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Four-day workweek gains support among members of Congress

The Congressional Progressive Caucus endorsed a bill by Rep. Mark Takano (D-California), known as the 32 Hour Workweek Act.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Some lawmakers in Washington D.C. are pushing for the United States to adopt a four-day workweek as the idea is gaining popularity around the world.

On Tuesday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus endorsed a bill by Rep. Mark Takano (D-California), known as the 32 Hour Workweek Act,  that would create a 32-hour workweek, with overtime paid after 32 hours of work.

“After a nearly two-year-long pandemic that forced millions of people to explore remote work options, it’s safe to say that we can’t – and shouldn’t – simply go back to normal, because normal wasn’t working," Takano said in a statement. "People were spending more time at work, less time with loved ones, their health and well-being was worsening, and all the while, their pay has remained stagnant. This is a serious problem. It’s time for progress and I am confident that with the CPC behind this bill, we can take meaningful steps forward and create positive, lasting change in people’s lives.”

The bill would not eliminate longer workweeks but would require employers to pay time-and-a-half for overtime at 32 hours.

According to CBS MoneyWatch, the bill would leave out a number of workers who are currently excluded from legal protections, such as gig workers, who are legally considered independent contractors, and salaried workers who are exempt from overtime.

The bill comes as a number of countries and companies have experimented with a shortened workweek.

This summer, researchers in Iceland found that a four-day workweek, without a pay cut, improved workers' wellbeing dramatically.

The study, published by the independent think tank Autonomy, followed 2,500 workers in Iceland for four years to see how they would react to only 35 to 36 hours of work a week instead of 40. The researchers said after tracking workers from 2015 to 2019, it was "by all measures an overwhelming success."

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