A Congressman Just Introduced Legislation for a Four-Day Workweek

Some members of Congress don't like the five-day workweek, as do some others. This week, Rep. Mark Takano of California introduced groundbreaking legislation meant to make four-day workweeks the norm in the US, instead of the Monday-through-Friday grind full-time workers have learned to accept as inevitable . Advertisement In a statement, Takano said that many countries and businesses have tried a four-day work week and found it to be a huge success. Productivity grew and wages increased. He said that, especially after the pandemic in America that left many Americans without jobs and uncertain about their financial futures a shorter work week would enable more people to take part in the labor market for better wages. Takano devised a clever method to convert the traditional 5-day, 40-hour workweek to a 4-day and 32-hour workweek. His legislation would reduce the overtime pay threshold under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA, a federal labor law that was passed in the 1930s, gives workers across the nation the right to a minimum salary and time-and-a half overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. Takanos' proposal to lower the threshold for overtime eligibility argues that more people will be able access that sweet, sweet overtime pay currently only available to those who work more than 40 hours per semaine. Takano continued, "I am introducing legislation to reduce the standard working week to 32 hours." Takano said. This cannot be accepted as our reality. Around the globe, the idea of a 32-hour week has gained momentum. John McDonnell, then a senior chancellor in the UK's Labour Party, stated that a 32-hour work week was possible within the next decade. Spain recently invested 50 million euros (roughly $60 millions USD) in a pilot program for a four-day workweek across the country. The Spanish government will fund companies that require assistance in switching to the 32-hour workweek over the next three-years. If it succeeds, the country will be the first to adopt the four-day standard at the national level. This is in addition to the similar, but already successful, trials that we have seen in New Zealand, Japan, Iceland and Japan. The proposed legislation from California will face a difficult battle before it is approved by the Senate. It still needs to be reviewed and approved by the House of Representatives, all the regular parts of the process of making a bill law. There will be those who are going to be angry at Takanos decision to concentrate on FLSA, which does not apply to certain workers like contractors and gig workers. A bill like this might at least encourage employers to reconsider their weekend policy.


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