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Ask HN: Companies hiring for a 4-day workweek?
278 points by endorphine 7 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 183 comments
I'm pretty interested in finding a fully remote company, that hires for a 4-day workweek (as opposed to 5).

How can someone (in Europe) find such employers?

In most tech companies you can negotiate a lower number of days per week for lesser pay. In the last two decades I've been in the industry, I knew very junior people (early in their career) and very senior people doing 3-4 day workweek due to personal reasons in pretty much every company I worked in. It wasn't a big deal. Ability to take 3-6 month long unpaid breaks (sabbaticals), 4 weeks of PTOs, plus sick/carer leaves are quite standard in most good tech companies.

During Covid, many companies started doing rest/reset days every quarter that is basically a forced holiday for everyone together (no FOMO, no pressure to check emails, attend calls etc). Some companies have started to do rest/reset week every quarter! (because they think its necessary given their higher stress level work).

Getting time off isn't that hard. What is actually hard is getting high-quality work (where you get back as much as you give), satisfying work and a great team to do it with. Without great work and team, but have lot of PTO/perks etc it becomes very unsatisfying and not able to sustain interest.

I also see many companies screwing up by not investing in talent/skill development activities (not the typical corp L&D where they organise a workshop with some random person who seems very preachy and doesn't really practice). I wish they did this better and enabled people to manage their personal time better on their own.

> In most tech companies you can negotiate a lower number of days per week for lesser pay

I don't think most companies will let you. I tried to negotiate this many times in the past for engineers and it was never successful. Even for companies that otherwise were very flexible or knew that a 4 day work week was the only way to afford someone they wanted to hire.

Many tech companies will do this and its worth asking. But most is not really accurate.

The impression I've always gotten was that you can't get this up front, but you can negotiate for it eventually. The past few places I've worked had part-time people, but they all seemed to be AAA employees that the company was happy to bend over backwards to keep.

I guess my personal experience collaborates this: I started working 4 days a week for personal reasons, using a large chunk of saved vacation days (we in the Netherlands have quite more then in e.g. the US), and then just made that permanent. It helped that in that timeframe (end of previous century) more women were starting in IT, and parttime work was accepted. In my later years as a IT consultant in the public sector, several clients actually only hired for a maximum of 32 hours a week.

Now no longer working through an agency, I was kindly asked if I could work for longer hours and accepted, so now working 36 instead of 32 hours a week.

My experience is limited (couple of UK companies), but I've twice been able to negotiate down to 4 days as an existing employee without much difficulty, but found it much harder (failed) to negotiate starting at 4 days with a new employer.

I've negotiated down to 4 days (1st time 34 hrs/wk, 2cnd time 37.5 'cos they wouldn't allow reduced hours, 3rd time 32 hours) at 3 UK employers. This was at interview time. It seems to me you're in a strong position both at interview when they need to fill a position, and once you've been there a while and shown you can deliver. BTW the 2cnd time, when I still had to do the same hours, was not fun cos the days ended up being long and tiring, although younger people with less caring responsibilities mgight not find this too bad.

At what point in the application-and-interview process did you usually bring up the 4-day-week requirement?

Towards the end of an interview when its going well. :) Its not the 1st thing you ask, but probably best mentioned before they make an offer. It might mean they feel they can offer slightly less pay, which to me is OK. If an employer is being slightly flexible with me, I don't necessarily want top dollar too because I always want to look like decent value. If the salary offered by that employer is not as good as some competitors, thus hurting recruitment, and they know that but can't change it, they may see flexible working as worth offering to clinch the deal. One thing in my favour, which not everyone has, is the "excuse" of extra caring responsibilities. When I give details, its clear cut to any employer that the day off would be to address that or recover from it, rather than indicating any "work-shy-ness" of any kind. These are my tactics anyway :). If anyone on here wants to challenge this I shan't be offended :)

Just find a team where you can quietly fuck off one or more days a week and no one cares. It's better than a formal 4 or 3 day work week because you don't have to ask permission. Much simpler than trying to negotiate some HR approved solution.

Wow I've never heard of this. I'm in NYC though. Is this in SV or generic tech? I'd love to take sabbaticals every year or two.

Some people negotiate 4-day weeks with the same pay across all industries, but I'd say it's overall less common than the person you replied to. People like to talk about exotic work schedules and the like, but fewer actually make demands for it. Those that try it revert for different reasons, including the rest of the team operating without reasonable consideration.

Where I've seen this be successful is when the person picks up time that overlaps with a remote team. This is viewed as adding additional value because it can be hard to get other people to get up early, or stay up late to collaborate with those teams. If it's part of their deal then it can end up being a more sustainable situation.

If you want a sabbatical, why not just ask for it? Use it as a filter for the organizations you want to work with. I suspect it'll be hard to negotiate because the company won't understand what value they'll get. You are a prospective hire and not a proven asset. It's only after a period that they can assess that they feel you are worthy of a sabbatical and aren't a flight risk. When it comes to academia, then sabbaticals are part of the deal. They aren't for tech companies, although some like Microsoft offer these for higher levels (people with proven value who have lots of options.)

> I suspect [a sabbatical]'ll be hard to negotiate

In France (since the question was about Europe) sabbaticals are part of the Labour Law and companies must provide them.

Not really related to the thread but I worked at a think-tank in DC that had such an issue with people never taking time off they started giving sabbatic pay. After your first year you started accruing both regular vacation time and sabbatic vacation time which was 1.5X your normal pay to encourage you to take time off.

Your point on talent/skill development rings so true with me! At my company they created this required training course for all SE1 and SE2 level positions. I'd be completely ok with this, except for the fact that the few workshops I've attended so far have been hastily put together by people with maybe a half year more experience than me. In addition to this, they expect me to dedicate 4 hours a week to these courses. In my opinion, a well developed workshop should have very condensed, focused information that's targeted at specific goals. Instead what I'm getting is an engineer who studied some AWS CDK library for a few months, than threw together a PowerPoint in a couple hours teaching me stuff that has no clearly defined outcome :pain:

My previous company had instituted the forced holiday once or twice a quarter and it was truly effective at getting people who never take time off to take a break. They tried to discontinue it after the pandemic receded a bit but people protested so they kept it in the end.

