Marco Garcia/AP
Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle

Hawaii Considers Four-Day Workweek

July 16, 2008 11:21 AM
by Anne Szustek
Hawaiian state agencies mull a condensed workweek to save gas by commuting less often. Utah state employees are set to work four-day weeks starting Aug. 1 for similar reasons.

30-Second Summary


Hawaii's change in workday schedule has not yet made it to the proposal stage. But should it pass, Hawaii would be the second state to move to a mandatory four-day workweek for government employees.

Owing to the state’s isolation, Hawaii generally has the country’s highest gas prices: $4.473 for a gallon of regular unleaded as of Wednesday morning.

“It would save the employees a lot of money if they didn’t have to drive in five days versus four days. But the bottom line is can we provide the same degree of service that we do to the taxpayers?” Gov. Linda Lingle said on CBS affiliate KGMB.

Utah gave the same reasons as did Hawaii for its move to a four-day week: lower overhead costs for government buildings, as well as gas savings for state workers.

The Oil Drum, a Web site that argues in favor of peak oil theory, estimates that a four-day workweek across the United States would save some 8,000,000 barrels of oil a day.

Some Hawaiians doubt the potential for energy savings. One poster on a message board of paper Honolulu Advertiser mused that many state workers will “most likely use their vehicles to go to the beach, shopping, or joy-riding and will consume more energy than they would if they worked the fifth day.” Others pointed out the possible inconvenience for those who need to access state agency services after traditional working hours.

But a paper outlining state employee laws released by Hawaii's state Work-Family Task Force points out another possible benefit to a four-day workweek: more family flex time.

Headline Link: ‘State Explores Switch to a Four-day Workweek’

Video: ‘Governor Talks about Shortening Workweek’

Background: Utah state employees to move to four-day schedule; gas prices hit suburbia

Related Topic: ‘Work-Family Task Force Report’

Opinion & Analysis: A matter of opportunity cost


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