Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is throwing his support behind shortening the typical workweek.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the Vermont senator wrote, “With exploding technology and increased worker productivity, it’s time to move toward a four-day work week with no loss of pay.”
“Workers must benefit from technology, not just corporate CEOs,” he added.
With exploding technology and increased worker productivity, it’s time to move toward a four-day work week with no loss of pay. Workers must benefit from technology, not just corporate CEOs.https://t.co/mIm1EpcZLu
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 21, 2023
He shared an article from The Washington Post about a pilot program in the United Kingdom.
Nearly 3,000 employees and 61 companies participated in the pilot which was organized by the advocacy group 4 Day Week Global.
“Companies that participated could adopt different methods to ‘meaningfully’ shorten their employees’ workweeks — from giving them one day a week off to reducing their working days in a year to average out to 32 hours per week — but had to ensure the employees still received 100 percent of their pay,” the Post explained.
It added, “At the end of the experiment, employees reported a variety of benefits related to their sleep, stress levels, personal lives and mental health, according to results published Tuesday. Companies’ revenue ‘stayed broadly the same’ during the six-month trial, but rose 35 percent on average when compared with a similar period from previous years. Resignations decreased.”
Fifty-six of the companies said they plan to keep the four-day workweek. Eighteen said they would make it permanent. Meanwhile, two companies shared they plan to extend the trial, and three companies do not plan to keep it.
You may be reading this and thinking, “Those lazy Europeans. This is America, it would not work here. We aren’t wimps. We work hard over here. This is just another ‘woke’ attack on the value of work.”
If companies can maintain productivity and revenue while improving employee retention, why not give them an extra day off?
This particular trial found that most of the participating companies liked it and determined it worked well for them.
Still, it does not mean every company and every industry would see the same benefits of a shortened workweek. And each company would have to decide whether it is feasible and worthwhile.
A shortened workweek would be a nice benefit and potentially help employees get more sleep rest and manage their stress in an increasingly busy world.
However, and this is the crucial part, it should be done voluntarily.
It should not be some top-down attempt, and one-size fits all strategy to create a standard four-day workweek.
Instead, it should be market driven. If two companies offer a similar job with similar salaries, but one has a four-day week and the other has a five-day workweek, the business with the longer week might decide it needs to adjust its model to be able to hire employees. And that is how it should be.
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