California lawmaker proposes 4-day workweek and overtime pay after 32 hours

Beth Torres

A bill introduced by Rep. Mark Takano of California would have the United States adopt a 32-hour workweek as the national standard. The bill is called The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act.

If approved, it would amend the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 to reduce the definition of a full-time workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours for non-exempt employees. Non-exempt employees who work more than four full days or eight hours per day would be entitled to overtime pay.

Hourly workers and some salaried workers would be the ones who would be most affected by this new legislation. Typically, this includes workers in retail, hospitality and leisure, transportation, manufacturing, and construction.

Takano has been a proponent of the 4-day workweek for quite some time. In this video from last year, ABC News interviewed the congressman on the topic:

What those in favor of a 4-day workweek have to say

Takano says that his bill would promote work-life balance, increase productivity, reduce stress and burnout, and enable workers to spend more time on their health and caring for their families.

The California congressman also argues that a shorter workweek would create more job opportunities and income for workers.

In a recent press release, Takano claims the legislation has the potential to increase wages by limiting the number of hours needed to reach full-time status. Any hours over this new 32-hour threshold would require employers to pay their employees a higher overtime pay rate.

The bill has been endorsed by several labor unions and advocacy groups, such as the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

You can read the text of the bill by going to the "Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act."

Critics say law has significant drawbacks

Not everyone is on board with a 32-hour workweek law. The bill faces opposition from some business groups and lawmakers who claim that it would hurt economic growth, competitiveness, and innovation.

Some critics argue that it would hurt productivity and slash business revenues by imposing a "one-size-fits-all" approach that does not account for different industries and occupations.

They also claim that it would reduce competitiveness and innovation by limiting the flexibility and creativity of workers and employers. Some critics also question the economic impact it would have on businesses that are already struggling with staffing shortages and high labor costs.

What do you think about a 4-day workweek?

Do you agree that it would help with work-life balance and benefit workers overall? Or do you think there are too many drawbacks that could negatively impact businesses and the economy?

We’d like to know your thoughts, so feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section. And if you enjoyed this article, please share it with others and give it a thumbs up. Thanks so much for reading!

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