A 4-Day Workweek: California Bill Looks to Cut Work Hours, Lengthen Weekends

A 4-Day Workweek: California Bill Looks to Cut Work Hours, Lengthen Weekends

If you’ve dreamed of a four-day workweek, it might become a reality after one California Congressman proposed his 32-hour Workweek Act to Congress.

According to CNBC, Rep. Mark Takano is calling for a shorter workweek for non-exempt workers in industries including leisure and hospitality, construction, retail, and more. “The serious conversations about the reduced workweek are happening for white-collar professions,” Rep. Takano said. “What my bill will do is spur conversation about how we democratize this norm to other sectors of the workforce so everybody benefits.”

Rep. Takano believes that cutting down on the 40-hour workweek will positively impact people. He shared, “a significant change which will increase the happiness of humankind. That’s a very big statement. But it was a big deal 100 years ago when we gave people the weekend by passing the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

“These are all part of the social justice discourse,” he said.

Less time at work during the week could result in more competition in the workplace. While employees might benefit from being able to negotiate higher pay from increased competition, not everyone is on board with Rep. Takano’s proposal. CNBC reported that critics think a 32-hour workweek is a “one-size fits all approach” that could complicate things for businesses that are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Critics worry that increased labor costs and shortages of staff could hit these businesses and HR professionals hard. Supporters of Rep. Takano’s proposal say businesses would be forced to hire more employees if the workweek is shortened.

Sixty-one businesses participated in a pilot program by 4 Day Week Global and reported improvements for roughly 3,000 UK employees. Rep. Takano said the next step is to “get more and more people understanding the arguments for it, to bring in the business executives and the employees who’ve experienced positive effects of a shorter workweek and begin to reduce the anxieties around change.”