A shorter workweek may become a reality for many California employees. Legislation is currently working its way through the state legislature to make the standard workweek for companies with more than 500 employees 32 hours. There would be no pay cut, and those who worked more would be compensated at no less than 1.5 times their regular rate of pay.
Implementation of four-day workweek
Last year, nearly 48 million Americans quit their jobs, and the trend is continuing. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 4.4 million workers left their jobs in February alone. “It doesn’t make sense that we are still holding onto a work schedule that served the Industrial Revolution,” Democratic Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement.
While the shift is long overdue, the Covid-19 pandemic and “Great Resignation,” also known as the “Great Reshuffle,” have made it clear the time to make the change is now, she said. “There has been no correlation between working more hours and better productivity,” Garcia said.
Two sides of Four-day workweek
The California Chamber of Commerce, on the other hand, opposes the bill, calling it a “job killer” because it will increase business costs. “Labor costs are often one of the highest costs a business faces,” Ashley Hoffman, public policy advocate at the California Chamber of Commerce wrote in a letter to Assemblymember Evan Low, another Democratic sponsor of the bill. “Such a large increase in labor costs will reduce businesses’ ability to hire or create new positions and will therefore limit job growth in California.”
Proponents of the four-day workweek argue that the same amount of work can be completed in less time. More businesses are experimenting with it as a way to improve employee well-being. Earlier this month, dozens of companies in the United States and Canada began a six-month pilot of a four-day workweek, led by 4 Day Week Global. Employees are expected to work 80 percent of the time for 100 percent of the pay while maintaining 100 percent productivity. It all comes down to working more efficiently, which includes reducing unnecessary meetings.