4 Day Week Holiday Entitlement - How does it work?

Discover the transformative 4-day week holiday entitlement concept. Find out how it has the potential to revolutionize the way we work and live.

4 Day Week Holiday Entitlement - How does it work?

In today's fast-paced world, work-life balance is a constant challenge. The 4-day work week (32hrs at full salary) and ample holiday time improve well-being and productivity and reduce stress-related illnesses.

But how does the 4 day work week effect vacation policies? In this blog post we discuss this and more - but first, let's discuss the different types of shorter working week.

Different types of 4 day work week

When we say "4 day work week", we typically mean 4 "normal" length days, opposed to a compressed working schedule (e.g. 4x10hr shifts).

Other forms of shorter working week include:

Preferred Days Off

It's fascinating to note the days companies opt for their off day. According to our data:

  • 79% of companies prefer taking Fridays off. This long weekend model has been a popular choice, aligning well with the traditional Saturday-Sunday weekend.
  • 17% of companies offer flexibility, allowing their staff to take any day off. This flexibility caters to diverse needs, from child care considerations to individual personal preferences.
  • 3% of businesses take Mondays off, pushing against the Monday blues and allowing employees a smooth transition from the weekend.
  • A small 2% opt for a break in the middle, choosing Wednesdays. This split-week approach can provide a refreshing mid-week pause.

Average Vacation Days for 4 Day Week Companies

Vacation laws different hugely by country - some countries such as the USA don't require any paid vacation by law, whereas other countries like France require companies to offer employees 30 days of paid annual leave per year.

By analysing our database of 4 day week companies (32hrs @ 100% salary), here are the average number of paid days vacation (on top of the 4 day week) by country:

CountryDays PTO (including public holidays)4 day week companies

Navigating Public Holidays

Public holidays can be a tricky area to navigate with the 4-day work week. When a public holiday falls on a working day, most companies won't shorten their work week to three days. Instead, they either:

  1. Continue the week as normal, giving employees a different day off, or
  2. Extend the benefits of the public holiday across the four days, allowing for shorter working hours.

It's essential to have clear communication and policies in place to manage expectations and maintain the essence of the 4-day week model.

Vacation Policies during 4 Day Week Pilot Studies

Certain countries excel in providing a balanced work-life schedule with generous vacation time. These places stand out from shorter work weeks to abundant part-time work opportunities and a higher prevalence of companies adopting 4-day work weeks.

Let's explore the top five places in the world where you can experience the perks of a four-day workweek and enjoy a superb holiday entitlement.

1: Australia

In August 2022, 4 Day Week Global launched a four-day workweek pilot program across 20 Australian companies. While the five-day work week remains dominant, Australia has the potential to become a fantastic spot for those seeking a four-day work week and a top-notch holiday entitlement.

Currently, all employees (whether part-time or full-time) receive four weeks' holiday for every 12 months of work. Australian employees accumulate paid leave from the first day of 12 months.

2: Canada

There is a growing interest in the 4-day work week in Canada, with dozens of companies experimenting with this shorter work schedule.

As for paid time off, this varies depending on how long you've been with your employer. For those who've completed a year of working continually for the same employer, you have the right to two weeks of vacation each year.

However, this increases to three weeks of annual vacation following five years of consecutively working for a given employer and four weeks after working consecutively for a given employer for ten years.

3: Iceland

In addition to running a successful four-day workweek trial with 2,500 participants, Iceland has embraced a four-day workweek in its public sector.

Regarding holiday entitlement, workers are granted a minimum of 24 weekdays of paid time off (PTO) each year, amounting to 10.17% of their total wages.

As time goes on, PTO and associated pay increase, following this progression:

  • After five years in the same line of work, employees enjoy 25 weeks of paid leave, equivalent to 10.64% of total wages.
  • After five years with a given employer, the entitlement increases to 27 weeks of paid leave, amounting to 11.59% of total wages.
  • After ten years with a given employer, the entitlement further rises to 30 weekdays of paid leave, equaling 13.04% of total wages.

4: Denmark

With Denmark's average work week lasting just 33 hours, it's no surprise that various employers offer a four-day work week. For instance, in 2020, the rural Odsherred municipality trialed a 4/3 work week.

Denmark's latest holiday legislation, enacted in September 2020, established that the holiday year runs from September 1st to August 31st.

Employees in Denmark have the right to 25 days of paid time off (PTO). They can take at least three days consecutively between May 1st and September 30th.

Danish workers earn 2.08 PTO days for each month worked and can use these holidays within the same holiday year but no later than December 30th of the subsequent year.

5: UK

In the United Kingdom, the idea of a 4-day workweek has gained traction, with a substantial 61-business trial conducted from June to December 2022 involving 3,000 staff.

All UK employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks' statutory leave per year, which includes:

  • Four weeks of paid annual leave.
  • 1.6 weeks of paid public holiday entitlement.

To top it off, the length of service determines the size of your well-deserved paid time off (PTO). For instance, if you've worked for 5+ years, you can enjoy eight weeks of statutory leave.

Final Thoughts

As the 4-day work week continues to gain traction, it's vital for companies and employees to understand its nuances. While the model promotes work-life balance, understanding the holiday entitlements ensures that no surprises arise, and everyone can make the most of this progressive approach to work.

Considering a job that values a four-day work week? Explore opportunities at 4dayweek.io, the dedicated job board for roles that prioritize balance and productivity.