I know many people see the four-day work week for government as a good part of a solution. I also know many states have adopted that plan.
However, I gotta say, that concerns me. First of all, just to be clear, I am not a state employee.
But I do know well that state employees make only a fraction of what their jobs would be in the public market. The state tries to balance that by providing good benefits and ample holidays. Still, you can't buy groceries with good benefits and holidays. And I know, I know – state employees are lucky to have jobs in a world where jobs are hard to come by. I get that. And, those jobs are usually quite secure. I get that, too.
The thing is, I've gotta wonder if it is right asking government workers to carry the burden of the entire state's economy problems? I mean, these people are struggling to make a living, too. If we go to a four-day work week, I assume you mean to cut their pay so as to not have to pay them for five days of work. Is that right?
These people are paid low wages as it is. Of course, there are the few obvious exceptions. But the average rank-and-file state employee is quite low-paid. Why should they carry the burden for all of us?
I think we forget that when we want to cut government - and as a conservative I always want to do that - but when we just want to cut government or shut it down for a day a week, it isn't just "big government" we are closing. Those are real people who depend on that paycheck to pay the mortgage or buy groceries, just like you and me. No one asked me to cut to a four-day work week. Is it right to ask state employees to carry the load?
I don't know. I am asking the question. Maybe it is. And, other businesses have had to cut back, so why not government, too? I don't know. I just think we need to step very carefully and think through it carefully before we ask state employees to cut their paychecks. It really impacts people who already don't make much.