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Senator Bernie Sanders has added his voice to the growing movement advocating for a shorter workweek, saying it’s time to move towards a four-day workweek without a loss of pay. Sanders, who has long been a champion of workers’ rights, took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the topic, highlighting the need for workers to benefit from technological advancements, rather than just corporate CEOs.
The UK pilot program
Sanders was referring to the latest findings from a large-scale pilot program in the UK that explored the impact of a four-day workweek on workers’ productivity and wellbeing. The program involved more than 3,000 workers, and the results were overwhelmingly positive. Workers reported better sleep, and firms saw an increase in revenue. Employees also reported having more time to care for loved ones, leading to a better work-life balance.
Continued adoption of a four-day workweek
Most of the companies that participated in the UK pilot program are planning to continue using a four-day workweek. This is in line with a growing trend in recent years of companies and researchers exploring the benefits of a shorter workweek. In December, 4 Day Week Global, a New Zealand-based nonprofit, conducted a study involving 33 participating companies that employed almost 1,000 people across several countries, including the US, Australia, Ireland, and the UK. The study found that a four-day workweek was a “resounding success on virtually every dimension.”
Positive outcomes of a four-day workweek
The study from 4 Day Week Global found that companies that adopted a four-day workweek reported increased productivity, revenue, and employee satisfaction. Sick days and absenteeism were down, and companies were hiring more employees. Resignations also fell slightly, which is especially noteworthy given the current “Great Resignation” trend. Furthermore, the study reported that employees were enthusiastic about the four-day workweek, and there were positive climate impacts, although these were less well-measured.
Examples of US companies adopting a shorter workweek
Some US companies have also begun experimenting with the four-day workweek. In November, a Chick-fil-A owner in Florida introduced a three-day workweek, which proved so popular that he received over 400 applications for just one job opening. The move was seen as a way to attract and retain employees in a tight labor market.
Political support for a four-day workweek
Sanders is not alone in his support for a shorter workweek. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has previously endorsed the “32-Hour Workweek Act,” which would make a 32-hour workweek the new standard with no loss of pay. Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal has said that it’s “past time that we put people and communities over corporations and their profits — finally prioritizing the health, wellbeing, and basic human dignity of the working class rather than their employers’ bottom line.”
Rep. Mark Takano, a Democrat from California, introduced the legislation and believes that a four-day workweek would connect with the desires of many Americans for a better work-life balance. “I think there was a Great Realization among a lot of Americans — how hard they’re working and that they wanted to move on from the jobs that they were working at,” Takano said. “So a four-day workweek is something that connects a lot of Americans.”
The conversation around a shorter workweek is continuing to grow, with more and more evidence showing the positive impact it can have on both workers and businesses. While it remains to be seen whether a four-day