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Out Rep. Mark Takano Introduces Four-Day Workweek Legislation

Representative Mark Takano

California Rep. Mark Takano has begun campaigning for a bill he’s sponsoring that would call for a four-day workweek.

Takano, who is the first out gay person of color to be elected to Congress, introduced the bill in late July. The proposed bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to make companies pay overtime to non-exempt workers after 32 hours a week is met.

It's been referred to the House's Education and Labor Committee.

As part of a campaign promoting his 32-hour workweek, Takano wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, “It’s well past time that Americans have more time to live their lives, and not just work.”

In an interview with Reuters, Takano said, “It is a sense on my part that wide swaths of the American workforce are worn out and tired, and the pandemic has made them be more real about their lives after seeing someone die or be at risk of dying.

“People are seeing that time is just as important as money. I think we're seeing a global cataclysmic event that has created an opening for people to rethink the current workweek.”

Takano said that the 32-hour workweek would be easier in some industries than others. He also said that serious discussions will also have to take hourly-wage earners into consideration.

He imagines that the support for the shorter workweek will cause more legislative success at the state and local levels.

“(For) certain folks who like to think of themselves as populists, we will see how populist they really are,” he told Reuters.

A July press release listed the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Economic Policy Institute, Service Employees International Union, the National Employment Law Project, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union had all endorsed Takano’s bill.

Co-sponsors for the bill include Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and Rep. Chuy Garcia.

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