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Massachusetts lawmakers want to test a 4-day workweek

Photo: Fokusiert/iStockphoto

Boston — New legislation in Massachusetts would establish a two-year pilot program to study the impacts of a four-day workweek on workers and employers.

Known as the Massachusetts Smart Work Week Pilot, the voluntary program would allow all or some workers in participating organizations to transition to a reduced work schedule – without reducing workers’ overall pay, status or benefits. Participating employers would agree to regular reporting (via employee surveys, interviews, economic data and other means) to aid in the study. In return, they could qualify for a tax credit.

The bill is sponsored by Reps. Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury) and Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth).

According to a press release from Cutler’s office, priority would be given to ensure qualifying employers “hail from a diverse size, occupation, industry sector and geographical location, and include participation of veteran-, women- and minority-owned businesses and businesses owned by persons with disabilities.” Employers would have to have at least 15 employees to be eligible to participate.

If enacted, the bill would require the application process to begin within one year. Applicants would have to submit a detailed proposal on establishing and implementing a four-day workweek in their entire workforce or in a certain division of the workforce.

After the pilot concluded, two House committees would be tasked with publishing online a final report on the study’s findings.

“In this era of tight labor markets, we need to get creative to keep our economy growing,” said Cutler, chair of the House Labor and Workforce Development Joint Committee. “This bill creates new incentives for Massachusetts businesses to explore shifting to a four-day workweek, which can offer a myriad of benefits, including boosting worker satisfaction and productivity and reducing absenteeism and commuting time.”

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