One California congressman wants to make the four-day workweek a federal law.
Rep. Mark Takano, a Democrat representing California’s 39th congressional district, which includes Riverside County, reintroduced the 32-Hour Workweek Act. This bill would reduce the standard 40-hour workweek to 32 hours by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The bill would also mandate overtime pay for any work done after 32 hours and applies to non-exempt employees who typically work hourly jobs in various sectors, including transportation, wholesale and retail.
The legislation was initially introduced by Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.
“Workers across the nation are collectively reimagining their relationship to labor – and our laws need to follow suit,” Rep. Takano said in a statement.
“We have before us the opportunity to make common sense changes to work standards passed down from a different era. The 32-Hour Workweek Act would improve workers’ quality of life, meeting the demand for a truncated workweek that allows room to live, play, and enjoy life more fully outside of work.”
The bill encourages employers to pay employees overtime for any work done after the 32-hour mark or hire more employees to help manage the workload.
The U.K. recently wrapped up a four-day workweek pilot program. Most companies that participated in the trial program said they would keep the four-day workweek schedule, the Associated Press reported.
However, critics of the bill say that a four-day workweek “one size fits all” model won’t be sustainable for all businesses.
Emily M. Dickens, chief of staff and head of government affairs at the Society for Human Resource Management, issued a statement opposing the bill when it was introduced in the California legislature last year.
“SHRM believes in workplace flexibility that works for both employees and employers. We oppose this legislation because of its one-size-fits-all approach, which requires large organizations to pay overtime for any work in excess of 32 hours without reducing an employee’s regular pay rate,” Dickens said in a statement.
“This bill would also create a significant logistical burden for human resource professionals, especially at companies with operations in multiple states.”
The bill still has a long way from becoming a federal law since the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate still need to approve the legislation before it makes its way to President Biden’s desk.