Some US Employers Start to Move to 4-Day Workweek

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek July 19, 2023

​Businesses in the U.S. are slowly inching toward implementing a four-day workweek, but working 32  hours is not necessarily open to all employees, according to a report from

Among the 600 U.S. business leaders responding to a June online survey commissioned by, 20 percent said their company currently has a four-day workweek, and 41 percent said their organization plans to implement the shortened workweek. Among those looking to introduce the shortened workweek, half expect it to happen by the end of 2023.

But only 31 percent of business leaders whose organizations currently use a shortened workweek said all their employees are eligible; slightly more than half (55 percent) said 75 percent of their employees may work a four-day week; 9 percent said 50 percent may do so; and 6 percent said 25 percent or less were eligible.

The most common determinant for eligibility:

  • Level of responsibility (64 percent).
  • Remote or in-person work location (52 percent).
  • Work performance (51 percent).
  • The employee's department (45 percent).

Fifty-four percent of those with a four-day workweek have only had it in place for between six months and two years; 19 percent have done so for more than two years; and 18 percent implemented it within the last six months. 

Survey respondents were C-level executives, directors, presidents, owners, senior management or HR managers. A majority of respondents (92 percent) viewed the shorter workweek primarily as a way to reduce turnover.

The last time the workweek was shortened was in 1940, when under the Fair Labor Standards Act it went from 44 hours to 40 hours. 

While U.S. employers looking at a four-day workweek are doing so of their own initiative, six states have already introduced legislation that would mandate, incentivize or allow the switch to a four-day workweek. And in March, U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., introduced a bill in Congress that would cap the workweek at 32 hours for hourly workers; businesses would be required to pay overtime above that time threshold.

SHRM Online collected the following news articles on this topic. 

More than Half of US Employers Ready to Try 4-Day Workweek

More than half of American employers offer, or plan to offer, a four-day workweek, according to a survey released Tuesday. In the U.K. pilot, shortening the workweek forced employers to take a close look at how workers actually spent their time. 

The top time-suck was meetings. To make workers more productive in a four-day workweek, researchers say, employers need to hold fewer meetings.

(The Hill

A 4-Day Workweek Gains Lawmaker Support in Some States

In the past three years, at least six states—California, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington—have considered bills to mandate, incentivize or allow the switch to a four-day week.


H.R. 4728 (117th): Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act

The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act would reduce the federal definition of the standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours per week by kicking in overtime pay under federal law at the 33rd hour rather than the 41st.

It would not mandate a 32-hour workweek. Opponents of the bill say the proposal could inadvertently harm workers by cutting their hours, rather than raising their pay as intended, and the reduced workweek would benefit only a subset of workers.


What Employers Should Know Before Trying a 4-Day Workweek

As organizations and governments consider four-day workweeks, it's important that researchers ask how different types of time off translate into both well-being and performance benefits.

In the four-day workweek, is it having a full day off each week or is it working four days' worth of hours across the week that helps? Can time-use diaries be used to show that people are actually switching off from work when disconnected from it and engaging in activities that promote well-being and meaningfulness? Are diverse groups and those with caring responsibilities equally benefitting when they cannot access their work at certain times of the day or week?

(SHRM Online

Viewpoint: How Far-Reaching Could the 4-Day Workweek Become?

Although the evidence from a recent global trial is overwhelmingly in favor of a four-day workweek, the reality is that not all industries are currently able to make the switch. For example, the health care industry must ensure that staff members are always available, given that many medical conditions require around-the-clock care and emergencies can happen at any time. And many employers worry about is how their business could be affected by such a change. 

(MIT Sloan Management Review

Is the 32-Hour Workweek Feasible in the US? Experts Weigh In

The four-day workweek has been gaining momentum around the world in the last year. A majority of employers who've tried the schedule, predominantly in Europe, plan to continue to pay employees for 40 hours for 32 hours of work. The decision comes after they tested the waters with a six-month pilot program organized by researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.

(SHRM Online

Viewpoint: The 4-Day Hybrid Workweek: A Better Way of Work

One CEO, who is the author of four best-selling business books, suggests a model that combines the flexibility of remote work with the interactions of an office environment within a rejuvenating four-day workweek. Mondays and Tuesdays would be dedicated to remote or at-home work, Wednesdays and Thursdays for in-office collaboration and Fridays reserved for rest and relaxation.



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