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The 4-Day Work Week: Could it Really Work?

I caught an article recently about a Louisiana House committee questioning a proposal to put state agencies on a shorter workweek. Of course thsi is being sold as a cost-saving idea by the sponsoring legislator. State Rep. Rickey Hardy, D-Lafayette, asked the House Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations to consider changing state employees’ workweeks from five 8-hour days to four 10-hour days.

Now the benefits of the 4-day workweek are obvious. Saving costs on fuel, utilities, and of course more productivity because workers will have an extra day to take care of personal things that they would normally have to take off work to do.

Currently Utah is midway through their pilot program where they switched all state agencies to the 4-day workweek.

The money that is being saved by Utah, and possibly by Louisiana if this goes through is supposed to be significant.

But will a 4-day workweek really be able to work?

I say no. State agencies may switch to 4-day workweeks, but what about after-school services and daycares that aren’t affiliated with the state? Are they going to extend their hours to accommodate for the longer days for State employees? Probably not considering there are very few such after school services and daycares that simply cater to state employees.

Some schools have switched to 4-day weeks only to switch back because of lack of daycare, and increases of vandalism and an increase of basic hooliganism in the communities. Basically because of lack of adequate daycare services for those 5th days.

So what are parents to do about daycare for their kids during these extended hours of the 4-day workweek? And what about places like the DMV and other often crowded state agencies where the lines are horrific with 5-day workweeks as it is!

Well Utah has said their DMV has actually changed for the better. Customers seem to be happier with the longer hours during the rest of the week, spreading out the busy crowds. And the attitude is always better when they know Thursday is the new Friday.

In the long run though, I can’t see how the logistics would really work without the 4-day workweek truly spreading beyond just the state agencies.

Not that I’m complaining, because if the 4-day workweek really spread beyond state agencies and into the private sector and even further, I would not complain. If a 4-day workweek were to really work it would just need to be implemented everywhere.

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Denise Hill

The 4-day work week is in limited us in Federal Government. It works. The 4-day work week does require adjustments to 10-hour days and scheduling.

Pam Broviak

I see some of the benefits of a 4-day work week, but have to agree totally with you on the daycare issue. It is hard enough to find daycare for the regular 8 hour work week. Plus I have found that once the kids go to school, things become even more challenging. Who is going to help them get ready for school and get on the bus at the right time? And then of course there would be the after school issues to deal with.

With my job, I have had to work some 10-12 hour days and could only do it because I had an older daughter, a sister-in-law, and a husband to back me up. But I could not have expected them to do so all year long.