40 Hour Week For A Living
It was pretty much standard in almost every American industry back in the early 1900’s – you’d work six days a week and often it was 10 hours a day. But it was the Ford Motor Company that changed all of that on this date in 1926. Ford became the first American company to adopt a five-day, 40-hour week for factory workers. Three months later the policy applied to office workers too.
Company president Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford explained that every man needs more than one day a week for rest and recreation. He said Ford has always tried to promote an ideal home life for its employees and believed that for every man to live properly he should have more time to spend with his family.
It was a great benefit for the workers, but at the same time what the company did was increase productivity. They were working fewer hours a day and fewer days a week, but the quality of work increased.
Even though workers' time on the job had decreased, they were expected to expend more effort while they were there. Manufacturers all over the country, and the world took notice and soon followed Ford's lead and the Monday-to-Friday workweek became standard practice.