Definition of 9/80 Work Schedule

9/80 work week

A 9/80 work schedule takes a traditional two-week pay period and divides the work hours so that the employee works a four-day work week every other payroll week. Companies must remember they are still bound by DOL requirements that restrict standard work week hours to 40 hours each week—no hours can float between the two weeks.

What is a 9/80 Work Schedule?

Alternative work schedules are becoming more commonplace as employees have started demanding better work-life balance. A 9/80 work schedule is one such option. This option takes a traditional two-week pay period and divides the work hours so that the employee works a four-day work week every other week.

Here’s how a 9/80 work schedule implementation could look:

9/80 Schedule Option A

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Daily Work Hours OFF 4 Hrs 9 Hrs 9 Hrs 9 Hrs 9 Hrs OFF
OFF OFF 10 Hrs 10 Hrs 10 Hrs 10 Hrs OFF

Some companies prefer to implement the 9/80, as shown in the table below. It’s important to state that it poses a payroll challenge regarding how the beginning and end of a work week are defined:

9/80 Schedule Option B

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Daily Work Hours Off 9 Hrs 9 Hrs 9 Hrs 9 Hrs 8 Hrs* OFF
*The middleof the first Friday ends the 1st week's pay period and begins the 2nd.
OFF OFF 9 Hrs 9 Hrs 9 Hrs 9 Hrs OFF

Let’s take some time to investigate some pros and cons of a 9/80 work schedule to determine if it’s the best option for your company.

Why is a 9/80 work schedule option important to a small business owner?

Keeping staff onboard can be an ongoing challenge for a small business. One way to entice your strong employees to stay with you is to offer a flexible work schedule. A 9/80 work schedule allows employees to have two days off one week and three days off the next.

That extra day off goes a long way toward employee satisfaction. To that point, Ernst & Young Global (EY) conducted a survey of over 16,000 employees and found that:

  • 9 of 10 employees surveyed stated they wanted flexibility in their work environment regarding where and when they work
  • 54% of those surveyed said they would consider leaving their job if they weren’t offered some form of job flexibility

The 9/80 work schedule has been an effective recruiting and retention tool. Not only is the extra day off every-other week attractive, but so are the reduced commuting and daycare expenses.

In some instances, businesses have found their employees are more productive working a 9/80 schedule. Still, it really depends on the specific individual. Some employees become lethargic after working more than 8 hours.

Why might I want to think twice about implementing a 9/80 work schedule?

A few administrative challenges are inherent in a 9/80 work schedule:

  • Managing overtime is a critical component of a 9/80 work schedule. It is crucial that you know your local and state overtime requirements. If you live in a state that requires payment of daily overtime for any time worked beyond 8 hours, this schedule may increase your overtime expenditures.
  • Making sure there is parity in time off and holiday pay can be tricky. Having some employees working 8-hour days and others working 9- or 10-hour days results in one paid day off, equalling more paid time off hours for one group than the other.
  • Scheduling care for customer coverage can be challenging. It won’t come as a surprise that nearly everyone will want to have either Friday or Monday as their extra day off. There is a possibility that this could leave you short-handed in handling customer needs.

Although these can be challenges, they’re not insurmountable. They will require more administrative attention and a flexible payroll system, though.

What is the history of the 9/80 work schedule?

The term “9/80 work schedule” gained popularity in many companies in the mid-1990s. That’s not when it was first used en masse, though.

The US Government used what they called a 5/4/9 schedule starting in the late 1970s, giving employees flexibility in their work schedules. It was called a 5/4/9 because one week, the employee worked 5 9-hour days, and the following week the same employee worked 4 9-hour days.

Relevant terms that you need to know and helpful resources you can use

As you look into this work schedule option, consult with your legal counsel and tax advisor. Some of the terms you’ll want to be familiar with and helpful resources you can reference include:

Summary of why the 9/80 work schedule is vital in today’s work environment

Companies have the be more creative than ever to recruit and retain valuable talent. As part of that effort, implementing flexible schedules such as the 9/80 work schedule makes companies willing to break away from traditional work weeks competitive and frontrunners in the battle for top talent.

Similar glossary definitions you should know

FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act): This is the federal law that places parameters around minimum pay and overtime regulations.

Workplace flexibility: “A mutually beneficial arrangement between employees and employers in which both parties agree on when, where, and how the employee will work to meet the organization’s needs.” Defined by the Society for Human Resource Management.

People also ask

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