Workweek and weekend

"Weekend" redirects here. For other uses, see Weekend (disambiguation).
In United States and Canada, there is a tradition of having a leisurely family brunch on the weekend.
In some countries, markets are held on weekends. Pictured is the Chanfu Bridge market in China.

The workweek and weekend are those complementary parts of the week devoted to labour and rest, respectively. The legal working week (British English), or workweek (American English), is the part of the seven-day week devoted to labour. In most of the Western world, it is Monday to Friday; the weekend is Saturday and Sunday. A weekday is any day of the working week. Other institutions often follow the same days, such as places of education.

In some Christian traditions, Sunday is the "day of rest and worship". Jewish Shabbat or Biblical Sabbath lasts from sunset on Friday to the fall of full darkness on Saturday; as a result, the weekend in Israel is observed on Friday–Saturday. Some Muslim-majority countries historically had a Thursday–Friday or Friday–Saturday weekend; however, recently many such countries have shifted from Thursday–Friday to Friday–Saturday, or to Saturday–Sunday. The French Revolutionary Calendar had ten-day weeks (called décades) and allowed décadi, one out of the ten days, as a leisure day.

The present-day concept of the weekend first arose from the Jewish Sabbath. The Christian Sabbath was just one day each week, but the preceding day (the Jewish Sabbath) came to be taken as a holiday as well in the twentieth century. This shift has been accompanied by a reduction in the total number of hours worked per week, following changes in employer expectations. Proposals have continued to be put forward for further reductions in the number of days or hours worked per week, on the basis of predicted social and economic benefits.


In cultures with a six-day workweek, the day of rest derives from the culture's main religious tradition: Friday (Muslim), Saturday (Jewish), and Sunday (Christian). However, numerous countries have adopted a two-day weekend over the past several decades, i.e. either Thursday–Friday, Friday–Saturday, or Saturday–Sunday. In 1908, the first five-day workweek in the United States was instituted by a New England cotton mill so that Jewish workers would not have to work on the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.[1] In 1926, Henry Ford began shutting down his automotive factories for all of Saturday and Sunday.

In 1929, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Union was the first union to demand a five-day workweek and receive it. After that, the rest of the United States slowly followed, but it was not until 1940, when a provision of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act mandating a maximum 40-hour workweek went into effect, that the two-day weekend was adopted nationwide.[1] Over the succeeding decades, particularly in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, an increasing number of countries adopted either a Friday–Saturday or Saturday–Sunday weekend to harmonize with international markets. A series of workweek reforms in the mid-to-late 2000s and early 2010s brought much of the Arab World in synchronization with the majority of countries around the world, in terms of working hours, the length of the workweek, and the days of the weekend. The International Labour Organization (ILO) currently defines a workweek exceeding 48 hours as excessive. A 2007 study by the ILO found that at least 614.2 million people around the world were working excessive hours.[2]


This day planner chart (which can be used for any months) shows the workweek days as white boxes and the weekend days as light blue-coloured boxes.

Actual workweek lengths have been falling in the developed world. Every reduction of the length of the workweek has been accompanied by an increase in real per-capita income.[3] In the United States, the workweek length reduced slowly from before the Civil War to the turn of the 20th century. A rapid reduction took place from 1900 to 1920, especially between 1913 and 1919, when weekly hours fell by about eight percent.[4] In 1926, Henry Ford standardized on a five-day workweek, instead of the prevalent six days, without reducing employees' pay.[5] Hours worked stabilized at about 49 per week during the 1920s, and during the Great Depression fell below 40.[4] During the Depression, President Herbert Hoover called for a reduction in work hours in lieu of layoffs. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established a five-day, 40-hour workweek for many workers.[5] The proportion of people working very long weeks has since risen, and the full-time employment of women has increased dramatically.[6]

The New Economics Foundation has recommended moving to a 21-hour standard workweek to address problems with unemployment, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities, overworking, family care, and the general lack of free time.[5][7][8][9][10][11] The Center for Economic and Policy Research states that reducing the length of the work week would slow climate change and have other environmental benefits.[12]

Around the world

A German judge wearing robes in the courtroom.

(Countries are listed alphabetically. Some countries have Saturday a normal school day. Some countries appear under the subsections for Muslim countries and the European Union.)

