- History & Culture
How America settled on a 5-day workweek
The U.S. Congress is debating shortening the official work week to 4 days. Here’s a look at how clocking in for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week became the norm.
Should the U.S. adopt a four-day workweek? The question has been a hot-button issue for years, and legislators recently reintroduced a potential law that would take the U.S. workweek from a maximum of 40 to just 32 hours.
But as you consider what you’d do with an extra day off every week, you may wonder why so many Americans are required to work 40 hours to begin with—or why Saturday and Sunday are considered sacred days off. Here’s how those concepts became workplace norms.
For centuries, U.S. employers expected their workers to put in lengthy workweeks. But in the early 19th century many began to grant one exception: Sunday. This was largely due to lobbying by Sabbatarians, Christians who successfully