9/80 Work Schedule: What It Is And How It Works

guy working a 9/80 work schedule

Working nine to five was once considered the “norm” — there was even a song written about it. But it’s not the only way to go. The 9/80 work schedule is another popular option, offering a little extra flexibility for your employees.

In this article, we’ll tell you what the 9/80 work schedule is and how it works. Then it’s up to you to decide whether it is a good fit for your team.

Table Of Contents

What Is A 9/80 Work Schedule?

Woman googling What Is A 9/80 Work Schedule?

A 9/80 work schedule offers a little more variation than the typical nine-to-five. Basically, instead of having employees work 80 hours over 10 days, it has them working 80 hours over nine, leaving the last day for some extra R&R.

To get more specific, over a two-week period, employees will work a total of nine hours a day for eight days and eight hours a day for one day. This affords them one working day off over the two-workweek period.

Although this compressed type of alternative work schedule may not be a good fit for all businesses and teams, many employees are likely to cheer over the extra time off the schedule affords.

Industries The 9/80 Schedule May Work For

Only some industries are a good fit for a 9/80 schedule. You need your employees to work consistent schedules and take the same day off every two weeks.

This might not be feasible if your business operates on a more unpredictable schedule or varies based on seasonal shifts or peak hours.

You also need to consider your employees’ tasks. If they’re performing physically demanding work, asking them to stay an extra hour might not be wise (or safe.)

That said, some industries are more conducive to the 9/80 schedule. Here are a few:

  • Telecommunications
  • IT
  • Public safety or defense contractors
  • Healthcare
  • Consulting
  • Homecare

How A 9/80 Schedule Works

Woman working a 9/80 work schedule

Deciding to implement a 9/80 schedule for your team means a little more work on the administrative side because the schedule will vary by week.

For week one, your employee will work four nine-hour days followed by an eight-hour day. For week two, they will work four nine-hour days followed by a day off. This adds up to 44 hours on the first calendar week and 36 on the second.

You might be wondering how this alternative schedule works without incurring overtime. For payroll purposes, instead of following the calendar week, the work week will end and the next week will begin halfway through the eight-hour day.

Doing this allows you to “book” only four hours of the day in week one, and four in week two, resulting in a perfect 40 hours per week.

While you can’t change your standard work week just to avoid paying overtime, you can make a permanent change as long as you provide advanced notice and meet any other legal requirements in your area.

Schedule Management

Schedule Management for a 9/80 work schedule

Managing a 9/80 work schedule takes a little extra attention because, as we said, it changes from one week to the next. Let’s discuss what that might look like.

Sample Schedule

If you’re thinking about implementing a 9/80 work schedule for your team, see the example below, keeping in mind that you’ll want to choose start and end times that work best for your business.

Week 1

Monday – Thursday: 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. with one hour off (unpaid) for lunch. (9 hour days)

Friday: 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. with one hour off (unpaid) for lunch. This day marks the end of week one and the beginning of week two. So, after lunch, your employees will begin clocking hours for the next work week. (8 hour day)

Week 2

Monday – Thursday: 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. with one hour off (unpaid) for lunch. (9 hour days)

Friday: Off

Again, you can change this as it works best for your business. You can even have different groups of employees working alternating 9/80 schedules to ensure coverage each day.

One team might work the schedule above, and another would work the one below.

Sample Schedule 2

Here’s a schedule where employees work every other Monday on a 9/80 schedule. We’ll spell this one out in a bit more detail so you can see more clearly how the work week break works.

Week 1
  • Monday: 9:00 a.m. to noon (these four hours are the final four of the previous work week). Lunch break from noon to 1:00 p.m. When the employee comes back from lunch, the new work week officially begins. Then, they work until 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. to noon, 1-hour unpaid lunch break, and 1:00-6:00 p.m. (9 hours a day)

By the end of the day on Friday, the employee now has 40 hours of work in the work week. However, they aren’t going to work on Monday next week, so they won’t clock in any extra hours and require overtime.

Week 2
  • Monday: Off
  • Tuesday – Thursday: 8:00 a.m. to noon, 1-hour unpaid lunch break, and 1:00-6:00 p.m. (9 hours a day)

The employee has 36 hours of work in the current week. They go home for the weekend, and when they clock in on Monday, they earn the final 4 hours for the current work week.

