4-Day Workweek
Photo credit: iStock.com/Andrii Zastrozhnov

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, recently made headlines by calling for a four-day, 32-hour workweek. Sanders cited a recent four-day workweek pilot program in the UK, the world’s largest trial of a four-day workweek, which resulted in 15% of employees who participated said that they could not be convinced to work five days a week for any amount of money. In the study, companies that participated in the program could adopt different methods of shortening the workweeks of their employees, whether it was giving them off one day a week or reducing the total workdays in a year to average out to 32 hours per week. Employers in the program also had to ensure their employees received 100% of their regular pay. Some state lawmakers hope to follow a similar path, allowing for a 32-hour, 4-day workweek.

California 4-Day Workweek Bill Introduced

On February 15, 2023, Assemblymember Evan Low (D) introduced AB 1100 to establish a 4-day workweek in California. Current law considers 8 hours of labor a workday and 40 hours a workweek. The bill was introduced in the previous legislative session but did not become law. The previous iteration of the bill stipulated that any work which exceeds 32 hours would be compensated by a rate of 1.5 times the employee’s regular pay rate and would prohibit an employer from reducing an employee’s regular rate of pay as a result of reducing the workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours. The legislation would exempt employers with fewer than 500 employees.

Maryland 4-Day Workweek Pilot Program

At the beginning of the 2023 session, Maryland lawmakers introduced House Bill 181, which would create the Four-Day Workweek Pilot Program within the Maryland Department of Labor (MDL). The program’s purpose would be to promote, incentivize, and support experimenting and studying the utilization of a four-day workweek by private and public employers. If passed, the bill would take effect on July 1, 2023, and terminate on June 30, 2028.

Under the legislation, businesses participating in the new program for one year would be eligible for an income tax credit. MDL could issue up to $750,000 in income tax credit certificates each fiscal year, with a limit of two credits per business. The legislation would allow MDL to adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of the legislation.

Pennsylvania Lawmaker Wants to Study 4-Day Workweek

In the 2021-2022 legislative session, State Representative Chris Rabb (D) introduced a resolution to evaluate a 4-day workweek for Pennsylvania employers. The legislation, which the House Labor Committee did not advance during the legislative session, would have directed the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee to undergo a cost-benefit analysis of moving Pennsylvania State employees to a 4-day workweek.

In February 2023, a trio of democratic state lawmakers circulated a cosponsorship memo for legislation to incentivize a 4-day workweek. Specifically, the bill would incentivize companies to switch to a 32-hour, 4-day workweek through a state income tax credit. A company would have to comply with certain program requirements to receive the tax credit, although the text of the legislation and further details have not yet been released as of the time of this writing.