Country Typical Hours
per Week
Working week Typical hours worked
(Maximum per day)
Afghanistan 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Albania 40 Monday–Friday 8
Algeria 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Angola 40 Monday–Friday 8
Argentina 40 Monday–Friday 8
Armenia 40 Monday–Friday 8
Azerbaijan 40 Monday–Friday 8
Austria 38.5 Monday–Friday 7.7
Australia 38[13] Monday–Friday 8
Bahrain 40 Sunday–Thursday 9
Bangladesh 40 (30 during Ramadan) Sunday–Thursday 8 (6 during Ramadan)
Benin 40 Monday–Friday 8
Belgium 38 Monday–Friday 7.6
Brazil 44 Monday–Friday 8.5
Brunei Darussalam 40 Monday–Thursday and Saturday 8
Burundi 50 Monday–Friday 10
Bulgaria 40 Monday–Friday 8
Canada 40 Monday–Friday 8
Cameroon 50 Monday–Friday 10
Chile 45 Monday–Friday 9
China 40 Monday–Friday 8
Croatia 40 Monday–Friday 8
Colombia 48 Monday–Saturday 8
Costa Rica 48 Monday–Saturday 8
Czech Republic 40 Monday–Friday 8
Denmark 37 Monday–Friday 7.4
Djibouti 40 Saturday–Thursday 6.7
Egypt 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Ethiopia 40 Monday–Friday 8
Estonia 40 Monday–Friday 8
Equatorial Guinea 48 Monday–Saturday 8
Finland 38 Monday–Friday 8
France 35 Monday–Friday 7
Gabon 40 Monday–Friday 8
Gambia 40 Monday–Friday 8
Germany 40 Monday–Friday 8
Ghana 40 Monday–Friday 8
Greece 40 Monday-Friday 7-8
Hungary 40 Monday–Friday 8
Hong Kong 40 Monday–Friday 8
India 48 Monday–Saturday 8
Indonesia 40 Monday–Friday 8, many people work a 6-day week with 7-hour days.
Iran 44 Saturday–Thursday 7.36, and 6 hours Thursdays
Iraq 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Ireland 40 Monday–Friday 8
Israel 43 Sunday–Thursday 8.6, many people have a six-day workweek, with Friday as a partial workday, and work 8 hours a day for the rest of the workweek.
Italy 40 Monday–Friday 8
Côte d'Ivoire 40 Monday–Friday 8
Japan 40 Monday–Friday 8
Jordan 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Kazakhstan 40 Monday–Friday 8
Kuwait 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Kenya 40 Monday–Friday 8
Lao People’s Democratic Republic 40 Monday–Friday 8
Latvia 40 Monday–Friday 8
Lebanon 40 Monday–Friday 8, Most of the people have a six-day workweek, with Saturday as a partial workday.
Libya 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Lithuania 40 Monday–Friday 8
Madagascar 40 Monday–Friday 8
Maldives 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Malawi 40 Monday–Friday 8
Mali 40 Monday–Friday 8
Malta 40 Monday–Friday 8
Mauritania 40 Monday–Friday 8
Malaysia 40 Sunday–Thursday
(Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu)
(Except: Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu)
Mexico 48 Monday–Saturday 8
Mongolia 40 Monday–Friday 8
Morocco 35 Monday–Friday 8
Mozambique 40 Monday–Friday 8
Nepal 48 Sunday–Friday 8
The Netherlands 40 Monday–Friday 8
New Zealand 40 Monday–Friday 8[14]
Nigeria 40 Monday–Friday 8
North Korea 54 Monday–Saturday 9
Oman 40 (30 during Ramadan) Sunday–Thursday 8 (6 during Ramadan)
Pakistan 40 Monday–Friday 8
Palestine 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Philippines 40 Monday–Friday 9 (including 1 hour lunch break)
Poland 40 Monday–Friday 8
Portugal 40 Monday–Friday 8
Qatar 40 (25 During Ramadan) Sunday–Thursday 8 (5 during Ramadan) (48 hours a week for line staff (they work on Saturdays)
Romania 40 Monday–Friday 8
Russia 40 Monday–Friday 8
Rwanda 40 Monday–Friday 8
Saudi Arabia 40 (30 during Ramadan) Sunday–Thursday 8 (6 during Ramadan)
Senegal 40 Monday–Friday 8
Singapore 40 Monday–Friday 8
Slovakia (Slovak Republic) 40 Monday–Friday 8
Spain 40 Monday–Friday 8
South Africa 45 Monday–Friday 9[15]
South Korea 40 Monday–Friday 8
Sudan 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Sweden 40 Monday–Friday 8
Switzerland 42 Monday–Friday 8.4
Syria 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Seychelles 40 Monday–Friday 8
Taiwan 40 Monday–Friday 8
Tanzania 40 Monday–Friday 9
Togo 40 Monday–Friday 8
Thailand 40 Monday–Friday 8
Trinidad and Tobago 40 Monday–Friday 8
Tunisia 40 Monday–Friday 8
Turkey 45 Monday–Friday 9
Ukraine 40 Monday–Friday 8
United Arab Emirates 40 (30 during Ramadan) Sunday–Thursday (since September 2006 [16]) 8
United Kingdom 40 Monday–Friday 8
United States 40[17] Monday–Friday 8
Uganda 48 Monday–Saturday 8
Vietnam 40[18] Monday–Friday 8
Yemen 40 Sunday–Thursday 8
Congo, Democratic Republic of 40 Monday–Friday 8
Zambia 40 Monday–Friday 8


