Just about 100 years ago, Henry Ford popularized the five-day, 40-hour work week. Since then, most of the working world has operated on that schedule or something similar.
But there are other options, folks! And many of us do different work than Ford assembly-line workers.
In this article, we break down everything you’ll need to know about the 9-80 work schedule which allows for an extra workday off ever other week. Use the links below to jump to a section that interests you the most.
- What is the 9-80 schedule?
- Schedule templates
- Companies using the schedule
- How to implement
- > Where to find flex-schedule jobs
What is the 9-80 (or 5/4-9) compressed schedule?
During a two-week period, the employee works 80 hours across nine working days instead of 10. The idea is to take off every other Friday and spread those eight Friday hours of work over the other nine working days. Here is the two-week schedule:
- Week 1: Monday – Thursday for 9 hours per day, Friday for eight hours (44 hours total)
- Week 2: Monday – Thursday for 9 hours per day, Friday is off (36 hours total)
This schedule gets you to 80 hours of work over two weeks, a typical setup, but with every other Friday off.
Most people call it the 9-80 compressed schedule since you have nine work days and 80 hours over of work compressed into those days. Some might call it the 5-4/9 schedule because you work five days one week and four the next, totaling nine over the two-week period.
Here’s an example of BAE Systems’ 2021 calendar showing 9-80 days off and holidays so you can see it all in one visual.
9-80 Work Schedule Template
For visual learners, here is a typical 9-80 schedule template for a full month. Most 9-80 organizations operate with this template.
A flexible 9-80 schedule could mean a few different things depending on the company:
- Any individual employee would work the 9-80 schedule but choose their day off (rather than all having the same one)
- Every employee would work the 9-80 schedule but have flexibility to adjust their start and end times, or as Indeed says, “fulfill their jobs at any time of the day or week convenient to them.”
Some teams need to have employees present during all business hours, like a local government or teams that offer support, for example. Others need to have staff 24/7, like a hospital. For those scenarios, organizations can apply the 9/80 schedule in shifts. This is how it works:
- Group 1: Works the 9-80 schedule with every other Monday off.
- Group: 2: Works the 9-80 schedule with every other Friday off.
With that two-week shift schedule, eight days have every employee working. Every other Friday has 50% staff and every other Monday has 50% staff.
If you’re looking for other ideas, these alternative work schedules are similar (although not necessarily the same amount of hours:
- Four-day work week (or 32-hour work week): Four, eight hour days per week
- 4-10: Four, 10-hour work days per week
- 9/72: Eight-hour workdays with every other Friday off
- Half-day Friday: Eight-hour workdays on Monday – Thursday, then four hours on Friday.
Read about 29 alternative or compressed schedules.
Benefits of the 9-80 Work Week
The 9-80 schedule comes with benefits for the employees and the company. At BAE Systems, 17,000 of the 18,000 of the employees (as of 2007 but the company still works the schedule into 2021) in the group work the 9-80 schedule. “I’ve had employees say that they stay here because of 9/80,” says Amy Shevlin, vice president of human resources, “Both for themselves and their families, who now rely on the extra weekend day for family activities and time at home.”
Here are the benefits we’ve seen for the individual (employee) and the company (employer):
For Individuals & Freelancers
- Work-life balance: An additional day off every other week, or 26 per year.
- Personal time: An additional day for personal use and development
- Lower cost for childcare: Having every other Friday off can remove the need for a nanny or day care that day
- Recovery time: Having a three-day weekend every other week helps get downtime away from work, which in turn, helps people be more refreshed at work
- Less commuting: For office-based companies, you’ll commute nine days instead of ten (saving 10% of your total commute time)
For Companies & Managers
- A way to attract talent: Having 26 extra days off every year is a benefit companies can use to attract more applicants seeking that work-life balance
- Better employee retention: The 9-80 schedule is unique, and if your employees like it, you’re more likely to keep them with the company long term
- Happier employees (less burnout): Employees get a longer break every other week making for a happier and potentially more productive team
- Same amount of hours: Companies can offer this benefit without decreasing work hours at all (if that’s necessary for the organization)
See Also: 22 Four-Day Work Week Benefits
For Individuals & Freelancers
- Longer work days: On the nine-hour days, you may lose focus toward the end of the day
- Shorter evenings: You’ll lose an hour outside of work, potentially hurting your workout routine or time with family on those days
For Companies & Managers
- Less coverage (for customer support): For organizations that need people available during business hours, you lose a day of support every other week
- Less productive hours: The extra hour in a nine-hour day may be less productive than the hours on a typical Friday
- Not for everyone: Some people may not like the nine-hours days, which could remove some people from your talent pool (hiring) and current team (retention)
- Focus on hours instead of output: This schedule is so specific in its way of counting hours that it puts the emphasis on hours rather than output.
