Senator Bernie Sanders Proposes Lowering the FLSA’s Overtime Threshold to 32 Hours per Week

Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation in the United States Senate that would alter the FLSA’s current overtime threshold from 40 hours per week to 32 hours per week over a four-year period. The proposed legislation also requires overtime compensation for all hours worked between eight and twelve in a single day and double time for all hours worked over twelve a day. According to Sanders, the legislation is modeled on recent reductions to the average workweek in France, Norway, Denmark, and Great Britain. Additionally, some labor economists and tech experts predict that increases in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will eventually lessen the average worker’s workweek in the coming years. Sanders and his supporters cite this possibility as another reason to consider adopting shorter workweeks.

On a side note, the proposed legislation appears to be limited to §207(a) of the FLSA and will likely not impact §207(k). For those not familiar, §207(k) contains the special overtime rules for employees engaged in fire protection activities [a.k.a. §207(k) firefighters]. Whether this legislation gains any traction remains to be seen, however it is safe to assume that any legislation aimed at reducing the average workweek will face stiff opposition from pro-employer led groups and organizations and strong support from pro-labor groups and organizations including many labor unions.

Here is more on the proposed legislation.

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