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A new bill wants to shorten the American workweek to 32 hours

Eight-hour days could be a thing of the past!

Written by
Kai Oliver-Kurtin

Feeling burned out at work? You’re not alone. 

For those who have been working from home during the pandemic (also referred to as 'living at work'), the workdays have seemed to only get longer in the last 18 months. And employees around the country are feeling it – burnouts and mass resignations are at an all-time high. Throw in additional challenges, like affordable and reliable childcare and what's come to be known as 'Zoom fatigue,' and Americans are pretty much fed up with this new life featuring fewer breaks and more time spent Slacking with your boss at odd hours. 

The good news: relief may be on its way. 

Southern California Congressman Mark Takano (Dem.) from Riverside, California has proposed a new bill that would shorten the workweek for most Americans, shifting it from the standard 40-hours to 32 hours. The legislation is referred to as The Thirty-Two Hour WorkWeek Act, and would force overtime pay to kick in after 32 hours of work per week under the federal Fair Labor Practices Act. 

Takano says a shorter work week will allow more people to participate in the labor market at better wages. It’s expected that most workers would see an increase in pay if the legislation is passed. Though the bill wouldn’t apply to certain employees such as independent contractors and freelancers. 

The 40-hour workweek much-bemoaned by most Americans has been around for nearly a century. Good ol' Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company is largely credited with instituting an eight-hour-days, five-days-a-week schedule for his employees, which led to other large companies following suit. That was way back in 1926. 

While many advancements have been made to workplace culture, employee benefits and work/life balance over the last several decades, the stringent 40-hour workweek has remained largely unquestioned and unchanged until now.

Reports have shown that Americans reportedly work more hours than any other country in the world, while simultaneously taking far fewer vacation days. During the pandemic, Americans reported working up to three additional hours each day. 

Only time will tell if this proposed legislation will make it onto the Senate floor and become law – but you could have a little more time on your hands very soon. 

Looking to shake it up? This website lists all the places in the U.S. that will pay you to move there

Or check out these dreamy destinations that want to give you a visa to work remotely

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