Monday, June 04, 2007

Definition of Shorter Workweek

Some people believe that 4 ten-hour days with Fridays off is a shorter workweek. This is incorrect. The standard in the United States is 40 hours per week. It could be 5 days (8 hours per day), 4 days (10 hours per day) or the alternate 9 schedule. Any way you look at it, 40 hours per week is NOT a shorter workweek.. A shorter workweek is a workweek UNDER 40 hours, which is what People for a Shorter Workweek promotes.

The problem with trying to compress the workweek into four days is working 10 hours per day is too long. Also, many companies that offer this compressed workweek only give a 30-minute lunch break, which is hardly enough time to recuperate after working five hours. The 10 hour per day schedule means a person is away from their home 12-14 hours. Even the alternate 9 schedule is a long day for most people (having every other Friday off).

A more sane schedule is 32 hours per week (four 8 hour days), allowing employees three days off. Since most people can't get their errands done during the week, they must do them on weekends. Running errands is work. People need time to relax and only having one day off isn't enough (when you are using the other day to run errands).

If we can't get a shorter workweek, let's at least work on getting more vacation time in the US. Unlike Europe, the US does not have a vacation law, so most Americans might get one or two weeks vacation per year, and because of layoffs and mergers, many people have lost their 4-5 week vacations.


The Work Less Party of Canada promotes a 4-day, 32-hour workweek.

The Five Day Weekend group from Asheville, NC promotes a 2-day workweek.

Take Back Your Time has launched a campaign for a vacation law in the US!

If you are interested in getting your life back and having more time off, please support these organizations! The links to these sites are on the left side of this blog.

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