(WHTM) – A Pennsylvania lawmaker is making a push to require large employers to institute a four-day workweek for employees.
State Rep G. Roni Green (D-Philadelphia) says her bill would require the reduction of a standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours for businesses with more than 500 employees. The bill would also ensure there is no reduction in pay for workers and exclude local and mid-size businesses.
“Workers deserve to have a weekly schedule that respects a balance of work and personal responsibilities,” says Green, who serves on the House Labor & Industry Committee. “A four-day workweek would provide hardworking individuals with more time for rest, family obligations, and focus on both physical and mental health.”
State Rep. Dave Madsen (D-Dauphin) also has a bill that would create a three year pilot program for 70 Pennsylvania businesses. The bill would have a $15 million pricetag, but Madsen says recent studies have shown good results for businesses and employees.
A four-day workweek study in the United Kingdom surveying 61 companies and 2,900 workers found several benefits for employees and businesses. Of the 61 companies that participated, 56 are continuing the four-day workweek trend.
The study found 39% of employees were less stressed, 71% had reduced levels of burnout, and turnover dropped 57% during the trial.
“While companies, through their leaders, have expressed that they are extremely pleased with performance, productivity, and their overall experience, it has been a similar case for employees themselves too. The four-day week, simply put, is a popular policy for those who work it,” the report’s conclusion reads.
State Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-York) says a study such as the one Madsen is proposing would be the government “interjecting itself in an area where I don’t think we belong.”
As for the four day workweek, Keefer says she believes that when “the government continues to give you more and incentivizes you not to work, I think we create the problem.”
However, not enough workers is a problem and Madsen says a four day workweek would be a draw to employees of tomorrow.
“In my interactions with a lot of young folks and a lot of younger workers, they want a more European lifestyle. They want to work to live, not live to work,” said Madsen.
Madsen acknowledges the bill would be a tough sell for those from older generations.
“If you’re skeptical, let’s see what the study says, what the data shows us. If it doesn’t work, then we kind of know, all right, this isn’t a good fit.”