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Timesizing News, June/2013 +Jul.1
[Commentary] ©2013 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Harvard Sq PO Box 117, Cambridge MA 02238 USA 617-623-8080


6/30-7/01/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Uncommon wealth: Kentucky River's Valley View Ferry is still at your service, just not as much - ...Ferry cuts hours, but federal legislation may [restore], by Cheryl Truman, 6/30 Lexington Herald Leader via kentucky.com
    JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ken., USA — The water is neither wide nor deep here at the intersection of Madison and Fayette counties, but you still can't drive a car through it.
    That's a problem many drivers now face with the reduction in operating hours and days for the Valley View Ferry, in service since 1785.
    U.S. Rep. Andy Barr has introduced a bill that might alleviate the bind of federal regulations in which the ferry finds itself, but relief could be months away.The Kentucky River is only 11 to 12 feet deep here most of the time. The ferry runs about 100 yards on a fixed course, and has been open 14 hours a day during the week and 12 hours on the weekends.
    Running the ferry requires two employees — a captain and a deckhand.
    [So here's a situation where any cuts have to be hourscuts, not jobcuts.]
    There's nothing easy about their work. Commuters come by the hundreds each day, and tourists come by, too, for a quick ferry ride and a picture of where the river bends around a woody curve nearby.
    For the employees, the job is intense. The metal surface of the ferry heats up in the sunshine, reflecting burning rays onto a crew that has little shade in which to huddle. The license plate number of each vehicle crossing, as well as its direction, must be recorded.
    On Tuesday, a silver ragtop Mercedes from Wisconsin made the trip as did a couple from Georgia. They brought their grandson, who had never ridden on a ferry. By the time one flock of cars was deposited in Madison County, another set waited on the Fayette County side.
    Since 2006, Valley View ferry captains have had to meet a specific set of Coast Guard regulations. One of the ferry's captains retired last week, leaving only one in charge and another in training.
    Will Horn, the sole captain, may work 12 hours at a time. Horn, 64, has worked at the ferry for 22 years.
    More than 400 vehicles were ferried across on Sunday, June 23, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and 193 vehicles from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 24, Horn said.
    Closing the ferry on weekends will be a problem for people such as Willie McCuddy, who lives in Madison County but attends Nicholasville Christian Church. Instead of a 28-mile round trip, he is now looking at an 80-mile round trip.
    "There are people who live on different sides of the river who also have social connections like us, who used to live in Nicholasville," McCuddy said.
    Todd Richmond uses the ferry during the week and on weekends. He and a group of fellow Harley-Davidson riders will miss using the ferry.
    It's too bad that the reduction of hours wasn't addressed before now, Richmond said. "I speak for a lot of the Harley people. They love that route," he said.
    William Redington, a National Guardsman and Eastern Kentucky University student who uses the ferry to travel between Richmond and his home in Nicholasville, said the trip would now take him an additional 20 minutes.
    George Dean, vice chairman of the Valley View Ferry Authority, anticipates hearing from lots of disaffected customers who have come to depend on the free service. Having to close promptly at 6 p.m. means those left in line on either side will not be able to cross as planned, he said.
    "We feel like the (Coast Guard) regulations are overbearing because our ferry is attached to a cable, there is no steering and we don't have any combustible materials," Dean said. "There's no danger to the passengers."
    Barr has introduced the Valley View Preservation Act, a bill aimed at restoring full service to the ferry operation, "to prevent commuters from losing their jobs or being disrupted in commuting to or from work and prevent any disruption to the local economy."
    He said the bill — which would allow the Coast Guard to inspect the ferry for safety but turn over responsibility for its employees to the Kentucky state government — would relieve "a one-size-fits-all federal regulation that really defies common sense" and requires ferry captains to meet the same standards as captains operating much more complicated watercraft.
    Although Barr said the legislation was neither complex nor controversial, he said he thought it nonetheless would take several months to pass and take effect.
    New hours for Valley View Ferry
    The weekday schedule is 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The ferry is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
    Cheryl Truman: (859) 231-3202. ctruman@herald-leader.com Twitter: @CherylTruman.

  2. Ferry hours cut as funding dries up, by Jeff Adelson, 7/01 TheAdvocate.com
    NEW ORLEANS, La., USA - As the sun slowly set over the Mississippi River, Dan Melia stood on the lower deck of the Louis B. Portiere as it cut through the choppy waters.
    The quick trip back to Algiers Point from the foot of Canal Street is part of the daily commute for Melia, one of almost 1.2 million trips pedestrians take on the ferry each year. But Melia was keenly aware that the Thursday trip home by boat after a day working in a French Quarter candy shop will, at least for the time being, become a thing of the past.
    Starting Monday, the hours of the ferry route will be cut by almost 40 percent, with late night and early morning trips sacrificed to stretch the system’s limited funding until a long-term solution takes shape. In a process that started last year, the boats have been cut off of the Crescent City Connection tolls that almost completely paid for the routes.

    Advocates and state officials have now pinned their hopes on a takeover of the system by the New Orleans Regional Transit System. That plan would largely require the ferry system to sustain itself, an essentially unheard of feat in modern Louisiana, where taxpayers were on the hook for almost the entire $20 million it cost to run the eight routes in service last year.
    Whether that takeover will happen, and how the system will cover the $3.9 million it now costs to run the Algiers ferries, is in flux. But the future portends an end to what has traditionally been a free ride for pedestrians and the less-used option of using the boats to transport cars across the river.
    For now, however, the shorter schedule means problems for those who rely on the system. Melia, like more than half of those who ride the ferries according to a recent survey, depends on the boats to get to and from work. Without the later hours currently offered, Melia may have to pack up and leave Algiers Point.
    “Eventually, I’ll have to move from the neighborhood where I’ve lived for six years,” Melia said.
    RTA officials have been tight-lipped about their plans for the ferry but are expected to provide a proposal by the fall. A vice president of Veolia, the company that runs the transit system, said earlier this week that fares for pedestrians would have to be part of the eventual plan, though the details are still being worked out.
    For riders, paying a few bucks for a trip across the river might not be a dealbreaker. About 68 percent of the people surveyed by Ride New Orleans, a transit advocacy group, recently said they’d be willing to pay to ride the ferry, while only about 10 percent said they would not.
    “Fares are absolutely reasonable,” Melia said. “I don’t think anyone I’ve talked to says fares are an unreasonable measure.”
    That’s the same stance taken by others seeking to preserve the ferry services.
    “We pushed the free ferry about as far as it can go,” said Fay Faron, who heads Friends of the Ferry, a group that plans to push for fares in the interim in hopes of extending service hours.
    The Algiers ferry has always been an outlier in the state’s ferry system. Setting it apart from the largely vehicle-oriented boats elsewhere in the state are its largely pedestrian ridership, urban location and its status as one of a handful of ferries that have traditionally drawn their revenue from bridge tolls rather than the whims of the state’s budget process.
    The state’s ferry system is largely designed to get motorists across waterways in rural areas without the need for expensive bridges. While alternatives to those systems would require detours of up to 120 miles, motorists traveling from Algiers can simply hop on the Crescent City Connection and be in downtown New Orleans at roughly the same time.
    But while the state’s rural routes carry only a handful of pedestrians a year, advocates say the Algiers ferry is a crucial link for residents without easy access to cars.
    The Algiers ferry accounts for nearly the entire pedestrian ridership in the state, taking almost seven times more people across the river on foot than it does by car.
    At the same time, the Algiers ferry has seen a massive increase in use, with about 300,000 more riders last year than in 2010.
    There is no single explanation for the dramatic increase in the Algiers ferry’s ridership in recent years.
    The Regional Planning Commission credits better awareness of transit options for boosting the usage of the ferry as well as other public systems. Faron said she believes the transportation department just did a better job of counting the people who were using it already.
    But still, the Algiers ferry runs at a substantial deficit, with around $73,000 of its $3.9 million budget coming from the $1 roundtrip fare for motorists.
    That’s common for state ferries, which generated only about half a million dollars in fares last year, about 2.5 percent of their total cost.
    The costly system, once necessary in a state riddled with waterways, has been gradually scaled back, with only about half the state-run ferries that were in service 15 years ago continuing to run their routes.
    Just this year, the state closed the White Castle ferry and was prepared to mothball the route from Edgard to Reserve, though that ferry is now expected to be taken over by the St. John the Baptist Parish government.
    The Gretna ferry, which was supposed to remain open until Monday, has been out of service since April due to staffing shortages, and officials gave up on trying to restart the route.
    Some officials have held out hope that service could be restored for special events, such as Gretna Fest, but its uncertain whether that will fit into the future plans.
    What’s unusual is that a dedicated stream of toll money from the CCC made up that gap, subsidizing not only the Algiers route but the Chalmette and Gretna ferries as well. That ended last year, when lawmakers severed the connection between the bridge and the boats as they prepared for a referendum that would ultimately end tolls on the bridge.
    At the time, the Legislature told the transportation department to privatize the route but found no companies willing to step in and take over.
    In the aftermath, lawmakers this year put in place a plan that kept full funding for the Chalmette ferry — now paid for by the Department of Transportation and Development — but closed the service to Gretna and looked to offer up the Algiers ferry to the RTA.
    While the transit system works on its own proposal, the ferry remains in the hands of the state. While transition money was provided through a variety of sources it is not anticipated to cover the costs of keeping the boats running full time, leading to a dramatic reduction in hours.
    “We’re maintaining some service,” said state Sen. David Heitmeier, D-Algiers, who authored the legislation allowing for the takeover and providing some funding. “It’s less than optimal and I recognize that completely. It’s not where I want to be. I look at this as a transition period.”
    Heitmeier, who worked as a deckhand on the ferries as a teenager, described the service as integral part of the West Bank’s history, culture and economic development. Not only do the boats bring tourists, shops and restaurant patrons to the West Bank, but they allow workers to commute, helping bolster the real estate market in Algiers.
    Despite the massive gap in funding, the route could still prove to have some upsides for RTA. Lawmakers have set aside $4 million to upgrade the boats, an amount that balloons to $20 million when federal matching funds are added into the mix.
    Replacing the aging, inefficient ferries now running the route could lower its cost, particularly if the system opts to move to lighter passenger-only ferries.
    Bills by Heitmeier and others tap into a variety of revenue streams to help pay for that transition. Those include money from license plates for trucks and trailers in Orleans Parish, the use of unclaimed toll money left over from the CCC, a dedication of $1.4 million for two years and an optional check-off box on income tax returns that would let people donate to the ferries directly.
    Heitmeier expressed hope that once the transit system steps in, the ferries will be secure.
    “We want to make sure this happens and this is going to be around for generations to come,” Heitmeier said.
    But Rachel Heiligman, executive director of Ride New Orleans, described the ferries’ current predicament as a “rocky foundation to build on” and said her organization would have preferred a more comprehensive solution out of this year’s legislative session.
    “We would have preferred to see a stronger commitment come out of the legislature,” Heiligman said. “But again, we’re grateful, we understand its a difficult environment to work in.”
    For riders, ownership and potential fares may come as a secondary concern to just keeping them open.
    Anthony Nichols, riding across the Mississippi River last week to visit his daughter on the east bank, said he hadn’t heard of the schedule changes or plans to have RTA run the service. But Nichols, who takes the ferry to work and occasionally just takes his grandchildren out on the boat for weekend excursions on the river, said the system is so well embedded into the city’s fabric that any reductions won’t last long.
    “When all’s said and done, once they cut and see how it works, I think they’re going to come around and extend the hours,” he said.


6/29/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Open Question: How would you feel getting rid of the 40 hour work week? - 4 days ago Yahoo! Answers via from Bobhikes, (6/26 late pickup) answers.yahoo.com
    SUNNYVALE, Calif., USA - Read [past tense] an article on companies using a 4 day work week and the advantages and started to think about it. Our work week is based off of out of date standards.
    How about 2 work weeks a 4 day 9 hour work week and a 3 day 12 hour work week.
    You could cover all 7 days of the week and with just the 2 shifts almost 24 hours with 4 shifts instead of 6. Every one works 36 hours.
    So you would either have 3 or 4 days off a week depending on your preference
    If you needed a second job you could work a 3 day and a 4 day shift without effecting your sleep patterns.
    Child babysitting savings 4 hours per week or 1 or 2 less days per week
    Companies would get a vacation saving of 2 weeks at 36 hours instead of 40 hours.
    Companies would get payroll reduction without changing your hourly pay.
    On a 10 holiday schedule, You would get 8 holidays on 9 hours and 6 holidays on 12 hours based that companies would not round up and it evens to 72 hours each.
    Answers (5)
    SK
    It would be pretty sweet, I dont know who invented 40 hours as the norm but they deserve a swift kick in the nuts, by the time you get home and unwind its time for bed. No one wants to work their life away.
    4 days ago
    Ryan Sobus
    Don't matter to me I work 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year Source(s): Air cav hooah
    4 days ago
    bludg6376
    It sounds good for the replacement of the average Mon-Fri 9-5 employees. I work a alternating work schedule, when you ad 2 schedules it is hard for family life. Some companies may switch it up, but it wouldbe to hard on families that have the common (mon-fri 9-5) work week and your proposed work week. I think if it wasn't done acrossed the board it would be a lot of hate and discontent. now put the person who works midnights or swing shift in the mix and it would be a horrible situation . When you start your own company give it a shot.
    Source(s): None
    4 days ago
    Invisigoth
    the companies that are moving to a 4 day work week are still doing a 40 hour week. they do 4 10s instead of 5 8s.
    I have worked w/ companies who have done this (I was working for a temp agency & worked at these companies through the temp agency) and actually like the schedule because it gives me a longer weekend. some do a Monday thru Thursday schedule, some do a Tuesday thru Friday schedule.
    I was at one company had the staff alternating between a 5 day week & a 4 day week. one week part of the staff would work a 5 day week while the remainder worked a 4 day week & then the next week they would switch. the group who worked the 4 day week would work a 5 day week.
    this schedule kept the office staffed during the entire work week. Because there were fewer people in the building on Fridays, they would use less power which saved on their electric bill & Monday thru Thursday they had people working 10 hour days who got a lot of work done & they didn't have to pay OT because the people were only working 40 hours a week. more work got done & not having to pay OT meant less money going out on payroll & they were more productive which brought them in more money.
    3 days ago [huh? I just scribbled this thismorning!]
    phil
    Feelings and lahdeedah lifestyle preferences are becoming irrelevant. In the age of robotics, if we want any markets for all the stuff the robots are churning out, we need a lot more customers with money to spend, and that means we need a lot more jobs. Straining to dream up enough busywork to keep people spinning their wheels for a 40-hour workweek that was outdated when it started in 1940 isn't working. It's shutting more and more people out of fulltime work and even out of the job market completely, as shown by our record-breaking welfare, disability, homelessness, prison...
    New graduates can't find jobs. People over 50 who've been laid off can't find jobs, even in Silicon Valley. As union leader Walt Reuther retorted after a 1939 factory tour when Henry Ford said "Let's see you unionize these robots!" - "Let's see YOU sell them cars."
    How bad is a surplus of jobseekers and a scarcity of jobs? Back in 1932, inventor Art Dahlberg noticed that "never - with the exception of a few war years - has Capitalism been permitted to function under a chronic 'scarcity of labor.' It has always been forced to operate under a scarcity of job and business opportunity; and under such conditions..Capitalism is necessarily in unstable equilibrium. ...However, under a chronic and genuine scarcity of labor, Capitalism is potentially almost an ideal system of economy" - because an employer-perceived scarcity of jobseekers maintains and raises wage levels - and gives everyone more to spend.
    It is now a system requirement that we quit straining for ecobashing 40-hour/week job creation and just share and spread around the vanishing market-demanded employment that hasn't yet been turned over to automation and robotics. We will have to make more jobs by redefining "full time" downward and getting lower and lower workweeks as technology gets higher and higher.
    At every point, we'll need as short a workweek as it takes to restore and maintain wartime levels of full employment and markets - "wartime prosperity" without the war. More jobs thanks to shorter workweeks is the only way to absorb today's flood of desperate jobseekers and get employers bidding against one another for good help - so pay actually goes up, not down. It's a paradox but it happened in history when the workweek was cut in half from over 80 hours in 1840 to 40 hours in 1940, and pay was a lot higher in 1940 than in 1840.
    Shorter hours prevents a wage-depressing surplus of mutually underbidding jobseekers where the only management skill you need is to replace high-pay employees with low-pay employees.
    Edward Filene of Filene's Basement was a lot smarter about this than Henry Ford. Back in 1932 Filene made the statement, "For selfish business reasons...genuine mass production industries must make prices lower and lower and wages higher and higher, while constantly shortening the workday and bringing to the masses not only more money but more time in which to use and enjoy the ever-increasing volume of industrial products." Source(s): TimesizingNotDownsizing.com

