Want a 4-day workweek? Here’s what it would actually take to get there


The movement to shorten the workweek is gaining momentum, with several companies already experimenting with or implementing a condensed work schedule. Of the 61 companies that participated in a major pilot study in the UK last year, 90% chose to make the change permanent. While the four-day workweek is still in the minority, a recent survey of 1,000 US business owners and employers conducted by B2B Reviews shows that 57% are willing to pilot a four-day workweek, and 27% already have. 

Furthermore, 45% believe a four-day workweek will be implemented in the next five years, and 62% are in support of a federal requirement. Some believe more research is needed for widespread adoption, while others say the productivity gains promised by artificial intelligence will deliver a reduced workweek. 

Congressman Mark Takano has proposed amending the Fair Labor Standards Act to require overtime pay after 32 hours, effectively cementing a four-day workweek. He explains that the push for a four-day workweek has taken route organically but will benefit from political support. However, there are concerns that reducing the workweek could put businesses at a competitive disadvantage. 

The case against a federal mandate includes worries that starting overtime pay after 32 hours could result in more unpaid labor and that a carrot approach, offering incentives and support, may be more effective than a stick approach. Nonetheless, advocates believe that the tipping point where a shorter week is the norm is very close if it hasn't arrived already.

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