I heard a story on the radio this morning about a groundswell of companies studying the advantages of changing to a 4-day work week due to high gas prices. I did some research and found that, while there doesn’t appear to be an actual full-scale campaign underway to get all U.S. workers switched to a 4-10 schedule, many companies are taking it on themselves, or trying to get lawmakers in their city or state interested.
The ‘Industrial Workers of the World’ website says that there have been no reductions in the average U.S. work week in the more than sixty years, since the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed. They say changing to a 4-day work week would not only cut gas consumption by 20%, but also cut pollution from carbon emissions, improve worker morale, cut energy prices to light and heat/cool buildings, and promote time spent with families, thus strengthening the American family.
The Town Manager of one Phoenix suburb is lobbying for the change for all local government workers. Closing Fridays would mean the town would offer extended hours Monday through Thursday, such as 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. And a recent story done by KING 5 News out of Seattle says several petition drives for a shortened work week are circulating on the internet. They say there are already a handful of cities in Nevada, California, Arizona, and Florida experimenting with the idea. Marion County Florida recently switched to a four-day work week for county workers and expects to save $250,000 in energy costs this year alone.
Locally, the County’s Commute Trip Reduction program encourages a ‘flex schedule’ to decrease cars on the road. A flex schedule is where an employee works 44 hours the first week of a pay period, then 36 hours the second week, allowing them to take one extra day off, while still working 80 hours in two weeks.
What is your company’s policy? I think I’m going to start my own campaign and start lobbying for a 4-day work week here at SRTC. Let me know if you work for a progressive company that already does this.