Lawmakers in Massachusetts spent Tuesday morning hearing overwhelming support for a four-day workweek as they consider a bill that would launch a pilot program if passed.
Many four-day workweeks mean 10-hour days, still equaling 40-hour weeks. Massachusetts' bill, heard by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, would reword legislation to say four days and 32 hours in a workweek without any reduction in overall pay.
Democratic Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven filed House Bill 3599 in January that would implement the four-day workweek.
Democratic Reps. Dylan Fernandes and Josh Cutler presented House Bill 3849 in April that would give tax credits to businesses in the state that join a pilot program to explore possible benefits of a shorter work week.
"There's clear evidence that the model of a 32-hour week with 40 hours pay works for both employees and businesses," Juliet Schor, an economist and Boston College professor, testified during the hearing. "In these very high turnover businesses like restaurants... these companies find their employees stop quitting."
Shor is a part of the 4 Day Week Global Academic Board, a nonprofit whose website says they are the "world's largest" organization advocating for a four-day workweek.
Business owners and leaders also testified in the hearing, including Kickstarter's chief strategy officer Jon Leland, who said the company with 120 employees implemented a four-day workweek in April 2022.
"We don't lose employees anymore," he said, while adding the company's percentage of achieved goals rose.
Massachusetts Sen. John Velis, a Democrat, previously told Western Mass News he did not believe the bill for the two-year program named "Massachusetts Smart Week Pilotc," where participating employers would agree to transition at least 15 workers to a shortened workweek, would make it very far.
"We are in the midst of a profound labor shortage right now," Velis said. "There’s not enough people to do jobs for all intents and purposes to keep institutions and businesses and restaurants and hospitals, and nursing homes functioning."
Massachusetts lawmakers are preparing to go on their nearly seven-week winter break, according to the legislative calendar. Bill sponsor Fernandes told Boston 25 News the bill would need to pass by this summer prior to the pilot program hopefully starting in 2025.