CATHEDRAL CITY – For 21 years, employees in City Hall, Police Administration, Fire Administration and Police Records have operated in a four-day work week. The compressed work week is now up for discussion.
Moving to a five-day work week could cost the city as much as $775,000 due to increased energy costs and personnel, according to a staff report from Tami Scott, Administrative Services Director.
Cathedral City adopted a four-day, forty-hour work week for City Hall in 1998. Since that time hours of operation have been from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The City Council will at its Study Session on Wednesday, Sept. 25 discuss city business hours.
During the late 1990’s, a poll was taken to determine the viability of a four-day work week, both externally with the public and a legally mandated “meet and confer” procedure was completed internally with city employees, More than 90% of the employees voted to go to a four-day work week. The public had no objections.
Other cities in the Coachella Valley that operate under a four-day work week are Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, and Palm Springs. La Quinta employees work Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to noon on alternate Fridays.
Advantages of the four-day work week, according to Scott’s staff report, include the following:
- Services are available to the public earlier in the morning and later in the evening allowing residents to conduct business with the City before or after work.
- It is a recruiting advantage when filling staff positions, helping the City to be more competitive for staff.
- There are energy savings advantages.
- There are air quality advantages with commutes occurring only four days per week instead of five.
- Phone records indicate there is a high demand for the early morning hours provided by the existing schedule.
- Many services are still provided on Fridays with advance appointments. Department Heads and Division Managers make themselves available as necessary.
Disadvantages of the compressed work week, according to Scott, include the following:
- Some services are not available on Friday, although many exempt employees work remotely on Fridays and many services such as inspections are available if scheduled.
- Perception that it is for the benefit of City employees rather than the public.
- Some businesses, including real estate and others cite Fridays as a key time when they need City services.
- There is a perception among some that hours of operation are reduced with the compressed work week.
City departments have been asked to evaluate options and report on what would be necessary in their respective departments to facilitate opening on Fridays.
Among the options considered were the following:
- Keeping employees on their current 4-10 work schedules but modifying days off so that some employees’ schedules include Fridays as a regular work day.
- Through a meet and confer process changing employees to a 5-8 work schedule.
- Adding staff to provide adequate staffing to be open on Fridays without amending the work schedules of current staff.
- Providing only partial staffing on Fridays to take messages and schedule appointments for the upcoming week.
Normally no action is taken on Study Session items, however, the City Council reserves the right to give specific policy direction and take specific action as necessary.
- Four-Day Work Week: Shutterstock