Business time / working days extension for Carbon dates

3.0.0 2023-03-18 11:52 UTC

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Last update: 2024-06-18 14:32:08 UTC


Business Time in PHP

Build Status Coverage Status StyleCI License: MIT

"Business time" logic in PHP (aka "business hours", "working days" etc). This can be useful for calculating shipping dates, for example.

This library provides an extension for the Carbon class in the Carbon date time library.

While Carbon already has methods like diffInWeekendDays(), this extension lets you handle business time more precisely and flexibly. It can use your own customised times which can be specified directly or with constraint-matching.

Official music video for this library

BusinessTime in TypeScript



Install via Composer:

composer require hughgrigg/php-business-time


The BusinessTime class in this package extends Carbon. This means that you can use all of the methods from Carbon and the native DateTime, as well as the ones described here.

Business days

You'll probably be dealing with business days most often.

Adding or subtracting business days

You can add or subtract business days from a given starting date:

$friday = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime('Friday 10am');
$nextBusinessDay = $friday->addBusinessDay();
// = Monday 10am
$threeBusinessDays = $friday->addBusinessDays(3);
// = Wednesday 10am
$monday = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime('Monday 10am');
$previousBusinessDay = $now->subBusinessDay();
// = Friday 10am
$threeBusinessDaysAgo = $now->subBusinessDays(3);
// = Wednesday 10am

Diff in business days

Besides adding or subtracting business days, you can also calculate the number of business days between two given dates.

$now = BusinessTime\BusinessTime::now();
$nextWeek = $now->addWeek(); // a full 7-day week.
$diff = $now->diffInBusinessDays($nextWeek);
// = 5

Whole vs partial business days

The examples above deal with whole business days. You could also describe this as integer days. This means that any fractional part of a day is not considered to be a business day and is not counted.

For example, if we ask how many business days there are between 10am Friday and 10am Saturday, the answer is zero:

$fridayTenAm = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime('Friday 10am');
$saturdayTenAm = $fridayTenAm->addDay(); // Add a full day.
// = 0

This may be surprising if you were expecting the business hours on Friday to be included. The reason the result is zero is because no whole business day has passed in that time; even most of a business day is not enough to be counted.

If you do want to consider partial days, you can use the equivalent partial methods to get a float value.

$fridayTenAm = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime('Friday 10am');
$fridayTenAm->diffInPartialBusinessDays('Saturday 10am');
// = 0.875

These are kept separate because usually people do not want to deal with the concept of fractional business time: either a business day has passed or it has not. The partial methods let you access the floating point number when you want to.

Length of a business day

To calculate a partial business day, we need to know the total length of time of a business day. For example, 09:00 to 17:00 could be 100% of a business day if those are the business hours, but only 80% of a business day if the hours are 09:00 to 19:00.

Out of the box, BusinessTime treats a business day as being 8 hours long (09:00 to 17:00). You can adjust this to suit your needs, though.

The simplest way to configure this is to directly set the length of a business day:

$businessTime = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime();

If you have complicated business time constraints (see below), it might be helpful to let BusinessTime calculate the length of a business day for you. You can do that by passing in a DateTime representing your standard business day to the determineLengthOfBusinessDay() method. BusinessTime will then calculate the length of the business day based on that using its constraints.

$businessTime = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime();
$businessTime->determineLengthOfBusinessDay(new DateTime('Monday'));

Business hours

You can also make business time calculations in hours:

$now = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime();
$now = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime();

The reason a day is the largest unit included out-of-the-box is because people and organisations have different understandings of what is meant by larger units of time. Not having built-in methods for those prevents assumptions being made and forces explicitness, e.g. with $now->addBusinessDays(30).

Similarly, no unit smaller than an hour is included out-of-the-box because the concept of a "business minute" is questionable for most use cases. You can calculate minutes by multiplying by 60 if you do need them. Note that because the default precision is one hour, you may need to adjust the precision to e.g 15 minutes to get accurate calculations (see the note on precision and performance).

Describing business times

In some situations it's useful to have meaningful descriptions for business and non-business times. For example, you might want to tell your customer that you won't deliver their order until next week because the weekend is in between.

