackson, Scripps News.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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