For any of you folks in California who have managed to keep your jobs and not be robbed or chased out of your neighborhoods by the gangs, there may be some good news on the way. This is particularly true if you happen to work a typical, five-day, 40-hour per week schedule. The state legislature is working on a bill this month that would reduce your typical week to only four days and you’ll still only need to put in eight hours per day to receive the same pay. As a bonus, if your boss really needs you to work that “extra” eight hours per week that you’re currently putting in, they’ll have to pay you overtime. Doesn’t that sound awesome? Probably, but your employers definitely aren’t going to like it and the law of unintended consequences may be about to come knocking. (L.A. Times)
A proposed bill winding its way through the state Legislature could make California the first state in the nation to reduce its workweek to four days for a large swath of workers.
The bill, AB 2932, would change the definition of a workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours for companies with more than 500 employees. A full workday would remain at eight hours, and employers would be required to provide overtime pay for employees working longer than four full days.
The bill was authored by Assembly Members Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) and Evan Low (D-San Jose). At the federal level, a bill by Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) is pushing for similar changes under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Rather than simply nitpicking every liberal proposal that comes out of California immediately, let’s look at the obvious benefits this plan would have for workers. It’s worth a lot more than just a three-day weekend every week of the year. You’ll have one extra day per week when you won’t have to drive your car (that you can’t afford gas for) or take public transit (where you’ll probably be mugged). You’ll have cut your chances of being carjacked over the course of the year by 20%. And don’t even get me started on how great you’re going to feel about your reduced carbon footprint while you sit home and fine-tune your Playstation skills.
The good news, assuming there actually is any, is that this won’t apply to everyone. If passed, the new law will apply to businesses with more than 500 employees. Smaller businesses won’t have to bear that burden. But that still leaves more than 2,600 employers and at least 3.6 million workers.
Of course, not all of those businesses will have to follow this new law. If you want to see the real political sausage-making in action, look no further than the fact that all unionized workforces or those with collective bargaining agreements are exempt from the new law.
So what about the non-unionized shops? There’s a reason that the California Chamber of Commerce already added this bill to its “job killer list.” The legislature clearly doesn’t have a solid grasp on how either business or employment works, likely because most of them have never worked at a real job. If your employer was able to get everything that they need to get done to remain profitable taken care of with the output of all of its employees in 32 hours each week, one of two things would have happened long ago. They would have either laid off one-fifth of the workers (possibly including you) or they would have gone bankrupt due to being noncompetitive. (In which case you would all be out of work already.)
If they have to have forty hours per week out of all the workers but they now suddenly have to pay everyone overtime every Friday, their labor costs just went up significantly. That means they have to raise prices for their good and services. And if they serve customers and clients in other states without this government requirement, they will have likely priced themselves out of the game. Further, because of the way the legislature rigged this bill to pamper the unions, they won’t even be able to compete against union ships inside California. Either way, you will probably wind up with a lot more than one extra day per week off. You’ll probably have all your days off, but at least you can use the extra time to look for a new job, right? Or you could spend that time packing your things so you can move out of California. That’s probably your better bet anyway.