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Employees want four-day workweeks, but is that realistic?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | Employment Law |

As we start seeing life return to normal in light of the pandemic, much of the decisions you make as an employer could center on flexible work solutions for your employees. One option gaining traction among employees across California is the desire for a four-day workweek.

But is that something you could realistically offer? And is it something you want to offer?

The reality of a four-day workweek

Working four days a week is likely a desirable work schedule for many people, but currently, it is not a realistic setup for many businesses.

As this article explains, some of the significant obstacles to this arrangement include:

  • Lack of widespread adoption
  • Concerns around pay and benefits when full-time employees work 32 hours per week
  • Customer frustration with delays and unavailability of employees
  • Longer hours on four weekdays can compromise childcare schedules

Additionally, it could simply be unreasonable to shift workers to four days a week when your partners, clients and others depending on you are on the job during that fifth day. 

These obstacles make four-day workweeks financially, personally and logistically complicated.

In terms of the legislative reality of a four-day workweek, laws proposing measures like a regular pay rate for a 32-hour workweek have stalled so far. However, they continue to resurface, especially in California, which other states often look to for progressive employment practices.

Finding what works for your business

Whether you can and will offer four-day workweeks for your employees or not, it is important to know that it is not the only flexible work option.

For instance, you might also be facing the potential for adopting:

  • Remote work 
  • Meeting-free days
  • Strict enforcement of not working during off-hours
  • Flex time
  • Job sharing

These arrangements can be less disruptive and costly for employers while allowing employees more flexibility. 

Keep in mind that an essential element of any flexible work arrangement is establishing policies that define your obligations and the employees’ responsibilities. You can do this with valid, legally enforceable employment documents, including contracts, employment handbooks and other agreements.