Jimmy Carter photo

Federal Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules Act of 1978 Statement on Signing H.R. 7814 Into Law.

September 29, 1978

It gives me great pleasure today to sign into law the Federal Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules Act of 1978, which will permit Federal agencies to experiment with alternatives to the traditional 5-day, 40-hour week. I congratulate Representatives Patricia Schroeder, Stephen Solarz, and Gladys Spellman, and Senators Gaylord Nelson, Thomas Eagleton, and Jacob Javits, for their leadership on this bill. I add my special thanks to committee chairmen Robert Nix, Abraham Ribicoff, and Harrison Williams. I would also like to thank Herbert Harris and Joseph Fisher for their support of this bill.

During the campaign I made a promise to encourage the introduction of more flexible work alternatives to benefit, among others, persons with children, students, and the older or handicapped worker. I am pleased that the Congress also recognized the potential of flexible work arrangements and has now given me the opportunity to carry out that campaign pledge.

We hope that flexible work schedules will increase Government productivity and responsiveness to public needs and provide a new pool of talent for Government service. We expect that some Federal agencies will remain open to serve the public for a greater number of hours each day by using flexible time schedules.

We also will be studying the impact of these work schedule alternatives on the use of mass transportation facilities and energy conservation. Finally, we believe that the quality of individual, family, and working life can be improved when persons are given some voice in the selection of their work arrangements.

While the advantages appear to be substantial, these schedules have not yet been tested within the full range of environments that characterize Federal employment. Therefore, before making a decision to amend Federal laws permanently, this legislation wisely establishes an experimental period of 3 years during which we can evaluate various innovations in a large number of agencies.

This bill also contains a very important provision, introduced by Representative Solarz, which would allow a Federal employee whose personal religious beliefs may occasionally require absence from work to request overtime to make up the time lost. Such overtime work would be compensated with an equal amount of time off, in lieu of overtime pay. I am especially pleased that this provision comes in time for the High Holy Days of the Jewish faith. Congressman Solarz deserves special commendation for his sensitivity to this religious problem and for his innovative solution. The Civil Service Commission will immediately issue interim regulations implementing the compensatory time-off provisions.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 7814 is Public Law 95-390, approved September 29.

Jimmy Carter, Federal Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules Act of 1978 Statement on Signing H.R. 7814 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243570

Simple Search of Our Archives