What are Summer Fridays? Experts say this workplace perk is on the decline

Summer Fridays were once seen as an easy and popular way for companies to increase employee morale and provide flexibility in an increasingly competitive job market. 

In 2019, some 55% of companies in the U.S. offered summer benefits, allowing workers to take Fridays off or leave a few hours early during the summer months, according to research from Gartner. But since the pandemic in 2020 and the rise in remote and hybrid work, it appears fewer companies see the benefits of this specific Friday perk. 

According to a recent report from Flex Index, 37% of U.S. companies use a structured hybrid approach; that’s up from 20% in early 2023. The report says 32% of companies are fully flexible, while 31% require full-time, in-office attendance. 

RELATED: Colorado police department's 4-day workweek leads to better response times

The rise in hybrid and remote work could be to blame for the reduction in Summer Fridays – a 2023 poll from Monster.com, a job recruiting website, found that only 34% of workers in the US were offered summer benefits. 

What are Summer Fridays? 

Summer Fridays are a benefit offered by some U.S. businesses. 


FILE - An empty office building. Experts say Summer Fridays - a workplace benefit - are on the decline. (Photo by Andrew Holt/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)

It typically lasts from Memorial Day through Labor Day and allows workers to take Fridays off or get off early. In some cases, it’s offered every other Friday.

Companies that offer summer benefits include IBM, Pfizer, Estee Lauder, Condé Nast, Viacom and Leaf Group, among others, according to USA Today

What are the benefits of Summer Fridays?

The Monster.com poll found that 97% of workers who receive summer benefits say they don’t negatively impact their productivity – in fact, 66% of them said they’re more productive. 

"Ultimately, Summer Fridays are about organizations providing the increased flexibility that employees are seeking," Brian Kropp, group vice president of the HR practice at Gartner, said in a statement. "It’s a way for employers to show their staff that they are valued by giving them the gift of time."

RELATED: Four-day workweek would boost productivity, 81% of younger workers say

Gartner’s research showed that companies offering a more flexible summer schedule don’t see negative impacts to company productivity. 

"We find that offering your employees work-life balance can increase productivity, loyalty and employee retention," Kropp said. 

The Monster.com poll noted that 63% of workers would rather have a raise in lieu of all summer benefits. Roughly 42% of workers surveyed said they want increased remote work flexibility. 

The push for shorter workweeks 

Summer Fridays, four-day workweeks and remote/hybrid schedules are all part of a larger push for shorter workweeks and more flexibility on the job. 

Results from a major trial of a four-day workweek in the U.K. showed significantly reduced rates of employee stress and illness while maintaining productivity.

The six-month trial, billed as the world’s largest of its kind, included 61 companies that committed to a 20% reduction in working hours for all staff — with no drop in wages. It began in June and ran through December 2022.

The four-day workweek trial was developed and led by the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global, the think tank Autonomy, and in partnership with researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University.

RELATED: 4-day workweek boosts employee happiness while preserving productivity, major trial finds

The organizers of the trial found that 71% of employees self-reported lower levels of "burnout," and 39% said they were less stressed, compared to the start of the trial. There was also a 65% reduction in sick days, and a 57% fall in the number of staff who quit, compared to the same period the previous year. 

Meanwhile, company revenue barely changed during the trial period and even increased marginally by 1.4% on average, according to the results. 

In March, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced legislation that would give Americans a 32-hour workweek with no loss of pay. 

Sanders' bill, the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act, would reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours over four years by lowering the threshold for overtime pay for non-exempt employees. 

FOX’s Kelly Hayes contributed to this report.