Could Maryland adopt a four-day workweek?

Could the State of Maryland institute a four-day workweek? 

That’s the proposal in new legislation currently before state lawmakers. The bill would try to get four-day workweeks for both private and public workers.

It's a "pilot project" to encourage private businesses, along with Maryland state and municipal government agencies to shift employees to four days a week. But there’s political disagreement over whether the government needs to get involved.

Under the bill, government agencies could create a four-day workweek if they document it with Maryland’s Department of Labor. Private businesses would also be encouraged to do so with a state tax credit worth up to $750,000. 

Democrats say it will encourage a better work-life balance. Republicans say it’s government meddling in how private businesses operate.

"Workers in Maryland are working more hours for less pay, and they are just as productive if not more productive than they were 20 years ago, but they’re not working fewer hours," said Delegate Vaughn Stuart. "If you compare our workers to workers in Maryland we work 50% more hours." 

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Delegate April Rose told FOX 5, "They need to leave them alone, and not dictate who they pay, how much they pay, and it really does need to be a market decision. Every business is different. A small gardening business is way different than say a daycare center!" 

If passed, a business would need to shift at least 30 employees, and not have any prior plans to shorten the workweek. Workers also cannot see a drop in pay or benefits from the standard five-day week. 

The Department of Labor would determine the tax credit amount businesses would get. 

If Governor Moore signs the pilot program into law, it would begin on July 1 and expire in 2028. The Maryland Department of Labor would also have to report back to the governor and general assembly with findings on the transition every December. 

Hearings on the bill are expected to be held next month.