Two California Lawmakers Want To Mandate 32-Hour Workweeks

Two legislators in California have introduced legislation mandating 32-hour work weeks for large employers. There is no problem that lawmakers cannot make worse.

State Reps. Cristina Garcia (D–Downey) and Evan Low (D–Cupertino) have introduced A.B. 2932. All businesses that have 500 or more employees in the state would need to amend the definition of workweek to 32 instead of 40 hours. This would allow for overtime to be provided to compensate any extra work.

However, the bill does not end there. A.B. A.B. A 40-hourly wage employee would be entitled to the same pay if he worked 32 hours in a week. Employers are forced to increase wages.

The bill would have an impact on more than 2600 businesses in the Golden State, and more that 3.6 million people if it is approved. It is no surprise that the California Chamber of Commerce describes the bill as “job killer.” California Chamber of Commerce policy advocate Ashley Hoffman notes that the bill is written so companies are able to adjust their hourly wages using a simple calculation. This would account for the difference from 40 to 32 hours. However, that isn’t how wages work. The bill defines “rate of payment” for employees as not only wages, but also commissions or other bonuses. Hoffman writes:

Therefore, the rate of regular pay fluctuates based on overtime worked and attendance bonuses.

This bill can result in employers being punished for violating laws they don’t understand.

Garcia is quite ignorant to the greater consequences of these change, and he tells it as “the other side.” Los Angeles TimesWe’ve been able to make a great deal of progress since the Industrial Revolution. But we only have a five-day week. The current pandemic gives us an opportunity to think differently, to imagine things.

Businesses are free to negotiate better work conditions with employees. Workers have more power because of the tight labor market.

Modernization will undoubtedly lead to more work being done over time. Shorter workweeks can be a great byproduct. People working less is something we won’t complain about. Innovation is a great thing. This allows people to be more productive, such as developing new innovations that will make our lives better.

It is not an order that government officials can make top-down via fiat. They have to face the consequences. A.B. 2932 is not subject to a ramping-up period or time frame. The law will become effective immediately if it is approved as written. Businesses can expect changes. The complaint of the California Chamber of Commerce is not about workers working less. However, it will be an issue for businesses with smaller margins who serve customers seven days per week. Chamber of Commerce is worried that this bill was written poorly and rigidly that it doesn’t understand the implications.

A.B. 2932 does not exempt businesses with collective bargaining agreements. It excludes unionized businesses. Garcia attempts to clarify this in the Los Angeles TimesYou can say, “I like this as a ground, and sometimes our bargaining arrangements are better.”

However, this explanation makes no sense. The exemption would not be necessary if collective bargaining agreements lead to more productive work environments. This bill appears to have one purpose: to encourage large businesses to join unionization, if they wish to keep their normal workweeks.

It’s not a new idea. Previous attempts to raise California’s minimum wage, which were supported by labor unions, have frequently been coupled with similar efforts by those same unions to exclude themselves from the rules. If your business model was affected, it would be shameful. Aren’t union agreements better than having to comply with a poorly written bill?

This assumes the bill is approved. The bill was presented in February and submitted to the Labor and Employment Committee. However, no hearings have been set.