What if every weekend was a three day weekend? “Calendar*” by DafneCholet is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
The Maryland legislature was recently introduced a bill that, if passed, would establish a pilot program and income tax credit to encourage public and private employers to experiment with a four-day work week.
The scheme, which is scheduled to start in July and run through 2028, would work as follows: Employers At least 30 employees would have to switch to a four-day week without there being any wage or benefit cuts. Employers would also have to agree to collect information about the results of the transition. The Maryland Department of Labor would set the tax credit amounts, which would not exceed $750,000.
But enough with the details. Unless you’re a die-hard, energetic, aspiring workaholic who sees weekends as an opportunity to get even more paperwork done, you’re probably thinking: A four-day work week sounds impressively. life changing. To be too good to be true. It’s too good to be true, isn’t it?
Not necessarily! Maryland isn’t the first place to consider a four-day workweek pilot. Several governments, including those of Iceland, Denmark and Spain, have actually tried – starting pilot programs or putting employees on permanent short-time work. (France is known to have introduced the 35-hour week in 2000, a move that in practice was largely symbolic). earlier this year, time even claims that 2023 could be the year of the four-day week.
Why the optimism? The data suggests that less might actually be more when it comes to days on the clock. Late last year, the nonprofit 4-day week worldwide completed its first four-day workweek pilot program in North America and Ireland, a six-month study of 33 companies employing 903 people. Researchers from Boston College, University College Dublin and Cambridge University contributed to a subsequent report which found:
- Of the 33 companies, 27 completed the final survey – and rated the study an average of 9.0 out of 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 from very negative to very positive.
- Eighteen companies said they would definitely go ahead with the four-day workweek, seven were planning to go ahead but hadn’t made up their minds, one was looking to go ahead, and one wasn’t sure yet.
- When researchers compared the companies’ sales change during the six-month test phase with the sales change in the same half year of the previous year, they found a weighted average increase of over 37%.
- 97% of all employees stated that they wanted to keep the four-day week. The report also finds that employee stress and burnout have decreased while job satisfaction has increased.
- The study found an improvement in physical and mental health, and the report states, “This strongly suggests that a four-day workweek has the potential to reduce healthcare-related costs.”
Not everything was positive. While 32% of employees reported less stress, over 16% of employees reported it elevated Stress – suggesting the four-day work week may not be for everyone. In addition, some supporters of the four-day week argue that it would be possible Increasing gender equality at home when men have more flexible working hours, the 4 Day Week Global report found no significant changes in the division of labor in households – a finding that may not come as a surprise.
Maryland’s potential program comes as some companies and governments give their employees more freedom to adjust their schedules without reducing actual work hours. Some federal agencies have a Flexible work schedule, where employees can vary their arrival and departure times during flexible working hours but maintain a 40-hour week. South Korea, on the other hand, can Employees are allowed to work up to 69 hours per week instead of 52 to increase work flexibility.