Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Put State Workers on a Four-Day Week, Says Queens Politician Gianaris by Kenneth Lovett - NY Daily News

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A Queens assemblyman today will call on Gov. Paterson to adopt a four-day work week for most state employees to save money.

Photo: Assemblyman Michael Gianaris - Hagen for News/Freelance NYDN

The move would save the state $30 million a year on energy and building maintenance and slash emissions from daily commutes, Assemblyman Michael Gianaris said.

"Before deciding which programs to cut and which taxes to levy, we should first exhaust all efforts to do more with less," he said.

Although $30 million is a modest slice of the state's $15.4 billion deficit, Gianaris argues it would offset the MTA's proposed subway cuts.

Or it would be enough to do away with the so-called iPod tax proposed by Paterson on digital downloads to raise $35 million over two years, the Democrat said.

"Good budgeting requires outside-the-box innovations," Gianaris said.

His idea is to make all state agencies providing "nonessential services" abandon the standard 9-to-5 weekday schedule.

State workers instead would put in 10-hour days Monday through Thursday.

Utah began implementing four-day work weeks last year, and other states offer compressed work weeks.

Gianaris, who will introduce legislation calling for a pilot project, acknowledged logistical issues, including deciding which jobs and agencies are deemed "nonessential" and the impact on employees' lives and child-care plans.

A Paterson spokeswoman did not respond to calls for comment.