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The Revised W o J |g p
Results of a Pilot S t u a ^
U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics




irms

L ib rary of Congress C ataloging in Publication D ata

S w e rd lo ff, S o l.
The r e v is e d workweek.
( B u lle tin - U. S. D ept, o f L abor, Bureau o f Labor
S t a t i s t i c s ; 18^-6)
B ib lio g ra p h y : p .
1. F our-day week—U n ite d S t a t e s . 2 . Hours o f la b o r
—U n ite d S ta te s . I . U n ited S t a t e s . B ureau o f Labor
S t a t i s t i c s . I I . T i t l e . I I I . S e r ie s : U n ite d S t a t e s .
B ureau o f Labor S t a t i s t i c s . B u lle tin ; 18U6.
HD5l2lf.S9
331.2 ’ 572’ 0973
75-2271




The Revised Workweek:
Results of a Pilot Study of 16 Firms
U.S. Department of Labor
John T. Dunlop, Secretary
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Julius Shiskin, Commissioner
1975
Bulletin 1846

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Preface
This study was prepared for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by Sol Swerdloff, of
Manpower and Education Research Associates, under the direction of Jerome A. Mark,
Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics. John J. Macut, Chief of the
Bureau’s Division of Technological Studies, and Janice Hedges, in the Office of
Economic Trends and Labor Conditions, participated in planning the study and
developing the interview guides. They also reviewed and commented on the draft of the
report.
The study was financed through funds made available by the Office of the Assistant
Secretary of Labor for Policy, Evaluation, and Research. Mrs. Audrey Freedman of that
office provided many useful suggestions and served as liaison for the study.

Contents
Page
Introduction

....................................................................................................................................................................

1

Chapter 1. Objectives for adopting revised workweek schedule and plans for in tr o d u c tio n ................................
O b jec tiv e s................................................................................................................................................................
Planning for and introducing new sc h e d u le s........................................................................................................

2
2
3

Chapter 2. Descriptions of revised work sch e d u le s....................................................................................................
Simpler plans
................................................................................................................
More complicated plans ........................................................................................................................................

5
5
6

Chapter 3. Assessing the effects of the revised w o rk w e e k ........................................................................................
8
Were firms’ objectives re a liz e d ? ............................................................................................................................
8
Effect on p ro d u c tiv ity .................................................................................................................................................11
Length of workweek for e m p lo y e e s .........................................................................................................................13
Pay and benefits .........................................................................................................................................................13
Quality of work
.........................................................................................................................................................13
Attendance
................................................................................................................................................................ 14
R e c ru itm e n t.................................................................................................................................................................15
Turnover .....................................................................................................................................................................15
Overtime .....................................................................................................................................................................16
Part-time e m p lo y m en t....................................................
17
Need for supervision
.................................................................................................................................................17
Worker f a t i g u e .............................................................................................................................................................17
Plant safety .................................................................................................................................................................17
Overall assessment by firms
.....................................................................................................................................17
Chapter 4.

Employee attitudes towards the revised w o rk w e e k .....................................................................................19

Chapter 5. Data and methods for measuring effects of schedule c h a n g e .................................................................... 20
P ro d u c tiv ity ................................................................................................................................................................ 20
Quality of work
........................................................................................................
23
Attendance
.................................................................................................................................................................24
Turnover .................................................................................................................................................................... 24
Overtime .....................................................................................................................................................................25
Summary and c o n c lu sio n s.................................................................................................................................................... 26
Tables:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Objectives for adopting revised workweek schedule
.................................
Converting sales data to an output index for a machinery
manufacturing firm
....................................................................................
Employment and hours reported by a manufacturing establish­
ment, selected payroll periods ............................................................................................
Employment and hours reported by a wholesale trade firm,
selected payroll p e r io d s ........................................................................................................




.

.

2

.2 0
.

. 21

.

. 21

Contents—Continued
Tables:
5.
6.
7.
8.

Page
Developing a measure of productivity for an insurance f i r m .................................................................... 22
Deriving a measure of output per man-hour for an automobile
m e c h a n ic ..........................................................................................................................................................22
Labor turnover in a boatbuilding firm: Separations and a c c e s s io n s ............................................................ 24
Proportion of overtime to total man-hours in a boatbuilding firm
........................................................ 25

Appendixes:
A.
B.

Description of thestudy
..................................................................................................................................26
Interview g u i d e s ................................................................................................................................................ 28

Selected b ib lio g rap h y ............................................................................................................................................................. 31




Introduction
Much publicity has been given recently to 4-day,
3-day, or other rearranged workweeks for employees.
Although in mid-1974 only about 2 percent of the
full-time employees of U.S. firms were estimated to be
on such a workweek, some observers of working
arrangements have predicted a growth in the number of
firms adopting such schedules.
The spread of this innovation has aroused consider­
able interest in the United States because of the
potential effects of the revised workweek on the
efficiency of the work force and the job satisfaction of
individual employees. Interest in the revised workweek
in this country is part of the reexamination of worktime
patterns that is going on in most industrialized countries.
In some European countries, the interest has centered
around flexible work schedules that permit employees,
within a prescribed band of time each day, to start and
finish work at their discretion as long as they complete
the total number of hours required for a week or a
month. In some copntries, the concern is with length of
vacations, length of the working life, or retirement ages.
Evidence of this growing interest was the international
conference on new patterns for working time held in
Paris, France, in late 1972 under the auspices of the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Develop­
ment.
The Department of Labor had several purposes for
conducting this pilot study on the revised workweek.
One was to gain a general idea from a sample of firms of
their objectives and methods for introducing the work­




week changes. A second was to evaluate the availability
of data and the feasibility of further research into the
effects of the new workweek schedule on such economic
factors as productivity, absenteeism, capacity utilization,
and improved work scheduling, as well as on employee
morale.
The survey covered five manufacturing firms, three
banks, two insurance companies, two automobile
dealers, two government agencies, one wholesale trade
firm, and one hospital. Only one firm was unionized. All
of the organizations surveyed had been on the new
schedule for over a year; twelve considered it to be a
permanent arrangement; three considered it to be still on
trial; and one was considering discontinuing it.
Chapter 1 presents the objectives of the firms for
adopting the revised workweek schedules. Chapter 2
includes detailed descriptions of the types of workweek
schedules adopted. Chapter 3 presents the assessments of
the effects on the firms of the revised schedules. Chapter
4 discusses the attitudes of the employees, and Chapter
5 investigates the nature and adequacy of the data
available to assess the economic effects. Finally, the
report offers some conclusions, summarizing the experi­
ences of the firms studied and evaluating the feasibility
of large-scale studies of the effects of the new work
schedules. The appendixes describe the research plan of
the study, the 16 firms studied, and the interview guides.
The findings presented in this report represent only
the experiences of the firms studied. Caution should be
taken in drawing more general conclusions.

Chapter 1.

Objectives for Adopting Revised Workweek Schedule
and Plans for Introduction

Objectives

with families, and less commuting time and cost as a
result of working 3 or 4 days a week instead of 5.

Representatives of the firms visited gave many rea­
sons for the adoption of a revised workweek schedule by
their companies. Nearly all of the officials mentioned
first the benefit to employees as a major reason.
However, discussions disclosed other and perhaps more
compelling reasons for the change. The officials were
requested to indicate the principal objectives from a list
of possible reasons offered by the interviewer. Table 1
summarizes the principal objectives and major secondary
reasons for the decision of the 16 firms visited to adopt
a revised workweek schedule.
Easing recruitment appeared to be the principal
reason for adopting a new workweek schedule for five
firms and a major secondary reason for one other. The
4-day or 3-day workweek was used extensively by these
employers in advertisements in attempting to attract
employees who were in short supply. For example, the
personnel director of a boatbuilding firm located in a
tight labor market remarked that “the 4-day week is my
best recruiting tool.” The firms pointed to the increased
opportunity for leisure time for recreation, more time

Extending the daily or weekly hours of operation of
the organization was listed as the principal objective of
four of the firms and a secondary objective for two
other firms. The lengthened hours would increase the
operating capacity of the firm and enable the company
to provide better service to its customers, to its dealers,
or to its branch offices around the country. For
example, one automobile firm wanted to increase the
service capacity of its dealership and extend business
hours for its customers’ convenience. The company
could not increase the size of the building because of
zoning regulations. By having each mechanic work 2
hours longer each weekday and work on Saturday, and
by adding new employees, the firm was able to increase
the number of hours it was open from 46 to 76 per
week. An alternative to the revised workweek would
have been to add a night shift. However, it was felt that,
in a tight labor market, it would not be possible to find
mechanics willing to work a night shift. Similarly, a bank
wished to be open more hours per day so that its
customers could use the bank during periods when they
were not at work. The firm was able to achieve this by
lengthening the number of hours each employee worked
per day and giving each employee a day off on a rotating
schedule during the week.
Representatives of two of the firms indicated that the
principal objective in adopting the 4-day week was to
maximize the use of equipment or otherwise obtain
savings for the company. An egg produce company, for
example, initiated the 4-day, 40-hour week in 1964 as a
means of scheduling 60 hours of work during the week
so that it could maximize the use of its equipment. With
the 5-day, 40-hour week, the company found it difficult
to devise a schedule so that it could operate its
packaging line 60 hours a week. As another example, the
plant manager of a food processing company said that
his firm would obtain savings by operating only 4 days a
week instead of 5. The plant is cleaned every night and,
therefore, one cleaning would be eliminated each week.
Similarly, it is time-consuming to start up the assembly

Table 1.
schedule

Objectives for adopting revised workweek

Objective

Easing recruitm ent..........................
Providing better service to
customers or company by
extending daily or weekly
hours ...........................................
Maximizing use of equipment or
otherwise obtaining
savings ........................................
Enhancing image of company . . .
Improving workflow or
schedule......................................
Reducing overtime or
absenteeism ...............................
Helping morale of employees . . . .




Number of
firms citing
as principal
objective

Number of
firms citing
as major
secondary
objective

5

1

4

2

2
2

—

1

2

1
1

4
5

2

line each morning; the 4-day week eliminates one
startup. Rest periods for employees would be reduced
by two a week from 10 to 8. Maintenance work, when
needed, could be done on Friday, when other employees
were not present, and when it would not interfere with
operations.
Representatives of two other organizations stressed
that maximizing the use of equipment was one of the
major secondary reasons for adopting a revised work­
week schedule. Both organizations hoped to make better
use of their computers and related equipment.
Representatives of two firms indicated that enhancing
the image of the company was the principal reason for
adopting the 4-day week. The president of a machinery
manufacturing company wanted to affirm the com­
pany’s image of being a “ progressive employer.” The
company was about to “go public” and a good image
might help in selling the stock. Similarly, the board of
directors and president of an insurance company felt
that adopting the 4-day week would enhance the image
of the company as innovative and “looking out for the
employees’ interests.”
Representatives of three firms said that the principal
or major secondary reason for moving to a new
workweek schedule was to improve the workflow or to
solve scheduling problems. For example, the reason
given by the vice president of a large bank for adopting a
revised workweek schedule was “operational.” The
purpose was to improve the workflow. The operations
center processes a huge amount of paperwork—
$30
million of checks, letters of credit, etc., pass through the
home office annually. By changing the work schedule so
that a larger proportion of total man-hours would be
available at the busiest period, it was expected that the
flow of work from one department to another would be
smoother.
Reducing the amount of overtime and absenteeism
was the principal objective of one firm and a major
secondary objective of four others. A large bank has rush
periods at the beginning and end of each day in some
departments and a relatively “dead” period during the
middle of the day. An official of the bank concluded
that by having employees come to work earlier and leave
later (increasing the daily hours from 7 to 8-3/4), the
two rush periods would be better taken care of. Less
overtime would be needed to finish jobs at the end of
the day and fewer employees would be at work during
the slow time in the middle of the day. A number of the
firms felt that a 4- or 3-day workweek would result in
less absenteeism. One representative expected that 1-day
absences could be reduced in his firm because employees
could make medical or dental appointments or take care
of personal business on their days off. The official said




that, when employees were “kind of sick,” they might
nevertheless come to work if their scheduled day off was
the next day or the day after.
As previously indicated, many of the firms mentioned
improving employee morale as one of the reasons for
adopting a revised workweek schedule. Less commuting
time and costs, less child care need, and long weekends
were often cited as employee benefits that would come
from shifting to a 4-or 3-day week. A number of
companies reported that, since some employees were off
each day, considerable cross-training of employees
would take place. This would be done so that workers
could fill in for their fellow employees who were not
scheduled to work on a particular day. The officials
believed that this situation would result in more job
satisfaction for some workers because they would have a
greater variety of duties. (This would also result in a
more flexible work force for the employer.)
Planning for and introducing
new work schedules

