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Wis. may have a 7 day work week

By Kyle Dimke, kdimke@wkbt.com
Published On: Jan 15 2014 06:49:30 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 08:27:06 PM CST
Seven day work week
WEST SALEM, Wis. (WKBT) -

A new bill in Wisconsin could free up some Wisconsin workers to put in longer hours. The bill would allow retail workers and manufacturers to work seven days a week.

Under current Wisconsin law, manufacturers and retailers are required to give 24 hours of consecutive time off over 7 days. The new bill in Madison could change that, but the extra would be voluntary.

A seven-day work week may not be far off. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the largest business organization in the state, is trying to make working seven days an option for employees. It has two Republican lawmakers moving the idea forward.

"I think it's already happening. So I think it's important to legitimize what makes sense," said CEO of River Steel, Tim Brennan.

He doesn't seem to think a seven-day work week will be a bad idea. He says that companies probably already give their employees the option to work extra hours.

"The notion of a seven-day work week is probably something manufacturers already employ. But on a very limited and voluntary basis," Brennan said.

Not everyone agrees though. Democrats in Madison are saying that companies might take advantage of their employees, but Brennan doesn't agree.

"I don't really see that happening. It's not in the best interest of a company of a manufacturer or retailer to overwork their employees," Brennan said. "There is a reason that we want them fresh."

Brennan sees an upside to a little extra time, both for employee and company.

"The employee benefits by having the additional overtime pay. The company benefits in that it's able to meet it's clients' delivery schedules. It's a win-win proposition, a voluntary proposition. I don't see a negative to it," Brennan said.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce discovered that there isn't a federal law against working seven consecutive days. It said it's trying to get Wisconsin on the same playing field as other states in the country.

There is no date set for a vote on this bill.

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