Other Variations

9/80 work schedule

Feel free to mix things up to meet your company’s needs. Here are a few variations to consider:

  • Employees take ½ a day off every week instead of a full day off every other week
  • Employees can choose their start and end times as long as they work the required amount of hours each day

You could also have some employees working a traditional 9-5 and offer the 9/80 as an alternative they can opt into.

Keep It Consistent

Depending on your company’s needs, any day of the week can be a “short day.” Your employee would just get that day off every other week. And, since you can’t keep changing their work week, you’d have to keep their schedule consistent once you establish it.

In other words, you can’t have the same employee take Monday off this week and then have Thursday as their off day during the next pay period. It has to be consistent, or they’ll be working overtime for four hours every other week.

Running Payroll

As we mentioned, payroll runs from the halfway point of the eight-hour day, whatever day of the week that is. This way you maintain 40 hours per week and no overtime is incurred.

It’s important to keep track of hours scheduled and worked with your payroll system. A good workforce management software, like Inch, can make it easy to manage your team’s schedules and communication.

Sick Days, Holidays, And Vacations

Man calling out sick on his 9/80 Work Schedule

Different forms of leave are treated differently in a 9/80 work schedule. For instance, if an employee is sick during one of the four nine-hour days, it will count as a nine-hour sick day. However, if they are sick on an eight-hour day, it will be an eight-hour sick day.

Basically, the sick day will follow the scheduled hours that day. If an employee is going on vacation, it will work the same way.

As for national holidays, if they fall on an eight-hour day or day off, employees will get a credit of eight hours, usable over the following year. If a holiday falls on a nine-hour day, they’ll get the holiday plus an additional hour of vacation credit to be used in the future.

A Note About California

If you have employees in California, you’ll also need to be aware of California Labor Code Section 510, which provides additional rules to follow if you are considering a 9/80 work schedule.


If you’d like to implement a 9/80 schedule in California, two-thirds of the employees affected must vote for it. All information — including wages, hours, and benefits — must be disclosed to workers. The vote must be conducted during work hours by secret ballot.

Once the election is held, it gets submitted to the California Division of Labor and Research. Then employees choose their preferred day off every two weeks. California law also requires the eight-hour day to be on the same day of the week as the scheduled day off.

Lastly, employees decide whether they want to take the day off the first and third week of the month or the second and fourth.


Some employees can be exempt from the schedule, including single parents, employees with medical conditions, students, and certain customer service specialists and computer operators.

The bottom line is that if your team is in California, you must study the law in detail in order to avoid any financial or legal issues.

Benefits Of A 9/80 Work Schedule

Two woman enjoying working a 9/80 Work Schedule


Employees may be motivated by the increased flexibility that this type of schedule provides. And, by the end of the month, they will have an additional two days off, during which they can recharge.

Plus, since these two days are weekdays, it’s an ideal time for employees to schedule appointments and take care of their errands. They might even plan a long weekend getaway for a short, refreshing vacation.

This is great for morale and can help reduce time off requests.


With a shorter work week, employees may feel inspired to get more done during work hours. That extra hour provides more time to finish projects and other work tasks before heading home for the night.

Increased Focus

A little extra time away from the desk may make your team even more focused on their tasks when they are on the clock.

Less Commuting

Another benefit of the 9/80 work schedule is that your employees will not have to commute as much. Commuting can be exhausting, especially if you live far away from work.

Plus, with the cost of gas these days, your team might appreciate the extra savings by having two additional days a month off.

Greater Work/Life Balance

The biggest benefit of a 9/80 work schedule is that you’re offering better work/life balance to your employees. They’ll appreciate the days off when they can get errands done or spend extra time with the family.

Don’t forget to talk about the work hours when recruiting new team members. Having a more flexible schedule is a huge incentive for many workers.

Lower Overhead

If you have the entire staff on the same 9/80 schedule, you can shut your office down twice a month. This can lower your overhead expenses and help your bottom line.

Challenges Of A 9/80 Work Schedule

Man suffering from challenges Of A 9/80 Work Schedule

Between the increased complexity and the daily hours required by the 9/80 work schedule, it can also have its challenges for employers and employees alike.

