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California legislature considering bill that would reduce workweek to four days

A new bill is currently heading through the California state Legislature, and it could potentially make the state the first in the nation to cut its workweek to just four days for a large portion of workers.

The bill, which is called AB 2932, would alter the definition of a workweek from 40 hours to just 32 hours for companies with over 500 employees.

Although the full work week would be reduced, a full workday would stay at eight hours, and employers would have to provide overtime pay for their employees who work longer than four full days.

Assembly members Cristina Garcia, a Democrat of Bell Gardens, and Evan Low, a Democrat of San Jose. A bill by Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) proposed at the federal level is pushing for parallel changes under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Garcia said on Friday that her idea was prompted in part by the mass exit of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of whom have plans to seek a better quality of life. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 47 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in 2021.

“We’ve had a five-day workweek since the Industrial Revolution,” Garcia commented, “but we’ve had a lot of progress in society, and we’ve had a lot of advancements. I think the pandemic right now allows us the opportunity to rethink things, to reimagine things.” 

Garcia and other supporters have promoted the four-day workweek by pointing to studies underway in Iceland and at companies like Kickstarter, which have said the idea could lead to an increase in both productivity and profits.

But opponents have noted that the schedule would stunt the state’s job growth and could potentially create untenable conditions for employers.

The California Chamber of Commerce has already put the bill on its “job killer” list, saying it would significantly increase the cost of labor, expose employees to litigation, and impose standards that are “impossible to comply with.”

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: SPORTS NEWS NOW

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