Does the US have a 4-day work week?
The United States does not have a four-day work week.
However, multiple bills have been proposed across the country to change the average work week from five days and 40 hours to four days and 32 hours. Plus, hundreds of companies have either implemented or trialed the four-day work week in the last few years.
Why are Americans talking about a 4-day work week?
There are three reasons that people are talking about a four-day work week in the United States:
1) Many companies have adopted a four-day work week in the United States in the last few years. Switching from five work days to four is still received as such a radical idea that each announcement gets press coverage.
2) A bill in the US senate, known as the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act, proposed to amend the country’s Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 from 40 hours to 32 hours.
3) A bill in California, AB 2932, proposed to change the standard full-time working hours from 40 to 32 for organizations operating in California with over 500 employees. The bill has been shelved.
“I am introducing this legislation to reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours because – now more than ever – people continue to work longer hours while their pay remains stagnant. We cannot continue to accept this as our reality. Many countries and businesses that have experimented with a four-day workweek found it to be an overwhelming success as productivity grew and wages increased.”US Representative, Mark Takana of California, 2021
How many hours per week do people work in the United States?
The most common full-time work week is 40 hours, or 1,992 hours of work per year.
In ranking countries from the shortest work week to the longest, USA ranks 107 out of 187 countries tracked by OECD (43rd percentile).
- 106 countries have a shorter work week than the US
- 80 countries have a longer work week than the US
The average work work is calculated by taking the total annual hours worked per year divided by the average number of people in employment per year, divided by 52 weeks. Therefore, the average work week includes hours for full-time, part-time, and self-employed people. It is not the standard work week for full-time employees.
Source: OECD (2022), Hours worked (indicator). doi: 10.1787/47be1c78-en
Have any 4-day work week bills been proposed in the US?
Yes: H. R. 4728, AB 2932
Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act (United States) – H. R. 4728
A bill in the US senate, known as the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act or H.R. 4728, proposed to amend the country’s Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 from 40 hours to 32 hours.
If passed, companies would start paying overtime pay after 32 hours of work in a week rather than 40. This wouldn’t necessarily change the default work week to 32 hours or four days, but the idea is that it would default companies toward that schedule.
The bill was introduced on July 27, 2021 and was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.
4-Day Work Week Bill (California) – AB 2932
A bill in California, AB 2932, proposed to change the standard full-time working hours from 40 to 32 for organizations operating in California with over 500 employees.
The bill has been shelved, but it has a chance to be re-introduced and discussed in 2021.
Learn more about California’s four-day work week bill.
32-Hour, 4-Day Work Week (Pennsylvania)
The legislation was introduced on March 21, 2022. No further progress has been made.
Have there been any 4-day trials or studies done in the United States?
Trial: 4 Day Week Global, US & Canada
From October 2022 – March 2022, 4 Day Week Global is conducting a trial with US and Canadian companies.
Individual companies in the US have released results from their own implementation of the four-day work week:
Buffer introduced the four-day work week and introduced their findings in 2021
- “Nearly 34 percent felt more productive than when we had a five-day work week, nearly 60 percent felt equally as productive, and less than seven percent felt less productive”
Bolt introduced the four-day work week in 2021 and released their findings
- “A survey taken of the 550 full-time employees at the end of the three-month trial period found 94% of workers and 91% of managers wanted the program to continue”
The most well-known four-day work week studies have taken place in Iceland (a country-wide study), Spain (a three-year, €50 million study), Japan through Microsoft’s Japanese arm, and New Zealand through a private company called Perpetual Guardian.
A non-profit, 4 Day Week Global, runs just about every well-publicized four-day trial you’ve read about. Recent trials have occurred in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland.
How many companies in the United States have a 4-day work week?
Buildremote’s database of four-day work week companies, the most comprehensive list available, includes 67 companies headquartered in the United States.
Do you think our database is missing a company? Add a company here.
In which countries are the most 4-day companies located?
Right now, we have 177 four-day work week companies in our database across 20 countries. 38% of four-day work week companies are located in the United States, 36% are located in the United Kingdom, 7% are located in Canada. No other country takes more than a 3% share.
Here is an analysis of company adoption of the four-day work week by country.
Learn more about the 4-day work week
I’ve personally run a four-day work week company since 2020. I’ve seen employee happiness and retention increase with no loss to productivity. Now I strive to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the four-day work week.
It seems that many individuals, companies, and countries are finally starting to question to standard, 40-hour work week for the first time in nearly a century. Follow along as we break down the trend.