AskDefine | Define workweek

Word Net

workweek n : hours or days of work in a calendar week; "they worked a 40-hour week" [syn: week]



  1. The range of days of the week that are normally worked



range of days of the week
The legal weekend (in the UK called the working week) varies from nation to nation. The set of working days is usually heavily influenced by the predominant religion of the country or by colonial history. The weekend is a part of the week usually lasting one or two days in which most paid workers do not work. This is a time for leisure and recreation, and/or for religious activities.
Sometimes the preceding work day is considered part of the weekend, and sometimes official holidays are scheduled to (or coincidentally do) form a long weekend.

Around the world

Historically Christian countries in Europe and the Americas, and also countries in East Asia have a Monday through Friday workweek.
In Muslim-majority countries the legal work week in the Middle East is typically either Saturday through Wednesday (as in Algeria and Saudi Arabia), Saturday through Thursday (as in Iran ) or Sunday through Thursday (as in Egypt, Israel, Syria, United Arab Emirates
). However in secular Turkey and Lebanon the workweek is Monday through Friday, as in Western countries.


The notion of a weekly rest is ancient. The Jewish Sabbath, known as Shabbat, is from sunset Friday to when it is fully dark on Saturday. Sunday has traditionally been viewed as a Christian Sabbath, though not all Christians acknowledge it as such. The weekend as a time of leisure is a rather modern invention. Before the industrial revolution the wage labour force was a minuscule fraction of the population. The day of the Sabbath was viewed as one dedicated to God, not one of relaxation, and strict prohibitions on permissible activities were enacted.
The French Revolutionary Calendar allowed decadi, one out of ten days, as a leisure day.
The early industrial period in Europe saw a six-day work week with only Sunday off, but some workers had no days off at all. The labour and workers rights movements and campaigns by trade unionists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century saw a five-day work week introduced as Saturday became a day of rest and relaxation. This movement began in England. In several languages, the word for "weekend" is an adaptation of weekend, or the term "English week" is used for the five-day work week.

Economic impact of the weekend

The weekend has led to increased consumer spending on Saturdays as a restaurant visit, motorcar journey, or a trip to the movies has become standard Saturday fare. At the same time, developed economies have shifted manufacturing jobs to service jobs, due to increased industrial productivity or migration of manufacturing to lower-wage countries.
Many jurisdictions continued to enforce strict blue laws on Sunday which meant that most recreations, such as stores and theatres, were forced to close on that day. These regulations began to weaken in the years after the Second World War and Sunday also became a day of recreation for many.
In recent years the weekend has begun to fade in importance. While most people work a five day work week, when the hardware costs outweigh human costs, the competitiveness of the modern economy means that leaving a factory idle or an office unmanned for two days is of too great expense. Thus many workers regularly work during weekends. Since this is seen as a greater burden most employers pay extra for weekend work, either by agreement or by legislation, or else give time off midweek.
There is still great variability in many areas between the workweek and weekend. Stores that are reliant on office workers will see far less business on a weekend, while those in the suburbs or in residential areas will see far more. Since weekends are days where people can safely sleep in and also not have to worry as much about the ill effects of a hangover, Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest for bars, restaurants, clubs, and cinemas. There is substantially less activity on many websites during weekends.

Weekends for students

For students, the weekend means that they are free for two days where they can relax and further their hobbies after the work during the week. As schools usually do not have classes on the weekend. However, some boarding school students are required to attend classes for at least a half day on Saturdays. Some colleges also offer courses that meet on Saturday and Sunday. Many colleges and universities afford students the opportunity to choose classes scheduled Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday, giving the students an extra weekend day on Friday. Many college students take advantage of this trend and go out to bars and nightclubs on Thursday nights leading to the phrase "Thursday is the new Friday." Also, in some cases there are school holidays or national-nationwide holidays in which public school and/or rarely some boarding schools do not have classes and the students are free to relax and have spare time.

See also

workweek in Asturian: Fin de selmana
workweek in Catalan: Cap de setmana
workweek in Czech: Víkend
workweek in Danish: Weekend
workweek in German: Wochenende
workweek in Spanish: Fin de semana
workweek in Esperanto: Semajnfino
workweek in Basque: Asteburu
workweek in French: Week-end
workweek in Korean: 주말
workweek in Indonesian: Akhir pekan
workweek in Croatian: Vikend
workweek in Hebrew: סוף שבוע
workweek in Swahili (macrolanguage): Wikendi
workweek in Lithuanian: Savaitgalis
workweek in Dutch: Weekeinde
workweek in Japanese: 週末
workweek in Norwegian: Helg
workweek in Polish: Weekend
workweek in Portuguese: Fim de semana
workweek in Simple English: Weekend
workweek in Serbian: Викенд
workweek in Swedish: Helg
workweek in Chinese: 周末
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