Is the 40-hour workweek obsolete? Sen. Joe Nguyen says it’s time to ‘re-think’ it

“We used to have a 100-hour work week, 6 days a week. In 1940 the US made the ‘radical’ shift to a 40-hour week that we enjoy today. Now 80 years later we need to re-think that paradigm.” So tweeted 34th District State Sen. Joe Nguyen of West Seattle tonight, after introducing Senate Bill 6516, which would downsize the official workweek to 32 hours in our state. After that, qualifying workers would have to be paid time and a half. Here’s the full text of the bill, as introduced, which includes a variety of exceptions:

Now that the bill has been introduced, it goes to the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee for potential consideration. You can comment on the bill via the Legislature’s website.

72 Replies to "Is the 40-hour workweek obsolete? Sen. Joe Nguyen says it's time to 're-think' it"

  • Yma January 20, 2020 (10:28 pm)

    I wish

  • cjboffoli January 20, 2020 (11:00 pm)

    Not sure how this is going to jibe with the West Seattle Blog publishers’ regular 168 hour work week.

  • Concerned January 20, 2020 (11:10 pm)

    While the idea of a shorter work week at first sounds good for better work/life balance, I’m concerned that employers would simply cut employees hours, causing a reduction in peoples income. How does this make sense when it’s already hard enough for so many people to afford rent in this city? For someone who makes $25 an hour, if their hours were cut from 40 to 32 every week, they would lose $9600 (gross) a year in income. It seems more likely to me that employers will look to cut hours rather than increase pay to workers, and just expect more out of their employees, for less, and this would create more workplace stress. Not sure this proposal will actually be a win for people. Perhaps a bill to increase workers allowed time off, both paid and unpaid, would be better.

    • WW Resident January 21, 2020 (5:15 am)

      Well that’s the problem, it’s not being thought through. Employers aren’t going to pay overtime for the 8 hours lost. They’ll just demand that the same amount of work get done in the 32 hour week.And what of the costs of government employees such as police /fire, etc. You can’t cut their hours down, so now each employee will get paid 8 hours overtime a week. That will probably average $30,000 extra dollars per employee per year.  And what of the medical field? The emergency room? We’re talking a lot of money with very few examples. And these expenses will get passed on to tax payers and consumers which then creates a vicious circle of being more expensive with less hours

      • WSB January 21, 2020 (7:23 am)

        Aa noted, the bill contains exemptions/exceptions, which you can read above (or via the link).

    • Lacey January 21, 2020 (6:44 am)

      Ok but I’m imagining these are the same arguments used any time there is a proposed law like this. 

    • Howard January 21, 2020 (11:01 am)

       Perhaps a bill to increase workers allowed time off, both paid and unpaid, would be better.”WA State just implemented a paid FMLA law on the 1st of the year. 

      • KM January 21, 2020 (1:00 pm)

        FMLA and can only be used in certain circumstances (i.e. not PTO, vacation, etc.), and instantly leaves out a lot of workers. It also leaves out many situations that an employee might need to miss work to care for others, and only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees, among other limiting factors. It’s not even close to a substitute for PTO.

        • HR Advisor January 21, 2020 (5:36 pm)

          The WA paid family (and medical) leave the original commenter is referring to is not the same as FMLA, as you described. WA Paid Family and Medical Leave applies to nearly every employee working in the state of WA, regardless of company size, so long as they’ve worked 820 hours in the qualifying period (last year). It accommodates time off and salary replacement for those needing to care for others. It’s tied to YOU working in the state of WA; NOT to your employer like FMLA is. 

          • KM January 21, 2020 (9:22 pm)

            Howard mentioned FMLA in his comment, so I was going off of that. Upon further inspection, it looks like small businesses don’t have to pay in. Seems like PMLA covers more care situations too. Am I reading it right that employees are on the hook for 45% of the premium?

  • Tamsen Spengler January 20, 2020 (11:10 pm)

    Thanks for including the bill text and link to leave a comment which I did. I’ve been advocating for this for years. I’m so glad we have Senator Joe Nguyen working for us. 

    • Amy January 21, 2020 (12:54 pm)

      Agree! Very exciting. I commented too.

  • The King January 21, 2020 (1:53 am)

    A short work week will become involuntary in the years to come as businesses usher in automation, with certain trades being the exception. 

