In an effort to provide workers with a better work-life balance, lawmakers in Maryland are proposing to subsidize businesses that implement a four-day workweek.
Dubbed the Four-Day Workweek Act of 2023, the Maryland proposal seeks to provide a tax credit to employers that decrease employees' work hours to 32 a week from 40 with no changes to benefits or pay.
As part of the effort, the Maryland Department of Labor would issue up to $750,000 in tax credits each year — which means if a substantial number of businesses apply for the program, the state will need to choose which companies can participate.
To qualify for the tax credit, employers would have to participate in the program for at least one year and no more than two, and they would be required to share data about the results with the Maryland Department of Labor. Participating employers would have the flexibility to determine how employees' new schedules would be arranged.
Legislators in Maryland are to hold hearings on the bill in February. If passed, Maryland would become the first state to offer employers subsidies for implementing a four-day workweek, and the program would last through 2028.
In recent years, more and more companies have run trials to see how a four-day workweek would affect business. In 2019, a Microsoft subsidiary in Japan implemented a four-day workweek and realized a 40% increase in productivity, while a six-month trial last year of the four-day format involving more than 70 companies in Britain also found no loss in productivity.