One of my former coworkers went at least a decade without taking a single vacation day. He cashed them in every year. Eventually one year him and his wife went on a vacation and I guess he took a liking to the experience because from that point on he always used up all of his vacation time. All it took was him actually experiencing an actual vacation trip to see the value in them. It really annoyed our manager, from whose budget vacation payouts didn't come, when he no longer had one of his most productive engineers in the office all 52 weeks of the way, especially since the coworker had been with the company long enough to get six weeks per year. Though not completely due to the newly discovered fondness of using vacation days, we did end up increasing headcount around that time and I'm sure it was a contributing factor.

They tried to discontinue it after the pandemic receded

What arbitrary KPI did they point to as a reason for that decision?

Not the person you're replying to but I had the same experience. My company was careful to announce the extra holidays as a special pandemic related wellness thing (subtext: not permanent) whenever they did it, so the discontinuation was just not announcing new ones.

Part of the challenge with these random days off is everyone rushing to get five days of work done in four (usually because of poor or insufficient planning).

I always feel more stressed those weeks.

I stroke such a deal by accident, clients informed me that due to budget cuts they can't afford my full-time services anymore, so rather than lowering my fees (never do that) or loosing the client, I offered them to hire me for 32h a week instead. My initial plan was to take another part-time project to fill the gap, and I did that for a while, but in the end now I really enjoy having 3-days weekends. You come on Monday to work with so much more energy.

> so rather than lowering my fees (never do that)

Seriously underrated advise. If they magically find funding for you to go back to full time again they will not be so quick to return you to your original rate not because they don't like you or anything but because accounting witchcraft. Always make sure they never degrade your pay. If they want to pay you for less hours fine.

+1. Being able to keep my rate and adjust for inflation is important to me, so in cases of budget crunch I've negotiated less time. Which has turned out to work great for everybody, over years now.

Currently not hiring (will hire in the coming months again), but I run a small UI/UX design agency where we help B2B software teams design cleaner & more user friendly products [1].

A 4-day workweek is a core part of our culture. It dramatically increased productivity, increased energy levels and reduced overall mental pressure. The way we make it work is to not have everyone be away during the same day.

It’s really surprising that not more companies have 4-day work weeks.

If you’re an employer and you read this, just give it a try. All your concerns are most likely just limiting beliefs.

[1] http://www.fairpixels.pro

This is awesome to hear. Check out 4dayweek.io for opportunities to surface this to candidates.

(four day work week proponent, no other affiliation)

Haha thanks for the plug, and I totally agree, although I'm a little bias :p

Let me know if you want to get added @krm01 :)

Does everyone in your team take the same day off?

Or do some take Monday off, and others take Friday off?

Definitely bookmarking for when you're hiring again!

In Germany, employers with more than 15 employees cannot deny the request of an employee to work only part-time without a strong reason (e.g. the company cannot operate without you because you are the only employee with a specific license). That said, it’s difficult to be a remote employee vs. a remote freelancer because of taxes and insurance law.

This is also true in NL, the right to work less than full time is enshrined in law, and most software / IT companies I know of have no problem with working 32 or 36 hours a week instead of 40. Consultancy will probably push for working full time, because that's where their profit margins are.

Be careful.

I've done that. They don't lower the meeting load. The overhead is fixed.

Also they want to 'own' you. It's a question of power. They felt personally insulted

I've done it in two companies and it wasn't an issue.

For companies offering 4 day week jobs in Europe @ full salary, try: https://4dayweek.io/remote-jobs/europe

There are currently ~100 companies on the platform atm but I have a backlog of new companies to add and see more companies every day

And @HN, if your company is open to 4 days @ 80% salary, please get in touch :)

Please do paginated listing, or save the state of the progress across the infinite list. Currently the back button starts you from scratch.

Ye, agreed - this has been annoying me for a while

Added to my todo list

Thanks for 4dayweek.io! Quick bit of feedback: It's the only job site I check regularly that doesn't have a feed I can subscribe to (that I could find, anyway). It's made worse by having to scroll past the same group of prioritized listings every time I visit. Would really appreciate some improvement here <3

Thanks for the kind words, and totally agree

I'm going to prioritise an RSS feed :)

Almost all Dutch companies will honor such a request. Of course, it comes with a 20% salary decrease if you simply go from 5 to 4 days of 8 hours.

It's not just them being nice, it's the law! As an employer you legally cannot deny a request for working part-time unless you have a halfway decent reason.

In my case I was able to start working 32 hours a week at my previous employer, even explicitly communicating that I was going to work (teaching CS in high school) on my day off. I initially requested 30 hours, for working 7.5 hours on the remaining days, but they figured they should set a company wide minimum of 32 hours for people in (more-or-less) managerial positions. If I had pushed it, they probably would have budged on that too.

It is the norm to work fewer hours in many sectors, especially if you're a government worker, but in tech it hasn't been my experience (as an expat in NL). If you don't have kids it seems to be 40+ hrs or nothing and requesting anything below full time is "unfair to other colleagues" or "signals a lack of commitment".

Not sure where you work then. As a (dutch) freelancer I worked at at least 10 companies where without exception 32hrs was possible. Developer jobs though.

But at my internship long time ago, as a mechanical engineer, it was also possible.

None of them offer fully remote jobs though.

I recently tried and got exactly this, wouldn't be fair for the others to have to work more to compensate for me, and they wanted some committed to working. I will keep trying, maybe is the moment to shame these companies back to see if they change their behaviour.

Not my experience in NL, having worked 4x9 at 3 companies for the past years, only some minor pushback easily set aside.

Might be different at Booking or fintech companies.

