32-hour workweek? Bernie Sanders' bill would make it US law

Sen. Bernie Sanders is proposing a 32-hour workweek with no loss of pay in America. 

Sanders' bill, the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act, would reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours over four years by lowering the threshold for overtime pay for non-exempt employees. 

"Moving to a 32-hour workweek with no loss of pay is not a radical idea," Sanders said in a news 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 financial gains from the major advancements in artificial intelligence, automation, and new technology must benefit the working class, not just corporate CEOs and wealthy stockholders on Wall Street. It is time to reduce the stress level in our country and allow Americans to enjoy a better quality of life. It is time for a 32-hour workweek with no loss in pay," he continued. 


Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) questions witnesses with ranking member Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) during a hearing about working hours in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill

Sanders introduced the legislation Thursday during a hearing on shorter workweeks. 

The bill would require overtime pay at time-and-a-half for workdays that are longer than 8 hours, and overtime pay at double a worker's regular pay for shifts longer than 12 hours.  

It also contains language that would protect workers' pay and benefits to ensure the shorter workweek does not result in reduced income. 

The move comes amid a growing movement for a four-day workweek, though critics have questioned the costs and benefits that employers may face as a result. 

4-day workweek boosts happiness, preserves productivity, major trial finds

Results from a major trial of a four-day workweek in the U.K. showed significantly reduced rates of employee stress and illness while maintaining productivity.

The six-month trial, billed as the world’s largest of its kind, included 61 companies that committed to a 20% reduction in working hours for all staff — with no drop in wages. It began in June and ran through December 2022.

RELATED: 4-day workweek boosts employee happiness while preserving productivity, major trial finds

The organizers of the trial found that 71% of employees self-reported lower levels of "burnout," and 39% said they were less stressed, compared to the start of the trial. There was also a 65% reduction in sick days, and a 57% fall in the number of staff who quit, compared to the same period the previous year. 

Meanwhile, company revenue barely changed during the trial period and even increased marginally by 1.4% on average, according to the results. 

The four-day workweek trial was developed and led by the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global, the think tank Autonomy, and in partnership with researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University. 

"Before the trial, many questioned whether we would see an increase in productivity to offset the reduction in working time – but this is exactly what we found," sociologist Prof. Brendan Burchell, who led the University of Cambridge side of the research, said in a statement.

"Many employees were very keen to find efficiency gains themselves," Burchell added. "Long meetings with too many people were cut short or ditched completely. Workers were much less inclined to kill time, and actively sought out technologies that improved their productivity."

Colorado police department’s 4-day workweek success


Cars drive in historic downtown Golden, Colorado, home of the Adolph Coors Co., on July 22, 2004. Adolph Coors Co, the number 3 US brewer, and Molson Inc, Canada's biggest beermaker, agreed to merge in a $3.4 billion share swap, seeking to end a loss

The Golden Police Department in Colorado switched all of its employees to 32-hour workweeks instead of the normal 40 hours between July and December 2023 without a change in pay. In doing so, officials said they hoped to increase employee retention and well-being, while also increasing the police department's efficiency without interruptions. 

RELATED: Colorado police department's 4-day workweek leads to better response times

The department found that police recorded faster response times for calls, on average, during all six months of the pilot – compared to the same timeframe in 2022. 

Data from the six-month trial also showed that crime levels remained stagnant, and the police department’s arrest and ticket numbers remained the same, according to the city.

Meanwhile, the police department’s community engagement numbers "increased significantly" and overtime dollars went down.

"Everything indicates that this is going fantastic," Golden Police Chief Joe Harvey said. 

4-day workweek criticisms

Some critics have warned that not every company can afford to reduce work hours while maintaining the same pay rates. 

"Companies need to produce the same level of work, so they may need to hire and train more people," Mary Elizabeth Elkordy, founder of the remote-based company Elkordy Global Strategies, told Fox News Digital in a previous interview

Elkordy said a four-day workweek could be beneficial for some businesses in certain areas, especially those with long or unconventional hours such as nurses or firefighters, but questioned its practicality in service-based industries where pay is directly tied to a person's time and output. 

FOX Business and FOX’s Kelly Hayes contributed to this report.