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Maryland bill calls for 4-day work week

The proposed legislation would offer tax breaks to companies that offer 32 hour work weeks for 40 hours of pay.

WASHINGTON — A bill making its way through the Maryland state legislature would offer tax breaks to companies that offer employees a 32-hour work week for 40 hours of pay with either shorter or fewer work days in a week.

Meet the Maryland Delegate who would like your employer to consider it.

"I've never had a bill generate this much interest, probably more interest in all my bills combined," said Del. Vaughn Stewart from Rockville.

He got the idea from an international study of several companies that tested a 32-hour work week for 40 hours of pay.

Perhaps not surprising, after six months, nearly 97% of employees loved it.

"But the really stunning part was that the employers loved it just as much," said Stewart.

According to the study, employers rated the reduced work week a 9 out of 10 with either shorter work days or a 4-day week companies reported better recruiting and retention and productivity and profits went up, the study found.

"We want some local Maryland specific data," said Stewart.

His bill would offer tax incentives to any Maryland company that volunteers for a similar experiment. In return, the employer would just need to report back to the state how a shorter week worked for them.

Stewart believes it could not only be better for employees and profits, but give people more time to give back, and build a better community.

"It may sound utopian, it may sound overly poetic or radical, but that's how they viewed the idea of transitioning from a six-day work week to a five-day work week a century ago everyone thought that was crazy until it happened," he said.

No company would be forced to offer the shorter week, and Stewart believes this could work for all kinds of jobs - blue collar and office jobs. 

He says if the bill passes it will be the first of its kind in the country.

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