Also, some Dutch companies and jobs within the government let you work 4x9 hours

This site is a start: https://4dayweek.io/

Thanks for the shoutout :)

At Automattic, you can do 4 days à 10 hours with 100% pay, 4 days à 8 hours with 80% pay, or 3 days à 8 hours with 60% pay.


I think 4 days at 10 hours is the worst possible arrangement for both employer and employee.

I'm curios, isn't there anyone that would prefer a 5 day 6 hour work schedule instead?

For a lot of folks it's a time optimization problem. You have to spend X time getting ready and commuting to work that in most cases is unpaid. If that takes you an hour and a half all in (half an hour each way and half an hour getting ready) that's 1.5 hours a day or 7.5 hours a week. Nearly a full extra "work day" a week that you're uncompensated for.

At the high end of things you have folks in medical professions who not uncommonly work shifts like three 12 hour days and get paid as if they worked 40 hours.

At the low end you have things like hourly workers being forced into doing split shifts where they'll be asked to cover rush hours at a coffee shop or something (7-9am) and (11am - 1pm).

No, having an entire day off is sooo much nicer than working less per day. You can plan something for the entire day, like golf for me as example. Plus, if you have kids, working 6 hours likely means your off time is all spent with your kids. Having a Friday off means you get that free time purely for yourself. (Advice from someone who’s done both).

Yes and those 10 hours day also likely means you don’t see a lot of your kids either if you add commute.

Definitely. I tried 20h weeks for a while at 4h/day and it was.. ok. 3 day week+4 day weekend is so much better. It's like having an additional life.

A friend of mine prefers longer days. She says that she is too tired getting home from an 8h day to do much of substance anyway so may as well do 10h days and get a whole free day to do stuff with.

Basically instead of using your extra 2h a day to lie on the couch and swipe through tiktok or similar time wasting take a full day and do something useful.

That being said it sounded like the extra 2h at work were typically fairly quiet anyways so I don't think there was much value to the employer over an 8h day.

I worked for a while at a place that did 9/80 scheduling, essentially every other Friday off and it was quite nice. Of you did have things that took you away from work normally you just made it up by working a bit on the off Friday.

Yes i did that for several years. It's great if you have kids.

Hate these long initial applications. You spend an hour filling these nonsensical questions and no one even takes a look at your application. I will only answer these questions and write essays if there is a promise of response on the other end.

Tech interviews have become anything goes free for alls for companies, who think they can do as they please.

Get yourself in the position of being able to say no to interviews. I have declined plenty that were unashamed to ask me to do 8-20 hours of work for their tests.

At this point if a company is asking me to do more than an hour more effort than they’re willing to spend with their own employees, it’s an automatic no.

These aren't even questions after you start interviewing with them. They want you to write these before they even consider you as a candidate.

This company wants me to answer these ridiculous questions for a privilege to interview with them( looks like they do wordpress themes and plugins, from what i gathered.)

> How do you use our products, or their competitors? How would you improve one of them?

> Tell us about an interesting app you’ve worked on. What made it interesting?

> Tell us about the hardest technical problem you had to solve. Any problem is okay – a compelling architectural decision, a hard-to-track bug, a performance or scaling issue, etc. Please outline the problem as you would describe it to a colleague

> Tell us about your production experience with two different technologies that are solving a similar problem. It could be two different programming languages, two different frameworks, two different databases, services, etc.

> Why Automattic and why now?

What kind of people are even coming up with this kind of stuff. They don't even have the minimum decency to put in the salary range if they are expecting people to write these essays even before interviewing them.

So tired of this nonsense. Just when you thought you've seen the worst. Someone figures out a way to make this even worse.

Kinda random, but I'm curious: what's your native language? The "à" looks different in use here from my native language (Portuguese).

Not the OP, but the usage of à in the sentence is typical for french, where it means 'at'

Native language is Slovak, but saw it used in various languages.

My startup Goosechase switched to a 4 day week last summer and it's awesome.

The two easiest ways to find companies already doing a 4 day week would likely be: 1. Dedicated 4 day week job boards, such as 4 Day Week (https://4dayweek.io/). 2. Looking for articles highlighting companies with 4 day weeks, such as this piece from Angel (https://angel.co/job-collections/20-startups-with-4-day-work...).

One of the 4 day week pioneers! And thanks for the shoutout Andrew

Piktochart.com is working 4DWW plus national vacations - there are currently searching for a frontend dev https://piktochart.com/careers/#jobs .There are also other companies, like https://buffer.com/journey part of the people-first initiative https://peoplefirstjobs.com following the 4DWW.

I like 4-day weeks, but what I would like even more is a month consecutive vacation a year. (Which is just 20-23 days off, rather than the ~50 Fridays every year.) This is pretty common places in Europe like France or Denmark (where you must take at least three weeks consecutive vacation.) Is this something any US companies are advertising?

At Microsoft Israel we have:

- 23 days off every year for everyone.

- 5 extra days off for COVID years (but doesn't accumulate between years)

- 18 days of (paid) sick leave (also for family)

- Lots of leaves for stuff like family sickness (1 month a year), bereavement (10 days), paternity (6 weeks), maternity (6 weeks) on top of the ones we get from the government (3.5 months parenting leave for example).

- 2 times a year where taking a holiday only costs half called roughly "office shushing" where you take 2 days but are away 5.

- Plenty of holidays etc, requirement to take at least of 5 days consecutive (so 10 days off with weekends) of vacation a year and it only accumulates up to one year's worth so you are required to use your PTO in practice.

After a long time, you also get a sabbatical which is pretty crazy to me in a tech company.

In practice you take few long vacations (e.g. 1 month off twice a year during the times of the hadmama where it "costs" half) and a bunch of short ones (long weekends).

This isn't based on level and you don't have to be a principal engineer to get these benefits it's just market competition - SW1s fresh out of college get the same amount of vacation.

In Sweden we have

- 25 days off every year for every one (5 days minimum can carry over). Most tech companies have 30 days off.

