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"Weekend" redirects here. For other uses, see Weekend (disambiguation).

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 (U.S. English), is the part of the seven-day week devoted to labour. In most Western countries it is Monday to Friday; the weekend is a time period including Saturday and Sunday. Some people extend the weekend to Friday nights as well. In some Christian traditions, Sunday is the "Lord's Day" and the day of rest and worship. In other Christian traditions, they recognize the solar calendar and their day of rest is from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday. Jewish Shabbat or Biblical Sabbath lasts from sunset on Friday to the fall of full darkness on Saturday, leading to a Friday-Saturday weekend in Israel. Muslim-majority countries usually have a Thursday-Friday or Friday-Saturday weekend. 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 Dies Solis (Day of the Sun) decreed by Emperor Constantine and from the Biblical Sabbath. The Christian Sabbath itself 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 Seventh Day Adventist), 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.

The first five-day workweek in the United States was instituted by a New England cotton mill in 1908 to afford Jewish workers the ability to adhere to the Sabbath.[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.[2]

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. For example, a series of workweek reforms in the mid-to-late 2000s and early 2010s brought much of the Middle East in synchronization with the majority of countries around the world, in terms of working hours, the length of the workweek, and the dates of the weekend.


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] Hours worked per capita in the US increased 20 percent from 1970 to 2002.[7]

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][8][9][10][11][12] Other economists are concerned that shortening the work week will unfairly limit individual earning potential and weaken developed economies due to competition from the less regulated developing world.[7] 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.[13]

Around the world

(Countries are listed alphabetically; some appear under the subsections for Islamic countries and the European Union.)

Country Workweek Typical hours worked per day
(Maximum per day)
Afghanistan Saturday-Wednesday 8
Algeria Sunday-Thursday 8
Austria Monday-Friday
Bahrain Sunday-Thursday 8
Bangladesh Sunday-Thursday 8
Brazil Monday-Friday 8
Brunei Darussalam Monday-Thursday and Saturday 8
Bulgaria Monday-Friday 8
Chile Monday-Friday 8
China Monday-Friday
Croatia Monday-Friday 8
Colombia Monday-Friday 8
Czech Republic Monday-Friday 8
Denmark Monday-Friday 7
Egypt Sunday-Thursday 8
Estonia Monday-Friday 8
Finland Monday-Friday 8
France Monday-Friday 8
Hungary Monday-Friday 8
Hong Kong Monday-Friday
India Monday-Saturday 8
Iran Saturday-Thursday 8
Iraq Sunday-Thursday 8
Ireland Monday-Friday
Israel Sunday-Thursday 8
Italy Monday-Friday
Japan Monday-Friday 8
Jordan Sunday-Thursday 8
Bangladesh Sunday-Thursday 8
Kuwait Sunday-Thursday 8
Indonesia Monday-Friday 8
Lebanon Monday-Friday 8
Libya Sunday-Thursday 8
Maldives Sunday-Thursday 8
Mauritania Sunday-Thursday 8
Malaysia Sunday-Thursday
(Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu)
(Except: Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu)
Mexico Monday-Friday 8
Mongolia Monday-Friday 8
Morocco Monday-Friday 8
Nepal Sunday-Friday 8
Netherlands Monday-Friday 8
New Zealand Monday-Friday
Oman Sunday-Thursday 8
Poland Monday-Friday 8
Portugal Monday-Friday 8
Qatar Sunday-Thursday 8
Romania Monday-Friday 8
Russia Monday-Friday 8
Pakistan Monday-Friday 8
Poland Monday-Friday 8
Saudi Arabia Sunday-Thursday 8
Spain Monday-Friday 8
South Africa Monday-Friday 9[14]
Sudan Sunday-Thursday 8
Sweden Monday-Friday 8
Syria Sunday-Thursday 8
Thailand Monday-Saturday 8
Tunisia Monday-Friday 8
Turkey Monday-Friday 8
United Arab Emirates Sunday-Thursday 8
United Kingdom Monday-Friday 8
United States Monday-Friday 8
Yemen Sunday-Thursday 8


A 45 hour workweek in Chile begins on Monday and ends on Friday, and Saturday and Sunday constitute the weekend. Malls, supermarkets, and stores operate on Saturday, and in towns and cities most of them open also on Sunday.


