The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act, introduced this week in Congress, is exactly what you think it is


The same week that the U.S. Department of Labor’s rules on analyzing and determining who is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) took effect, both houses of Congress introduced legislation to shorten the workweek.

On Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), and Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) introduced the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act in the Senate. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

According to a bill summary from Sen. Sanders, the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act would:

  • Reduce the standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours over four years by lowering the maximum hours threshold for overtime compensation for non-exempt employees.
  • Require overtime pay at time and a half for workdays longer than eight hours, and overtime pay at double a worker’s regular pay for workdays longer than 12 hours.
  • Protect workers’ pay and benefits to ensure that a reduction in the workweek does not cause a loss in pay.

Currently, the Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that employers pay non-exempt employees overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. However, the FLSA does not require overtime when employees work more than eight hours in a single day, although some state laws do.

According to, employers that have implemented a four-day workweek have reported a 67% reduction in staff turnover and increased applications. Only 9% of employees working 32-hour weeks experience burnout, vs. 42% for those working 40+ hour weeks. Plus, organizations piloting the four-day workweek reported an average 36% increase in revenue.

That begs the question: If a four-day workweek is where it’s at, what purpose does amending the FLSA serve? Why not let businesses and employees discover this on their own?

But those are business and policy questions, and this is an employment law blog. The odds of the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act getting to President Biden’s desk for signature are slim and none.

Still, I am curious. How many of you have considered implementing a four-day workweek? Email me and let me know.

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