Bernie Sanders: 4-Day Work Week Bill Is 'Not Radical'

Though Republicans apparently disagree
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2024 12:54 AM CDT
Bernie Sanders Pushes Bill That Would Reduce Work Week to 4 Days
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talks to the media as he walks to the House chamber before President Joe Biden's State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Bernie Sanders on Wednesday introduced a bill that would eventually move the United States to a four-day work week without reducing pay or benefits. The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act would, over a period of four years, move the threshold at which overtime must be paid from 40 hours to 32 hours, the Hill reports. For workdays longer than eight hours, a rate of 1.5 times a worker's normal pay would be required; for workdays longer than 12 hours, that rate would go to double a worker's normal pay. The move would apply to non-exempt workers, who are typically hourly employees, NBC News reports.

  • What Sanders is saying: This "s not a radical idea," he says in a press release. "Today, American workers are over 400% 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."
  • What critics are saying: Republicans are "panning" the idea, per the Hill, and arguing it would impact small businesses more than large corporations. Sample quote from Sen. Bill Cassidy: "If this policy is implemented, it would threaten millions of small businesses operating on a razor-thin margin because they're unable to find enough workers. Now they've got the same workers, but only for three-quarters of the time, and they have to hire more." (Cassidy also accused Sanders of failing to implement a 32-hour work week with his own staff.)

  • The role of AI: Sanders says that as artificial intelligence, automation, and technological advances and improvements continue to increase productivity, workers—not just CEOs and stockholders—should see some of the benefits of those increases.
  • What the data says: Pilot programs and studies have found four-day work weeks actually increase productivity, and other countries are moving toward that model, Sanders says. CNN takes a look at the data in a video report here.
  • What the people say: A 2023 survey found that 87% of US workers were interested in a four-day work week. Currently, about half of full-time working adults in the country say they work more than 40 hours per week.
(More Bernie Sanders stories.)

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