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Four Days on the Job

With gas prices soaring, air pollution growing and traffic congestion worsening, a lot of state and local governments are considering four-day work weeks. Starting in...
by | June 29, 2008

With gas prices soaring, air pollution growing and traffic congestion worsening, a lot of state and local governments are considering four-day work weeks. Starting in August, Utah will become one of the first states to implement a 10-hour, four-day week for most of its state agencies -- Birmingham, Ala., is implementing a four-day week for some 4,000 municipal employees, and Houston tested a similar initiative last summer. The Working 4 Utah initiative means most state offices will shut down on Friday, and instead operate 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. It won't affect essential workers such as highway patrol troopers, corrections officers, court officials and public school personnel. The goal is to help conserve energy, reduce gas consumption for commuters, encourage employees to telecommute in cases where it's practical, use the change as a possible employment recruiting tool and urge residents to take advantage of online services. The plan, which will be evaluated after a year, affects about 16,000 to 17,000 state employees, and is estimated to cut energy use by about 20 percent and save a projected $3 million a year. A study by Brigham Young University released last month found that Spanish Fork City, Utah, employees working four 10-hour days were more satisfied with their jobs, had fewer conflicts at home and were less likely to look for a new job elsewhere than those working the traditional five days a week.

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