BOSTON (WWLP) – The Labor and Workforce Development Committee heard a bill on Tuesday that would support companies interested in a four-day work week.
The bill, called an Act Relative to a Four-Day Work Week Pilot Program, would give a tax credit to businesses interested in joining a pilot program that would try a shortened work week for its employees. The goal of a four-day work week is to reduce burnout and boost employees’ performance and productivity.
“Americans are overstressed and overworked. The data shows that a four-day work week creates a happier workforce, fuels company productivity, and helps businesses attract top talent,” said Representative Dylan Fernandes, who c-filed the bill. “This pilot program studies its efficacy in Massachusetts to determine whether the four-day work week could benefit Commonwealth employees and businesses.”
The pilot program would be two years long and employees would receive a reduction in hours they work without losing pay. Employees of the businesses in the program can also opt out of the program if they wish to. Qualified employers must have more than 15 employees.
“In this era of tight labor markets, we need to get creative to keep our economy growing,” said Representative Josh Cutler, who also co-filed the bill and serves as House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “This bill creates new incentives for Massachusetts businesses to explore shifting to a four-day work week which can offer a myriad of benefits, including boosting worker satisfaction and productivity, and reducing absenteeism and commuting time.”
Boston College and companies in the United Kingdom have previously trialed the program. During those trials, thousands of employees worked a 32-hour work week. All of the companies at the end of the trial said they would not be going back to a 40-hour work week.
Once the pilot program is complete, a report will be made to see how it affects the quality of life for employees. Maryland, New York, and California are other states that have looked into laws supporting four-day work weeks but nothing has officially been signed.
The Labor and Workforce Development Committee will now consider if the bill should move forward towards the next steps of becoming a law.
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