The Congressional Progressive Caucus is putting its weight behind a measure that could fundamentally alter Americans’ traditional workweek.
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) said in a statement the nearly 100-member group formally endorsed the “32-Hour Workweek Act,” noting the measure is a move “toward a modern-day business model that prioritizes productivity, fair pay, and an improved quality of life for workers across the country.”
“After a nearly two-year-long pandemic that forced millions of people to explore remote work options, it’s safe to say that we can’t – and shouldn’t – simply go back to normal, because normal wasn’t working,” Takano added.
Takano first introduced the measure in July, which reportedly garnered endorsements from several labor unions. The bill would not eliminate 40-work weeks altogether, but it will require employers to offer employees overtime pay after 32 hours.
Groups across several countries have experimented with the shortened work week, with some showing positive signs. A major study of the four-day workweek in Iceland was declared a “major success” in a report issued by the think tank Alda and Autonomy.
“Participating workers took on fewer hours and enjoyed greater well-being, improved work-life balance and a better cooperative spirit in the workplace — all while maintaining existing standards of performance and productivity,” the report read.
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Meanwhile, caucus chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said Takano’s bill could put power back in the hands of American workers whose wages have stagnated over decades.
“For far too long, workers across this country have been forced to put in longer hours as their wages barely budge,” Jayapal said.
“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 continued. “The 32-hour work week would go a long way toward finally righting that balance.”
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