March 01, 2023

Congressman Takano Reintroduces 32 Hour Workweek Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Mark Takano (CA-39), a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, reintroduced the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act. This legislation would reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and lowering the maximum hours threshold for overtime compensation for non-exempt employees. Original cosponsors of the bill are Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). 

This bill has been endorsed by 4 Day Week Global, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the National Employment Law Project (NELP), and the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). 

“Workers across the nation are collectively reimagining their relationship to labor – and our laws need to follow suit,” said Rep. Mark Takano. “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.”  

“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. Establishing a 32-hour work week would go a long way toward finally righting that balance,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “And as new data from a recent pilot program show, the 32-hour work week is not only good for workers—it’s good for companies too. I'm proud to join my Progressive Caucus colleagues in supporting Rep. Takano's bill and look forward to continuing the fight together to put power back into the hands of working people as we ensure every worker has good benefits, better conditions, and an equal voice on the job."

“This act reflects the growing movement towards reduced working hours. Emerging research is making the irrefutable case that a 4 day week results in positive benefits for organisations, people, and society,” said Dr. Dale Whelehan. “As CEO of 4 Day Week Global, I am delighted to formally endorse this act led by Rep Takano, to make another step forward towards a human-centered and evidence-based future of work.” 

“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. This legislation is a step in the right direction to ensure working people get the dignity and job-life balance they deserve,” said Liz Shuler, President of the AFL-CIO. “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.” 

“Many workers are struggling to balance working more hours to earn more income against having more time to focus on themselves, their families, and other pursuits. However, while studies have shown that long working hours hurt health and productivity, taking control of work-life balance is often a privilege only afforded to higher-earning workers,” said Heidi Shierholz, President of the Economic Policy Institute. “This bill would help protect workers against the harmful effects of overwork by recognizing the need to redefine standards around the work week. Reducing Americans’ standard work week is key to achieving a healthier and fairer society.” 

The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act does not make any changes or limit the number of hours that an employee may work in a standard workweek but amends the definition of the workweek in federal law. The majority of workers impacted would be non-exempt, hourly workers, but some salaried workers fall under the scope of the bill’s provisions. This legislation has the potential to increase wage-earning opportunities for a larger number of workers by limiting the number of hours required to reach the full-time threshold, as well as allow for better work-life balance and overall health outcomes.  

Full text of the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act is available here. A one pager can be found here