Research or feasibility studies. The company representa­
tives interviewed were asked what research or feasibility
studies, if any, were performed to help make the
decision to adopt a revised work schedule. Officials of
six of the organizations reported that no research or
feasibility studies, as such, were undertaken to aid in
making the decision. However, high officials of several of
these firms had read about the 4-day week and decided
it should be tried in their firms. (Three officials
specifically mentioned reading a particular book on the
4-day w eek.1)
Three of the sixteen firms employed outside consul­
tants to evaluate the feasibility of moving to a 4-day
week. The consultants also interviewed the employees
about their feelings toward a revised workweek and
helped in the development of shifts and other work
schedule arrangements.
In five of the firms a management group had
considered the advantages and disadvantages of a re­
arranged workweek schedule and had made recommen­
dations to adopt the change. For example, in a large
bank, an internal work measurement group investigated
various departments to check on the feasibility of
moving into various kinds of revised work schedules. The
group used a department which had a regular work load
(the vault department) as a test group. Other depart­
ments were picked carefully for the ease with which
1Riva Poor, ed., Four Days , 40 Hours: Reporting a Revolu­
tion in Work and Leisure (Cambridge, Mass., Bursk and Poor
Publishers, 1970).

they could change work schedules. Similarly, officials of
a computer data processing department of a large
insurance company, after an internal study, developed a
proposal to top management to schedule employees of
the department on a 3-day workweek. They arrived at
this recommendation because of the difficulty of obtain­
ing personnel, the wish to run the computer more hours
a week, and the desire to reduce overtime. The group
recognized that the proposed revised workweek schedule
might require a 15-percent increase in staff, but could
result in a comparable reduction of overtime man-hours.
The study had indicated that salaries of the company
were already higher than the market and that a moderate
salary increase would not succeed in recruiting sufficient
manpower.
In only one of the organizations (a government unit)
did the initiative for the revised workweek come from
rank-and-file employees. In this government agency, an
employee group, which had been formed to advise
management and make suggestions which would improve
efficiency and also be responsive to employees’ needs,
proposed a revised work schedule (3-day week) for a
computer unit. The group arrived at the proposal after
reviewing literature on revised workweeks and studying
their organization.
One of the companies investigated the experience
with the 4-day week of a company in the same industry
located in another city. Officials of a bank in a small
community in New England had learned that a large
bank in a nearby city had adopted the 4-day week for its
employees. Representatives of the firm visited the larger
bank and obtained information on the workweek sched­
ule adopted and its effect on bank operations. These
representatives concluded that the 4-day week would be
feasible for their bank and would make it possible for
the bank to stay open more hours and to provide better
service to customers without a large increase in person­
nel. The experience of the larger bank led them to
believe that the 4-day week would benefit employees
and would reduce absenteeism.
How changes were introduced. All firms consulted with
their employees (or union) before adopting a rearranged
work schedule. The degree of consultation, however,
varied considerably. Some companies took a vote of
their employees; others merely met with individual




employees or groups and explained the proposed pro­
gram and answered questions.
An insurance company gave all its employees a letter
explaining the proposed schedule to take home and talk
over with their families. A vote of the employees was to
be taken a few days later. The workers actively
campaigned for the 4-day week. Some made posters and
put them up on the employees’ bulletin board. The
company had decided in a meeting of department heads
that at least a 70-percent positive vote of the employees
would be required for the 4-day week to be adopted.
(Seventy-eight percent of the employees voted for the
change.)
A vice president of a large bank characterized the
planning and introduction of the revised workweek
schedule as “a carefully orchestrated affair.” An elabo­
rate orientation program was initiated to communicate
information to employees. Brochures were developed,
explaining the change. An economic analysis of the
savings to employees was prepared. Supervisors were
briefed so that they could better answer questions of
employees.
In a few of the firms, votes were taken by units or
departments. If the majority of the employees of the
units voted negatively, the rearranged workweek was not
adopted for that unit.
Representatives of a large insurance company said
that the company had decided to try the 3-day week as
an experiment in one unit, even if the employees had
voted against the change. (Employees could be shifted to
another unit, if necessary.) The employees of the unit
selected as an experiment did vote favorably for the
change.
In some firms, all employees whose workweek was
changed shifted to the 3- or 4-day week at the same
time. This was especially true where the revised work­
week schedule covered all or nearly all employees. In
some large organizations, in which only a relatively small
fraction of employees shifted to a 3- or 4-day week, the
revised workweek was introduced piecemeal, that is, unit
by unit.
The length of time for introducing the new workweek
schedule after the employees were first told of the
proposed change ranged from a week or less (for two
firms) to as much as 9 months.

Chapter 2.

Descriptions of Revised Work Schedules

The adoption of the revised workweek schedules took
many forms. Some were simple. Others involved compli­
cated, sometimes rotating, schedules for employees.
Some firms operated more days a week and some firms
operated fewer days as a result of the revised workweek
schedules. One of the 16 firms was open for business 7
days a week prior to the revised schedules and remained
open 7 days a week after. The other 15 firms were open
5 days prior to the schedule change, with four firms still
open 5 days after. Four firms are now open 4 days; six
firms 6 days; and one firm, 7 days.
The tabulation below summarizes the new workweek
schedule adopted by the 16 organizations studied:
Num ber o f
firm s 1

Weekly schedule

8
2
2
1

4
4
4
4

1

4

3

1
1

3
3

days, 40 hours2
days, 38 hours
days, 35 hours
days, 34 hours or 32 hours.
depending on day off
days, 40 hours, and 3 days,
30 hours, in alternate
weeks
days, 36 hours (plus makes
up 8 hours every 2
weeks)
days, 35% hours
days, 35 hours

Num ber o f firm s
w ith m ore than
1 s h ift
5
0
2
1

1
1
1

1 T h e ta b u la tio n contain s 17 schedules because o n e o f th e
firm s had em p lo y e e s on b o th a 3 - and a 4 -d a y w e e k .
2 F o r o n e o f these firm s , e m p lo y e e s w o rk 4 6 hours d u rin g 2
o u t o f e ve ry 6 w eeks.

Eight of the 16 organizations had their employees
scheduled to work four 10-hour days each week. In five
firms, employees were on a 4-day schedule but worked
less than 40 hours a week (32— hours). Employees of
38
one firm worked alternately 4 days and 40 hours in one
week, then 3 days and 30 hours the next week. Three
organizations had employees on a 3-day week schedule;
all of these were in computer units. Employees of two of
these firms worked slightly less than 12 hours each of
the 3 days. Employees of the other organization were
scheduled to work 80 hours each 2 weeks. They worked
three 12-hour days each week and made up the other 8
hours sometime in the 2-week period.




Simpler plans

For four firms, the scheduled changeover for em­
ployees was simple. The plants were scheduled for
operation 4 days a week, instead of 5, and were closed
on Fridays. Thus, all employees worked Monday^
through Thursdays, but 10 or 9Vi hours a day, instead of
8. The other 12 organizations which adopted a 4- or
3-day workweek for their employees had to devise a
schedule in which some employees were “off work” at
various times during the week.
Two firms remained on a 5-day-a-week operation
with employees working 4 days. In one of these firms,
employees were divided into two groups. One group
worked Mondays through Thursdays, and the other,
Tuesdays through Fridays. In the other organization,
one unit divided its staff, for example, into three equal
shifts, with only two of the shifts on duty each day. The
schedule of “off” days was Monday, Wednesday, and
Friday, with the days off rotating so that a scheduled
shift would be off on Mondays of one week, Wednesdays
of the next, and Fridays of the next. This rotation of
shifts provided a long weekend, including both Friday
and Monday, each third week. (This schedule was later
changed so that there were only two shifts alternating
Mondays and Fridays off.)
In one firm, the workers were divided into three
teams— B, and C. Workers had a choice of hours when
A,
the new work schedule was initiated, that is, being on
Team A, B, or C. The schedules do not rotate. Those
with the most seniority had the first choice. As openings
occurred in other shifts, those with seniority could move
from C to B, B to A, or C to A. The schedule developed
was as follows (W=workday; 0=off day):
Team A
M o n d a y ..................... ..............
Tuesday..................... ..............
Wednesday................
T h u rs d a y .................................
F r id a y .............. .... . ...............
Saturday .................................
Sunday ..................... ..............

Team B

Team C

W
W
W
W
O
O
O

O
O
W
W
W
W
O

W
W
O
O
W
W
O

Those on the A schedule have Friday, Saturday, and
Sunday off each week; those on the B schedule have

cycle was developed for each crew. Each crew changes
its schedule every 2 weeks. For example, Crew 1 starts
Week 1 and Week 2 at 12 noon on Monday and works
until 10:30 that night Q/i hour off for a meal). Tuesday,
Wednesday, and Thursday are repeats of Monday. The
More complicated plans
crew is then off on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The
schedule for Crew 1 during the third and fourth weeks
The other nine firms designed somewhat more com­
of the cycle is 7 aan. to 6 p.m., Monday through
plicated schedules for their employees when adopting
Thursday. Again, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are days
the rearranged workweek. The employees of the data
off. During the fifth and sixth weeks, the crew works
processing unit of an insurance company changed from a
Monday and Tuesday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., is off on
5-day week to a 3-day week. However, their total
Wednesday, and works from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on
scheduled weekly hours did not change; these remained
Thursday and Friday. During the seventh and eighth
at 35% hours a week, not counting a meal period of 35
weeks, the crew works Wednesday through Saturday, 7
minutes. On the old schedule, employees were on one of
a.m. to 6 p.m.
three shifts:
The other automobile firm has its personnel divided
Shift 1 ................................................................... 7:20 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. into three teams, working a rotating schedule. The cycle
Shift 2 .....................................................................3:05 p.m. to 10:50 p.m. consists of 6 weeks and the employees shift every 2
Shift 3 ................................................................... 10:50 p.m. to 7:20 a.m.
weeks. Basically, the schedule is as follows:
Shift 3 employees worked 45 minutes overtime each
day.
Team A . . . Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and
On the revised workweek schedule, the actual work­
Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 46 hours, 'A hour off
each day.
ing time for each shift is 11 hours and 55 minutes, which
Team B . . . Monday through Thursday, 12 noon to 10:30 p.m.,
includes one 25-minute break considered as working
40 hours, V hour off each day.
2
time and a 35-minute lunch period not considered as
Team C . . . Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 :30 p.m., 40
hours, V hour for lunch.
2
working time. Employees are assigned to shifts perma­
nently, either day or night. For those working either day
One week out of every 6, the mechanics have a 4-day
or night, there are alternating work schedules. These
weekend. Three out of every 6 they have a 3-day
schedules are arranged so an employee will work no
weekend.
more than 2 consecutive days or nights. Employees work
In the bank, employees rotate their time off within
from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the day shift, and 7:30 p.m.
each unit. Employees have Monday off the first week,
to 8 a.m. on the night shift. This permits a half-hour
Tuesday off the next, etc. When an employee is off on
overlap. The work force is divided into two groups for
Friday of one week, this employee is also off on Monday
daytime and five groups for nighttime. It was not
of the following week, so that once every 5 weeks the
possible to divide the staff into two groups with equal
employee has a 4-day weekend.
hours at night since the employees cannot work Satur­
Employees of the computer unit of a bank had
day night (after midnight Sunday morning) because of
worked, before the schedule change, a 5-day, 35-hour
the “blue law” .
week. They either worked 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or 5 pjn. to
Prior to the change in the workweek schedule, all
1 a.m. (with an hour for meals on each shift). The new
employees of a bank were scheduled for five 7-hour
shift is 3 days of 11 hours and 50 minutes each, or 35
days-35 hours a week. Those employees who shifted to
hours a week. They work either 7:45 a.m. to 8:10 p.m.,
a 4-day week work 8% hours a day. Most of the
or 7:45 p.m. to 8:10 a.m. (with 45 minutes for a meal).
departments adopted a progressive rotating schedule.
The computer unit personnel have been divided into
Personnel were divided into five teams, with one team
four teams, each working 3 days. One team works
off each day. The teams stayed on a particular schedule
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, day shift; the second
2 to 5 weeks, depending on the department, and
team works Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, day shift;
progressed to the next schedule up, that is, those who
the other two teams work Monday, Tuesday, and
had Monday off next had Tuesday off, etc.
Wednesday nights or Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
In order to cover the extended hours adopted and
nights. There is no rotation of shifts.
with employees working only 4 days a week, both
automobile dealers divided their employees into teams
Each of the three computer units of a government
and put them on a rotating schedule. One auto mob ile
organization has moved to a 7-day, 24-hour-a-day
dealer divided his mechanics into four crews. An 8-week
operation. Previously, employees had worked five 8-hour
Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday off; and those on the C
schedule have a 1 day weekend, Sunday, but have
Wednesday and Thursday off.




days. The new schedule for all three groups called for
three 12-hour days plus additional time to make up the
extra 8 hours so that each pay period of 2 weeks covered
80 hours. One group had its employees working three
12-hour days on a rotating shift with two shifts a day.
Each employee worked 8 hours every other Sunday. One
group had its employees working three 12-hour days and
12 hours every other Sunday, but employees were given
4 hours off sometime during the 2-week period.
Before the revised workweek schedule was adopted
by an egg produce company, women on the processing
line had worked a 5-day, 40-hour week. Now employees
work four 10-hour days. The plant employees are
divided into three teams. Each day, two teams are
working and one is off. Teams rotate off every 2
months. For example, in one period Team A works
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; Team B,
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and Team
C, Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday. With this
schedule, employees work every Saturday in 4 out of
each 6 months.
The nursing service of the hospital had the following
schedule for its employees before the revised workweek
was adopted:
Three shifts:

.......................................................7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The first two shifts had half-hour meal periods. The
third shift did not. Employees on each shift worked 8
hours a day. Employees were given every second
weekend off. Thus, nursing personnel sometimes had to
work as many as 10 days in succession. In addition,




many part-time workers were hired to work the 2 days
employees were off each week. An article describing the
nursing service stated that “part-time nurses outnum­
bered full-time 2 to 1, compared to an industry average
of about 1 to 4.”
The following is a schedule of the rearranged work­
week which continued from the end of 1969 to January
1972:
Three shifts:

.................................................... Day—7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Evening—5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Morning—9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Note the 1-hour overlap from 9 to 10 p.m. in the
evening to take care of the busy period when patients
are being put to bed. The evening shift is generally 5
hours long (but some employees work 4 hours, 5 to 9
pm .), and is filled by regular part-time employees. These
are married women, many of whom had previously left
nursing. The other two shifts are 10 hours long. Thirty
minutes allowed for lunch and 15 minutes for coffee
break are included in the 10 hours each day.
For each shift, employees were distributed into two
teams, Group A and B. Group A worked 4 days 1 week
and 3 days the second week, and Group B worked 3
days the first week and 4 days the second week. Thus,
all 7 days were accounted for. Employees thus worked
70 hours every 2 weeks. The schedule rotated every 2
weeks. When on the 3-day week, employees work
Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday; on the 4-day week,
they work Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday.
The schedule above was discontinued because of its
cost; most employees now work four 10-hour days each
week.

