A 4 Day Week
February 9, 2019 5:38 PM Subscribe
The case for a 4-day workweek - "The campaign for the 4-day work week has been a talking point for many British progressive politicians in the Labour Party... Last September, Frances O'Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), made headlines for positioning the 4-day work week as a priority issue for the Labour Party. She emphasized its urgency at the organization's 150th annual gathering, arguing that evolving technology should be cutting the number of hours spent at work."
“In the 19th century, unions campaigned for an eight-hour day. In the 20th century, we won the right to a two-day weekend and paid holidays,” she said. “So, for the 21st century, let’s lift our ambition again. I believe that in this century we can win a four-day working week, with decent pay for everyone. It’s time to share the wealth from new technology, not allow those at the top to grab it for themselves.”
Compared to our European counterparts, America is far behind when it comes to protecting its citizens from being overworked by capitalist overlords and providing basic social benefits. In the U.S., there is no statutory annual leave as paid time off is usually left for employees and employers to negotiate as part of the compensation package. The European Union legislation mandates that all members grant employees a minimum of 4 weeks of paid vacation, but many countries offer more. When it comes to maternity leave in the E.U., the minimum period is 14 weeks. In the U.S., the only federal law guaranteeing maternity leave in the U.S. is unpaid. This is all just the tip of the iceberg — but the movement in the UK is not merely about preventing citizens from being overworked. Its supporters believe that the four-day workweek movement will benefit the economy, environment and democracy, by improving mental health, allowing citizens more time to engage with politics, and reducing carbon footprints.