Bernie Sanders to introduce bill for 32-hour workweek with no loss in pay for workers

(Gray News) – There’s renewed talk on Capitol Hill of plans to make a shorter workweek the new norm for most Americans.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced this week that he will formally introduce a bill to establish a standard 32-hour workweek with no loss in pay.

“Moving to a 32-hour workweek with no loss of pay is not a radical idea,” Sanders said in a statement. “Today, American workers are over 400 percent more productive than they were in the 1940s. And yet, millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages than they were decades ago. That has got to change.”

Sanders, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, shared that he will be joined by California Sen. Laphonza Butler and Rep. Mark Takano in introducing the bill.

“It is time to reduce the stress level in our country and allow Americans to enjoy a better quality of life. It is time for a 32-hour workweek with no loss in pay,” Sanders said.

The typical 40-hour workweek has been part of the American workforce since 1938 with President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Fair Labor Standards Act that helped establish minimum wage, overtime pay and employment standards.

However, supporters of the new bill say it’s time for a change.

“The Thirty-Two-Hour Workweek Act would allow hardworking Americans to spend more time with their families while protecting their wages and making sure profits aren’t only going to a select few,” Butler said.

Takano added, “I am thrilled Senator Sanders is leading the Senate companion to this transformative legislation that will be a win for both workers and workplaces.”

The Associated Press reports that a trial four-day workweek was held in Britain late last year with multiple companies where employees shared that they felt less stressed and had better work-life balance.

“We feel really encouraged by the results, which showed the many ways companies were turning the four-day week from a dream into a realistic policy, with multiple benefits,” The Associated Press quoted David Frayne, research associate at the University of Cambridge, who helped lead the team conducting employee interviews for the trial.

Sanders is also leading a HELP Committee hearing on Thursday regarding the same workweek issues.