Effingham County may be taking a deeper look at altering the work week schedule for its employees.
County human resources director Rushe Hudzinski-Sero said the first push in the nation to go the four-day, 10-hour a day work week began during the oil crisis of the early 1970s.
“Again, it’s become a national topic,” she said.
Hudzinski-Sero said companies and some governments are looking at the proposal again as employees struggle to come up with a balance between work and life and to ease traffic congestion. But at the moment, it’s a voluntary initiative among enterprises.
“It would be a huge impact,” she said. “It would take a federal action to have companies do this.”
The four-day, 10-hour-a-day week would mean departments would be closed for one day a week. But it also means those offices would be open longer on those four days than they are now.
“The nice part is the service hours extend themselves,” Hudzinski-Sero said. “Residents won’t have to go to work, then come in (to a department) and then go back to work.”
Hudzinski-Sero said the 4/10 initiative would cut vehicle usage by 20 percent. For some employees, their child care costs could decrease, since they would have a day they wouldn’t have to account for, but costs also could increase since their children would be in care for a longer period on those workdays.
The revamped work week also could cut down on absenteeism, Hudzinski-Sero said. She also said that replacing an employee can cost one and a half times that person’s salary, if training costs are taken into account.
There also could be lower maintenance and security costs involved, but Hudzinski-Sero warned that the commissioners need to consider the accessibility of county departments and services to the public.
Interim County Administrator David Crawley said some counties are exploring the idea of having their employees work 4/10 weeks.
“A lot of counties are discussing it,” Hudzinski-Sero said. “Counties across the Eastern seaboard are discussing it.”
If Effingham adopted the 4/10 work week, it would be one of the first counties in Georgia to do so, Hudzinski-Sero said.
“I don’t know if I was as sold on it as I was at the start,” commission Chairwoman Myra Lewis.
Said Commissioner Verna Phillips: “With the gas situation, we have to look at it.”
If the county went to a 4/10 week, Hudzinski-Sero said the possible hours could be from 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. each day, with a half-hour lunch break.