Utah Drops Four-Day Work Week

September 6, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Today Utah State Government will return to a five-day work week.


Or, perhaps more precisely will next week, once the Labor Day holiday is past.

Governor Gary R. Herbert has directed Cabinet officials and agency heads to prioritize customer service during the transition, according to an update on the governor’s web site.

Jeff Herring, executive director of the Department of Human Resource Management, said, “The primary role of our employees is to serve the public. Agency employees should, and I believe will, be committed to this primary customer focus, regardless of the hours of operation.”

Four 10-hour work days were implemented August 4, 2008, as a pilot initiative (see Utah State Workers Move to Four-Day Week) by then-Governor Jon Huntsman.  Turning off the lights, the heat and the air conditioning on Fridays in 1,000 of 3,000 government buildings was projected to save about $3 million a year out of a state budget of $11 billion, but lawmakers scratched the experiment, saying it was not saving as much money as hoped and that residents were complaining about not having access to services on Fridays, according to the Daily Caller. 

A 2010 legislative audit showed the savings never materialized, in part due to a drop in energy prices.  The bill that stopped the experiment called on state offices to be open five days, but left it up to the executive branch to determine whether to still schedule workers on for the four-day weeks, according to the Daily Caller.