Is the federal government the next to implement a four-day work week? Maybe. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) wants the idea to be considered, anyway. He’s asked the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to “undertake comprehensive analysis of the transitioning to a 4-day work week for all possible federal employees and inform me by August 31, of any additional actions Congress would need to take to implement such a policy by the end of fiscal year 2008.”
Presumably, the idea would be to switch to a mandatory four-day week, like the Utah example. Federal agencies already have the discretion to implement a compressed schedule agency-wide or on a case-by-case basis. The Federal Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules Act of 1982 (the F&CWS law), authorizes a “versatile and innovative work scheduling program for use in the Federal Government.”
The OPF previously recognized the value of alternative schedules as a way to attract and retain federal employees. In “Negotiating Flexible and Compressed Schedules,” the OPM concluded that alternative schedules will be an important part of the government’s future staffing efforts:
By all accounts, the workforce of tomorrow will be older, more culturally and ethnically diverse, and will consist of more female workers than ever. This diversity will require the Federal Government to utilize new and innovative approaches toward managing human resources and delivering services. To succeed, the Government must successfully compete for skilled workers; and it must be able retain them by providing challenging job opportunities and the flexibility to accommodate family responsibilities and other activities outside work. Flexible and compressed work schedules that are carefully planned and implemented can help make the Government more successful in its recruitment efforts, and more competitive and efficient in the bargaining should be undertaken with the goal of establishing flexible and compressed work schedules that support work and family programs, encourage the participation of employees and management, and also set up administrative controls necessary for the efficient operation of the agency and the success of the established work schedule.
August 31st is just around the corner so we’ll have to wait to see what the OPM concludes in response to Hoyer’s inquiry. In the meantime, catch up on the four-day workweek trend.