Nova Scotia considers 4-day workweek

Closing government offices would save heating and cooling costs, reduce car emissions
||Last Updated: 08/13/2008

A three-day weekend is every worker's dream and might soon be a reality for government employees in Nova Scotia.

In the face of growing concern about global warming and high fuel costs, the Nova Scotia government is looking at a four-day workweek to conserve energy.

The idea came out of a brainstorming session at Conserve Nova Scotia, a government agency that encourages people to use energy more efficiently.

The four-day workweek, which would include the government closing on Fridays, is one of several energy-conservation measures being considered, said Energy Minister Richard Hurlburt.

The province has pledged to reduce current greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent by 2020. A four-day workweek would cut back on heating and air-conditioning use as well as the number of cars on the road, said Hurlburt.

Before any decisions are made to shorten the workweek, the government will have to consult with businesses and unions, said the minister.

To figure out if the idea is feasible, Hurlburt said the government will be closely watching the government of Utah's pilot project, where employees will be working 10-hour days, Monday through Thursday.

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