32 Hour Work Week: A New Norm?

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Story by News Editor Ellie Youngs

Earlier this month, Congress was introduced to a bill that would put a 32 hour work week in practice if passed. California Representative Mark Takano reintroduced the bill to Congress, and if passed, it would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and officially reduce the standard work week from 40 hours to 32 hours. This proposal would mandate overtime pay for anything over 32 hours worked which would encourage businesses to either pay workers more money for longer working hours or shorten employees’ work week and hire more workers.

Representative Takano said that he believes passing this bill would contribute to a culture shift across a multitude of industries. He mentioned that Panasonic made the switch to a 32 hour work week, and companies like Kickstart are also campaigning for this movement to become a reality in the workplace. 

In order to become a reality, this bill would need to be passed through the House of Education and the Workforce Committee. This bill was originally introduced in July of 2021, and it was referred to the House of Education and the Workforce Committee, however, nothing ever came of it beyond that point. 

Proponents of this bill have said that studies conducted on the four day work week have concluded that there is potential for significant improvements in workers quality of life without diminishing productivity; this is largely due to the technological advancements made over the past few decades. 

This bill has been endorsed by multiple labor unions, as well as 4 Day Week Global, a nonprofit organization that aids companies in implementing shorter work weeks.