4/10 Work Schedules, Explained

4/10 Work Schedules, Explained

4/10 Work Schedules

The definition of “traditional work schedule” is being challenged as 4-day workweeks make headlines.

In March 2023, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to shorten the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32. This is the second time Takano has introduced the bill — his first attempt, in 2021, never advanced to a vote.

Overseas, the United Kingdom just wrapped up the largest 4-day workweek pilot to date. The results indicate that a 4-day schedule is extremely popular. In fact, 92% of companies will continue with this alternative work schedule.

When reducing the number of hours in a workweek is impractical — or impossible — the 4/10 work schedule may be a better option. With this alternative schedule, employees work 40 hours over fewer days. Like the 32-hour workweek, a growing body of research indicates that the 4/10 work schedule is effective at improving work/life balance, reducing job-related stress, and bolstering employee productivity.

That said? 4/10 isn’t for everyone — and some states (like California) have strict regulations for implementing working days that are longer than 8 hours.

What is a 4/10 work schedule?

A 4/10 work schedule is a type of compressed work schedule. With 4/10 schedules, employees work 10-hour days for 4 days a week. In other words, employees still work the “standard” 40 hour week, but in fewer than 5 days.

4/10 workweeks are the most popular example of compressed schedules. Often, a 4/10 work schedule consists of Monday through Thursday as working days, with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. However, employees may request a day other than Friday off to take care of matters outside of work.

This type of flexible work schedule is most often used in the public sector, as well as healthcare and manufacturing industries — but it’s becoming more common in other types of businesses. Individual workers may also request longer hours in exchange for more days off (without having to take a paycut).

4/10 Workweek Examples

How you structure a 4/10 workweek depends on your place of work. In some cases, it makes the most sense to have all employees work the same hours and days. Other times, you may want to rotate your staff in and out throughout the day. We have some examples of 4/10 workweeks below, as well as a few downloadable templates.

Example 1: Standardized Shifts

  • Monday-Thursday: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
  • Friday-Sunday: Off
4/10 workweek Rotating Day Shifts

Example 2: Rotating Day Shifts

  • Group 1: Monday-Thursday, 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
  • Group 2: Tuesday-Friday, 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
  • Both Groups: Saturday-Sunday, Off

Example 3: Rotating AM/PM Shifts

  • Group 1: Monday-Thursday, 7:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • Group 2: Monday-Thursday, 12:00 PM-10:00 PM
  • Both Groups: Friday-Sunday, Off
4/10 Workweek Rotating AM/PM Shifts

4/10 Workweeks: Pros and Cons

There are advantages and disadvantages to the 4/10 compressed work schedule. Consider the tradeoffs before scheduling employees for 10-hour workdays (and whether or not this type of schedule is compatible with your local overtime laws). It’s also best practice to run a short-term trial of a compressed schedule before permanently committing to it.



More days off. With a 4-day workweek, you’ll have 3 days off each week. Often, that means every weekend is a a 3-day weekend.
Less commuting. The average American commutes 27.6 minutes each way. Eliminating one commute per week adds up, typically giving back 52 hours in a calendar year.
Improved work/life balance. A 4-day workweek gives you more time for life outside of work, boosting happiness and reducing job-related stress.
Increased productivity. A side effect of better work/life balance is increased output. Additionally, some (but not all) find that slightly longer shifts improve their focus.



Worker fatigue. A 10-hour shift isn’t for everyone. Even with more days off, some workers will be exhausted by longer workdays.
Family conflicts. Many find it difficult to coordinate childcare with a 4/10 schedule, and employees with young children may need additional flexibility to make longer shifts work for them.
Overtime incompatibility. In some areas, 10-hour shifts are not compatible with overtime regulations. States like California have strict regulations about how (and when) 4/10 can be implemented.
Reduced afterwork activities. After a long shift, you’ll have less energy for happy hours, gym sessions, or spending time with your kids.

Is a 10-hour workday too long?

While some people may happily trade off a slightly longer workday in exchange for more time off, not everyone has the stamina to endure longer work hours. But is a 10-hour shift too long? Researchers have looked into it — but don’t necessarily agree.

