Social Service head asks about year-round four day work week

Essex County Board of Supervisors

Essex County Board of Supervisors Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— The Department of Social Services is looking to continue a summer policy into the winter.

Department Director John O’Neill spoke to members of the Human Services Committee during its Sept. 9 meeting about offering department employees a four day work week.

“It’s probably half of our department that takes advantage of that,” O’Neill said about the current policy of allowing employees to work four day weeks during the summer. “So far in talking with employees and customers, this has not created any hardships that impact our employees or impact our customers.”

Currently, the Department of Public Works allows for four day work weeks throughout the year.

“This is a little bit different than the four day work week in the DPW,” County Manager Dan Palmer said. “In this case, the office remains open all five days and it is just a matter of scheduling different employees to work at different times during the week.”

Palmer echoed the remarks by O’Neill that there had been no complaints with the summer policy in place.

“I have not gotten any complaints or issues from the public or from anybody else saying they could not get service because there was not enough staff on during the summer months,” Palmer said. “It comes down to whether or not this board wanted to approve it.”

“My concern would be that if we allowed one department and then every department would want to do it,” Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston said.

“It does not change the five days, it just changes who would be staffing the office during the five days,” Palmer responded, saying that the ultimate decision would come down to each department head.

“In my department, I probably would not allow it because we are just too small,” Palmer said. “It would just come down to each department head and what they would want to do.”

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