Every Country Doing A 4-Day Work Week

Iceland has been the leader in pushing four-day work weeks from the country-level. (Image Source: airbnb.com)

Individual companies are the ones leading the charge toward a four-day work week. Often, it’s the choice of the employer to offer a four-day work week as a benefit to its employees, to attract or retail talent, or help improve the work-life balance for its team. Mostly, this movement comes through the private sector.

But there is a push for the four-day work week in the public sector, too. In most scenarios, this means that a bill would be proposed and voted on to change the legal definition of a full-time worker from five days to four. In some cases, it’s a change proposed for the government workers themselves. In others, it is a proposal for all people working in the state. 

Here are all of the countries that have announced that they’ll implement a four-day work week as a trial or permanently. You’ll see I included city-, state-, and county-governments as well to give a full picture of the movement from the public sector. I’ll update the list every time a notable announcement comes out. 

 

Which countries have a four-day work week?

Company

Policy

Story

Quote

Iceland

Trial
36 Hours


"The trials were conducted between 2015 and 2019, initiated by the Reykjavik City Council and the Icelandic national government.

The trials ultimately involved 2,500 workers, more than 1 percent of the nation’s working population, who moved from working 40 hours a week to a 35- or 36-hour week, without a reduction in pay."

City Of Morgantown, WV (City)

Trial
40 Hours

For the next year a large majority of workers employed by the City of Morgantown will be working four days a week. 
The work week is Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., according to interim Morgantown City Manager Emily Muzzarelli.

'Employees will work their 40 hours in four days or four 10-hour days,' she said."

Boulder County, CO (County)

Trial

"Six Boulder County offices and departments will begin shifting to a four-day work week beginning in 2021.

The move is part of the county's four-day work week pilot program that will analyze the productivity, public satisfaction and cost savings after the four-month trial concludes in April 2021."

Japan

Recommendation

"The country’s annual economic policy guidelines, released this month, unveiled plans to push employers to adopt four-day workweeks, marking official acceptance of a once-fringe approach..."

Spain

Trial
32 Hours

Spain:

"When the progressive party Más País launched in 2019, it included the 4-day work week as part of its platform, and went on to propose the trial that won the Spanish government’s approval in January. Although the specifics remain undecided, the pilot, which is expected to launch in September and last three years, will use 50 million euros in European Union funding to compensate an estimated 200 companies for reducing their employees’ work week to 32 hours—without cutting their salaries."

Scotland 

Trial 
32 Hours

"Scotland plans to launch a trial four-day workweek. The decision was the culmination of a campaign promise made by the ruling Scottish National Party. Workers will have their hours reduced by 20%, but won’t suffer any loss in compensation. The program will be funded by the SNP with a £10 million fund ($13.8 million U.S.)."

Ireland

Trial

Non-Government

"So far, 20 companies have signed up to the six-month pilot, which will involve them trialing a reduction of working hours from February 2022."

United Arab Emirates

Permanent
36 Hours
4.5 Day Week

The United Arab Emirates is moving federal employees to a four-and-a-half day work week to "boost productivity and improve work-life balance," the government announced Tuesday.

California (State)

Bill

"Progressives in Congress are lining up behind a bill that would shrink a regular week of work from 40 hours to 32 — bringing the four-day work week to America.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus just endorsed the aptly named "32-Hour Workweek Act," according to a statement from Rep. Mark Takano, the Democrat representing California's 41st district.

United Kingdom

Trial

Non-Government

"The U.K. pilot of a four-day work week will begin in June with about 30 companies that have so far signed up for the trial. The six-month long program will see firms allowing staff to work 32 hours per week while leaving their compensation and benefits unchanged."


In the table, you’ll see a few different classifications in the “policy” column. Some governments are trialing a four-day work week, while others have made it permanent. Some work 40 hours over four days, while others work 32 hours.

See Also: Every Company Doing A 4-Day Work Week

 

Which countries might come next?

Let’s call this our honorable mention section.

Below, you’ll see a list of countries where notable politicians have unofficially recommended or acknowledged that a four-day work week could be a benefit for the country. There are no official bills or laws in place, but these countries are the best candidates to turn up on our official list next.

 

Our Definitions For 4-Day Work Week Country Policies


Here’s how we define the four-day work week policies you see in that column:

  1. Permanent: The country has four work days each week indefinitely. 
  2. Trial: The country is experimenting with a four-day week over a fixed time period. 
  3. 32, 36, 40 Hours: Employees work these amount of hours each week spread over the four working days.
  4. 4.5 Day Week: The policy includes working a half-day on Friday (not fully a four-day work week).
  5. Recommendation: This is an officially released recommendation from the government to companies, but nothing is mandated.
  6. Non-Government: This is a movement across the country, but not sanctioned by the government.
  7. Bill: This is a proposal law that has yet to be voted on.

 

See Also: How We Implemented The Four-Day Work Week

 

Want to Add A 4-Day Work Week Country or Municipality To The List?

Fill in the form below and we’ll add your newly remote suggestion to the list.

In case we have a question
Where did the country announce its new four-day week trial or policy?

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