PEI

How a 4-day work week is going in Guysborough, N.S.

While MLAs on P.E.I. are talking about the possibility of a four-day work week for the provincial civil service, employees of the District of Guysborough, N.S., are already in the middle of a pilot project.

'Everybody’s excited here, to the person'

Guysborough chief administrative officer Barry Carroll says he has been thinking about a four-day work week for a while. (CBC)

While MLAs on P.E.I. are talking about the possibility of a four-day work week for the provincial civil service, employees of the District of Guysborough, N.S., are already in the middle of a pilot project.

The Opposition Green Party presented a motion in the legislature this week to look at a four-day week, and Premier Dennis King likes the idea.

The project in Guysborough started a week and a half ago. Municipal employees were given the choice of sticking with their five-day schedule or working the same number of hours in a week but doing them all in four days.

Chief administrative officer Barry Carroll said not one of the employees chose to stay on the five-day week.

"Everybody's excited here, to the person," said Carroll.

Benefits for employees, improved service

Staff were divided in two, with half working Monday to Thursday and half working Tuesday to Friday.

The change allowed the municipality to extend its public office hours an extra hour a day, so it is now open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There has been a big improvement in morale, Carroll said.

"We've been focused on mental health here, in our workplace, for the last 10 years in particular," he said.

"All of our initiatives that we've done over the last 10 years, this single change might be better than all of them combined."

Carroll said the initiative came out of the pandemic, and the flexibility shown by employees when not everyone was in the office at the same time while restrictions were at their height. He had been thinking about four-day weeks, and this was the spur that prompted him to propose trying it.

After a nine-month pilot, the district plans to hire an independent consultant to evaluate the project.

Carroll is working Monday to Thursday himself, and on Friday he took his car into the shop and went out to lunch with his wife.

Small businesses already flexible, says CFIB

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said it will be interested to see the results of the discussion that has started in the P.E.I. Legislature.

Louis-Philippe Gauthier, director of provincial affairs for New Brunswick and P.E.I., said CFIB has already asked the Green Party for the research that went into the motion.

"There's certain assertions in there that we'd like to review," said Gauthier.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning and Angela Walker

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