News·5 min read

Daily Skimm: Four-Day Work Week, Asylum Restrictions, and The Weeknd

High angle view of male and female programmers working on computers at desk in office
February 22, 2023

Money, Money, Money, Must Be Funny

The Story

You might want to add "four-day workweek" to your meeting agenda.

In what world?

In this one. This week, the nonprofit group 4 Day Week Global released the results from its six-month study of a four-day workweek. The trial in the UK was the largest to date with roughly 2,900 workers from 61 companies participating. Surprise, surprise: many people were happier. A majority of employees and managers have now decided to keep testing their shorter weeks. If you’re planning to forward this report to your boss, we’ve got you covered on the talking points:

The Pros: Employees reported better sleep, lower stress levels, better work-life balance, and enhanced mental health. Productivity increased by 35%. The time men spent looking after their kids also doubled — signaling that a four-day workweek could contribute to gender equality. For anyone who wants to convince their CEO, the change didn’t affect any of the companies’ revenues. It actually led to a drop in employee turnover and absent employees.

The Cons: 66% of the companies that took part in the study were smaller with 25 or fewer employees. Meaning, larger companies may be less inclined to try a more flexible schedule. Some employees also reported that the shorter week meant they had less time to finish their work or were pulled to do tasks they normally wouldn’t do.

What are others saying?

That a new work setup is long overdue. The 40-hour workweek has been the norm since at least 1938. A lot has changed since then, including women's participation in the workforce — though they're still doing most of the housework while working a full-time job. Experts say that shorter workweeks picked up steam amid burnout concerns during the pandemic's early days. Now, it's become a “retention and recruitment issue” for many employers. In the study, 15% of employees said “no amount of money” would get them to return to working five days a week.


The four-day workweek might be the work-life balance many Americans have been looking for. The pandemic has allowed many to write out their flexible terms. Now, it might become harder for companies to argue against the data. Especially when quiet quitting and the Great Resignation have HR calling for edits to the employee handbook.

And Also...This

Who’s rolling out a new plan…

The Biden admin. Yesterday, the Homeland Security and Justice Depts proposed new asylum restrictions for migrants who attempt to cross the southern border illegally. The rule would deny asylum to people who did not request protection in countries they passed through to get to the US. There’ll be exceptions for children and teens who travel without their parents. In 2019, former President Trump tried to pass a similar ban, but it was blocked in court. Now, the Biden admin’s proposal has to go through public comment for a month before it takes effect. Immigration advocates are promising to sue and are calling out the admin for not following through on a campaign promise to take a more humane approach at the border. The admin says the new rule is an effort to combat an anticipated increase in border crossings. Title 42 — the Trump-era order that made it easier to expel asylum seekers at the border — expires in May.

What’s coming in to clean up…

The EPA. Yesterday, the agency ordered train operator Norfolk Southern to clean up East Palestine, OH. Over two weeks ago, a Norfolk Southern train — carrying dangerous chemicals — derailed and contaminated the soil and water in East Palestine. Residents say they are suffering from health issues because of the spilled toxic chemicals. Now, the EPA has legally mandated Norfolk Southern to clean up the area. It’s also ordered the company to pay for and provide cleaning services for residents and businesses. If Norfolk fails to do so, the agency will completely take over and charge the company triple in damages. The EPA says the company needs to clean up the “mess they created” and the “trauma” they’ve inflicted on residents. Norfolk Southern said it's "committed" to helping the community recover and paying for the cleanup.

What’s still cause for concern…

Mpox. Yesterday, a new study revealed that the virus can be devastating for people living with advanced HIV. The 28-nation study found that the virus led to severe skin lesions throughout the body and caused death in about 15% of cases where people had a highly compromised immune system. Now, the study's authors are asking people with mpox to get tested for HIV. They're also calling on the World Health Organization to add mpox to its list of severe infections that are a threat to those with advanced HIV, which could open up the org’s pocketbook to better fund research and help those at risk. Last year, the US saw mpox cases peak at over 400 a day. Cases have gone down to less than 10 a day amid a large vaccination effort.

What parents are keeping their eyes on...

A potential RSV vaccine. Yesterday, Pfizer announced the FDA is reviewing a first-of-its-kind vaccine to prevent the virus in infants. The highly infectious virus often affects most children under two. For babies under six months and kids with weakened immune systems, the virus can lead to pneumonia and bronchiolitis. Pfizer has said its vaccine was about 80% effective at preventing severe disease for babies under three months. It would be given to pregnant people who are in their late second to third trimester. The shot would trigger antibodies that would be passed to the fetus — making them mostly immune from birth through the first six months. The FDA's expected to make a decision by August.

Who’s in the history books…

State Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D). She'll become the first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress after winning yesterday's special election for a House seat.

While Don Lemon is getting formal training on sexism…

Nikki Haley is capitalizing.

Who's apparently pairing up once again...

Ariana Grande and The Weeknd.

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