In the US and most developed countries, employees work 40 hours a week. Most of us taking the fixed amount of hours for granted. We assume its part and parcel of our society since we inherited as a norm.
However, it hasn’t been the case. Workers had to fight to have the right to work 40 hours a week. Well, for the working stiffs trying to finish to the end, we thank you for upholding what workers fought for tooth and nail several years ago.
When did 40-hour workweek begin? How many hours did employees use to work? Is there hope for short working hours in the near future?
In 1914, Ford originated the 40-hour workweek. The motor company believed working for 48 hours was unproductive. The company saw there was no need for jumbled labor movements. Instead, it led by example and stood by fair labor standards. Other employers had no option but to follow the standards set and implemented by ford.
Henry Ford did not reduce working shifts from 9 to 8 alone. He went further to double the pay to 5 dollars a day! Contrary to what most employers at the time believed, Ford’s profit margins increased from 30 million dollars to sixty million in two years. Since Ford had set standards so high, others emulated.
However, not all companies joined the party. Most businesses continued to demand employees work for more than 48 hours a week. But the ground was already shaken, and Ford had kickstarted labor movements who relentlessly demanded 5 days work week.
Since no organization had the sole responsibility for making the 40-hour workweek legal, labor unions took the mantle. They maintained their cry for 8 hours work a day until it bore fruits in 1937 in Flint, Michigan.
Should we complain to change current working hours? Share your thoughts.