BOSTON (WHDH) - There is an effort underway to at least test out a four-day workweek in Massachusetts.
Representatives Dylan Fernandes and Josh Cutler recently introduced a bill that would give tax credits to businesses in the state that sign up for a shorter workweek pilot program and report on how the pilot is going over the course of two years.
Both representatives discussed their proposal on Tuesday as supporters testified before the state Labor and Workforce Development at the State House.
“We’d have two years of data to look at and really dig into and see what are the kinds of questions that different businesses would have,” said Cutler.
“The five day work week is a human construct and we think it needs updating,” said Fernandes.
Supporters of a four-day workweek say the idea would help reduce burnout in the workplace.
In Cambridge, one local nonprofit has already tried out such a change.
Alan Palm of Better Future Project told lawmakers the four-day workweek “has allowed us to boost the quality of life for our staff without impacting our budget.”
Palm’s job focuses on the climate crisis. He said studies show working four days helps the environment.
“Personal carbon footprints are down,” he said. “The number of commutes by car per week is down.”
Two professors from Boston College who have researched the four-day workweek also shared their study’s results. They said a shorter workweek at the same pay does not affect a company’s productivity but does boost employees’ performance.
“Work/family balance, work/life balance, mental and physical health, job satisfaction and life satisfaction all improved from the beginning to the end of the trial,” said BC Associate Sociology Professor Wen Fan.
“One of the interesting things that happens with the four-day week is that, in these very high turnover businesses like restaurants, these companies find their employees stop quitting,” said Juliet Schor, a sociology professor at BC.
The Labor and Workforce Development Committee is currently scheduled to review testimony from Tuesday’s proceedings to decide whether the four-day workweek proposal currently under consideration should move forward.
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