  • raywest January 21, 2020 (3:54 am)

    Along with that, mandatory six-week vacation time, like much of the rest of the world. Americans have to work far too much.  I’m glad I’m no longer in the rat race.

  • Bartender January 21, 2020 (4:00 am)

    As a bartender I would lose 6-8 hours per week because no way my boss is paying me $22.50 an hour for those last 6-8 hours per week.  Unfortunately I make 20-50 an hour in tips so I will lose a ton of money. Thanks but no thanks.  

  • Anonymous Coward January 21, 2020 (4:49 am)

    Make it 12 hours and raise the minimum wage to $50/hr.

    • uncle loco January 21, 2020 (3:18 pm)

      Why stop there? I want to be paid $2000 an hour and I only want to work 1 hour a week. Plus I want a 2 year paid vacation every year. Help me out Joe!

  • uncle loco January 21, 2020 (5:08 am)

    There should be plenty of part time jobs out there for people who don’t want to work a full week. I don’t see how a reduction in work hours can improve lives in a place that’s already considered unaffordable. I don’t think the government needs to get involved in how many hours a person decides to work. It doesn’t make sense to me unless this is just more legislation designed to punish employers.

    • Joan January 21, 2020 (8:44 am)

      Actually, there are not a lot of good part-time jobs out there! I wish. “Good” meaning professional level, with responsibilities that are more than mind-numbing drudgery, and possibly with some benefits.

  • CandrewB January 21, 2020 (5:21 am)

    The hits just keep coming. Well I for one sure can’t see any obvious unintended consequences with this one.

  • Onion January 21, 2020 (5:58 am)

    At many tech companies limiting the work week to a mere 40 hours would be a good start — and increasing the number of vacation days.I also appreciate Mr Boffioli’s comment. As they say in  parts of the south, “True dat!”

  • Richard Maloney January 21, 2020 (6:20 am)

    It’s hard to see how anybody can achieve excellence by working so little. It’s difficult to envision how the great problems our culture faces can be addressed by working less, not more.

    Look, we all dig time off.  But who thinks they can be taken seriously with 32 hours per week? If all this is about thresholds for benefits, we have things exactly backwards.

    Folks need full time work, with full benefits in order to have any chance of living comfortably is this very expensive city. And employers need more, not less, from those earning relatively high Seattle wages.

    • heartless January 21, 2020 (7:51 am)

      It sounds like you are very clearly arguing for a longer work week.  Every single one of your points indicates you would rather a more than 40 hour work week.  Out of curiosity, is this really what you think?  If not, you might want to re-think your reasoning.  

      • Richard Maloney January 21, 2020 (10:35 am)

        I guess every successful person I’ve ever met worked long and hard.

        We were taught the need to work as kids. I watched my Mom work as a high school teacher with debate and drama responsibilities, and then she cooked full shifts at Manning’s on the weekends. Seven days a week in order to feed our family.

        My own experience was to work incredibly long, hard hours, with knowledge that I would not only take time off, but I’d feel good about doing so because my work had been done. When not working, I feel I don’t justify my space on our planet.

        I guarantee you that the business owners being asked to pay overtime for hours over 32/week are working more than that in order to provide jobs in the first place. The business climate in this city can be challenging with a high minimum wage, good employee protections, and high taxes. How in the world does everyone stay in business?So,

        So, I guess my answer to your question is “yes.” 40 hours (typically 37.5 in my experience) ought to be the starting point for overtime wages.

    • KM January 21, 2020 (8:03 am)

      Why must we achieve excellence, for our employer and its shareholders? How many employees are solving culture’s greatest problems? Many are just finding ways to sell more widgets or keep people spending more time in their applications, viewing more ads. Worker productivity is at an all-time high. Many of us waste time at work to get in our hours at the office. Wages are not keeping up with productivity, even in expensive “high-wage” Seattle employers have a firmer grip than ever on employees, with competitive work environments, lack of unionization and an expectation to be “on” all the time (working from home, email on phones.)It’s high time “full time” meant less than 40+ hours and checking email on the weekend.

      • Richard Maloney January 21, 2020 (12:46 pm)

        I cannot speak for everyone. But, I prefer excellent doctors, excellent teachers, excellent plumbing technicians, excellent waiters, and so on.