You can use the BusinessTimePeriod class for this. You can make an instance with start and end times like this:

$start = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime('today');
$end = $start->addBusinessDays(3);
$timePeriod = new BusinessTime\BusinessTimePeriod($start, $end);

You can then use the businessDays() and nonBusinessDays() methods on the time period to get that information. For example:

$businessDays = $timePeriod->businessDays();
$nonBusinessDays = $timePeriod->nonBusinessDays();

This returns an array of BusinessTime objects for each non-business day, which can tell you their name:

// = e.g. "the weekend"

What intervals and descriptions you get depends on which business time constraints have been used.

You can also ask a BusinessTimePeriod for its business and non-business sub- periods, for example:

$start = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime('today');
$end = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime('tomorrow');
$timePeriod = new BusinessTime\BusinessTimePeriod($start, $end);

$businessPeriods = $timePeriod->businessPeriods();
// = array of BusinessTimePeriod instances for each period of business time.
$nonBusinessPeriods = $timePeriod->nonBusinessPeriods();
// = array of BusinessTimePeriod instances for each period of non-business time.

This lets you see the business timings that make up the whole time period. You can ask each sub-period for its business-relevant name with the businessName() method.

Start and end of business day

You can get the start or end of the business day based on the business time constraints like this:

$businessTime = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime();
// = BusinessTime instance for e.g. 09:00
// = BusinessTime instance for e.g. 17:00

Determining business time

By default, this library considers Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm to be business time. You can configure this to suit your needs, though.

Business time constraints

You can set the constraints to determine business time on the BusinessTime class like this:

$businessTime = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime();
    new BusinessTime\Constraint\WeekDays(),
    new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenHoursOfDay(9, 17),

You can pass as many constraints as you need; all of the constraints must be satisfied for a given time to be considered business time.

Calling setBusinessTimeConstraints() replaces any existing constraints on the BusinessTime instance.

The following constraints are available out-of-the-box, some of which can be customised via their constructors:

new BusinessTime\Constraint\HoursOfDay(10, 13, 17);
new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenHoursOfDay(9, 17);
new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenTimesOfDay('08:45', '17:30');
new BusinessTime\Constraint\WeekDays();
new BusinessTime\Constraint\Weekends();
new BusinessTime\Constraint\DaysOfWeek('Monday', 'Wednesday', 'Friday');
new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenDaysOfWeek('Monday', 'Friday');
new BusinessTime\Constraint\DaysOfMonth(1, 8, 23);
new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenDaysOfMonth(1, 20);
new BusinessTime\Constraint\MonthsOfYear('January', 'March', 'July');
new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenMonthsOfYear('January', 'November');
new BusinessTime\Constraint\DaysOfYear('January 8th', 'March 16th', 'July 4th');
new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenDaysOfYear('January 1st', 'December 5th');
new BusinessTime\Constraint\Dates('2019-01-17', '2019-09-23', '2020-05-11');
new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenDates('2018-01-11', '2018-12-31');
new BusinessTime\Constraint\AnyTime(); // Oh dear.

Inversion of business time constraints

You can wrap any business time constraint in a Not constraint to invert it.

For example:

$decemberOff = new BusinessTime\Constraint\Composite\Not(

This constraint now matches any time that is not in the month of December. You can pass as many other constraints as you need into the Not constructor.

Exceptions to business time constraints

The constraints above have an except() method that takes one or more other constraints. This creates a composite constraint that lets you add exceptions to your business time rules.

For example:

$lunchTimeOff = (new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenHoursOfDay(9, 17))->except(
    new BusinessTime\Constraint\HoursOfDay(13)

That constraint now matches any time between 9am and 5pm except for the hour between 1pm and 2pm. You can pass as many exceptional constraints as you need into the except() method.

Note: You can use the except() method on the AnyTime constraint as an alternative way to define your constraints:

(new BusinessTime\Constraint\AnyTime())->except(
    new BusinessTime\Constraint\DaysOfWeek('Friday')
// All times except Fridays are considered business time.

If except() is not enough for your needs, you can also use the andAlso() and orAlternatively() methods to build different types of composite constraints.

Custom business time constraints

You can implement your own custom constraints by implementing the BusinessTime\Constraint\Constraint interface:

interface BusinessTimeConstraint
    public function isBusinessTime(DateTimeInterface $time): bool;

The constraint must take an instance of DateTimeInterface and return whether or not it should be considered business time.

If you want to enable combinatorial logic for your custom constraint, use the BusinessTime\Constraint\Composite\Combinations trait.