Chapter 3.

Assessing the Effects of the Revised Workweek

In assessing the effects of the change, in many cases
one can only measure a before-and-after situation and
speculate whether the change resulted from the revised
workweek schedule or from other factors. For example,
recruitment or turnover might be affected by a change in
economic climate as well as a shift to the 3- or 4-day
week. Productivity may be affected by the introduction
of new equipment or technology or the presence of
more space per person for assembly operations which
came into being at about the same time as the revised
workweek.
This chapter first assesses the effects of the revised
workweek schedules in terms of the firms’ stated
objectives and then examines some significant economic
factors which may have been affected by the change­
over. An evaluation of the adequacy of the data and of
some of the problems in their use is presented in chap­
ter 5.
Were firms' objectives realized?

The amount of success of the revised work schedules
in meeting the objectives for which they were initiated
varied by the reason for the new schedule.
To extend operating hours. Six of the sixteen establish­
ments visited had as a principal objective or major
secondary objective for adopting the rearranged work­
week the extension of hours that the firm was open. The
lengthened hours would increase the operating capacity
of the firm or increase the ability to service customers or
branches or sales offices. These firms include an automo­
bile dealer and a bank in the New England region, a
wholesaler and an automobile dealer in the Border States
region, an insurance company in the Midwest, and a
local government agency in the Southeast.
The experience of these organizations would indicate
that the major objective for instituting the rearranged
workweek was being realized. Both automobile dealers
greatly increased the hours when they were open to
service customers’ automobiles. One had been open 5
days a week for a total of S2Vi hours. The revised
workweek schedule resulted in the service department




being open 84 hours a week, an increase of 60 percent.
The number of hours for the service department of the
other automobile dealer increased from 46 to 76 hours
per week, or 65 percent. Both firms are now open
evenings and Saturdays. The extended hours apparently
met with favorable responses from the firms’ customers.
Data provided by one of the automobile dealers indi­
cated that dollar receipts for mechanics’ labor time for
the first 6 months of the calendar year just after the
rearranged workweek went into effect were about 22
percent greater than the receipts for the first 6 months
of the previous year. The president of the firm credited
the increase to the extended hours. The president of the
other automobile firm reported a more than 20-percent
increase from a comparable period before the change in
the workweek.
The bank had previously been open for customers 35
hours a week. Now the bank is open AlVi hours a week,
or 36 percent more. The bank reported an increase in
business beyond what it might have expected without
the extension of hours. At first, customers did not
greatly utilize the earlier and later bank operating hours.
But as they became aware of this convenience, cus­
tomers began using the bank more and more in the
extended period.
The wholesaling firm increased the operating hours of
its warehouse by 50 percent. It was done by increasing
the hours of its employees by 2 hours each weekday and
adding 10 hours of work on Saturday. This made it
possible to handle a greatly increased workload with the
same warehousing space. In addition, the new workweek
schedule resulted in a smoothing of the daily output of
the firm (that is, the amount of work done varies much
less from day to day than it had on the 5-day week).
The revised workweek schedule of the insurance
company resulted in the central office being open IVi
hours longer a week. Sales offices (100 around the
country) now have a longer period to call in for service
and information. This is especially helpful for those
located in different time zones. For example, sales
offices on the West Coast have 1 hour more in the
afternoon for reaching the home office. Those on the
East Coast, open a half-hour earlier, have this additional
time in the morning.

The workweek schedule apparently was having mixed
results in the local . government organization. For
example, the personnel department’s extended hours
made it possible to provide better service to applicants
for city positions by being open early and late in the
day. However, since most departments continued to be
open 8, rather than 10, hours a day, applicants could not
be referred during the other 2 hours nor could informa­
tion be obtained from these departments during these 2
hours. Moreover, since the personnel department oper­
ated with many fewer employees on Mondays and
Fridays as a result of the revised workweek, it could
provide less service to the public on these days. This also
resulted in a backlog of paperwork.
To aid in recruitment. A major objective of six firms
adopting a rearranged workweek was to aid in recruit­
ment of employees. It would appear that the revised
workweek was having some success in meeting the
objectives of easing recruitment for some firms, but was
providing little help for others.
The hospital has been very successful in recruiting
married nurses to work the 4- or 5-hour evening shift
(instituted with the revised workweek schedule). Offi­
cials of the boatbuilding firm believed that the 4-day
week had helped in recruiting new workers. The com­
pany mentions the 4-day week extensively in its adver­
tisements. The personnel director indicated that most
new applicants knew about the 4-day week schedule
when they applied for work. The company has exit
interviews whenever possible. In answer to the question,
“What did you like most about the company?” , about 9
out of 10 of those leaving say the 4-day week. Monthly
statistics of job openings indicate that there was a
reduction of unfilled jobs after the adoption of the
4-day week relative to a comparable earlier period.
The recruitment of data processing personnel in the
insurance company did greatly improve after the adop­
tion of the 3-day workweek. However, factors other
than the 3-day week may have contributed to this
improvement. The labor market for data processing
personnel changed greatly about the time the rearranged
workweek was adopted. The slowdown in businesss
activity, especially in financial and stock brokerage
firms, resulted in a greater availability of data processing
personnel in the New York City area. Moreover, the
company moved part of its data processing work out of
the New York City area. (This decentralization was not
due to the shortage of personnel.)
The plant manager of the clothing factory believed
that the change in the workweek schedule was helping in
recruitment. He said that, out of each 10 applicants for
jobs, about 6 mentioned the 4-day week as the reason




for applying for work at this plant. However, despite
extensive advertising on radio for personnel, with an
emphasis on the 4-day week in such advertisements, the
company has found it difficult to keep employment at a
relatively stable level. There has not been a period in the
last few years when the plant did not have vacancies for
operators. A review of its monthly employment data
indicates that employment actually declined in the first
6 months after the adoption of the 4-day week. This was
not a result of the changeover since only a few
employees left at that time.
An automobile dealer has not found that the revised
workweek schedule has been a great help in recruiting
mechanics. Despite considerable advertising in which the
4-day week is featured, the change in the workweek has
not been successful in attracting mechanics to the firm.
Recruiting in other nearby states has also proved a
failure, despite the offer of higher wages. The company
has filled its employment needs by training and is now
about to hire some mechanics from another country
(Korea). The other automobile firm has apparently had a
little more success in attracting employees by the 4-day
week.
To improve utilization o f equipment. The principal
objective of two firms in adopting the 4-day week was to
maximize the use of equipment, or otherwise obtain
savings for the company. This was also a major secon­
dary objective of two other firms. A representative of
the egg produce company felt that the objectives for
adopting the 4-day week had been realized. The firm
now operates its processing line 10 hours a day, instead
of 8, and on Saturdays, increasing hours of operation by
50 percent. The 4-day schedule of employees, with a
6-day-a-week operation of the plant, also gives the
company a labor reserve to fall back on in emergencies.
Workers off on a particular day can be called on to fill in
for absent coworkers. The plant manager of the other
food processing firm felt that the company had achieved
savings from the 4-day week schedule. As indicated
previously, the plant has to be cleaned one night less a
week; the assembly line is started up one fewer time a
week; uniforms are provided for only 4 days instead of 5
days a week; and there are two less rest periods per
week.
Both a government organization and a bank apparent­
ly have been able to better utilize their computer
facilities. The bank reported that its computer is
operated 50 percent more than before the revised
schedule was adopted. Before the workweek change,
with employees on a 2-shift schedule, the computer was
not used between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m. Now it is used 24
hours a day. The government organization also utilized

its computers more on the new schedule. Before the
workweek change, the three computer units of the
government organization had their employees working 8
hours a day and 2 shifts. One of the units operated 6
days a week and the other two 5 days. With the revised
workweek schedule, the computers are now utilized 24
hours a day, 7 days a week.
It is interesting to note that, despite the greater usage
of the computers, there actually has been less downtime
for computer repair than previously. There is some belief
that cutting off the computer and starting it up again
may result in more downtime in working hours than
does continuous operation.
To improve scheduling. Improved scheduling was a
major objective of a bank and the hospital. The reason
given by the vice president of a large bank for adopting a
revised workweek schedule was “operational.” The
purpose was to improve the workflow. In the operations
center there is a great deal of paperwork; about $30
million of checks, letters of credit, etc. pass through the
home office each year. By changing the work schedule
so that employees work longer hours at the end of the
day, the bank has a greater proportion of its employees
at work during the busiest times. For example, branch
deposits generally arrive at the home office between 5
and 6 p.m. In some units where checks and other
deposits are processed, economies result if they are
processed faster. Having employees on duty at the right
time facilitates the work in these units.
The hospital found that it was easier to handle
scheduling by working nursing personnel alternate
periods, either morning or evening, with two teams each
period covering the entire week. By scheduling the short
evening shift (4 or 5 hours), the two 10-hour shifts each
day covered the 24-hour period without needing parttime help.
To reduce overtime or absenteeism. One firm had as a
primary objective and five firms had as a secondary
objective for adopting the revised workweek schedule,
the reduction of overtime or absenteeism. The repre­
sentative of a bank said that, in the departments in
which they had checked the records, a decrease of
overtime has been evident since the changeover. In the
vault department, the first department to go on the
4-day week, overtime had been virtually eliminated. This
department has to be open to take securities out and
bring them back during the time the bank is open. The
4-day week gives the firm more flexibility and allows
employees to be on duty for a longer period at the end
of the day. From the first 3 months of 1971 to the first
3 months of 1972 (the latter after the workweek




change), overtime pay was reduced from about $7,000
to about $90 for the 100 employees in the unit. The
representative of the bank also believed that there has
been a relatively big improvement in absenteeism since
the workweek change, but does not feel that the period
has been long enough to warrant definite conclusions
about the effect on absenteeism.
One of the major effects of the change in the work
schedule, according to the plant manager of the clothing
manufacturing company, was the reduction in overtime.
He thought that, as a whole, overtime may have
decreased by as much as 70 percent. Data confirmed the
large decrease in the amount of overtime for 1971, after
the workweek change, compared with 1970, before the
change. An examination of individual pay cards indi­
cated that, when employees were working on the 8-hour
day, they often worked 9 or 10 hours in order to meet
schedules, in addition to working on Saturdays some of
the time. Since moving to the 10-hour day schedule,
there appears to be little or no overtime on Monday
through Thursday. Overtime takes place mostly on
Fridays. The plant manager also thought there had been
a considerable decrease in absenteeism. The memor­
andum to employees announcing the revised workweek
stipulated that, because everyone would have a full
weekday to take care of personal business, no absences
would be excused from Monday through Thursday
except in emergencies. The plant manager guessed that
absenteeism had been reduced by about 25 percent. A
check of payroll records for six 2-week periods before
and after the change in the workweek schedule also
showed a significant drop in days of recorded absences.
The plant manager of the egg produce company
also believed that there had been a reduction in the
amount of absenteeism (because employees know well in
advance which days they are scheduled to work). He
believed that overtime had been greatly reduced and is
only worked by employees when they are filling in on
their days off because of absences of fellow workers.
The plant manager, however, had no data to substantiate
the reduction in overtime or absenteeism (the workweek
change had taken place 8 years previously).
A large insurance company reported a significant
drop in overtime. Overtime as a percent of total
man-hours for the units which went to the 3-day week in
September 1969, was: 1968, 15 percent; 1969, 17
percent; 1970,8 percent; 1971,4 percent.
The president of the wholesaling firm believed that
there had been a decrease in the amount of absenteeism.
Data had not been summarized but during the visit
information was compiled for 6 weeks before the
changeover and 6 weeks after the changeover. These data
showed that, on the average, the number of workers off

per day was 11 in the earlier period and 6 in the latter
period. (It should be noted that a worker had only 4/5
as much opportunity to be off in the latter period.) The
expected decrease in overtime in this firm did not appear
to have materialized. For the 6 weeks before and after
the change in the workweek, overtime pay was $3,800
and $3,900, respectively.
The change in the workweek schedule has not had an
appreciable effect on the amount of overtime in the
boatbuilding company, according to representatives of
the firm. Data were available on the number of
production worker overtime hours. However, the fluctu­
ations in the company’s production results in great
variation in the amount of overtime work required from
month to month, and probably masks the effect on the
amount of overtime resulting from a revised workweek
schedule.
To improve employee morale. Several organizations
indicated that helping morale of employees was one of
the major objectives of adopting the revised workweek
schedule. Information from company officials and em­
ployee attitude surveys and interviews conducted by
university groups or by the company itself seem to
indicate that the great majority of employees were most
favorably inclined to the 4-day or 3-day week. A
discussion of employees’ attitudes is provided in chap­
ter 4.
To enhance image o f firm. As indicated previously, the
principal objective of two of the firms adopting a revised
workweek schedule was to enhance the image of the
firm. It is, of course, not possible to evaluate whether, in
fact, the two firms had enhanced their image by
adopting the revised workweek schedule. Both firms had
obtained considerable publicity at the time of adopting
the 4-day week.
Effect on productivity

