AI and automation validate much shorter workweek, Democrats argue

AI and automation justify shorter workweek, Democrats argue

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Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) concerns witnesses with ranking memberSen Bill Cassidy (R-LA) throughout a hearing about working hours in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 14, 2024 in Washington, DC.

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Sen Bernie Sanders and Senate Democrats mentioned advances in expert system and automation Thursday in their argument for an expense that would mandate a 32- hour federal workweek.

“Despite massive growth in technology and worker productivity, millions of workers in our country are working longer hours for low wages,” Sanders stated after gaveling open a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

“The sad reality is Americans now work more hours than the people of any other wealthy nation,” the committee chair and Vermont independent stated later on.

The expense presented by Sanders andSen Laphonza Butler, D-Calif, would decrease the basic workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours over a four-year duration.

Employers would need to pay overtime payment to nonexempt staff members of 1.5 times the per hour rate for each hour worked previous 8 hours in a single day, and 2 times the per hour rate for each hour worked past 12 hours.

The expense likewise would ensure that overall weekly earnings would not be cut as an outcome of the decrease in overall hours worked.

Rep Mark Takano, D-Calif, has actually presented a comparable expense in the House of Representatives.

The costs come months after magnate such as JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates forecasted that individuals might within years work as low as 3 days a week due to developments in AI and automation.

Sanders and Democrats at Thursday’s hearing stated that decreasing the workweek would permit individuals to invest more time with household and on pastimes.

“A lot of people find value in work and I’m glad that they do, but a lot of people find more value by the institutions and the social clubs and the churches that they affiliate and spend time with outside of work,” statedSen Chris Murphy, D-Conn

Republicans knocked the strategy, stating the required would ruin small companies and would injure markets such as stores, which require to be open 6 or more days each week.

“This would be napalm upon the fire of inflation,” statedSen Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, the ranking Republican on the committee.

Another Republican on the panel,Sen Mike Braun of Indiana, stated, “I do disagree trying to do anything from this place that would impose upon the hundreds of businesses out there to where I just don’t think they could survive.”

In testament to the committee, Boston College sociology teacher Juliet Schor stated her research study reveals that per hour performance of both employees and management would increase as an outcome of a four-day, 32- hour workweek. Schor stated her research study likewise discovered that staff members experienced boosts in wellness beyond the workplace.

Jon Leland, chief method officer at the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, affirmed that his business saw its objective accomplishment rate and staff member retention skyrocket after setting up a four-day workweek.

“People want to work but they want to work in a way that is balanced with the rest of their lives,” Leland informed the panel.

But another witness, Liberty Vittert, disputed research studies that have actually discovered greater performance with a much shorter workweek. Vitter stated those performance gains vanish gradually.

“We don’t know yet what abilities AI is going to give us,” stated Vittert, who is a teacher of the practice of information science at Washington University inSt Louis.

Cassidy recommended holding a hearing on AI’s effect on the economy.

But he likewise stated that it is not likely that advances because innovation would permit most employees to decrease their hours.

“A mom-and-pop restaurant is not really seeing increased productivity from AI,” Cassidy stated.

“They’re having trouble finding enough people to fill shifts.”