Progressives in Congress Back Bill to Create 4-Day Workweek

The Congressional Progressive Caucus is backing a bill that would create a four-day workweek, Insider reports.

The CPC this week endorsed the “32-Hour Workweek Act” in response to decades of falling wages.

"For far too long, workers across this country have been forced to put in longer hours as their wages barely budge," CPC Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal said in a statement.

"It is past time that we put people and communities over corporations and their profits — finally prioritizing the health, wellbeing, and basic human dignity of the working class rather than their employers' bottom line," Jayapal said. "The 32-hour work week would go a long way toward finally righting that balance."

The bill would lower the overtime threshold for overtime pay from 40 hours to 32 hours under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Countries like Spain, Iceland, Japan, and New Zealand have also launched pilot programs experimenting with reduced work hours.

Labor groups back bill:

The bill was introduced in July by California Rep. Mark Takano with the backing of unions like the AFL-CIO, SEIU, and UFCW.

“At a time when the nature of work is rapidly changing, it’s incumbent upon us to explore all possible means of ensuring our modern business model prioritizes productivity, fair pay, and an improved quality of life for workers,” Takano said at the time.

ACL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that “reducing overall working time without any reduction in pay – through shorter workdays and a four-day workweek – makes all the sense in the world because it spreads work hours to more workers and minimizes unemployment.”

Economists endorse:

The Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, also endorsed the legislation.

“Work hours are highly unequal. Millions of people want to work more hours to earn more income while others want to work less to achieve a healthier work/life balance,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “A 32-hour work week will directly help those trying to achieve greater work/life balance, while freeing up hours that can be picked up by involuntarily part-time workers. In addition to that, shorter work weeks have important environmental benefits. Reducing Americans’ average work week is a key step towards achieving a better society.”

 

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