Productivity may be defined to mean the relationship
between a given quantity of output to one or more of
the various input factors required for such production.
As used in this study, the input factor concerned is
labor. Therefore, the concept used, output per man­
hour, indicates how much labor is expended in providing
a given volume of output. The gain (or loss) in
productivity after the workweek schedule change may
result from many factors in addition to the revised
workweek. Change in output per man-hour may reflect
technological innovations, scale of production, the skill
of management, etc. Therefore, it is difficult to single




out the productivity change arising from one factor such
as the change in the workweek schedule. Over a short
period, however, the other factors may not change
significantly or would be known, and the effects on
production of changes in the workweek can be deduced.
Representatives of 10 of the 16 firms believed that
productivity had increased since the workweek schedule
was revised. One organization reported increases in some
units and decreases in others. Officials of two firms felt
that there had been little change in productivity as a
result of adopting the 4-day week. Officials of one firm
felt that there had been a decrease in productivity.
Representatives of two firms said that adequate data
were not available on which to base an opinion as to
productivity change.
There was a considerable range in the estimates of
productivity gains provided by officials of the 10 firms,
and several of these firms did not provide data to verify
these estimates. The plant manager of the machinery
manufacturing firm estimated that the total value of
output had increased by about 25 to 30 percent with
little growth in the number of employees. However,
measuring the effects of the 4-day week on productivity
is complicated by the fact that the company moved to a
new building about 1 month after the change to the
4-day week. The new building has more work space, a
better layout, and better working conditions. On the
other hand, a vice president of a large bank maintained
that the increase in output and productivity in the
bank’s computer unit had occurred without a change in
computer equipment. The plant manager of a food
processing company said that productivity had increased
by about 10 percent in 1971 (the first year after
adopting the 4-day week) over 1970. This estimate was
based on monthly computations of labor cost per unit.
Officials of some firms based their belief regarding an
increase in productivity in part on the fact that the
amount of work (output) had increased or remained the
same with fewer man-hours of employment expended.
For example, an official of an insurance company said
that, in the period immediately after the change in the
workweek schedule, about the same amount of work
was done as before, with fewer employees, and with
each employee working fewer hours per week. Similarly,
a bank reported that when the 4-day week was adopted
for its workers no employees were added and about the
same amount of work was done despite a decrease of
about 3 hours in the workweek of employees. An
official of an automobile firm indicated that mechanics
were turning out about the same amount of work in 40
hours (under the 4-day week) as they had in 42 hours
(under the 5-day week schedule).
Where data were available, as illustrated in chapter 5,

they appear to verify the belief of the officials in regard
to productivity gains. Representatives of these firms
provided reasons for the increases in productivity. Less
startup time and less closedown or cleanup time were
most often mentioned. (With a 4-day week operation of
the firm, there is one less startup and closedown each
week.) A number of officials mentioned fewer rest
periods. Those firms giving employees two rest periods a
day had 8 rather than 10 a week after moving to the
4-day week. A unit of a government agency reported one
less day of travel to and from work sites. An official of
another government agency observed that having two
(12-hour) shifts a day, rather than three (8-hour) shifts,
resulted in an increase in efficiency. He said that at the
beginning of every shift there was about a 45-minute
period when the new arrivals received instructions, etc.,
which was “time lost.” Similarly, at the end of the shift,
there was about a 30-minute period of “time lost.”
Going from a 3-shift to a 2-shift operation, he estimated,
resulted in a reduction of this lost time from 6 hours and
15 minutes to 3 hours and 45 minutes.
The revised workweek may have had indirect effects
on productivity. For example, the shift to a 10-hour-aday, 6-day-a-week operation resulted in a 50-percent
increase in capacity of the wholesaler. Thus, fewer
employees were at work at any given time. More work
space per employee (in order filling units, for example)
was credited as a factor in greater output per man-hour.
Similarly, greater ease in recruitment (resulting in part
from the 3-day week) permitted an insurance company
to become more selective in hiring personnel and made it
more feasible for them to release the least productive
employees. Officials of two firms reported that by
lengthening the day for employees the revised workweek
schedule resulted in a higher number of man-hours
scheduled in the busiest periods (at the beginning and
end of the day) and fewer man-hours scheduled for the
“dead period” in the middle of the day.
Officials of two firms believed that there had been
little change in productivity since adopting the revised
workweek schedule. Data from one of these firms, the
clothing manufacturer, substantiated this belief. Data on
the number of slacks produced per man-hour and
piece-rate earnings of the same employees both indicated
little change in output per man-hour. The other firm had
adopted the 4-day week about 8 years before the
interview and records were not available to measure a
before-and-after situation. However, the plant manager
believed there had been little change. The line operation
of the plant is timed and would not have varied much.
Officials of two firms would not venture an estimate
on productivity change. An official of a bank said that
the workweek change had been too recent for many of




its units to arrive at conclusions. Moreover, the periods
since the change were abnormal and the volume of work
was less than normal, which might affect productivity.
For the hospital, data are available for such measures as
nursing man-hours per patient day. However, with this
data, it is difficult to know whether a difference in
man-hours per patient day or some comparable measure
would mean a difference in productivity or efficiency, or
would just mean that patients were getting more or less
nursing care. The hospital had asked a research organiza­
tion to evaluate the new 10-hour shift of nursing
personnel and to provide information, among other
things, on per unit costs for nursing services and
productivity of nursing personnel. However, comparable
data for the period before and after the workweek
change were not available. Moreover, other innovative
practices were introduced at the same time as the
10-hour day. As a result, the cost and productivity
aspects of the study were dropped.
Officials of the boatbuilding firm believed that there
had been a gradual decrease in productivity since the
4-day week was adopted. When the revised workweek
was first put into effect and was on a trial basis,
employees put out greater effort in order to induce the
company to make this change permanent. However, as
time went on, the officials believed output per worker
had declined. They provided the following indications:
1. The coffee breaks were discontinued and em­
ployees were given a half hour shorter workday as
a tradeoff. However, as time went on, personnel
took longer periods to go to the restroom, to get a
smoke, to get coffee from the vending machines,
etc., so in fact, the managers believe, employees
are taking as long a break as they did when the
breaks were official.
2. The new management hired an industrial engineer­
ing firm to look into the operation of the
establishment. One of the things that the engineer­
ing firm did was to observe the employees at work.
One finding was, for example, that at the end of
the day, at the last hour, only about 40 percent of
the people were working at one time. This was a
much smaller percentage than at any other time
during the day.
It was not possible to obtain adequate data to
measure output and productivity for this firm. Man-hour
data for production workers and total employment are
available. However, an adequate measure of output
would be very difficult to develop. At about the time
the workweek change was instituted, new technology of
production was introduced; some new laborsaving equip­
ment was installed; the product was changed; the boats
produced were larger than prior to the workweek
change; instead of performing some operations them­
selves (for example, laminating), products were pur­

chased from other companies; and work standards for
particular operations were revised because of these
changes. As a result, it was felt that output measures
such as the number of boats produced or the dollar value
of products sold would not provide valid data on which
to estimate productivity change.
Length of workweek for employees

In addition to resulting in a longer workday and
fewer days worked a week, the 4-day or 3-day week had
other effects on the work schedule of employees of
some of these companies. Employees of some firms
moved to rotating shifts in which their scheduled
workday and hours changed periodically (as was ex­
plained in chapter 2). The number of hours worked per
week was reduced for employees of six firms. However,
employees of these firms did not benefit as much as it
would first appear as a result of this decrease in
scheduled hours. The employees of the two automobile
firms are on a piece-rate (standard hours produced) pay
basis. Any decrease in weekly hours would reduce the
amount of time spent by mechanics to produce earnings.
A bank and an insurance company both reduced weekly
hours for their employees. However, in both firms,
employees received less holiday time off after the
workweek change. When a holiday fell on a scheduled
workday, an employee made up that day on his day off
that week. So, in effect, part of the reduction in weekly
hours was offset by loss of holiday time off to
employees. A boatbuilding firm reduced the workweek
for employees by a half hour a day or 2 hours a week,
but employees “lost” the two 15-minute rest periods
which they had prior to adopting the 4-day week. The
hospital, under its first revised schedule, provided for a
reduction in working hours for nursing personnel from
80 hours every 2 weeks to 70 hours every 2 weeks with
little change in pay. (This schedule was later changed
because of cost.)
Pay and benefits

For most firms, as far as vacations and holidays were
concerned, employees were given the same number of
hours off under the 4-day or 3-day week as they
previously had on the 5-day week. For example,
employees on a 3-day week in an insurance company
received approximately 3/5 as many days for vacations
as the 5-day-a-week employees. In most cases, fractional
days have been rounded up in favor of the 3-day-a-week
employees. Employees of a bank are given 12 holidays a
year. Those on a 3-day week are given 8; these




employees thus gain a fraction of a day a year. Several
firms provided employees the same number of days off
for holidays. However, employees received 10-hour days
off compared with 8-hour days off prior to the
workweek change. In a few companies, employees who
were not scheduled to work on the day a holiday falls
are given another day off as compensatory time. As
indicated previously, employees of two firms work on
their day off when a holiday occurs on a scheduled
workday. One firm now pays overtime for all hours after
38 a week. The hospital, in its first revised schedule, paid
overtime for all hours after 8 a day. (This was later
discontinued and no other firm visited paid overtime for
hours worked above 8 in a given day.)
Quality of work

Only a few of the 16 firms had data to show the
change in quality of work for a comparable period
before and after adopting the revised workweek sched­
ule. A number of the officials interviewed had impres­
sions of what effect the 4-day week had had on quality
of work, but no clear picture was evident.
One automobile dealer provided data as an example
for the same calendar month in the year before the
4-day week and the year after. For the earlier month,
there were 474 “comeback” hours on a vo me of work
of $26,700. For the latter month, the, were 357
comeback hours on a volume of work of $32,100. Thus,
the latter month had 37 percent fewer comeback hours
per $1,000 of repair work. The other automobile firm
did not have records of comeback hours before the
4-day workweek was adopted. Both automobile dealers
attributed an improvement in quality of work to the
team approach which was instituted with the 4-day
week. The supervisor is responsible for fewer cars for
inspection and advice in terms of repair. (It should be
noted that the team approach introduced with the 4-day
week resulted in an increase in the amount of super­
vision.)
An official of a government agency believed that
there had been an improvement in quality as a result of
the 12-hour day shift. Many of the errors in computer
operation occur at the time of the change in shifts.
Because there were now only two changes in 24 hours
instead of three, the amount of necessary communica­
tion and direction between employees on different shifts
had lessened, and the number of errors had declined.
The audit of hospital service was not begun until after
the revised workweek was adopted and so cannot
provide an indication of any change in quality of work.
The attitude survey of nursing personnel, however,

might provide an indication of quality of patient care.
Twenty-six percent of the nursing employees thought
that the quality of patient care provided by the 10-hour
shift was better than that when on the 8-hour shift; 11
percent thought it was worse; the remainder either
thought that it was no different or did not answer the
question. Thirty-nine percent of the nursing staff
thought more time and attention was given to the
patient since being on the 10-hour shift; only 7 percent
thought there was less time and attention.
The limited data available for the machinery manu­
facturer indicated that there apparently had been little
change in the quality of work, although the plant
manager thought it might have been improved some­
what. Information on the cost of replacing or repairing
products returned by customers was provided for the
year after and the year before instituting the 4-day
week. In 1970, the cost of “charge-back” was about
$33,000 from net sales of $10.8 million. For the year
1969, it was about $27,000 from net sales of $7.9
million. This would indicate a “charge-back” for returns
or repairs of 0.34 percent in 1969, and 0.31 percent in
1970.
Officials of the boatbuilding firm indicated that there
had been an increase in the quality of operations during
the past 2 years, but that the improvement had not
resulted from the change in the workweek schedule.
New quality standards had been set and there has been a
concentrated effort by the company to maintain these
standards.
The plant manager of a food processing firm said that
there had not been any change in the quality of work.
The plant has a rigid quality control system and there
has not been a noticeable change since the revised
workweek schedule went into effect.
An official of an insurance company said that error
rates for their operating employees run about 3 to 4
percent and have not changed. When new employees
come in, error rates are high. The company did not
provide any actual data on error rates.
Attendance

