A congressional bill to reduce working days to 4 days a week

A congressional bill to reduce working days to 4 days a week

Could America soon have a 4-day work week? The latest in federal law in Congress

Democratic Rep. Mark Takano, who represents California's 39th district, introduced another bill to reduce the federal 40-hour work week to Congress earlier this month.

“Workers across the country are collectively reimagining their relationship to work — and our laws must follow suit,” Takano said in a statement. "We have an opportunity to make logical changes to work standards that have been passed down from a different era."

The standard 40-hour work week was first introduced in 1938 and is known as the Fair Labor Standards Act. The new thirty-hour work week law, which Takano reintroduced, would not only reduce the standard work week for non-exempt employees, but would demand overtime compensation at one and a half times the usual rate of pay per hour worked for more than 32 hours — something it's not keen on. Society for Human Resource Management achieve.

Is a 4 day work week possible?

The bill was first sponsored by Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Jan Schakowski to join the committee in 2022, but the bill received backlash from SHRM for its one-size-fits-all approach that would reduce flexibility for employees and employers.

“Fortunately, there are better ways to enhance employee work-life integration and attract and retain outstanding talent,” Emily Dickens, CEO and Head of Government Affairs at SHRM, said in a 2022 statement. SHRM research shows that 32 percent of organizations already offer a compressed work week. Others have implemented flexible shifts, shift work, part-time schedules, and job sharing. That flexibility, which varies according to industry and organizational size, will be threatened.”

If implemented, Takano said, it would enhance competition for jobs and allow employees bargaining power for better benefits. It is also expected to coincide with the refocusing of Americans on family over work that has occurred in recent years, allowing people to "live, play and fully enjoy life outside of work," he said.

The non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global sponsors pilot programs like the one in the UK and supports the bill put forward by Takano - along with many other organizations and individuals.

“This law reflects the growing movement towards reduced working hours. Emerging research confirms the irrefutable case that 4 days a week brings positive benefits to organizations, individuals and society,” said Dale Whelihan, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, in a statement. 

Heidi Schierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute, agreed, adding in a statement: "This bill will help protect workers from the harmful effects of burnout by recognizing the need to redefine norms around the work week."

"Reducing the standard work week for Americans is key to achieving a healthier, more equitable society," Schierholz concluded.

Reducing working hours has been a major movement, which has been tested in the UK with results of increased productivity, lower turnover rates and increased job satisfaction.

The bill is currently in committee.

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