The U.S. Postal Service has suggested cutting one day of mail delivery a week. Now California is about to shut state offices every other Friday. In Utah, the nation’s biggest experiment in shrinking the government workweek already is under way – with encouraging results.
Surprisingly, the pluses aren’t exactly what Utah envisioned in August when Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. started shutting down a third of state offices on Fridays — including driver’s licenses bureaus — and ordered 17,000 of 24,000 executive-branch employees to work their full 40 hours over four days instead of five.
From the press release:
This report examines the availability of and barriers to flexible work options, with a particular focus on older workers and phased retirement. There is growing evidence that flexible work options benefit both employers and employees; nonetheless, many employers remain skeptical of them, fearing that labor costs, output, or administrative efficiency will be unfavorably affected. In addition to availability, this report considers the utilization of and demand for workplace flexibility. Although many aspects of flexibility can benefit workers of any age, the desire of some older workers to phase into retirement introduces some special considerations.
A new ITIF report shows that the number of jobs filled by telecommuters could grow nearly four-fold to 19 million and deliver substantial economic, environmental and quality of life benefits for the United States over the next 12 years. Spurred by advances in IT, especially the spread of broadband, telecommuting is already the fastest growing mode of getting from home to work. Thanks to its potential to cut costs, increase productivity, and expand the universe of potential employees, telecommuting is also emerging as a standard business strategy for a larger number of organizations. The report calls for government to pursue policies to accelerate and maximize telecommuting, including spurring the deployment and adoption of broadband, which is an essential facilitator of telecommuting.
The large majority of high-income countries have introduced flexible working statutes aimed at making it easier for employees to change how many hours, and when and where they work within their current job. Patchy progress towards more diversified work arrangements is pushing workers out of the labor market altogether, or into jobs that are below their skill levels and potential. Few economies can afford such a waste of human resources in view of changing demographics, reduced labor force growth, and global competition for knowledge.
Flexible working statutes strengthen the ability of individual employees to find solutions that allow work-life reconciliation, but in a manner that takes account of employers’ business and operational requirements. Of 20 high-income countries examined in comparison with the United States, 17 have statutes to help parents adjust working hours, 6 help with family care giving responsibilities for adults; 12 allow change in hours to facilitate lifelong learning; 11 support gradual retirement; and 5 countries have statutory arrangements open to all employees, irrespective of the reason for seeking different work arrangements. Evaluation of statutes supporting flexible working hours shows that the laws have caused few problems for employers, and that gender equality improves most where laws are interpreted broadly, not narrowly focused on part-time work.
Many employers are trying to help their employees ease the pain at the pump. Allowing employee to work four 10-hour days each week instead of a typical eight-hour, five-day schedule represents one option.
From the press release:
A new report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, charts what governments in high income countries are doing to speed up the pace of workplace change.
The report, Statutory Routes to Workplace Flexibility in Cross-National Perspective, is based on a review of statutory employment rights in 21 high-income countries, including the United States, aimed at increasing workers’ ability to change their working hours and arrangements to balance work and family, and facilitate lifelong learning and gradual retirement. It argues that, in the context of U.S. demographic and economic changes, an explicit right to request flexible work could play an important role in preparing the U.S. economy for the future.
At the request of NCSL’s Legislative Research Librarians (LRL) staff section, NCSL has developed this resource of 50-state compilations covering various issues that concern state legislators and legislative staff. Here you will find a topical, alphabetical listing of legislative and statutory databases, compilations and state charts/maps.
[NOTE: Some of these tracking services are currently out of date. PLEASE NOTE THE DATE of the item you are reviewing].
Experts have debated at length the cost/benefit analysis of telework from productivity, security, and work-life standpoints, but one thing is for certain. Rising energy costs and the trickling economy have lead to a nationwide cash crunch. New data suggests that telework can contribute strongly to reducing pollution, energy consumption and overhead costs for companies.
Nearly 40% of all employees are eligible for telework, but a mere 15% actually do, according to the CDW 2008 Telework Report. Other reports suggest that as little as 4% of the nation’s workforce works from home.
The upcoming book “Undress4Success: The Naked Truth about Working from Home” estimates that, if telework increased to its full potential, Gulf oil imports could be reduced as much as 80%. This equates to $43 billion dollars at the gas pump, 625 million barrels of oil and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 107 million tons, authors Kate Lister and Tom Harnish estimate.
Related: Undress4Success – blog
From the abstract:
The U.S. economy, workplace, workforce, and labor market have changed radically in the last 50 years, yet our public and private policies have not kept up with these changes. In recent years, policymakers have begun considering new options for allowing workers to meet the often-conflicting demands of work and other life obligations. These proposals include a variety of options for time off from work–both paid and unpaid–and more flexibility in the workplace. In this report, we review the evidence regarding work-life conflicts, the economic case for policy initiatives, and evidence of effectiveness of the policy options. We provide a clear explanation of these policy options and make recommendations for decision-makers.
First conducted in 1998, the 2008 NSE is the most comprehensive and far-reaching study of initiatives provided by U.S. employers to address the changing needs of today’s workforce. Designed by Families and Work Institute and conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc., the NSE interviewed 1,100 employers with 50 or more employees located throughout the United States and provides trend data on changes that have occurred over the past 10 years. The study addresses questions such as:
• What is the prevalence of programs, policies, and benefits that address the needs of the changing workforce, including workplace flexibility, caregiving leaves, child and elder care assistance, and health care/economic security benefits?
• Are smaller or larger employers more likely to provide these programs, policies, and benefits?
• Have these initiatives increased or decreased in the past ten years?
• Which employers provider higher levels of support to their employees?