Thirteen of the sixteen firms reported an improve­
ment in attendance (decrease in absenteeism) since
adopting the new workweek schedule and most attri­
buted the improvement to the revised workweek. Data
to show the improvement in attendance were provided
by a number of companies. An insurance company, as
indicated previously, provided some data for short-illness
absences (less than 8 consecutive calendar days). For the
units which went to the 3-day workweek, the number of




working days lost per employee in 1968, before adopt­
ing the 3-day week, was 4.77. In 1971, the number of
working days lost per employee in these units was 4.22.
A check of the records of the wholesaler at the time of
the interview for a sample period, covering the 6-week
period just prior to the workweek change and a 6-week
period just after the change, showed that the number of
workers absent per day averaged 11 in the earlier period
and 6 in the latter period. Similarly, during the plant
visit to the clothing manufacturer, payroll records were
checked to indicate the number of days absent for the
same individuals for six 2-week pay periods before the
workweek was changed and six 2-week pay periods after
the change. The number of persons having at least 1 day
of absence was exactly the same —59 of the 97 persons
surveyed. However, in the earlier period, 201 days of
recorded absences were shown, compared with 120 days
in the latter period. In the examples of the wholesaler
and the clothing manufacturer which showed reduction
of absences, it should be noted that employees were
scheduled to work only 4 days a week in the latter
period and 5 days in the earlier period. Therefore, each
employee had 20 percent fewer opportunities to be
absent in the latter period.
One of the computer units in a government organiza­
tion reported that, in the first 3 months after the 3-day
week was instituted, the employees of the unit had used
only 57 hours of sick leave compared with 200 hours for
the 3 months prior to the workweek change. The other
government organization showed that absenteeism de­
clined in three of the units, but actually increased in one
unit. For a 5-month period in 1970 and 1971, the
tabulation below shows the absence rate for the four
units:
Absence rate (percent)
1970
Bridge department ...............................
Personnel dep artm en t..........................
Purchasing d e p a rtm e n t........................
Building inspection department . . . .

1971

5.5
2.6
2.7
3.3

4.2
2.1
1.1
3.8

A number of the other firms indicated that significant
decreases in absenteeism had occurred but did not
provide actual data on attendance.
Officials of these firms mentioned as reasons for the
improvement in attendance such things as: employees
know their work schedules well in advance so they can
schedule medical, business, or other appointments on
their days off; and employees lose 25 percent of their
weekly pay for being absent 1 day. Some firms
permitted employees to trade days off with other
employees in the same unit when they had a good
reason. The biggest improvement in attendance was

claimed by the plant manager of a food processing firm
who said that absenteeism now ran 1 to 2 percent
compared with 5 to 6 percent before the workweek
change.
Officials of two of the firms indicated that there had
been no change in the amount of absenteeism. The plant
manager of a machinery manufacturing company said
that absenteeism was not a problem now nor had it been
before the workweek change. Workers are now often
permitted to make up time lost during the week by
working on Fridays. Officials of an insurance company
reported that absenteeism measured by the number of
hours absent divided by the number of hours scheduled
had held steady—
at about 3 percent—
after the
workweek schedule change. Fewer persons are absent
each day. However, when a person is absent for a day, he
is absent 10 hours now compared with 8 hours on the
previous schedule. This has about offset the smaller
number of persons absent. The company had hoped that
the attendance rate would show a marked improvement.
The 4-day week has, however, made the company’s
operation more flexible. Persons absent on Monday can
work on Friday to make up, and vice-versa. Moreover,
the company finds it easier now to get employees to
work on their days off than it had been to persuade
employees to work extra hours per day or on Saturday
on the old schedule.
The employee attitude surveys sometimes included
the employees’ opinions as to the amount of absentee­
ism. Fifty-five percent of the employees of the clothing
manufacturer indicated that they felt absenteeism had
decreased, 11 percent that absenteeism had increased,
and 34 percent that there had been no change in the
amount of absenteeism.
Officials of only a few of the firms had impressions as
to the amount of tardiness before and after the
workweek change. Officials of three of the firms thought
that tardiness may have increased. Employees found it
harder to get to work on time because of earlier starting
times, getting their cars started in the winter mornings,
and child care problems. Tardiness may have decreased
in some firms (such as one of the automobile dealers) in
which the team approach was instituted with the
workweek change. Members of the team “policed” the
starting time.
Recruitment

Nearly all of the firms used the 4- or 3-day week in
their newspaper or radio advertisements to attract new
employees. For example, the personnel director of the
boatbuilding firm said that the 4-day week was her best
recruiting tool. Officials of 11 of the firms felt that the




revised workweek schedule had significantly helped in
recruiting new employees. However, officials of two of
these firms said it was difficult to know how much
effect the revised workweek had because, just after the
revised workweek was adopted, the labor market became
more favorable for hiring workers. In two other of these
11 firms (a food processor and a bank) a considerable
amount of newspaper publicity heralded their adoption
of the 4-day week. These stories resulted in a flood of
applicants which provided these firms with a list of
potential employees. A number of the officials inter­
viewed said that a relatively high proportion of new
applicants mentioned the 4-day week as the reason for
applying for work at the firm. Officials of 3 of the 16
firms said that their companies had no trouble in
recruitment before or after the workweek change. One
firm, an automobile dealer, said that the 4-day week had
not been successful in helping to recruit new mechanics,
despite considerable newspaper advertising featuring
long weekends off, etc. One organization provided no
information on recruitment.
Turnover

There appeared to be little relationship between the
revised workweek schedule and the amount of turnover.
About half of the firms indicated that there was no
significant change in the amount of turnover since
adopting the revised workweek. Two of the firms
reported having high turnover rates both before and
after the workweek change. These high rates reflect
working conditions at the companies, the relatively tight
labor market, or the high proportion of women employ­
ees, and have little to do with the workweek schedule.
Officials of some firms indicated that few, if any,
employees resigned at the time of the workweek change.
Some of the larger of these organizations offered to
transfer, to units not changing the workweek schedule,
those employees who found it difficult to adjust to the
3- or 4-day week. In a few firms, some employees who
would find it difficult to adjust to the revised schedule
(child care, transportation problems, conflict with
spouses’ working time, etc.) were permitted to stay on
the old schedule.
Officials of a few firms indicated that there had been
a decrease in turnover in their companies since adopting
the revised workweek schedule. The loosening of the
labor market may have been the principal reason for the
lower turnover of at least one of these companies.
Officials of two organizations reported a higher rate of
separations. An official of one of these firms reported
that the separation rate had been up somewhat (from an
annual rate of 30 to 33 or 34). He blamed the Wage

Board wage increase limit (rather than the 4-day week)
for the increase in the number of employees quitting.
Employees could receive greater wage increases than the
company was permitted to grant by transferring to other
firms. One of the units of a government agency showed
an increase in the number of resignations. However,
none of the employees gave the 4-day week as a reason
for leaving.
Overtime

Seven of the thirteen firms which had data or
impressions of the amount of overtime for a comparable
period before and after the workweek change reported
significant decreases in the amount of overtime. The
clothing manufacturer showed a significant decrease in
the amount of overtime after the change in the
workweek schedule. An examination of the pay cards
for individual employees of this firm for a period before
and after the workweek change revealed that, prior to
the adoption of the 4-day week, employees often
worked 1 or 2 hours overtime on weekdays and also
often worked on Saturdays. After employees shifted to
the 10-hour, 4-day week, there appeared to be little or
no overtime on Mondays through Thursdays. Overtime
takes place primarily on Fridays.
An insurance company also reported a significant
drop in overtime. Officials of the company indicated this
was partially due to the 3-day workweek (as a result of
eliminating the almost regularly scheduled overtime on
Saturdays) and partially due to its expanded computer
capacity. Overtime as a percent of total man-hours for
the units which adopted the 3-day week was: 1968, 15
percent; 1969, 17 percent; 1970, 8 percent; 1971, 4
percent. (The first unit shifted to the 3-day week in
September 1969 and the last section was converted in
May 1970.)
In one department of a bank, overtime had been
almost eliminated. Comparing the first 3 months of
1972 with the first 3 months of 1971, the amount of
overtime was reduced to $90 from $7,000 for the
approximately 100 employees in this unit. The amount
of overtime in another bank had decreased as a result of
the revised workweek schedule. In the computer unit,
there had been considerable overtime when employees
were on the old schedule. Now there is practically none.
The principal reason for this decrease is the 50 percent
longer time that the computer is now regularly operated.
An official of the third bank, during the interview,
checked overtime in the July quarter of the year before
the adoption of the 4-day week and the same quarter in
the year after the change. The record indicated that
overtime was somewhat higher in the earlier period.




Officials reported that one computer unit of a
government agency sharply curtailed the amount of
overtime. In the first 3 months after the revised work
schedule was adopted, only 2 hours of overtime were
worked. In the previous 3 months (before the revised
work schedule), this unit had worked 1,237 hours of
overtime. (It should be noted that this unit increased its
staff so that it could operate seven 24-hour days a week,
so that the decrease in overtime is not entirely a savings.)
The plant manager of the egg produce company said that
overtime had been greatly reduced and is generally only
worked now when employees come in on their day off
to fill in for absent fellow workers.
Four firms reported little change in the amount of
overtime worked. The plant manager of the food
processor indicated little change in the amount of
overtime, although he provided no data to substantiate
this. Before the workweek change, employees worked
overtime at the end of the 8-hour day and sometimes on
Saturdays; now overtime is worked only on Fridays. To
give an indication of the amount of overtime, the
president of the wholesaling firm obtained data for a
sample period (6 weeks before and 6 weeks after the
change in the workweek). Overtime pay was $3,800 for
the earlier period and $3,900 for the latter period, when
employment was up somewhat. The rule under which
one of the government agencies operated in the 4-day
week experiment was that no additional costs would be
incurred as a result of the pilot project — overtime
would be restricted to emergency situations and would
have to be approved in advance. Officials of the
boatbuilding firm did not think that the change in the
workweek schedule had had an appreciable effect on the
amount of overtime. However, fluctuations in the
company’s production result in great variation in the
amount of overtime worked from month to month and
probably mask the effect on the amount of overtime
resulting from the revised workweek schedule.
Two firms reported an increase in the amount of
overtime. In the hospital, a big increase in the amount of
overtime resulted from the initial (but later changed)
decision to pay overtime on all time worked beyond 8
hours a day. Thus, when employees’ schedules were
changed to a 10-hour day, the last 2 hours of each day
were paid at the overtime rate. An official of the
machinery manufacturing company indicated that the
firm had more overtime now than before the workweek
change. Overtime now primarily occurs on Fridays.
Overtime is voluntary, but the company has no trouble
in getting the employees to come in. The plant manager
felt that overtime is much more productive on Fridays
now than before the change in the workweek schedule,
when employees worked 1 or 2 hours extra per day,

after their regular tour of duty. There is considerable
advantage in having Fridays a nonworkday for plant
employees because it provides flexibility in getting rush
work out by having another 10-hour day. Maintenance
personnel especially have more overtime. They often
work on Fridays when they can do their work without
interrupting the work of other employees.
In three companies, officials had no records or
opinions on the amount of overtime worked by their
employees before and after adopting the revised work­
week.
Part-time employment

The number of part-time workers was not affected by
the revised work schedule in most of the firms visited.
Two of the banks reported an increase in the use of
part-time personnel. For example, there is some opera­
tion for which phone calls are made to customers of one
bank each morning. Because, under the 4-day week,
fewer employees are at work each day, part-time
personnel are employed for 2 or 3 hours in the morning
to help out in this operation. Similarly, the other bank
employs part-time personnel in busy times at the first of
the month and to make up for the reduced number of
employees at work resulting from the 4-day week. The
automobile firms employed part-time workers such as
cashiers and “car jockeys” for the new evening and
Saturday hours.
Need for supervision

About half of the firms indicated that an increase in
supervision was required as a result of the revised
workweek schedule. Representatives of the automobile
dealers said that the new team arrangement increased the
number of supervisors. An insurance company reported
a need for supervisory backup because, on the 4-day
week schedule, supervisors are not scheduled to work
either on Mondays or Fridays. With regular supervisors
off, the company had to train other persons to be the
backup supervisors. A bank increased the number of
supervisors because of the lengthened workday (supervi­
sors were not put on a longer workday schedule as a
result of the revised workweek in this bank).
Worker fatigue

Few of the companies interviewed had information or
impressions that the revised workweek was resulting in a
significant increase in fatigue for the firms’ employees. A
large bank was in the process of studying the effects of




the nearly 12-hour-a-day work schedule of its employ­
ees. One insurance company, on the basis of its medical
department’s recommendation, has scheduled not more
than 2 consecutive days of work for persons on the
12-hour shift. The medical staff of one government
organization had been concerned with fatigue of its
employees on the 12-hour schedule. At some times when
shifts are changing, individuals may be on four 12-hour
days in a row, and there had been some complaints. A
check of sick leave for one 3-month period just after the
revised workweek was adopted showed that employees
in the unit had taken only 57 hours of sick leave
compared with 200 hours for the 3-month period just
before the changeover.
Questions regarding fatigue were included in the
employees’ attitude surveys. A question in the survey of
employees of a food processing firm asked for an
opinion on the statement: “With a longer workday and
an extra day off, I am more tired now than before.” The
replies were: Strongly agree, 7.0 percent; agree, 8.0
percent; neutral, 14.8 percent; disagree, 39.3 percent;
strongly disagree, 26.9 percent; and did not answer, 4.1
percent. Thirty-five percent of the clothing manufac­
turer’s employees indicated that fatigue had increased
with the 4-day week; 11 percent felt it had decreased;
and 54 percent said that the revised workweek had no
effect. About 39 percent of the employees of an
insurance company indicated that the longer workday
resulted in fatigue. However, it should be noted that
more than 88 percent of the employees of this firm
voted for the 4-day week in this same survey. Although
81 percent of the employees of a government organiza­
tion favored the 4-day week schedule on which they
were working, some cited as a disadvantage “ 10 hours is
too long in a day.”
Plant safety

All the companies surveyed now keep records on
work injuries as required under the Occupational Safety
and Health Act (OSHA). Several of the firms displayed
their log of accidents during the interview. However,
since the new reporting system under OSHA was not in
effect before the revised workweek schedule was ini­
tiated by most of the firms studied, data were not
obtained on injuries or illnesses. Future surveys, how­
ever, could obtain these data for a period before and
after a revised workweek schedule was adopted.

