California Rep. Mark Takano Has Proposed A 4-Day Work Week Bill — And Salaries May Be Impacted

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California Rep. Mark Takano

Rep. Mark Takano from California proposed new legislation that would demand a 4-day work week that consists of 32 hours versus the now-standard 40 hours.

The 4-day work week has been a popular issue for ages, and always causes debates and arguments from both sides.

There are people claiming that it could never work, while there have been studies and tests done that show otherwise and sometimes even boost productivity.

RELATED: 6 Reasons Why The 4-Day Work Week Might Actually Happen (And Soon!)

Does a 4-day work week mean less pay? 

A three-day weekend sounds great, but will it cost you? Under most popular trials and proposals of the four-day work week, salaries remain the same. 

In California's congressman Takano's bill, any hours worked after his 32-hour work week would be eligible for overtime pay. Though, Takano insists that those who need 40 hours of work can still get their hours in.

"Nothing in my bill prevents an employee from working more than 32 hours a week, or more than 40. It's just that overtime begins sooner," he says of the bill. 

Takano does acknowledge that the bill works best for office jobs than service sectors but insists hourly workers will not see wage cuts.

"There's certainly no requirement that employers cut wages, and I don't think they will. Employers won't like it, but I think they'll be able to sustain a 10% pay increase for most of their employees,” he claims.

Other countries have trialed the 4-day work week. 

For starters, let’s look at previous cases where countries have tested the 4-day work week, and how they fared.

The Microsoft Company in Japan tested a 4-day work week over the summer in 2019. They kept everyone’s salary the same while giving them a 3-day weekend.

The result, according to the company, was a 40% boost in productivity.

Not only was productivity at an all-time high, but they also cut costs in other places — boasting a 23% saving on electricity, as well as a 60% reduction in printing costs.

In Iceland, they ran trials of a 4-day work week where the results remained largely the same while boosting employee morale.

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“Productivity remained the same or improved in the majority of workplaces,” researchers said.

RELATED: Why A Four Day Work Week Could Be The Answer To Better Work-Life Balance For Busy Parents, Says Science

Gudmundur Haraldsson, a researcher at Alda, said: "The Icelandic shorter working week journey tells us that not only is it possible to work less in modern times, but that progressive change is possible too."

These trials, as well as the pandemic, remote working, and the growing climate crisis have all been large influences on recent discussions about a shorter work week.

Bloomberg Businessweek wrote about Berlin company Awin and their 4-day week trials with more productivity increases.

But all of these tests and trials were done outside of the US. Mark Takano believes that it could work inside the US as well, and this bill is a great introduction to the topic.

While people are still skeptical about the new prospect, it’s certainly a good introduction to a change in a work culture that has been stagnant for so long.

The world has been in a trial for the last year and a half with the coronavirus and having to work from home, so maybe it’s time for a new introduction that will boost worker satisfaction.

RELATED: 3 Guidelines For Working From Home To Keep You Healthy, Happy, And Sane