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Commentary By Allison Schrager

The Four-Day Work Week Is Decades Away

Economics Finance, Tax & Budget

Senator Bernie Sanders’ bill mandating a 32-hour week over the next few years would be harmful to the economy.

Billionaires and Bernie Sanders agree on at least one thing: They see a four-day work week in America’s future. Hedge fund manager Steve Cohen is investing in golf courses because he anticipates a big increase in leisure time, and IAC founder Barry Diller is expecting people to be in the office only four days a week. The senator from Vermont, meanwhile, has proposed legislation that will set the work week to 32 hours.

Put me down as skeptical. Some big technological innovations promise to make people more productive, but a four-day work week will not be the norm anytime soon. And legislation imposing it over the next four years would harm the economy.

The first question is what a “four-day work week” means. Sometimes it means working 40 hours in four days instead of five, though this tends to be less efficient. Or it may mean working an eight-hour day four days a week, which is what Sanders has in mind. Both kinds of arrangements have become more common over the years in the US and elsewhere — though much of the increase is among people who work fewer than 40 hours.

Continue reading the entire piece here at Bloomberg Opinion (paywall)


Allison Schrager is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.

Photo by Thomas Northcut/Getty Images