In Australia the working week begins on Monday and terminates on Friday. An eight-hour working day is the norm. Working three weekdays a fortnight, for example, would therefore be approximately twenty-four hours (including or excluding traditional breaks tallying up to two hours). Some people work overtime with extra pay on offer for those that do, especially for weekend work. Shops open seven days a week in most states with opening hours from 9am to 5.30pm on weekdays, with some states having two "late night trading" nights on Thursday and Friday, when trading ceases at 9pm. Many supermarkets and low end department stores remain open until midnight and some trade 24/7. Restaurants and cinemas can open at all hours, save for some public holidays. Bars generally trade seven days a week but there are local municipal restrictions concerning trading hours. Banks trade on Monday to Friday, with some branches opening on Saturdays (and in some cases Sundays) in high demand areas. The Post Office (Australia Post) trades Monday to Friday as per retail shops but some retail post offices may trade on Saturdays and Sundays in some shopping centres. A notable exception to the above is South Australia whereby retail establishments are restricted to trading between the hours of 11am-5pm on Sundays.


As a general rule, Brazil adopts a 44-hour working week, which typically begins on Monday and ends on Friday, with a Saturday-Sunday weekend. Brazilian Law,[19] however, also allows for shorter Monday-to-Friday working hours so employees can work on Saturdays or Sundays, as long as the weekly 44-hour limit is respected and the employee gets at least one weekend day. This is usually the case for malls, supermarkets and shops. The law also grants labor unions the right to negotiate different work weeks, within certain limits, which then become binding for that union's labor category. Overtime is allowed, limited to two extra hours a day, with an increase in pay.


The working week in Chile averages 45 hours, most often worked on a Monday-Friday schedule, but is not uncommon to work on Saturdays. Retail businesses mostly operate Monday through Saturday, with larger establishments being open seven days a week.


In China, there is a five-day Monday-Friday working week, prior to which work on Saturday was standard. China began the two-day Saturday–Sunday weekend on May 1, 1995. Most government employees work 5 days a week (including officials and industrial management). Most manufacturing facilities operate on Saturdays as well. However, most shops, museums, and cinemas are open on Saturday and Sunday. Commercial establishments, including consumer banking and consumer telecommunication branches, are generally open throughout the weekend and on most public holidays.

A number of provinces and municipalities across China, including Hebei, Jiangxi and Chongqing, have issued new policies, calling on companies to create 2.5-day weekends. Under the plan, government institutions, State-owned companies, joint-ventures and privately held companies are to be given incentives to allow their workers to take off at noon on Friday before coming back to the office on Monday.[20]

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, there is no official distinction between the working week and weekend. In general, the working week begins on Monday and ends on Saturday, while Saturday is usually a half day, and Sunday is a rest day. The five-day working week has been encouraged by the Government in 2006. However, there are still a number of companies' employees work a half day on Saturday. Most manufacturing facilities operate on Saturday as well, either a half day or full day.

Most shops, museums, and cinemas are open on Saturday and Sunday. Commercial establishments including and consumer telecommunication branches are generally open throughout the weekend and on most public holidays. On the other hand, banks and mail offices open on Saturday morning in general. Most office jobs work on Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (1:00 to 2:00 p.m. for lunch break) and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. usually. However, it is noted that employees commonly have to work unpaid overtime for several hours per day.


