A new California bill could see large companies shift to a shorter workweek without any loss in pay, which could impact around 2,600 companies across the state.
The proposed legislation would make the official workweek 32 hours across four days for organizations of 500 or more employees. Professionals that work longer than 32 hours will have the right to time-and-a-half pay, while any work going beyond 12 hours a day or seven days a week will see double pay.
In addition to the shorter workweek, employers would also be banned from cutting down workers’ pay according to assembly member Cristina Garcia. However, the California Chamber of Commerce warned that this bill could kill jobs and drive up hiring and employment costs.
“Labor costs are often one of the highest costs a business faces,” said Ashley Hoffman, policy advocate with the Chamber.
Still, countries around the world that have passed or experimented with their own four-day workweek legislation have seen optimistic results. For instance, Iceland’s shorter work week trial was seen as an “overwhelming success” that led 8 in 10 employees to shift to this type of schedule.
Companies and even educational institutions in the US have also dabbled with the four-day workweek. Just this month, crowdfunding company Kickstarter launched its shorter workweek, while private school D’Youville College began trialing this schedule in January.
“People are spending more time at work, less time with loved ones, their health and well-being is worsening, and their pay has remained stagnant. It’s time for change,” said Mark Takano, a U.S. representative from California who has introduced a similar bill to Congress.