Know the Law: Implementing a Four-Day Workweek

Published: Union Leader
February 6, 2022

Q: How can I implement a four-day or alternative workweek schedule at my company without violating Federal and New Hampshire Wage and Hour Overtime Laws?

A: Flexible work schedules may be a predominant part of workplaces going forward. When considering alternative schedules, companies must be careful to stay in compliance with employment laws.

New Hampshire and Federal Overtime Laws

New Hampshire and federal wage and hour laws require non-exempt hourly employees to be paid at the rate of 1 1/2 times their regular rate for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Even if an employer pays every two weeks, overtime is calculated per workweek. New Hampshire’s definition of a workweek is a fixed period of 168 hours. In other words, a workweek does not have to begin at midnight on a particular day; it only has to be a period spanning 168 hours.

New Hampshire does not have a daily overtime limit (for example, overtime after 8 hours worked). Therefore, employers considering a compressed workweek are not required to pay overtime for hours worked over a certain amount in a single workday. The New Hampshire rules coincide with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requirements.

Alternative Work Plans

There are two four-day workweek schedules in practice that still have employees on the clock for 40 hours a week, the 4/10 pay plan and the 9/80 pay plan.

• 4/10 pay plan: employees work four 10-hour days in a workweek and have an extra day off each week.
• 9/80 pay plan: employees take one day off every two weeks. Employees work four 9-hour days followed by an 8-hour day split between two separate workweeks. The first 4 hours is applied to the end of the first workweek and the second 4 hours is applied to the beginning of the second workweek. For the second workweek, employees work four 9-hour days and have the fifth day off. Employers must properly identify the 168 hour workweek for the split day; typically, it would start at noon on a Friday and continue through noon on the following Friday.

In each alternative work plan, non-exempt employees may still work and be paid for overtime over 40 hours in a workweek.

Employers considering one of these alternative 4-day work plans should consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with the law as there are various requirements that must be met to make such a change.

Know the Law is a bi-weekly column sponsored by McLane Middleton. Questions and ideas for future columns should be emailed to Know the Law provides general legal information, not legal advice. We recommend that you consult a lawyer for guidance specific to your particular situation.