A trial took place in Iceland from 2015-2019 in which workers worked four days a week but were paid the same amount as when they worked five — and it found that productivity stayed the same or improved with lesser hours.
Now, a new proposal in Congress could make the shorter work week a reality.
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With the pandemic throwing a wrench into the typical 9-5 office job in the states, the push for the four-day workweek has grown stronger.
California Congressman Mark Takano is responsible for the legislation being introduced to reduce the national standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours. He has cited the benefits for both employees and employers.
This bill has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, the Economic Policy Institute, Service Employees International Union, the National Employment Law Project and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Original cosponsors of this legislation include Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-Ill.).
A consultant, Alex Pang, who helps employers make the jump to shorter weeks, has said that changes cause improvement in efficiency and productivity. He also said that employees are healthier and happier, according to Fox5.
“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 said, Fox5 reported.
“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,” Amy Porterfield, who owns amyporterfield.com, said, Fox5 reported.
Iceland now has 15% of the workforce working 32 hours a week, and positive results from companies in Japan and New Zealand have been reported. Trials are also planned to take place in Spain and Scotland.
The legislation will be discussed in the coming days and — if Takano gets his way — could result in Americans adding an extra day to their weekends.