  2. Chino Valley council OKs budget with end of employee furlough, by Ben Hedler, ChinoValleyReview.com
    CHINO VALLEY, Ariz., USA - With a rosier financial outlook, the Town Council voted 7-0 Tuesday to adopt a final budget of about $16.8 million for 2013-14 that ends a four-year employee furlough.
    The budget will be more than $1.5 million higher than the budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which concludes Sunday. The end of the furlough also will add 4.5 percent to payroll costs, which will increase to about $6 million in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
    Amid a deepening recession, the town government imposed the furlough that cut salaries for exempt employees by 10 percent and reduced the schedules of hourly employees from 40 to 36 a week, according to Finance Director Joe Duffy. Employees will regain their hours and exempt staffers will see their pay cuts lifted.
    [And no jobs lost.]
    He conducted a PowerPoint presentation that indicated the town's financial condition is stable, the General Fund will not run out of money and more money will be available for road maintenance. Moreover, the town will reduce and might eliminate its utility fund subsidy from the capital improvement fund in 2013-14.
    That contrasts with a scenario in 2012-13 with a potential deficit exceeding $1 million, the possibility of the General Fund running out of money and the lack of road maintenance, according to the PowerPoint presentation.
    Duffy described the budget "fix" as a yearlong process that included developing a strategic plan, a community survey to determine high-priority areas, evaluation of town programs, revision of town policies, approval of a utility rate plan, a hike in the sales tax from 3 to 4 percent and a user fee study.
    Duffy also estimated a conservative revenue growth of 2 percent, no new housing or utility customers and a 3 percent hike in estimated spending for 2013-14.
    He also projects an increase in road maintenance of $200,000 and three new road projects costing $1 million.
    Going back to the furlough issue, Councilwoman Linda Hatch commented that some town employees have gotten used to a four-day work week.
    Town Manager Robert Smith said that concern came up when members of the leadership team met.
    "There are some services that it makes sense to offer five days a week," Smith said. He added some employees may continue to work four days a week, and might have schedules such as Tuesday through Friday.
    Responding to a question from Hatch, Smith said public services likely will be open five days a week. He added he will report back to the council, adding the leadership team is working on details on when the furlough will end.
    Councilwoman Pat McKee, who was on vacation, attended the meeting via a conference call.


6/28/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. General Assembly passes SharedWork, PolicyMattersOhio.org
    COLUMBUS, Ohio, USA - Key findings
    • SharedWork Ohio offers employers an option to deal with challenging economic climates.
    • HB 37 passed with broad bi-partisan support in the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate.
    • If Ohio had this program in 2009, we estimate that there would have been more than 23,000 Ohioans working a reduced schedule, avoiding layoffs for thousands.
    • Ohio joins 25 states and the District of Columbia in adopting a work share policy.
    A new initiative, given final approval today by the Ohio House and Senate, will help workers and employers alike by preventing layoffs. It awaits the governor’s signature.
    SharedWork Ohio, Sub. House Bill 37, sponsored by Representatives Mike Duffey (R - Worthington) and Gary Scherer (R - Circleville), enables employers who need to make cuts to reduce the number of hours worked across a workforce rather than laying off a set number of employees.

    Thousands of Ohio workers would have avoided layoffs in 2009 had a shared work program existed in Ohio. Had the program had as many participants as the average state, more than 23,000 Ohioans would have been able to participate, Policy Matters Ohio estimates.
    “Shared work is a proven layoff-aversion tool,” said Hannah Halbert, workforce researcher with Policy Matters Ohio. “It’s a smart step that will benefit Ohio workers and employers.”
    Shared Work Ohio will give Ohio employers a new tool to keep their workforce intact during downturns. This new flexibility will help employers avoid costly rehiring and retraining when demand returns. At the same time, employees will be able to keep working and retain their health and retirement benefits. Half the states and the District of Columbia have enacted shared work policies.“
    The SharedWork Ohio initiative is a win-win program for Ohio workers and employers alike, especially during economic downturns,” said Halbert.
    Policy Matters Ohio is a nonprofit, nonpartisan state policy research institute with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.

  2. Sto-Rox school directors furlough eight employees, by Sonja Reis, Pittsburgh Post Gazette via post-gazette.com
    STOWE TOWNSHIP & McKEES ROCKS, Pa., USA - Sto-Rox School District's directors approved the furlough of eight employees and the reduction of one position to half-time tonight, based on alteration of programming and declining enrollment.
    Positions affected were a maintenance employee, secretary, elementary teacher, elementary special education teacher, middle school science teacher, cafeteria employee and the elementary librarian.
    The district's home/school visitor who provided social work services and acted as the attendance officer for all grades was also released. A music teacher's position will be cut to half-time.
    Several positions were also eliminated through attrition, including a paraprofessional, a community liaison and a cafeteria employee.
    Spring sports programs -- including boys' baseball and girls' softball -- were eliminated.
    The district, which serves students in Stowe and McKees Rocks, did not raise real estate taxes when approving its $21.97 million 2013-14 budget. Shortfalls in the budget will be funded by using approximately $1.46 million from undesignated fund balance reserves, bringing the fund balance down to about $1.3 million by June 30, 2014.
    A presentation by director Ed Maritz Jr. before the board's vote tonight dispelled rumors of the district closing, merging with other districts or allowing for a charter school system to take over management of the district.
    His presentation hinted at the possibility of the district having to enter into a distressed status by 2014-15 or 2015-16 if revenues received from the state remain stagnant.
    He said his future year budgetary forecast is "cloudy with 100 percent chance of storms."
    Administrators will not be taking pay increases during 2013-14.
    Sonja Reis, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


6/27/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. MAN Plans to Continue Short-Time Work at Salzgitter Facility, by Ilka Kopplin, Wall Street Journal via online.wsj.com
    FRANKFURT, Germany -- German commercial vehicle maker MAN SE (MAN.XE) plans to extend short-time work for staff at its Salzgitter facility in the second half of the year due to poor demand, the company said Thursday.
    MAN is in talks with labor authorities on reduced working hours, a spokesman said. Short-time work is a program aimed at preventing job losses.
    Incoming orders for MAN and other commercial vehicle manufacturers continue to be subdued. Consulting company IHS Automotive has forecast a 5% decline in commercial vehicle sales in Western Europe in 2013.
    MAN has 2,300 staff in its Salzgitter facility. The company began short-time working hours at its Salzgitter and Munich facilities earlier this year.
    Write to Ilka Kopplin at ilka.kopplin@dowjones.com

  2. Work Sharing During the Great Recession, BizKnowledge Watch via University of Navarra Business School via blog.iese.edu
    PAMPLONA, Spain - The ILO has just published the book entitled “Work Sharing during the Great Recession: New Developments and Beyond” edited by ILO researchers Jon C. Messenger and Naj Ghosheh.
    This volume examines the resurgent interest in and use of work sharing as a job preservation strategy during the Great Recession of 2008–09. It also considers the crisis experience for the potential use of work sharing to generate jobs, thus contributing to the ongoing debate on its efficacy as an employment creation measure.
    The book offers in-depth analysis of work sharing in Europe – specifically in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands – and in the diverse contexts of Japan, Turkey, the United States and Uruguay. It synthesizes the main lessons learned from the country cases and considers their implications for the future of work sharing.
    [Scan down to 6/22/2013 #1 below for full text.]

  3. The Québec Medical Association Agrees with the Conclusions of the National Report on the Impact of Demanding Work Hours on Resident Physicians, Québec Medical Association via Canada NewsWire (press release) via CNW Telbec via newswire.ca/en
    MONTRÉAL, Québec - The Québec Medical Association welcomes the release of the national report on the impact of demanding work hours on resident physicians. The QMA feels that it was essential for a national steering committee, composed of Canadian health care organizations and stakeholders, to examine the problem of resident duty hours, for which it submitted a motion to the General Council of the Canadian Medical Association in 2011.
    In the wake of the arbitration award on June 7, 2011, that confirmed the need to reduce consecutive resident duty hours in an institution from 24 hours to 16, the motion submitted by the QMA aimed to introduce a national standard regarding duty hours and workload.
    "The release of the report is a step in the right direction. This first phase of reflection and discussion between the different organizations and stakeholders concerned prompts us to review the training of resident physicians and their coaching in the workplace in order to optimize our health care system. The restriction on resident duty hours obliges us to rethink our ways of doing things. It is our system as a whole that has a workload problem," stated QMA President Dr. Laurent Marcoux.
    About the Québec Medical Association - The QMA is made up of close to 10,000 general practitioners, specialists, residents and medical students. Its mission is to bring together Québec's medical community in a context that promotes reflection and action for the benefit of the health of the population.


6/26/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Work sharing measures can save jobs in times of crisis: ILO, Xinhua.com
    GENEVA, Switzerland -- Reducing hours of work can have positive effects on employment levels during a severe economic downturn, said a book released Tuesday by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
    Work sharing has been widely used to preserve jobs during the economic crisis from 2008 to 2009 and its aftermath, and may even have the potential to generate new employment, said the book titled "Work sharing during the Great Recession."
    ILO researcher Jon C. Messenger, co-editor of the book, said that if crisis work-sharing policies are properly designed and implemented, the result can be a "win-win-win solution."

    "Workers can keep their jobs; companies can survive the crisis and be well-positioned when growth returns, while governments as well as society as a whole can save on the costs of unemployment and social exclusion," he said.
    The book offers an in-depth analysis of crisis work-sharing programs from around the world. It said that for work sharing programs to be effective they must be strongly supported by governments.
    Balanced eligibility criteria for companies and workers, minimal administrative requirements for companies, flexibility in the volume and patterns of hours reduction, wage supplements for affected workers, and reasonable but fixed time limits on work-sharing subsidies must also be included to make the programs effective.

  2. Media Advisory - National report on the impact of demanding work hours on resident physicians to be released tomorrow, CNW Group via Wall Street Journal (press release) via online.wsj.com
    OTTAWA, Canada - The National Steering Committee on Resident Duty Hours will release Canada's first comprehensive, collaborative and evidence-based report examining the hotly debated issue of how much fatigue is too much fatigue for Canada's approximately 12,000 resident physicians.
    With funding from Health Canada, the report, Fatigue, Risk and Excellence: Towards a Pan-Canadian Consensus on Resident Duty Hours, provides five central principles and wide-ranging recommendations to help all Canadian jurisdictions manage and mitigate resident fatigue. The report is based on the most comprehensive and collaborative examination of resident duty hours policies and practices in Canadian history.
    Date: Thursday, June 27, 2013
    Time: 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time
    Method: The report will be posted online at www.residentdutyhours.ca, along with a news release, which will be issued nationally via Canada NewsWire. Spokespeople will be available for interviews.
    Embargoed copy: The report is now available to news media only under an embargo that ends at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time, June 27, 2013. To request an embargoed copy of the report, please email jp.brasseur@sympatico.ca indicating that you accept the embargo conditions.
    [I'm too fatigued to request an embargoed copy but if I was a physician, I of course would NEVER get fatigued.]
    The National Steering Committee on Resident Duty Hours is composed of national health care organizations and experts from across Canada, including the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Committee on Health Workforce, Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations, Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada - Postgraduate Deans, Canadian Association of Internes and Residents, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Canadian Medical Association, Collège des médecins du Québec, Fédération des médecins résidents du Québec and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
    SOURCE: National Steering Committee on Resident Duty Hours
    /CONTACT: Media contact:
    Jean-Paul Brasseur, Tel. 613-830-4766, cell 613-724-0412, jp.brasseur@sympatico.ca


6/25/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Fort Campbell Will See Shortened Work Week, by John Hull, AP via WKMS.org
    MURRAY, Ky., USA - Fort Campbell’s garrison commander says civilian employees will be cut to four-day work weeks starting in July, as part of a furlough program stemming from budget cuts.
    Col. David Dellinger said the post’s school employees will have it differently - they will be required to take five furlough days between August and September.

    The furloughs will remain in effect until September 30, the end of the military’s budget year.
    Dellinger tells the Kentucky New Era the action is unfortunate and “obviously not desired.”
    More than 3,000 civilian employees at Fort Campbell received notices last month about the furloughs.

  2. Economists call for 40-hour work week, (6/23 late pickup) ArabNews.com
    JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Economists have criticized the Shoura Council’s decision to postpone the approval of a proposed labor law, which calls for a two-day weekend and 40 hours of work per week.
    According to Salim Ba’ajaja, an economist, the ministry is hesitant to implement the law due to the opposition of local businessmen who have cited grave concerns that a two-day weekend would lead to a rise in prices. In addition, businessmen have said that some 600,000 Saudi workers, employed in the last 18 months would face losing their jobs as a result of the implementation of such a decision.
    The economist noted that the council’s approval to reduce weekly hours from 48 to 45 has kept working hours unchanged, as without the mechanism of enforcement, private sector establishments will force employees to work eight hours, six days a week, or enforce a nine-hour shift for five days a week.
    “It is necessary to implement a 40-hour week; western countries apply 35-hour week,” Ba’ajaja added. Meanwhile, economist Abdallah Al Malgouth said the labor market “is not governed by the Ministry of Labor’s rules.”
    He pointed out that certain retail stores make their employees work for more than 12 hours a day and at times without weekly days off. In such work environments, an employee would be given a half-a-day every 15 days, he said, adding that reducing working hours will increase productivity, and improve the psychological states of employees.


