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Congressman Reintroduces 32-hour Workweek As U.S. Law

March 15, 2023 | By Kali Girl

Rep. Mark Takano, representing California’s 39th district, made headlines by reintroducing the 32-hour Workweek Act to Congress reports CNBC. If this move becomes legislation, it will officially redefine the traditional workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act.

This proposal seeks to ensure that overtime pay is mandatory for any work performed after 32 hours. Businesses would be encouraged to either compensate their employees with higher wages for extended hours or shorten their workweek while creating more employment opportunities.

The bill is designed specifically for non-exempt workers, including a wide range of industries such as leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, transportation, retail trade construction, and wholesale.

Takano stated, “The serious conversations about the reduced workweek are happening for white-collar professions. What my bill will do is spur conversation about how we democratize this norm to other sectors of the workforce, so everybody benefits.”

He added that he’s passionate about the 32-hour workweek to bring about “a significant change which will increase the happiness of humankind. That’s a very big statement. But it was a big deal 100 years ago when we gave people the weekend by passing the Fair Labor Standards Act,” which established a 40-hour workweek and created other worker protections. “These are all part of the social justice discourse.”

Not everyone is for the “one-size-fits-all approach.”  Critics of the bill are concerned that this move would further impair staffing shortages and increase labor cost.

With the bill currently back in Congress, Takano stated, the next step is to “get more and more people understanding the arguments for it, to bring in the business executives and the employees who’ve experienced positive effects of a shorter workweek and begin to reduce the anxieties around change.”

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