New legislation in Maryland’s General Assembly proposes incentives for private and public sector employers to try a four-day workweek.
The bill directs the Maryland Department of Labor to administer a pilot program to study the possibility of a shorter workweek without a reduction in pay. Private entities could get a state tax credit as an incentive if they shift at least 30 employees to a 32-hour workweek. It also encourages state employers to try a shorter workweek and report their results.
“It’s good for workers, and I think it’s good all the way around for employers. I think having a more productive and happier workforce, you probably can’t even put a price on that,” said Del. Mary A. Lehman, representative of Maryland’s 21st district and co-sponsor of the bill.
A six-month study by the group 4 Day Week Global looked at a pilot program with more than 300 companies worldwide. Among the thousands of employees participating, they found that there was more productivity, fewer absences and more family and work engagement.
The study also found that companies’ revenues rose 8% during the trial. All of the participating companies stayed with a four-day workweek after the program was over.
Participants say that it would take a pay increase of between 10% to 50% to entice them back to a five-day workweek.
If signed into law, the two-year pilot program would take effect July 1 and expire in 2028.