OPM to Congressman Hoyer: Thanks for the (Unworkable) Idea

Congressman Steny Hoyer wrote OPM to ask for a quick study on a four-day workweek for the federal workforce in the name of energy conservation. OPM tells the Congressman it isn’t such a good idea.

Looking forward to a 4-day workweek (but working 10 hours a day)?

Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) recently asked OPM to do some research and to try and implement such a system on a more widespread basis throughout the government to save gas and energy. In his letter to OPM he wrote: “I write to obtain your views on the feasibility of such a policy on the federal level, and an assessment of whether additional statutory authority would be required to accomplish such an objective.”

But, reports Federal Times, OPM doesn’t think the Congressman’s idea is such a good one.

OPM wrote back: “We have concluded that such a proposal would be detrimental to the Federal Government’s ability to provide essential services, would weaken national security safeguards, and impact recruitment and retention efforts within the Federal workforce.”

Part of the reason for OPM’s reluctance is that it does not want to force employees into a “one size fits all” work schedule.”Forcing employees into a four-day workweek” would create problems for some employees with children or aging parents.

Also, the compressed schedule would hamper the services being provided to the public and could result in hampering national security in the name of energy conservation.

Finally, says OPM, the agency is already promoting workplace flexibility in agencies and that fifty percent of the federal workforce is already using some form of flexible work schedule. OPM concluded: “[W]e believe each Federal agency is in the best position to determine the extent to which it uses these flexibilities to achieve the optimum balance between employee flexibility and the agency’s ability to effectively carry out its mission.”

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47