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Charles Dharapak/AP
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman

Utah State Employees Moving to a Four-Day Workweek

July 02, 2008 06:01 AM
by Anne Szustek
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman believes a workweek of four 10-hour days will increase productivity, reduce the state’s carbon footprint and cut back on energy costs.

30-Second Summary

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Set to become effective the first week of August, most Utah state offices, with the exception of public university employees, the court and prison systems and other key services, will have work hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

A four-day week means lower overhead costs for government buildings, as well as less time behind the wheel for state workers. Huntsman said that the new schedule marks another step in Utah’s goal of cutting back its energy use 20 percent by 2015.

“We live in a dynamic, ever-changing environment, and it’s crucial that we take a serious look at how we can adapt and maintain our state’s unparalleled quality of life,” said the governor on the state of Utah’s official Web site.

Some experts say that high gas prices could force a shift to telecommuting and non-traditional working schedules, changing the very idea of the American workday lifestyle.

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 8,314,530 barrels of oil a day.

But some state employees expressed concern on an online message board. One state worker who relies on the public transit system UTA “will have to drive all four days of the week” because the last bus on her route leaves at 5:15 p.m.

Huntsman told USA Today that the state is working to assuage transit and child care concerns.

Headline Link: ‘Most State Workers in Utah Shifting to 4-day Week’

Background: ‘Rising Oil Prices May End Suburban Way of Life’

Reactions: ‘Governor Huntsman Announces Extended Government Service Hours’

Opinion & Analysis: A matter of opportunity cost

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