The movement for decent working hours began in 1866.

More companies are implementing four-day workweeks to attract and retain talent.
This trend emerges as many employees are quitting their current jobs, many citing burnout.
Here’s a timeline of how the US adopted the five-day, 40-hour workweek.

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the way the world works. Over the past two years, many Americans have reported working longer, taking fewer breaks, and signing on at all hours of the day and night. In fact, many Americans reported working as much as three additional hours each day, Bloomberg reported in 2020. Now all of that’s changing. 

Employees are quitting their jobs at record rates, with many citing burnout and not feeling valued. To attract and retain talent, more companies are adopting a four-day workweek. Panasonic announced a four-day workweek policy earlier this week, Nikkei reported. Earlier this month, San Francisco-based e-commerce startup Bolt adopted a four-day workweek after conducting a trial that execs said increased improved productivity and work-life balance. Other companies and nonprofits have also scrapped the five-day workweek in recent months. 

These changes fuel public discourse over whether the 40-hour workweek still makes sense for employees. Here’s a look back through the history of the 40-hour workweek and how we got to where we are today. 

The history of the 40-hour workweek 

August 20, 1866: A newly formed organization named the National Labor Union asked Congress to pass a law mandating the eight-hour workday. Though their efforts failed, they inspired Americans across the country to support labor reform over the next few decades.

May 1, 1867: The Illinois legislature passed a law mandating an eight-hour workday. Many employers refused to cooperate, and a massive strike erupted in Chicago. That day became known as “May Day.” 

May 19, 1869: President Ulysses S. Grant issued a proclamation that guaranteed a stable wage and an eight-hour workday — but only for government workers. Grant’s decision encouraged private-sector workers to push for the same rights.

1870s and 1880s: While the National Labor Union had dissolved, other organizations including the Knights of Labor and the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions continued to demand an eight-hour workday. Every year on May Day, strikes and demonstrations were organized to bring awareness to the issue.

May 1, 1886: Labor organizations called for a national strike in support of a shorter workday. More …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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More leaders are scrapping the 40-hour workweek. Here’s how it became so popular in the first place.

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