Bernie Sanders proposes reducing the American workweek to 32 hours

Senator Bernie Sanders this week He promulgated the law Without wage cuts, the standard work week in the U.S. should be reduced from 40 hours to 32, saying Americans are working longer hours for less pay despite advances in technology and productivity.

The legislation, if passed, would shorten the workweek over a four-year period during which workers would be eligible for overtime pay. A 40-hour work week has been the standard in the United States Incorporated into federal law in 1940.

At a hearing Thursday before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on the proposed legislation, Mr. Sanders said the profits from decades of increased productivity were reaped only by corporate leaders and not shared. with workers.

“It's a sad fact that Americans now work more hours than people in any other wealthy nation,” he said, citing statistics showing that the average worker in the United States works hundreds of hours more each week than workers in Japan, Britain and Germany. .

Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, said such cuts would hurt employers, shipping jobs overseas and causing dramatic fluctuations in consumer prices.

“It threatens millions of small businesses that are operating on a razor-thin edge because they can't find enough workers,” Mr. Cassidy said.

This idea was proposed by Richard Nixon and Mr. While Sanders wasn't the first to propose, it has been proposed by autoworkers and tested by companies ranging from Shake Shack to Kickstarter and Unilever's New Zealand unit.

But the concept has gathered steam in recent years as the Covid-19 pandemic has caused fundamental changes in work culture, resetting expectations about employment. Representative Mark Dagano, Democrat of California, has introduced a 32-hour work week bill in the House in 2021, and in the Senate Mr. Sanders reintroduced it as a sponsored companion bill.

See also  Woman urges Utahns to get HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer

In proposing the law, Mr. Saunders cited a trial conducted by 61 companies in Britain in 2022, in which most companies that moved to a four-day work week saw revenue and productivity stabilize, while attrition fell significantly. The study was conducted by the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global, along with researchers from the University of Cambridge, Boston College and the think tank Autonomy.

Boston College economist Juliette Shore, who was the study's lead researcher, testified at Thursday's hearing that 91 percent of companies that switched to a four-day work week stuck with the new arrangement a year later.

“Participants tell us the new schedule is life-changing,” Ms Shore told senators.

Critics, including some who testified at this week's hearing, say many pilot programs focus narrowly on the types of companies that can offer flexibility in work schedules and ignore many more.

“There is no reliable statistical evidence for a 32-hour work week nationwide,” said Liberty Wittert, a professor of statistics at Washington University in St. Louis. “If it works for some companies in some sectors, that's great, but it can't be applied to all sectors.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *