Headline RoundupMarch 17th, 2023

Would a Four-Day Workweek Increase Americans’ Productivity?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Efforts to change the American workweek at the federal level are reigniting discussion on the potential benefits and drawbacks of a shortened workweek.

Current Efforts: USA Today looked into a bill proposed by Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) that would reduce the federal workweek to 32 hours and require overtime pay for employees exceeding 32 hours. Announcing the bill earlier this month, Takano said, “We have before us the opportunity to make common sense changes to work standards passed down from a different era.”

Do Americans Want It? A Newsweek analysis surveyed 1,500 people and found that 71% were in favor of the four-day workweek, with only 4% opposing the idea. The article outlined the history of the 40-hour workweek and the obstacles faced in changing it, determining, “American work culture, with its focus on hard work, competitiveness, and accomplishments, could represent a major obstacle to the introduction of the four-day workweek at a nationwide level, according to experts.”

Potential Downsides: Fox Business outlined the positive results of the four-day workweek seen in recent trials, such as “lower burnout rates, stress levels, staff resignations and sick days,” but found the revised workweek does not work in all occupations. The article cited the service industry, where worker pay is partially reliant on tips, as a sector where a shortened workweek would result in lower pay. The piece also quoted an economist pushing back on the idea that a shortened workweek would increase productivity.

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