- No extra days for COVID

- Unlimited sick days

- 240 days of parental leave (so per parent. Increase if you have more than one child (twins, triplets). Plus 10 days for the non-birthing parent to be together the first weeks. 96 days per parent can be saved beyond the 4th year.

- 17 holidays but they are sometimes on weekends and thus give no extra days. The only day that gives you a spare day if it happens on a weekend is our "independance" day.

>- Unlimited sick days

I very much doubt that. In most EU countries sick days are limited to 90 days, after that a panel of doctors will examine your case and move you to disability pay for example, as you can't just be on sick leave "unlimited".

I very much doubt that. In most EU countries sick days are limited to 90 days, after that a panel of doctors will examine your case and move you to disability pay for example, as you can't just be on sick leave "unlimited".

Here in the UK we can "self-certify" sickness for anything less than 5 days. If you're ill for less than a week then you just tell your boss you're ill and don't come to work. You're still paid. If you're ill for more than 5 days then you need to get sign off from a doctor. You're still paid for the time you're sick. If you're ill for several weeks or longer then you move to "statutory sick pay" which is usually less than your salary but some employers will still pay you your full salary. If you're off work for a really long time (6 months+) then most employers will negotiate with you to resign.

At no point are you ever really in danger of losing your job though, or being forced to return to work. Employers are mostly pretty good about it, especially in tech.

In theory I could be genuinely ill every other week for a full year and self-certify 26 individual weeks off without needing to visit a doctor or losing my job. In that sense, we absolutely do have "unlimited" sick days.

In NL the concept of ‘sick days’ doesn’t exist. If you are ill, you are ill. You can get the flu and be out for a week or so and nobody bats an eye. Some use more than others and some may game the system.

But overall we in NL are not familiar with the stress of losing our days off because of illness. This should be the norm for every decent country that cares about human well-being.

>In NL the concept of ‘sick days’ doesn’t exist. If you are ill, you are ill

Isn't that illness called a sick day? Like I said, everyone calls it unlimited sick days, but in Austria, and I think in Poland, Germany too it's limited to 90 days per year. Sick longer than 90 days gets your cased evaluated by a doctor's committee and probably moved to disability pay. But I doubt there is such a thing as unlimited sick day. Sure, you can be sick for an unlimited time, but your employee and insurance status will change after a certain number of days.

I have not seen anything about 90 sick-days in any contract with an employer ever, even when I was still a regular 'waged' employee.

Even if you get serious ill your employer has to pay, so from what I know, employers need to insure themselves against this. Only after 2 years are they off the hook and will people be transferred to disability pay if required.

In some sense, discussing about 90 days vs. 'unlimited' sick days is not really relevant. 90 days would feel like unlimited to me as a regular healthy employee anyway.

But to be very clear, in NL we don't have these 90 days of sick leave. We don't have a budget as an employee for sick leave.

> I have not seen anything about 90 sick-days in any contract with an employer ever, even when I was still a regular 'waged' employee

Have you checked your national insurance conditions? In Austria this also isn't in any employment contract because it's ratified in the national health insurance agreement everyone working here must have, which limits everyone to 90 days sick leave but many people don't know this and think they have "unlimited" sick leave. IIRC, Poland and Germany also have 90 days of sick leave by law.

Maybe you're not fully aware of it but I'd assume your national health insurance will specify a similar threshold by law that's obviously not in your employment contract.

Forget about the 90 days, it doesn’t apply to NL.


The two years I mentioned are right.

From the link you posted, I find this baffling that this is allowed in Europe.

>Some Dutch workplaces include “no-pay waiting days” (loonvrije wachtdagen) — these are the first one or two days of your sickness where the employer is not obliged to pay wages.

That's pretty good. I guess Austria just wants to be employer heaven.

Yeah, not having unlimited sick days also had the bad outcome that people go to work sick (to avoid using sick days) and infect other people.

Nice! (To be clear, the 18 days are paid sick leave - after 18 days you get social security meaning the government pays for your sick leave and not Microsoft - you still get paid but it's capped at ±100K USD a year which is significantly less).

240 days of parental leave sounds amazing and very generous!

When I look at my tax statement nothing about what's mentioned by parent(gp) looks generous anymore. 50% of what my employer pays for me is conveniently put into the governments pockets rather than mine. Add 25% VAT, petrol that costs 2$ per litre, alcohol that's taxed through the roof, another 20% tax if you make more than 44KSEK/mo.

I don't like the deal, to me it feels like a ripoff. But the government has conveniently put half our income tax on the employer as an "employer tax" that many people don't even know exists, so people think our tax is 30-ish percent since they don't see it on their payslip.

I don't think anyone expects the Nordic model to be free. Higher taxes in exchange for the associated benefits is what has been decided by the government, elected by the people. Of course there will be people against it, as well as people for it.

The problem is the disassociation that keeps happening where "everyone" (literally everyone I talk to) thinks that the government is spending money on things that we don't want them to spend on.

Back in the days there was a system called "Tjänstemannaansvar" which held our politicians accountable if they grossly mismanaged our money. It's sadly been taken out, since the politicians don't want any responsibility.

I like the nordic model, I just don't like that our politicians can spend money as they like without any repercussions, and since our government is big/fat it's worse than if it was a small/slim government.

If "decided by government" had a clearer, more transparent, less corrupt path from "elected by the people" that'd be great. But here we are buying "medical socks" for 100$ a pair rather than the identical 10$ one that is always out of stock.

We used to have great roads, great healthcare, great social security and all other things you'd expect to get for paying 50% of your income to it. We don't have either of these anymore, taxes haven't gone down significantly during this time, things have just become worse :(

What country do you live in? In Sweden the Social Insurance is paid by the employer and that tax is in 2022 31,42%, of the gross 2.6% is for the Parental part.

Sweden, maybe I wasn't clear enough. I'm sorry about that.

Income tax: 30% (of income)

Employer tax: 31% (on top of income)

VAT: 25% (When i spend money)

Petrol, Alcohol: Ω%

In France we get:

* 30 regular days off, that have to be used by year+1, and HR people usually argue with people to use their days off ( the labour inspection checks this kind of stuff)

* 10-12 ( depending on year because it also covers for public holidays that are on a weekend that year) "rest" days if you're not on the regular 35h/week contract ( so most people in IT and similar, because it's supposed that you work more). They have some caveats like not carrying over.

* Some rather limited parental leave ( non-birthing parent's leave was recently increased to like a month, and birthing parent's is somewhere around 3-4 months if i recall correctly? Far too little if you ask me, coming from an ex-communist country where it's 1-3 years)

* 11 public holidays (you don't get a compensation if they fall on a weekend, usually, unless the employer so choses)

How do you get any work done?

Well rested and unstressed people are more productive than people "being busy" for 50+ hours per week, 50 weeks per year.

At Bumble we have:

- an unlimited PTO (you'd have to explain going beyond, say, 4 weeks, but otherwise working)

- mandatory 2 payed weeks off (1 in December and 1 in Jun)

- mostly remote using the "office-hub" model, only requiring presence when necessary

- every 2 weeks there something we call a Focus Friday, when nobody can contact you and you are free to concentrate on things you want to work on.

This covers all offices, i.e. Texas, UK, Spain.

Pretty comfortable, I'd say. I don't feel I need more time to restore some energy.

Clearly it's not unlimited. On the one hand if your co-worker takes 4 weeks off then you'll feel cheated if you take 2. On the other if you take 4 weeks off you have no way of knowing if that is frowned upon. This seems like more stress than it is worth.

Unlimited without pay and no need to turn up when you get back from leave either.

I'm glad that you're happy with the system, but I'm not satisfied with your comment. In my personal experience, people with "unlimited vacation" tend to take less overall vacation than I do, on a mandatory vacation time per year.

> (you'd have to explain going beyond, say, 4 weeks, but otherwise working)

Unless "I'd like to take a 5-week vacation" isn't enough explanation in itself, it clearly isn't working. An employee shouldn't have to justify _why_ they want to go on vacation.

I dislike unlimited/untracked/open (whatever buzzword) PTO. I feel like I have to beg for time off, so I end up taking very little and burning out. Even when I'm sick, I feel like I have to justify why I cannot work. I guess it's better than the places that only give you two weeks vacation/sick leave. I'm having some serious Europe envy right now. They seem to take vacation time seriously.

In my experience, the conversation goes like this:

Me: I'd like to take a 5-week vacation

Manager: Why?

Me: I haven't taken a long vacation in about year.

Manager: Sure thing. Approved.

This is what happens and it's better than dealing with accrued PTO where I have to keep track of the days off. I'm sure companies are doing this because they've done the math and see that on average people take less time off with UTO. But if you have a good team and good managers then it isn't difficult to take time off.

Additionally, in the accrued PTO case, if you end up taking 5 weeks straight with absolutely no justification and your manager isn't good then there's probably a chance at retaliation. In either case, it depends on your relation with your manager.

I do agree that mandatory vacation is probably the best however, it's extremely rare in America which is where the unlimited vacation trend has started.

But do you get a reminder if you don't take holiday? In most of Europe, companies don't only have to offer a minimum of 4-5 weeks PTO per year, they also have to make sure employees take at least the majority of their vacation days.

I've been at only one company where "unlimited PTO" was really treated close to that way. There were offices in San Francisco and Paris, and the CEO was French (and based in the US).

The US office had untracked PTO, and from the get-go he would let the Americans know that the French office had around 7 weeks time off, and that they'd use it, so they should as well.

He took essentially the month of August off, which did help establish that 4 week vacations were "normal".

> help establish that 4 week vacations were "normal".

I (an European) always took this as granter yet considered it crazy people have as little as just a single month of vacation a year. It's been just recently I found out this isn't even the case in the USA where people normally have just 2 weeks. This scared the heck out of me. Why even live at all if all you have to live is 2 weeks a year and you have to sell the remaining 50 weeks of your life time yearly? I would rather commit suicide.

Because anything better would be SOCIALISM!! /s

In America, our government and media are all controlled by corporations, so there's a massive propaganda machine that tells the population they need to be workaholics if they want a chance to be wealthy.

Also, employees have no leverage. You can't decline a job because they only offer 2 weeks PTO when everyone else also only offers 2 weeks.

People that push for a culture shift for more PTO are shouted down as being lazy, and the propaganda machine screams about how bad small businesses would be hurt. The machine LOVES to talk about small businesses, and people fall for it.

>you'd have to explain going beyond, say, 4 weeks

This is less than the PTO mandated by law in many European countries. Hardly unlimited.

Important to know Europe doesn't calculate time offs like the US does. In the US, if you take 4 weeks off, it's 20 days PTO. In Europe it's 28-30.

I’ve managed team members in many European countries; we only count days you’d otherwise work. (We do have one every 5 year sabbatical program that is “4 weeks, and if there was a company holiday in that stretch, you don’t get an extra day”, but otherwise, taking 4 M-F stretches is 4x5 = 20 days of PTO.

Which countries do it like this? At least at where I've worked in the UK, only the days where you would've normally been at work are counted.

In Sweden and Denmark as well, it would be calculated as 20 days assuming a standard Monday to Friday office hours job. I'm also curious to know where the parent poster got the 28-30 days calculation from.

Agreed, I have never heard of this, I’m pretty sure it would not be legal in the UK

Based on the downvotes and replies, I'd say this is not true.

You're wrong for the case of the Netherlands and Belgium.

Can't really cover the UK, only offering 20 days PTO without explanation is illegal in the UK, the minimum is 28 days (not including bank holidays). And it's very restrictive compared to most European countries anyway. Seems crazy that this is competitive in the US. Then again, salaries are much higher in the US.

"in the UK, the minimum is 28 days (not including bank holidays)".

