Progressive Lawmakers Signal Support for Four-Day Workweek Proposal

Because the motion for a shorter workweek beneficial properties steam throughout the nation, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) has endorsed a Home invoice that may set up a 32-hour workweek because the nationwide commonplace for full-time work.

The proposal was filed earlier this year by caucus member Rep. Mark Takano (D-California) and would shorten the usual workweek by decreasing the brink for additional time compensation from 40 hours to 32 hours. With commonplace eight-hour workdays, this could translate to a four-day workweek.

Although the proposal stands little likelihood of passing Congress, the caucus’s assist is a sign that progressives lawmakers are listening to the calls for of the labor motion, which has fought to shorten the workweek for centuries and infrequently succeeded. The CPC has almost 100 members, together with 96 Home members and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

Takano mentioned he was happy that the caucus endorsed his invoice, including that the measure would result in an “improved high quality of life for staff.”

“After an almost two-year-long pandemic that pressured thousands and thousands of individuals to discover distant work choices, it’s protected to say that we will’t – and shouldn’t – merely return to regular, as a result of regular wasn’t working,” Takano mentioned. “Individuals had been spending extra time at work, much less time with family members, their well being and well-being was worsening, and all of the whereas, their pay has remained stagnant.”

CPC chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) praised the invoice, equally highlighting stagnant wages. “It’s previous time that we put individuals and communities over firms and their income — lastly prioritizing the well being, wellbeing, and fundamental human dignity of the working class moderately than their employers’ backside line,” she mentioned.

The 40-hour workweek was received by the labor motion in the early 20th century as a response to grueling working circumstances in the course of the Industrial Revolution. By 1890, staff had been routinely working via exploitative circumstances and 100-hour weeks the place they got both sooner or later off or none in any respect. Employees in trade unions blazed a path for the 40-hour workweek, which was applied by the Truthful Labor Requirements Act of 1938 and which stays the usual to at the present time.

Practically 90 years later, labor advocates say that the five-day, 40-hour workweek has change into outdated. Not solely can trendy labor practices and automation speed up work, pilot packages in other countries have found that shorter workweeks truly improve productiveness.

Whereas the 4-day workweek proposal wouldn’t apply to gig staff and staff who are exempt from overtime, the proposal might dramatically change work tradition within the U.S. and spark actions amongst exempt staff to demand comparable change inside their very own workplaces. A shorter workweek might additionally release hours for organizing coworkers for collective bargaining and enhancing different working circumstances.

Analysis has proven that on common, American staff spend extra time at work than staff in comparable nations. Analyzing knowledge from 2019, the People’s Policy Project found that not solely are American staff squeezed tougher than these in different nations, but additionally that overworking is inefficient, as Individuals work extra hours than staff in nations with a comparable Gross Home Product. That is partially on account of a piece tradition and political system that values capitalistic output and supposed productiveness over every little thing else — nearly solely on the expense of the working class.

Analysis has demonstrated the large physical and mental toll of overworking; in Could, a study found that almost 750,000 individuals world wide die every year on account of coronary heart illness and strokes introduced on by lengthy working hours, making overworking and burnout a matter of life and death. After all, conservative lawmakers have proven no real interest in resolving these points, as a substitute glorifying measures like work necessities for individuals to entry assets they should survive.

Whereas a four-day workweek wouldn’t remedy widespread points of exploitation, labor advocates say it’s a crucial step towards a more healthy work tradition within the U.S. Work usually extends far past the time that somebody is definitely on the clock, advocates have identified — workplaces stressors usually creep into individuals’s private lives, making days off little greater than time to recuperate earlier than clocking in once more.

“The advantages of a four-day workweek to us as people and our work tradition are clear: higher bodily and psychological well being, fewer burnt-out workers, extra equitable office outcomes, and so forth,” Austin Cole, board member at 4 Day Week US, wrote for Truthout. “However to me, a discount of working hours for a similar pay isn’t about these advantages — it’s basically about justice.”