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Board approves 4-day work week for DA’s office

By Debra Moore

[email protected]

The four-day work week has been growing in popularity and a recent study concludes that it is good for employees and the employer. (See details below.)

It’s something that the Plumas County District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Department has been employing for at least 20 years, but District Attorney David Hollister had to ask the supervisors for permission to continue the practice.

Hollister told the board that the flexible work schedule — four 10-hour days — has worked well for his office, for both the employees and the public.

The District Attorney’s office is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m; a schedule it maintained through the fires and COVID, he said, which indicates that the schedule hasn’t been detrimental to the public’s access.

As for the advantages to the employees, “I have employees working second jobs, and other who can’t afford childcare,” Hollister said, and the flexible schedule allows them to accommodate both needs.

The objection to the plan arose because some employees have deferred holidays, which County Administrative Officer Debra Lucero explained would be costly to the county. Hollister said his staff has no objection to not banking deferred holidays and those who have such holidays already on the books will take them this year. “When this draft came up,” Hollister said of the proposed change, “it was a gut punch for some of our folks.”

The DA received support from Supervisor Greg Hagwood who said that it can represent a cost savings for employees — especially those who drive from across the county to work in Quincy, and it’s a perk that significantly aids in recruitment. People like three-day weekends. Hagwood said that when he was sheriff, it was “universally looked upon very favorably by staff.”

Supervisor Tom McGowan also supported the DA’s request. “I’ve been a firm believer in flex time for decades,” he said.

The board voted unanimously to approve the DA’s request to continue the flexible work schedule.

A study on 4-day work weeks

In December 2022, a New Zealand based nonprofit called 4 Day Week Global, released the results of a study involving 33 companies in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom and New Zealand — that all adopted a four-day work week for a six-month pilot program.

The report read in part: “Companies are extremely pleased with their performance, productivity and overall experience, with almost all of them already committing or planning to continue with the 4-day week schedule. Revenue has risen over the course of the trial. Sick days and absenteeism are down. Companies are hiring. Resignations fell slightly, a striking finding during the ‘Great Resignation.’ Employees are similarly enthusiastic. And climate impacts, while less well-measured, are also encouraging.”

While companies reported revenue increases of 37 percent, employees were similarly pleased with 67 percent reporting being less burned-out. The extra time allowed for more exercise and sleep.

The four-day work week is gaining traction in the U.S. California Congressman Mark Takano introduced the  32-Hour Workweek Act last year which is supported by unions like the AFL-CIO and SEIU.

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