To help workers cut down on fuel costs, employers across the country are offering the option of a four-day work week.
There's a catch, of course. Workers have to put in longer hours each day to make up for the extra day off, but the prospect of skipping rush hour, plus a 20 percent savings on commuting costs, plus the prospect of a weekly three-day weekend has many employees jumping at the chance to compress their work week.
Local governments seem to be leading the charge. USA Today offers a roundup of municipalities that have recently begun offering shorter work weeks. They include the cities of Birmingham, Ala., and Avondale, Ariz., as well as road crews in Walworth County, Wisc. Similar proposals are in the works in El Paso, Texas, and Oakland County, Mich. And on Friday, the Philippine government announced that it is considering a four-day work week for government employees.
Private businesses, too, are tweaking their hours in response to gas prices. USA Today's story cites a May study by the Society for Human Resource Management that 26 percent of businesses offer a flexible schedule to ease pain at the pump. The story also notes that the staffing firm Robert Half International says that higher gas prices have affected the commutes of 44 percent of US workers, prompting them to carpool more, drive a more fuel-efficient car, work from home, or start looking for another job.