In general, Colombia has a 48-hour working week. Depending on the business, people work five days for max 8 hours per day, typically Monday to Friday, or six days for eight hours a day, Monday to Saturday.


In Europe, the standard full-time working week begins on Monday and ends on Saturday. Most retail shops are open for business on Saturday. In Ireland, Italy, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and the former socialist states of Europe, large shopping centres open on Sunday. In European countries such as Germany, there are laws regulating shop hours. With exceptions, shops must be closed on Sundays and from midnight until the early morning hours of every day.


The working week is Monday to Thursday 8 hours per day and Saturday 6.5 hours. Shops are open on Saturday. By law, almost no shop is open on Sunday. However, exceptions have been made, for example for bakeries, petrol stations and shops at railway stations, especially in the largest cities (Vienna, Graz, Salzburg, Linz).


The working week is Monday to Friday. Working time must not exceed 8 hours per day and 38 hours per week (on average, annualised).


The working week is Monday to Friday, eight hours per day, forty hours per week. Most pharmacies, shops, bars, cafés, and restaurants will operate on Saturdays and Sundays.


The working week is Monday to Friday, seven and a half hours per day (+ 30 minutes lunch break), 37.5 hours per week (or 40 hours per week if lunch breaks are included as working hours). Most pharmacies, shops, bars, cafés, and restaurants are open on Saturday and Sunday.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, full-time employment is usually Monday to Friday, eight hours per day and forty hours per week. Many shops and restaurants are open on Saturday and Sunday, but employees still usually work forty hours per week.


Denmark has an official 37-hour working week, with primary work hours between 6:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday. In public institutions, a 30-minute lunch break every day is included as per collective agreements, so that the actual required working time is 34.5 hours. In private companies, the 30-minute lunch break is normally not included. The workday is usually 7.5 hours Monday to Thursday and 7 hours on Friday. Some small shops are closed Monday.[21]


In Estonia, the working week begins on Monday and ends on Friday. Usually a working week is forty hours.


In Finland, the working week begins on Monday and ends on Friday. A full-time job is defined by law as being at least 32 and at most forty hours per week. In retail and restaurant occupations, among others, the weekly hours may be calculated as an average over three to ten weeks, depending on the employment contract. Banks and bureaus are closed on weekends. Most shops are open on Saturdays, while some are closed on Sundays.


The standard working week is Monday to Friday. Shops are also open on Saturday. Small shops may close on a weekday (generally Monday) to compensate workers for having worked on Saturday. By law, préfets may authorise a small number of specific shops to open on Sunday such as bars, cafés, restaurants, and bakeries, which are traditionally open every day but only during the morning on Sunday. Workers are not obliged to work on Sunday. School children have traditionally taken Wednesday off, or had only a half day, making up the time either with longer days for the rest of the week or sometimes a half day on Saturday. This practice was made much less common under new legislation rolled out over 2013–14.[22]


The standard working week is Monday to Friday. State jobs are from 07:00 until 15:00. Shops are open generally Mondays-Wednesdays from 09:30–15:00 and then from 17:30–21:00 and Tuesday-Thursday-Fridays 09:30-21:00. Saturdays generally 09:00-15:00. It is very rare for a shop to open on Sunday.


In Hungary the working week begins on Monday and ends on Friday. Full-time employment is usually considered forty hours per week. For office workers, the work day usually begins between 8 and 9 o'clock and ends between 16:00 and 18:00, depending on the contract and lunch time agreements.

The forty-hour workweek of public servants includes lunch time. Their work schedule typically consists of 8.5 hours between Monday and Thursday (from 8:00 to 16:30) and 6 hours on Fridays (8:00–14:00).


Ireland has a working week from Monday to Friday, with core working hours from 09:00 to 17:30. Retail stores are usually open until 21:00 every Thursday. Many grocery stores, especially in urban areas, are open until 21:00 or later, and some supermarkets and convenience stores may open around the clock. Shops are generally open all day Saturday and a shorter day Sunday (usually 10:00–12:00 to 17:00–19:00).


In Italy the 40-hour rule applies: Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 18:00, with a one-hour break for lunch. Sunday is always a holiday; Saturday is seldom a work day at most companies and universities, but it is generally a regular day for elementary, middle, and high schools.