        I agree not everyone is wired for full time work, yet that hardly seems a basis for incentivizing part time efforts. And, employers carry high overhead for each and every worker.  32 hours either means more overtime expense, more workers to accomplish the same volume, or a contraction of operations.

        • ACG January 21, 2020 (1:58 pm)

          Reminds me of the “Just Ok, is not OK” commercials right now. 

          • KM January 21, 2020 (3:27 pm)

            Haha, those are great commercials especially  the doctor one. In Richard’s point, I have no idea why excellence is tied to a 40 hour (or more) work week, I sure don’t want a tired and stressed out doctor (if that’s the example we are running with), and now some states are starting to do something about the hell they put residents and interns through too,.

    • Jenny January 21, 2020 (8:30 am)

      It depends on how you define excellence: In tech, the most effective workers I’ve seen easily spend 50% less time than the stragglers, who like to agonize, procrastinate, work into the night, schedule unnecessary meetings, and then talk endlessly about how dedicated they are by spending so much time. Of course, excellence varies by industry–I realize that in some, more than 32 hours is necessary.

      • Richard Maloney January 21, 2020 (2:34 pm)

        I agree, to a point.  Great workers do, indeed, get more done in less time than medoicre workers.  However, most people who are great at what they do don’t stop at a given number of hours. They never became great in the first place by doing anything part time.

  • K8 January 21, 2020 (6:46 am)

    As an employer I would have to either let someone go or reduce my offered benefits and hire a bunch of part time people.   This would be really hard on my business. There’s already a labor shortage that can’t be reflected in pay because  insurance payments are decreasing in healthcare and not keeping up with inflation or our local cost of living.

  • cxq5 January 21, 2020 (7:01 am)

    Thank you, Senator Joe! This is truly the direction we should be going. This will meet heavy resistance but it gives me hope for the future if our employers could own just fewer hours of our lives.  They leave us so little as it is. 

  • Kram January 21, 2020 (7:49 am)

    Why not focus on better paid time off for employees. Seems more realistic and logical than forcing a cap on hours. I’m in construction and didn’t see any exemptions for us in the bill. Making construction and remodel projects last longer seems silly. No homeowner is going to pay for 16+ overtime hours a week (assuming a 2 man crew) to remodel their kitchen.

    • Sarah January 21, 2020 (10:44 am)

      Totally agree.  It should be about paid time off, not limiting the workweek.  This seems like a no-win proposal.  I don’t see it going anywhere…

  • Friend O'Dinghus January 21, 2020 (8:18 am)

    This is why I didn’t vote for Sen. Nguyen in the primary; completely tone deaf, and quite possibly (probably) merely telling people what they wish to hear. We have an impeachment trial of the President beginning today in the U.S. Senate, in a very, very divided nation. We have a completely polarized citizenry on many thorny issues. One party makes great hay out of (and national election victories from) pointing out ‘Librul hair-brained ideas’ in order to maintain their hold on the countries’ luddites. Now is NOT the time to add to that list of wholly-unconventional ideas, thank you very much. Same with the Bernie Bros, Yang Gang, AOC, Justice Dems, and the rest of the fringe left; and this coming from one of the most liberal people you may ever wish to meet. Stop with the whackiness, get to the center, or be gone. We cannot take another four years of this tearing of our nation’s fabric, and if it means keeping your potentially politically explosive ideas to yourself for a couple of weeks, or 10 months, then that is what I expect out of my representatives. It’s called wisdom. It’s called choosing your battles. Focus people, or there will no longer be a democracy to even worry about. You know who doesn’t get overtime, and has to work cumulative hours beyond human capability, all just for enough food to provide for their families? People not living in democracies, that’s who. As for you my Sen. Nguyen, please save this folderol for non-national election years. I expect to see this very story on the right-wing outlets before the end of the day, as they are that desperate for any topic to distract from the disgrace of a party leader they have propped into place. I will repeat, to get this person’s vote (me), at this moment in history, get to the center or get out. Secure our democracy first, then work on the great ideas. Thank you all for listening to my opinion, although I can imagine many of you fully disagree. Best of days today, to each and every one.

