Labor issues

Conn. Towns Test Four-Day Work Week for Some Staff

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How does a three-day weekend sound every week?

More communities in Connecticut are experimenting with a four-day work week for their workers, and some believe it’s a win-win for the staff and the residents.

Walk into town hall in Vernon and you’ll find staff working longer hours Monday through Thursday. The tradeoff is they’re off on Fridays.

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“It’s been going great,” said Michael Purcaro, Vernon town administrator.

Purcaro said they started the four-day work week trial for some departments last month. The areas include the Town Clerk's office, finance, building, Fire Marshal's office and Water Pollution Control administration and administrative staff.

Making it easier for residents to access services was just one of the reasons behind the change.

“Equally as important for our staff for a recruitment and a retention standpoint in order for the Town of Vernon to remain competitive, which we are very competitive in our wage and in our benefit packages, we felt this was a necessary step,” Purcaro said.

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On Monday, Ellington also began a trial of four-day work week.

Among the reasons officials gave for the change was the benefit for the residents and current workers, as well as the hope to attract quality applicants for town jobs.

“A lot of a lot of companies have used four-day work week for decades, you know, but certainly, it was amplified by COVID and the shortage of talent,” said Maurice Cayer, University of New Haven distinguished lecturer.

Cayer said with 11 million job openings in the country and six million people looking for work, employees are in a strong position. But it’s not clear how long that will last.

“We know that six months ago employers were just chasing all over themselves to get attractive employees. And to some extent that continues, but especially in the tech industry, Google, Microsoft, for example, they are now pumping the brakes,” Cayer said.

Other communities in Connecticut already have the shortened week, including Danbury.

After these test runs, Ellington and Vernon will decide if they should continue.

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