This State Could Be the First to Pay Companies To Test a Four-Day Workweek
Trials of the four-day workweek have picked up steam around the world -- and now it's could come to U.S. lawmaking.
A bill has been introduced in Maryland that would offer a financial incentive to companies who try a four-day workweek — likely the first bill of its type in the U.S., according to CNN.
Participating companies would receive a tax credit against the state's income tax in return for sharing research with the state.
"The pandemic has taught us that how we view work is not set in stone but it's something that we as citizens can control," said Vaughn Stewart, a Maryland state representative serving in the House of Delegates, per CNN.
The four-day workweek has been gaining steam around the world. Seventy-three companies in the U.K. tested a four-day model (while paying employees for working five days). Of the 41 companies that responded to a survey on how their teams fared under the new system, 39 said productivity had increased or stayed the same.
"The four-day week trial so far has been extremely successful for us," said Claire Daniels, CEO at Trio Media, a company that participated in the U.K. trial.
"Productivity has remained high, with an increase in wellness for the team, along with our business performing 44% better financially," she added.
Related: A 4-Day Workweek Could Be a Reality in the U.S., Research Reveals — Here's What Might Move the Needle
According to not-for-profit company 4 Day Week Global, which has advocated for the model worldwide, similar trials occurred in countries including Canada, New Zealand, and Ireland. Twenty-eight businesses in South Africa and one in Botswana are also attempting a pilot.
The Maryland lawmaker also told CNN the bill was inspired by a specific 4 Day Week trial related to companies primarily based in the U.S. and Ireland. In a survey about the trial, the companies overwhelmingly praised the four-day workweek, with all 27 who responded to the query (out of 33 total) saying they were not planning or leaning toward returning to work five days a week.
According to the bill text, companies could submit an application to the program provided it affects at least 30 employees, they were not prior planning to try the four-day workweek, and agree to let the Department of Labor conduct research and interviews with employees.
In order to participate, employers can't reduce pay or benefits, the bill text says. The Maryland Department of Labor can deliver this tax credit through several mechanisms of its choice, but it cannot be more than $750,000 total in a fiscal year.
The bill will face a hearing on Feb. 14.