    • zark00 January 21, 2020 (10:11 am)

      You are not even close to “one of the most liberal people you may ever wish to meet”.Not even approaching the on ramp to the ballpark, let alone in it.You sound like you are a centrist at the very most.This ‘radical new idea’ isn’t radical and isn’t new.  Many companies, including Microsoft, have run experiments with a 32 hour or shorter work week.  Microsoft reported a 40% boost in productivity.  Not all experiments have been as successful but most claim that reducing the work week increased productivity. The older you are the harder it is to accept, but, the facts strongly indicate that a shorter work week – either less hours per day or less days per week – has a positive impact on individual performance and company productivity.  The ‘problem’ people are focusing on is about “how would the world function on 32 hour work week, we’re all used to 40 hours” – that’s not a real problem, its fear and uncertainty of the unknown.  Same fears when we moved from a 100 hour, 6 day, work week to a 48 hour, 6 day, work week – people freaked out, nothing terrible happened, we now have a 40 hour work week.  Employees do not owe the company they work for anything.  It’s the other way around.  Companies have zero loyalty to employees.  I believe American workers have had to fight for every benefit or protection we have under the law.  I cannot think of a single instance where a company fought to change the laws to make workers lives better.  Are companies encouraging their employees to unionize?  No, they are not.

      • kram January 21, 2020 (12:54 pm)

        Lots of big generalizations here. There are thousands of companies in WA owned by people who truly care about the people who work for them.This may work for some companies lke Microsoft but an 8 hour reduction in hours seems silly for lots of industries and specifically hourly employees.

      • HR Advisor January 21, 2020 (5:45 pm)

        Could not agree more. 

      • Friend O'Dinghus January 23, 2020 (7:33 am)

        With all due respect Zark00, what you see is realism versus idealism, but you identify it as centrism versus liberalism. I am a realist with idealistic tendencies, if you will. To counter-label me the way you did, with no other information other than my post, is exactly the problem I am trying to bring to light. The solution to Trump is not a liberal version of Trump. Get it? If you are having trouble conceptualizing and integrating that above statement, then some introspective time in front of a mirror is in order. This is about leaving our democracy better, stronger, cleaner, fairer, and more respectful of human rights; but it all starts with a victories at the ballot box in all four corners, and the middle, of this great country. THAT my friend is realism.

    • sarah January 21, 2020 (10:46 am)

      Could not agree with you more, very well stated.  Choose your battles, all!

  • Rick January 21, 2020 (8:18 am)

    Get Kshama on it pronto!

  • mark47n January 21, 2020 (9:19 am)

    Oddly, people argued against shorter work weeks prior to 1940. Americans work more than most of their counterparts in the industrialized wold and are often considered the most productive. For me, an hourly wage slave, I would welcome a shorter work week more in line with other industrialized nations. I’d list them but it’s a long list. I’d also welcome more vacation and single payer healthcare.As things stand, now, our health and well-being are intimately tied to our employer which is a serious conflict of interest. Every gain for the rights of labor have been paid for in blood. Workers gunned down by the state, fire, Pinkertons and other strike-breakers, being forced to work with dangerous equipment due to cost to repair or upgrade, illnesses caused by chemicals and materials being worked with, and more. Perhaps those that labor behind a desk and are considered exempt under FLSA  feel differently but, frequently you aren’t the one bleeding or the family member that suffers the loss of a loved one or other consequences. What’s being fought for now, both in the abstract and specifically, is the right to not be so beholden to our employer’s.  In light of the ‘gig economy’ which comes with no vacation, no healthcare and no stability, is important to have a means that leaves you able to have at least a minimum standard of down time. It severs that reliance on the employer and their largesse (yes, largesse) for healthcare. For the ability to have a better balance between work and personal life. for those that say “get to the center” I say no! The center is status quo. It means stagnation. It means more of the same. Hillary Clinton was the Center. Biden is the Center. When the Center is the choice it means the Left doesn’t vote or they give their vote away to a 3rd party. When we argue electability we lose. Every time. If it’s the Center or Trump I have no choice but now, for the primary, I will NOT vote for the lazy fair policies and milquetoast rhetoric of the yellow stripe in the center of the road.

  • wscommuter January 21, 2020 (10:07 am)

    @Friend O’Dinghus … agree with your comment that this bill will get swooped up by the talk-radio right.  But this bill is also DOA – I would be surprised if it gets out of committee.  We Democrats can be stupid, but I don’t think we’re this stupid.  

