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Posted on August 02 2022

Are you up for a four-day work week? World nations are mulling over it!

By Editor
Updated July 25 2023

Highlights of four-day work week

  • Among countries with four-day work week on its mind is the USA.
  • A serious experimentation is underway to study the effects of four-day week.
  • The experiment involves 150 organizations and 7,000 employees globally in which 3 dozen US and Canadian companies also are involved.
  • US research firm Qualtrics has done its survey and has come up with its findings.
  • Employees in the US are generally excited by the idea, while factors like pay cut are not welcomed.

The next big thing in the job scene around the world is indeed the implementation of the four-day work week for employees. The idea is still under observation and scrutiny in the USA, while few world nations have already implemented it. It sounds humane to give employees their much-needed life-work balance, but at what cost will it come? That’s the matter of study right now in developed countries like the USA.

About a bill tabled in California

In early 2022, a bill was introduced in the California legislature. It proposed that a regular pay rate be there for 32 hours of work in a week. It also added the provision for overtime to be paid.

However, the bill didn’t make it and is expected to be re-introduced in 2023.

This is an instance in time that gave wind to the discussions on the idea of a four-day work week. There’s even a non-profit foundation named “4-Day Week Global” that’s piloting a trial concerning a four-day week. This is a six-month trial in which the foundation is also batting for no loss of pay for employees.

Experiments and studies on four-day work week

A world-wide experiment to study the effects of a four-day work week is underway. There are 150 organizations and 7,000 employees involved in this experiment globally. Among these are more than 3 dozen US and Canadian companies participating to observe the results of this system of work.

The US research firm named Qualtrics has done its survey in January 2022 on this topic. The survey included more than 1,000 adult employees at work in the USA. The following are some results of the survey:

  • 92% of respondents stated that they would support their employer implementing a four-day week
  • 79% of the respondents stated that it would help in maintaining good mental health
  • 82% of respondents stated that it would increase their productivity
  • Less than 37% of the respondents were willing to take a pay cut of 5% or more for a four-day week.
  • 72% of respondents stated that a four-day week would mean that they would have longer working days.

Also read: Want to work in Europe? 1.2 million jobs open now in travel & tourism

What employers think about four-day work week

On the employers’ side, there are reasonable concerns about implementing a four-day work week. Some of those are as follows:

  • Employees with significant responsibilities at work could find that the fifth-day off is interrupted by queries and work. This pulls in the employee to work even when he/she is on the day off.
  • There is a large chance for customer dissatisfaction if they find that staffing issues due to a four-day work week system affect response time.
  • The expectation that consumer behavior, customer expectations, and services delivered will be reshaped to adapt may not be easily achieved.
  • A company paying for only four eight-hour working days in a week could seem to be cutting on costs while employees may work 10 hours each day.

Also read: Collaborations with 10 world destinations to foster remote work overseas

What it all means?

Implementing a revolutionary work system like a four-day work week needs thorough study. The pivotal point will be identifying what are the priorities of employees and what will they trade to work under this new work system.

The four-day week idea has to be implemented on a small group of employees initially. Only if it seems beneficial and feasible, should it be applied on a wider team of workers.

Lisa Belanger is the CEO of ConsciousWorks in Canmore, Alberta. She suggests that if a four-day week is a distant possibility in a place but yet workers are seeking better work-life conditions, the following can be tried instead:

  • Employees can be given extended weekends off occasionally. According to her, it will let workers have time away from work without worrying about work piling up while they are away enjoying a long vacation.
  • The number of meetings conducted in a week can be reduced to the minimum. This will help them go stress-free.
  • She also recommends finding ways to reduce what she calls “telepressure”. This is the name given to the compulsion one feels to respond to emails, SMS, or instant messages.

Also read: What are the benefits of working in Australia?

Other countries that are already working on the four-day work week idea


Belgian employees won the right to perform a full work week in 4 days in February 2022. This was instead of the 5-day work week that was the norm and involved no cut in salary.

In Belgium, employees can decide whether to work 4 or 5 days a week. However, their weekly workload won’t be reduced. They just have to fit it all into the 4 or 5 days of work they do.

The UK

On June 6, 2022, a pilot program running for 6 months was launched in the UK. This was to study the impact of shorter working hours on the productivity of a business. It also was meant to study the well-being of the workers, impact on the environment, and effect on gender equality in the workplace.

Nearly 70 companies and 3,000 employees have joined this program.

Scotland and Wales

Following the decision of a campaign promise made by the SNP, the ruling party, a government trial is to start in 2023. The workers are expecting to have their working hours reduced by 20% without any loss of pay.

The SNP has decided to support the companies participating in the plan with £10 million (€11.8 million). There’s huge support for the four-day work week in Scotland. Wales is also following suit.


Iceland conducted the world’s largest pilot of a 35–36-hour work week, between 2015 and 2016. There were no pay cuts in the process. The pilot was declared a success. The trade unions in Iceland negotiated for a reduction in working hours. The four-day week has been mostly a success.


In 2015, Sweden tested the four-day work week with full pay. But it was not a success on all fronts. The main area it worked was with medical staff.


The fact is that Germany has one of the shortest average working weeks in all of Europe. The average working week in Germany as per the World Economic Forum is 34.2 hours.

*Know your eligibility to immigrate to Germany through Y-Axis Germany Immigration Points Calculator.

Nevertheless, there’s a call for shorter work weeks as it came in 2021. It was called for by IG Metall, the largest trade union in Germany. The support for four-day work week is 71% in Germany, as per Forsa Survey.

If you are willing to work in USA or other top countries abroad, talk to Y-Axis, the leading immigration and career consultant in the UAE.

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