Sanders Proposes Four-Day Workweek Bill with No Pay Reduction

Featured & Cover  Sanders Proposes Four Day Workweek Bill with No Pay Reduction

Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont has presented a bill proposing a standard four-day workweek across the United States, with no reduction in pay. The legislation aims to gradually decrease the threshold for overtime pay from the conventional 40 hours to 32 hours over a four-year span. Overtime compensation would be mandated at 1.5 times the regular salary for workdays exceeding 8 hours and at double the regular salary for workdays surpassing 12 hours. The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act guarantees that workers’ pay and benefits remain intact, as stated in a press release.

Sanders emphasizes the necessity of this bill, asserting that it aligns with the significant increase in productivity driven by advancements like artificial intelligence and automation. He argues that despite this surge in productivity, many Americans are toiling for extended hours with diminishing wages compared to previous decades. Sanders insists that it’s time for the benefits of technological progress to be shared with the working class, rather than being solely enjoyed by corporate executives and wealthy shareholders.

Joined by Senator Laphonza Butler from California, Sanders introduced the bill, while Representative Mark Takano introduced a corresponding bill in the House. Butler underscores the growing disparity between CEOs’ escalating salaries and the diminishing earnings of the American workforce. She sees the Thirty-Two-Hour Workweek Act as a means to afford hardworking Americans more time with their families while safeguarding their wages and ensuring equitable distribution of profits.

Takano echoes similar sentiments, describing the legislation as transformative for both workers and workplaces. As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Sanders introduced the bill before the committee’s scheduled hearing on the topic, where testimony from United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain is anticipated.

Sanders cites various pilot programs and research studies demonstrating improved productivity with a four-day workweek. These studies suggest that happier workers are not only more productive but also less prone to burnout. Additionally, Sanders points to other countries like France, Norway, and Denmark, which have already transitioned to shorter workweeks, with France contemplating a move to a 32-hour workweek.

The proposal comes in the wake of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which initially established a 44-hour workweek, later phased into the 40-hour workweek standard still in place today.

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