6/23-24/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Circular title: Amendment to the Civil Service Worksharing Scheme, 6/23 Govt. of Ireland Dept. of Public Expenditure & Reform Circulars via circulars.gov.ie
    Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, t: +353 1 676 7571 f: +353 1 678 9936 www.per.gov.ie
    DUBLIN, Eire (Ireland) -
    I am directed by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to convey the following instructions in relation to the Worksharing Scheme in the Civil Service.
    Circular number 12/2013
    Purpose: To provide instructions in relation to the Civil Service Worksharing Scheme
    Status: This Circular amends certain provisions of the following Circulars:
    • 31/2001 - Civil Service Worksharing Scheme
    • 11/2010 - Amendment to Circular 31/2001: Civil Service Worksharing Scheme on the duration, review and modification of worksharing arrangements
    • Relevant Letters to Personnel Officers
    Circular Application: To all civil servants
    Relevant Employment Law: Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956-2006, Organization of Working Time Act 1997
    Effective Date: 1 July 2013
    Responsibility for Implementation: HR Units/Heads of Department/line managers and civil servants
    Introduction
    1. I am directed by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to convey the following amendments which will apply to the Civil Service Worksharing Scheme.
    2. The provisions of this Circular apply to all civil servants.
    Implementation and operation of the worksharing arrangements
    3. The implementation and operation of the worksharing arrangements are at the discretion of management, who retain the right to alter, reduce and/or standardise the range of worksharing patterns available to staff having regard to the specific business needs of their organisation.
    4. Management has the discretion to alter or change an individual’s worksharing arrangements, on the giving of three months’ notice. Management reserves the right, on reasonable business grounds and with reasonable notice, to refuse access to the Scheme, to require a person to vary their worksharing arrangements, or to require a person to resume full time work.
    Annual review
    5. Each individual’s worksharing arrangements must be formally reviewed on an annual basis, or earlier, if required.
    6. Where such a review has not yet taken place, a review must be completed by the end of 2013.
    Worksharing patterns less than 50% of full time working hours
    7. With effect from 1 July 2013, new worksharing patterns of less than 50% of full time working hours will not be approved.
    8. There are two cases w[h]ere an exemption may apply. These are:
    • staff who are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance may work for up to 15 hours per week
    • staff with a disability who have been provided with a reasonable accommodation to workless than 50% of full time working hours can continue to work such pattern for as long as the reasonable accommodation is required.
    9. Staff, who on 30 June 2013, are on patterns of less than 50% can retain the work pattern on a personal to holder basis, subject to the provision of paragraph 4 above.
    Implementation
    10. HR Units should communicate this policy to all civil servants in their Department/Office. This policy is also available on www.circulars.gov.ie and will also be available on request from your HR Unit or the PeoplePoint Portal http://peoplepoint.gov.ie .
    11. Queries in relation to this Circular should be addressed to your HR Unit/PeoplePoint.*
    Patricia Coleman
    Director
    14 June 2013
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    *Refer to PeoplePoint if your Department/Office has moved to PeoplePoint; otherwise refer to your HR Unit.
    [So Ireland is using shorter hours, but North Carolina is fighting them, and Hawaii is getting them willynilly -]

  2. Work sharing proposal offers employers alternative to job cuts, but gains little traction in legislature, by Richard Craver, 6/23 Winston-Salem Journal via journalnow.com
    WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., USA - A N.C. Senate bill that gives employers the option of work sharing – with unemployment benefits attached – has the support of a Republican sponsor, a left-leaning think tank and is in place in 24 [make that 25-26] states.
    What Senate Bill 645 doesn’t have, however, is any momentum.
    The bill, which would amend the state’s unemployment insurance law, has not been acted upon since being submitted April 3 by Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus. It is in the Senate committee on rules and operations.
    Work sharing, also known as short-time compensation, offers employers the option to reduce employees’ hours for up to a year instead of implementing layoffs or job cuts when business is slow or they are feeling a financial pinch. To qualify, employers would certify with N.C. Division of Employment Security officials that the plan is being used only to avert a specific number of layoffs or job cuts.
    For example, an employer can choose to reduce all employees’ hours by 20 percent rather than eliminating 20 percent of its workforce. Companies can’t cut workers’ hours by more than 60 percent for each week they participate, but they must reduce work hours by at least 10 percent to qualify.
    Employers file temporary unemployment insurance (UI) claims for their employees – similar to how regular unemployment benefits are paid – so employees don’t lose all the wages they would have earned. Each state decides how much in temporary UI benefits employees get each week.
    Another plus is that employees’ full health benefits remain untouched.
    Bloomberg BusinessWeek described the work-share program “as a kind of unemployment insurance in reverse – paying to keep workers in their jobs instead of supporting them after they’re laid off.” The program has been used in Europe, particularly Germany, and in Japan.
    Hartsell said Thursday he has been unable to obtain a hearing on the bill.
    “It’s still a prospect, however, I understand,” Hartsell said. “Dale Folwell has indicated that he is willing to work with employers interested.” Folwell, a former House representative from Forsyth County, serves as head of the N.C. Division of Employment Security.
    Sen. Peter Brunstetter, R-Forsyth, said he has heard no discussion on the bill. Gov. Pat McCrory said in an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal that the bill has not been brought to his attention for review.
    Option could have saved 775 health jobs
    If the work-share option was in place now, it could have given Cone Health, Novant Health Inc. and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center a way to avoid eliminating a combined 775 jobs in the Triad with active employees over the past year. Wake Forest Baptist and Cone also eliminated a combined 625 vacant jobs.
    In May, Wake Forest Baptist chose a strategy similar to a work-share program – though without the UI benefits to employees – as part of implementing its latest phase of cost-cutting measures. It asked for volunteer employee furloughs and hour-and-wage reductions of up to 10 hours a week with nonclinical full-time staff. The initiative was slated to be in place at least through June 30 – the end of its fiscal 2012-13 year.
    “Wake Forest Baptist has identified immediate multimillion-dollar savings with a series of short-term measures that impact personnel,” the center said in May. “These measures will have no impact on the quality of care or service that patients receive.”
    Jon Messenger, co-editor of “Work sharing during the Great Recession: New developments and beyond,” said the program can be a “win-win-win solution” for society if properly implemented since employers can avoid expensive training costs for new employees.
    “Workers can keep their jobs; companies can survive the crisis and be well-positioned when growth returns, while governments, as well as society, as a whole can save on the costs of unemployment and social exclusion,” Messenger said.
    Some states have been using the strategy for four years, with the program having a peak of 165,618 national participants in 2009, as well as 98,583 in 2010, 76,524 in 2011 and 61,299 in 2012.
    The Bloomberg BusinessWeek report cautioned that the program “could let struggling companies cling to unrealistic hopes of recovery.”
    John Quinterno, a principal with South by North Strategies, a research firm focused on economic and social policy, said he believes offering a work-share option “would improve the usefulness and effectiveness of the UI system to workers, employers and the state as a whole.
    “Right now, the choice facing employers experiencing financial problems is a binary one: dismiss an employee completely or keep the employee,” Quinterno said.
    “A work sharing option would allow employees to reduce the number of hours that an employee worked, which would keep the employee connected to the company and immediately available for when business improved. The employee would avoid an income loss and stay engaged in the workforce.”
    Clock is ticking
    The federal Layoff Prevention Act of 2012 raised the awareness of the work-share plan by providing almost $100 million nationally for states to adopt or expand their programs within the new federal requirements. North Carolina would be eligible for a $2.9 million grant to adopt the plan.
    The catch is, the clock is ticking on qualifying for the program. North Carolina already won’t receive the full three-year benefit that runs out Aug. 22, 2015.
    Hartsell’s bill is one of two options for implementing the work-share program. The second involved getting the U.S. Labor secretary to create an “immediately accessible” program that would provide partial benefit reimbursement for two years.
    The chances North Carolina will qualify for funding to set up the work-share plan are likely growing slimmer every day that the bill remains stuck in committee.
    Of the 24 [make that 25-26] states that have a work-share program, Florida is the only Southeastern state participating.
    [So Dixie is still the slowest part of the USA? They'd rather breed a taxpayer-dependent subclass than get everyone self-supporting, however short a workweek today's robotics require?]
    That fact may offer a clue as to why the bill hasn’t been acted upon.
    McCrory already has signed into law, effective June 30, a bill that reduces the maximum amount of benefit weeks from 26 to 20 and weekly dollar amount from $535 to $350.
    That same day, the state’s access to federal extended UI benefits – an estimated $780 million for the second half of 2013 – goes away because legislators chose to alter North Carolina’s UI standards without federal government approval. The federal benefits have been offered in a four-tier system, with a maximum length of 47 weeks.
    Bill supporters said they were trying to bring the N.C. jobless benefits, which some considered too generous, in line with the maximum paid in eight Southeastern states.
    The federal benefits end June 30 no matter what tier a claimant may be. Those who started their state benefits before June 30 will receive the full amount they qualify for, said Josh Ellis, a N.C. Commerce Department spokesman.
    The law raises the unemployment insurance tax on most businesses until the debt is paid off, projected to be by the end of 2015. However, the UI benefit reductions are permanent unless changed at a later date by the legislature.
    The debt to the federal Labor Department was created in part because employers received a series of unemployment insurance tax cuts in the 1990s when the state jobless rate was well below the 5 percent level that economists consider full employment. The jobless insurance tax rate was not raised, thus replenishing the state reserves for benefit payments until 2011, despite the state's going through two recessions.
    Supporters of reducing the state jobless benefits and cutting off access to the federal benefits say those steps were necessary to spur a quicker reduction of a $2.11 billion debt to the federal government.
    That, in turn, will spur employers, particularly small businesses, to increase hiring, the supporters stress.
    Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, said in February the law will “make North Carolina's business environment more competitive in attracting and retaining jobs. It's the best fix I can come up with for an ugly scenario we have to resolve.”
    “There are no good answers. This (unemployment insurance) is becoming a welfare-dependent program in a lot of cases.” N.C. Justice Center officials said in a January report that 54 percent of N.C. unemployment recipients are white, 51 percent are female, and 45 percent are 46 or older.
    Economists say it may take several months, if not into the early part of 2014, to determine whether the reduced jobless benefits will lead to significant job creation.
    Quinterno said he doesn’t expect legislators to approve the work-share option because “the benefits associated appear inconsistent with the direction in which the legislature has taken the state's system of UI compensation in recent months.”
    “The legislation recently passed by the General Assembly makes the unemployment insurance system less responsive to the needs of workers, employers, and the state as a whole and makes the system less able to counteract downward swings in the business cycle.
    “Work sharing is a step in the opposite direction. It unfortunately appears out of step with the legislature's current policy direction.”
    rcraver@wsjournal.com (336) 727-7376

  3. 4-day work weeks planned for thousands of federal workers in Hawaii to meet budget cuts, 6/24 Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP via The Columbus OH Republic via therepublic.com
    HONOLULU, Hawaii — Thousands of federal workers in Hawaii will see their work week shortened from five to four days next month as agencies deal with mandatory budget cuts.
    Congress approved $1.2 trillion in government cuts, referred to as sequestration, through 2021 unless alternatives were approved by March 1. That didn't happen.
    The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/12l4EpJ) reports more than 14,000 Hawaii civilian defense workers will be affected.
    Some federal agencies have obtained alternate funding or adjusted internal budgets to avoid furloughs and some are exempt.
    State Finance Director Kalbert Young says the process has been unclear and that the state has asked for but not received updated projections of how Hawaii's economy will be affected.

  4. "Figured out the problem but not the solution"
    From RP Hyde
    To ghayad.r@gmail.com
    "Fan letter" and some resources at your service -
    Rand Ghayad -
    We just scanned the four-section cover story on the front page of the Money & Careers section of the Boston Sunday Globe (6/23). Of the four sections, we found the section about your work by far the most relevant and important. We have featured excerpts from your section in the "doom du jour" section (below "hope du jour") on the June 23-24 update of our website homepage at TimesizingNotDownsizing.com. (If you take a look after we've uploaded more updates, just scan down to the right date in our archives.)
    We were surprised to find your section ending with what we call the Big Question: "Somebody told me the other day I'd figured out the problem but not the solution," Ghayad said. "This will probably be the subject of my future research."
    We believe it will take courage to figure out and publish the solution, but you seem well-positioned to do so. It's probably something overlooked or offbeat and neglected or unexpected, else it would long since have been implemented and we all would have moved on.
    Our best candidate is worktime-based. It's a two-part approach that involves smooth conversion of chronic overtime into training and jobs, and then increasing the amount of convertible overtime by resuming what the USA did between 1938 and 1940 in adjusting the full-time workweek lower.
    We are seeing all the advanced economies trying and retrying absolutely every other approach first, from laissez-faire to austerity to stimulus (for the financial sector) to makework to military spending... - all are failing because they are not creating the one condition without which capitalism runs poorly = an employer-perceived labor shortage (Dahlberg, Jobs, Machines and Capitalism, p.xii) to avoid an unstable or deteriorating equilibrium. Such a shortage maintains and raises general wages and spending and the velocity of currency circulation, growing marketable productivity and sustainable investment. Such prosperity-boosting labor shortages prevailed during plague and war years before modern medicine conquered plagues and drone warfare cut bodycount. Meanwhile the worktime approach is creeping in willynilly under different terminology. Virtually all advanced economies except possibly Hong Kong have quietly initiated emergency temporary worksharing programs. Shorter hours has been happening piecemeal in the USA for decades in the worst possible way that raises job insecurity and clobbers wages and spending. Ironically, this process has just hugely accelerated thanks to thousands of companies trying to duck Obamacare premiums. Germany has done best with it ("Kurz-arbeit") and France would have done better with its shorter workweek if Sarkozy had shortened it further instead of attacking it through de-regulating overtime.
    But from 1840 to 1940 the USA cut the workweek in half, 80 hours to 40, and maybe it didn't create a labor shortage exactly but from 1938 to 1940, for example, it cut unemployment 1% for each hour cut from the workweek 1938,39,40: 44,42,40hrs: 19.0%,17.2,14.6 (same result as France got 1997-2001 in cutting from 39hrs to 35 = 12.6% to 8.6) and sure prevented the kind of gross labor surplus we have today, carefully externalized into the working poor, part timers who can't find full time, discouraged job seekers, welfare, disability, homelessness, prison, self "employment" with no clients, unhired graduates, kids who can't afford to move out of parents' homes, kids who have to move back in with their parents, seniors who can't afford to retire, retirees who can't afford to stay retired...
    We believe we have the biggest website on this whole approach in English. Our mission is to develop the language and metaphors of this "worktime economics" that has been below the radar since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and Sismondi's Nouveaux Principes.
    We regard worksharing as the big halfway step to what we call timesizing (we registered this term as a trademark to keep it available for The Movement once The Movement finally emerges), because worksharing clings to the hope that there'll be a real recovery, while timesizing creates recovery by creating more, smaller job units out of the currently existing or declining human employment. Timesizing basically cuts working hours per person as much as it takes to restore and maintain World War II levels of employment and consumer spending and delivers wartime prosperity without the war.
    We believe we have developed this approach further than anyone else. Most people stop short of designing solutions to the various big objections to this approach that stem from the work ethic, or guilt about getting paid more for working less, or mystification around the time dimension, or just plain inability to think outside the box created by one's own income source. Objections like "Won't my pay go down if I work fewer hours?" or "Won't there be runaway inflation if we have full employment?" or "Won't the devil find work for idle hands to do?"
    You've obviously got to look in some relatively unfamiliar corners in pursuit of your future research, so we place our website at your service (phone us anytime for clarifications or expansions) and we can put you in touch with all the major players in the embryonic worktime economics movement.
    This email has become too long for a first contact, but "time is short and the water rises." And this material includes a number of verbal experiments that will be in vain if they don't get sent to the person who inspired them, Rand Ghayad.
    Meanwhile, keep up the good work!
    Phil Hyde
    economic design & debugging
    Timesizing.com
    "Trimming the workweek, not the workforce, the consumer base & everything else"
    Boston-Somerville USA and Ottawa-Gatineau Québec
    landline 617-623-8080
    cell 617-620-6851 (call anytime 10am-10pm)


6/22/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Executive Summary: Work Sharing during the Great Recession - New Developments and Beyond, International Labour Organization via ilo.org
    GENEVA, Switzerland - This volume examines the resurgent interest in and use of work sharing as a job preservation strategy during the Great Recession of 2008–09. It also considers the crisis experience for the potential use of work sharing to generate jobs, thus contributing to the ongoing debate on its efficacy as an employment creation measure. The book offers in-depth analysis of work sharing in Europe – specifically in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands – and in the diverse contexts of Japan, Turkey, the United States and Uruguay. It synthesizes the main lessons learned from the country cases and considers their implications for the future of work sharing.
    Historical background
    Historically, the first work-sharing agreements offering monetary compensation for reductions in working time date back to 1891 in Germany. During the Great Depression, a wide range of work-sharing initiatives, both industry-led and government-led, emerged both in Europe and North America. For example, in the United States, work sharing became one of the major US initiatives to combat the Depression under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The President’s Reemployment Agreement (PRA) of 1933 encouraged individual firms to: (i) shorten the workweek to 35 hours; (ii) increase hourly wages; and (iii) recognize workers’ legal right to bargain collectively.
    During the period of prosperity that followed the Second World War, the concept of work sharing faded into the background in all but a handful of European countries. However, the onset of the Great Recession of 2008–09 led to a dramatic re-emergence of work sharing as a labour market policy tool aimed at preserving existing jobs.
    Work sharing to preserve jobs in times of crisis
    Work-sharing measures can take two distinct forms. The first, of which Germany’s Kurzarbeit is perhaps the quintessential example, can be defined as a labour market instrument based on the reduction of working time intended to spread a reduced volume of work over the same (or a similar) number of workers in order to avoid lay-offs. In a framework of national work-sharing programmes, enterprises can receive benefits when they refrain from laying off workers, and instead share the lower volume of work by reducing the working hours of either all their employees or all members of a work unit.
    In times of economic crisis, temporary work-sharing measures as a labour market policy tool aim not only at preserving existing jobs during a cyclical downturn, they also allow businesses to retain their skilled workforces, thus minimizing firing and (re)hiring costs, saving functioning plants and bolstering staff morale during difficult times. If such measures are properly designed and implemented, the result can be a “win–win–win” solution: workers are able to keep their jobs and even prepare for the future; companies are able not only to survive an economic crisis, but can be well-positioned to prosper when growth returns; and the costs of unemployment and, ultimately, social exclusion for governments and society as a whole are minimized. This form of work sharing is the primary focus of this volume. The volume explores how policy-makers attempted to use work-sharing measures as a tool to mitigate the effects of the Great Recession on employment, which varied substantially in form and content across different countries. In Belgium, for example, during 2009 the various temporary unemployment measures were used by more than 300,000 workers – 5.6 per cent of private wage employment. In Germany, 60,000 establishments and 1.4 million workers participated in Kurzarbeit for economic reasons at the height of the crisis in May 2009 – approximately 5 per cent of private wage employment. In Japan, the EAS work- sharing measure had 84,481 firms and 2.5 million employees participating in 2009 – 3.8 per cent of private wage employment. However, participation levels were far more limited in some countries, such as Austria and France, amounting to less than 1 per cent of private wage employment. Notably, work-sharing programmes and measures were credited with saving jobs in many countries, especially in the depths of the Great Recession in 2009: 400,000 jobs in Germany; 370,000 jobs in Japan, plus over a million jobs saved by reductions in overtime; and approximately 100,000 jobs in Turkey—the largest work-sharing programme in any developing country. Even in the United States, where only a few state-level work- sharing programmes existed in 2009, these small programmes have been credited with saving 165,000 jobs – enough to prompt the enactment of a new Federal work-sharing law.
    Work sharing as a potential employment creation measure
    Work sharing can also be used as a measure to increase employment. In this case, the reduction of working hours is not being made in response to a decline in the demand for a firm’s products or services, but rather is the result of an explicit government policy designed to induce permanent downward adjustments in average working hours for the purpose of encouraging additional hiring and thus increasing the level of employment. Such reductions in hours of work can be achieved by different methods, ranging from legally-mandated reductions in the normal or standard (legal) workweek in a country to collective bargaining in specific industries to the use of tax incentives (e.g., reduced payroll taxes or tax credits) provided to companies which reduce the average workweek of employees in their enterprises on a weekly, monthly or even an annual basis, or some combination of policies. This second form of work sharing remains the subject of often contentious debate among economists and policy-makers. While there are a number of different factors that might substantially reduce the extent to which such working-time reductions are translated into new employment, such a permanent reduction in average hours of work could potentially induce employers to move more quickly to expand hiring than would otherwise have been the case.
    This form of work sharing is the primary focus of Chapter 7 (Golden and Glosser), which reviews the evidence regarding work sharing as a potential policy tool for creating more and better employment. They find that, based on evidence from a range of mainly European studies, permanent reductions in working hours have generally, though not always, shown net positive employment effects. They also simulate the potential employment effects of reductions in weekly hours in the United States under different sets of assumptions, and find that work sharing could have had a “considerable neutralizing effect” on job loss during the Great Recession, potentially inducing employers to move more quickly to expand hiring during the subsequent economic recovery. These findings suggest that such permanent reductions also have the potential to modestly increase employment levels.
    Key lessons and policy suggestions
    One of the key lessons learned during the Great Recession of 2008–09 and its aftermath is that cutting hours of work can have positive effects on employment levels during a severe economic downturn. Although available estimates vary considerably across countries – and even within countries as well – nearly all concur that they preserved jobs, typically with minimal “deadweight” effects (i.e. the risk of public work-sharing subsidies going to firms who would not have engaged in lay-offs in any case).
    While cutting hours of work had positive effects on employment levels during the crisis, research shows that the design of the work-sharing programmes and measures was crucial for their effectiveness, as was active support and promotion of the programmes by governments. Essential elements of effective work-sharing programmes include:
    • Balanced eligibility criteria for companies and workers;
    • Minimal, easily adapted administrative requirements for companies;
    • Flexibility in the volume and patterns of hours reductions;
    • Wage supplements for affected workers (e.g. partial unemployment benefits or “short-time compensation”);
    • Reasonable but fixed time limits on work-sharing subsidies to minimize potential negative side-effects (e.g., deadweight and displacement effects).
    Notably, combining work sharing with training has not proven very effective. To increase success, short-term or modular courses that workers could complete rapidly during non- work periods should be considered.
    The proven job preservation effects and the potential job creation effects of work sharing are important reasons for considering its use. The benefits to those workers who would be unemployed without work sharing are obvious. However, there are other potential benefits, for instance those workers who are most at risk of overwork (e.g. those suffering from symptoms of work-related fatigue and stress) and those who are overemployed (that is, those who would prefer shorter hours of paid work even if it results in reduced earnings) can benefit from reduced hours as well.
    Work sharing is not a magic “silver bullet”.
    [But it's as close as we can come in our lifetimes.]
    However, it can be one of a number of measures which help to promote increased employment, improved work–life balance, more sustainable enterprises and economies, and ultimately, more equitable societies.

  2. Economic Synopses: Translating Kurzarbeit, by Silvio Contessi & Li Li, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Economic Research via research.stlouisfed.org
    ST. LOUIS, Mo., USA - With more research and given the limits of conventional fiscal and monetary policies in addressing the consequences of jobless recoveries, a U.S. version of Kurzarbeit may provide another option in the policymaker’s toolkit.
    The global recession of 2008-09 affected many advanced economies in similar ways, but several commentators have noted striking differences in labor market dynamics between the United States and Germany. These two large, open economies are comparable in many ways and were affected by similar macroeconomic shocks at the same time (Cooley, Ravikumar, and Rupert, 2012).
    The table summarizes four macroeconomic indicators for the United States and Germany between the peak and trough of the U.S. recession (2007:Q4–2009:Q2). While Germany’s real gross domestic product (GDP) dropped about 1 percent more than U.S. GDP, Germany’s unemployment rate actually fell a bit. In contrast, the U.S. unemployment rate increased by a staggering 4.5 percentage points over the same period. And although the labor force participation rate remained essentially unchanged in both countries, the U.S. employment-to-population ratio fell markedly while Germany’s ratio increased by 1.24 percent. In addition to the impact of the recession, one notable difference between the two countries is pre-recession GDP per capita grew significantly faster in the United States than in Germany; as in other countries with similar trends, the United States also experienced a larger output drop (Martin, 2013).
    Many economists argue that German labor market reforms implemented in the 2000s clearly paid off during the global recession, particularly the combination of less-generous unemployment benefits, wage moderation, and incentives to hoard labor. A long-established work program called Kurzarbeit (literally “short time”) is credited with helping to smooth Germany’s labor market adjustment much better than in previous recessions by allowing firms to reduce employee hours. This essay provides an overview of Kurzarbeit and compares it with similar legislation introduced in the United States.
    Under Kurzarbeit, the German government compensates between 60 percent and 67 percent of an employee’s forgone net wages if the employer needs to cut wage costs and working hours during a downturn. In the meantime, the employee’s contributions toward pensions and health care plans are met by the Federal Employment Agency.1 Not unlike the U.S. extension of unemployment benefits during the recent recession, Kurzarbeit was extended from 6 months to 24 months while simultaneously simplifying the application process.
    It is clear why such programs may be desirable from the worker’s point of view during a recession, but what are the advantages for firms? Under the Kurzarbeit framework, firms can temporarily adjust the number of working hours for their existing workers (at the so-called intensive margin) instead of permanently changing the size of the workforce (at the so-called extensive margin). If firms face uncertainty regarding the nature of their difficulties (e.g., whether they are temporary or permanent), adjustments at the intensive margin allow them to retain skilled and experienced workers instead of facing the cost of immediate dismissals and the potential for additional future costs of hiring and training new personnel if demand increases and they decide to expand operations back to previous levels.
    The charts provide some evidence of the effect of such a program at the aggregate level. While average annual hours per worker dropped by 1.72 percent in the United States between 2007 and 2009, it fell more markedly—by 2.74 percent—in Germany. Moreover, Germany experienced barely noticeable employment losses compared with the massive layoffs in the United States. Between the recession’s peak and trough, the U.S. employment-to-population ratio decreased by 2.6 percentage points (from 48.4 to 45.8 percent) while it increased by 0.6 percentage points in Germany (from 48.7 to 49.3 percent).
    If this labor market feature works well in Germany, can it be adopted in other countries as well? One version of a short-time work program—called work-sharing—already exists in the United States with the goal of limiting job losses during difficult economic times. Twenty-three states currently offer the program, which is now under the umbrella of the Layoff Prevention Act of 2011.2 Five of these states and the District of Columbia authorized work-sharing programs in 2009, when unemployment spiked.3 Although it is too early to provide sound evidence on the effect of these programs in the United States, several disparities with respect to the German labor market suggest such a program would have different effects in the two countries.
    The German program has a long history. Kurzarbeit is widespread, well known, and accepted by both firms and workers; as such, it receives strong government support and funding. More important to our comparison are the differences in philosophy, design, and employment protection legislation between the two countries that arguably make it less costly for U.S. firms to lay off workers and easier for U.S. workers to find jobs after layoffs. These differences may result in disparate outcomes when the short-time work programs are implemented.
    The current understanding of the employment effects of short-time work programs is rather limited: Macroeconomic analyses suggest some evidence of the net aggregate impact, but more evidence from firm-level studies is needed to provide an accurate evaluation. Still, with more research and given the limits of conventional fiscal and monetary policies in addressing the consequences of jobless recoveries (Bullard, 2013), a U.S. version of Kurzarbeit may provide another option in the policymaker’s toolkit.
    Notes
    1 For a detailed analysis of the cost of the program, see Crimmann, Wiessner, and Bellmann (2010).
    2 Although short-time compensation programs were permanently authorized as part of the Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 1992, they received federal guidance only after passage of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. In addition to extending federal unemployment assistance through the end of 2012, the act included provisions designed to expand work-sharing as an option within the federal-state unemployment insurance system to provide employers an alternative to layoffs during a business slowdown.
    3 Different versions of short-term work exist in 25 of the 33 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. There is some evidence that countries where such programs were used extensively experienced smaller increases in unemployment during the global recession; see Hijzen and Venn (2011).
    References
    Bullard, James. “Some Unpleasant Implications for Unemployment Targeters.” Speech at the 22nd Annual Hyman P. Minsky Conference, New York, April 17, 2013;
    http://research.stlouisfed.org/econ/bullard/pdf/Bullard_NYMInsky_2013_Final.pdf.
    Cooley, Thomas F.; Ravikumar, B. and Rupert, Peter. “Bouncing Back from the Great Recession: The United States Versus Europe.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Economic Synopses, 2012, No. 32, November 9, 2012; http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/es/12/ES_32_2012-11-09.pdf.
    Crimmann, Andreas; Wiessner, Frank and Bellmann, Lutz. “The German Work-Sharing Scheme: An Instrument for the Crisis.” Condition of Work and Employment Series No. 25, International Labor Office, 2010; http://www.ilo.int/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_protect/---protrav/---travail/documents/publication/wcms_145335.pdf.
    Hijzen, Alexander and Venn, Danielle. “The Role of Short-Time Work Schemes during the 2008-09 Recession.” OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers No. 115, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, January 17, 2011; http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/download/5kgkd0bbwvxp.pdf?expires=1370879904&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=F46488D3505425558476C8E314249FCE.
    Martin, Fernando M. “Lessons from the Recent Recession: The Faster They Grow, the Harder They Fall.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Economic Synopses, 2013, No. 10, March 29, 2013;
    http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/es/13/ES_10_2013-03-29.pdf.


6/21/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Shared Work Program Helps Ohio Workers During Slow Times - Guest Column, by State Rep. Jim Buchy, DarkeJournal.com
    COLUMBUS, Ohio, USA - The economy ebbs and flows in cycles. During good times, businesses usually can afford to hire workers, the unemployment rate goes down and incomes go up. But during poor economic times, businesses are often forced to lay off workers.
    A bill that passed out of the Ohio House makes this situation a little easier for both families and employers by offering an alternative method for dealing with a down economy. Known as “SharedWork Ohio,” which was included in House Bill 37, rather than an employee being laid off, he or she can instead continue working with reduced hours [sic]. That employee can then collect unemployment benefits to make up the difference for the hours that were cut.
    For example, if a man working 40 hours a week gets his hours cut back to 25 hours a week, he will continue earning a salary for the hours worked and collect unemployment for the remaining 15.

    Shared work policies have already been implemented in 25 other states, and by adding Ohio to that list we will help make our state more competitive for workers, businesses and families. The counties of the 84th House District traditionally have some of the lowest unemployment rates in Ohio, with Mercer County frequently being the lowest.
    But despite those impressive numbers, there are still several industries that provide seasonal jobs. Finding ways to give these industries more flexibility will help preserve Ohio jobs and keep the state’s unemployment rate low.
    I was excited to support this policy because it will have a positive impact on the future of Ohio. Businesses will be able to retain a lot of quality, skilled workers even during slow times. And just as importantly, the bill will benefit families because mom and dad will still have the opportunity to go to work, provide for their loved ones and exhibit the importance of hard work to their children.
    It is no mystery to me why 25 other states have already put in place similar policies, and I look forward to this bill’s passage in the Senate and for Governor Kasich to sign his name to it.
    I appreciate hearing from you regarding the most important issues of the day. Please inform me of your opinion on current topics by completing a survey at tinyurl.com/buchyjune. Thank you for your continued communication. Your feedback helps guide the legislative priorities.

