Kelly's Korner: Work week needs work - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Kelly's Korner: Work week needs work

Juanita Kelly-Hill

Juanita Kelly-Hill

By Juanita Kelly-Hill
Staff Writer 

Has anyone ever wondered why the standard work week requires an employee to work 40 hours a week or, for some, 56 hours?

The 40-hour work week started in the 19th Century. During the Industrial Revolution people were working from 80 to 100 hours a week. 

There was a chain of events that pushed the 40-hour work week, such as The National Labor Union asking Congress to pass eight-hour work days. President Ulysses S. Grant issued a proclamation to guarantee eight-hour workdays for government employees, and Henry Ford popularized the 40-hour work week after conducting productivity research. 

In today’s society, many are questioning whether or not the standard work week is sustainable enough to have a healthy work/life balance. 

During business days, more than half the day is already consumed with eight hours of work, and one needs eight hours of sleep to remain healthy.

Depending on many factors and the circumstances in one’s life, eight hours may not be enough to focus on one’s personal/home lives. 

Many employers seem to think that employees' lives revolve around work, and creates an unrealistic expectation of the employees. There has also been more awareness surrounding the importance of mental health, which for many is affected heavily from working. 

I think if wages were to increase to match the cost of living, people had four hour shifts for five days a week, while getting benefits such as dental, health and 401 K, then unemployment numbers would decrease significantly, poverty rates would decrease, and physical and mental health in the working class would become more achievable. 

I wonder if we will ever see a change in the standard work week, or if it will continue to be the same until the end. 

I hope for the sake of mental health, unemployment and poverty, we can push for better wages and a realistic work schedule that provides a healthy work-life balance. 



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