Is the 4-Day Workweek A Good Idea for the Federal Government?

Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer has a strong opinion about a 4-day workweek for federal employees. So does the Office of Personnel Management which has rejected the Congressman’s idea for changing the traditional federal workweek structure. Do you think the 4-day workweek would work in the federal government?

Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) thinks he has an idea for a federal government that will save money, energy and, perhaps, be popular with the many federal employees in his district bordering the District of Columbia.

In a letter to the Office of Personnel Management, he wrote: “I request that you undertake a comprehensive analysis of the transitioning to a 4-day work week for all possible federal employees and inform me by August 31, of any additional actions Congress would need to take to implement such a policy by the end of fiscal year 2008.” His rationale for the proposal is that a 4-day workweek would “conserve energy, reduce fuel consumption, and alleviate congestion.”

OPM considered the proposal and has written back with its own letter rejecting the idea. “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.” OPM’s position is that there are already various options in place for agencies to use and that “Forcing employees into a four-day workweek” would create problems for some employees with children or aging parents. Moreover, concluded the agency, a “Mandated 4-day/10-hours-a-day workweek could make it extremely difficult for some federal agencies to provide the American taxpayer with critical services….”

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, the Congressman did not like OPM’s response. He indicates that the agency that has oversight responsibility for the federal government’s human resources program did not seriously consider his idea. OPM is probably anticipating for his letter expressing his displeasure with the agency’s lack of agreement on his idea for a 4-day workweek as this is being written.

What do you think? Is a mandated 4-day workweek for federal employees a good idea or at least one that you would support? Would such a concept have a negative impact as characterized by OPM in its rejection of the idea?

View the results of a recent poll on this subject.