Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 3, 2009


Stateline - In Utah, the nation's biggest experiment in shrinking the government workweek already is under way - with encouraging results.

Surprisingly, the pluses aren't exactly what Utah envisioned in August when Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. started shutting down a third of state offices on Fridays - including driver's licenses bureaus - and ordered 17,000 of 24,000 executive-branch employees to work their full 40 hours over four days instead of five. Energy savings and environmental benefits so far are less than envisioned, but other advantages could warrant a longer trial . . . Nearly six months into Utah's Friday-off experiment, employee satisfaction is shifting in a noticeable way, and the three-day weekend doubles as a recruitment tool, enticing younger residents to work for the state, Hansen said. . . After four months, 70 percent said they preferred the schedule, compared to 56 percent before the change. The report also found that absenteeism and turnover rates went down.


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