In China, the workweek begins on Monday and ends on Friday. China began the two-day Saturday-Sunday weekend in 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.


In general, Colombia has a 48 hour workweek. Depending on the business, people work five days for about 9.6 hours per day, typically Monday through Friday, or six days for eight hours a day, Monday through Saturday.


In Europe, the standard full-time working week begins on Monday and ends on Friday. Most retail shops are open for business on Saturday. In Ireland, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and the former socialist states of Europe, large shopping centres open on Sunday. In the Netherlands, however, there is controversy involving political parties, especially the SGP,[15] tend to disagree with it. 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 workweek is Monday through Friday, although Friday is usually a half day. Shops are open on Saturday. By law, almost no shop is open on Sunday. However, exceptions have been made in Vienna.


The workweek is Monday through Friday, eight hours per day, forty hours per week. Most pharmacies, shops, bars, cafés, and restaurants are open on Saturday and Sunday.


The workweek is Monday through 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 workweek 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.[16]


In Estonia, the workweek begins on Monday and ends on Friday. Usually a workweek 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.


The standard workweek is Monday through Friday. Shops are also open on Saturday. Small shops may close on a weekday (generally Monday) to compensate workers for having worked 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.


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. Medium sized shops and supermarkets are usually open Saturday, with restricted opening hours (9-13:00 or 14:00), but larger retail stores, shopping malls, and supermarkets are open every day, with the exception of public holidays. In shopping malls, shops usually open at 10:00 and close by 20:00 or 21:00, and 18:00 on Sunday. Some supermarkets and petrol stations are open 24 hours, and in cities there are usually some small round-the-clock grocery stores serving local neighborhoods.

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 workweek 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. 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.[17]


Latvia has a Monday to Friday workweek capped at forty hours.[18] 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 workweek is Monday through 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.


The workweek is Monday through Friday; 7 to 8 hours per day, 35 to 40 hours in total per week. Shops are almost always open on Saturdays and often on Sundays, especially food shops and shopping centres.


The workweek is Monday through Friday; 8 hours per day, 40 hours in total per week. Shops are open on Saturday and Sunday.


The working week is Monday through 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.


In Sweden, the standard workweek is Monday through 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 workweek is regulated by Arbetstidslagen (Work time law) to a maximum of 40 hours per week.[19] The 40-hour-week is however easily bypassed by overtime. The law allows a maximum of 200 hours overtime per year.[20] There is however no overseeing government agency; the law is often cited as toothless. In Sweden the workers are not paid for the standard 1 hour total break. Using the standard way of counting the hours, Sweden actually has a 45-hour workweek.

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 normal business working week is from Monday to Friday (35 to 40 hours depending on contract).

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' hours on a Sunday are determined by the total floor space of a store.[21] In Scotland however there is no restriction in law on shop opening hours on a Sunday.

The EU Working Time Directive regulates that workers cannot be forced to work for more than 48 hours per week on average (although the UK allows individuals to opt out if they so choose). The minimum holiday entitlement is now 28 days per year but that includes public holidays.[22] England & Wales have eight, Scotland has nine, and Northern Ireland has ten permanent Public Holiday days per year.[23][24]

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, there is no longer any official distinction between workweek and weekend, the former six-day working week having been abandoned in 2006. Most local and international companies' employees work from Monday to Friday. Most manufacturing facilities operate on Saturday 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.


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

Many services are open till 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. Restaurants close between 9 to 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.

Muslim countries

Thursday–Friday weekend

Friday is the Muslim holy day when Jumu'ah prayers take place. After Saudi Arabia changed its weekend to Friday-Saturday in 2013, only Afghanistan still adheres to this weekend scheme.