I had to double check this as it doesn't match my experience.

Yes, it is a minimum of 28 days, but that can include Bank Holidays (normally 6 days, though we have extra "Jubilee" Bank Holidays this year), so in practice it's 20 days plus Bank Holidays minimum.

0: https://www.gov.uk/holiday-entitlement-rights

It's normally 8 days of Bank Holiday in England - New Year's Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday, the two May holidays, the August one, then Christmas and Boxing days.

In the UK the mandatory minimum is 20 days paid holiday (plus the ~8 public holidays per year).

In Spain 22 days + public holidays.

That's the minimum, many jobs give more, e.g. 28-32 days + public holidays. (On my last job in Britain it increased slowly, when I left I had 33 plus the public holidays.)

It would be informative to see if the people in Britain and Spain take more holiday than those in Texas.

The legal minimum (!) in Germany is already 5 weeks of vacation. It’s clearly not unlimited if 4 weeks requires justification.

In fact, this doesn’t really sound attractive at all. At my current employer I work 32h/week, get 6½ weeks off (+ bank holidays), am entirely remote, and every Wednesday is entirely free of meetings.

> mandatory 2 payed weeks off

Mandatory PTO is the best. That way you don't have fomo, no pressure to work whole on vacation and no catching up to do when you're back.

I'd like to work somewhere with more mandatory vacation.

“Unlimited PTO” is a scam. If it’s truly unlimited why not take 52 weeks off per year?

Cause you’ll get PIP’ed because your production will be non-existent.

You're still expected to get a certain amount of work done.

Anecdotally as someone in the US that used to do this I've never seen a place here specifically advertise "month consecutive vacation" but that doesn't mean I've found it hard to get either (for salaried positions at least).

Overall I'd say in the US there is a LOT more appetite for "how I'd like to allocate my PTO" vs things like "how I'd like to divvy my working hours" at most places.

Not specifically but I’ve managed to find my way onto two teams at different companies where I’m allowed to do so. The first company had unlimited PTO, the second company has 21 PTO days that roll over so I saved up last year to use them this year!

Today is the first day of my month long vacation in Italy on my new team

I got my current 4 day gig just by being upfront with everyone I interviewed with that that's what I was looking for, and waiting until someone said yes.

Same, although I'd add it wasn't easy (in the UK.) I found most of the companies I spoke to the last time I was on the job market were open to me working 4 days a week. I made sure to raise my part time status at the earliest opportunity and added it to my CV to make sure I was only interviewing for positions where this could be accommodated.

However, when it eventually came to negotiating after successfully interviewing it was still difficult and I had at least a few companies - to my huge frustration - try to push me into a full time role or even tell me they weren't setup to handle my request yet but would be in future! With the role I eventually accepted I still had to work full-time during my probation period before I could reduce my hours due to limitations with their processes (apparently.)

To help answer the originl question, at my former employer - The Financial Times - a 4 day week was fairly common amongst folks with young children.

Same here. I just laid my 3 conditions (4 days week, 100% remote, X€ per month) right away in the introduction interview and made it clear that I wouldn't be interested to move forward if these were not met. Most companies I interviewed with were OK with this. The job market for SE (depending on experience) nowadays allows these types of requests with good compensation.

Anecdata: I advertised that I was only available part time on an HN "who's hiring" thread and got picked up by a startup (Smarter Dx). They weren't necessarily looking for someone part time, but I was a good fit.

In certain European countries (e.g. Germany, Netherlands) you have a right to do part time. So you could just be transparent from the start that you want to work part time.

It’s likely not as well compensated as „SV-company-moving-to-4-workdays“, but might be an option if 4 workdays is more important.

My company is hiring for a 4-day workweek with an 8-hour workday. There are several fully remote openings. We have openings across various departments in the UK, US, Mexico, Brazil - https://www.signifyd.com/jobs/

Here is a post about our adoption of the 4-day workweek: https://www.signifyd.com/blog/signifyd-adopts-four-day-workw...

Disclaimer: I've worked here for a little over three years, and I believe this is one of the few companies with the best work/life balance I've EVER worked at.

Plug: www.snaplet.dev is such a company. We're building tools for developers. Our idea is that if our own company doesn't have the happiest, creative, and engaged developer's that we won't be able to build a product that's meant to help other developers.

Our internal state should reflect the way we want developer's to feel about our products.

This sounds very nice. Im a MSc student about to graduate (linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charel-felten/, CV: https://cfx.lu/cv). My main areas are data science, but I also have a bachelors in computer science so I am flexible.

I see that there is only a vacancy as Full-stack React developer. I dont have the necessary experience for that probably. Do you think there are any positions closer to my area of expertise?

In Switzerland it is quite standard that companies - including Exeon - hire employees with 80% workload. (We also have many colleagues working 20%, 50%, 60% and 100%) This model is very popular with people with kids and with university students, who need time to finish their studies. Work-life balance is important, so we also offer 5 weeks of paid time-off (at 100% workload), remote and flexible working and other benefits.

We are a cybersecurity scale-up and we are actually hiring: https://www.exeon.com/company/career

I'm currently hiring for a 3-day workweek in case that's of interest: https://remoteok.com/remote-jobs/110323-remote-pt-full-stack...

I had a job like this in the past and I loved the freedom of it the fact that I had plenty of energy left over to pursue other interests. So I wanted to recreate that for those that I hire.

EDIT: my role is part-time so it's not a fair comparison.

This is a bit disingenuous. A 4-day work week usually means that a work week is reduced from 40 to 32 hours without a loss of compensation. Like previous reductions in work time, the theory is that while someone puts in fewer hours, it’s worth it because people can’t be fully productive for 40 hours.

Your linked offer is a part-time position. It even states that you only get a cut of FTE and that there is the possibility to change to a full-time employment.

> A 4-day work week usually means that a work week is reduced from 40 to 32 hours without a loss of compensation.

Is that what's being discussed here? My mind immediately went to a 4 10s situation (which, while not the norm, is fairly common in the US).