  2. Americans Worked Less in 2012, by Neil Shah, WSJ, A2.
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - With the economy struggling to find its footing, Americans spent less time at work last year and found more time for leisure activities such as watching television, a new government survey finds.
    The average American aged 15 or older spent three hours, 32 minutes a day doing work-related activities last year, according to the American Time Use Survey released by the Labor Department on Thursday. That is down from 2011, when time spent on work jumped from three hours and 30 minutes to three hours and 34 minutes. While such changes may not seem big, average yearly changes in time spent on different activities tend to be small, and even minor changes are significant.
    The survey, which has been conducted annually since 2003 and includes both employed and unemployed persons, suggests America's sluggish recovery continues to hamper workers. While the U.S. unemployment rate fell last year from 8.3% to 7.8%—it is now at 7.6%—other trends are likely holding down average hours spent at work. The number of part-time workers was higher in 2012 than the year before, for example.
    "The recovery has basically been a recovery for a tiny fraction of the population," said Geoffrey Godbey, professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University and co-author of "Time For Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time." "What you're seeing is people who might want more work but aren't getting it," he said.
    Meanwhile, the share of the population working or looking for a job dropped to 63.6% at the end of last year, compared with 64% in December 2011. That number, known as the labor force participation rate, has been falling as a result of a combination of discouraged workers dropping out of the workforce and baby boomers retiring.
    How Humans Spend Their Time, as Illustrated by Other Species
    Americans spend an average of 4 hours and 51 minutes per day on leisure and sports on weekdays, 6 hours and 34 minutes on weekends and holidays. The average number of hours baby tapirs spend playing soccer is unknown. Compare Your Activities to the Average
    The aging of America's population means fewer people are working and more retirees are at home watching TV, Mr. Godbey said. At the same time, women have become a larger share of America's labor force, but tend to work fewer hours than men do. And there's a growing informal economy, he said, that might not be captured by government surveys.
    With less time spent at work, Americans boosted the portion of their day going to leisure and sports activities: Time spent on leisure jumped about nine minutes to five hours and 22 minutes. Americans watched TV for two hours and 50 minutes a day, a second-straight increase from two hours and 44 minutes in 2010. Meanwhile, time spent sleeping edged up to eight hours and 44 minutes, from eight hours and 40 minutes in 2010. Time devoted to volunteering and cooking, meanwhile, fell.
    Wendy Wang, a sociologist at the Pew Research Center, said the changing nature of fatherhood is also altering the way Americans use their time. In a March report based partly on the government's survey, she found fathers were logging in fewer hours a week on job-related activities, roughly 37 hours on average in 2011, compared with 42 in 1965. Also, more American fathers are working part-time, and spending more time doing chores and with their kids. "Fathers think they need to go home earlier," she said.
    Indeed, the latest government survey shows men spent slightly more time doing housework than in 2011, while the reduction in time spent at work was more pronounced for men than women.
    Write to Neil Shah at neil.shah@dowjones.com


6/20/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Austria: Reduction in Working Hours at ÖBB, FriedlNews.com
    VIENNA, Austria - So far, the trade association of railways at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKO) has rejected the reduction of working hours at the Austrian Railways (ÖBB).
    However, a joint decision was made now. Employees of ÖBB will now have to work 38.5 hours per week instead of 40 hours. By this, the requests of both employees and management were fulfilled.

    The trade association of railways at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce has up to now rejected to the cut in working hours. The association has pushed through that this regulation only applied for ÖBB, all other employers could negotiate this individually, it announced on Thursday. The threatened fight of ÖBB employees has therefore been stopped.

  2. Media release: Work sharing could serve as a powerful antidote for North Carolina’s ongoing unemployment crisis, (6/18 late pickup) NCjustice.org
    RALEIGH, N.C., USA — At a time when North Carolina’s jobs deficit stands at more than half a million, work sharing – an optional program for employers established and administered through the federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) system – can be a powerful tool for responding to the ongoing unemployment crisis, a new report finds.
    In 25 states across the country, work sharing has enabled employers to temporarily reduce payroll costs during business slowdowns without losing their skilled employees, according to a report from the North Carolina Justice Center. Moreover, temporary federal subsidies are currently available to states that establish work-sharing programs.
    “This support and guidance can allow North Carolina to be proactive in maintaining economic stability and implementing a program that works for employees and employers,” said Sabine Schoenbach, a policy analyst with the NC Justice Center’s Workers’ Rights Project.
    Work sharing, also known as short-time unemployment insurance, gives employers the option to reduce employees’ hours instead of implementing layoffs when business is slow. These employees with reduced hours receive pro-rated unemployment benefits – paid out of the UI trust fund – to supplement their paychecks.
    Work sharing has been cited as a key strategy in maintaining employment stability during economic downturns according to a variety of economists and policy experts, the report said. Established state programs have been successful in saving nearly 166,000 jobs in 2009 and close to 100,000 in 2010, including in industries such as manufacturing.
    “In recognition of North Carolina’s current labor market trends and the great number of jobs lost during the Great Recession, the establishment of a work-sharing program in North Carolina would be a concrete tool to maintain economic stability and avert layoffs during future business downturns, benefitting North Carolina’s workers, employers, and communities,” Schoenbach said.
    For more information, contact: Sabine Schoenbach, sabine@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2234; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615.



6/19/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Work sharing measures can save jobs in times of crisis: ILO, (6/18 late pickup) Xinhua via big5.xinhuanet.com
    GENEVA, Switzerland -- Reducing hours of work can have positive effects on employment levels during a severe economic downturn, said a book released Tuesday by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
    Work sharing has been widely used to preserve jobs during the economic crisis from 2008 to 2009 and its aftermath, and may even have the potential to generate new employment, said the book titled "Work sharing during the Great Recession."
    [Especially if upgraded to the TImesizing level.]
    ILO researcher Jon C. Messenger, co-editor of the book, said that if crisis work-sharing policies are properly designed and implemented, the result can be a "win-win-win solution."
    "Workers can keep their jobs; companies can survive the crisis and be well-positioned when growth returns, while governments as well as society as a whole can save on the costs of unemployment and social exclusion," he said.
    The book offers an in-depth analysis of crisis work-sharing programs from around the world. It said that for work sharing programs to be effective they must be strongly supported by governments.
    Balanced eligibility criteria for companies and workers, minimal administrative requirements for companies, flexibility in the volume and patterns of hours reduction, wage supplements for affected workers, and reasonable but fixed time limits on work-sharing subsidies must also be included to make the programs effective.

  2. 'In times of crisis, sharing work can be a win-win for firms, staff and society', Hindu Business Line via thehindubusinessline.com
    NEW DELHI, India - Sharing work in times of economic crisis can help in not only preserving existing jobs during a downturn, but also allow businesses to retain skilled workforces and minimise lay-offs, says a new analysis.
    The analysis in the form of a book, edited by ILO researchers Jon C. Messenger and Naj Ghosheh and published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), says if designed properly, work-sharing measure can be a “win-win-win” solution for workers, companies as well as governments.
    “Workers are able to keep their jobs and even prepare for the future; companies are able not only to survive an economic crisis, but can be well-positioned to prosper when growth returns; and the costs of unemployment and, ultimately, social exclusion for governments and society as a whole are minimised,” says the authors.
    The book cites the success of work-sharing as ‘a job preservation strategy’ during the 2008–09 economic crisis in Europe, especially in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
    It traces the history of the first work-sharing agreements offering monetary compensation for reduction in working time to 1891 in Germany, when during the Great Depression, a wide range of work-sharing initiatives, both industry-led and government-led, emerged both in Europe and North America.
    In 1933, the US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to combat the impact of the Great Depression, had encouraged firms to shorten the work week to 35 hours; increase hourly wages and recognise workers’ legal right to bargain collectively.
    However, “during the period of prosperity that followed the Second World War, the concept of work sharing faded into the background in all but a handful of European countries,” says the book, which notes the re-emergence of this trend in 2008–09.

    It cites the example of Belgium during 2009 when various temporary unemployment measures were used by over 300,000 workers – 5.6 per cent of private wage employment. In Japan, the work-sharing measure had 84,481 firms and 2.5 million employees participating in 2009 – 3.8 per cent of private wage employment.
    The book’s analysis shows that such measures helped save many jobs: 400,000 in Germany; 370,000 jobs in Japan, plus over a million jobs were saved by reductions in overtime; and approximately 100,000 jobs in Turkey were saved.
    Advocating work-sharing as a tool for preserving jobs during economic downturn, the book says this can be achieved by ranging from legally-mandated reductions in the normal or standard (legal) work week in a country to collective bargaining in specific industries to the use of tax incentives (e.g., reduced payroll taxes or tax credits) provided to companies which reduce the average work week of employees, or a combination of policies.
    “Work sharing is not a magic “silver bullet”. [yES IHowever, it can be one of a number of measures which help to promote increased employment, improved work–life balance, more sustainable enterprises and economies, and ultimately, more equitable societies”, the book concludes.
    aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

  3. 1964 Report: Humanities "Uniquely Equipped to Fill the 'Abyss of Leisure'" Made Possible by Forty-Hour Workweek, by David Austin Walsh, History News Network via hnn.us
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - A new report on the state of the humanities in the United States reaffirms the importance of understanding our shared history as one of the cornerstones of democratic decision-making.
    The American Academy of Arts and Sciences released the comprehensive report of its Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences this week, and is presenting its recommendations to Congress on Wednesday.
    The Commission will emphasize the need to increase funding to the National Endowment of the Humanities (which has seen its budget decline nearly $17 million since 2010), as well as state humanities councils, and is calling for a humanities program similar to the proposed STEM Master Teacher Corps, which would provide career advancement and better pay for the top five percent of STEM teachers in the United States.
    The Long View
    Much of the rhetoric in the AAAS report has echoes in past debates about the humanities. Even in the 1960s – at the very peak of college enrollments in humanities courses -- cultural and academic leaders were concerned about the the state of the humanities and the justifications for studying the humanities.
    The 1964 report that recommended the creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities (the organization came into existence a year later) made similar arguments to the 2013 report about the importance of the humanities – especially the importance of history and civics in fostering a healthy democracy.
    The '64 report, produced by the American Council of Learned Societies, also included Kennedy-esque rhetoric about America's “world leadership” and the importance of fostering the national spirit.
    In an even more remarkable paragraph, the report also noted “the novel and serious challenge to Americans … posed by the remarkable increase in their leisure time” with the forty-hour workweek, longer lifespans, and earlier retirement ages.
    ' “What shall I do with my spare time” all-too-quickly becomes the question “Who am I? What shall I make of my life?” When men and women find nothing within themselves but emptiness they turn to trivial and narcotic amusements, and the society of which they are a part becomes socially deliquent and potentially unstable. The humanities are the immemorial answer to man's questioning and to his need for self-expression; they are uniquely equipped to fill the “abyss of leisure.” '

    [But the leisure industries are even better equipped to "fill the abyss of leisure" than the good ol' humanities, because when France cut from 39 to 35 hours a week between 1997 and 2001, it was health spas and bookshops and travel agents and hotels that flourished noticeably. And as for empty leisure and trivial and narcotic amusements making society deliquent and unstable, our 1964-2013 experience suggests the real trigger of social corruption and instability is whether the we're getting more financially secure free time (thanks to full employment at however short a workweek it takes) or whether we're splitting into self-righteous workaholics cum resentful burnouts on one hand and people with financially insecure free time (unemployed, underemployed) on the other.]
    “It's a fascinating passage,” said Barbara Metcalf, former president of the American Historical Association and professor of history emerita at the University of California, Davis. “The kinds of arguments we make about the humanities today are more instrumental. There's a social need behind the argument made in this report.”
    Granted, that need was to maintain a sense of social cohesion threatened by feminism and the civil rights movement, Metcalf added, laughing.
    A Crisis in the Humanities?
    The 2013 AAAS report comes at a moment of increased concern about the future of the humanities. Harvard University issued a major report at the beginning of the month that expressed concern about declining humanities enrollments (the number of Harvard students majoring in the humanities declined from 36 to 20 percent from 1954 to 2012), and the specter of massive open online courses has many academics concerned about the long-term viability of their profession.
    Not everyone, however, is convinced that this is a moment of “crisis” for the humanities. Benjamin Schmidt, a history PhD student at Princeton, noted on his blog that he percentage of bachelor's degrees awarded in the humanities in the United States actually declined most steeply in the 1970s. The number has since more or less stabilized between 6 and 8 percent of college degrees.
    This makes the humanities “appear massively out of date,” Schmidt wrote. “It makes humanists feel … that their sense of being is under siege due to some pathology in the culture at large.”
    Schmidt also pointed out that the number of holders of humanities degrees as a percentage of the U.S. college-age population has actually increased in recent years, and history is, next to English, the most popular humanities major.
    Why Study History?
    Barbara Metcalf, for her part, believes that the humanities are more critical than ever, and that students are interested in the critical thinking skills a liberal arts education – particularly a history education – imparts.
    A few years ago at the University of California, Berkeley commencement, she said, the student speaker told an anecdote about why she majored in history.
    The Berkeley student newspaper ran an article at the beginning of the year introducing possible majors to the freshman class. The story ran a tag line for each department at the school. The history department's tagline:
    Whenever you say something to a history major, they say, “Well, not really.”
    David Austin Walsh is the editor of the History News Network.


6/18/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. New ILO book Work sharing can save jobs in times of crisis - Reducing hours of work can have positive effects on employment levels during a severe economic downturn, preserve skills and sustain enterprises, International Labour Organization News via ilo.org
    GENEVA, Switzerland – Work sharing has been widely used to preserve jobs during the Great Recession of 2008-2009 and its aftermath, and may even have the potential to generate new employment, according to a new ILO book.
    Work sharing during the Great Recession, New developments and beyond – edited by ILO researchers Jon C. Messenger and Naj Ghosheh – shows that there has been a dramatic re-emergence of work sharing as an effective labour market policy tool to preserve existing jobs in times of economic downturn.
    If crisis work-sharing policies are properly designed and implemented, ... workers can keep their jobs." (blowout quote)
    “If crisis work-sharing policies are properly designed and implemented, the result can be a ’win-win-win solution’,” explains Messenger. “Workers can keep their jobs; companies can survive the crisis and be well-positioned when growth returns, while governments as well as society as a whole can save on the costs of unemployment and social exclusion.”
    Two types of work sharing
    There are essentially two types of work sharing measures. The first is when a company decides to reduce working hours for their current employees, in order to spread a reduced volume of work over the same or similar number of workers to avoid lay-offs.
    The best known example is perhaps the Kurzarbeit programme in Germany, which saved an estimated 400,000 jobs according to this volume and involved around 1.4 million workers at the height of the crisis in May 2009.
    Japan also managed to keep an estimated 370,000 jobs thanks to its EAS work-sharing measures, which benefitted more than 2.5 million workers.
    Meanwhile, Turkey’s Reduced Working Time programme, the largest in a developing country, saved around 100,000 jobs.

    In the US, some 165,000 jobs were saved even though only a few small, state-level work sharing programmes existed in 2009, prompting the US Federal Government to recently enact a new work-sharing law.
    "Work sharing can help to promote increased employment, improved work-life balance, more sustainable enterprises and economies, and ultimately, more equitable societies." (blowout quote)
    The success of these temporary, crisis-related work sharing measures in preserving jobs during the Great Recession raises in intriguing question: can more permanent similar measures also be used to increase employment?
    This second type of work sharing happens when a government promotes reductions in working hours in order to encourage additional hiring and thus increase employment levels. It can be implemented at any time, not only in times of crisis.
    Work sharing as a permanent measure
    Such permanent measures range from legally-mandated reductions in the normal workweek in a country, to collective bargaining in specific industries, to the use of tax and other incentives (such as reduced payroll taxes or tax credits) for companies that comply.
    The evidence presented in this volume suggests that modest employment gains can be achieved with these measures, a key finding given the continuing global jobs crisis.
    The book also offers an in-depth analysis of crisis work-sharing programmes from around the world, both in Europe – specifically Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands – as well as in Japan, Turkey, the United States and Uruguay.
    Factors of success
    Based on this analysis, the volume also highlights that for work sharing programmes to be effective they must be strongly supported by governments and include:
    • balanced eligibility criteria for companies and workers
    • minimal administrative requirements for companies,
    • flexibility in the volume and patterns of hours reduction,
    • wage supplements for affected workers (called “short-time compensation”), and
    • reasonable but fixed time limits on work-sharing subsidies to minimize “deadweight” effects (i.e. the risk of public work-sharing subsidies going to firms who would not have engaged in lay-offs in any case).
    “Even though work sharing in both of its forms is no magic ‘silver bullet’, it can be one of a number of measures which help to promote increased employment, improved work-life balance, more sustainable enterprises and economies, and ultimately, more equitable societies,” concludes Ghosheh.

