The Washington Post

Utah halts four-day work week being considered by Virginia

A program in Utah requiring state employees to work four days a week — similar to one passed by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s reform commission last year — has ended after officials determined they did not save as much money as hoped and residents complained about not having access to services on Fridays.

Utah employees went back to working five days a week on Tuesday — a change that some may find difficult because they had scheduled day-care and second jobs around the schedule.

In 2008, Jon Huntsman, then Utah governor and now a Republican presidential candidate, launched a program requiring 80 percent of its 17,000 workers to adopt the schedule.

Oregon and Texas legislators considered — but did not pass — four-day workweek bills this year. Georgia, Hawaii and Washington state have implemented programs at a handful of agencies.

McDonnell’s commission recommended a four-day-workweek last year as a way to save millions of dollars on energy by shutting down government buildings across the state one weekday each week.

Employees at some agencies would work 10-hour days four times a week. Others -- including those involved in law enforcement, public health, higher education and departments that generate revenue, such as museums -- would be exempt.

Virginia’s Forestry Department, which has more than 300 employees and is based in Charlottesville, started a four-day workweek in 2009 as a pilot program and saved $31,223 in fiscal 2010. Employee survey results show that 64 percent viewed it as a benefit to working at the agency.

McDonnell’s office did not immediately return a message asking if any other agencies had implemented the four-day work week or whether the governor was pursuing the proposal.


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