State employees ponder 4-day work week

Oklahoman Published: July 7, 2008
TULSA -- A public hearing is planned at the state Capitol this week to discuss whether a four-day work week for state employees would save money as energy prices continue to rise.

Scott Barger, the deputy director of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, said cutting one commute a week would be one way to help defray costs for state employees. The hearing is planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday.

"We're pushing some type of discussion to seriously consider it," Barger said.

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman issued an order last week that will launch a yearlong experiment in which thousands of state employees will work 10 hours Monday through Thursday and then take Friday off. State police officers, prison guards and court employees are among those who'll still work five days a week.

And while some services might not be available on Fridays, Barger said the longer hours could allow better access to state services for people working 40 hours over the traditional five days.

"You also gain a better customer service perspective by allowing the agency to stay open longer hours," Barger said. "A person working doesn't have to take time off from their job to access those services. By shutting down the state office one day a week, you'll save the taxpayers money.

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