In the United States, employees typically work five days a week for eight hours each day. However, many employees want to work a four-day week and are willing to accept less pay inorder to do so. A mandatory policy requiring companies to offer their employees the option of working a four-day workweek for four-fifths (80 percent)of their normal pay would benefit the economy as a whole as well as the individual companies and the employees who decided to take the option.
The shortened workweek would increase company profits because employees would feel more rested and alert, and as a result, they would make fewer costly errors in their work. Hiring morestaff to ensure that the same amount of work would be accomplished would not result in additional payroll costs because four-day employees would only be paid 80 percent of the normal rate. In the end, companies would have fewer overworked and error-prone employees for the same money, which would increase company profits.
For the country as a whole, one of the primary benefits of offering this option to employees is that it would reduce unemployment rates. If many full-time employees started working fewer hours, some of their workload would have to be shifted to others. Thus, for every four employees who went on an 80 percent week, a new employee could be hired at the 80 percent rate.
Finally, the option of a four-day workweek would be better for individual employees. Employees who could afford a lower salary in exchange for more free time could improve the quality of their lives by spending the extra time with their families, pursuing private interests, or enjoying leisure activities.