The 4-Day Week

That’s right: a 4-day week. Not only a 4-day work week, but a 4-day school week, too. It’s being considered in New York State, and state employees across the country have been doing it since this summer (when gas prices were much higher).

Prof. Goose came up with “16 reasons why the 4-day work week was a good idea” on The Oil Drum:

The notion of our standard work week here in America has remained largely the same since 1938. That was the year the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed, standardizing the eight hour work day and the 40 hour work week. Each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday workers all over the country wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast and go to work. But the notion that the majority of the workforce should keep these hours is based on nothing more than an idea put forth but the Federal government almost 70 years ago. To be sure it was an improvement in the lives of many Americans who were at the time forced to work 10+ hours a day, sometimes 6 days of the week. So a 40 hour work week was seen as an upgrade in the lives of many of U.S. citizens. 8 is a nice round number; one third of each 24 hour day. In theory it leaves 8 hours for sleep and 8 hours for other activities like eating, bathing, raising children and enjoying life. But the notion that we should work for 5 of these days in a row before taking 2 for ourselves is, as best I can tell, rather arbitrary.

If we telecommute for part of the week, will our jobs be off-shored? How do we figure out alternate child care? If both work weeks and school weeks get synchronized, wouldn’t that make sense for everbody?

Just saving energy by not having to drive to work as much is reason enough to consider the 4-day work week. Sign the petition.

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