Attention FAE Customers:
Please be aware that NASBA credits are awarded based on whether the events are webcast or in-person, as well as on the number of CPE credits.
Please check the event registration page to see if NASBA credits are being awarded for the programs you select.

Want to save this page for later?


Four-Day Workweek Bill Reintroduced in Congress

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Mar 8, 2023


Has the time come, at last, for the United States adopt a four-day workweek? It may have, if a California member of Congress has his way, The Washington Post reported.

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.)’s bill, a reintroduction of one he first proposed in 2021, would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours per week. It has the backing of advocacy group 4 Day Week Global, which recently reported the results of British pilot project that demonstrated support for a shortened workweek.

Also in support of the measure are labor unions such as the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), as well as the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the National Employment Law Project (NELP). 

“Workers across the nation are collectively reimagining their relationship to labor—and our laws need to follow suit,” Takano said in a statement. “We have before us the opportunity to make common sense changes to work standards passed down from a different era. The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act would improve the quality of life of workers, meeting the demand for a more truncated workweek that allows room to live, play, and enjoy life more fully outside of work.”  

In an interview, Takano told the Post that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent Great Resignation convinced him and his staff that this was the right time to reintroduce the bill. “People began to get serious about what they really wanted to do in life, and people had more flexibility in their jobs,” he said. “People like it and still want it.”

Takano noted that in 1956, then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon foresaw a four-day workweek. Takano told the Post that, in his travels to other countries, “this workforce issue of more flexibility and a better work life balance … is a trend happening in other countries, not just in the United States.”  He cited the improvement of that work life balance “so that health and happiness can all be increased without reducing how productive we are” as a benefit.

Takano was also aware of the barriers to implementing a 32-hour workweek. The biggest one, he said, is: “How do we make sure we move to lesser hours but not less compensation? How is that going to work?” In intellectual occupations, “I think people can get that increasing the number of hours you work doesn’t necessarily increase your output,” he said. For other occupations, such as production line jobs, finding a “wage or compensation equilibrium that allows for 32 hours of work to be equivalent in pay to the 40 hours that were once worked” would be a challenge.

Asked if his bill would expand access to flexible work, Takano answered that there are “waves of interest” in the San Francisco Bay Area, that “Panasonic went to a 32-hour workweek” and “we need to examine … how this can become the norm across the various workforces in America.”