Here is a hint – it is NOT Monday – Friday. Believe it or not, as frequently as this term is used, it is not often use properly. A workweek (or work week or work-week) is actually defined by the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MnFLSA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Accordingly, employers should not take this term lightly. What’s the fuss? Well, a “workweek” is defined by both the MnFLSA and FLSA to be a period of 168 hours during 7 consecutive 24 hour periods. How you designate it (if at all) can affect your payment of overtime and minimum wage.
Fun fact – the workweek can actually begin on any day of the week and at any hour of the day, as decided by the employer. This is key because the workweek is used to determine minimum wage and overtime. Thus, employers should designate the applicable workweek in your employee handbook. If you don’t designate it, it is presumed to be a calendar week (Sunday 12:01 a.m. to Saturday 11:59 p.m.). This can have significant impacts on overtime in businesses that have more FTE work hours on certain days than, say for example, a workforce of M-F, 9-5. For example, if your busy days are Friday – Sunday and employees work many hours those days and less others, you may want to consider a workweek of Saturday – Sunday, to split the heavy consecutive days up.
Also, keep in mind that, while employers may prospectively change the workweek from time-to-time, it must be “fixed” and thus, cannot be temporary, or changed to avoid overtime. The idea is that you set it and leave it (or reset it and leave it). Generally, a business has its customary busy days (for example, retail on the weekends), which doesn’t change much, so changing your workweek too frequently may raise some eyebrows.