The “Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act” has been reintroduced in the House by Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) in an effort to shorten the standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours. The bill proposes amending the Fair Labor Standards Act to reduce the workweek by eight hours for non-exempt employees, who are currently entitled to overtime pay if they work over 40 hours a week.
If passed, the law would either lead to shorter workweeks or increased overtime pay for hourly workers. While the legislation would not immediately affect salaried workers in office and tech jobs, Takano believes it would contribute to a culture shift across all sectors.
The bill must pass through the House Education and the Workforce Committee to advance. Republican Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, the committee’s chair, expressed her opposition to the legislation, arguing that blanket federal regulations often cause more harm than good.
First introduced in July 2021, the bill stalled in the Committee on Education and the Workforce. With Republicans now in control of the House, the path forward for the legislation remains uncertain.
Supporters of the bill point to early studies of four-day workweeks that show improvements in workers’ quality of life without sacrificing productivity. They argue that the workweek’s length has not changed since 1940, despite technological advancements that have increased output across industries.
The bill is endorsed by 4 Day Week Global, a nonprofit that helps companies implement shorter workweeks, as well as several labor unions.
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