The 9/80 Work Schedule blog intro

9/80 work schedule: What it is, the pros & cons, and tips on how to get started

The demand for a better work-life balance is greater than ever. Employees call for the flexibility to schedule appointments, get things done around the house, and spend more time with friends and family. The potential solution to meet this demand: the 9/80 work schedule.
24. May 2022  • 3 minute read
The 9/80 schedule allows you to abandon the standard 40 hour workweek and give your employees a full day off every other week — without losing working hours. On top of that, it can even increase employee productivity and motivation, ultimately increasing your revenue.

In this blog, you will learn more about what the 9 80 work schedule is, its pros and cons, and how you can get started implementing 9/80 schedule into your business.

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What is a 9/80 work schedule?

The 9/80 schedule is a two-week rotating work schedule in which 80 work hours are spread over nine days. In the first week of the 9/80 schedule, employees work four nine-hour workdays from Monday through Thursday, making a total of 36 hours. On Friday, they work another eight hours, with the first four hours completing the 40-hour work week for that week. For payroll purposes, the last four Friday hours of the first week often start the clock for the following week.

The second week, employees work four more nine-hour workdays from Monday through Thursday, totalling 40 hours, and 80 hours over the two weeks combined. Effectively, this allows you to give your employees the second Friday off every other week. The cycle repeast itself again the following Monday.

In short, the 9/80 schedule makes it possible for employees to earn an entire day off every other week — without losing any working hours at all.

Here is an example of the 9/80 work schedule:

Week 1

Monday-Thursday: 7.00 a.m.-12.00 p.m. — 1-hour lunch break — 1.00 p.m.-5.00 p.m.

Friday: 8.00 a.m.-12.00 a.m. (first week ends) — 1-hour lunch break — 1.00 p.m.-4.00 p.m. (second week begins)

Saturday-Sunday: Off

Week 2

Monday-Thursday: 7.00 a.m.-12.00 p.m. — 1-hour lunch break — 1.00 p.m.-5.00 p.m.

Friday - Sunday: Off
This is just an example of a 9/80 work schedule. You can be flexible regarding the starting times of the shifts. For instance, you can let your employees start at 8.00 p.m. and work until 6.00 p.m. with a 1-hour lunch break from 1.00 p.m.-2.00 p.m. — it’s up to you and your employees to decide what works best for you.

The pros and cons of the 9/80 work schedule.

In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Acts does not address flexible work schedules. This means that alternative work arrangements are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative) — and that makes the 9 80 schedule a completely permissible alternative to the five-day workweek.

However, although the 9/80 schedule can be an effective alternative to the standard 40-hour workweek, that doesn’t mean that it suits every kind of company or employee. Below are some of the pros and cons to implementing a 9 80 work schedule.


Better work life balance

The 9/80 work schedule guarantees employees two days off each month. This creates a better work-life balance, making it easier for employees to conduct personal business or schedule a doctor’s appointment without having to interrupt a workday to get these things done.

The three-day weekend can also result in fewer requests for time off, as it makes it easier to take a vacation with family or friends. It can also mean fewer sick days and no-shows, as the extra time off allows employees to rest after two productive weeks.

Task completion increase

The 9 80 schedule has a positive impact on the wellbeing of your employees. Many employees see the extra day as a well-earned reward for their hard work. This can increase their productivity, as it might encourage them to work even harder throughout the week. In fact, Microsoft Japan found that the four-day workweek boosted their employees’ productivity by 40%. We are even doing it ourselves here at Workfeed.

The extra hour of work each day also gives your employees a better chance of completing tasks on the day they start them. This way, the feeling of being productive during the week and earning an extended weekend every other week can improve morale, giving your employees a more positive outlook on their duties and keeping them productive throughout the week.

Less time spent commuting

An alternative work schedule allows employers to attract long-distance commuters. The schedule can be adjusted for commuters to avoid times of heavy traffic, allowing them to get to and from work much faster. This makes the daily commute far less taxing and therefore makes working for a company that offers a 9/80 work schedule more attractive.

More flexibility

One concern which some employers have regarding alternative work schedules is the potential loss of shift coverage. They worry that on the additional day, it will be difficult to organize enough team members to cover essential tasks. However, with a 9 80 schedule this becomes easier than you might think.

If you’re not able to close the office entirely every other Friday, you can instead split your team into two groups: half of them get the Friday off, and the other half get the Monday off. This way, your office remains open Monday through Friday, and all employees still get to enjoy the benefits of a three-day weekend.

