House passes bill that would return Utah agencies to 5-day workweek

Published: Wednesday, March 2 2011 12:09 a.m. MST

Then-Gov. Jon Huntsman talks with employees about their new 4-day work week in 2008.

Keith Johnson, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

SALT LAKE CITY — State agencies could be returning to a five-day work week, under a bill approved by the House Tuesday.

HB328 would require at least one location of a state agency to be open at least nine hours a day Monday through Friday. Each state agency's director would have the discretion to decide how many additional locations are open and what hours they will operate each day.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, said state agencies exist to serve Utahns and businesses that still have needs on Friday.

The four-day work week was instituted about 2 ½ years ago under former Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. to save the state money on energy costs. Most state departments maintain that schedule, though some offices have remained open Friday, including the driver license and motor vehicle divisions.

An audit last July found that the switch has saved the state less than $1 million. But Gov. Gary Herbert stood by the four-day workweek, citing a survey of Utahns that showed support for the 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday schedule.

Rep. Jim Nelson, R-Bountiful, said the Legislature should not overturn Herbert's decision. "Let the executive branch do its job," he said.

The measure passed 53-8 and now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

e-mail: averzello@desnews.com

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS