A 4 day work week could come to Maryland

A four-day work week could come to Maryland.

A new bill introduced by the Maryland legislature this month gives both public and private employers incentives to experiment with a shortened workweek without cutting wages and benefits.

Under the program, companies that shift at least 30 employees from a 40-hour week to 32 employees could receive a state tax credit. The bill also encourages state and local government agencies to adopt a shorter workweek and report their results.

Employers can participate in the government-sponsored experiment for up to two years, and the entire program will expire in 2028. It offers up to $750,000 in tax credits per year and is overseen by the Maryland Department of Labor.

“People want more free time to spend with their families,” says Del. Representative for Maryland’s 19th Circuit and sponsor of the bill, Vaughn Stewart told CNBC Make It.

He was inspired by the results of hundreds of US workers who participated in a global four-day workweek experiment in 2022 led by the nonprofit organization 4 Day Week Global.

After a six-month trial, workers said their performance had improved and their burnout had fallen. The companies reported an 8% increase in sales during the trial, and all planned to continue with a shortened work week in the future.

“We could be on the verge of a win-win situation where we can give workers more time off while not only not harming businesses, but maybe even increasing productivity,” says Stewart.

Hearings on the bill are scheduled to take place next month. If signed into law, the program would go into effect on July 1.

There’s a good chance the law will pass, says Lisa Stickney, a management professor at the University of Baltimore. “It has a lot of grassroots support and has been introduced by a number of our delegates,” she told CNBC’s Make It.

Support for a shortened workweek has gained momentum during the pandemic, she says, as burnout levels at work peak around the world. “The bottom line is that people need relief,” she says. “Studies show that performance and productivity increase when you are rested. Everyone needs a mental break.”

Several countries have experimented with a four-day workweek, including Iceland, Denmark, Spain and Belgium. But official law has not yet arrived in the US.

California lawmakers last year introduced a bill that would change the definition of a standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours for companies with more than 500 employees and require them to pay overtime for extra hours. The bill has stalled.

And nationally, lawmakers introduced legislation in Congress in 2021 requiring overtime pay after 32 hours, but that too failed. His sponsor, Rep. Mark Takano of California, has said he would try again.


Workers who tried the 4-day workweek say they’ll never go back to 5 — or only with a huge pay rise

The biggest four-day workweek trial of all time has reached its halfway point. But what are the shorter weeks really like?

Thousands of employees are testing a 4-day work week starting today: “It’s inevitable that we will see larger companies doing this.”

Join Now: Keep in touch with your money and your career with our weekly newsletter

How this 26-year-old makes and spends $25,000 a year outside of New York


Leave a Comment