SACO — Starting this week, Saco City Hall workers will end their work week at 1 p.m. on Friday instead of 4 p.m. The change is a 120-day pilot program that aims to improve retention and employee satisfaction by giving some city workers an afternoon free, but does not change the actual paid hours those employees work each week.

The rest of the week will maintain its usual schedule, opening at 7:30 a.m. and closing at 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The General Assistance office, which is usually open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, will switch their hours to 10 a.m. through 1 p.m. on Fridays beginning this week.

The change does not affect city departments located outside of City Hall, such as the Public Works Department.

To make the change without impacting hours, the city is reducing City Hall workers’ lunch time from one hour to a half an hour, Monday through Thursday, and removing lunch time on Fridays. In total, employees will still work 37.5 hours and have the same benefits as before.

City Hall workers subject to this change are not represented by a union, according to City Administrator John Bohenko.

Nearby municipalities, including Biddeford and Scarborough have moved city staff to a four-day work week. When asked why Saco didn’t go ahead with a four-day workweek for City Hall employees, Bohenko said that they “at this point weren’t ready to make that step.” He said that city staff would evaluate the pilot program’s success and report back to the City Council with their findings.


Prior to implementing the change, the city’s Human Resources Department sent out a survey asking employees how they would feel about a closure early on Friday. All respondents were on board, Bohenko said.

At a City Council meeting on Jan. 29, Ward 7 City Councilor Nathan Johnston expressed concern about the change, saying that he feared it would make it harder for working people and older people to access City Hall services in person.

“There’s a large population that doesn’t do business online,” said Johnston. He said he could accept the pilot, but offered some suggestions to Bohenko, including doing a comprehensive survey of which services can be currently completed online, creating a “how to” manual for accessing services on the web, and reinstating some weekend hours for City Hall.

Bohenko said he welcomed the suggestions and would use the 120-day pilot program to evaluate other scheduling options, like having extended hours on one evening, to offer greater City Hall access for those who can’t come before 4 p.m.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: