Increase the Work Week of all City Employees to 40 Hours

Savings: $40 million

Most City employees work a 40-hour work week according to the City’s collective bargaining agreements.  However, a significant subset of employees work 35 or 37.5 hours per work week.

Under this option, all City employees who currently work under 40 hours a week would have their work weeks increased to 40 hours.

Currently, most City employees who are members of the Association of Federal, State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union work a 35-hour work week in accordance with their Collective Bargaining Agreement that is in place through June 2012.[1]  AFSCME members who are library employees work a 37.5- hour work week.[2]  Additionally, a number of other employees, including Parking Enforcement Aides (PEAs), Detention Aides and Nurses, work less than 40-hour weeks.

The table below shows the number of AFSCME employees broken down by library and non-library employees and the total number of non-AFSCME employees with a 35-hour work week and their total annual salaries, as of mid-August 2011.


Number of Active Employees

Total Annual Salaries

Average Salary

AFSCME- Library (workers work 37.5 hours/week)




AFSCME- All other Depts (workers work 35 hours/week)




Non-AFSCME (workers work 35 hours/week)








Source: August 16, 2011 Active Employees

If these employees’ work weeks were increased to 40 hours per week, the hours of non-library and library employees would increase by 12.5% and 6.25% respectively. Assuming that there are no productivity losses associated with a longer work week and that the work of these employees is fairly interchangeable, a 40-hour work week might permit up to a 12.5% reduction in non-library employees and a 6.25% reduction in library employees. The table below details the specific reductions in number of employees and total salary.

Category of Workers

Reduction in Positions

Reduction in Salary

Reductions in Fringe Benefits @ 35 percent of Salary

Reductions in total compensation

AFSCME- Library (workers work 37.5 hours/week)





AFSCME- All other Depts (workers work 35 hours/week)





Non-AFSCME (workers work 35 hours/week)










Assuming that pension and health benefits costs are 35% of total salary, the total savings will be approximately $38.6 million. AFSCME employees will receive a 3.5% increase in salary in 2012.  Assuming the non-AFSCME employees receive the same increase in pay, the savings would grow to $40 million in 2012.

Proponents might argue that because many other City employees work 40 hours per week, it would be fair to require all City employees to work a 40-hour week.  Additionally, others might note that the average full-time American employee worked 42.9 hours per week in 2005.[3]



Opponents might argue that the reduced work week is something that AFSCME and other union employees have bargained for in contract negotiations and likely were granted in exchange for foregoing pay increases. Additionally the lengthening of the work week would, in effect, be a large salary cut for these employees, while other employees have not seen their salaries reduced.







Discussion and Additional Questions

In addition to the union employees described above, certain non-union City employees work less than a 40 hour week.  For instance, employees in the Inspector General’s Office are paid on the basis of a 37.5 hour work week.

  • What is the full universe of employees who work less than a 40 hour work week in the City?
  • In particular, which non-union employees work less than 40-hour weeks?

Budget Details

Dept: Various Bureau: NA
Fund: Various Approp Code: Various
The appropriations are located throughout the 2011 Annual Appropriation Ordinance.