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California Considers a Shortened Workweek for Big Companies

Does your boss not pay you fairly for all the hours you work?

Would YOU be interested in working fewer days per week? A shortened workweek may be a reality for California companies.

Currently, there is legislation circulating through the state legislature that would change the standard workweek to 32 hours, from the typical 40 hours, for companies with more than 500 employees. “There would be no cut in pay, and those who work more would be compensated at a rate of no less than 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay,” according to CNBC. This could drastically cut down on the amount of employee abuse employment lawyers see when they represent clients.

“It doesn’t make sense that we are still holding onto a work schedule that served the Industrial Revolution,” Democratic Assembly member Cristina Garcia, one of the bill’s sponsors, mentioned.

Garcia also went on to say that the alteration is long overdue and that the COVID-19 pandemic and The Great Resignation have elucidated that the time to make a change to California workers’ schedules, is now. Employment lawyers like the ones at Lawyers for Justice, PC have seen an uptick in employment cases because of inappropriate workplace behavior.

Almost 48 million Americans resigned from their jobs in 2021, and the trend is still going strong. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, almost 4.4 million workers quit in February alone.

“There has been no correlation between working more hours and better productivity,” Garcia said.

The only thing that could kill the bill is the California Chamber of Commerce, who opposes it. The organization referred to the idea as a “job killer” because it would end up imposing more costs on businesses. But would it be worth it if it would reduce the amount of pain and suffering employees handle when they seek out employment lawyers?

“Labor costs are often one of the highest costs a business faces,” Ashley Hoffman, public policy advocate at the California Chamber Commerce wrote in a letter to Assembly member Evan Low, another Democratic sponsor of the bill.

“Such a large increase in labor costs will reduce businesses’ ability to hire or create new positions and will therefore limit job growth in California.”

Proponents of the four-day workweek, including California workers, say the same work can be achieved in the shorter timeframe. More companies are now testing it out as a way to address employee well-being. On the attorney side, the feedback is mixed; some employment lawyers are in favor, while others are against it.

In April of 2022, a number of companies throughout the U.S. and Canada began a six-month trial of a four-day workweek to test its effectiveness.

The idea is all about efficiency; employees work 80% of the time for 100% of the pay and maintain 100% productivity. Many employees in support of the bill say it will cut back on unnecessary meetings, which typically tend to crowd the schedules of employees in larger corporations.

“More and more companies are recognizing that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, productivity-focused working is the vehicle to give them that competitive edge,” said Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, the company conducting the test-run of workweek hours.

Do you have a boss who doesn’t pay you for all your hours worked? Does your employer impose unrealistic expectations on you while on the job? The lawyers at Lawyers for Justice, PC can help. Call us today for a FREE consultation at 818-647-9323.