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A four-day workweek? Union-backed bill introduced in House

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Washington — Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) has sponsored legislation that would reduce the standard 40-hour workweek to 32 hours.

Introduced July 27 and referred to the House Education and Labor Committee the same day, H.R. 4728 would lower the threshold for overtime compensation for nonexempt employees in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

A press release from Takano’s office highlights shorter workweek pilot programs run by governments and businesses around the world that have “shown promising results, as productivity climbed and workers reported better work-life balance, less need to take sick days, heightened morale, and lower child care expenses because they had more time with their family and children.” Other potential benefits cited: reduced health care premiums for employers, lower operational costs for businesses and positive environmental impacts.

 

“Many countries and businesses that have experimented with a four-day workweek found it to be an overwhelming success as productivity grew and wages increased,” Takano said. “After the COVID-19 pandemic left so many millions of Americans unemployed or underemployed, a shorter workweek will allow more people to participate in the labor market at better wages. I look forward to continuing the work on this issue so that people may experience the best possible working conditions – the working conditions they deserve.”

The AFL-CIO, the Economic Policy Institute, Service Employees International Union, the National Employment Law Project, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union are among the organizations that have endorsed the legislation.

The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

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