The 32-Hour Work Week

Hello, and welcome to LegalEase. Today, I would like to talk about the 32-hour work week.

Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a bill to start a 32-hour work week and to implement the California 8 and 12-hour workday rules (which we will also discuss in detail).

When Senator Sanders proposed the bill, employees said, “yes!” while employers said, “Wait, hold on, not so fast.” Let’s discuss the competing goals here and what impact, if any, this rule would have on our workforce.

The 32-hour work week sounds great to employees. However, employers struggle to figure out how the rule would impact their workload and pay schedules. As an example, employees currently work 40-hour workweeks and complain there is not enough time in the day to complete the work. Employers currently pay overtime for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. (As you know, overtime is time and a half of the regular pay). If employees begin working 32-hour work weeks, then employers would be required to pay overtime at 32 hours vs 40 hours.

Senator Bernie Sanders also proposed an adoption of the California 8 and 12-hour rules. In California, if an employee works over eight hours in one day, the employee receives overtime pay. If an employee works over 12 hours in one day, the employee receives double overtime pay. Employers, for obvious reasons, are looking at their bottom lines and arguing they cannot afford to pay overtime at the proposed rates.

Now, when I look at this rule, I also think about job-protected leave. In prior video segments, we discussed the FMLA and how it provides job protective leave for employees who work 1,250 consecutive hours in a year. How would the 32-hour work week impact job protected leave? Would employees be required to work longer time periods before receiving job protected leave?

These are a few issues we should consider with a bill of this nature that will shock the workforce as we have known it for years.

Employers will find it expensive to pay overtime for shorter workweeks, and employees may encounter issues with job protected leave and other work benefits.

If you have any questions about how to navigate issues like this, give us a call. Our link is always in the bio. Thank you for joining LegalEase.