The United States is known for its intense work culture among industrialized countries. it is popularly believed that many Americans work more than most Europeans each week, for instance, and our culture has a strong work ethic that leaves them exhausted every day.
According to Newsbreak, Mark Takano, a California congressman, strives to change that. Earlier this year, he introduced a bill in Congress titled “The 32-Hour Workweek Act.”.According to him, the bill was based on the following rationale:
As Americans have become more productive, their incomes really haven’t moved. What collective choice do we want to make about how we work?
According to the bill, the standard workweek would be reduced from 40 to 32 hours (which many Americans already exceed). It would mandate employers to pay overtime once their workers have exceeded the 32-hour limit. Workers would still receive the same wage for 32 hours as they did for 40 hours in the past.
Critics contend that this would burden employers with higher labor costs. However, some research has found that workers in most professions can complete the same amount of work in 32 hours that they currently execute in 40 hours. The reason for this is partly because shortening the workweek can boost morale, thereby increasing efficiency and decreasing idle time.
According to Takano, a 32-hour workweek would be especially appealing to people after the pandemic, when lockdowns and the transition to remote work have exposed some inefficiencies and absurdities of the conventional system of working.
There is nothing unprecedented about this advocacy. Activists have been calling for shorter workweeks since the early 20th century, and several countries have already taken measures to curtail employers’ authority to ask their employees to work long hours. Spanish and New Zealand, for example, have tried similar measures recently with great success.