Hustle Mindset

Could A 4-Day Work Become The New Norm?


The four-day work week is a new workplace disruptor that is gradually taking over the contentious discussion of working remotely. The idea is gaining momentum as a result of multiple significant experiments conducted in the US, UK, and Canada. Let’s examine the chances of states and businesses being open to implementing a four-day work week and the potential implications for you.

What Is A 4-Day Work Week?

Although the five-day workweek is widely used today, it wasn’t until Henry Ford introduced it in his factory in 1926 that it became popular and was made official by legislation in 1940.

According to a press release from the office of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a new bill being introduced into the U.S. Senate would reduce the standard U.S. workweek to four days, while retaining the same five-day pay wages for workers. This marks the anniversary of Ford’s decision to reduce the workweek for his employees by nearly a century. Although the idea is not new, there has never been a greater discussion about it or an in-depth analysis of the advantages of working a four-day work week.

There are two ways to describe a four-day work week: The first is when a worker works a compressed version of their full-time schedule, which is usually 35 hours per week, over four days.

The second is cutting an employee’s workweek down to four days (usually 28 hours) so they can take a three-day weekend. While the five-day workweek was useful in the 19th century, many contend that it is no longer appropriate for today’s professionals.

Some daily chores have become much more time-efficient due to technological advancements. Furthermore, an increase in office-based positions is leading some to argue that employees are not always more productive when they work longer hours. So, when and how did this discussion begin?

The Resurrection Of The 4-Day Work Week Bill

During a hearing, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions heard testimony on the proposed law. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont stated that corporate executives have been the only ones to benefit from increases in productivity over the years, rather than the workers.

The data he cited showed that American workers put in hundreds more hours a week on average than similar workers in Britain, Germany, and Japan. It is worth mentioning that the concept has been put forth by Richard Nixon, autoworkers, Shake Shack, Kickstarter, and Unilever’s New Zealand division, among others, and Mr. Sanders is by no means the first person to propose it.

However, since the COVID-19 pandemic radically altered workplace cultures and redefined expectations about employment, the idea has gained traction in recent years. The 32-Hour Workweek Act was first proposed in the House by California Democratic Representative Mark Takano in 2021.

He has since reintroduced the bill as a companion to the Senate version of Mr. Sanders’ original plan. Mr Sanders referenced an experiment carried out by 61 British companies in 2022 when he proposed the legislation. Most enterprises observed a considerable decrease in attrition while sales and productivity remained stable after switching to a four-day workweek.

A nonprofit organization called 4-Day Week Global collaborated with academics from Cambridge University, Boston College, and the think tank Autonomy on the project. 91% of the businesses that switched to a four-day workweek continued to operate under the new schedule a year later, according to testimony given at the hearing on Thursday by Juliet Schor, a financial analyst at Boston College and the study’s principal researcher.

Ms. Schor informed the senators, “Participants tell us this fresh schedule is life-changing.” Critics, some of whom spoke at this week’s session, claim that several trials ignore many businesses that employ people who perform hands-on work and focus exclusively on the kinds of businesses that can afford to be flexible in work times.

Professor of statistics Liberty Vittert of the University of Washington in St. Louis stated, “There is no empirical proof to merit a national imposition of a 32-hour workweek. It cannot be implemented in all sectors, but if it works for certain businesses in some industries, that is great.”

A 4-Day Work Week Trial-And-Error

Numerous nations have experimented with the four-day workweek in recent years, including Iceland, New Zealand, Japan, and Spain, to examine the impact on their workforce.

Microsoft tested four-day workweeks at its Japanese headquarters and discovered that the reduced workweek resulted in happier employees, more productive meetings, and an astounding 40% increase in output. Similarly, 86% of Iceland’s workforce now works fewer hours per week for similar wages after the country’s trial.

US States Advocating For A 4-Day Work Week

From coast to coast, here are the states advocating for the change or already implementing a movement towards enacting it.


Rep. Mark Takano advocated for a 32-hour workweek for Californians in July 2023. “I am proposing this legislation to lower the average workweek to 32 hours because people are working longer hours without receiving a raise more often than not,” said Congressman Takano. Employers would have to pay workers who put in more hours than the proposed 32-hour limit, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).


