Work Week and weekend: Definition and Meaning

Judaism, which dates to at least the sixth century BC, is most likely where a continuous seven-day cycle first appeared. This cycle ignores the moon's phases entirely and has a definite day of rest. To conform to global markets, more nations adopted either a Friday-Saturday or a Saturday-Sunday weekend throughout the ensuing decades, especially in the 1940s and 1960s. A number of workweek changes implemented in the middle to late 2000s and early 2010s brought the majority of Arab nations' working hours, workweek lengths, and weekend days into alignment with those of the majority of other nations.

Meaning of Workweek and Weekend

Any day of the workweek is referred to as a weekday or workday. This tendency is frequently observed in other institutions, such as educational institutions. The definition of what constitutes a weekend varies depending on the calendar days, time frame, and/or regional definition of the work week. The time after work on the final weekday of the week is sometimes included when the term "weekend" is used. A workweek that is longer than 48 hours is currently considered excessive by the International Labour Organization (ILO). At least 614.2 million individuals worldwide were working excessive hours, according to a 2007 ILO report.


In the developed world, actual workweek lengths have been decreasing. From before the Civil War through the beginning of the 20th century, the duration of the workweek gradually decreased in the United States. Between 1900 and 1920, there was a sharp decline, particularly between 1913 and 1919, when weekly hours fell by roughly 8%. Henry Ford standardized on a five-day workweek instead of the customary six days in 1926 while maintaining employee pay. During the 1920s, the number of hours worked per week steadied around 49, and during the Great Depression, it dropped below 40.

President Herbert Hoover advocated for fewer hours worked as an alternative to layoffs during the Great Depression. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt later signed, mandated a five-day, 40-hour workweek for many workers. Since then, more people are working extremely long weeks on average, and women are now employed full-time at a significantly higher rate.

Economic Impact of the Weekend

  • The weekend has increased consumer spending on Saturdays, as going out to eat, driving in a car, or seeing a movie have become Saturday staples. Due to rising industrial productivity or the relocation of production to lower-wage nations, industrialized economies have concurrently converted manufacturing jobs to service jobs.

  • On Sunday, the majority of places of entertainment, including shops and theaters, were required to close as several authorities continued to impose stringent blue laws. In the years following World War II, these laws started to loosen, and Sunday also started to become a popular day for leisure activities.

  • The weekend has started to lose significance in recent years. Despite the fact that most individuals work a five-day week, the competitive nature of the modern economy means that closing a factory or office for two days would be an unaffordable expense when hardware costs exceed human expenses. Thus, a large number of people regularly work on weekends. Due to the increased load, most employers either offer time off during the middle of the week or charge more for weekend work, either by agreement or by law.

  • There is still a lot of variation between the workweek and the weekend in many regions. On a weekend, businesses that depend on office workers will do far less well than those in the suburbs or in residential neighborhoods. The busiest nights for pubs, restaurants, clubs, and theaters are Friday and Saturday, since those are the days when people can safely sleep in and don't have to worry as much about the consequences of a hangover. Many websites get significantly less activity on the weekends.

Optimal Number of Hours Per Week for Working

"The average French person works 491 fewer hours annually than they did in 1970. Canadians work 215 fewer hours a week than the Dutch. In contrast, during the past 40 years, Americans have only reduced their yearly workload by 112 hours. Today, Americans put in more hours at work than most, if not all, workers in wealthy nations. The additional work is providing less and less. I'm not sure how to incorporate it, but it looks like this article needs more statistics on change over time.

Muslim-Majority Countries

  • Thursday–Friday Weekend − Jumu'ah prayers are performed on Friday, which is the weekly day of prayer in Islam. Due to this, the majority of Middle Eastern nations and a few other nations with a predominately Muslim population used to view Thursday and Friday as their weekends. However, a sizable portion of nations with a majority of Muslims no longer observe this weekend schedule.

  • Friday Weekend (One Day Weekend) − Only two countries with a majority of Muslims observe a six-day workweek, with Friday serving as the only day of the weekend.

    • In Iran, Thursday is a half-day of work for the majority of government offices, and all schools are closed, but it is a working day for the majority of jobs. Private and foreign businesses, however, typically take Friday and Saturday off.

    • Many offices in Djibouti open at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning and close at 13:00 or 14:00 in the afternoon, especially in the summer because of the intense heat.

  • Friday–Saturday Weekend − In January 2000, Jordan became the first Arab nation in the Middle East to adopt a Friday-Saturday weekend schedule. In the years that followed, additional Arab states joined. The Thursday-Friday weekend was replaced by the Friday-Saturday weekend in the 2000s and 2010s as a result of reforms in a number of Arab states in the Persian Gulf. This modification allowed for extra workdays to align with the working schedules of the global financial markets and allowed Muslims to offer Friday prayers.


The time between Friday night and Sunday night is typically regarded as the weekend. Most people consider their weekend to begin on Friday night, after work or school, because the weekend is traditionally thought of as the time between the end of the workday (or school week) and the start of a new one. Any period of 168 hours that occurs regularly across time is considered a work week.

Therefore, management is free to choose any start and finish times and dates for the official corporate work week; however, the business must adhere to that work week consistently. This is a key idea in determining employee remuneration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is meaning of Business Day?

Ans. Any day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or one on which banking institutions are compelled by law or by governmental action to close is considered a business day.

Q2. What do you mean by Day count convention?

Ans. When it comes to financial investments like bonds, notes, loans, mortgages, medium-term notes, swaps, and forward rate agreements (FRAs), a day count standard governs how interest builds up over time. This establishes how many days there are between two coupon payments, calculating both the amount transmitted on payment dates and the interest accumulated for the intervals between payments.

Q3. What is Six-hour day?

Ans. The six-hour day is a schedule that requires contributors from an institution to put in six hours a day. This contrasts with the typical eight-hour day or any other type of time structure. As a superior alternative to the four-day workweek, it has also been suggested as a strategy to shorten working hours.

Updated on: 11-May-2023


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