Home News Bernie Sanders proposes 32-hour work week for same pay

Bernie Sanders proposes 32-hour work week for same pay

Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced legislation to shorten workweeks to 32 hours without shrinking paychecks.

The 82-year-old lawmaker from Vermont said Thursday that his proposal would ensure “workers share in the massive increase in productivity driven by artificial intelligence, automation, and new technology.”

Sanders’ plan was supported by California Democrats Sen. Laphonza Butler and Rep. Mark Takano, the latter of whom introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Moving to a 32-hour workweek with no loss of pay is not a radical idea,” Sanders said in a press release. “Today, American workers are over 400 percent more productive than they were in the 1940s. And yet, millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages than they were decades ago. That has got to change.”

The liberal legislator said gains from new technology, including AI, have amounted to big profits for CEOs and stockholders without making life easier for the working class.

In addition to reducing the standard workweek by 20%, Sander’s Thirty-Two-Hour Workweek Act, which enjoys strong union support, would require employers to pay time and a half for workdays exceeding eight hours. Workers who put in a 12-hour day would receive double time for each extra hour worked.

Ford Motor Company introduced the 40-hour workweek in 1926, according to the World Economic Forum. Congress followed suit in 1938 with the Fair Labor Standards Act instituting a 44-hour workweek. That legislation was amended in 1940 to give laborers the 40-hour workweek that has since been the norm.

Sanders’ proposal is expected to meet opposition from conservatives, who’ve expressed concern that jobs might be shipped overseas or workers could be replaced altogether by automation if employers are asked to pay the same wages for fewer hours of labor.

A 2023 experiment with four-day workweeks in Great Britain reportedly led to workers being less fatigued, while their level of production stayed about the same.


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