MONEY AND WORK

News from the Progressive Review, providing alternative news and comment for over four decades.

February 3, 2009

UTAH'S FOUR DAY WORK WEEK PROVES POPULAR

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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