Part of Governor Brown’s plan to close a looming, multi-billion dollar hole in the state budget is to move state employees to a four-day workweek. The idea hasn’t been tried at the state level in California, but other states have switched to that system.

In Utah, Governor Jon Huntsman instituted a four-ten work week, where state employees worked four, 10-hour days per week and the offices closed on Fridays. That program lasted three years before being scrapped due to a failure to realize cost savings. The plan had originally called for a $3 million annual savings – on a state payroll of roughly 21,000 employees. 17,000 switched to the four-10 design.

In California, the proposed plan is somewhat different. The four-day week would also see a reduction in hours – 38 hours instead of 40. But that already has some employees resisting the proposed changes. The loss of two hours of work would be commiserate with a five percent pay cut. That reduction in pay and increasing daily hours could result in a much accelerated decomposition of the day’s productivity. In Utah, employees claimed their lunch hours at the end of the day instead of in the middle, leaving an hour early. Others simply worked less each day, causing work to pile up.

However, the proposed cost savings have Brown interested in moving forward. The five percent cut in pay could save nearly $839 million per year.

From the Sacramento Bee:

As Gov. Jerry Brown and labor unions negotiate to put state workers on a four-day, 38-hour workweek to cut payroll costs, they could learn a lot by looking east – to Utah.

The Beehive State’s workforce went to a “four-tens” week in 2008. Then-Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican, launched the program aiming to save $3 million annually in state operating costs by shutting down on Fridays.

Read the full article here.