Democrat Bill Would Shrink Standard Workweek from 40 Hours to 32

( – A bill “reimagining” the 40-hour workweek is back before Congress, re-introduced by Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), who sits on the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

The so-called Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act, defining the workweek as 32 hours for nonexempt (mostly hourly) employees. That means employers would have to pay overtime to those who work beyond 32 hours — or hire more workers to fill in the gaps.

“Workers across the nation are collectively reimagining their relationship to labor — and our laws need to follow suit,” Rep. Takano said in a news release. “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,” he said.

Original cosponsors of the bill are Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).


Jayapal, the chair of the House Progressive Caucus, also offered her comments:

“For too long, our country has prioritized corporate profits over working people and Americans have been forced to work longer hours, sacrificing time with loved ones. While policies enacted by President Biden and Democrats have finally started to raise wages for workers across multiple industries, it’s vital that health, well-being, and basic human dignity are valued over employers’ bottom lines,” Jayapal said.

“Establishing a 32-hour work week would go a long way toward finally righting that balance.”

Labor unions also back the bill:

“For far too long, working people have put in extraordinarily long hours on the job and sacrificed too much time with their families and loved ones, said Liz Shuler, President of the AFL-CIO.

“This legislation is a step in the right direction to ensure working people get the dignity and job-life balance they deserve. It’s past time for corporations to adapt to the changing needs of America’s workforce, including shorter work days and a four-day workweek.”

The bill has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled House, but it indicates where progressives might go, given the chance.

The 40-hour workweek has been the standard since 1940.


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