Overall assessment by firms

One indication of a firm’s assessment of the effects of

the revised workweek might be the current status of the
new schedule. Is it permanent, still on trial, or is the firm
considering dropping the new work arrangements? Four­
teen of the sixteen firms have been on the rearranged
schedule for more than a year. Four firms have 3 years
or more of experience with the new schedule; one of
these has been on the 4-day week for 8 years. Twelve of
the firms apparently are pleased with the results and
indicated that they had no plans for reverting to the old
schedule. As the president of an automobile dealership
said, indicating that the new schedule would continue,
“the workers like it, the customers like it, and we are
getting better utilization of our building.” One of these
twelve organizations had changed the work schedule
from that first adopted (because of cost). The president
of a wholesale trade firm said that the rearranged
workweek is permanent but not necessarily in its present
form (a 4-day week for employees with operation of the
firm on a 6-day a week basis). He said that he would like
to see if a 3-day week were possible and also would
consider a 4-day week but no Saturday work for
employees.
The rearranged workweek was still on a trial basis for




a bank and both of the government organizations. In one
of the government organizations the trial period had
been extended, although indications were that the 4-day
week had not been working well in some of the units in
which it had been tried.
One firm had decided that the 4-day week was not
advantageous to the firm. At the time of the interview,
the firm was planning to return to the 5-day week. A
later phone call to the personnel director of this
company disclosed that the salaried employees—
office
and sales—
had returned to the 5-day week. This would
eliminate some of the problems of the rearranged
workweek schedule. The firm, however, had postponed
temporarily the return to the 5-day week for its
production workers because of concern with employee
morale (employees very much liked the 4-day week).
The company was considering revising its wage and
benefit schedule to go into effect at the same time that
the workweek is changed, in order to offset the loss of
long weekends. Unemployment in this area was very low
and the personnel director thought the company might
lose some workers when the 4-day week was discon­
tinued.

Chapter 4.

Employee Attitudes Toward The Revised Workweek

Nine of the 16 firms had undertaken surveys of
employee attitudes toward the rearranged workweek.
These surveys were taken from a few months to more
than 2 years after the adoption of the revised schedules.
For several firms, surveys were conducted by university
groups; in the remainder, the firm itself conducted the
survey.
Five of the firms provided copies of the survey
results. The questions in the surveys included employees’
feelings toward the revised workweek before the new
schedule was adopted as well as after experience with it.
In some surveys, employee attitudes were analyzed by
age, sex, marital status, and kind of work performed by
employees covered. Some surveys asked employees to
report attitudes of their spouses toward the revised
workweek. Some surveys also provided indications of
workers’ feelings in regard to the effect of the revised
work schedule on absenteeism, tardiness, overtime,
productivity, and employee morale in the firm. Ques­
tions were included in some surveys regarding fatigue,
home problems resulting from the revised schedule, and
use of leisure time.
Most of the firms that had not conducted surveys of
employee attitudes had obtained impressions of em­
ployees’ feelings toward the revised workweek schedule
from discussions with individual workers. Officials of
these firms, and the firms which had conducted surveys
but did not provide the detailed results of these, all
reported very favorable attitudes by employees towards
the revised workweek schedule. An official of an
automobile firm said that all except one employee liked
the workweek schedule. Employees g^ve such reasons as
having time to do things that they weren’t able to do
before, such as home repairs, on their long weekends.
One significant benefit mentioned by a number of
employees with school-age children was that, while
formerly they had had very little time alone with their
wives, now they had at least one day, and sometimes
two, each week at home with their wives while their
children were in school. This has meant a change in their
marital relationship. Officials of an insurance company
felt that the employees of the firm were very much in
favor of the new schedule. The commuting time was
now outside of rush hours. In addition, moving from
three to two shifts had eliminated traveling to or from




work late at night. Employees save 2 commuting days a
week, and parking has now been provided for those on a
3-day week.
The vice president of a bank said that in a survey of
computer personnel, taken 9 months after the 3-day
week went into effect, 95 percent of the employees were
enthusiastic about the revised work schedule. Officials of
the boatbuilding firm reported that informal discussions
with employees indicated that the workers generally
liked the 4-day week and did not complain about the
91£-hour day. However, indications were that some
/
employees did not know what to do with the extra day
off, and some wives of employees had complained about
their husbands being home while they were at work.
The president of an automobile dealership said that
the firm’s employees seemed to like the revised work
schedule. He had had a test of this recently when he
tried to change the work schedule to include more night
work. The employees indicated they liked the schedule
the way it was and did not want to work nights and
Saturdays more often than they did now. The trade-off
between long weekends and night work was about equal.
If they were scheduled for more night work, the long
weekends might not be worth it.
The business agent of a union local which had
organized employees of one firm studied reported that,
although the 4-day week was voted in as part of the
labor-management contract, it was greeted with mixed
emotions by the workers. Men were generally enthusi­
astic about it, but women (making up about two-thirds
of the work force) were somewhat skeptical. Many
employees complained about the work schedule when it
was first introduced. However, the number of com­
plaints has greatly diminished. Some women complained
about fatigue, child care problems, and having days off
when their husbands were working. Employees reported
liking the 4-day week because the long weekends gave
them greater recreational opportunities. Also, they can
now do errands or schedule appointments (bank, doctor,
beauty parlor, etc.) on Fridays when they are not at
work. The business agent believed that the workers
would not want to go back to the 5-day week. However,
before the new contract came up, the union was going to
arrange to survey employee attitudes toward the work­
week schedule.

Chapter 5.

Data and Methods for Measuring Effects of
Schedule Change

As indicated earlier, one of the principal purposes of
this study was to assess the availability of data to
measure the impact of the change in the workweek
schedule. Data were sought on such indicators as changes
in productivity, turnover, attendance, quality of output,
and amount of overtime. The availability of the data
varied widely by type of indicator and by firm.

Productivity

Few of the firms visited had current measures of
productivity change calculated at the time of the
interview. Many of them, however, had basic data from
which productivity measures might be developed.
Output. The output of an establishment (in manufactur­
ing industries) is the number of physical units produced.
When only one product is made, a count of the number
produced represents the output. One of the firms
produced only men’s and boys’ slacks and could provide
data for this fairly homogeneous product. A boatbuild­
ing firm also had essentially one product but the number
of boats would not be a good measure of output because
the size of the boat had changed since the earlier period.
Moreover, the company had begun buying some com­
ponents, rather than producing these itself.
For establishments producing more than one product
(the more common case) or for which the production
mix changes from period to period, the different
products could be combined (with base-year weights) to
derive a production measure. The product should be
combined in terms of the different man-hours required




Table 2.

to produce each unit in a base period. However,
man-hour weights are not likely to be available for
individual products. Other weights, such as unit value,
might be substituted, particularly if labor costs are a
substantial proportion of total costs. The use of price
weights, however, may pose other problems. A food
producer, for example, makes 280 different items and
the product mix varies from week to week. For some
firms, the only figure available to measure output is total
value of production or total sales. For example, a
machinery manufacturer provided total sales by year, as
shown in table 2. To convert total sales for a number of
years to a measure of output, the effect of price changes
would have to be eliminated. In the example of the
machinery manufacturer, the BLS wholesale price index
for pumps and compressors could be used to deflate the
sales to a base year, as shown in table 2, provided the
products manufactured are close to those used to derive
the wholesale price index.
As will be discussed later, a number of firms have
other measures of output (and productivity) for the
entire establishment or for a particular operation.
Labor input. Labor input data available from the
employers visited consisted of the number of employees
in the firm or establishment (or for the units involved)
or man-hours of production or nonsupervisory workers.
Several of the firms visited reported regularly as respon­
dents to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—
Cooperating
State Agencies Employment Statistics Program. Tables 3
and 4 show data collected in the program from a
manufacturing establishment and a wholesale trade firm.

Converting sales data to an output index for a machinery manufacturing firm

Year

Sales

BLS wholesale price index
for pumps, compressors,
and equipment (1967 = 100)

Index
relative

Deflated
sales

Output index
(1 9 6 8 = 100)

1968 . .
1969 . .
1970
1971 . .

$ 5,673,919
7,880,249
10,806,775
12,641,333

104.6
109.8
115.1
121.6

1.000
1.050
1.100
1.163

$ 5,673,919
7,504,999
9,824,340
10,869,589

100.0
132.3
173.1
191.6

Table 3.
Employment and hours reported by a manufacturing establishment, selected
payroll periods
Payroll period

Production workers

Month

From

Through

All employees

Number

Man-hours

December 1970 .................................
January 1 9 7 1 ......................................
February 1 9 7 1 ....................................

3
11
8

11
21
18

227
231
238

168
173
178

11,707
1 2,342
13,110

Productivity measures. The productivity measure can be
derived by dividing the output measure by the corre­
sponding labor input measure. Perhaps the simplest
measure of overall output per man-hour can be illus­
trated from data provided by the clothing manufacturer.
For example, the number of slacks produced in the first
quarter of 1971 (after the change in the workweek) was
about 4.8 percent less than the number produced in the
third quarter of 1970 (before adopting the 4-day week).
The number of man-hours of production workers in the
latter period was about 4.6 percent less than the number
of man-hours in the earlier period. This would indicate
little change in output per man-hour (-0 .2 percent).
One insurance firm used as an indicator of productivity
the relationship of new applications for automobile
insurance (as an output measure) and total employment
in the central office. Table 5 illustrates the development
of a productivity index using these data.
A representative of a bank said that data available in
their computer — the number of active accounts and the
number of employees — could provide an indication of
overall productivity.
An approximation to measuring output per man-hour
is to use piece rate earnings per hour. In this, the
assumption is made that the task performed on a
particular product is related, by its piece rate, to the
time required to perform the job. Data from the clothing
manufacturer can illustrate this procedure. The piece
rate paid had not changed in the period measured so that
the earnings per hour of individuals would be equal to
output per hour for the same individual. Total produc­
tivity data in a manufacturing plant such as this are
significantly affected by the amount of turnover. New
employees produce much less at the beginning of their
employment than do experienced ones (as their piece
rate work shows). Thus, it was decided that productivity
data for individuals (only those on a piece rate basis)
Table 4.
periods

would be obtained for comparable periods before and
after the change in the workweek schedule. For the
post-schedule change period, the six (2-week) pay
periods following the first of the year were used. For the
period before the schedule change, it was necessary to
use various pay periods in the second half of 1970
because not all records could be located for all employ­
ees. Thus, the pay periods ending July 24, August 7 and
21, September 18, and October 2 and 16 were used.
Only persons on a piece rate basis were included in the
analysis. It was assumed that piece rate pay was
equivalent to output for each individual. The earnings
from piece rates for each day were used and not the
wage paid to the employee, because whenever the
employee did not earn the $1.60 per hour minimum, the
employer made up the difference. Overtime hours and
payments were not included in the analysis. Those
employees who might be working on a salary in a
particular pay period were excluded for those pay
periods. The results of the analysis indicated that output
per worker (as measured by average hourly earnings) for
94 workers as a group (who were employed in both
periods, who were not learners, and who were on a piece
rate basis) was the same before and after the schedule
change. Many individual workers, however, had very
different hourly earnings for the two periods.
A measure of output per man-hour, similar to piece
rate earnings per hour, illustrated above, was that
available for the auto mechanics. This measure is the
number of standard hours produced by a mechanic per
hour worked. (Standard hours are the predetermined
“book hours” charged to a customer to do a particular
job, for example, 1 hour to install a muffler.) This
information was available for individual workers or
could be combined for all mechanics. An example is
shown in table 6 for one employee. Using this measure,
output per man-hour for this employee might be

Employment and hours reported by a wholesale trade firm , selected payroll
_____________
Payroll period
Month

January 1 9 7 1 ....................................
February 1 9 7 1 .................................
March 1 9 7 1 ......................................




