FAQ: Employee 4|10 Schedule Transition
Q: Why is the town moving to a 4|10 structure?
A: Our discovery with Arizona municipalities operating in this way has shown that a 4-day workweek can boost morale, positively impact employee productivity, and offer employees a greater sense of work/life balance. Additionally, this change will expand the hours of operation at Town Hall to 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Giving the general public more time to utilize Town Hall services before and after typical work hours, Monday - Thursday.
Q: As this was initially discussed by the town, what were the biggest concerns raised?
A: Childcare for the extended hours was the most pressing concern for employee support. Additionally, concerns were raised about the diminishment of services to the public and the risk of decline in employee productivity.
Q: The town has contacted several Arizona municipalities that have implemented organization-wide 4|10 M-Th schedules; what did you find out? Have any reversed gears and went back to the traditional 8|5 M-F schedule, why so?
A: All of the jurisdictions we spoke with indicated that the majority of their staff value the 4|10 work schedule. The only municipality that reverted back did so only in their posted hours of operation due to political direction. Most staff in that jurisdiction elected to keep their 4|10 schedule benefits and alternate days off to cover five operational days.
Q: Did you approach private businesses to see how it has worked for them? Are there any stats out there about government or private business moving permanently to 4|10s?
A: Compressed work schedules are common in the private sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that a third of all employees in the U.S. currently work a compressed work schedule, a number which has steadily increased in the 50 years that the BLS has been tracking this trend. Locally, the largest private employer in Pima County, Raytheon, offers its employees a compressed schedule (known as a 9|80).
Q: Will everybody be off the same day? If Friday, why was that chosen?
A: The Town Clerk’s office tracks daily public traffic in Town Hall and has for several years. Friday is consistently the slowest day of the week. Will all services move to a M-Th 4|10 schedule, and therefore be off on the same day each week? No. However, most services will move to the new schedule and close Fridays. Town services that provide 24/7 public services will likely do so through overlapping 4|10 work schedules with some working M-Th and others working T-F.
Q: What type of business is most often transacted in person at Town Hall, and how would this be affected?
A: Common in-person services include notary services, utility billing, and business and development consultations. These services will be expanded to include 7-8 a.m. and 5-6 p.m. Monday – Thursday. Many of these services are also available online 24/7, including:
- Public records requests are accessed through the Public Records Request portal
- Business license applications are available through the Business Licensing portal
- Applications for building permits and zoning clearances are found here
- Inspection scheduling and code enforcement complaints are managed here
- Public Works permit applications are found here
- Submit a maintenance request (Streets, Facilities, and Wastewater) here
- Wastewater utility and billing management is here
Q: Does this affect municipal court?
A: At this time, the Municipal Court has elected to not participate in the 4|10 pilot program. Having said that, there are other municipal courts that have successfully operated under a 4|10 schedule. Should our Court ever elect to participate, the Town would be supportive.
Q: How will this help with recruitment and retention?
A: Our current workforce, as well as the new generation of workers, demands a greater level of flexibility from employers. Having an extra day off each week is attractive to potential employees and, based off our interviews with agencies that currently operate under a 4|10 schedule, is valuable to current employees who are seeking a greater work-life balance.
Q: Are you hearing from potential employees that this, specifically, is a draw for them?
A: Yes. This policy demonstrates how the Town of Sahuarita values and supports employees who actively contribute to our success. Greater flexibility is a direct response to a strong response in our most recent employee survey and is a critical way to prevent burnout and empower employees to pursue more interests outside of work, leaving them refreshed when they return to work each new work week.
Q: What are exit interviews telling you about why employees move on?
A: The majority of those who choose to participate in exit interviews cite pay and work environment as their primary reasons for leaving.
Q: Will this plan save or cost the town money, and how? What about for the employee?
A: This plan is expected to be budget neutral. We do not anticipate that there will be net savings or costs related to the plan. On the employee side, it is our hope that the net outcome is positive and viewed as a benefit. That said, we know that those employees participating in a 4|10 schedule would have one less day to drive into work each week, so perhaps there would be some savings experienced there and perhaps in other ways.
Q: How will the town assist with childcare issues?
A: Based on public feedback, Parks & Recreation has been considering what an after-school program at the Anamax Recreation Center might look like for the community. With Council’s approval to embark on a 4|10 pilot program, the Parks & Recreation department has elected to jump-start their after-school thoughts into reality by beginning an after-school pilot program of their own. This program would only be made available to employees for the duration of the Town’s 4|10 pilot program and will serve as a great way for the Parks & Recreation department to learn firsthand what it would take to provide such a service to the general public. Hours of operation for this care program and fees to participate are details still being worked on but will be provided to employees at the earliest date possible.
Q: How will this affect residents’ access to in-person services at Town Hall?
A: It is the Town’s expectation that with the Town’s hours moving to 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. M-Th, the general working public would enjoy a greater opportunity to access in-person services, and not at the expense of their personal leave time with their current employer.
Q: How will sick/vacation time be handled?
A: Sick and vacation accruals will be utilized in accordance with the employee’s regularly scheduled work hours. Employees working 10-hour days will be required to take 10 hours of sick or vacation in order to receive payment for a full day.
Q: Have you considered productivity — can employees accomplish as much in four days as they do five, taking into consideration longer workdays?
A: The Town is hopeful that operating with fewer and longer workdays will offer employees extended periods of focused work with fewer interruptions and distractions. As an employer in southern Arizona, the Town recognizes its need to employ best practices, especially with crews who work largely outdoors. This will mean things like ensuring adequate water and tools onsite and prescribed breaks throughout the day. It will be incumbent on supervisors to ensure these best practices are both taught and practiced.
Q: When does this go into effect?
A: The 12-month pilot program will begin Aug. 28, 2023.
Q: What happens at the end of the pilot program?
A: Both the employees and the Town’s customers will be surveyed. The Town’s actions at that point going forward will largely depend on the outcome of those two surveys, and feedback from the Town Manager’s Office.
Q: Is every town employee affected?
A: Most departments and services will make the switch to the 4|10 Mon-Thurs schedule. Some services will continue to run on Fridays and/or weekends in accordance with operational needs. The Municipal Court will maintain 8|5 Mon-Fri operations. Department heads and supervisors are expected to communicate with employees regarding work scheduling.
Q: Would the town put a bigger emphasis on residents taking care of business online? (Marketing campaign pushing this, etc.)
A: Since the Pandemic, municipalities have worked to continuously expand the level of public services online. The Town of Sahuarita is no different. One might be pleasantly surprised to learn of all the services the Town is already providing through its website and other social media platforms. This effort will continue as we move forward year after year as the public expects this level of service by its local government. See above question for services currently offered online.
Q How does the 4|10 schedule affect remote work?
A: If both the employee and the position are suited for remote work and it is approved by both the supervisor and the department head, then the 4|10 schedule will not impact remote work options.