Friday weekend

Some Muslim-majority countries have Friday as the only weekend day and have a six-day workweek.

  • In Afghanistan, Thursday is half a day of work. Government buildings close around 11:30 (local time).
  • In Iran, Thursday is part of the weekend for public offices, but for some jobs and most schools, Thursday is a half-day of work.

Friday–Saturday weekend

Following reforms in a number of Arab states in 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 Jumu'ah 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 Lebanon, Turkey, and Tunisia. While Friday is a working day, a long midday break is given to allow time for worship. Those countries are:

  • Indonesia
  • Lebanon The workweek is Monday through Friday; 8 hours per day, 40 hours in total per week. Large malls are open on Saturday and Sunday; many small shops close on Sunday.
  • Malaysia Except the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, and Kedah which have a Friday-Saturday weekend, rather than the Saturday-Sunday weekend as in the rest of the country.
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan follows the standard international 40-hour working week, from Monday to Friday, with Saturday and Sunday being the weekend.[33] However, in many schools and enterprises, Friday is usually considered a half-day.
  • Tunisia The workweek is Monday through Friday; 8 hours per day, 40 hours in total per week.
  • Turkey Working above 45 hours is considered overtime, and the employer is required to pay 1.5x the hourly wage per hour.
  • Srilanka The working week in offices, including post offices, is usually from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Some businesses also open until about 1pm on Saturday. Shops normally open from 10am to about 7pm weekdays, and until 3pm on Saturday. Businesses run by Muslims may take an extended lunch break on Friday so staff can attend Friday prayers. Banks are generally open from 9am to 3pm on weekdays, although some banks are open on Saturday. Tourist restaurants are generally open between 8am and 11pm. Bars usually close by midnight and last call is often a sobering 11pm.

Non-contiguous workweek

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


For most Israelis, the workweek begins on Sunday and ends on Thursday or Friday midday to accommodate Jewish Sabbath, which begins Friday night.[34] The standard workweek is 43 hours per week. A workday is 8 hours except under special cases by law.[35]


The standard business office workweek 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 (called "Han don", means half-holiday. "don" from the Dutch word "Zondag"), 45–48 hours per week. On Friday many people say "HanaKin," which means "flowery Friday." Public schools and facilities (excluding city offices) are also open on Saturdays. However, it should be noted that most Japanese company staff will work in excess of 60 hours a week, through mainly unpaid overtime.


Mexico has a 40 hour workweek running from Monday to Friday. However, it is a custom in most industries and trades to work half day on Saturday, which is the day workers get paid. 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.[36] Schools in Nepal are off on Saturdays, so it is common for students to go to school Sunday through 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.[37] 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 workweek begins on Monday and ends on Friday with 8 hours per day.

Federal law defines a workweek duration of 5 or 6 days with no more than 40 hours worked. In all cases Sunday is a holiday. With a 5-day workweek 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 workweeks 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 workweek.

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 workweek was 41 hours: 8 hours, 12 min. Monday through Friday. Before the mid-1960s there was a 42 hour 6-day standard workweek: 7 hours Monday through Friday and 6 hours on Saturday.

South Africa

In South Africa the workweek 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 workweek concept based on more than one variations. The week can be 5 days of work and more than 5 days of work ,too.The maximum number of hours someone can work in a week remains 45 hours.


In Thailand, the workweek is Monday through 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 modernized 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 workweek. 23% of the remaining 50% have taken steps to reform their 6-day workweek through such measures as reducing the workweek from 6 days to 5.5 days.

United States

The standard workweek in the United States begins on Monday and ends on Friday, 40 hours per week, with Saturday and Sunday being weekend days. Most stores are open for business on Saturday and may be open a full or half-day on Sunday as well, except where prohibited by law (see Blue law). Increasingly, employers are offering compressed work schedules to employees. Many 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.[38]

See also

Organized labour portal


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