Fuel Transport rolls out 35-hour workweek for some employees

Dive Brief:

  • Logistics and transportation company Fuel Transport has moved some staff to a 35-hour workweek without compensation changes, the company announced in a press release Tuesday.
  • The change makes Fuel one of few organizations in the U.S. to standardize workweeks below the traditional 40-hour workweek. The change is meant to provide workers “more flexibility, autonomy, and the most cherished resource of all: time,” the company said.
  • In an email to HR Dive, a Fuel spokesperson said that the 35-hour workweek provision does not apply to the company’s truck drivers or to front-line employees. Separately, Fuel said it now offers 12 weeks of paid parental leave to all U.S. parents as well as increased vacation days for all regular, full-time employees effective as of January.

Dive Insight:

The shortened workweek has been a topic of intense interest in recent years, with the most common alternative to the 40-hour workweek being the four-day workweek.

What may have once been a fringe idea is gaining some traction; a 2023 Resume Builder survey of business leaders found that 20% said their companies had a 4-day workweek, and 41% had plans to implement the policy. But most firms that had implemented a 4-day workweek said that not all full-time employees were eligible to take advantage of the policy.

One recent pilot program of 4-day workweeks led to mostly favorable reviews from participating organizations, according to 4 Day Week Global. The concept of shortened workweeks has even gained some political attention, with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introducing legislation last month to establish a 32-hour standard workweek in the U.S.

In a blog post accompanying Tuesday’s announcement, Fuel said its 35-hour workweek has already led to improvements in efficiency, work-life balance and employee appreciation.

“This is more than a one-time stunt or fleeting gesture of appreciation for our employees,” Fuel said. “We’re actively changing how the modern logistics worker is treated and the 35-hour work week is just the beginning.”

But some in the HR industry have cautioned that conscious steps must be taken in order to make shortened workweeks the new standard. A 2023 analysis by The Josh Bersin Co. and the Work Time Reduction Center of Excellence found that such models should be built by measuring work outcomes instead of time-based metrics, boosting employee focus on productivity and fostering flexibility as well as employee autonomy.

Fuel’s expansion of paid parental leave, meanwhile, is the latest in a long line of similar employer announcements in a wide range of industries. Even organizations operating in traditionally male-dominated sectors have added such benefits, while others are taking their support of caregivers further by introducing back-up care benefits.