Last week, Massachusetts lawmakers Dylan Fernandes and Josh Cutler filed legislation to create a pilot program studying the concept of a 4-day work week.
Businesses who volunteer for this pilot program, called Massachusetts Smart Work Week, will agree to transition their employees to a shorter work week without a reduction in pay. Employers who participate will be required to share the economic and social impacts of a reduced work week, and in return, will qualify for a tax credit.
The pilot program is scheduled to last two years, and participating employers would be required to transition at least 15 employees to a 4-day work week. Program organizers seek to include a diverse selection of businesses, as the goal of the program is to study how a shortened work week would impact people in different size firms, in different parts of the state, and in different industries.
Similar programs worldwide have found that a 4-day work week can lead to increased productivity and revenue, higher employee satisfaction, and a reduced carbon footprint. Additionally, lawmakers argue that this program could help with two major problems the US is currently facing – the labor shortage and mental health crisis.
The pilot program would be run by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Legislators state that although there is still work to be done to get the bill to a law, they believe there is a lot of support both from the State House and from local businesses.