New bill proposes 32-hour workweek for Americans
A new bill called the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act123 has been introduced in Congress with the aim of reducing the standard workweek for Americans from 40 hours to 32 hours. Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) sponsored the bill, which was also co-sponsored by 12 other Democrats. The bill proposes a three-year phase-in period, starting with a 36-hour workweek in 2022, followed by a 34-hour workweek in 2023, and finally a 32-hour workweek in 2024. Employers would be required to pay overtime wages for any hours worked beyond eight hours per day or 32 hours per week.
The primary goal of the bill is to improve workers’ well-being, productivity, and creativity, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create more jobs. According to Takano, studies have shown that shorter workweeks can lead to better health outcomes, lower stress levels, higher job satisfaction, and increased efficiency.
However, the bill faces opposition from business groups and Republicans who argue that it would place an unfair burden on employers and negatively impact economic growth. They suggest that forcing employers to pay more for overtime would increase labor costs and discourage hiring. Some also question whether workers would truly benefit from having less income and more leisure time.
The bill is currently under review by the House Committee on Education and Labor but is unlikely to pass in the current Congress due to the slim Democratic majority and lack of bipartisan support.