Tip: It's usually better to use multiple simple constraints together than to make one big, complex one.

Business time constraints example

Here's a somewhat complicated example of using business time constraints:

$businessTime = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime();
    (new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenHoursOfDay(10, 18))->except(
        new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenTimesOfDay('13:00', '14:00')
    ), // 9-6 every day, with an hour for lunch.
    (new BusinessTime\Constraint\WeekDays())->except(
        new BusinessTime\Constraint\WeekDays('Thursday')
    ), // Week days, but let's take Thursdays off.
    new BusinessTime\Constraint\BetweenMonthsOfYear('January', 'November'),
    // No-one does any work in December anyway.
    new BusinessTime\Constraint\Composite\Not(
        new BusinessTime\Constraint\DaysOfYear('August 23rd', 'October 20th')
    ) // Why not take off your birthday and wedding anniversary?

Incorporating business time data from a remote source

Whilst you could try to set up constraints covering all the public holidays in your country, it's probably easier to just retrieve them from a remote source.

Custom remote sources

You can add any other source you like by implementing the Constraint interface described above.

Recurring business deadlines

As well as calculating business time, it's often useful to make calculations about deadlines or "cut-off" times. For example, the cut-off time for dispatching orders might be 11am on week days. BusinessTime provides logic for dealing with this.

You can create deadlines using the same time constraints described above:

$deadline = new BusinessTime\Deadline\RecurringDeadline(
    new BusinessTime\Constraint\Weekdays(),
    new BusinessTime\Constraint\HoursOfDay(11)

Any time matching all the constraints is considered an occurrence of the deadline. This means the deadline recurs on a regular basis (it is not a single moment in time).

To find out when the deadline next occurs, you can use the nextOccurrenceFrom() method:

$businessTime = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime();
// = a new business time instance for the time the deadline next occurs.

In this example, this might give you 11am today, or 11am next Monday if it's now already later than 11am on a Friday.

There is a previousOccurrenceFrom() that does the equivalent going back from the given time.

You can also see if a deadline has passed in a given time period:

// = true if the deadline has been passed today.
// = true if the deadline is ever passed in the given time period.

Important: the deadlines described above are designed to handle recurring deadlines. They not appropriate for determining singular moments in time. To make comparisons against a single moment, you should simply use the comparison methods provided by Carbon:

$time = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime();
$deadline = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime('2018-12-08 17:00');
// = true if the moment has passed.

Business time factory

You probably don't want to have to set up an instance of BusinessTime\BusinessTime in every place you want to use one in your code.

To avoid that, you can set up a BusinessTime\Factory with the constraints you need once and then use that everywhere.

For example:

$factory = new BusinessTime\BusinessTimeFactory();
    new BusinessTime\Constraint\DaysOfWeek('Saturday', 'Sunday'),
    new BusinessTime\Constraint\Dates('2018-12-25'),

Once the factory is set up, you can share it in whatever way you usually share dependencies. For example, you might add it to the container in a framework like Laravel or Symfony.

When you've got the instance of the factory, you can get a ready-made instance of BusinessTime\BusinessTime from it:

$date = $factory->make('2018-03-21');
$now = $factory->now();

The BusinessTimeFactory instance can be serialized, which makes it easy to store in a cache or the filesystem.


By default, BusinessTime uses hour precision. This means that it calculates business time roughly accurate to an hour.

If you need better precision than this, you can set it to what you want:

$businessTime = new BusinessTime\BusinessTime();
$businessTime->setPrecision(BusinessTime\Interval::minutes(30)); // Half-hour precision.
$businessTime->setPrecision(BusinessTime\Interval::minutes(15)); // Quarter-hour precision.

You can also set precision on the business time factory in the same way.

Note that the higher the precision, the lower the performance is. This is because BusinessTime must check each interval of the size you specify. For example, at hour precision, dealing with one week requires 7 * 24 = 168 iterations. At minute precision, this becomes 7 * 24 * 60 = 10080 iterations, which is 60× slower.

Always try to set the largest precision interval that covers your needs.


You can use the testing facilities from Carbon described here:

For example, you can mock the current time like this:


And proceed from there in your testing.

To run the tests for the BusinessTime package itself, you can run the tests in this directory:

make test

You can also read the tests for more detailed usage examples of the library.