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Wellesley admin. trying out a four-day work week

There will be more long weekends at the Wellesley Township office for full-time administrative staff.

This week Wellesley council voted to allow full-time administration staff at Wellesley township to work a compressed work week and flexible work arrangement in a year-long pilot.

The reasoning for this move was presented by staff to the Wellesley council in a report, stating that this new work arrangement would extend the opening hours of the township to the citizens by 2.5 hours each week for no extra cost, reduced absenteeism, and retain and attract qualified staff members among others.

Staff will be expected to work their 35 hours in four days instead of three. They will be required to be available to the public from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and tack on an extra 45 minutes to their work days at the beginning of the day, the end of the day or a combination of both. Staff will sign up to work either Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday to ensure the office is open to the public for five days a week.

The staff report submitted to council mentioned that for the past year, the Town of Aylmer, Township of Zorra and Township of Springwater have all been trying out similar arrangements.

“Zorra completed their eight-month trial and in December 2021, council voted unanimously to make the temporary change permanent,” read the staff report.

“The Town of Aylmer started their six-month pilot in October 2021. Both council and staff responses were positive, but the consensus was that the pilot would be best observed post-COVID. Their pilot was extended to March 2023.”

Under this arrangement, staff would also be allowed to work remotely for up to two days a week, providing they prove they have a suitable work environment in their home.

“It is important to note that a compressed work week and/or remote work option would not be mandatory for staff,” said the report. “There would however need to be an adequate number of employees selecting a compressed work week in order to allow for extended office hours.

“Residents would be strongly encouraged to make appointments for in-person service to ensure that staff are available to assist them,” read the report.

“ This would be a continuation of the arrangement that began during COVID-19 when staff were working from home and would be communicated to the public on a regular basis through social media and the website as well as newsletters.”

The report stated the flexible arrangement would not be implemented where it would reduce the quality of service, increase cost to the township or impact another employee’s ability to deliver service.

“The trial period would be monitored monthly by management for efficiency and modified as needed,” said the report. 

Unionized staff are not able to participate in the pilot. Any adjustments to union member schedules would need to be added to the collective agreement and approved by the union and the township.

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