When Jefferson County offices reopen to the public, they will also transition to a four-day work week as part of an effort to cut county costs. Under the new schedule, which is set to take effect …
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When Jefferson County offices reopen to the public, they will also transition to a four-day work week as part of an effort to cut county costs.
Under the new schedule, which is set to take effect when county employees return to work in the first week of June, most county employees will work four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days. Many county offices will, in turn, be closed on Fridays, with the first closure occurring on June 5.
“In these challenging times, we are looking at operations across all county departments for cost savings, greater efficiencies and reductions to achieve a balanced budget in 2021,” Jefferson County Manager Don Davis said in a released statement. “We believe there will be a decrease in costs along with an increase in productivity through a four-day business week and are optimistic this change will yield positive results.”
The move comes as the county continues to face steep budget challenges. The county made $16.1 million in budget cuts last year and Davis has said he expects it will need to make around $12 million in cuts this year. Those challenges result from the costs of payroll, employee health care and other expenses increasing faster than the Consumer Price Index and new construction growth in the county, the numbers utilized to determine the amount of tax revenue counties can collect under the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.
Davis said the move to a four-day-week will allow the county to save about $350,000 from reduced energy use. Davis also points to a Microsoft study that found labor productivity increased by 39.9% for Microsoft Japan when it switched to a four-day-week.
Several county offices will not move to a four-day week. Those offices include the sheriff's office, the district court, the district attorney's office and the coroner's office. The library will also continue to operate five days a week.
According to a county press release, some county offices and departments may be changing the hours they are open to the public in response to the change. Those changes have not been finalized but will posted to the county website in upcoming weeks. As a result, residents should check the website for Departments, Divisions and Elected Offices to verify hours before visiting. Many offices also have services that may be conducted online. A list of those will eventually be posted at www.jeffco.us/221/Departments-Divisions-Elected-Offices.
When county offices reopen to the public on June 1, only employees who are considered “essential to serving the public” will be coming into offices, while anyone not directly serving the public will be able to continue to telework. According to Davis, individual offices are currently working on plans for the public and employees to safely return to offices.
As part of those efforts, Jefferson County is encouraging, but not requiring, residents to wear masks when they enter county offices. Social distancing guidelines will also be in place.
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