In the past, shops had a break from 13:00 to 16:00 and they were generally open until 19:00/20:00. Working times for shops have been changed recently and now are at the owner's discretion; malls are generally open Tuesday to Sunday 09:00 to 20:00, 15:00 to 20:00 on Monday, with no lunchtime closing.[23]


Latvia has a Monday to Friday working week capped at forty hours.[24] Shops are mostly open on weekends, many large retail chains having full working hours even on Sunday. Private enterprises usually hold hours from 9:00 to 18:00, however government institutions and others may have a shorter working day, ending at 17:00.


The standard working week in Luxembourg is 40 hours per week with 8 hours per day. [25] Monday through Friday is the standard working week, though many shops and businesses open on Saturdays (though for somewhat restricted hours). Trading on Sundays is extremely restricted and generally limited to grocery stores opening on Sunday mornings. [26]


In the Netherlands, the standard working week is Monday to Friday (40 hours).[27] Shops are almost always open on Saturdays and often on Sundays. Coffeeshops have different opening times in every city; for instance, Leiden's coffeeshops are only open from 17:00 until 23:00.


The working week is Monday to Friday; 8 hours per day, 40 hours in total per week. Large malls are open on Saturday and Sunday; many small shops are closed on Sunday. But make sure you check if they work during the weekend.


The working week is Monday to Friday; 8 hours per day, 40 hours in total per week. Street shops are almost always open on Saturday mornings but shopping centres are typically open every day (including Saturdays and Sundays).


The working week is Monday to Friday; 8 hours per day, 40 hours in total per week. Shops are open on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend begins on Friday, and ends on Monday.


The working week is Monday to Friday; 8 hours per day, 40 hours in total per week. The traditional opening hours are 9:00 to 13:00–14:00 and then 15:00–16:00 to 18:00 for most offices and workplaces. Most shops are open on Saturday mornings and many of the larger shopping malls are open all day Saturday and in some cities like Madrid, they are open most Sundays. Some restaurants, bars, and shops are closed Mondays, as Mondays are commonly a slow business day.[28]


In Sweden, the standard working week is Monday to Friday, both for offices and industry workers. The standard workday is eight hours, although it may vary greatly between different fields and businesses. Most office workers have flexible working hours and can largely decide themselves on how to divide these over the week. The working week is regulated by Arbetstidslagen (Work time law) to a maximum of 40 hours per week.[29] The 40-hour-week is however easily bypassed by overtime. The law allows a maximum of 200 hours overtime per year.[30] There is however no overseeing government agency; the law is often cited as toothless.

Shops are almost always open on Saturdays and often on Sundays, supermarkets and shopping centres, so that employees there have to work. Traditionally, restaurants were closed on Mondays if they were opened during the weekend, but this has in recent years largely fallen out of practice. Many museums do however still remain closed on Mondays.

United Kingdom

The traditional business working week is from Monday to Friday (35 to 40 hours depending on contract). In retail, and other fields such as healthcare, days off might be taken on any day of the week. Employers can make their employees work 7 days a week every week, although the employer is required to allow each employee breaks of either a continuous period of 24 hours every week or a continuous period of 48 hours every two weeks.

Laws for shop opening hours differ between Scotland and the rest of the UK. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, many shops and services are open on Saturdays and increasingly so on Sundays as well. In England and Wales, stores' maximum Sunday opening hours vary according to the total floor space of the store.[31] In Scotland, however, there is no restriction in law on shop opening hours on a Sunday.

Under the EU Working Time Directive, workers cannot be forced to work for more than 48 hours per week on average. However, the UK allows individuals to opt out if they so choose. Individuals can choose to opt in again after opting out, even if opting out was part of their employment contract. It is illegal to dismiss them or treat them unfairly for so doing – but they may be required to give up to 3 months notice to give the employer time to prepare, depending on what their employment contract says.[32]

The minimum holiday entitlement is now 28 days per year, but that can include public holidays, depending on the employee's contract.[33] England & Wales have eight, Scotland has nine, and Northern Ireland has ten permanent public holidays each year.[34][35] The 28 days holiday entitlement means that if the government creates a one-off public holiday in a given year, it is not necessarily a day off and it does not add 1 day to employees' holiday entitlement – unless the employer says otherwise, which some do.


