More and more people across the nation are switching to public transportation systems as they try to cope with the record-high fuel prices. But people in Alabama, it turns out, are simply sitting home—and benefiting from it.
Birmingham mayor Larry Langford introduced a new plan for a four-day work week. The purpose is to soften the blow of the rising fuel costs on the city and its people by cutting back on commuting expenses.
According to the new plan, city employees will work for four days a week and get three days off. The city hopes that people will save money on gas as they commute one less day.
The 4,000 Birmingham City employees will begin to work according to the new schedule when it goes into effect on July 1.
While they will be working a day less, all city departments and offices will remain open and functional for five days a week. In order to make this work, work days will be extended to 10 hours. Staffers will be alternating off days, and they will stay on-call.
"This will allow our employees more time with their families and at the same time save our city a considerable dollar amount," Langford was quoted as saying in The Birmingham News, a local newspaper.
The city is hoping to save money particularly by cutting on workdays for workers such as policemen who drive on the job.
“We've done this before when I was with the county, and it worked,” Langford said, referring to his tenure as the County Commission president of the Jefferson Country, Alabama.
“But America needs to go on a four-day, ten-hour work week,” he added.
America, it seems, is already considering shifting to the new system, as the trend of four-day work weeks is becoming more common across the country. In a bid to cut costs, agencies and school districts across the country are considering operating on the new schedule.
The Jefferson County School System in Alabama has already made the shift to the 10-hour a day schedule for the summer. The Hoover School System in Hoover, Alabama, which is currently educating around 11 thousand students, has decided to switch in July. A number of other schools in the region have made the shift, too.
School officials are encouraging parents to attend to business during the new summer hours.
Some school districts say they can save between fifty and one hundred thousand dollars a year by running buses four days a week.
The Alabama Chamber of Commerce has also shifted to the ten-hour workdays.
"I drive sixty miles round trip every day, so I'm looking forward to seeing that adjustment,” said Ashley Grigg, an employee at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.
"All of the employees will still be working their same amount of hours that they work every week,” Grigg said, adding, “We're not closing down for one day.”
Courtney Simmons, a magazine ad executive, is looking forward to spending the extra time with her family.
“I'm so excited about Fridays and spending more time with my daughter and having playdates with her little friends,” she said.
Fox news correspondent David Lewkowict and Ahmad Shuja contributed to this report.