The newest shockwave to hit employment customs is the murmurs of a four-day workweek. In fact, Iceland recently declared their experiment with the four-day workweek a success. Belgian workers won the right to a four-day workweek in February, and the United Kingdom has set up a trial run that began this month with about 70 companies volunteering. Further, other countries are looking at the European peninsula to see how their experiment goes to consider instituting the shortened workweek. So, how could we get a four-day workweek in the United States?
The first way is obvious but unlikely. Either the House or Senate would have to draft a bill that mandated a four-day workweek for all businesses. Then, the bill would go to the opposite chamber of Congress before a final agreed upon draft was sent and signed by the President. The chance of a bill of this magnitude, with the potential to cause ripples throughout all levels of industry and business, wading through the stagnant pond of Congress is low, so we turn to a second method.
The second method has a greater likelihood, and it involves rallying all your coworkers during lunch to discuss how much you want to only work for four days. If multiple people agree, then you can be designated as a spokesperson for the group and approach your boss on their behalf to ask that a four-day workweek be considered for multiple reasons like everyone hates Monday anyways, Tuesday is the new Monday, and no one actually works on Friday. Be sure to also mention that a four-day workweek has been linked to boosted worker morale and productivity in the workplace, which would in turn help businesses. The positive of this method is that under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, approaching your boss like this is considered protected speech about the terms and conditions of employment.
The third approach has a pre-condition to become effective and that is to have a valid union at the workplace. If there is a union, then the union can ask for the collective bargaining agreement or CBA to be renegotiated to include a four-day workweek as one of the provisions. Re-negotiating a CBA is a basic Union function and receives protection under the National Labor Relations Act, too.
The fourth strategy is a bit of a longshot but should be mentioned regardless. At this very moment, there are businesses that operate for only four days a week by choice. As an employee trying to get to that coveted four-day workweek, you can try and apply to work for one of these companies, you can use a similar company that has already adopted this approach as an example under the second method, or you can address it in a yearly review.
Finally, we get to the fifth and final consideration, which is that you do not want a four-day workweek because you are the rare breed that likes Mondays or works on Fridays. In that case, if your employer does decide to opt for a four-day workweek, under Texas law’s at-will employment doctrine, you can resign from your place of business and find better terms and conditions operating on a five-day schedule.
While most of these suggestions are made in jest, several methods including the second, third, and fifth strategy have a basis in federal or state employment law. If these situations apply to you and you want to discuss the impact of this new development, then do not hesitate to contact a Dallas Employment Lawyer Monday through Friday, for now.