The standard working week in India for most office jobs begins on Monday and ends on Saturday. The work schedule is 48 hours per week, Sunday being a rest day. However, the software industry follows a 5-day week at 40 or 44 hours a week.

Due to power shortages in some states, industrial areas have power shutdowns on staggered days of the week across the state. Hence each area may follow a different rest day for industry. Almost all industries follow a standard 48 hour workweek. All major industries along with services like transport, hospitality, healthcare etc. work in shifts.

Central government offices follow a 5-day week. State governments follow half day work on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Saturdays of each month and rest on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays, except West Bengal's government which follows a Monday–Friday workweek. There is usually no half working day in the private sector and people work in two or three shifts of 8hours each.

Generally establishments other than those having pure desk jobs are open till late evening in most cities, offering more flexibility of time to visitors. Most stores are open for 6 or 7 days a week. Retail shops in malls are open on all days. Doctors are mostly available in morning and evening in their clinics and at hospitals during day. Doctors usually work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. Senior doctors and surgeons work more. Most visiting doctors attached to hospitals visit on all days.

Many services are open till 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. Most Restaurants are open on all days. Small eateries open early and bigger ones open around 11am. Most eateries close between 9 and 11 p.m. Many highway restaurants called dhabas are open for 24 hours a day. Dhabas are available in large numbers on all major state and national highways; outside city or village limits. Some highway fuel stations are open for 24 hours. Overall India works longer hours in most areas than most of the world and offers more flexibility of time for visitors.

Muslim countries

Thursday–Friday weekend

Friday is the Muslim holiday when Jumu'ah prayers take place. Most of the Middle Eastern countries and some other predominantly Muslim countries used to consider Thursday and Friday as their weekend. However, this weekend arrangement is no longer observed ( see below).

Friday weekend (One day weekend)

Three countries in the Muslim world have Friday as the only weekend day and have a six-day working week.

Friday–Saturday weekend

Following reforms in a number of Arab States of the Persian Gulf in the 2000s and 2010s, the Thursday–Friday weekend was replaced by the Friday–Saturday weekend. This change provided for the Muslim offering of Friday prayers and afforded more work days to coincide with the working calendars of international financial markets.

Saturday–Sunday weekend

Other countries with Muslim-majority populations or significant Muslim populations follow the Saturday–Sunday weekend, such as Indonesia, Lebanon, Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco. While Friday is a working day, a long midday break is given to allow time for worship.

Non-contiguous working week

Brunei Darussalam has a non-contiguous working week, consisting of Monday to Thursday plus Saturday. The days of rest are Friday and Sunday.

Some non-government companies in Brunei adopted the working week of Monday to Friday, while the weekend starts on Saturday until Sunday. Depending on the company rules, employees may be required to work half-day on Saturday.


Israel has a five-day Sunday-Thursday workweek, although in some jobs, there is a partial six-day workweek, with the workweek extending to Friday and typically ending midday to accommodate the Jewish Sabbath, which begins Friday evening, and the Muslim Jumu'ah, which begins in the afternoon.[47] A partial six-day workweek with Friday as a half day was standard in Israel for the first few decades of independence, until some private companies experimented with a five-day workweek. By 1978, several companies had tried a five-day workweek and reported positive results.[48] The private sector slowly began to transition to a five-day workweek, with additional hours added to make up for lost time on Friday, and a 1987 labor agreement saw public sector employees switch to a five-day workweek.[49] The standard working week is 43 hours per week. A workday is 8.6 hours except under special cases by law.[50] In 2014, the average workweek was 45.8 hours for men and 37.1 hours for women.[51]


The standard business office working week in Japan begins on Monday and ends on Friday, 40 hours per week. This system became common between 1980 and 2000. Before then, most workers in Japan worked full-time from Monday to Friday and a half day on Saturday, 45–48 hours per week. Public schools and facilities (excluding city offices) are generally open on Saturdays for half a day.[52]


Mexico has a 48-hour work week (8 hours × 6 days),[53] it is a custom in most industries and trades to work half day on Saturday. Shops and retailers open on Saturday and Sunday in most large cities.


Mongolia has a Monday to Friday working week, with a normal maximum time of 40 hours. Most shops are also open on weekends, many large retail chains having full opening hours even on Sunday. Private enterprises conduct business from 9:00 to 18:00, and government institutions may have full working hours.


