Key to Valid Alternative Schedule: How Workweek, Workday Are Set

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Our company has established a 9/80 alternative workweek schedule, but the employees work 44 hours one week and 36 hours the next week. Everything I read limits an alternative schedule to 40 hours per week. Please explain.

It is correct that the election of a valid 9/80 alternative workweek schedule is limited to 40 hours per workweek. A 9/80 schedule is a little different in that the employee works four 9-hour days and one 8-hour day in one workweek and in the next workweek the employee works four 9-hour days with one day off.

All employers are required to designate a workweek and a workday.

• A “workweek” is any seven consecutive 24-hour periods starting on the same calendar day each week.

• A “workday” is any consecutive 24-hour period starting at the same time each calendar day.

The key to establishing a valid 9/80 is to identify a workweek that allows the employee to work 40 hours in each designated workweek. This is accomplished by splitting the day.

One example is to start the 24-hour workday at 12 noon, which results in 4 hours worked in one day and 5 hours worked in the next.

The next step is to choose a workweek. If the one day off is a Friday, for example, the workweek will begin at 12 noon on each Friday and run through 12 noon the next Friday. This method results in a correct 40-hour workweek.

Before establishing this type of 9/80 alternative workweek, review an explanation of this method and a sample calendar on HRCalifornia.


The Labor Law Helpline is a service to California Chamber of Commerce preferred and executive members. For expert explanations of labor laws and Cal/OSHA regulations, not legal counsel for specific situations, call (800) 348-2262 or submit your question at www.hrcalifornia.com.

Staff Contact: Barbara Wilber

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Barbara Wilber
About Barbara Wilber
Barbara Wilber joined the CalChamber in 2005 and currently serves as an HR adviser. She previously served as a deputy labor commissioner and hearing officer with the Labor Commissioner in the California Department of Industrial Relations. Her 24 years of experience includes settlement conferences, wage claim determinations and resolving employee disputes brought to the Office of the Labor Commissioner.​​​​​