Why would someone pay (or take) the same between a 4-day week vs a 5-day worker ceteris paribus?

While I agree that someone working a 4-day week is more than 80% as productive as someone working 25% more hours, I don’t agree that a “4 day workweek usually means…without loss of compensation”. In many cases, you can’t possibly know what would have happened (if an entire company is 4-day schedule) or a company transitions to a 4-day workweek instead of paying raises or while paying smaller raises.

I can’t think of any place where the expected schedule for one employee is 32 hours and another, otherwise identical, employee is 40 hours and those two are paid the same.

To me, a 4-day workweek just means you have scheduled/expected work on 4 days and none scheduled/expected on the other 3.

That's a fair criticism! I didn't consider that 4-day usually implies the same compensation as a full workweek.

A pay cut seems OK, as long as benefits stay the same, and any equity deals stay (proportionally) the same.

To me as a Dutch person, that's not disingenious at all, that is exactly what you want.

You go from a 5 day workweek to 4 days, and take a 20% paycut. Sometimes it's possible to work 4 days of 9 hours, but it always comes with a paycut.

I am Dutch too and it is common to work part-time for four days at a 20% cut [1]. However the four-day work week movement/experiments usually mean that people would work four days without a pay cut. The idea is (like going from the 6 day to 5 day work week at the beginning of the 20th century) that the extra leisure makes people more productive during work time. So, the same amount of work is done in less time, hence no pay cuts.

See e.g.:



[1] In fact, if you work >= 6 months for a Dutch employer, you can request moving to a part-time schedule and they can only reject this request unless they have very good reasons:


Hi, I had a look at the position and it fits very much what I was looking for. I hope we can arrange something. I applied to the position with my email (c [at] cfx [dot] lu)

On my job board, you'll see some postings from Germany / remote. I see more and more every week!


At WeGroup (https://www.wegroup.be/en/join-us) we are running a 4-day workweek without pay cuts. We are still experimenting with it, but everyone is loving it so far. The experiment is running for 2 months now, we saw a drop in output, which I think is normal. With a 4-day workweek comes more responsibility, so we are pushing the teams to take more ownership over the planning and feedback loops. We are running the experiment till end of June.

We are looking for:

* Backend (Python/Go/Postgres) * Frontend (React) * Infra/DevOps/Tooler (k8s/Docker/AWS/OpenSource-tools/CI-CD)

If you're in Europe I'd wholeheartedly looking into becoming a freelance contractor. Companies regularly hire contractors at 50%-100% more than the equivalent payroll cost, meaning you can easily work less (I haven't worked a 40h week since 2018)

This may not exactly be the answer you are looking for, but Red Hat (my employer) has 4wd employees, even in my current team. Depending on the team, you may be able to negotiate a 4 day workweek without problems. However, you'd have to reside in a country where RH has an office. I have been at previous companies too where negotiating a shorter workweek was not a problem.

Does Red Hat require office presence or just hire in countries where they have HR set up etc?

We do have a few people working 3 or 4 days / week for 60/80% of the full-time salary.

You can check our offers https://fr.getaround.com/careers.

Otherwise, my experience is that if you specify it during the 1st call or in your application there's a good chance it's accepted.

Here in the Netherlands it's your legal right to work less hours for the same pay (per hour). In my company, the largest ISP, lots of people work either 32 hours, 36 (4x9) or something else. A standard contract at our company is 36 hours. Meaning every other Friday off by default.

So I think finding a job in the Netherlands would be a good start.

I am a MSc student about to graduate in Amsterdam - domain is Data science (but i have a BSc in CS) - how would I approach a company about part-time work? Most positions are advertised as full-time, do I just apply for them and then if they chose me, mention that I only would like to work part-time? I feel like if i mention it too early in the hiring process they may actually chose a candidate that is able to work full-time.

Get hired and then reduce your hours is the legal fool-proof way.

But honestly ask about their policies regarding this and you'll get a sense of the possibilities.

Just want to support this response. I work 32 hours as a contractor, it should not be and issue in NL. The 100% remote part may in practice be more of a challenge than working 32 hours.

For others: That extra day off means less income, but to me the value of that extra day off is almost incalculable.

The 4-day workweek is great! Have you asked your current employer yet? If you like where you're at, it's not necessarily a reason to leave. Twice in my career I've started at a full time schedule, built trust for years, and then asked to work 20% less hours for 20% less pay. Each time with success.

XWiki SAS has a 4.5 days workweek (https://xwiki.com/en/Blog/XWiki-four-days-work-week/), and is hiring.

In my experience, almost every startup in France is okay with a 4 day workweek (even if it's not said explicitly in their job offers). You just have to tell them about it during the recruiting process.

I worked for a very progressive company in the mid-80s that did 4 1/2 day work week, 7:30-5:30, and 7:30-11:30 with flex time options. Productivity was through the roof. We also experimented with other trends common today like open floor plans, shared office space, etc. and gave them up due to negative impact. Sadly, a new CEO and a sell off of a couple of divisions ended the practice, back to 8-5, no flex option, just like everyone else.

That should be rather easily doable but finding a company obviously depends on what you're looking for. Most likely you're in Software Engineering? If so, with which preferences and specialities?

Here at SumUp we're hiring fully remotely across the EU and most teams are very flexible regarding the working hours. A 4-day week should be easily doable and I've personally done that before.

Contact me via my email address in my profile and I'm happy to connect you with the best matching team.

Yeah, I managed to get this last time during salary negotiation. They wouldn't give me $offer+20%, or $offer+4day week, but I managed to get $offer-10%+4day week.

My company has a 4-day workweek, and personally, this is the best place I've ever worked at. It's an American startup, but about half of us (including) me are from Europe, and communication is very async-friendly.

Here's our post from this April's who's hiring thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30879344

Hello, we have people working 3 or 4-day work weeks at Dashdoc. We're in France and Belgium for now, hiring software engineers!