  • aa January 21, 2020 (10:08 am)

    I don’t understand the need for this.  Is working 40 hours really so difficult?  It is my opinion that requiring business owners to pay overtime for hours over 32, along with the ever increasing minimum wage (which I support) is unfair.  Thinking about this as I drive around Seattle looking at tents, garbage, dilapidated trailers, garbage, abandoned cars, garbage.   Seems like we have bigger things to worry about.  I wonder who he is trying to please with this bill?

  • Anu January 21, 2020 (10:10 am)

    I didn’t fully understand the legalese in this document, but I don’t see anything saying that employees will be paid less. For salaried employees, my assumption would be that pay stays the same for reduced hours. There are extensive studies from countries like France with the 32-hour work week, that say that productivity actually improves as employees are more rested and grateful for the longer weekend, and one less day of stressful commuting. I don’t know about others but most of my weekend is spent doing chores- doing chores is downtime for me. This would definitely help bring more balance to the crazy productivity-driven American lifestyle. Tech companies are a whole other issue. Their expectations are unreasonable at times. And those who are saying that there should be more time off than less working hours… tech companies make you feel horrible about taking time off. In all those startups with “unlimited PTO”, employees often actually end up taking less than 2 weeks off because there’s just too much guilt. America’s work culture is broken and there should at least be a conversation about it, even if this legislation has holes and doesn’t come through.

    • KM January 21, 2020 (1:10 pm)

      It’s also worth noting that in Washington State, companies are not required to cash out an employee’s accrued vacation. Many do. It’s determined by the employment/benefits contract upon being hired. Viewing PTO as deferred or alternative compensation puts the employee at risk. It’s simply not a good substitute in this situation, in addition to the reasons you mentioned.

    • neighbor January 21, 2020 (3:43 pm)

      Anu, salaried workers are exempted. This bill would only impact hourly workers, and I believe others are correct in the belief that this will only result in employers cutting hours to avoid overtime. This bill seems well-intentioned, but it’s poorly designed and would do more harm than good, IMO.

    • wscommuter January 21, 2020 (3:58 pm)

      @Anu … you are correct that the bill doesn’t talk about paying people less; however, the inevitable consequence will be that  most employers will make the rational decision to limit workers to 32 hours rather than pay the 1.5 overtime rate for an additional 8 hours, with a 20% cut in pay for their workers.  So real income decreases for many not because of this proposed statute, but because of the effect it will cause.  The false argument here is about work/life balance.  That isn’t what this bill is about, even if Rep. Nguyen wants to believe it is.  Work/life balance is a choice we each make as employees; not a choice the employer makes.  I work as much as I do in order to pay my bills and provide the lifestyle I wish to have for my family.  At times in my career, that meant working more hours and having less free time.  That is the case for so many families that are just trying to get by.  The good intentions of this bill are premised on the idea that if the government mandates a 32-hour work week, that companies will continue to pay people the same amount for less work.  With few exceptions, that won’t happen.  Very few employers will choose to absorb this cost increase, so they will work around it and ironically more folks – and especially those on the bottom rung who can least afford such a hit – will choose to get another job to fill that gap, resulting in less free time for family and work-life balance.   

      • jissy January 21, 2020 (6:59 pm)

        wscommuter:  That is the best comment piece and IMO most accurate of this whole thread… thank you for being able to put it into words.  “Choice” is an almost daily conversation I have with my kids: “Work/life balance is a choice we each make as employees; not a choice the employer makes. ”   Life is about choices and the results that follow.   “I work as much as I do in order to pay my bills and provide the lifestyle I wish to have for my family.”  Change the narrative in any direction if it’s not serving you, hours worked, freetime, pay, profession, commute hours etc…..  It’s all a choice.

  • Mike January 21, 2020 (10:12 am)

    I bet people were saying the same thing 100 years ago and the world was going to end. Well time for a change.

  • Mj January 21, 2020 (10:20 am)

    This proposed legislation needs to be put in a circular file!  Things are already expensive and cutting 8 hours of pay from many people could leave them unable to pay rent or buy food, the unintended consequences!