  2. S. Korea's working hours likely to be shorter than OECD average in 2021: report, by entropy@yna.co.kr, Yonhap News via english.yonhapnews.co.kr
    SEOUL, S. Korea -- South Korean workers are likely to work shorter hours than their counterparts in 34 mostly developed countries in eight years as Koreans' yearly working hours are being cut at a rapid pace, a report said Tuesday.
    South Koreans worked 2,090 hours in 2011, compared with 2,512 hours in 2000. It represents an annual average reduction of 38 hours, or 1.65 percent, Byun Yang-gyu, a research fellow of the Korea Economic Research Institute, said in the report.
    In comparison, the average working hours of 34 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stood at 1,776 in 2011, compared with 1,844 in 2000.
    It means a contraction of an average of 0.34 percent per year.
    If the current trend continues, South Korean workers will work 1,706.4 hours in 2021, 7.8 hours shorter than the OECD average, said Byun.
    He said in the report that South Koreans work some of the longest working hours in the world, though their yearly working hours are being reduced at a rapid pace, compared with those of advanced countries.
    The report comes as lawmakers submitted a bill calling for a reduction in working hours.
    Byun voiced concerns that any dramatic reduction of working hours could undermine South Korean companies' competitiveness unless workers' productivity immediately improves.

  3. Don't let big employers cut hours to avoid providing health coverage, by Rev. Kenny Baker, San Bernardino Sun via sbsun.com
    PERRIS, Calif., USA - Even though California finally is climbing out of the recession, many of our communities still live in depths of poverty. Tragically, our working poor continue to suffer, while wealthy corporations experience huge profit gains and executives enjoy pay raises and bonuses.
    Churches with social justice at their core have traditionally come together for the sake of those who lacked a voice or political representation, economic persuasion, social acceptation for a better community. For several years now there have been powerful waves of affluence aggressively seeking to derail any efforts to extend help to underserved communities. The one extended and ordained helping hand for all communities equally is the Affordable Care Act [ACA].
    For the poorest among us, the Affordable Care Act will offer some degree of relief, providing quality health care for the first time to many. But a loophole in the ACA is allowing large corporations to avoid their responsibility to provide health coverage, and instead force already underpaid workers onto public assistance and the backs of taxpayers.
    The ACA, often called Obamacare, will require large employers to offer health insurance to part-time employees working 30 hours a week or more when it takes effect in January. Corporate giants including Walmart and Darden Restaurants, owner of popular restaurant chains Olive Garden and Red Lobster, are choosing to cut employees' hours and wages rather than offer them health insurance. As a result, working Californians who already earn bottom-of-the-barrel wages will have smaller paychecks, and will be forced onto the Medi-Cal rolls at taxpayers' expense.
    The ACA represents a historic turning point for our nation. It is a chance to lift up our impoverished brothers and sisters, and provide quality medical care to all who deserve it rather than just those who can afford it. It is built upon a framework of shared responsibility -- with business, individuals and the government each playing an important role in ensuring that American men, women and children get quality medical care.
    If one of the cornerstones of this foundation -- large corporate employers -- chooses to duck its role, the entire system may falter. Corporations that force employees onto public assistance rather than provide them health coverage are choosing to widen the already enormous gulf between our nation's haves and have-nots.
    California has an opportunity right now to do the right thing and shore up this loophole. Assembly Bill 880, authored by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, would eliminate this loophole by levying a penalty on large private employers who force their workers onto taxpayer-funded Medi-Cal.
    If our lawmakers do not adopt AB 880, close to 400,000 more workers will join the rolls of taxpayer-funded Medi-Cal by 2019, according to UC Berkeley labor expert Ken Jacobs. Nationwide, some 2.3 million workers are at risk of losing hours under the new health care benefit requirements, according to Jacobs.
    Although the federal government is helping states expand their Medicaid programs as part of the ACA, California's already strained Medi-Cal system is not equipped to help those already enrolled, let alone another onslaught of patients. California ranks a shameful 47th out of 50 states in reimbursement rates for providers. California should lead, not lag, in doing the righteous thing and providing for its poor and vulnerable residents.
    AB 880 would impose a fine on employers with 500 or more employees that have workers enrolled in Medi-Cal. The penalty is equivalent to the average cost of commercial health coverage. Proceeds from the penalty will go into a special fund that can only be used for Medi-Cal, easing the burden on taxpayers and increasing access to quality health care for millions of low-income Californians.
    Doctors, nurses, health care experts, community organizers and labor unions join me and many social justice conscientious churches in supporting AB 880 to restore some semblance of fairness and equity to the ACA. We must all band together to hold employers accountable, and to ensure our working families do not fall victim to this loophole.
    Companies should do the right thing, but sometimes they choose a lower road to help better their bottom lines. I find it disgraceful and I urge lawmakers to take the high road and approve AB 880 on behalf of our working poor and their families.
    The Rev. Kenny Baker is vice president of the California Council of Churches and pastor of Bethel AME [African Methodist Episcopal] Church in Perris.

  4. Companies will cut hours to avoid health insurance mandates, by Ben Fischer, Washington Business Journal (blog) via bizjournals
    [So much for the argument from social justice. Time to switch to arguments from system requirements.]
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - A few employers have made big news by saying they will cut workers' hours rather than give employees health insurance under Obamacare, and a new survey says they will have plenty of company.
    Some 12 percent of companies — and 20 percent of retail and hospitality industry players — say they will reduce hours to keep workers under the law's all-important 30-hour threshold for coverage, according to a survey of 900 employers by the benefits consultants at Mercer LLC.
    Any company with 50 or more workers is required to make insurance available to employees who work at least 30 hours a week or pay a penalty under parts of the law that go into effect next year.

    Even accounting for those cutbacks or other actions, a broad cross-section of employers expects the number of employees who require insurance to grow. In the survey, 43 percent of all companies and nearly 70 percent of retail/hospitality companies say they will have more people on their insurance rolls next year.
    In general, employers are growing more pessimistic about the total cost of complying with the Affordable Care Act's various business regulations, which mostly go into effect in January. Just 9 percent of companies now say the law won't cost them anything extra. Two years ago, 25 percent were that confident.
    However, uncertainty remains the watchword. A plurality of respondents, 32 percent, said they simply don't know whether Obamacare will cost them. And nearly 80 percent said communicating with employees about all the changes remains their biggest concern.
    Ben Fischer covers health care and law.

  5. Relaxed working hours for Ramadan, ArabNews.com
    JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia: Ramadan working hours will be six for the private sector and five for the public sector.
    The Labor Ministry said the hours for the holy month were fixed on the basis of Article 98 of the Labor Law.
    A source said the government took the decision to help employees fast without much difficulty.
    According to Um Al-Qura calendar, Ramadan is scheduled to begin on July 9.


6/16-17/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. NC Justice Center report touts benefits of work-sharing programs, by Annalise Frank, 6/17 Under the Dome via projects.newsobserver.com
    RALEIGH, N.C., USA - In a new report, the N.C. Justice Center touts the success other states have had with working-sharing programs, which give employers the option of temporarily reducing employees' hours as an alternative to layoffs.
    A Senate bill introduced in April would establish a work-sharing program in North Carolina, but the legislation has languished in committee since being introduced.
    Work sharing has saved 61,299 jobs in a combined 19 states in 2012, according to U.S. Department of Labor data cited in the Justice Center's report. Some states, like Colorado and New Hampshire, saved less than 100 jobs, while California, Texas and Washington each kept between about 10,000 and 21,000 employed, according to the report.

    The Justice Center report argues that a work-sharing program would also provide help to those who face cuts to their unemployment benefits. (A state law going into effect July 1 will terminate federal extended unemployment benefits to an estimated 70,000 North Carolinians and reduce the maximum state benefit payments for workers who lose their jobs beginning in July.)
    A job-sharing program would allow an employer cut the hours of all employees by 10 percent, for example, and those employees could receive pro-rated unemployment benefits in addition to their paychecks.
    States that implement work-sharing programs receive federal subsidies as incentives. North Carolina’s subsidy would be $2.9 million, according to the Justice Center, a group that champions issues on behalf of the poor.

  2. Community rallies to support furloughed employees, by Wayne Crenshaw wcrenshaw@macon.com, 6/16 (6/15 late pickup) The Macon Telegraph via macon.com
    CENTERVILLE, Ga., USA -- In about three weeks, nearly 15,000 federal employees at Robins Air Force Base will begin taking 11 days of furlough, and many found out Friday they will not go through it alone.
    A large contingent of base officials, community leaders, businesses and helping agencies came to an event at the Houston County Galleria mall to show support for the base workers.
    A steady stream of the employees flowed in to learn about ways they may be able to get help.
    Medley Childress, whose husband, Tim, works at the base, got some important help. Houston Healthcare was giving free blood pressure checks and hers was very high.
    “She said, ‘You need to go a doctor immediately,’’’ she said. “But I can’t really afford a doctor.”
    The couple said they have been preparing for the furlough, in which Tim Childress will lose 20 percent of his pay, by making a number of cutbacks. They have cut off their cable TV, stopped eating out, and are considering reducing their four cell phones to one. They have two teenage daughters.
    Many businesses offered door prizes, and Childress won a wireless Internet router. It won’t do him much good though, as he is having their Internet service disconnected.
    The event is called SHARE, which stands for Sharing, Help and Assistance Resources for Everyone. It was organized by the 21st Century Partnership, the Warner Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Central Georgia.
    Many local officials turned out, including mayors of all three cities in Houston County, and 8th Congressional District Rep. Austin Scott. Brig. Gen. Cedric George, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, and Col. Chris Hill, commander of 78th Air Base Wing, were also there.
    “This community has reached out in all aspects,” George said. “There can’t be a better expression of support than what you see here this morning.”
    The furlough may have a greater economic impact than the loss of one day a week of work. The Department of Defense, George said, has also directed a stoppage of overtime to ensure workers weren’t working extra hours to offset the furlough loss. Otherwise, the savings the furloughs are supposed to achieve might not be realized.
    Chrissy Miner, chief of operations for the 21st Century Partnership, said everything for the SHARE event was donated, including the space at the mall, so the event cost nothing. Kathy’s Rock even donated inflatable bouncers that were set up in the parking lot for children to have something to do while their parents were inside.
    “It speaks volumes to the caliber of people who live in Middle Georgia,” Miner said. “Everyone is doing this on their own time because they are worried about their friends and neighbors.”
    Flint Energies was there to tell people ways they can reduce their energy bills, as well as options that might be helpful such as changing their due date or switching to billing based on average usage to achieve a consistent monthly bill.
    Financial counselors, family counseling services and others were also available.
    Stephanie Cruthirds, a sheet metal worker at the base, said she found the event helpful but also learned she made too much money to qualify for some of the programs she learned about. She is concerned about making ends meet during the furlough period.
    “We have been trying to pay off as much as we can pay off,” she said.
    To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

  3. New rules will limit truckers' weekly work hours, 6/17 WGME.com
    SCARBOROUGH, Maine, USA -- On July 1st, the US Department of Transportation will make sure companies and drivers are complying with regulations they enacted last year.
    Under the old rule, drivers could work on average up to 82 hours within a seven day period.
    The new rule cuts that number by 12, limiting them to 70.

    [Feel safer now? or maybe, Feel safe yet?]
    At the Scarborough-based RC Moore, directors say they've been sticking to 70 hours.
    However, other changes about the breaks drivers have to take could have an impact.
    “Change is change. Nobody likes change so we gotta change our behavior and that’s the hardest part. If it keeps one more accident from happening, it’s a good thing, but you know, the verdict is still out,” says Chris Fierro, RC Moore Director of Safety.
    The current 11-hour driving limit will stay as is. Companies that violate it could be fined $11,000 per offense.

  4. Boat builder cuts hours to survive tough times, 6/17 ABC Local via abc.net.au
    TAREE, N.S.W., Australia - A mid north coast boat builder says his company is struggling due to the high Australian dollar and stiff international competition.
    The family company Stebercraft has operated out of the Manning Valley near Taree since 1947.
    It produces fibreglass boats for fishing, charter, sea rescue, medical support and surveillance.
    Managing director Alan Steber said currently consumer confidence is down and government contracts have been drying up.
    "It's extremely tough, we've been on a four day week now for 16 weeks," he said.
    "We've reduced staff a little, strategically but certainly it is tough.
    "Most of the staff congratulated us on the decision because we didn't put anyone off at the time.
    "There's only a couple that we've let go - one in fact was an apprentice - but it's been a hard decision.

    "But it's called survival.
    "I think most of the public have lost confidence in some of the politicians decisions.
    "There's no sort of enthusiasm there, the public aren't buying there's an air of uncertainty and even the government departments with their budgets are certainly very very wary.
    "So obviously they don't need boats and they need to pull back and consequently we suffer."

  5. Boost for Jeddah saleswomen with new working hours - Single shift introduced to make conditions more convenient, by Habib Toumi, 6/17 gulfnews.com
    MANAMA, Bahrain - Shopping centres in the Saudi city of Jeddah have opted to open lingerie shops only in the afternoon and evening to accommodate the saleswomen upset over split hours.
    The decision aims to address the high incidence of Saudi women quitting their jobs for being forced to work two shifts with a break in between.
    “We have had around 80 per cent of the women not willing to continue working in the shops,” Mohammad Al Shahri, the head of textile at the Chamber of Jeddah, said.
    “Their major complaint was that they had to work two shifts before and after lunch. We agreed to do away with the morning timings and to have only one shift from 4.40pm until 11pm. All traders, complexes and shops have been informed and the plan is being implemented,” he said on Monday.
    Around 6,000 women are likely to be employed in lingerie and other women’s accessories shops in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, he said.
    “The women’s employment rate right now stands at 40-50 per cent, and recruiting is continuing especially that we are heading towards more stability in the sector,” he said. “Women’s wages now start at SR4,000 (Dh3,917) and they have several perks. We hope that we will be able to improve the salaries and to boost the advantages for the Saudi women working in the sector,” he said.
    The labour ministry has been pushing for an aggressive policy to hire women in the lingerie shops and help reform the labour market while managing deep-rooted traditions that did not allow women to work in shops where they would be in contact with male strangers.
    A ban was imposed on men working in lingerie shops and local women have been encouraged to apply for positions.
    Conservative forces have been lobbying against the ministry for breaking taboos but the government, keen on reforming the market and addressing growing unemployment rates among women, and reducing reliance on foreign labour, has been unwavering in its drive to empower women economically and politically.


6/15/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. NC Justice Center Brief: Work Sharing - A Winning Strategy for North Carolina's Employers, Workers, and the State's Economy, by Sabine Schoenbach, North Carolina Justice Center Workers' Rights Project via ncjustice.org
    RALEIGH, N.C., USA - Four years into the official economic recovery [that means officials have recovered, regardless of anyone else], North Carolina’s jobs deficit stands at more than half a million and the state continues to have the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country. North Carolina has lagged behind the slow national economic recovery, and unemployed workers, communities, as well as many businesses, continue to struggle.
    Work sharing, an optional program for employers established and administered through the federalstate unemployment insurance (UI) system, can be a powerful tool for responding to the ongoing unemployment crisis. Now implemented in 25 states across the country, work sharing enables employers to temporarily reduce payroll costs during business slowdowns without losing their skilled employees. It allows employees to maintain crucial income and in many cases their health benefits, and it bolsters the state’s economy by mitigating further job losses.
    As an added incentive, temporary federal subsidies are available to states that establish work-sharing programs. This support and guidance can allow North Carolina to be proactive in maintaining economic stability and implementing a program that works for employees and employers.
    NCJC Brief - *Work Sharing.pdf

  2. Translating Kurzarbeit, by Silvio Contessi & Li Li, Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis via research.stlouisfed.org
    ST. LOUIS, Mo., USA - The global recession of 2008-09 affected many advanced economies in similar ways, but several commentators have noted striking differences in labor market dynamics between the United States and Germany. These two large, open economies are comparable in many ways and wer affected by similar macroeconomic shocks at the same time (Cooley, Ravikumar, and Rupert, 2012)...
    [This makes it sound sooo Act-Of-God when it was sooo Wall-Streeter.]
    ...A long-established work program called Kurzarbeit (literally short work) is credited with helping to smooth Germany's labor market adjustment much better than in previous recessions by allowing firms to reduce employee hours [without zapping entire jobs]. This essay provides an overview of Kurzarbeit and compares it with similar legislation introduced in the United States...
    [*Whole essay with graphs etc.
    Plus see above, 6/22/2013 #2 for more of this synopsis.]


