Beyond the 9 to 5: A Deep Dive into the 9/80 Work Schedule

Emily Kho
January 22, 2024

In today's fast-paced world, the search for optimal work-life balance and job satisfaction is more important than ever. Especially in sectors like retail and specialized industries such as cannabis, attracting and retaining top talent can be challenging. 

The key to success in this competitive environment often lies in offering unique perks and flexible work arrangements that cater to the ever-changing needs of a diverse workforce. One innovative arrangement gaining traction is the 9/80 work schedule. This approach redefines the traditional workweek, offering a blend of flexibility and stability. It not only enhances employee well-being but also signals a progressive mindset. 

By adopting this model, companies across various sectors can align themselves more closely with the goals of current employees who value balance between their professional and personal lives. 

What is a 9/80 Work Schedule?

The 9/80 work schedule is a flexible working arrangement where employees work a total of 80 hours spread across nine days within a two-week period, typically getting every other Friday off. This schedule allows employees to enjoy a three-day weekend biweekly without reducing the total number of working hours.

How Does a 9/80 Schedule Work?

In a 9/80 work schedule, the two-week period is divided into two halves. During the first week, employees work four nine-hour days and an eight-hour day. The second week consists of four nine-hour days, followed by a day off. This pattern repeats every two weeks, offering employees an extra day for personal commitments, relaxation, or hobbies.

A break down of the 9/80 work schedule.

Example of a 9/80 Work Schedule

A typical example of a 9/80 work schedule looks like this: an employee works from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Thursday, and 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Friday in the first week. The following week, they work the same hours from Monday to Thursday and then enjoy a three-day weekend.

An example of how the 9/80 work schedule works.

What Type of Businesses are Best Suited for a 9/80 Work Schedule?

The 9/80 work schedule, with its unique structure, is not a one-size-fits-all solution and tends to work better for certain types of businesses. The key to implementing this type of schedule successfully depends on the nature of the work and the flexibility of business operations. 

Here are some types of businesses where a 9/80 work schedule could be particularly effective:

  • Retail Businesses: Stores with flexible staffing can benefit from this schedule by managing shifts to ensure customer service remains uninterrupted.
  • Cannabis Dispensaries: Similar to retail, dispensaries can adapt to this schedule, balancing employee needs with customer demands.
  • Technology Companies: Given the project-based nature of work, tech companies can accommodate the 9/80 schedule without disrupting workflow.
  • Engineering Firms: These firms often work on long-term projects, making it easier to integrate a 9/80 schedule without affecting project timelines.
  • Government Agencies: Some government departments have successfully adopted this schedule, improving employee satisfaction without compromising public service.
  • Consulting Services: Consulting firms can offer this flexibility, as their work often involves varying hours and independent project management.

Businesses that can flexibly manage their workforce and have the capability to improve productivity and service quality with an alternative schedule are ideal candidates for the 9/80 work schedule. This model's versatility makes it an appealing option for both employees and employers, fostering a more balanced and satisfying work environment. 

However, it's crucial for each business to evaluate its specific operational dynamics and workforce needs to determine if this schedule aligns with its goals and capabilities.

Benefits of a 9/80 Work Schedule

The 9/80 work schedule brings numerous benefits with it, both for employees and employers. These advantages go beyond scheduling flexibility and touch upon various aspects of work-life balance and operational efficiency. 

Here are five key benefits of a 9/80 schedule:

  1. Improved Work-Life Balance: The extra day off biweekly allows employees to manage personal responsibilities and hobbies, leading to better work-life balance.
  2. Enhanced Employee Morale: Regular extended weekends can boost morale and job satisfaction.
  3. Reduced Commuting Time: Fewer days traveling to work means less commuting stress and expenses.
  4. Increased Attractiveness as an Employer: Offering a 9/80 work schedule as a part of an employee’s benefits package can make a company more appealing to applicants.
  5. Environmental Benefits: Less commuting contributes to reduced carbon emissions and a smaller ecological footprint.

These benefits highlight how the 9/80 work schedule can positively transform the workplace, fostering a happier, more productive, and environmentally conscious workforce.

A family is out for a walk on a Friday, because the parents have a 9/80 work schedule.

Disadvantages of a 9/80 Work Schedule

Despite its many advantages, the 9/80 work schedule is not without its drawbacks. It's important for businesses to consider these potential challenges when deciding whether this schedule is right for them. 

The main disadvantages of a 9/80 work schedule include:

  • Longer Workdays: The extended daily hours might be tiring or not a good fit for some employees.
  • Potential for Reduced Customer Service: On days with fewer staff, customer service might be impacted.
  • Fixed Schedules: The 9/80 work schedule works best when it follows a strict, consistent schedule. This can be problematic when someone calls in sick or needs a specific day off for an appointment. This can then lead to other employees going into overtime, which is an added business expense. 

While the 9/80 work schedule offers several appealing benefits, it's crucial for organizations to weigh these against the potential downsides to ensure it aligns with their operational needs and employee welfare.

Legal Considerations for a 9/80 Work Schedule in California

In California, employers must be mindful of overtime laws, as well as meal and rest break requirements when implementing a 9/80 schedule. Specifically, they should ensure compliance with the California Labor Code sections 510 and 511, which set the requirements that need to be met. 

According to California Labor Code section 510, overtime pay of time and a half begins with any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek. While the 9/80 work schedule would violate this section and require employers to pay overtime, there’s an exception to this rule – an alternative workweek schedule adopted according to California Labor Code section 511. 

The California Labor Code section 511 has very specific steps that need to be completed in order for this exception to be approved. Below, we’ve summarized what’s required to stay compliant:

  1. Secret Ballot: The 9/80 work schedule has to be favored by at least two-thirds of the employees in an identifiable work unit or department. Before this secret ballot takes place, the employer has to provide a written disclosure that outlines the wages, hours, and benefits in both English and non-English languages (if more than 5% of the employees within the unit or department speak a different language). When holding the secret ballot, employers must have it at their own expense during working hours.
  2. Submit Results: Results from the secret ballot must then be submitted to the California Division of Labor and Research. 
  3. New Election (If necessary): A new ballot would have to be held within 30 days if one-third of employees file a petition to revoke the alternative schedule. If no petition is filed, a new election is not required. 
  4. Implementation: Once approved, employees who are affected by the new schedule will have to choose a day off between Monday to Friday. After choosing a day, their scheduled day off is fixed and can’t be changed unless approved by a manager. 
  5. Exceptions: Some employees can ask to be exempt from this new work schedule, such as single parents with small children, people with certain medical conditions, or university students who are working and studying. Additionally, work units that maintain a 24-hour coverage schedule would be exempt from this compressed workweek schedule as well. 

If you’re an employer in California who’s thinking of implementing the 9/80 work schedule, it’s important to be mindful of the rules and regulations to avoid any penalties or lawsuits. 

Final Thoughts on a 9/80 Schedule

The 9/80 work schedule offers an intriguing balance of work and personal time that can potentially enhance productivity and job satisfaction. While it offers some great benefits, it's not without its challenges. Businesses must carefully weigh the pros and cons, considering their specific operational needs and the well-being of their employees. 

Whether for a retail store, a cannabis dispensary, or any other business, the 9/80 schedule could be a step toward a more flexible, balanced, and productive workplace. 

There’s no doubt that keeping up with payroll and HR for your dispensary can be challenging and time-consuming. Explore how KayaPush can take payroll off your plate with our people management system designed specifically to fit the needs of cannabis dispensaries. Book a demo with us today! 

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