  • Tone deaf... January 21, 2020 (10:22 am)

    …and out of touch on so many levels, this one. Policy being proposed by the lethal combo of techbro and government hack. Exempt employees wouldn’t be affected by this, including this guy’s gig at Microsoft. Non-exempt positions would get lower pay and fewer opportunities as business owners and managers are not going to pay people overtime for basic staffing needs. Out of touch “progressives” are my favorite. 

  • WSNeighbor January 21, 2020 (10:39 am)

    Why is it that the politicians assume all businesses are equal and can just make some adjustments whenever policies mess with our business?  Retail, restaurants, software, construction, etc are all very different.  As owner of a specialty retail in West Seattle, we will reduce staff hours if this ever passes because there is simply nowhere to absorb this.  You can’t increase productivity of retail by sheer desire, in spite of the frequently cited Microsoft experiment.   Our staff will take home less pay, not more.  Contractors will pass on this cost in project bids making new construction more expensive and inflating housing. Nguyen should try talking to some actual  businesses in his district before sponsoring this poorly conceived social experiment.

  • sgs January 21, 2020 (10:51 am)

    I scanned the bill and did not see an introductory paragraph explaining the impetus behind it. We can talk in generalities about work/life balance, but such a change requires specific justification and reasoning behind it (think “Whereas…….”). Wish they would be more thorough in their work and accountable to the people for why they propose what they propose.

  • Alex January 21, 2020 (10:59 am)

     I’d like to see the economic analysis of this proposal.   Can the Senator please explain why he wouldn’t expect wages to go down by 20% particularly for businesses that need coverage 40 hours a week?  Even if the business paid the OT, who does he think will bear the increased cost of whatever they are selling – the middle class like always.I am disappointed in Sen. Nguyen.   This has got to be one of the least important issues that this state should be looking at.   Transportation, homelessness, sustaining the economy and easing the burden on the middleclass should be his priorities.  

    • WSB January 21, 2020 (11:02 am)

      To the last point, he’s sponsoring dozens of other bills. You can search the legislative website by legislator’s name if you want to look at their entire body of work. I just happened to hear about this and thought it was worth spotlighting but plan to watch the Legislature info more closely (for our two state House reps too) in the future – TR

  • anonymous January 21, 2020 (11:23 am)

    If you want to increase the number of homeless, jobless people in Seattle as well as increase the “class/wealth” gap between the rich and poor…Ok, this bill sounds like a great idea!

  • Mnw January 21, 2020 (12:37 pm)

    I like the idea. There was a recent study of a 4 day work week by Microsoft in Japan and they said productivity went up. Many people waste time at work each day and it adds up over the week. Longer weekends would also likely assist in the energy level and morale of employees.There is more to life than being a slave to your job. No one looks back on their death bed and says they wished they worked more.

  • mark47n January 21, 2020 (1:03 pm)

    Again, people pushed back against fewer hours in the 1940’s. Odd that there’s so much push back against rethinking our philosophy regarding work. People here are beholden to their employers and the balance between employee and employer is skewed heavily to the employer and has been for decades. It’s talked about in terms of hourly demands, how hourly employees are treated by some of the regions largest employers, not just Amazon, how “benefits” provided by employers are scandalously inadequate but we insist that we not change it. I see the same thing when building codes are changed. Competitors complain that now they’ll be underbid by others with never a thought that competitors have to follow the same rules. This applies to the concept that not all businesses are equal.   Of course they are! They all have to operate with the rules that are set for them, they all have to comply with employment law that apply to them etc. As for the idea that the $15 minimum wage has hurt them, there is no provable truth to that. While it certainly hurt some businesses perhaps those businesses were not viable in the first place. We have to be able to adapt and we’ve proven, as a nation, to be extraordinarily unwilling. We make changes on the face of things but not at the deep structures that allow the corruption and greed to permeate the system. It’s curious that we insist that others are worse off than we are as a nation when they are demonstrably happier, healthier and enjoy lives with less stress than we place on ourselves. We deserve exactly what we get. 

