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4/10 Work Schedule: Definition, Pros & Cons (+Examples)

4/10 Work Schedule: Definition, Pros & Cons

4/10 Work Schedules

A new-age work schedule is challenging the definition of a “traditional work schedule.” This alternate schedule, known as a 4/10, stretches eight-hour workdays into 10-hour days and drops the fifth day altogether.  

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 four-day workweek pilot to date. The results indicate a four-day schedule is extremely popular. In fact, 92% of companies intend to 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 the 4/10 work schedule is effective at improving work-life balance, reducing job-related stress, and bolstering employee productivity.

That said, a 4/10 schedule isn’t all flowers and rainbows. There are some cons as well. And for those living in certain states, like California, regulations exist restricting the amount of hours employees can work. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons a 4/10 schedule affords.  

What Is a 4/10 Work Schedule?

A 4/10 work schedule is exactly what it sounds like: four 10-hour workdays. In other words, employees still work the “standard” 40-hour weeks but in fewer than five days.

A 4/10 workweek is the most popular example of a compressed schedule. Often, a 4/10 work schedule begins on Monday and ends on Thursday 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, health care, 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 pay cut).

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 currently working a 4/10 schedule 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 does working two 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 one hour less on household chores. However, the tradeoffs might be worth it — a different study of workers in the Philippines determined 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 a 4/10 schedule.

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 employers in order to implement workdays that are longer than eight 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 child care).

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 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 one to six months before making any permanent decisions. You can also try it as a seasonal schedule (i.e., during the summer).

Step 5: Take a vote. Once your trial is complete, 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.


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 you consult with a legal expert or labor attorney.

Simplify Your Scheduling with OnTheClock

OnTheClock’s streamlined time tracking system is customizable to meet the ever-evolving needs of your business. The software’s schedule can easily be set up to accommodate a 4/10 or other type of compressed schedule. Regardless of which schedule you select, overtime can be calculated accordingly, for one employee or a group of employees, ensuring your company remains compliant with local and federal laws. OnTheClock even has a setting for California’s overtime law.

OnTheClock Employee Time Tracking

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OnTheClock Team

OnTheClock is the perfect app for business 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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