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Could the U.S. adopt a four-day workweek?

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Senators debated the feasibility of implementing a four-day workweek for American workers during a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), introduced legislation to establish a standard 32-hour workweek with no loss in pay.

“Despite the long hours, the average worker in America makes almost $50 a week less than he or she did 50 years ago after adjusting for inflation,” Sanders said.

Sanders said the point of the committee hearing was to get lawmakers talking, adding that the last time the Senate held a hearing on this subject was in 1955.

However, not all lawmakers were onboard with the idea, arguing that changing the number of hours people work could result in higher inflation and layoffs.

“They would ship those jobs overseas or they would automate to replace those workers for whom they have an increased expense, or they would dramatically increase prices to make them stay afloat,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said.

Some witnesses in Thursday’s hearing agreed with Cassidy arguing it could put some industries and workers at a disadvantage.

“We also potentially disadvantage older workers who cannot necessarily physically do the same amount of work in a shorter time,” Liberty Vittert, Professor of the Practice of Data Science at the Olin Business School said.

Other witnesses who testified before lawmakers said studies prove that productivity would rise with a 32-hour workweek.

“That has been the experience of both workers and management in our trials. It is historically what scholars have concluded from past reductions in work time,” Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology at Boston College said.

Schor said that worker’s mental health and overall physical health would likely improve as well.

Despite support in the House and Senate, it seems unlikely the bill would gain enough support from Republicans to become federal law.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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