Communicate with employees

Talking to your employees frequently will give you a better understanding in terms of the schedule they prefer. By openly discussing the possibilities, you will easily identify what resonates most with your team. You can also agree on the preferred starting time, as well as the breaks with them. Remember to keep talking with your employees after implementing a new shift pattern to talk about their experiences and potential problems. This way, you can guide them to overcome issues and keep the moral high.

Furthermore, the needs of your business also play a role. If your business requires a 24/7 staff presence, it might be a better idea to follow the 2-2-3 work schedule.
These are just some of the advantages of implementing a 9/80 work schedule — and you’ll likely discover more along the way.

However, this alternative work schedule can also come with certain challenges which may make it a less ideal solution for some companies. Read on to learn more about the cons to implementing a 9/80 schedule.


Long workdays

Although the 9/80 schedule allows employees to avoid rush hour during their commute, working longer days also means that they get home later. Employees have less time to wind down after work or pursue hobbies and interests outside work on weeknights. 

Energy levels are also likely to lower as the day gets longer, meaning that the extra hour of work might not be as productive as it ideally should be. In the end, the effects of longer work days vary from person to person. However, on the bright side, they have more time for hobbies or recovery on their extra Friday off.

Extra overtime pay

As mentioned above, the last four Friday hours of the first week should start the clock for the following week, as this allows you to run payroll based on a two-week schedule. However, this won’t always ensure that you don’t pay for four hours of overtime the first week.

For example, in some states — e.g. California — overtime starts after eight hours worked in a day. If this is also the case where your company is located, you will be paying overtime eight out of nine days of every two-week period. You should therefore always consult your accountant, attorney, HR business partners, or other experts before implementing an alternative work schedule like the 9 80 schedule.

Not applicable to the standard single week payroll

There’s no way around the fact that from an organizational standpoint, the payroll structure of a 9/80 work schedule is more challenging than that of a normal five-day workweek. If you’re basing payroll on single workweeks, a 9/80 schedule will show 44 hours worked one week and 36 hours the next, throwing payroll off balance.

In order for payroll to run smoothly on a 9/80 work schedule, you would therefore need to switch to operating on a biweekly pay period.

Difficult to swap days off

On occasion, your employees may wish to swap their regular day off in order to accommodate engagements outside work. However, this can make time tracking more challenging for you — particularly if you’re running a split team where half get Friday off and the other half get Monday off.

Does the 9/80 schedule work for all types of businesses?

The short answer to this question is that it largely depends on your industry and the size of your workforce. For example, if you’re staffing software developers who do not have customer-facing roles, a 9/80 schedule could work well for you.

However, if you’re running a brick and mortar store that’s open seven days a week, accommodating an entire day off for your employees might be difficult. A 9/80 schedule could still work for you if your workforce is large enough: in this case, you’d rotate which days your employees are off so your store can always remain open.

If you’re a smaller business, however, you might still not have enough team members to keep your business running efficiently while staggering the schedule so that half your team get Friday off and the other half get Monday off.

In the end, a 9 80 schedule is not ideal for small businesses and may also present certain challenges for larger companies. Under the right circumstances, however, there are many benefits to gain from implementing a 9/80 schedule.

Is the 9/80 work schedule worth it?

If you are looking for ways to increase the productivity of your staff a 9/80 schedule can be an opportunity worth exploring. As mentioned the 9/80 model naturally provide employees with an additional average of two days off each month. This can provide a real incentive to be even more productive during working days. "

Getting started with 9/80 work schedule

Before you implement a 9/80 work schedule, you should consider to what extent it might work for your business. Firstly, you should talk to your employees and present the idea to them. Explain the pros and cons, and describe your expectations before asking if they’d be interested in trying this alternative work schedule.


Then, you should examine and analyze your corporate, business, and functional level strategies to determine if the 9 80 schedule is the best solution for your company. Among other things, this involves examining your:

  • Priorities and company goals,
  • Budgets and product quality,
  • Employee experience and training, and more.

Finally, you should ensure that you make use of the right tools to implement and run a 9/80 schedule smoothly every week.

The right tools for your 9/80 work schedule

The key to successfully implementing a 9/80 work schedule is ensuring that the planning runs smoothly — and a scheduling system like Workfeed can help you with that!

Workfeed's system allows you to run a 9/80 schedule with ease, making scheduling and staff management easy. Get a great overview of all employees, save and reuse recurring schedules, and get notifications of coming bank holidays, sick leave, and vacations.

And by leveraging Workfeed's automated time tracking feature, you ensure that your staff are getting the right pay — without all the manual work.
Kristian Emil Larsen - Workfeed Author
Kristian Emil Larsen

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