Local News


Would a 32-hour work week work? Local business owner skeptical of bill that would shorten work week

Posted at 3:59 PM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 21:40:01-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A U.S. congressman wants to make a 32-hour work week the new normal.

Rep. Mark Trakano (D-Calif.) said he introduced the bill because "...now more than ever — people continue to work longer hours while their pay remains stagnant. We cannot continue to accept this as our reality."

But a local small business owner tells 13 Action News this could negatively impact his business and employees.

“It’s tricky because I care about my employees, and I also care about my business, and the thing about business is you got to play fair," said Le'Charles Trask, co-owner of Trask's Chicken and Fish.

The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act will make it so any hours worked over 32 hours a week will have to be paid in overtime.

Trask says this would negatively impact his employees, since he would have to cut their hours and hire part-time employees to cover those hours and avoid paying overtime. It's something opponents of the legislation have also argued, saying it could harm workers by cutting their hours.

“It also gets tricky, because we are experiencing supply issues, shortage issues, and now on top of that, you have to worry about labor, and if you go an hour over, now I’m paying overtime on 33 hours versus 41," Trask said.

In places where a 32-hour work week has been tested, 25 to 40 percent of employees reported an increase in productivity, better work-life balance, and needing to use less sick time.

"Hard working Americans need a reimagined work week, one where they can earn liveable wages without compromising a healthy work/life balance," Rep. Trakano wrote of his proposal.

If the bill passes, Trask says he will be forced to increase the price on certain menu items and make other changes to make sure his business stays afloat.

“Honestly, it means we would just be in here more. It’s not the ideal situation, but you gotta do what you gotta do until we get to a healthy spot where we can afford to pay more people," Trask said.