President Joe Biden greets California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) as he arrives at Mather Airport on Air Force One Monday, September 13, 2021, in Mather, California, for a briefing on wildfires at the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) [Photo Credit: White House Public Domain]

California Proposes Mandating 4-Day Workweek

The state of California is considering making the 4-day workweek law, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The measure, which would only apply to large companies, would define the workweek as being 32 hours, down 8 hours from the traditional 40 hour week.

Over 2000 businesses in California could be affected by the measure should the Labor and Employment Committee push the bill forward.

The bill has faced pushback from the California chamber the Journal reports:

Earlier this month the California Chamber of Commerce added the bill to its “job killer list,” saying the legislation would significantly increase labor costs.

Requiring businesses to pay the same amount of money for one less day of work won’t end well should the bill pass, said Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University economics professor.

“Jobs will shift to Nevada or Oregon, and employers will not be able to raise pay for many years,” he said. A better alternative for businesses and shift workers who have to do work in person, he said, would be longer hours spread out across fewer days, with workers benefiting from not having to commute as much.

The four-day workweek has been talked about for decades, and some companies and localities already define a 32-hour week as full time. During the Great Depression, companies reduced hours because there was so little work available. Richard Nixon, when he was U.S. vice president, predicted that Americans would stop working five days a week at some point.

Research has showed that employees who work 25-35 hours a week are the most productive, however those results could be skewed.

A majority of companies do not plan to adopt the shortened week, and in 2019 Microsoft tried this in Japan. It was discontinued after just 5 weeks.

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