More Hours Per Day

It might be more difficult to get your team motivated through a nine-hour day, particularly one that starts very early in the morning. Keeping a coffee pot and some snacks in the break room might help.

You’ll also want to ensure your team takes regular breaks to recharge and clear their minds.

Changing Schedule

As the schedule changes from week to week, for employers, it can be a little trickier to keep track of. This can be even harder if an employee asks to take a different day off instead.

For example, if their child has a regularly scheduled appointment every other Wednesday, your team member may ask if they can make Wednesday their 8-hour day. Then, they’d have every other week off to take their child where they need to go.

If you decide to accommodate this request, make sure you follow the laws about changing your work week schedule and provide enough notice.

Unexpected Illness

When something unexpected happens, like an illness or absence, this type of work schedule can leave a business uncovered for a task or shift.

Stressing A Small Team

If your team is small, you might not have as much leeway for change or issues that come up. If anything goes awry, you might be left shorthanded and stressed.

Potential Overtime

If employees don’t watch the clock, they could bump their hours into overtime. This makes employee time tracking even more essential.

You’ll want task management software like Inch to notify you if someone leaves a job site without clocking out.

Alternatives To A 9/80 Schedule

Inch app for a 9/80 work schedule

After weighing the pros and cons, you may decide that the 9/80 schedule isn’t quite right for your company. However, you still want to explore other scheduling options for your employees.

Here are three other possibilities:

  • 4/10 Schedule: If tracking which Friday employees have off seems complicated, this method might work better. Your team works for 10 hours a day, four days a week. Then, they get the fifth day off.
  • 2-2-3 Schedule: If your business is open 24/7, the 2-2-3 schedule might work. Also known as the Panama schedule, it has four teams rotating 12-hour shifts to ensure constant coverage and plenty of time to recuperate from the night shift.
  • Flex Time: Give your employees more control over their work schedule with flex time. They can choose when to start and end their shifts based on the guidelines that you set up.

Each schedule has its benefits and drawbacks. The key is to find what works best for your business and employees.

Tips For Implementing A 9/80 Schedule

If you’ve decided to give the 9/80 schedule a try, these tips can help you implement it successfully.

Get Legal Advice

Checking with your legal team before changing your official work schedule is best. It can fill you in on any local laws you need to follow (such as the ones in California we discussed earlier).

Communicate In Advance

This is a significant change; you shouldn’t just spring onto your team. Schedule a time to discuss the proposed change and answer any questions.

Listen to any concerns that employees may have and address them appropriately. You may need some one-on-one conversations to alleviate any fears or worries.

Put It In Writing

Employee handbook

You can’t wing a schedule change like this. It requires much thought and documentation. You’ll need to work with HR and your legal team to update your:

  • Employee handbook
  • Contracts
  • Onboarding documents
  • Policies and procedures

Decide On A Start Date

Pick a date to implement your new policy and let everyone know when it starts. Be prepared for some unanticipated overtime that first week.

If there are any overlapping hours when you change from your old system to the new one, you may have employees go over 40 hours. However, this problem should be temporary. After the first week, you should have smooth sailing.

Have A Plan For Tracking Hours

If you manually track hours, you may be overwhelmed trying to keep this alternate schedule straight.

For example, you might accidentally start one employee’s work week on Monday instead of Friday. That could be disastrous to your bottom line since it’d mean more overtime pay.

Instead, it might be time to implement new software that can handle scheduling and help you manage your labor costs.

The Inch app and suite of tools:

  • Provides accurate time tracking
  • Can notify you of potential problems in hours
  • Offers advanced scheduling options
  • Helps prevent time theft
  • Has timesheet reminders
  • Provides an effective communication system across the team

A Job Well Done

Woman celebrating a job well done

Now that you know what a 9/80 work schedule is and how it works, you can decide whether it’s right for your business and team. As we said, there are benefits and challenges to this setup, and if you’re a small team, it might not make sense.

But if you find that it’s right for you, think of Inch as your workplace management assistant to get your scheduling done easily and accurately. With Inch, you can track hours worked, monitor attendance, and more, making it simple for on-site as well as remote and distributed teams.

With Inch by your side, you can offer your team what could be a win-win — more productivity and more balance!

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