Thurston County proposes 32-hour work week for the 2024 General Fund fiscal stability

Plan to provide incentives to employees under program by offering at least 20% pay raise


The Budget Office has announced its intention to implement a reduction in work hours for government employees, transitioning to a 32-hour workweek, to have fiscal stability for the 2024 General Fund.

The idea was taken from other counties that have implemented this type of work hours, such as San Juan in Washington, while some employees of the County have already raised the same suggestion to the County Manager.

“I think there's corollary benefits to the community and families and everything from this,” stated District 3 Commissioner Tye Menser. “Like it's not just about making our budget fit; there's always been a perception that it's hard on families and children that their parents are gone and will work,”

“We don't have a month off in America like they do in Europe, and we have a culture that's very work-oriented” Menser added, “So maybe it's time to shift that paradigm.”

According to Budget Manager Robin Campbell, they plan to provide incentives to employees under this program by offering at least a 20% pay raise.

“People can make use of that time to either have a better quality of life, do other work that brings in other income, or reduce their childcare costs,” suggested Menser.

The Budget Office thinks it might be too late to decide on this idea, but they also need approval from the union to proceed and establish a plan with this decision.

The Budget Office also proposed reducing the contribution to reserves, suspending or increasing the road levy shift, increasing road diversion, and reducing the general fund reserve to achieve fiscal stability.

Food services funding at detention facilities

According to the shortlisted proposals for the 2024-2025 Biennium Policy Request, one of the included items is an increase in the funding for contracts related to food services for detention facilities.

Based on the report from the Sheriff’s Office, funds are needed to address the rising expenses associated with food service contracts, primarily due to the cost increase resulting from the higher inmate population.

“What we hadn't heard about during the pandemic, apparently, was that the cost of the contract went up, and they were able to absorb it because the number of inmates went down. Well, now that the inmates are coming back, the contracts are going up, and they need additional funding,” said Campbell.

The recent request also covers the correction officers since they are included in the contract, contributing to the overall increase in contract costs.


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  • Honestyandrealityguy

    Sorry, but so lack of institutional knowledge. They can't even get work done with a 40 hour week (estimated only 15 hours anyway for most). Remember, they work for us and just about EVERYTHING IS DELAYED OR DELINQUENT. Shame on them.

    Friday, September 22 Report this

  • bonaro

    TC is currently in negations the union to catch up on COLA increases they have pushed off for several years. The current offer is a hiring bonus for all and a lump sum payment for past COLA's missed, worth +/- 3k. It would seem that a 32 hour work week is their financial solution without paying back COLA

    The problem is, if they cut hours to 32 and give a 20% increase, it will even out. However, it will demonstrate that work can be accomplished in 32 hours and this will likely lead to layoffs or hiring freeze's. It also does not address the trailing COLA increases.

    Feels like a shell game but I am confident the spineless Union will roll over and take it.

    Saturday, September 23 Report this

  • danwdurham

    Instead of going to a 32 hour work week, they should go to a 4 day 10 hour a day work week for the same salary. That should satisfy the idea of having an additional day off. It would also allow the workers to take on a part-time job on their additional day off.

    Saturday, September 23 Report this

  • HotTractor

    I thought i saw somewhere that TC is one of the lowest paid in the state. I don't think the decrease in hours is for budget, but rather a quality of life change to allow families/parent more time with each other. To be honest, more and more of the services are going on-line and that reduces some cost but also shifts more work to IT.

    About the 10 hour work days, assuming everyone was on the same 4 day schedule, it might work. Thought 10 hour days is kind of a grind. But the schedule isn't the same, then one will start working 5 ten hour days a week, because of events that will require one to be there.

    Saturday, September 23 Report this

  • Madeline_Bishop

    I approve of reducing work hours, allowing flex time and more work from home since these are all ways to keep our valuable County employees. I was a State worker and I would have delayed my retirement if I'd had flexible hours. When family members were ill, this would have been such a stress reducer. Contrary to popular belief, government employees do work hard and get stressed out.

    Saturday, September 23 Report this

  • Freethinker66

    The average employee in the states do receive 6 weeks of paid vacation a year, I would suggest using it how they use it in Europe if that’s what you wish. How is it the tax payers problem that TC employees don’t have enough time in their day to raise their kids. If you want more time off then you should take more time off, just don’t ask me to pay for it. It looks like as a Thurston county taxpayer you want me to pay TC employees wages for 40 hours (TCE to receive 20% increase in pay) but they work only 32 hours. In the last ten years I have seen my property/home value (assessed value)increase to almost align with appraised values when they’re used to be more like a 30 % discrepancy. Is the county also saving money since they don’t have to light or supply buildings where people used to commute to work, but now work from home? Where has all this money been going? I already feel like we pay enough tax dollars to employees who are sleeping half the time. Since when is this a tax payer burden.

    Sunday, September 24 Report this

  • RileyJ

    I find it interesting that when talking about reduced hours with same pay and/or working from home all the reporting talks about how good it is for the employees and employee satisfaction. How about customer satisfaction? How about metrics and customer surveys? What about the downsides of fewer hours and isolation from workplace communication? As a customer of public employment it is about time other factors are accounted for and measured.

    Sunday, September 24 Report this

  • Bigjules

    As a state employee I was allowed to work 80% time and pay, after I assured my supervisors that I could get the work done, which I did, but I gave up committee work. Work that keeps the government reviewing new ideas and inventive ways of doing things. The perk was full insurance coverage and full retirement benefits. It was a good fit for me and my family.

    Employees should have the option.

    Sunday, September 24 Report this

  • Yeti1981

    A reduction from 40 hours to 32, and an increase in pay by 20% still equals a pay cut.

    Monday, September 25 Report this

  • Yeti1981

    If you're going to cut worker pay, just say that. Don't try to make it sound rosey. You're still cutting pay, and telling workers to get a second job if they don't like it. Also, what will the impact be on customer service and efficiency, which is already lacking?

    Monday, September 25 Report this