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4-day work weeks could be coming to Oliver

To attract more municipal staff, a 4-day schedule is being looked at
The Town of Oliver considered the temporary implementation of four-day work weeks at its most recent meeting Monday, Feb. 13. (Google Maps photo)

The idea of implementing four-day work weeks has made its way to Oliver.

In an effort to attract more municipal workers, council directed staff Monday, Feb. 13, to examine the pros and cons of a reduced-day working model.

Oliver is the first community in the South Okanagan to make such considerations.

“It sounds like an interesting idea,” said Oliver Mayor Martin Johansen. “With the workplace challenges that we have today, staff retention is huge and these are the types of things that could make work-life balance a little bit better.”

Merritt launched a one-year trial of compressed four-day work weeks for its municipal workers on Nov. 21, 2022, with hopes of recruiting and retaining more employees.

In its trial, Merritt City Hall is closed Mondays, and open from 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tuesday to Friday.

Staff within the city’s public works department work split shifts, ensuring five-day coverage each week.

Oliver town staff say the program has been met with mixed reviews from municipal workers in Merritt since its implementation.

Concerns from staff in the Nicola Valley city include missing personal commitments because of the extended daily hours.

The intrigue from politicians in Oliver, however, appears to be still there, despite the concerns shared by communities in B.C.

“It is difficult for a municipality our size to compete with wages in municipalities the size of Penticton or Kelowna, so if we could do things to improve work-life balance, I think that’s great,” said Coun. Aimee Grice. “I think there’s benefits to the extended hours to members of the public.”

The South Okanagan community will trial the compressed work-week schedule for six months, if approved by council at a later date.

“This is a big decision and we need more information on this before we could make it,” said Oliver water Councillor Rick Machial.

In other scheduling-related motions at Oliver Town Hall, council is set to meet less frequently starting in June.

READ MORE: Oliver becomes latest Okanagan community to reduce frequency of council meetings


About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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