48-98 Proposal

What is the history of the “48-96” work schedule

According to a study conducted by San Jose Firefighters, the 48-96 schedule has been used by professional fire departments since the early 1990s.(1) During the period of 1998 through 2003, over two dozen departments switched to this schedule as a means of relief from long commutes, but also to improve morale by providing additional “four-dayers,” more weekends off, and increased family time.

As the San Jose report notes, “this is not a theoretical experiment in the fire service, but a proven and valid schedule option.”(2)

Most departments that considered the schedule change first voted for a six-month or one year trial period. In all cases, an escape clause was added to the agreement to allow labor or management to opt out of the trial period at any time. No department exercised this clause. After the trials, all but one of the agencies voted to retain the 48-96 schedule.(3)

This committee does not recommend a trial period unless it includes such an escape clause.

(1) “48/96 Work Schedule: Special Report to San Jose Firefighters Local 230,” March 2003, prepared by Captain Martin Hoenisch et al., page 2.
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid, page 3.