Thursday, July 10, 2008

Good Work If You Can Get It

We couldn't help but smile at the energy-saving hyperbole in this release -- but admit it, wouldn't you like to work a four-day work week? Or even just a normal 40-hour week?

ELLICOTT CITY – Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced today that effective immediately he is reigniting the county’s alternative work schedule policy and encouraging supervisors to review alternative work options with their employees. Recognizing that escalating energy costs are having a huge impact on employees’ wallets and their personal lives, Ulman instructed County officials to broaden the scope of this program.

“Many County employees are being hammered by soaring fuel costs, and it’s imperative that we look for solutions to help them, and in this case help the environment as well,” said Ulman. “We have instructed supervisors to look for ways to help employees who want this kind of flexibility; but I have also stressed this program cannot reduce services to county residents --- that is job #1.”

County Executive Ulman has always been an advocate of employee-friendly policies and continues to encourage supervisors to consider the approval of a compressed work schedule to accomplish three primary goals: significant fuel savings to benefit the employee; lower stress levels to benefit the employee; and decreased pollution to the environment.

The following is an overview of the two most common compressed work schedules Howard County is offering:

* 4/40 – Working 4 ten-hour days each week
* 9/80 – Working 8 nine-hour days plus 1 eight-hour day (frees up one day bi-weekly)

In the event that a compressed work week is not feasible, another option is flex time. County employees that meet the criteria and express an interest can adjust their start and ending work times so they may drive outside heavy commuting periods, reducing both stress levels and pollution levels.

This is one piece of Executive Ulman’s long range plan to conserve energy.

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