MD Legislature Considers Four Day Workweek Pilot Program / Public News Service

A bill in the Maryland Legislature would create a pilot program to study the impact of a four-day workweek.

The pilot program would create a tax incentive for qualifying companies to move employees from a 40-hour week to 32 with no reduction in pay or benefits.

The current bill would open the program to businesses with a minimum of 30 employees, although some discussion in committee hearings proposed to lower that to five employees.

The bill includes a provision for the state Department of Labor to help companies realize productivity gains.

Del. Vaughn Stewart – D-Montgomery County – introduced the bill in the House and pointed to older views of the relationship between workers and their productivity.

“You even had folks like Richard Nixon in the ’50s, predicting that we would be very soon moving to a four-day workweek,” said Stewart. “And really, if you look back at that time, the original American dream – it really was about the idea that American workers would have rising productivity over time, and that therefore we could have rising and increasing leisure time.”

The British nonprofit 4 Day Week Global recently published results of a six-month trial of 61 companies involving over 3,000 employees – and 92% of firms said they will continue the four-day workweek.

When asked to comment on the story, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce replied it’s “not taking a position on the four-day work-week legislation.”

Stewart said among his colleagues, this bill has garnered more interest from the public than any other. He said the governor has not taken a position on the bill yet, but he is optimistic.

“Gov. [Wes] Moore has made public service such a staple of the early days of his administration,” said Stewart. “I really think this bill is not only compatible, but a nice fit for that idea.”

If enacted, the four-day workweek pilot would last for a period of five years. The bill is currently in committee with versions of the bill in both the Maryland House and Senate.

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