A 4-day work week ... every week? A city Councilwoman champions the idea

Updated: Jan. 15, 2020 at 9:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some city workers could be getting four-day weekends every week ― if a new resolution catches on.

City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine introduced a measure encouraging a four-day work week for future union contracts.

City lifeguards have been testing the four-day schedule at Hanauma Bay for the past year and now Councilwoman Pine wants to expand to other city workers.

“We saved money in the Hanauma Bay project by going to the four-day work week because employees were having more recovery time, they’re happier, and they had less sick leave and less worker compensation. So that saved the city tremendously," she said.

The change wouldn’t reduce employee hours worked or pay. Each working day would be stretched to 10 hours.

And as the theory goes: happier workers are more productive workers.

Adding to the list of potential benefits are energy savings and fewer cars on the roads.

Bus riders like Terry Slattery say that’s a big plus.

“Anything that can create a proper work-life balance to improve the quality of life of our citizens is an important thing to consider," Slattery said.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he hasn’t seen the resolution yet but supports the added possibility of reducing carbon emissions.

“Anything that can effect our climate crisis, I’m willing to look at," he said.

Pine says 30 other states and several large companies have had success with the schedule.

But some states haven’t been so efficient with the concept.

In Utah, lawmakers canceled it after three years because the benefits didn’t match their expectations, and residents complained about offices being closed on Fridays.

Councilwoman Pine said other places have proven it can work.

“In Japan when they did a pilot project and a trial, they found that it saved the city 23-percent in electricity bills and in addition, it saved the city over 20-percent in paying worker’s compensation because the workers were healthier," said Pine. "And also, it increased the worker productivity by 40-percent.”

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