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Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act reintroduced in House

Photo: Dragon Claws/iStockphoto

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

The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act (H.R. 1332) would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to reduce the threshold for overtime pay for nonexempt employees. It wouldn’t limit or change how many hours an employee may work during a week. 

“The majority of workers impacted would be nonexempt, hourly workers,” a press release from Takano’s office states, “but some salaried workers fall under the scope of the bill’s provisions. This legislation has the potential to increase wage-earning opportunities for a larger number of workers by limiting the number of hours required to reach the full-time threshold, as well as allow for better work-life balance and overall health outcomes.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). According to the release, the legislation is backed by 4 Day Week Global, the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the Economic Policy Institute, the National Employment Law Project, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“We have before us the opportunity to make commonsense changes to work standards passed down from a different era,” Takano said. “The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act would improve the quality of life of workers, meeting the demand for a more truncated workweek that allows room to live, play and enjoy life more fully outside of work.”

Takano’s bill (H.R. 4728) in the 117th Congress, introduced in July 2021, didn’t advance out of the House Education and Labor Committee. The current bill has been referred to the renamed House Education and the Workforce Committee, which is now under Republican control. 

A recent 32-hour workweek study out of England involving 60 organizations showed positive results, including fewer sick days taken, better employee retention and no decrease in company revenue. 

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