All

Nonsupervisory employees

From

Through

employees

Number

Man-hours

9
6
6

16
13
13

480
503
484

433
454
434

16,423
15,914
16,187

Table 5.

Developing a measure of productivity for an insurance firm
New auto insurance applications
Year and
month

Monthly
number

Quarterly
Number

Index1

Em ploym ent
M on th ly
num ber

Applications
per em ployee

Q uarterly
Num ber

In d ex1

In d e x 1

1970:
J a n u a ry .........................................................
February ......................................................
March ............................................... ...........
First quarter ....................................
April ..............................................................
M a y ................................................................
J un e................................................................
Second quarter ...............................
J u l y ................................................................
A u gu st............................................................
S eptem ber....................................................
Third q u a rte r....................................
O c to b e r.........................................................
N o v e m b e r....................................................
December ....................................................
Fourth q u a rte r.................................

6,800
7,900
7,600

274
273
277
22,300

92.7

8,150
8,100
7,800

276

98.2

94.4

281

1 0 0 .0

1 0 0 .0

290

103.2

1 0 1 .6

287

1 0 2 .1

103.8

282

100.4

105.2

282

100.4

115.5

280

99.6

116.9

276

98.2

118.1

275

97.9

102.3

285
271
286
24,050

100.0

8,000
8,400
8,800

296
286
287
25,200

104.8
294
280
288

8,500
8,600
8,400
25,500

106.0

1971:
January .........................................................
February .......................................................
March ...........................................................
First quarter ....................................
April ..............................................................
M a y ................................................................
June................................................................
Second quarter ...............................
J u l y ................................................................
A u gu st...........................................................
S eptem ber....................................................
Third q u a rte r....................................
O c to b e r.........................................................
November ....................................................
December ....................................................
Fourth q uarter.................................

8,100
8,300
9,000

278
277
290
25,400

105.6
284
279
282

9,200
9,200
9,500
27,900

116.0

9,200
9,200
9,600

284
277
280
28,000

116.4

9,900
9,200
8,800

278
276
274
27,900

116.0

1972:
January .........................................................
F e b ru a ry .......................................................
March ...........................................................
First quarter ....................................

8,300
8,000
7,800

272
272
282
2 4 ,1 0 0

1 0 0 .2

S e c o n d q u a rte r 1 9 7 0 = 1 0 0 .

considered to be 3.6 percent higher in April 1972 than
in April 1971 (1.44-s-1.39).
A large bank has a measure somewhat similar to that
which can be developed from data from the automobile
firms. Standards are set on the amount of time per
function (for example, time to process a letter of credit).
Table 6.

The total of hours available (spent) on a particular
function is developed in a Work Measurement-Perfor­
mance Report. A separate entry is the average standard
hours allowed per day to produce the volume of work.
The number of standard hours allowed is divided by the
number of hours available to arrive at a percent of

Deriving a measure of output per man-hour for an automobile mechanic
April 1971
Hours
worked

Employee 6:
Week 1 ___
Week 2 ___
Week 3 ___
Week 4 . . . .
Average.. . .




Standard
hours produced

45
45
38
38
41.50

59
51
55
65
57.50

April 1972
Standard hours
per hour worked

Hours
worked

Standard
hours produced

Standard hours
per hour worked

1.39

37
38
30
33
34.50

57
50
43
49
49.75

1.44

effectiveness (per month). The trend in this ratio might
be considered a measure of productivity change.
Another example of the potential use of standards
data for the measurement of productivity is that utilized
by a midwest insurance company. This measure is the
percent of norm obtained in each pay period for each
operation (and each employee). For example, for the
operation in which employees decide whether applica­
tions for insurance are to be approved, a norm of 12
minutes may have been determined (to examine the files
and process the application). The actual time per unit is
measured and the utilization rate (actual rate divided by
norm) is calculated. The change in the utilization rate
over time would be an indicator of change in produc­
tivity.
An official of a large bank said that his firm had data
on output for individual units which could be related to
employment in the unit to show trends in output per
employee. He mentioned (but did not provide) output
data such as the number of checks processed in an
operations unit and the number of transactions made by
tellers.
A wholesaler has a measure of output for its order
filling (pickers) and pricing employees. (A large propor­
tion of the firm’s employees are engaged in these
activities.) Pickers fill the orders for each customer.
(Customers get one shipment a week.) Each customer
may have only a small number of units of a particular
item. Each item for each customer is “a line” on the
computer printout for that customer’s order; for
example, 12 tubes of Blank toothpaste. Pickers fill each
line for each customer for the goods in their area and
initial it. As the baskets for a particular customer go
down the line, the customers’ orders are filled and
initialed by each picker. The company, from its com­
puter printout, has a record o f the number of lines filled
for each order and for each day. It also has the number
of hours in each operation. Thus, one productivity
measure might be the number of lines picked per hour.
The president of the firm obtained some data, at the
interview, for a period of 8 weeks before the revised
workweek and a 3-month period after the revised
workweek. The measures provided for picking of two
lines: houseware items, and items for a particular
customer - Super X. For the period before the workweek
change, the average number of lines per hour for the
houseware items was 190. For the period after the
change, the average number of lines was 210 an hour
(about a 10-11 percent increase). For the Super X items,
the average increased from 147 to 160 an hour, an
increase of about 9 percent.
In summary, there are many problems in deriving
output measures (when heterogeneous products and




services are produced) and corresponding labor input
measures. Various alternative approaches have been
indicated to devise output measures, including weighting
physical output, removing price changes, and using piece
rate earnings as output measures. Productivity measures
have been derived utilizing percentages of standards
attained. Although the firms themselves generally have
not derived these measures, data are available in most
firms with which to develop this information.
Quality of work

Several of the companies are now maintaining records
on quality of work. The two automobile firms have a
measure which they call “comeback hours.” This is the
amount of time required to redo service work not
acceptable to the customer. One of the automobile
dealers provided data (as an example) for the same
calendar month in the year before and the year after
adopting the 4-day week. The other automobile firm
now keeps records of comeback hours but did not do so
before the 4-day week was adopted. The machinery
manufacturer had a similar measure of quality. This was
the cost of replacing or repairing products returned by
the customers.
The wholesaler now has a measure of quality which
the company did not have prior to the adoption of the
4-day week. An inspector checks a particular customer’s
order. This check indicates whether too few or too many
items are contained in the order shipped to that
customer. (The net error in terms of retail dollars now
runs about 0.584 percent.) In addition to this measure,
sales workers check orders when they are delivered to
the stores (for those customers for which sales workers
put orders on customers’ shelves). If there is an overage,
it is brought back to the warehouse. When there is a
shortage, the customer is given a credit. Presumably, the
amount of returns and the amount of credits, as related
to the amount of sales, could be compared over time.
The vice president of a bank maintained that the firm
did have a measure of quality for some units. He said
that, for example, in the branch office, one measure is
whether the tellers can “prove out” at the end of the
day, that is, whether they have more or less money than
they should. The bank, however, did not provide any
actual data on changes in quality of the work.
An official of the hospital said that a measure of
quality of nursing care is now being obtained at the
hospital. It is called an audit of nursing services. In the
audit, charts of patients are examined and compared
with doctors’ orders and nursing notes. From these, it is
determined whether the patient received the exact order
that the physician prescribed. For example, the variance

from that prescribed of the order filled is measured (if
medicine was supposed to be given at 10 a.m. and was
given at 10:10 a.m.; if some service or medication was
supposed to be 4 hours apart, but was 4Vi hours; if some
medication or service was omitted; or if a patient fell out
of bed). With an audit system and sampling, one might
weight the variance in services provided and compare the
results from one period to another. Unfortunately, the
audit did not begin until after the 4-day workweek
schedule had been adopted.

by the number of scheduled hours. Most of the firms
kept records merely of the number of employees absent
per day, which could be related to total employment
(potential absentees) per day. One firm kept records of
short absences (illnesses) separately from longer absences
of 8 calendar days or more.
These firms did not maintain records of tardiness.

Attendance

The great majority of the 16 firms visited have
records on hiring and separations of individual workers,
but most of the firms have not summarized the data. It
would appear that, with varying degrees of difficulty,
these firms could trace their hirings and separations. A
few of the firms report labor turnover data to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics and cooperating State agen­
cies. An example of the data for one firm for the same
number of employees before and after the schedule
change is shown in table 7.

Nearly all companies interviewed maintained some
records on attendance, but some have not summarized
such data. Data on attendance might be viewed as a
percent of persons employed who are at work each day.
It can be measured by the amount of time (hours)
employees are at work as a percent of the total time
(hours) scheduled. An insurance company has such a
measure— number of hours actually worked divided
the
Table 7.

Turnover

Labor turnover in a boatbuilding firm: Separations and accessions
Type of turnover and
month

1970
Before change to 4-day week
Total sep­
arations

Quits

Dis­
charges

Separations:
January ..........................
F eb ru ary........................
M a r c h .............................
A p r i l...............................
M a y .................................
June ...............................
J u ly .................................
August ..........................
September.....................

139
125
104
83
38
94
31
38
29

57
41
43
32
22
17
13
22
19

681

266

268

Percent change, 1970 to 1971

-

Lay­
offs

82
84
40
15
9
3
14
15
6

Total (January to September)

-

Total sep­
arations

Quits

Dis­
charges

Lay­
offs

21
36
7
74
4
1
4

75
74
101
22
18
15
17
22
39

38
38
23
14
12
9
11
17
22

37
35
25
4
6
6
6
5
16

147

383

184

140

59

- 4 3 .8

- 3 0 .8

- 4 7 .8

- 5 9 .9

-

-

-

1970
Before change to 4-day week
Total
accessions

1971
After change to 4-day week

New
hires

1
53
4
—
—
—
—

1

1971
After change to 4-day week
Total
accessions

New
hires

Accessions:
January . .
February .
March . . .
April
M a y ..........
June
J u ly ..........
August . .
September

273
115
8
13
10
20
41
30
36

273
108
6
8
9
5
36
20
32

111
78
15
8
20
23
36
51
70

97
73
14
7
13
20
32
38
68

Total (January to September)

546

497

412

362

- 2 4 .5

- 2 1 .2

Percent change, 1970 to 1971




-

-

Overtime

Nearly all of the firms visited had basic records from
which the amount of overtime worked by their employ­
ees could be compiled. Many of these firms, however,
have not regularly summarized the data. Several of the
firms reported overtime hours of production workers
(on BLS Form 790-C) as part of the Federal-State
Table 8.

cooperative employment statistics program. Neither of
the two automobile dealers kept track of overtime for
their service employees.
Where employment may be fluctuating, a refinement
of reviewing just the number of overtime man-hours
might be to derive the proportion of overtime man-hours
to total man-hours. This is illustrated by table 8 which
describes the overtime situation before and after the
workweek change for the boatbuilding company.

Proportion of overtime to total man-hours in a boatbuilding firm
Before change to 4-day week

Month1

January .............................
February ..........................
M a rc h .................................
A p r il....................................
May ....................................
J u n e ....................................
July ....................................
A u g u s t...............................
September ........................

Overtime man-hours
of production
workers

Percent of
total
man-hours

Overtime man-hours
of production
workers

Percent of
total
man-hours

2,921
849
488
291
587
323
243
799
395

13.3
4.3
2.7
2.0
4.2
2.9
2.2
6.8
3.5

1,192
2,532
232
16
327
328
901
1,876
2,703

7.9
15.1
1.7
0.1
2.9
2.9
7.9
13.4
17.4

1 Pay p e rio d in c lu d in g 1 2 th o f m o n th .




After change to 4-day week

Summary and Conclusions
Does a revised work schedule such as the 4-day week
increase productivity, reduce turnover and absenteeism
and, in general, raise plant performance? Does it increase
job satisfaction, aid in recruitment of workers and
improve work scheduling? These are some of the
questions being asked as the 4-day week gains a foothold
in the United States.
This pilot study of 16 firms was undertaken to
attempt to find out what kind of a survey would be
necessary to answer some of these questions. The goals
of the study were to ascertain what records were
available; what types of measures would be useful in
assessing the economic effects of the compressed sched­
ules; what data were available to develop these measures;
and the manner in which a large-scale study might be
conducted. In addition, readily available data at the 16
organizations were collected and a number of measures
developed to discover what they would show.
The Bureau study showed that most of the employers
had basic records from which an evaluation of the
economic factors could be made, although very few had
done so. For example, productivity measures can be
developed from existing records of output (physical
quantity, value of production, piece-rate earnings, stan­
dard hours) and input records (man-hours worked or
paid). The study concluded that definitive answers to
these questions could be determined by an extensive
nationwide survey. Such a study would be very costly
for it would have to cover firms of varying size in many
industries. In addition, the questionnaire would have to
be carefully planned to include the various character­




istics of the firm and industry. However, a less ambitious
study of one or a few industries may be feasible.
Although this study consisted of too small a sample
to draw substantive conclusions, the findings do provide
some observations on popularly held beliefs. For exam­
ple, productivity is generally believed to increase with a
compressed workweek. However, survey results show
that, while productivity did in fact increase at some
organizations, there was no change at others, and a
decrease for the remainder. Turnover is also generally
thought to improve, but there appeared to be little
confirmation at the organizations surveyed. Other bene­
fits usually associated with the revised workweek are
reduced absenteeism, ease in recruitment, improved
work scheduling, improved use of plant and equipment,
and reduced overtime. The findings did show a reduction
in absenteeism among the 7,000 employees covered and
progress in recruitment. While improvement in use of
plant and equipment and work scheduling was not
common to all employers, there was a hint that such
benefits may be obtained in firms with large computer
operations or in service industries, such as banking. The
effect of a compressed workweek on overtime varied: at
some organizations overtime was reduced, at others it
remained unchanged, while at others it increased. Pay,
benefits, and weekly hours did not appear to have
changed greatly. No attempt was made by the author to
survey employee attitudes directly. Nine of the firms
had undertaken attitude surveys and five of these made
the results available for this study. In general, employees
liked the new schedule and did not wish to change back.