I'm founder of Meetupcall, a startup working to help care organisations reduce loneliness and isolation for those most in need. We're currently looking for a senior Rails engineer on these terms.

If that sounds like something you might be interested in, let's have a conversation, my e-mail address is in my profile.

What i'd like to see is a job that lets me work part time and be super flexible about it. E.g. i may be offline for 4 days and then work 7 days in a row.

Obviously it would require that i can work on things without being able to contact my colleagues at times (like weekends).

Has anyone seen such an arrangement?

A lot of companies in the Netherlands will be open to that. My experience is also that it's usually OKish, if you make it part of the salary negotiations.

If you are open to that, let them pick one day a week off / fewer hours per day and it'll be even easier to convince folks

>A lot of companies in the Netherlands will be open to that.

It's part of employment law. So long as you fulfill the criteria & there isn't a very compelling reason for your employer to say no, you're allowed to reduce hours.

I've been doing 4 days per week here in New Zealand, but I asked it when being hired. Maybe check some companies with remote work if they'd be keen to hire you for 4 days per week too, maybe write in your cover letter or in an email when applying.

I have an open position with a 4 working days week for a full stack developer.

The post is for junior but i need a medium/senior developer https://menelabs.com/Careers

> The male candidates must have finished the military service

What's that about?

Military service is mandatory in some countries.

They look to be based in Greece, which requires that all males over the age of 18 (with a number of exceptions) serve a set period of time in the military. They presumably do not want to hire somebody who might disappear for a year soon after starting.

Close CRM offers team members the option to work a 4-day workweek (at 80% of the salary). 100% remote. Open roles: https://www.close.com/careers

The company I'm at is fully remote and we (usually) have every other Friday off and the Fridays we do work are meeting-free. As someone who has to schedule medical appointments during the week, it's an absolute godsend.

It's easier to do on contracting. Been doing it for almost 3 years now and won't change it back.

However, I have seen plenty of my friends who does the same who are employed full time, even some who work in the offices physically.


Hi! Hope this reply is appropriate here, I'll delete it if not. I run a medium-size bootstrapping startup, working on environmental problems and financial equality. What are you looking for? (except 4 days and remote)

how does one get in touch with you?

We are building Meilisearch, an open-source search engine API and we are working 4-day a week :) -> https://jobs.lever.co/meili

How doss 4 day work week work with public holidays. Say that one week you have a bank holiday on Monday, but you usually only do Tue-Fri, would you be allowed the Tuesday off as well? Making that week a 3 day week?

Depends on the industry/company but for me it works like this: when the holiday is on a Friday (my day off) it's bad luck and I don't get an extra day. Simultaneously though, when I have to go to a specific conference on a Friday I can switch my day off to a different day in that week since then I will be "forced" to work on my day off.

The way my UK employer handles this is to add N extra days to your holiday/leave allowance, where N is 80% (or whatever % of fulltime you work) of the number of public holidays in a year; then they require you to book any public holidays which would be on your usual working days from your leave allowance. The net effect is that everybody gets the pro-rata fair number of extra days whatever their part-time schedule is, and nobody is in the office on a public holiday.

Usually/makes sense to prorate them so you only get 4/5 of themif you work Mondays, or get an extra 4/5 of them days holiday if you don't.

In the UK this would be required if you're only offered the statutory minimum (which is also prorated) leave, since you don't have to be offered the bank holidays but have to then have as many days extra (just not on guaranteed dates).

In Poland you cut hours, so if the month has 21 working days in total, that's 168 hours full time, or 126 hours if you're on 3/4th of full time. You need to agree with the employer how you allocate those (there are limits, e.g. you can't work 12h days even if you want to).

Thoughtbot has 4 days of client work and 1 day of Investment Time


Having ran a consulting company, I wonder be interested in the economics of that.

You would need huge margins to cover the employment costs of the fifth day.

At croit.io you can decide how much time you wanna work and change that whenever you need. It's therefore more of a free time schedule system and not a fixed 4 days.

Fully remote employer that allows for a flexible schedule after your first ninety days: coalitiontechnologies.com.

Check out sanscubicle.com , a community of service DAOs where they limit members to 60 hours per month.

The job I want is unset hours. I have a terrible sleep pattern.

I know what the job is (no job) but have to get there.

I’d rather have a six hour day

I'd be more interested in 2 or 3 day weeks, optionally up to 7. And 100% remote.

I've been or still am self-employed and what I like about that is that I can work when I have the brainjuice to work and not work when I have no brain for it.

I do Go on the backend, Vue mostly on the front. Angular in the past. Some experiments with React and Svelte. Sometimes I do classic websites (in Go). Self-employed in Germany, but willing to give it up for the right employer, however I'm scared to do so. I value my freedom. I'm also 7 months in Germany 5 elsewhere, so 100% remote is required. I don't really know what an employed work life looks like nowadays, tbh.

Isn't it time for a "who's hiring" on HN? Or when does that usually happen? It's the 2nd of May, beginning of the month.

Any tips for starting self-employment? Always dreamed of doing that, atleast for a while. But trying to find clients seems the most daunting. Also can you give some insight into your work schedule and coordinating that with clients(in terms of flexibility)? Thank you.

I did it out of necessity. There were no jobs and there was a market. I had the expertise. Nowadays it's all different.

I stopped working for other people about 9 years ago.

Things went well, 2 years ago my main source of income went away. So I've been trying to rebuild - or - find a job with similar freedom. But the job part isn't working for me. I can't seem to bear authority.

Anecdotally, a friend of mine started a therapy practice to be open 4 days a week in person. After a while, they realized everybody was just moonlighting at other businesses on Friday because they just wanted to make more money...so now the business is open on Friday mornings as well.

Just thought it was interesting because odds are pretty high that any 4-day work week option is going to pay less and when given the option, a lot of people would rather just have the extra 52 paid days per year.

EDIT: I don't usually comment on down voting...but I'm really curious about this one.

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