6/14/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Cahokia Closes Schools [& associated workhours] To Save Jobs, by Shawndrea Thomas, (6/13 late pickup) KTVI via fox2now.com
    CAHOKIA, Illin., USA – The Cahokia School District #187 says it has been dealing with budget cuts for years and they are just hoping to maintain what they currently have.
    Officials say it`s been a constant game of hurry up and wait. Superintendent Art Ryan tells FOX 2 that 90 teachers were laid off in April. Last week the school board decided to close 3 additional campuses to consolidate.
    Ryan says decreased state funding, reduced enrollment and a drop in property values caused the change.
    The district currently has a $60 million budget and close to 50 percent comes from the state.
    They hope Illinois Governor Pat Quinn stays with current funding numbers.
    “If in a worse-case scenario things go south and he decides we're going change the 89 percent to something else, we may have to come back and say were not going have art music and physical education. That`s why we have not recalled anyone [from layoff] yet,” said Ryan.
    Cahokia Federation of Teachers representative Leslie Harder says the constant delay in approvals puts a strain on families.
    “Every year people have to plan to get laid-off because we don’t have a budget because the state has not given us a budget, it`s a big interruption to people’s lives,” said Harder.
    The Jerome Childhood Center, Freshman Academy and a portion of the School of Choice will close.
    $1.5 million was cut to save jobs, arts, physical education and sports programs. If the budget stays the same, the number of teaching jobs lost could drop from 90 to 20
    .

  2. Fathers 'cutting work hours while mothers do more' - Hard-working fathers in the UK are cutting their long hours, while mothers are working more, researchers say, BBC News via bbc.co.uk
    LONDON, England, U.K. - Men with a partner and children at home work longer hours than other working men, but their hours have fallen in the past 10 years, they say.
    Three in 10 men in this family set-up work 48 hours a week, research by NatCen Social Research and University of East Anglia suggests.
    And one in 10 such fathers works more than 60 hours each week.
    The Fathers and Work research was based on the long-term EU Labour Force Survey.
    It specifically studied fathers in this type of family unit, rather than those men who were separated from the mother of their children, and found that higher proportions of them were working long hours when compared with women and all other men - especially those without dependent children.
    Decrease in weekend working
    However, the figures suggest that fewer of these fathers were taking on such workloads than in previous years.
    In 2001, 40% of them worked 48 hours or more a week, while 13% worked 60 hours or more.
    By 2011, 31% worked more than 48 hours, while 10% worked for more than 60 hours.
    The researchers also say there has been a significant fall in the proportion of fathers working evenings, nights or weekends.
    About half never work evenings, compared with 33% in 2001, while three-quarters never work nights - up from 66%.
    Shared responsibility
    On average, they say the usual weekly working hours of fathers in two-parent households who work full-time fell from 47 to 45 hours a week, in line with a decrease among all men working full-time, whose hours dropped from 46 to 44 hours a week.
    At the same time, mothers are increasingly sharing the responsibility for earning money, say the academics.
    Mothers who live with their partner and children are more likely to be in full-time work than they were a decade ago. The proportion of households with two full-time earners has increased from 26% in 2001 to 29% in 2011.
    And mothers who work part-time, with partners who work full-time, now work slightly longer hours, up from 17.7 to 18.2 hours per week on average.
    Sole earner
    Working hours of all women working full-time fell from an average of 41 hours a week in 2001 to 40 hours in 2011, the study suggests, while the average weekly working hours of mothers working full-time have remained stable at 39 hours a week.
    Margaret O'Brien, professor of child and family studies at UEA, said: "Our research suggests that fathers are spending less time at work and mothers are spending more.
    "There may be a number of reasons for these changes, but the combination of this means that fathers are now more likely to be at home with their children and free to take a greater role in family life."
    The academics say that in Britain only one in five families has a father who is the sole earner.
    The research is published at modernfatherhood.org.


6/13/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Liebherr to cut hours at Newport News plant - Company says expansion is still moving ahead, by Michael Welles Shapiro mwshapiro@dailypress.com 757-247-4744, DailyPress.com
    NEWPORT NEWS, Va., USA - Less than four months after announcing a major expansion of its Newport News plant, Liebherr Mining Equipment told its hourly employees it is cutting back their hours as its industry struggles.
    After a banner year, Liebherr Mining Equipment executives, along with state and local politicians, celebrated its planned expansion in February. The plan laid out at the time called for the hiring of more than 174 people, an investment of $45.4 million and more than $2.3 million in state and local incentives.
    While the company still plans to continue with its plant expansion, it[s] equipment orders for 2013 have dried up. LME president Joachim Jank recently told employees in a memo obtained by the Daily Press that it will be cutting hours of shop floor and warehouse workers starting July 6.
    "In 2012, LME experienced the best year in terms of sales and production, but now the entire mining equipment manufacturing industry is facing another challenge," Janka said in the memo, which was sent to Newport News employees.
    "Unfortunately, economic situations and lack of investments in the mining industry have led to slow sales and we have not received any new customer orders so far this year," Janka said.
    As a result, he said, the company is dropping weekly hours for hourly shop floor and warehouse employees from 40 to 32, and shifting them to either Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday schedules.
    That, he said, will allow the company to quickly ramp back up "at any time when the order situation is improving."
    For the time being, "this reduced work week will be in place for a period of 3 months and we will review it towards the end of the period," he said.
    A representative for the company said weak prices for mined materials were driving the contraction in the industry, and causing a trickle down affect from mining companies to companies like Liebherr who manufacture their equipment.
    "Coal is one of the major commodities" fetching a low price, said Sabrina Warburton, LME's manager of marketing and communications.
    "Gold is also suffering and that reflects on us," Warburton said. However, she added, "the demand for coal and for other commodities still exist so we believe the second half of the year will be much better than the first."
    She said LME weathered "a similar situation in 2009," and she said that as part of a family-run company, the German Liebherr Group, the company was not pursuing layoffs like some of its competitors.
    Warburton said she could not disclose the exact number of workers facing reduced hours.
    But she said state incentives, which she said are tied to the plant expansion, will not be affected by the temporary hours reduction.
    "The expansion is still ongoing," she said.
    Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the $45.4 million expansion, saying in a news release that it would bring 174 new jobs to the commonwealth over four years.
    The release said the state would chip in a $500,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund. That money would go to the city of Newport News to supplement $1 million in local dollars for improvements to City Line Road, so Liebherr can use that road to move products out of its plant.
    In addition, the governor's news release says, "McDonnell also approved an $800,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to existing Virginia companies."
    The VIP grant is conditioned on LME adding 174 new positions at its facility on top of its current 467 jobs by Sept. 30, 2016.
    Finally, LME would be eligible for subsidies to help train its new workers through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, though the amount the company would receive for each hire was not determined at that time.
    The governor's office deferred questions to the Virginia Department of Economic Development, which worked on the Liebherr expansion package.
    Suzanne West, a VDEP spokeswoman, stressed that the state money depends on LME hitting its expansion targets.
    And for the VIP grant, which would go directly to LME, West said. "the company would not receive the award until they have met the provisions of the performance date."

  2. SF Lawmakers Pioneering Flexible Working Hours for Families, by Christian Watjen, TheEpochTimes.com
    SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., USA - If voters have their say this November, employed parents will have an easier time balancing work and family.
    A ballot proposal, if approved, would establish San Francisco as the first city in the nation to give employed caregivers the right to request more flexible and predictable work schedules.
    Supervisor David Chiu, who introduced the ordinance Tuesday, said the “common sense law” would address the demographic change over the last decades, with now four out of 10 mothers being the primary breadwinners in the family.
    The “Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance” would grant every employed caregiver in the city the “right to request” more predictable and flexible work hours from the employer, such as part-time work, adjusted start- or end-times, alternative workdays, or telecommuting.
    The ordinance would apply to workers who have been employed for at least six months and to companies with 10 or more workers. Employers who can prove they would face “undue hardship” from the flexibility, like cost increase or the inability to meet customer demands, would be allowed to deny a request.
    Co-sponsored by Supervisors Eric Mar and Malia Cohen, the legislation is meant to help reduce the family flight from the city, Chiu said. San Francisco has the lowest number of families of any major city in the United States, with only 16.7 percent of households being families with children under the age of 18, according to the 2010 census.
    “Too often, workers are forced to choose between their families and their careers,” said Julia Parish, a lawyer at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, at City Hall on Tuesday.
    Workers report on their hotline every day about their struggle with caregiving needs, Parish said. She points to the experience of other countries where similar laws had “incredible success.” Since its introduction, millions of employees in countries such as the United Kingdom have made requests.
    Chiu said he does not fear a business backlash against the proposal and stressed that employers would also benefit from more flexible workplace arrangements, as experience in other countries has shown. An increase in worker satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity will help companies retain their employees and thus control costs, he said.
    Businesses that violate the rules could be fined $50 per day per worker.
    The ordinance would also prohibit discrimination on the basis of being a caregiver and thus reduce the risk of retaliation for those requesting flexibility.
    “This ordinance empowers all workers to ask without retribution,” said Hina Shah, associate professor at Golden Gate University School of Law.
    Low-wage workers usually have few options for flexible work arrangements and little protection, and women have the least flexibility, making it nearly impossible to juggle home life and work, Shah said.
    She hopes, after similar measures have failed in other states and in Congress, that San Francisco will “set a national spark.”
    The ordinance will need to be approved by the full Board of Supervisors with six votes before going on the Nov. 5 ballot.


6/12/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Media advisory: ILO to launch new book on worksharing, International Labour Organization via ilo.org
    GENEVA, Switzerland – The ILO is to launch a new book entitled Work sharing during the Great Recession, New developments and beyond – edited by ILO researchers Jon C. Messenger and Naj Ghosheh.
    The book and all associated material are embargoed until Tuesday, 18 June at 15:00 GMT (17:00 Geneva time).
    The volume shows how work sharing has been widely used to preserve jobs during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, and looks at the potential to generate new employment.
    The book also offers figures as well as an in-depth analysis of crisis work-sharing programmes from around the world, both in Europe – specifically Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands – as well as in Japan, Turkey, the United States and Uruguay.

    Obtaining advance electronic copies of the resources
    Embargoed electronic copies of the executive summary of the book and of the press release will be made available to all journalists upon request by contacting the ILO Department of Communication and Public Information at +4122/799-7912, newsroom@ilo.org.
    Please note that Geneva correspondents will receive the embargoed documents as soon as they become available without having to send an e-mail request.
    Attending the press briefing
    For Geneva correspondents: A press briefing by the main authors, Jon Messenger and Naj Ghoshesh, will be held, under embargo, on Tuesday 18 June at 15:00 Geneva time in Press Room I at the Palais des Nations. Hard copies of the book should be available.
    Scheduling interviews
    Interviews by print, web or broadcast media can be scheduled via the ILO Department of Communication at +4122/799-7912, newsroom@ilo.org.
    Video coverage
    Video coverage of the press conference will be available for broadcasters and interviews via ISDN or from the ILO TV studio can be booked by contacting the Department of Communication/Multimedia unit on +4122/799-7935 or by emailing naets-sekiguchi@ilo.org.

  2. Defense Contractors Will Share Burdens of Furloughs, Hagel Says, by Jim Garamone, (6/11 late pickup) American Forces Press Service via Dept.of Defense via defense.gov
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA – The Defense Department is reviewing all of its contracts, and DOD contractors will share the burden of spending cuts, including the furloughs facing the department’s civilian workforce, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told senators today.
    Hagel testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense Subcommittee this morning.
    “Contractors are part of any institution,” he said. “We need them -- certain skills, certain expertise.”
    DOD Comptroller Robert F. Hale, who accompanied Hagel, told the committee that about 700,000 defense contractors work throughout the department. And they are in for some changes, he added.
    “The furlough process does include contractors,” Hagel told the Senate panel. “It includes companies, it includes acquisitions, it includes contracts.”
    The department is taking a $37 billion sequestration spending cut in fiscal year 2013, which ends Sept. 30. “The majority of that is going to come out of contractors -- about $2 billion will come out of furloughs,” Hale said. That means a drop in the number of contractors in the department.
    “I don't know yet how much, because the year isn’t over, but I think there will be a sharp drop,” the comptroller said.
    The senators asked about contractors because of newspaper reports about alleged National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden receiving a $200,000 annual salary. Contractors generally receive more in salary than DOD civilian employees, Hale said.
    “Whether or not a contractor or a civilian is cheaper or better really depends on the circumstances,” he explained. “There are some cases where we simply don't have the skills in the Department of Defense that we need, or it’s a short-term job and it wouldn’t make any sense to grow them.”
    If it is a long-term job, he added, it makes more sense to hire a civil servant.


6/11/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Furloughs force four-day work weeks at JBLM this summer, by Adam Ashton, (6/10 late pickup) TheNewsTribune.com
    Thousands of civilian employees at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will take unpaid days off on 11 straight Fridays in July, August and September – part of a plan intended to concentrate the impacts of Pentagon-mandated furloughs to a single day of the week.
    Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/06/10/2633198/furloughs-force-four-day-work.html#storylink=cpy TACOMA, Wash., USA - Thousands of civilian employees at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will take unpaid days off on 11 straight Fridays in July, August and September – part of a plan intended to concentrate the impacts of Pentagon-mandated furloughs to a single day of the week.
    Some details of the four-day work week are still being ironed out, but the proposal would give about 10,000 workers a reliable schedule to plan their furloughs. It also promises to reduce the number of commuters on Interstate 5 on typically traffic-heavy summer Fridays.
    A panel of Lewis-McChord Army and Air Force commanders announced the plan Monday and said the furloughs are scheduled to start taking place the week of July 8. They will hit firefighters, mechanics, doctors and many other workers who operate the city-like services at the base south of Tacoma.
    “This city, as you can imagine, doesn’t run on its own,” said Lewis-McChord base commander Col. Charles Hodges.
    About 25,000 people live on Lewis-McChord either in barracks or in base housing. About 63,000 work there in uniform or as civilians, making it Pierce County’s largest employer.
    Hodges and other leaders are still holding out hope that Congress will avert the furloughs by canceling forced federal spending reductions known as sequestration. Those cuts cost the Pentagon about $40 billion this year and will reduce defense spending by about $500 billion over the next decade.
    Lewis-McChord’s main building repair and renovation fund lost $52 million from a planned budget of $128 million. The operating budget lost another $1.2 million.
    Lewis-McChord commanders said they’re already seeing negative effects from the budget cuts as vacancies go unfilled and some highly skilled Defense Department civilians take jobs outside the military.
    Madigan Army Medical Center has 3,300 civilian workers, down from 3,500 last year. Madigan Commander Col. Dallas Homas attributed much of the drop to attrition followed by a hiring freeze.
    Some of his civilian staff are taking job offers outside the base, he said.
    “People are being forced to make very difficult decisions, decisions they don’t want to make, decisions they frankly should not have to make,” Homas said.
    Some of the ways furloughs likely will disrupt the base this summer include:
    * Madigan will keep its emergency room open around the clock, but it will close its operating room, pharmacy and family medical clinics one day a week. Some patients could be pushed outside the hospital for care. Madigan’s behavioral health employees will receive furlough exemptions, as will employees who work with wounded, injured and ill service members.
    * Two or more of the base’s six fire stations could be closed any day of the week unless firefighters receive an exemption, firefighter union President Scott Powers said. * Experienced civilian mechanics will miss work supervising maintenance of complex military equipment, such as the fleet of C-17 Globemaster IIIs at McChord Air Field. “Our readiness almost certainly will decline over time,” said 62nd Airlift Wing Vice Commander Col. Jeff Philippart.
    * Commissaries will be closed every Monday from July 8 through the end of September.
    On a positive note, military families at Lewis-McChord will get one break that’s not being offered at other bases around the country.
    Schools will not be affected by the furloughs because they’re managed by Clover Park School District. Elsewhere, schools on military bases are closing for five days this fall.
    Also, Lewis-McChord’s child daycare centers will remain open on their regular schedules, Hodges said.
    Puget Sound lawmakers have vowed to repeal the forced sequestration cuts for months, but they have not been successful.
    The cuts were put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011 to compel a compromise on long-term spending priorities. Lawmakers could not reach a deal, and the “worst case” cuts are taking hold.
    Hodges said Lewis-McChord is considering exemptions for firefighters and police officers.
    Without exemptions, “We’re going to have to close (fire) companies every single day,” said the union’s Powers, because federal law requires the fire department to keep a certain number of firefighters on each engine.
    “This is an unsafe way to go,” he said.
    Adam Ashton: 253-597-8646 adam.ashton@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/military

