City of Merritt moving to a four-day work week | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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City of Merritt moving to a four-day work week

FILE PHOTO - The City of Merritt is seen in this undated file photo.
Image Credit: PIXABAY

In an attempt to woo new talent and keep its existing workers happy the City of Merritt is set to adopt a four-day work week.

The new work week will see staff keep the same amount of hours but work longer days.

Once the plan is operational city staff will have a three-day weekend, with city hall being closed on Monday.

"It's very much for the City of Merritt a retention measure as well as an attraction measure," Merritt's chief administrative officer Sean Smith told iNFOnews.ca

It will also serve the people of Merritt better, he said, as residents will be able to come to city hall before or after work.

City hall will be closed on Mondays, with its hours extended Tuesday through Friday to 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., an extra hour and 45 minutes each day. Currently, it's open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

"It's really going to provide benefit for employees without needing to increase their salaries which is the main way organizations tend to compete for the highest calibre employees," Smith said. "We're often seen as something of a training ground for larger centres that can afford to pay more and so what we end up seeing is that our employees will come to the City of Merritt and stay for a period of years and then... leave."

Manager-level positions can pay between 10 and 40 per cent more in bigger cities, he said.

"We're trying to provide as much encouragement and incentive as possible to stay," Smith said. "We realize in the City of Merritt we don't have the ability to compete with the upper echelons of salaries... so we need to find a way that we can compete for the top talent."

So far the one-year pilot has proved overwhelmingly positive, but he said it's not unanimous.

Working longer hours will introduce challenges for some workers he acknowledges.

There's a large body of evidence that shows working a four-day week is more productive, and the shortened work week is popular, just not in B.C.and not with local government, he said.

Merritt council has approved the plan and Smith said the one-year pilot four-day week should be starting within a few weeks.


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