Legislation proposing a four-day workweek pilot program in Massachusetts was introduced in April 2023 by Representatives Josh Cutler (Duxbury) and Dylan Fernandes (Falmouth). The program would run for two years and aims to give employers the option to provide a four-day workweek to workers in exchange for a tax credit without affecting their salary.

“This bill offers new incentives for businesses in Massachusetts to consider implementing a four-day work week, which can yield numerous advantages such as increasing employee satisfaction and productivity, decreasing absenteeism, and cutting down on commute time,” said Congressman Cutler.


Missourians who work as teachers have a strong chance of receiving a four-day work week. Since 2011, the option of a four-day work week has been available to districts, and as of today, over 30% have embraced it.

Given that 62% of state teachers leave their jobs by the end of their fifth year, the decision was mainly taken with the staff in mind. The goal of the initiative is to improve teacher retention, and as a consequence of the four-day workweek, some local schools have already noted an increase in applicant volume.


Democratic Representative G. Roni Green announced her intention to propose legislation in Pennsylvania for a 4-day workweek, giving employees more time for relaxation and concentrating on their physical and emotional well-being.

Under Green’s proposed law, companies employing more than 500 people would have to reduce work hours from 40 to 32 without lowering salaries. Small companies wouldn’t be impacted.


Texas, like Missouri, has been implementing a 4-day workweek for its students since late 2023, albeit not for the majority of the working population. Approximately sixty educational systems in Texas currently follow the Missouri model of a four-day workweek to support teacher retention.

Not everyone, though, agrees. The Republican senator Donna Campbell introduced a bill  that would require Texas schools to operate on a 5-day workweek. Campbell claimed that “students are unable to lose additional valuable minutes of instructional time.” Teacher groups voiced strong opposition to the bill.


Just before any Vermonters become too enthusiastic, let us clarify that the state’s legislature has not yet formally adopted a 4-day workweek, although it is difficult to overlook the senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, and his ardor for the idea.

Divergent Views

The Republican senator from Louisiana, Bill Cassidy, stated during a hearing that a cut like this would harm companies, send jobs abroad and result in sharp increases in consumer costs. According to Mr. Cassidy, “It would threaten countless small enterprises operating on razor-thin margins due to their inability to find enough workers.”

States In Opposition Of A 4-Day Work Week

Here are the states that have tried to implement the notion and were met with failure or simply have no interest “fixing what isn’t broken.”


Hawaii investigated the possibility of a 4-day workweek for state employees in 2022. The draft that the MPs have proposed mentions not only the advantages for mental and physical health but also the impact on the environment, citing a decrease in the number of people who commute on Fridays. Sadly, it never made it to fruition.


Maryland senators introduced the “Four Day Work Week Act of 2023” in January 2023 to offer up to $750,000 in tax credits to encourage both public and private enterprises to try out a shortened workweek. The idea was dropped in that same year due to worries that it wouldn’t pass because of the related expenses and that it would “institutionalize” the 32-hour workweek.

The bill’s proponent, Del. Vaughn Stewart, has declared that he plans to retry in 2024 after gathering additional information.


Utah had a four-day week trial back in 2008, although the conditions were a little different from the laws that are being presented now. In the trial program, workers squeezed a 40-hour work week into four 10-hour days rather than reducing it to a 32-hour one. The pilot program ended in 2011 because the anticipated savings were not realized.


Senator Joe Nguyen suggested a four-day workweek for Washington back in 2020. Employees would be allowed to work four days a week instead of five under Bill 6516, and those who put in more than 32 hours would be eligible for overtime pay equal to a minimum of 1.5 times the hourly rate they are paid. The law, sadly, never made it past the drawing board despite being strikingly similar to the ones that were suggested in 2023 by states like Maryland and California.

Should Your Company Implement A 4-Day Work Week?

The reduced workweek has gained popularity worldwide and has proven beneficial for many companies, but it is an extreme measure that not all firms can implement because it necessitates a mental adjustment on the part of both the employer and employees. Although employees are now expected to work longer hours, implementing a hybrid and flexible working policy would be a less abrupt and more progressive process.

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