A LOOK AT THE 4-DAY WORKWEEK

THE 4-DAY WORK SCHEDULE AS IT PRESENTLY OPERATES IS EXAMINED AND SOME TENTATIVE CONCLUSIONS ARE MADE ABOUT ITS FUTURE. AVAILABLE INFORMATION INDICATES THAT THE 4-DAY WEEK IS NOT NECESSARILY A 40-HOUR WEEK. DATA FROM THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS SHOW THAT IN FIRMS EMPLOYING 50 WORKERS OR MORE, THE "SHORTER WORKWEEK" IS 4.5 DAYS AS OF TEN AS 4 DAYS, AND RANGES FROM 40 HOURS A WEEK TO LESS TNEN 30. THE MOVEMENT TOWARD 4-DAY WEEK IS IN ACCORD WITH THE CURRENT PREFERENCE FOR "BLOCKS OF LEISURE" SUCH AS EXTENDED VACATIONS AND THE PREFERENCE FOR DIVERSITY IN WORK SCHEDULES. THE ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE SHORTER WORKWEEK ARE PRESENTED. GREATER PRODUCTIVITY AND LOWER UNIT COST ARE CLAIMED BY MANAGEMENT, WHILE THE WORKERS CLAIM INCREASED LEISURE AND REDUCTION IN COMMUTING TIME AND WORKING COSTS SUCH AS LUNCHES AND CHILD CARE. THE POSSIBLE ADVERSE EFFECTS ON THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF WORKERS IS QUOTED AS A REASON AGAINST THE 4-DAY SCHEDULE. IT MAY BE EXPECTED THAT THE 4-DAY WEEK WILL SPREAD BUT NOT TO THE SAME EXTENT AS THE 5-DAY WEEK. TECHNOLOGICAL REQUIREMENTS AND OTHER SPECIAL SITUATIONS MAY BE INSURMOUNTABLE OBSTACLES IN SOME FIRMS. SUPPORT FOR THE 4-DAY WEEK CAME MOSTLY FROM THE MANAGEMENT OF SMALL INDEPENDENT FIRMS. LARGE CORPORATIONS EXPRESS SERIOUS RESERVATIONS. LABOR ORGANIZATIONS ARE NOT LIKELY TO ACCEDE TO 10-HOUR DAYS WITHOUT OVERTIME PAY. THIS AND OTHER DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND LABOR WILL BE HARD TO RECONCILE. ALTHOUGH THE 4-DAY WEEK IS ASSOCIATED WITH "COMPRESSED" RATHER THAN FEWER WEEKLY HOURS, IN THE LONG RUN, IT WILL BE SHORTER IN HOURS AS WELL. THE SHORTER WEEK MAY BE EXPECTED TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE SUPPLY AND DEMAND OF LABOR AND ON THE FAMILY. SOME INCREASE IN EMPLOYMENT CAN BE ANTICIPATED AS A RESULT OF LARGER MARKETS FOR LEISURE GOODS AND SERVICES.

  • Corporate Authors:

    BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

    WASHINGTON, DC  USA 
  • Authors:
    • Hedges, J N
  • Publication Date: 1971-10

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00240349
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 27 2003 12:00AM