Appendix A.

Description of the Study

Research plan

The original plan of the project was to make eight
case studies of firms which had adopted a revised work
schedule. In order to cover a wider range of work
schedule situations, the number of case studies was
increased to 16.
A list of organizations which had adopted a revised
workweek schedule was developed from a number of
sources. Selection of the organizations for the case
studies was made to cover a variety of schedules,
industries, firm sizes, and geographic locations.
A general interview guide was developed and tested
and personal visits were made to each of the organiza­
tions selected. A copy of the interview guide which was
used to solicit information from company officials is
included in appendix B of this report. Information
contained included a description of the firm or organiza­
tion, such as size, industry or principal products,
location, and union status. A description of the changes
made in the work schedule was obtained and included
(a) the length of time the company or department had
been on the revised work schedule; (b) the current status
of the schedule (e.g., on trial, permanent, discontinued);
(c) how the work schedule changed for employees. This
included information on the new and old weekly hours,
the number of days, the time worked each day, the days
off, and the description of shifts, if any; (d) the changes
that occurred in pay practices; (e) how the work
schedule changed for the firm (weekly hours, daily
hours, number of days of week closed, number of
shifts); and (f) who was covered by the revised work
schedule. A similar interview guide was prepared for use
with union officials and is also included in appendix B.
Reasons for changing the workweek schedules were
discussed with the officials of the firms visited. An
attempt was made to learn the companies’ major
objectives in adopting a revised work schedule. The
representatives were asked why the changes were neces­
sary and why they thought the new work schedule might
improve the situation. The officials interviewed were
questioned regarding research or feasibility studies that
were done to help make the decision to adopt the
revised work schedule. A description of how the changes




were introduced in the firm was obtained. Were the
changes introduced piecemeal or all at one time? What
preparation or consultation with employees was under­
taken? What was the length of the period for introducing
the new work schedule?
A major aspect of the interview was an evaluation of
the effects of the workweek change on a number of
economic factors and on employee morale. This in­
cluded an investigation of the kinds of data available to
assess the effects of the changes in the workweek. Data
were obtained, where possible, and opinions of the
officials of the firms visited, on the effect of the
workweek change on productivity, quality of work,
attendance, ease in recruitment, turnover, overtime,
change in cost of other fringe benefits, supervision,
safety, occupational distribution of employment, age,
sex, and other characteristics of employees, amount of
part-time personnel, ability to service customers, change
in pay methods and pay scheduling, and the effects on
employee morale.
The 16 firms selected

The 16 organizations studied consisted of 5 manufac­
turing firms, 3 banks, 2 insurance companies, 2 automo­
bile dealers (automobile repair personnel), 2 government
agencies, 1 hospital, and 1 wholesale trade concern.
The selected organizations ranged in size from one
with fewer than 50 employees to two with more than
17,000. The tabulation below gives the size distribution
of the 16 firms studied:
N um ber o f
employees

N um ber o f
organizations

Fewer than 1 0 0 .................................................................
100-249 ............................................................................
250-499 .............................................................................
500-999 ............................................................................
1,000-2,499 .....................................................................
2,500 and o v e r .................................................................

4
3
2
3
0
4

In some firms, nearly all employees were included in
the revised workweek schedule. In some of the larger
firms, however, only a small percentage of the employ­
ees were, at the time of the interview, on a 4- or 3-day
workweek. Whereas 2,100 of the 7,000 employees of a

large bank were on a revised workweek schedule, only
500 of the 17,000 employees of a large insurance
company were on such a schedule. Only nursing person­
nel of the hospital were on a rearranged work schedule.
Both government organizations had only a very small
percentage of their employees on a revised workweek
schedule, and, even for these workers, the arrangement




was still “on trial.”
The 16 firms studied were located on the Eastern
seaboard, in the South, and in the Midwest, in the
following States: Florida, 1; Georgia, 2; Indiana, 1;
Iowa, 1; Kentucky, 1; Maryland, 1; Massachusetts, 2;
Minnesota, 2; New York, 3; Rhode Island, 1; and
Virginia, 1.

Appendix B.

Interview Guides

Guide for Interview with Company Officials
Checklist: (Indicate most important objec­
tives)
a. Increase output and/or productivity
through:
1. better equipment (capital) utilization
2. better scheduling
3. less startup and/or closedown time
4. less downtime of equipment (e.g., use
fifth day for maintenance)
5. other
b. Reduce absenteeism
c. Reduce tardiness
d. Reduce employee turnover
e. To aid in recruitment of qualified person­
nel (also reduce training costs)
f. Reduce overtime
g. Reduce amount of injuries and illnesses
h. Reduce waste of material
i. To better service customers (e.g., longer
workday or open more days)
j. Better employee morale (e.g., less time
commuting, fresher after long week­
end, etc.)
(Why were changes necessary? Why did
management think that changes in work
schedule would improve situation?)

I. Description of firm (or organization)
Size (include number of employees, value of
sales or production, number of establish­
ments, etc.)
Industry and/or principal products
Location
Union status
Names of persons interviewed
II.

Description of changes made in work schedule
When did your company (or department) go
on the revised work schedule?
What is the current status of the new
schedule (that is, on trial, permanent,
discontinued)?
How did the work schedule change for
workers?
New
Old
Weekly hours
Days
Number
Length
Starting/ending time
Days off
Rotating shifts
What changes occurred in pay practices
(changes in overtime, take-home pay,
wage incentives)?
How did the work schedule change for the
firm?
X
T
New
Old
Weekly hours
Daily hours
Days of week closed
Number of shifts

III.

Who was covered by the revised work
schedule?
If only one part of the firm or department is
under a revised work schedule, why was
this department selected? (number of
persons affected, kinds of occupations
and their physical and mental demands)
Who were excluded? Why? If possible,
obtain some information on economic
climate for firm just preceding and during
change.
Reasons for changing workweek schedule
What was the company’s objective in adopt­
ing a revised work schedule?




IV.

What research or feasibility studies, if any, were
performed to help make decision to adopt revised
work schedule?
Who made studies? Can we obtain these?

V.

How were the changes introduced?
Piecemeal or all at once
Preparation of (or consultation with) em­
ployees
Length of period for introducing new work
schedule

VI.

Effects of change
(Obtain immediate reaction and longer term
changes)
What kind of data are available to assess the
changes in the workweek?
If available, obtain information for the
following items for comparable
periods before and after the change
in schedule:
a. Output (by commodity for whole plant
or department)

b. Labor input (for whole plant or depart­
ment) (or as an alternative to output
and labor input, something like value
of goods produced per labor cost. If
such an alternative is available, infor­
mation should be sought on price
changes and wage changes. If data on
which to measure productivity are
obtained, ask for information regard­
ing introduction of new equipment,
change in organization, methods, etc.)
c. Quality of work (include such things as
waste, errors, etc.)
d. Attendance (absenteeism) Indicate rea­
son-amount of sick leave, leave
for personal business, etc.
e. Tardiness
f. Ease in recruitment (job vacancy data)
(Include information on kinds of
employees—
economic climate)
g. Turnover
Separations (quits, discharges, retire­
ments, and accessions)
h. Amount of overtime
i. Change in cost of other fringe benefits
(vacations and other benefits)
j. Safety record
k. Change in number and length of official
rest periods
(coffeebreaks, washup time, startup
time, shutdown, etc.)
l. Change in supervision (number of super­
visors, kind, schedule)
m. Change in occupational distribution of
employment

n. Change in characteristics of employees
(age, sex, etc.)
o. Change in the amount of part-time per­
sonnel
p. Ability to service customers
(e.g. open more hours; open fewer
days)
q. Scheduling (e.g. longer runs, better use of
equipment)
r. Changes in related overhead costs (e.g.
extra guard for fifth day; no cafete­
ria on Friday) Indicate importance.
s. Change in pay methods and pay schedul­
ing; holiday-vacation problems (if
holidays come on Monday do em­
ployees work on Friday? Do they
receive 4-day or 5-day pay?)
t. Change in annual hours of employment
per individual
u. Legal considerations
Walsh-Healey Act
Contract Work Hours and Safety Stan­
dards Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
State laws (if any)
v. Union (if any) relations
w. Effect on employees’ morale
(amount of grievances, expressions of
satisfaction or dissatisfaction with
changes, commuting time, carpools,
complaints of married women re­
garding home responsibilities, such
as caring for children and making
meals)
moonlighting
fatigue (e.g. visits to health units)

Guide for Interview with Union Officials
1. Do your members generally approve of the changes
that have been made in their work schedule?
What kind of changes would they have pre­
ferred? (e.g., fewer hours per week, fewer
days, rotating or nonrotating schedules, etc.)
2. What advantages or disadvantages does the new
schedule have for individual workers?
More leisure'time—
more time with family
Ability to obtain basic services while off
(banks, doctors, etc.)
One or two less days for commuting (less travel
costs, less day care costs)
Time to do volunteer work or receive education
or training
Time for moonlighting
Fatigue
Carpool scheduling
Spouses working different hours
Leisure time expenses
Women not home in time to make meals
Interferes with education courses or volunteer
work




Difficulty
3. What are the
contract? How
before going on

in acquiring second job
overtime provisions of the current
do they differ from those in effect
the new workweek?

4. What effect do you think the 4-day week will have in
the long run in shortening weekly hours?
a. Speed up the reduction in weekly hours
b. No effect
c. Retard the reduction in hours
5. What problems, if any, have been created for labor
by:
a. schedules for individual workers (e.g. 4-day)
that differ from the schedule for the
establishment (e.g. 5-7 days).
b. hiring of more part-time workers
c. changes in pay schedules
d. less overtime
6. Do you think that the employees turn out more, the
same, or less work per hour under the new work
schedule?

Selected Bibliography
Cross, Wilbur. “The Four-Day Workweek is Coming Sooner Than You T h in k ” Business Management, April 1971,
pp.14—16.
Dobelis, M.C. “The Three-day Week — Offshoot of an EDP Operation,” Personnel, Vol. 49, No. 1, January-February
1972, pp.24-33.
“ Four-day Week: How Widespread by 1990?” Commerce Today, Vol. 2, No. 9, Feb. 7, 1972, pp. 37-44.
Hedges, Janice N. “A Look at the 4-day Workweek,” Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 94, No. 10, October 1971, pp.
33-37.
Hedges, Janice N. “New Patterns for Working Time,” Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 96, No. 2, Feb. 1973, pp. 3—
8.
Hellriegel, Don. “The Four-day Workweek; a Review and Assessment,” MS'UBusiness Topics, Vol. 20, No. 2, Spring,
1972, pp. 3 9-48.
Hoffman, Eileen B. “The Four-day Week Raises New Problems,” Conference Board Record, Vol. 9, No. 2, February
1972, pp. 21-26.
“How Four-day Workweek is Catching On,” U.S. News and World Report, Vol. 70, No. 10, Mar. 8, 1971, pp. 41—
43.
Martin, Neil A. “Can the Four-day Week Work,” Dun's, Vol. 98, No. 1, July 1971, pp. 39—
40,45.
Moore, Geoffrey H. “Measuring Leisure Time,” Conference Board Record, Vol. 9, No. 7, July 1971, pp. 53—
54.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. New Patterns for Working Time - International
Conference, Paris, September 26— 1972, Final Report and Supplement to Final Report. Paris, 1973.
29,
Poor, Riva, (ed.). “Four Days, 40 Hours: Reporting a Revolution in Work and Leisure. Cambridge, Mass., Bursk and
Poor Publishers, 1970.
Poor, Riva, “ Social Innovation: 4 Days —40 Hours,” Columbia Journal o f World Business, January-February 1971.
Samuels, Gertrude. “Thank God It’s Thursday! Coming Soon? The Four-day Week,” New York Times Magazine, May
16, 1 9 7 1 , p p . 3 2 - 3 4 .

Samuelson, Paul A. “The Four-day Week,” Newsweek, Nov. 16,1970.
Saso, Carmen D. 4/40: The Four-day Workweek. Chicago, Public Personnel Association, 1972.
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Domestic Commerce. The Rearranged Workweek - A Background Study.
February 1972.
Wheeler, Kenneth E. “Small Business Eyes the Four-day Work Week.” Harvard Business Review, May-June 1970.
Wheeler, Kenneth E.; Gurman, Richard; and Tarnowieski, Dale. The Four-Day Week. An AMA Research Report.
American Management Association, 1972.




BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
REGIONAL OFFICES

Region I

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Government Center
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Phone: 223-6762 (Area Code 617)

Region II

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Regions VII and VIII *

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