Tuesday, July 1, 2008


STATELINE In the face of $4-a-gallon gasoline, a growing number of states are offering their employees four-day workweeks to help relieve commuting costs and save on state energy bills. In the boldest step so far, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) announced June 26 that he is imposing a four-day workweek on about 17,000 state employees starting the first week of August and continuing for at least a year. Employees will work 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and about 1,000 of the 3,000 state buildings will be closed on Fridays. Essential services, such as highway patrols, courts, public schools and colleges, will not be affected by the changes, which are expected to save the state $3 million, said Lisa Roskelley, the governor’s spokeswoman.

While Utah is the first to make four-day workweeks mandatory, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) announced two weeks ago that her office was considering work-schedule alternatives to help commuters save fuel. And New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) has ordered each state agency to adopt a policy for telecommuting and alternate work schedules by Sept. 1.

High gasoline prices led Kentucky and South Carolina to offer compressed workweeks to a handful of its state employees this summer. A smattering of other states - Arkansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Vermont among them - are considering expanding existing programs to more state agencies.

Some state universities and community colleges are moving to four-day work weeks for the summer, and the trend has emerged in numerous city, county and other local governments.

Supporters say four-day workweeks help commuter-clogged roads, give people access to government services for longer hours, reduce emissions and conserve energy at state facilities - a residual benefit that saves taxpayers money. Keeping workers home once a week is particularly appealling in rural states where mass transit is limited or non-existent.

Critics of the compressed workweek charge it’s an inconvenience for the customers government is required to serve. Others argue the extended workdays burden those who require daycare for children or have special commuting arrangements.


At July 1, 2008 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, have our family vaules gone out the window on this one? We are a family with two small children who cannot be dropped off for school before 8:30 am and need to be picked up before 4:00 pm. Before my husband and I could share this burden..but now it is all left to me to pick up the kids and work full time because of our economy. Seems to me - there should a be a pay raise to ease the burden to hire a nanny to get my kids to school or some sort of instentive. At my hubands work this has been manadated and they are handing out the new schedules with no regard to who requires what. The sales pitch went something like -- well now you can spend more time with your family. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? First, now my husband isn't home in the morning to share beakfast (you know the most important meal of the day) with our kids. Second, Now he wont be around to take them to school, pick them up or maybe not even home for dinner unless we change our family schedule -- oh yeah, and that Friday where Huntsmans thinks my husband is spending it with my kids -- they are in school you idiot. Did you think about that? You just gave my husband a whole day to sit on his ass and do nothing until the kids get home -- on now Friday's will be my long day in the private sector making ends meet..because during the week I will have all the responsibility of raising our kids myself. JERK


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