Are we headed for a four-day workweek? New Congress legislation gaining steam

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LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — A four-day workweek seems like a dream for some Americans, but a new proposal in Congress may make that reality.

The possibility is there and the mindset is changing fast — even without legislation, a four-day week is already normal for a lot of American workers, and many employers are touting the results with no drop and even improvements in productivity.

The four-day workweek push has been gaining steam since the pandemic upended how, where, and where many Americans do their jobs.

The proposed legislation introduced this week by California Congressman Mark Takano seeks to reduce the national standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours. He cites known benefits for both employees and employers.

Alex Pang, a consultant who helps employers to make the transition, says changes to improve efficiency can greatly boost productivity, and with more downtime, employees are much healthier and happier. He says it also leads to less turnover.

“It makes the whole enterprise in people’s careers and lives just more sustainable. So that success ceases to be a kind of arms race against burnout and becomes something that you can think about and enjoy for a longer period of your life,” Pang explained.

“They started to get more efficient and very laser-focused on what we were working on. Meaning, that they knew we didn’t have a lot of extra time for any kind of fluff. We did the same amount of work but in four days,” said Amy Porterfield, who owns amyporterfield.com.

The four-day week is actually a global phenomenon — positive results are reported at companies in Japan and New Zealand. Meanwhile, trials are planned in Spain and Scotland. In Iceland, reduced hours are now permanent for about 15% of the workforce there.

The trial results also show that employees used fewer sick days. Companies say that because employees are getting an extra day, they could do things like attending their doctor’s appointments, and they use fewer sick days because they don’t need to.

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