What Is a 9/80 Work Schedule?
What Is a 9/80 Work Schedule?

What Is a 9/80 Work Schedule?

It used to be that full-time employees would only ever be offered one type of contract for their hours.

They would typically work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week and that was that. There were no other options and flexibility was unlikely.

Now, however, new types of contracts and schedules have been developed that are designed to provide increased flexibility to employees while also ensuring that a company's needs are met.

The 9/80 is one of these new types of work schedule.

What Is a 9/80 Work Schedule?

A 9/80 work schedule is a way of structuring an employee's working hours over a two week period so that they work a combination of longer and shorter days while still averaging a typical 40-hour working week.

This will usually mean that employees are able to have an extra day off over that 14-day period, so that rather than just the two weekends, they are entitled to two weekends and a weekday.

Initially developed in Japan, employers have found that productivity increases with the addition of extra time off. This is despite the increased daily work hour.

Which Companies Use a 9/80 Work Schedule?

Most companies will be able to implement a 9/80 or flexible working schedule if they wish.

This may be trickier for retail businesses that hold standard office hours, but there will usually be a way of managing employee time that allows for additional time off and increased flexibility.

How Does It Work?

There are many ways of making this system work. Typically, employers add an additional hour to an employee's working day from Monday to Thursday on both weeks, with a traditional eight-hour day on the first Friday of the rotation and the second Friday as an additional day off.

The additional time off doesn’t have to be used for one whole day. Some employees will choose to have two shorter days spread throughout the two-week period.

Typically they choose to work on a Friday morning and then have a long weekend.

Another alternative would be to keep the additional day off variable so that it can be used at any point within the two weeks. This means that individuals are able to change which day is used as the day off to allow for appointments or other commitments.

Sample 9/80 Work Schedule

Example One

Week one:

  • Monday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Tuesday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Wednesday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Thursday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Friday – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 8 hours

Weekly total – 44 hours

Week two:

  • Monday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Tuesday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Wednesday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Thursday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Friday – day off

Weekly total – 36 hours

Example Two

Week one:

  • Monday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Tuesday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Wednesday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Thursday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Friday – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. = 6 hours

Weekly total – 42 hours

Week two:

  • Monday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Tuesday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Wednesday – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. = 6 hours
  • Thursday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 9 hours
  • Friday – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. = 5 hours

Weekly total – 38 hours

Despite the hours varying slightly and the additional time off, employees will have still completed 80 hours of work within the two-week period.

Pros and Cons of a 9/80 Work Schedule

As with any type of work schedule, there will be positives and negatives.

What works well for one company won’t necessarily be the same for another and employees may find that they prefer a traditional working schedule as it fits better within their lifestyles.

For others, a 9/80 schedule offers increased flexibility and freedom that they wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere.


Extra Time Off

The main benefit of this type of work schedule is that it gives employees extra time off.

If this is taken as one Friday every two weeks, then it means that individuals will have 26 long-weekends in a year.

Alternatively, the time off can be spread as a combination of half days or alternative weekdays.

Better Work/Life Balance

The additional time off can help employees to develop a healthly work-life balance.

They are able to spend more time doing the things that they enjoy and time off can be scheduled for whatever they need.

Parents find this type of working schedule particularly useful as they are able to attend more school events without needing to use their holiday days.

Less Time Spent Commuting

The additional time off means that less time will be spent commuting.

This can have a positive impact on employees in multiple ways. Not only will they be able to enjoy less time travelling, it can also positively impact their finances, as less money will be spent on fuel or transportation.

Increased Productivity

Employers have found that creating a 9/80 work schedule can mean that productivity is increased.

This is because employees will work harder in the time that they are at work in order to ensure that their extra time off isn’t impacted.

What Is a 9/80 Work Schedule and Its Benefits?
What Is a 9/80 Work Schedule and Its Benefits?

Improved Morale

Employees who feel that their time is rewarded are happier to be at work. Offering flexibility and additional time off helps individuals to feel valued by their employers.

Improved morale can also mean that employees are less likely to take sick days. This is because employees will sometimes take sick days when they have personal commitments.


Calculating Leave Is More Challenging

Having a more flexible working schedule can make calculating sick leave and holiday entitlement more challenging.

Altering the working schedule may mean that you have to change the way that sick leave is calculated in order to make sure that employees are entitled to the right amount of leave.

Scheduling Cover Within a Smaller Business

One of the biggest disadvantages of a 9/80 work schedule is ensuring that all of the employees are able to take their days off, while also making sure that there are enough available staff members to fulfill work commitments.

This is particularly tricky at key times of the year, such as Christmas, when everyone will want to have similar days off.

Potential Abuse of the System

As with any system, there is always the possibility that employees could try to take advantage.

They may not meet their contracted hour requirements and still expect their extra time off.

It’s not just employees who can take advantage of the system. During busy periods, employers can ask for their staff to work extra hours, essentially giving up their day off, in order to meet deadlines.

This is sometimes requested with the offer of additional time off ‘when things calm down’ but could potentially result in employees working additional hours for no extra pay or other benefit.

Longer Workday

Although employees are able to enjoy extra time off, their contracted hours still need to be met.

This means that the days when people are at work are longer. This can have a negative impact on energy levels if not properly managed.


When employees are used to working a standard schedule, this can mean that they are less able to properly manage the extra hours.

As a result, this can mean that they end up starting a task which overruns their contracted work hours and results in overtime needing to be paid.

Calculating this can be complicated for employers and may result in spending more in employee wages than they had anticipated.

It Doesn’t Work For Everyone

Although a 9/80 schedule offers employees additional flexibility and the opportunity to enjoy more days off, it doesn’t always work for everyone.

Some employees may find that the additional hours that they will need to work in order to fulfill their contracted requirements negatively impacts their family-time or other commitments.

Final Thoughts

While a 9/80 work schedule isn’t necessarily suitable for all businesses, there are many advantages which can make it worth implementing.

For companies wanting increased productivity and employee morale, it is worth considering whether a 9/80 work schedule can work for you.

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