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California lawmakers introduced a bill that would shorten the workweek to 32 hours for those working in companies with over 500 employees. 

Assembly Bill 2932 was proposed by state lawmakers seeking to amend the state’s overtime pay law to redefine a “workweek” for employers with over 500 employees but maintain a full workday as eight hours of labor. According to the proposed bill, identified employers would compensate employees that work more than 32 hours per week at 1 ½ time the employee’s regular rate of pay. 

Existing law generally defines “workweek” for these purposes and requires that work over 40 hours in a workweek. Some employers who have already tested out a four-day workweek say it has led to an increase in productivity and profits, while others reported employees felt like they let their teammates down. 

The bill was introduced by Christina Garcia (D-Los Angeles), but the concept of a 32-hour workweek is hardly new. In July 2021, California congressman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced the 32-Hour Workweek Act, which would lower the maximum hour threshold for overtime compensation for non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

“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. People were spending more time at work, less time with loved ones, their health and well-being were worsening, and all the while, their pay has remained stagnant,” Takano said. 

Tanaka's bill garnered the support of the 100- member Congressional Progressive Caucus, who say it would improve work-life balance. 

Iceland tested and found success in a 35-36 shorter workweek. In 2019, Microsoft in Japan trialed the four-day work week, finding increased productivity measured by sales by almost 40 percent compared to the same time frame in the previous year. 

 

 

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