I came across a a job posting on Stack Overflow careers that lists "summer hours" as a benefit, and now I'm wondering what this actually is.

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What are "summer hours" in the context of an employment benefit? Is this some kind of standard, or actually defined anywhere? (I tried Googling it and found that it's a movie title, and that articles discussing its merits and/or decline as a workplace policy assume you already know what the term means.)

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    It usually has to do with short Friday or every other Friday off but still put in the hours. – paparazzo Jun 17 '16 at 18:33
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    @Lumberjack Yeah. TBH, the education sector jumped to mind immediately, with the thought of summers [mostly] off. I see why they call it "summer hours" and not "very limited version of flex time between memorial day and labor day, some restrictions may apply, offer not valid in all locations." – HopelessN00b Jun 17 '16 at 20:51
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    Usually, in summertime, the livin' is easy. The fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high. – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Jun 17 '16 at 21:42
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    Our Canadian parent company has this they have short summers so its to allow people to enjoy the short summer – Pepone Jun 17 '16 at 22:11
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    @mxyzplk - You win WP for today. – Wesley Long Jun 17 '16 at 23:44

Different companies will have different specific policies, but it generally involves the option for more flexibility to accommodate fun with family/friends in the good weather. Most often this centers around reducing the required work hours on Fridays (either the full day or the afternoon) so that people can go home early, take long weekends or otherwise enjoy time when the weather is great and kids are home from school.

The rigor of the rules has a lot to do with the rigor of the company. A company with supremely flexible work hours may not even mention summer hours, because the hours are so fluid already. Usually the regulations will:

  • Not give you free time off, you make it up somehow
  • Reduce the require hours of "must be present in the office between X and Y" on Friday (ie, core hours are 10-4, except on Fridays during summer hours they are 10-2)
  • Be specifically for summer
  • Provide some amount of legislation to suit business goals and the corporate culture. It could include "with management approval", "for salaried, but not for hourly employees", "for people with non-customer facing jobs", or even "mandatory for everyone" - that last may be because the company doesn't want to run the AC in the building.

It's worth asking on the interview what the details are so you know the specifics.

  • I've seen this at universities be working earlier hours. Students generally are later waking than adults and when they are ask gone... boom start earlier and end earlier! – enderland Jun 19 '16 at 0:26

In both prior positions that I have been at which included summer hours, it typically meant that we could take a half day on Friday as long as we made up the time elsewhere in the week. I have had some friends at a specific local business whose summer hours extended this to all of Friday; so they could take the entire day off if they made up their 40 hours Monday through Thursday.

For both cases, this was only offered during the summer. For my most recent position, it roughly started around when the local school year ended and roughly ended when the local school year started.

However, Summer Hours are going to be a company specific policy. You will want to check with your potential employer to know the exact details of the benefit.

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    Another form that seems to be common is also called "9/80" -- work your 80 hours in nine days instead of ten and take every other Friday off. – Monica Cellio Jun 17 '16 at 20:23
  • I've heard that called a compressed week. – The Wandering Dev Manager Jun 20 '16 at 20:43

I've never had this specific benefit, but my wife has. She's worked at the same company as long as I've known her, and the privilege seems to have been slightly modified every summer, but the general concept is that Fridays in the summer have modified hours.

Some years have meant that every other Friday is a half-day. Other years meant that they can leave an hour or 2 early every Friday. And some years, the benefit was not offered.

The only way to know what the specific benefit means is to ask.

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