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32 Hour Work Week: No loss of pay for workers under proposal

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Sen. Bernie Sanders Proposes Revolutionary 32-Hour Workweek Bill for Better Work-Life Balance

In an ambitious move, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a groundbreaking bill on Wednesday aimed at establishing a four-day workweek across the United States, without any cut to workers’ salaries. Named the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act, this proposal seeks to redefine the traditional work structure by reducing the standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours, ensuring overtime pay for hours beyond this limit.

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Over a planned period of four years, the bill outlines a progressive reduction in the threshold for overtime eligibility, guaranteeing time-and-a-half pay for workdays extending beyond 8 hours and double pay for those surpassing 12 hours. This legislation is designed to safeguard workers’ earnings and benefits, marking a significant stride towards redistributing the gains of technological advancements such as artificial intelligence and automation from the elite to the working class.

Sanders, alongside Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), who has introduced a companion bill in the House, emphasized the necessity for workers to partake in the prosperity their productivity has generated. This move comes at a time when American laborers are experiencing heightened productivity, yet many find themselves in a cycle of increased work hours with diminishing returns.

The introduction of the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act precedes a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing, chaired by Sanders, which will delve into this topic with insights from various experts, including United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain.

Sanders highlighted the positive outcomes of pilot programs and studies which show that a shortened workweek boosts productivity and employee satisfaction, citing examples from countries like France, Norway, and Denmark that have embraced shorter working hours.

This bill stands as a testament to a growing acknowledgment of the need for a better work-life balance, proposing a transformative shift in how work is valued and compensated in the modern era.

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