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Van Tran - Contributor

Assemblyman Van Tran is a Republican who represents the 68th Assembly District in Orange County, including the cities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Newport Beach, Stanton and Westminster. [go to Tran index]

Workplace Flex…
Californians Deserve the Same Work Flexibility That Lawmakers Enjoy…

[Van Tran] 4/6/05

Talking to people in this community, I hear again and again about the need for more flexibility in setting work schedules.

The traditional nine-to-five day may have worked well in the past, but that was before population growth dramatically overwhelmed the state’s freeway capacity. These days, if we all leave home at the same time the only people getting any work done will be traffic reporters on the news.

Most people want to find a way around this debilitating commute. They don’t want to sit in mind-numbing traffic. Rather than wasting hours in gridlock, they would like to spend more time with their children, or caring for dependent family members, or just relaxing and enjoying California’s beautiful weather.

Others are trying to juggle two jobs, and they simply can’t afford to waste time sitting in traffic jams.

The simple fact is that our lives are busy, and are seemingly more complicated every day.

It’s probably impossible to eliminate all the complications of modern life, but we certainly can find ways to ease the stress.

The first step is to let workers enjoy more flexibility in setting their schedules, by doing away with the archaic state rules that limit their options. That’s why I introduced the Workplace Flexibility Act, Assembly Bill 640.

Currently, California law makes it very difficult for hourly workers to have the option of anything other than an eight-hour day. AB 640 would add flexibility to the requirements, allowing workers and their employers to arrange for up to a four-day, 10-hour work week.

A flexible work week has benefits for everybody, even those who continue a five-day week. Fewer cars will be on the road during traditional commute times, so travel time will decrease. And with fewer cars sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, there will be less air pollution.

Workers who choose a four-day week will enjoy even more profound benefits. If you and your boss agree to a four-day week, you’ll have 52 more days a year with family – the equivalent of more than seven weeks of vacation! Taking care of errands and appointments will be much easier, and you’ll have more opportunity to attend school activities and experience the other joys of parenting.

One less day of commuting takes 20 percent off your weekly travel – hours out of the car that will add a new degree of freedom. And with today’s crazy gas prices, just think of all the money you’ll save.

Many people already have the opportunity for this kind of flexibility. Any group with a collective bargaining agreement is exempt from the current overtime rules. That includes city, county and state employees.

It’s time to expand this option. Your ability to enjoy a flexible work schedule shouldn’t depend on whether or not you work for the government or answer to a union boss. There’s no reason that this freedom can’t be extended to workers who work for small mom-and-pop businesses, as long as both the owners and the workers agree.

In today’s society, we need options like the flexible work week to deal with the complexities we face, either at work or at home. Government shouldn’t be in the business of restricting options, but should be trying to increase your freedom and opportunity. This is a quality of life issue.

I am working hard to build support in the Legislature for the common-sense Workplace Flexibility Act. When discussing the legislation with resistant lawmakers, I will remind them that in a typical work week in the Legislature, we come to Sacramento on Monday morning and head home Thursday to spend time with family and take care of business in our districts.

Shouldn’t you have the option to work the same schedule that your elected officials and government employees do? CRO

copyright 2005 Van Tran




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