In an effort to reduce spending, the government should reevaluate the 40- hour work week. While there are options to work less than full-time in government, they come at a high cost to the employee in benefits lost, retirement and vacation earned. The result? Few employees take the option and many of these employees complete their work in less than 40 hours/wk. While maintaining full employee benefits and allowing the
In an effort to reduce spending, the government should reevaluate the 40- hour work week. While there are options to work less than full-time in government, they come at a high cost to the employee in benefits lost, retirement and vacation earned. The result? Few employees take the option and many of these employees complete their work in less than 40 hours/wk. While maintaining full employee benefits and allowing the forfeiture of salary in a reduced hours schedule, the government could reduce costs while increasing performance. In fact, this is already in place, but only for Leave without Pay, requiring special circumstances. A reduced hour plan could be implemented to issue hours like approved Leave Without Pay and taken either on a weekly schedule, or when work was slow. It should not be news that the U.S. has one of the highest work hours/week and lowest vacation time than other nations, we also have the highest depression, and lowest health. This suggestion not only fits with the national goal of decreasing government spending, but also with those aimed at decreasing health burdens, energy consumption, and can be incentive toward employee education and community outreach. It could be effective in most Departments, with obvious exceptions to emergency staff, military, and SES positions. Cost savings and Benefits include: Direct cost savings. As example, the average federal employee earns $75,419 in 2009. The average savings for reducing the work schedule to 38 hours would be $3,771. Yes, the employee would voluntarily reduce their hours and therefore salary to $71,648. Conservatively, if 5% of the approximately 2,721,000 Federal employees participated at reducing 2 hours/week we’d save $0.5 billion. Health The U.S. has the highest rates of depression in comparison with other nations, and we all know how our health is rated low. A reduction in depression cases would not only decrease the cost to health assistance programs, but increase employee performance as well. Energy consumption One study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that by reducing our work hours to European levels, we'd reduce our energy use and carbon footprint by up to 25%. Our education systems have selected these alternatives to cut energy costs, closing at noon on Friday, such as at the University of Louisiana, or instituting furlough days (mandatory Leave Without Pay days) in Hawaii and California. Innovation Large changes in federal employment can initiate improved employee conditions in corporations. Using our current financial situation as a catalyst for improvement of the average American life-style is a solution I am certain this administration supports. Showing the public that the government can share in the national sacrifice by initiating large employment changes is good for ratings in the short term, and good for America in the long term. Implementation can be: Scaled Reduced time could be implemented as the above mentioned furlough days, where offices close on a pre-specified week to best benefit from the cost savings, and energy savings. Nearly all offices and employees have weeks of “down time” where fewer employees are available to complete work, but energy consumption to keep offices open are still required. More voluntary alternatives are available, where employees can request reduced hours up to a maximum, such as 4 hours/week where costs to benefits would increase. Marketed Time is the answer. From an employee perspective, these are hard times to voluntarily reduce a salary, but it is also increasingly difficult to spend on things that could be accomplished “if only I had time.” Home repairs, training, education, selling a home or car are just a few examples. The typical U.S. employee hires help for some portion of their regular chores, cooking, yard work, laundry, house-cleaning to name the most common. Personal time is invaluable to cutting those costs and improving personal mental and physical health. Education in this sense is NOT the answer, we know that eating fast food is killing us. …but it’s fast and we are out of time. Personal time is the answer. These times can be great “catch-up time”, but can also be wasted time. Have you ever put in days that were not very productive, just to save your vacation time? This costs the employer and doesn’t pay off for anyone.
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