In March of this year, California Congressman, Mark Takano, reintroduced the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act bill in hopes for it to gain speed after successful implementation in parts of the UK, Japan, Spain, New Zealand and other countries.
It sounds to good to be true. But to Takano, this long overdue change will “improve the quality of life of workers, meeting the demand for a more truncated workweek that allows room to live, play, and enjoy life more fully outside of work.” Here, here!
While Americans have certainly adopted a global title as “workaholics” and people who “live to work,” promising results from a recent four-day workweek pilot in the UK convinced employers that the shorter week actually meant happier employees and improved productivity. 15% of those employees said no amount of money would convince them to work a 40-hour week ever again.
Even better, 92% of the companies that tested the 32-hour workweek in the UK pilot program adopted it permanently after completing the 6-month study that ran from June to December of 2022.
Massachusetts Four-day workweek
Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering a pilot program of their own come 2025, and the proposal on how to implement the program has already been outlined. Bill co-sponsor Representative Josh Cutler of Duxbury notes the bill would be introduced in 2025 and test the economic impact of a four-day workweek.
Workers get 100% of their pay working 80% of the time but maintain 100% of their output.
The program is not mandatory, but businesses who do opt-in will receive a tax break from the state. “The state’s Office of Labor and Workforce Development would screen and select volunteering companies with diverse workforces and ownership interests in different parts of the state,” said recent reports.
You think about all the changes in technology and productivity since 1940, and yet there’s been no corresponding shift away from that workload, Cutler told Axios.
What is the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act?
The separate Congress bill, officially called the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act was first introduced in 2021 as an obvious move. Takano said, “‘we have before us the opportunity to make common sense changes to work standards passed down from a different era.”
There is no info yet on if and when this bill is predicted to be passed, but it is likely that California might be one of the first states to implement the suggestion and hopefully a nationwide adoption after.