State workers in Utah shifting to 4-day week
By Larry Copeland
Utah this summer will become what experts say is the first state to institute a mandatory four-day work week for most state employees, joining local governments across the nation that are altering schedules to save money, energy and resources.
Gov. Jon Huntsman, a first-term Republican, says he's making the change to reduce the state's carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency, improve customer service and provide workers more flexibility.
"The reaction (from the public) has been very much a willingness to give this a go," he says.
The change will apply to about 17,000 employees, roughly 80% of the state workforce, Huntsman says. Public universities, the state court system, prisons and other critical services will be exempt. Residents still will have sufficient access to state offices, many staying open from 7 a.m.- 6 p.m., and more than 800 state services are available online, he says.
Leslie Scott, executive director of the National Association of State Personnel Directors, says Huntsman's action is a first. "Most states have a four-day work week option for their employees, but Utah is the first to go to a mandatory four-day work week," she says. "A good number of the states are encouraging their agencies and managers to offer a four-day work week whenever possible."
The four-day work week is fairly common among city and county governments. Rex Facer, an assistant professor at Brigham Young University whose research team is studying the four-day work week concept, estimates that about one-sixth of U.S. cities with populations above 25,000 offer employees a four-day work week. His projection is based on the team's continuing survey of 150 city human resource directors
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