Merritt, BC is testing a four-day work week for city employees RS News

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How would you like a four-day work week? If the idea appeals, Thompson-Nicola can call.

The City of Merritt, BC, is getting creative as it tries to recruit and retain workers amid the province’s labor shortage, implementing a scheme Tuesday that will shift city workers to a four-day work schedule.

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Under this plan, workers will still receive the same pay and work the same number of hours per week, with longer hours on each of the four days.

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City Hall will be closed on Mondays, but have extended hours to 8:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

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It will mean that workers here get a three-day weekend every week,” Greg Lowis, director of business services for Merritt, told Global News.

“That’s an opportunity to differentiate ourselves to make sure we have people who feel valued, that they have the opportunity to enjoy life at Merritt.”

Like many other departments, Merritt is facing a labor crisis, one that Lowis said was exacerbated by the flooding that devastated the city last November.

As a small community without a large tax base, Lowis said Merritt can’t compete on income with Kelowna or Kamloops, which means they have to look at other ideas.

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“We know there’s a lot of interest in this, a lot of people are interested in how it’s going to work,” said Lowis. “We are still sorting out some of their details. We don’t expect it to start until the end of the year. “

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Merrittonians Global News spoke to seemed to cautiously support the idea.

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“If they need a break to keep things moving I think that’s not important, because we want them to run things, especially water people – we don’t want to lose them,” said hairdresser Jennifer Grasslin.

“Actually, someone can go work in a different city and maybe have a third of the load and get paid the same as they would here – we’re understaffed and we’re overworked, and so are the city workers, so I’ve got to do something to lure people here to the disaster area.”

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Joanne Street said she supports the idea, but thinks the city should have waited until after next month’s municipal election to take action.

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“Some people would like the city hall to open later because some people can’t get there during business hours. “I know they have been struggling to retain workers for a long time,” he said.

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“It’s good to try something different, I don’t think they should implement it until the new council comes in.” And I think they need to meet the public.”

Ponderosa Sports owner Ed Hendricks said he could see issues with losing access to City Hall on Mondays.

“For someone who might want to work there it might be a good idea, but for the general public, that gives them one less day a week where they can pay taxes, or go to negotiations or talk to anyone at city hall, what business they have to do,” he said.

The city is planning a one-year pilot project that will be evaluated after the first six months.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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