Marcos De Hoyos
Texas Employment Lawyer Marcos De Hoyos

Recently, Belgium announced a labor reform allowing for a four-day work week. The reforms also provided workers the ability to power off work devices and ignore work-related messages without fear of retaliation. The aim of the reforms was to increase productivity and strengthen both people and businesses. The United Arab Emirates, Scotland, Iceland, Japan, and Spain are among the few others that have either incorporated or begun a trial phase to incorporate, a four-day work week. The trials of the four-day work week have largely been a success, with the workforce experiencing a rise in productivity and happiness. This raises the natural questions: why is the four-day week so unpopular and will it ever be possible in the United States?

Four-day work weeks are unpopular among employers for two primary reasons: tradition and trust. The former is the more obvious of the two. Originally, in 19th Century England, the six-day work week was the norm. This caused many Englishmen to use the seventh day (Sunday) to engage in festivities such as gambling and drinking. This generally caused “Saint Monday” to emerge in which large amounts of workers would be absent from the workplace to recover from Sunday’s merriment. Employers soon relented and provided employees with a half-day on Saturday as a trade-off for guaranteed attendance on Mondays.

It was not until 1908 that Saturday transitioned from a half-day to a full day’s rest when several American factories chose to accommodate Jewish workers in observance of Saturday sabbath. By 1929, with the emergence of the Great Depression, the five-day work week became cemented in American society. The reasoning was that shorter hours could remedy the increasing underemployment.

Now, nearly a century later, with mills and factories being replaced by advancing technology, we have maintained strict adherence to the five-day work week. The changing landscape seems to have no effect on the old ways. And, to be clear, it makes sense. Many companies who consider transitioning into the four-day work week must recognize the unfortunate fact that they would be placing themselves at a disadvantage against those that favor the five-day work week. Several employers would essentially be shooting themselves in the foot. Additionally, there are certain professions that require a five-day work week. One example can be found in the legal profession. Courts operate on a five-day schedule; therefore, law offices should follow suit lest they risk missing a deadline or a court date. With some professions, the five-day work week is ingrained in its functionality and it is nearly impossible to separate the two. The only solution seems to be major government-implemented structural reforms like those incorporated in Belgium.

Additionally, for the four-day week to be possible, employers must trust their employees to compensate for the additional time off with greater output in performance. This is no small task given the potentially deleterious effects this could have on a business. However, the aforementioned studies conducted in various countries along with the continuing developments that will take place in Belgium may be enough to assuage the concerns of some skeptics.

As it stands, the four-day work week seems unlikely in the United States. The five-day work week is culturally ingrained in our society and most employers would not willingly place themselves at a disadvantage to others who operate on the five-day work week. If it took a global pandemic to make many employers realize that remote work was possible, one can only wonder what calamity would be necessary to pull the United States out of the old ways and into the four-day work week.

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We asked Marcos D. De Hoyos, a Trial Attorney in the Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, P.C., to provide her sincere answers to a range of questions. After reading, you will be more more abreast with the understanding and competency that Mr.

We asked Marcos D. De Hoyos, a Trial Attorney in the Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, P.C., to provide her sincere answers to a range of questions. After reading, you will be more more abreast with the understanding and competency that Mr. De Hoyos brings.

  1. Why did you start practicing labor and employment law?

It’s fulfilling work. Employment law is one of the few areas of law where you can actually make a difference and an impact in the lives of people. One of the most rewarding feelings is knowing that the work I do each day has a meaningful impact in the community.

  1. Who is your favorite Supreme Court Justice?

Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr.

  1. What do you think is the most important part of a good case?

The lawyer. The client could have a stellar case, but without a good lawyer, that case isn’t going anywhere. You need a passionate, active, and knowledgeable lawyer to make the right decisions and ensure that the case, regardless of how viable it is, gets the shot it deserves.

  1. Besides Rob Wiley, P.C., what is the most interesting job that you have had?

While in college, I was a barista at a small, local coffeeshop, so while I argue your case, I can also make you a killer shot of espresso to boot.

  1. What skills do you value as an employment attorney?

The ability to adapt. As a lawyer, you’re constantly faced with situations that you didn’t expect or anticipate, and you have to learn to adapt to the situation as it unfolds. Persuasiveness and attentiveness are also a few skills I think are important to being successful in law.

  1. If you were not practicing labor and employment law what would you be?

In another life, I would most likely be an English or Philosophy professor.

  1. How do you market yourself differently than others?

I did not have the privilege of growing up in a family of lawyers. I was the only person in my family to earn a law degree, and I had to learn the law tooth and nail. I understand how complicated and daunting the law can be to someone who hasn’t studied it, so along with providing advocacy, I also like to make sure that clients understand the law, so that they aren’t left tackling their problems in the dark.

  1. What do you do when you’re not practicing law?

You can usually find me reading fiction or philosophy at the local coffee shop, going for a hike or run, or touring one of the many museums or art galleries in town.

  1. What’s your favorite legal TV show

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

  1. Who do you most admire as a lawyer?

The client. Taking on big companies and corporations is daunting, especially when you haven’t studied law. It takes courage to take a stand and to fight for what you are owed. I really admire that about my clients. They know going in that it’s going to be tough, but they choose to fight anyway, and that takes guts.

Marcos D. De Hoyos is a Trial Attorney in the Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, P.C. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Philosophy with a Minor in English. Mr. De Hoyos went on and received his law degree from Vanderbilt University.