In 2022, researchers published a study in the State and Government Review that examined the effects of a 4/10 workweek pilot on public sector workers. The final results indicated that, if given the option, 73% of employees would continue working 10-hour shifts in exchange for an extra day off. However, job satisfaction — which was higher-than-average before the pilot — remained consistent. This suggests that workplace culture and leadership are important factors when it comes to successfully implementing a 4/10 workweek.

So how, exactly, does working 2 extra hours impact the rest of your day? According to one study of government employees working 4/10 schedules in the Philippines, subjects slept an average of 20 minutes less for each 10-hour shift worked. They also spent 30 fewer minutes preparing for work in the morning, and 1 hour less on household chores. However, the tradeoffs might be worth it — a different study of workers in the Philippines determined that a 4/10 workweek reduced job stress, ultimately improving work-life balance and productivity.

Conversely, shifts longer than 10 hours could have adverse effects on employee health. In a large general population study of workers in France, researchers found that working more than 10 daily hours for more than 10 years may greatly increase the risk of stroke. That makes a strong case for avoiding late nights and overtime when working 4/10.

Another factor to consider is whether or not employees have enough time to rest before returning to work. In a 10-year study of hospital workers, researchers found that working shifts longer than 12 hours, and having less than 12 hours off between shifts, greatly increased the likelihood of occupational accidents.

The takeaway? When implementing a 4/10 work schedule, it’s crucial to avoid overtime whenever possible, as it may harm employee health. Additionally, prioritize rest between shifts, especially a good night’s sleep.

Best Practices for Implementing a 4/10 Schedule

Ready to try a 4/10 workweek? Here’s how you should approach making the change at your workplace.

  • Step 1: Check your local laws. Some states — like California — have strict protocols that must be followed by emploers in order to implement workdays that are longer than 8 hours. It’s a good idea to consult with a legal team, as well as an HR representative with expertise in your industry.
  • Step 2: Ask for input. Schedule meetings with team members at your company to talk about the potential schedule change. Be transparent about the benefits and drawbacks. Ask for feedback and be prepared to extend extra flexibility to workers with outside commitments (like childcare).
  • Step 3: Draft a schedule. Decide whether all employees will work the same days and shifts, or if staff will rotate their hours worked. Be sure that employees have at least 12 hours to rest before returning to work. Before implementing new scheduling, ask employees if they’ll have any conflicts.
  • Step 4: Start a trial. Before permanently committing to the 4/10 workweek, run a short-term pilot of your new schedule. We recommend trying out 10-hour workdays for 1-6 months before making any permanent decisions. You can also try it as a seasonal schedule (e.g., during the summer).
  • Step 5: Take a vote. Once your trial is completed, ask for more feedback. In some states, votes are mandatory before making the switch to a compressed workweek. You can also run a survey — responses will give you better insight into what’s working (or not working) for your employees.

State Overtime Regulations and 4/10 Workweeks

In most U.S. states, overtime pay is mandated after 40 hours are worked in a single workweek. Alaska, California, Nevada, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands mandate overtime pay after 8 hours are worked in a single day. Some of these U.S. states and territories have made exceptions to their overtime laws to accommodate 4/10 work schedules.


Yes — California’s overtime law has a special rule that allows for a 10-hour workday within a 40-hour workweek. However, the schedule must be validly adopted through a clearly defined legal process.


Yes — Alaska’s overtime law allows workers to adopt a 4/10 schedule through a voluntary flexible work hour plan. However, the schedule cannot be offered as a condition of employment.


Yes — Nevada’s overtime law allows for a 4/10 schedule. Workers and their employers must mutually agree on the workday length (ideally, in writing)


Yes — Puerto Rico’s overtime law allows for flexible work arrangements, like 4/10 schedules. This exception mandates a minimum 12-hour resting period between shifts.


No — The Virgin Islands’ overtime law has no exception for compressed schedules or alternative workweeks. Overtime pay is required for all shifts longer than 8 hours.

No matter where you live, you should review your local laws before implementing a 4/10 schedule. We recommend that you consult with a legal expert or labor attorney.

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Written by

OnTheClock Team

OnTheClock is the perfect app for businesses that want to keep track of their employees' time without spending hours doing it. With OnTheClock, you can forget about the old way of doing things.

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