California bill calls for shortening workweek to 32 hours


A bill in the California Legislature would shorten the workweek, as defined by state law, from 40 to 32 hours.

If adopted, AB 2932 would require companies with more than 500 employees to pay workers 1.5 times their regular rate for work in excess of 32 hours in a week. Failure to do so would constitute a misdemeanor.

There are more than 2,500 companies in California with more than 500 employees, according to Employment Development Department data. The overtime pay rule would not apply to businesses with 500 or fewer workers.

While the bill would change the definition of a workweek, a full workday would remain eight hours. Companies with more than 500 employees would still need to pay workers 1.5 times their regular rate for work done in excess of eight hours in a single day.

Democratic Assembly Members Evan Low and Christina Garcia co-authored AB 2932, which was introduced in February. 

Garcia told the LA Times on Friday, the bill was inspired, in part, by an exodus of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of whom were seeking a better quality of life. 

“We’ve had a five-day workweek since the Industrial Revolution,” Garcia said. “But, we’ve had a lot of progress in society, and we’ve had a lot of advancements. I think the pandemic right now allows us the opportunity to rethink things, to reimagine things.”