Companies Using The 9-80 Policy
We scoured the internet for companies that use the 9-80 work week so you could learn from the real policies in use. In the table below, you’ll see all of the 9-80 work schedule companies we could find. You’ll see links to legal documents from 20 years ago to prove it!
"BAE Systems, a global defense and aerospace company, offers a work schedule called 9/80, where employees work 9-hour days for 9 days and everyone in the group has every other Friday off. They introduced the schedule in 1996 to attract and retain employees during the dot-com boom."
"To accommodate the '9/80' work schedule, the work week will be redefined with every other Friday as a non-work day. The work week will begin after 4 hours (half way through the work day) on the Friday worked."
City of Corona, CA
"For employees who work a 9/80 flex schedule, please note the following regarding how to report your regular time and overtime (OT):
Roth Staffing Companies
"The slam dunk is our flexible 9-80 schedule. The majority of our competitors average 12-13 hours per day. While they make a great living, they don't have a great like without the balance."
City of Redding, CA
"The purpose of the Modified Work Schedule Policy is to enable City employees the flexibility of working a modified schedule rather than the traditional work week (8 am to 5 PM - 5 days per week)."
City of Coronado, CA
"The CITY and the UNION acknowledge the implementation of the 9/80 work schedule for employees in the Public Services Department. The CITY will review, and, if feasible, implement a 9/80 work schedule proposal from the UNION for the Golf Course Operations Department."
*May 2, 2019
Work-life balance at Lockheed Martin is very opportune because we have a 9-80 schedule, so we get every other Friday off."
"Twitter announced support for a 9/80 schedule (1 day off every other week) but none of my reports were comfortable taking it until we announced that myself & team leads would be taking it. If you're a people manager, you have a responsibility to normalize actually using the perks."
Listed under the company's time off policy:
"How flexible? Most employees are on a 9/80 schedule working 8, 9-hour days and 1, 8-hour day over a two-week period, getting every other Friday off. We also offer Holiday Leave, Paid Time Off and My Time – time off that doesn’t need to be accrued."
"Optional work program providing the choice of having every other Friday off at most work locations. This flexible work program allows you to work 80 hours over 9 days and have an additional day off during a two-week pay period."
"At Textron Systems, we have a variety of Compressed Work Week schedules for our employees. Depending on job function and location, we offer a 9/80 schedule (every other Friday off), a 4/10 schedule (every Friday off), or a combination of the two."
"You start with four weeks of paid vacation each year, 10 paid holidays each year and a 9/80 work schedule that gives you every other Friday off."
"We understand there is more to life than work. That’s why we believe it is important to offer such programs like our flexible work schedule with our 9/80 Program..."
"Our alternate work week (9/80) offers most employees every other Friday off."
"A full-time work schedule that consists of 40 hours in one designated workweek, or 80 hours in two consecutive workweeks. On our campus, alternate work schedules consist of flextime and compressed workweeks."
"A 9/80 work schedule allows our employees the flexibility to better meet their personal needs while also considering the needs of the office. Under this schedule, employees work 9 hours a day from Monday to Thursday; work 8 hours on every other Friday; and have the alternate Friday off."
Los Alamos National Laboratory
"The most popular work schedule is the "9/80"—employees work 80 hours over a nine-workday (two-week) period, with a Friday off every other week.
Talk to your manager about available options and how to select the option that is right for you."
The interesting trend I found is that most of these organizations are local governments of defense contractors. It seems like if a competitor or partner is willing to make the schedule change, the next organization will as well.
If you’re interested to learn more about the changing nature of work schedules, take a look at this list of four-day work week companies.
How To Implement 9-80 Schedule
Gusto does a good job explaining how to change your payroll here to accommodate for the change. To summarize, normal pay weeks run from Sunday to Saturday (seven days). If you kept that format with a 9-80 schedule, you’d be paying four hours of overtime every other week. To implement the 9-80 schedule, you need to track work hours in two-week segments instead.
Like we recommended with the four-day work week, you can roll out the 9-80 in phases to reach the final, permanent policy. Here are some options:
- Seasonal: Implement a seasonal 9-80 schedule for the summer. For eight or 10 weeks, try out the policy with all employees. If it goes well, implement the new schedule permanently.
- Optional: Make this an optional program, not a requirement. Employees could choose to switch at any time.
- Flexible: Allow employees to choose their day off. If Monday works best for some and Friday for others, allow that choice.
Where To Find Flexible Jobs
The first place I’d look is Flexjobs, the world’s biggest job board for remote and flexible work. You’ll find dedicated filters to “flexible” and “alternative” schedules.
- Indeed: This is the biggest job board in the world. Although they aren’t focused on alternative jobs, they’ll have most or all of the alternative jobs out there.
- 4dayweek.io: This job board focuses on remote, 32-hour jobs in software if you’re interested in that schedule.
View other unique work week schedules
This is part of our series highlighting unique work schedules. Have a look:
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