    • Kram January 21, 2020 (3:00 pm)

      People pushed back in the 1940’s because the work conditions were criminal and there were little rules and enforcement. You can’t seriously say current work environments are similar to the 1940’s. If you currently make $15 a hour for 40 hours and then move to only 32 hours because the employer can’t/won’t pay your over time what’s the benefit there? Doesn’t this only hurt the hourly people on the bottom and grossly over benefit the people on the top who already have good salary jobs? We can adapt but we can also question policies that seem out of touch. Oh, and there is ‘provable truth’ about the affects of a higher minimum wage:

      • Calires January 21, 2020 (6:12 pm)

        “The people on the top who already have good salary jobs” are working substantially more than 40 hours per week, at least in technology companies.  I have been salaried for the past 25 years with some of the big tech companies and 60+ hour work weeks are more in line with expectations/reality.  When I worked at Amazon, I figured out that I was making  ~$7/hour when dividing my salary by the number of hours I was working.  You do not take time off – you may be logging your time  to vacation or sick leave or holiday –  but you are expected to be responsive at all times, not just by your employer, but by customers and vendors as well.   Evenings and weekends are great because at least you’re working from home instead of the office.   It’s not all wine and roses for salaried workers, I can assure you.

  • Gina January 21, 2020 (1:05 pm)

    Is the idea that someone working 32 hrs a week would be full time and therefore qualify for full time benefits? 

  • Lisa January 21, 2020 (1:34 pm)

    Tech companies are not paying most people to work by the hour and most tech workers work more than 40 hours a week. To say  this is going to be good or bad for tech companies (like Microsoft) is naive. It has nothing to do with what really happens in tech.

  • Mj January 21, 2020 (2:52 pm)

    Mnw the 4 day work week in Japan was 4 10 hour days aka 40 hours a week!  

    • Mnw January 21, 2020 (3:13 pm)

      According to the article “ All of the employees who took Fridays off were given special paid leave, the company says.” They wouldn’t get paid leave if they were working 4 10 hour days. 

      • neighbor January 21, 2020 (4:24 pm)

        MNW, you said “They wouldn’t get paid leave if they were working 4 10 hour days”, but I can’t find that anywhere in the article. Is this an assumption based on the expectation that Japan’s labor laws are the same as ours? They absolutely aren’t, and Japanese employers are able to require up to 100 hours of overtime per employee per month in their busy months. Believe it or not, that was a huge improvement on the prior law which allowed employers to require unlimited overtime.

  • parent January 21, 2020 (5:40 pm)

    I prefer my kids to go to school 5 days a week.

  • Cwood January 21, 2020 (6:23 pm)

    So will kids only go to school four days a week for teachers to work just 32 hours/week?  Kids have to be in school a certain amount of hours/days.  How does the bill address this?

  • MrsT January 21, 2020 (6:43 pm)

    I, for one, applaud Senator Nguyen and his bold leadership. All the above pleas for the status quo are literally the cause of our continued slow march to ruin. The time for bravery is NOW, and if you can’t buck up, please hush and make room for the people willing to do the work to change things. And for the love of all things holy, read some books about the labor movement in America. 

  • Delridge Resident January 21, 2020 (10:12 pm)

    Bravo, Senator! Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront of public discourse. This is clearly one worth discussing and debating amongst ourselves – the sheer number of replies indicates it struck a chord.I think many would welcome a 32 hour work week – at least I would. The real question is how bad do we want it, and how fast can we get there? Is it a matter of modifying this legislation? More sweeping systemic change? Whatever it is let’s help each other get there.Call! Write! Vote! Engage!!

  • Steve January 22, 2020 (5:42 pm)

    It would be nice. But I think 4 10 hours shifts would be more like it. Reducing hours just doesn’t sound like a good ideal. Most companies don’t wanna pay overtime. They would probably create more Salary positions.

  • Brenda January 26, 2020 (2:04 am)

    Reducing the work week is going to cause financial hardship not help employees survive. The law stating employees working 40 hours a week to be eligible for medical, only pushed employers to change the work hours offered to25 to 32 hours. Workers need 40 hours a week to afford housing!! To afford to meet financial obligations to not be homeless. Is the goal to create more poverty? More homeless workers?? Seriously this bill is a narrow minded view of the costs of daily living. EMPLOYEES will loose hours. I personally cannot find employment that is “ full time “ . Minimum wage at 40 hours is needed for me to afford rent, car insurance. This bill will create more need for government assistance. Costing state and federal government more money. DROP THE BILL. 

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