Nepal follows the ancient Vedic calendar, which has the resting day on Saturday and the first day of the working week on Sunday.[54] Schools in Nepal are off on Saturdays, so it is common for pupils to go to school from Sunday to Friday.

In November 2012, the home ministry proposed a two-day holiday per week plan for all government offices except at those providing essential services like electricity, water, and telecommunications.[55] This proposal followed a previous proposal by the Nepali government, i.e. Load-shedding Reduction Work Plan 2069 BS, for a five working day plan for government offices as part of efforts to address the problem of load-shedding. The proposal has been discussed in the Administration Committee; it is not yet clear whether the plan includes private offices and educational institutions.

New Zealand

In New Zealand the working week is typically Monday to Friday 8:30 to 17:00, but it is not uncommon for many industries (especially construction) to work a half day on Saturday, normally from 8:00 or 9:00 to about 13:00. Supermarkets, malls, independent retailers, and increasingly, banks, remain open seven days a week.


In Russia the common working week begins on Monday and ends on Friday with 8 hours per day.

Federal law defines a working week duration of 5 or 6 days with no more than 40 hours worked. In all cases Sunday is a holiday. With a 5-day working week the employer chooses which day of the week will be the second day off. Usually this is a Saturday, but in some organizations (mostly government), it is Monday. Government offices can thereby offer Saturday service to people with a normal working schedule.

There are non-working public holidays in Russia; all of them fall on a fixed date. By law, if such a holiday coincides with an ordinary day off, the next work day becomes a day off. An official public holiday cannot replace a regular day off. Each year the government can modify working weeks near public holidays in order to optimize the labor schedule. For example, if a five-day week has a public holiday on Tuesday or Thursday, the calendar is rearranged to provide a reasonable working week.

Exceptions include occupations such as transit workers, shop assistants, and security guards. In many cases independent schemes are used. For example, the service industry often uses the X-through-Y scheme (Russian: X через Y) when every worker uses X days for work and the next Y days for rest.

Soviet Union

In the Soviet Union the standard working week was 41 hours: 8 hours, 12 min. Monday to Friday. Before the mid-1960s there was a 42-hour 6-day standard working week: 7 hours Monday to Friday and 6 hours on Saturday.


In Singapore the common working week is 5-day work week, which runs from Monday to Friday beginning 8:30 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Some companies work a half day on Saturdays. Shops, supermarkets and malls are open seven days a week and on most public holidays.

South Africa

In South Africa the working week traditionally was Monday to Friday with a half-day on Saturday and Sunday a public holiday. However, since 2013 there have been changes to the working week concept based on more than one variation. The week can be 5 days of work, or more. The maximum number of hours someone can work in a week remains 45.[56]


In Thailand the working week is Monday to Saturday for a maximum of 44 to 48 hours per week (Saturday is usually a half or full day).

However, government offices and some private companies have modernised through enacting the American and European standard of working Monday through Friday.

Currently, 50% of the luxury beach resorts in Phuket have a five-day working week. Of the remaining 50%, 23% have taken steps to reform their 6-day workweek through such measures as reducing the working week from 6 days to 5.5 days.

United States

The standard working week in the United States begins on Monday and ends on Friday, 40 hours per week, with Saturday and Sunday being weekend days. However, in practice, only 42% of employees work 40-hour weeks. The average workweek for full-time employees is 47 hours.[57] Most stores are open for business on Saturday and often on Sunday as well, except in a few places where prohibited by law (see Blue law). Increasingly, employers are offering compressed work schedules to employees. Some government and corporate employees now work 80 hours over 9 days during a two-week period (commonly 9 hour days Monday to Thursday, 8 hours on one Friday, and off the following Friday). Jobs in healthcare, law enforcement, transportation, retail, and other service positions commonly require employees to work on the weekend or to do shift work.[58]

See also


  1. 1 2 Witold Rybczynski (August 1991). "Waiting for the Weekend". The Atlantic. pp. 35–52.
  2. Sahadi, Jeanne (2007-06-07). "22% of workers work more than 48 hours a week, study finds - Jun. 7, 2007". Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  3. Gapminder Foundation (2011) "Gapminder World" graph of working hours per week plotted against purchasing power- and inflation-adjusted GDP per capita over time Archived November 27, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
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