Bernie Sanders tries for a four day work week 

March 15 – Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont had a hearing yesterday to discuss a bill he has introduced called Thirty-Two Hour Work Week Act, which would reduce the average work week from 40 hours to 32 hours in the country. 

But here’s the kicker – pay and benefits of the worker wouldn’t be affected. 

This would all allegedly happen over a four-year time period. It would also lower the maximum hours required for overtime pay as well as require time-and-a-half overtime pay for workdays lasting longer than eight hours. Workers would also be paid double their regular pay if they work longer than 12 hours a day. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “This is what we’re worried about? Maybe if we worked a little harder in school or at work.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “If you stick to your regular 40 hours, his proposal would be those eight hours you put in after 32 would be subject to time and a half. An employer would have to give you overtime for those eight hours between 33 to 40. I don’t see any way this passes. Certainly the votes aren’t going to be there in the Senate or the House, but he is really pushing this and he is citing the fact that technology, AI have made workers and things more efficient.”

There was a recent study from England that reported some companies are seeing more productivity and worker happiness from a four-day work week – and Sanders is using the results as a talking point. 

Although, the study could have some bias. 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “Certainly, a huge caveat, that’s a big proponent there, an activist group that did that study, I looked at further and I don’t really trust their results. It seemed like there was an extraordinary amount of bias there. So I think the jury’s still out. I think we have to think about human to human engagement. We want to reduce that even further and I don’t think that’s good. I don’t think it’s good for our psychological health.”

Barkdoll added, “That is one thing that often is left out of these discussions. We know just this proliferation of remote work, telework, and all of the things even before COVID and now COVID has accelerated that. All of those sort of mingling atmospheres that are lost, the relationships that are built at work, the social skills that one develops at work and how that enhances things in your community. Those things are slowly eroding and it looks like a lot of these telework situations are permanent. There’s no going back and we have this whole segment of the workforce that’s just their norm now every day.”