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This Major Retailer Is Testing Out a Four-Day Workweek

An especially “Happy Friday” to those already celebrating the weekend.

via Wikimedia Commons user Sisalsock

Fast Retailing, the Japanese retailer that owns popular clothing brands Uniqlo, Theory, and J Brand, just got a little bit trendier. Bloomberg reports the company will offer 10,000 of its Japan-based employees—a fifth of its workforce—the option of a four-day workweek.


Weekend enthusiasts should rejoice—but know that the deal comes with a small catch. Employees would be expected to put in 10 hours for each remaining workday, which could include Saturdays and Sundays.

The experiment comes in the midst of a larger push across Japan to change that country’s demanding work culture. The Guardian reports that 22 percent of Japanese workers put in more than 49 hours of work during the week. (Compare that to 16 percent of American workers, 11 percent of the French, and 35 percent of the workaholic South Koreans.)

Fast Retailing hopes the change will allow its retail workers to spend more time with their families, and will help retain talent. The company has found that its employees are sometimes forced to move to part-time work to make time to take care of children or elderly parents. The new policy could change that.

If all goes well, the retailer says it could expand the new work scheme to its corporate offices, or to its stores in 21 other countries—the U.S. included.

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