City Considering Move to a 4-Day Workweek

At the City Council’s Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee meeting on July 12, 2022, City Manager Steve Buck presented a pilot proposal to switch Sanford City employees to a four-day workweek in an effort to attract and retain staff. Under the proposal developed by the Human Resources Department, City Hall would be open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The current schedule is Monday-Friday 8:00 to 4:30. If a holiday falls on a Friday or Saturday, it will be observed on Thursday.

While Mr. Buck initially thought a Tuesday-Friday workweek would be better, HR told him it would be impossible to get the weekly payroll done on time without working Mondays.

The Public Works Department is already experimenting with multiple schedules, including four-day and four-and-a-half day shifts.

Mr. Buck said the main reason for the switch would be to be competitive in the job market. Biddeford has already transitioned to a four-day week and other communities are considering it. He said the City of Sanford cannot compete with the private sector on salary, so must offer other incentives. The young professionals the City is trying to attract are more interested in a better work/life balance than they are in higher pay, he added.

Councilor Becky Brink expressed concern that the longer workday might make it difficult for some current employees to manage child care, and suggested surveying the staff before moving ahead. She said her own employees love having a four-day workweek.

Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy said her main concern is with staffing the transfer station, which is already closed on Mondays, and on Tuesdays when there is a Monday holiday. She doesn’t want to see a scenario where it is only open 3 days in a week.

Mr. Buck said he will hammer out the details over the next few weeks and have a proposal for the full City Council to consider at its first meeting in August.