California lawmaker pushes for 4-day work week

A representative in California is pushing to reduce the current standard 40-hour work week to 32-hours, saying that the pandemic has highlighted the fact that most people spend more time at work and less time with loved ones.

"After a nearly two-year-long pandemic that forced millions of people to explore remote work options, it’s safe to say that we can’t – and shouldn’t – simply go back to normal, because normal wasn’t working," said Congressman Mark Takano (D-Riverside), who introduced the legislation last month. "People were spending more time at work, less time with loved ones, their health and well-being was worsening, and all the while, their pay has remained stagnant. 

The legislation would reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours by lowering the maximum hours threshold for overtime compensation for non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

The legislation is still awaiting a vote.

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Some countries have already adopted the four-day week. 

Trials of a four-day workweek held in Iceland were deemed an "overwhelming success" by researchers, who said the results showed "the transformative positive effects of a shorter working week for both employees and businesses alike."

Productivity and service remained the same or improved across the majority of trial workplaces, the report said. 

At the same time, the wellbeing of workers "dramatically increased across a range of indicators, from perceived stress and burnout, to health and work-life balance."