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What Is A 9/80 Schedule and Is It Right For Your Business?

What is a 9/80 schedule?What is a 9/80 schedule?
min read
August 21, 2023

Workin’ nine to five? Not quite. While a 40-hour workweek has long been considered the standard, there are plenty of other types of work schedules out there. A 9/80 schedule is one that some employers swear by.

But, what is a 9/80 schedule and how can you tell if it’s the right fit for your team and small business? Let’s answer all of your burning questions about this work arrangement. 

What is a 9/80 schedule?

When employees work a 9/80 work schedule, they work the following hours over a two-week period:

Employees work an extra hour for eight chosen days in a two-week workweek, but are rewarded with one workday off every other week.

For that reason, you might also hear this referred to as a compressed workweek. 

If you do the math, you’ll see that an employee is working a total of 80 hours over a nine-day period (rather than a more traditional 10-day period), hence the “9/80” name. 

9/80 work schedule: An example

When compared with more traditional workweeks, we know this can seem a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. So, let’s take a look at a sample 9/80 work schedule so you can get a grasp of what this looks like in practice.

During the first week of the pay period, an employee would work:

Monday: 7AM - 5PM (one hour lunch break)

Tuesday: 7AM - 5PM (one hour lunch break)

Wednesday: 7AM - 5PM (one hour lunch break)

Thursday: 7AM - 5PM (one hour lunch break)

Friday: 7AM - 5PM (one hour lunch break)

TOTAL: 45 hours of work

During the second week of the pay period, an employee would work: 

Monday: 7AM - 5PM (one hour lunch break)

Tuesday: 7AM - 5PM (one hour lunch break)

Wednesday: 7AM - 5PM (one hour lunch break)

Thursday: 7AM - 4PM (one hour lunch break)

Friday: OFF

TOTAL: 35 hours of work

What are the benefits of a 9/80 work schedule?

It’s easy to see the advantages of this sort of schedule for your employees: They get an extra day off every other week. Nobody is going to complain about a three-day weekend. 

But, what about you as the employer? What do you stand to gain from offering this work schedule to your team? Here are a few potential benefits. 

1. Improved morale, engagement, and retention

This schedule allows your employees to enjoy more days off, and that fact offers some perks for you as well. Why? Because work-life balance seriously matters to your employees.

In a survey of 2,200 employees, respondents ranked work-life balance as the most important factor when evaluating a job prospect—even above salary and a flexible schedule. In a separate survey, 62% of respondents said that work-life balance is the most important part of a workplace culture. 

Here’s what happens when employees feel like they’re empowered to have a life outside of work: they’re happier, more committed, and stick around longer. 

Work-life balance has been proven to boost engagement (employees are over 20% more engaged when they have the right amount of balance). And, engaged employees are less likely to hit the road in search of greener pastures. 

2. Increased productivity 

Work-life balance has also been proven to boost productivity. But, beyond the fact that increased engagement inspires your employees to crank out more work, that extra hour they’re working accomplishes a lot too.

This is especially true if you’re in an industry that has employees out in the field—like construction, as just one example.

When employees can stay an extra hour on the job site, they have more time to get more work accomplished on that single given day. That saves time and money deploying your workforce to that same job for shorter days. When there’s travel and setup time involved, you want your employees to be able to dedicate a good chunk of time to the actual work. 

What are the drawbacks of a 9/80 work schedule? 

This type of schedule certainly has its upsides. But, like anything, it isn’t without its disadvantages. Here are a few you should be aware of. 

1. Confusion about overtime pay

There’s no denying it: This type of schedule isn’t quite as straightforward as a standard 40-hour workweek. And, that can lead to some confusion and even administrative headaches on your end.

Unless you plan out your schedule just right, you might find yourself needing to offer overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that “covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek.”

In the example we outlined above, you can see that one workweek was 45 hours. That could mean that your employees are entitled to five hours of overtime pay during that first workweek. 

You’d need to move the pieces around, track time and work in two-week periods, or find loopholes (for example, stating that your Friday workday technically “ends” at noon, so that afternoon hours get counted toward the next week) to ensure that each workweek is only 40 hours. It’s a lot of juggling. 

2. Coordination of work coverage

One day off for your employees is nice, but it can throw some wrenches into your own processes and tasks. 

Work doesn’t stop just because one employee is out, so you’ll need to find ways to cover the work of employees on their days off—so that things don’t come to a screeching halt. That can be challenging and lead to some crossed wires and missed deadlines. 

3 tips for implementing a 9/80 schedule

Considering instituting a 9/80 schedule for your own staff? Here are three tips to help you do it right.

1. Require clear communication

When you’re going to have different employees off on different days of the week, it’s tough to keep things running smoothly. Clear and proactive communication should always be a priority for your team, but especially if you’re going to use a 9/80 work schedule. 

Employees should get in the habit of providing a recap of where they’ve left off before they sign out for their day off, so other employees can seamlessly pick up the baton. Additionally, it’s wise to standardize your procedures so people know where to find things or how certain tasks should be completed. It will save you a lot of hassle in the long run. 

2. Keep consistent days off

As your employees get accustomed to a 9/80 work schedule, they might want to start to move around their day off every other week. They’ll give themselves an even more flexible work schedule by taking Monday off one week, and then a Friday off another time.

This can make things even more confusing for you, especially when you’re trying to ensure you don’t violate any laws. It’s in your best interest to require your employees set a chosen day off for each pay period. That will be much easier for you to manage. 

3. Automate the payroll process

When your staff isn’t working traditional 40-hour workweeks, payroll can get a little more complicated. And, if you’re like most small business owners, you go cross-eyed looking at spreadsheets.

Put a solution in place (like Hourly!) to automate the payroll process and take some stress off your own plate. Regardless of what schedule your employees are on, you’ll be able to efficiently track time and run more accurate payroll. Hourly will even factor in vacation and sick days

Is a 9/80 schedule right for your business?

Some companies love a 9/80 schedule, while it’s not the best fit for others. Ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide on the right work arrangements for your business and team.

If you’re confused, don’t hesitate to talk to your employees and find out what they’d prefer. It will give you some helpful insights about the best work schedule for your unique needs, while also showing your employees that you value them, their opinions, and their work-life balance.

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