  2. BAFB: 1,372 furlough notices sent to civilian workers, by Amy Vitrano, (6/10 late pickup) KTBS.com
    BOSSIER CITY, La., USA - Barksdale Air Force Base issued 1,372 furlough letters to Department of Defense civilians working in Bossier City.
    BAFB's Public Affairs office said Monday that is almost the entire civilian population on base. Civilians that are excluded from the furloughs work in the Child Development Center and are in the combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    Letters went out to the workers between May 28th and June 5th. The civilians will have to take one day off a week without pay for 11 weeks starting July 8th. That means each person will loose a little more than 2 weeks worth of pay.
    [But no one will lose their job.]
    There will be 16 hours of lost wages every two weeks that we're going to feel. So the mission, we're going to keep it going as best we can," said Civilian Personnel Officer Misty Bartley.
    She is one of the 1,372 civilian workers on Barksdale Air Force Base who will have to take furloughs until September 30th.
    The Department of Defense has talked about the possibility of furloughs since early in the year.
    "We briefed everyone on this ahead of time," said Bartley. "We expected this to happen. So people have been very proactive in going out and doing what they've got to do to make sure that they meet their debit or any kind of expenses for their household."
    The affects of the furloughs will also be felt off the base by businesses nearby. Cafe USA's clientele is about half of the civilian workers on the base.
    "We are feeling really bad for them, and hoping they can make it all work," said owner Lorri Harris. "We'll just have to do what we have to do to survive.'
    Retired Air Force Captain Jim Cox worries about how the base will be able to function with the furloughs in effect.
    "I think they are very important from the stand point that they are a large percentage of the workforce," he said. "And you do need to maintain the base in a ready status so that you can launch and recover air crafts any time you need to."
    Bartley said not every person will take their furlough day on the same day. She said it will be up to their managers to work that out.
    The furloughs at Barksdale are expected to save the Department of Defense $2.5 million. It's part of the effort to cut about $1.8 billion nation wide.


6/09-10/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. SharedWork Ohio program keeps workers on the job, by Rep. John Becker, 6/10 Cincinnati.com
    COLUMBUS, Ohio, USA - In April, Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent. While this is below the national average of 7.5 percent, we need to continue efforts to keep Ohioans on the job and working. I am a firm believer that economic stability is determined by the job market.
    I am pleased with the passage of legislation I believe will aid in lowering the unemployment rate even further. I believe House Bill 37 has the potential to improve the conditions of the job market, specifically with the provision creating the SharedWork Ohio program.
    Under SharedWork Ohio, rather than an employee being laid off, he or she can instead continue working with reduced hours. That employee can then collect unemployment benefits to make up the difference for the hours that were cut. In many cases, workers will even keep their existing healthcare and retirement benefits with our proposed shared work plan.
    Participating employers must submit a plan to the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The plan must be in lieu of layoffs and cannot exceed the total unemployment cost of a traditional layoff.
    Ultimately, this program will be less expensive for employers. Traditional layoffs often result in higher unemployment premiums, but the shared work plan will cost less for employers due to reimbursements from the federal government until 2015.
    Employers must opt to participate in SharedWork Ohio, but the choice is clear to me. Twenty-five other states have adopted similar programs. Hopefully, after Senate consideration, Ohio will be the next state to take action to reduce the number of laid-off workers.
    Within the past seven years, too many Americans have faced the harsh reality of joblessness. While our nation’s economy has improved significantly, layoffs and unemployment still threaten some. With the passage of House Bill 37, we have the ability to reduce the number of those without jobs and continue towards a prosperous and economically-sound Ohio.
    Ohio Rep. John Becker may be reached by calling 614-466-8134, writing to Rep. John Becker, 77 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215 or by e-mail at Rep65@ohiohouse.gov.

  2. Substitute Teacher Upset with Losing Work Hours Due to Obamacare, by Alex Brown alex@wibc.com, 6/09 WIBC 93.1 Indianapolis via wibc.com
    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., USA - One substitute teacher in Indianapolis is upset with the Affordable Care Act forcing her school district to cut the hours of substitute teachers.
    Janice Gudeman is a substitute teacher for Washington Township Schools and says the district is cutting the hours of substitute teachers so it doesn't have to offer them health insurance.
    [Better four days than zero days, timesizing than downsizing.]
    Gudeman says starting this fall, substitutes will be limited to an average of four days per week or eight days in a two-week period.

    Gudeman says she typically works ten days in a two-week period because the district is already short on substitute teachers. "I usually have to run from one part of the building to the other and cover for another teacher because they already don't have enough substitute teachers and I've been a floater too, so that means I substitute for several teachers in one day."
    Gudeman says she's been in contact with the offices of Indiana Representative Susan Brooks and Senator Dan Coats who both told her they're still fighting Obamacare. She says she has her own private health insurance and doesn't want insurance from the district. She says she just wants to do her job as she always has.


6/08/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Furlough Summer, by Alison Burns, PublicNewsService.org
    ANNAPOLIS, Md., USA - The traffic from Maryland into D.C. will likely be lighter than usual over the next few months. Federal workers in the area are continuing to get furlough notices telling them to stay home, some for as many as 11 days this summer.
    According to Jacqueline Simon, communications director for the American Federation of Government Employees, for the average federal worker in Maryland, the furloughs mean their $500 a week in take-home pay drops to $400.
    "This is devastating for these families," she declared. "They simply can't pay their rent, pay their car payment, pay child care, groceries, on a 20 percent smaller salary."

    [But not as "devastating" as for the many Americans in the private sector who've lost their jobs and have a 100% smaller salary.]
    Simon said there's still time for Congress to stop the furloughs by giving federal agencies more flexibility in how they spend their money.
    "And if you can move that money from column A to column B in order to avoid furloughs, you should be able to do that," she said. "Because the most important thing should be the mission of the agency."
    Several federal agencies are also implementing hiring and pay freezes.

  2. 2000 civilian workers issued furlough notices, by Mindy Aguon, KUAM.com
    HAGATNA, Guam, USA - Proposal of furlough notices were recently issued to 2,000 civilians working for the Department of Defense who may potentially be impacted by sequestration. The reduction in work hours will begin on July 8, giving workers about one month to brace for the cuts.
    "These are very trying and difficult times," noted Joint Region Marianas deputy public affairs officer Coleen San Nicolas-Perez. She's among some 2,000 civilians who received proposal of furlough notices last week. Joint Region Marianas includes Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base. San Nicolas-Perez says 200 may be exempted due to the critical nature of their jobs to preserve life and property, adding, "The furloughs are going to have a negative impact on our families, on our quality of life which our leadership recognizes and have been very support [sic].
    [If they were really a support they'd raise taxes on themselves, "the onepercent," and dispense with the furloughs. But the only thing that keeps the rich from coagulating the whole economy to a standstill is an employer-perceived labor shortage, and the only way to engineer that indispensable element without war or plague is the reduction of worktime per person. Furloughs are workmonth reduction and if carried out more systemically and extended to workweek reduction, they necessitate hiring and bring about that magic wage&&spending-raising labor shortage with which alone, capitalism runs smoothly...and sustainably.]
    Yet we remain focused on our mission. Our duty is to continue to support our families, our military families, the fleet, our bases and more importantly our war fighters."
    Sequestration will begin on July 8 on Guam and continue until the end of the fiscal year. "Sequestration requires that up to 88 workhours will have to be reduced - so that equates to 11 workdays, which will be spread out intermittently so you will see that civilians will be furloughed one day a week" she explained.
    Joint Region Marianas workers will be furloughed on Mondays beginning on July 8. San Nicolas-Perez says the decision was made to furlough Mondays because Washington, DC is still a day behind and would not be working on Sundays. The impacts of sequestration are also trickling down to morale, welfare and recreation facilities and other establishments, such as the commissary, on the military bases.
    "They (Commissaries) are closed one day a week on Mondays already so they're going to have an additional day to be closed each of them so you're looking at Mondays and Tuesdays that the commissaries on both bases will be closed," she stated. "For the quality of life facilities such as the gym, swimming pool they have decreased their hours of operation."
    Joint Region Marianas leadership is working to continue the dialog with those potentially impacted by the furloughs by having all hands calls and town hall meetings with the civilian work force and the base community. San Nicolas-Perez added, "Our leadership recognizes that the civilian workforce is critical and they play a very important role to our mission and they have committed to keeping us abreast of any changes and they have fulfilled that commitment."
    The furloughs are also extending out to the Department of Defense Education Activity but San Nicolas-Perez says the furloughs were changed from 11 to 5 days to minimize the impact on the education of students. DoDEA students will not have classes on September 3, 9th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th, which will be considered furlough days.
    With the issuance of the proposal of furlough notices, workers will have ten days to contest the notice before notices of intent will be issued leading up to the July 8 implementation.

  3. Fishers cut hours at sea to reduce attack risk, by J Arockiaraj, TNN via TimesOfIndia.indiatimes.com
    RAMESWARAM, India: Fishermen in Rameswaram have decided to reduce their fishing hours from 24 to 14 from Saturday. The decision, taken at an urgent meeting convened on Thursday, follows the arrest last week of 49 fishermen the Sri Lankan Navy after they crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
    Mechanised boats ventured into the sea on Saturday afternoon. Earlier, they would set out early in the morning and return the following morning.
    One day of fishing transaction at Rameswaram, where 800 mechanised boats operate, is worth about Rs 10 crore during the high season. The reduction in fishing hours may bring down the transaction by 35%, say representatives of the fishermen's association. During the season, on an average, 100 tonnes of prawns, an equal measure of squid and 10 tonnes of crab are hauled in. Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association district secretary B Jesuraja said most of the catch brought in by Rameswaram fishermen was exported. So besides livelihood of the fishermen, foreign exchange would also be hit due to the decision. Fishermen said efforts were on to reduce attempts to cross the IMBL in the Palk Strait that brought the risk of being caught by the Sri Lankan navy.
    "It will certainly impact our livelihood as the fishing hours are reduced, but we feel it will be safer to be in sea for fewer hours," said S Emerit, a fishermen leader in Rameswaram. "It is necessary to cross the IMBL for better catch and livelihood, but this decision on reduced fishing hours will at least bring down the hours of exposure in Lankan waters," he said. The frequent attacks on Rameswaram fishermen have turned into a serious diplomatic row with India and Sri Lanka holding talks to find ways to bring down such incidents. While Indian fishermen say it is their traditional right to cross the IMBL and fish in Sri Lankan waters, the island nation terms it transgression into its territory. Successive governments in Tamil Nadu have exerted pressure on the Centre to find a solution, including retrieving Kachchatheevu island that was ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974.
    The decision to reduce fishing hours was suggested during discussions with Sri Lankan fishermen in 2010 when talks were held. "During the meeting, they suggested reduction in the fishing hours in the Palk Strait. "The resolutions agreed by fishermen of both countries, however, did not materialise as the government failed to take things forward," rued Jesuraja.


6/07/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Pax River contractors also face shorter work weeks - Companies must decide how to execute schedule changes, by Nicole Clark nclark@somdnews.com, So Md News via somdnews.com
    LEXINGTON PARK, Maryld., USA - Defense contractors who work on site at Patuxent River Naval Air Station just got notice that their work weeks could be cut a day short during the same time federal employees will be furloughed.
    “Furloughs have driven us to shut down, to a large extent, our command operations on Fridays,” Garry Newton, the Naval Air System Command’s most senior federal worker, said in an interview Thursday.
    NAVAIR held a closed meeting Wednesday to discuss the issue with the business community.
    The government “will not require” contractors on site at NAVAIR to do work on those days, Newton said. Unpaid furloughs of federal workers are expected to last up to 11 days, from July 12 to Sept. 30, equaling a 20 percent reduction in pay during that time.
    Since, in many cases, the government has already paid defense contracting companies for the work their employees are expected to complete this fiscal year, it will be up to each company to decide how to handle its own employees, scheduling and pay for those Fridays, Newton said.
    NAVAIR has about 9,300 contractors worldwide, and about 6,000 of them are at Pax River. NAVAIR has 24,260 federal employees, with about 8,000 of them at Pax, according to data from the command.
    Most federal workers will be furloughed. Most contractors on site at NAVAIR will not be allowed to work in government spaces during those furloughs.
    Military personnel are exempt from the furloughs. Only about 2 percent of NAVAIR’s federal workforce would be exempt from furloughs. Contractors and civilians in foreign military sales are exempt, largely because countries have already paid for services. Contractors and civilians deployed to war zones also will not be required to miss work days.
    “This is not too much of a surprise for us,” said Glen Ives, president of the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance and a defense industry executive. Ives wrote in an email Thursday that the problem stems from “a very consistent inability to work through critical issues at the national level in Washington.” Congress allowed sequestration, with deep cuts to the nation’s military budget, to go into effect this March.
    “I think the specific impacts to industry will vary,” said Ives, a former Pax River commanding officer. But, he added, “it looks like NAVAIR has worked hard” to communicate with companies about the changes.
    Newton said a team of leaders decided the best approach to executing furloughs would be to create a standard schedule. “It gives us a better opportunity to plan for highly productive time on Mondays through Thursdays,” he said.
    Historically, many workers on site at NAVAIR — contractor and civilian — would “stay until the work is done,” Newton said. When the Navy needs a test complete, aircraft parts delivered, contracts signed, or troubleshooting for crew members who might be deployed, employees often work 12 hour days.
    During the furlough, Newton said, “we will have four, eight-hour days” each week. “We have to comply.” NAVAIR is working with managers to help employees determine which tasks are top priority and which will have to be deferred.
    NAVAIR, essentially, will shut down key functions on Fridays, including aircraft flight and testing. If a crew has to come in to complete a Friday test, their furlough day will have to be taken at a later time. Major programs at Pax River will have to defer about 20 percent of their work and play catch-up later, which Newton said over the long term would likely cost more than originally budgeted. Overtime pay will be permitted only if it already had been budgeted for, Newton said, and cannot be used to compensate for the furlough.
    “I think many of us, both in government and industry, have been hoping that somehow our national leaders in Washington would find a way to deter a very sad but avoidable scenario of diminished national security,” Ives said. Meanwhile, he said, defense contracting companies have been working to reduce overhead expenses. But other financial issues, such as low-price solicitations to complete government work and delays in many contract awards “are very tough to mitigate.”
    Whatever happens, Ives said, “I think this is a scenario that most companies would agree would be extremely difficult to fully prepare for, even if we had all the time in the world.”

  2. Work hours committee to consult public twice, Jolie Ho jolie.ho@scmp.com, (6/08 over dateline) South China Morning Post via scmp.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - The government advisory committee on standard working hours will have two rounds of consultations before presenting its conclusions.
    Chairman Dr Leong Che-hung said the first round would seek general public opinion, which the committee would compile and put to a second round of consultation.
    He didn't give a specific time frame.
    "Opinions are divided even between labour unions and different workers, not only among employers and employees," he said. "Even definitions, such as what are working hours, are not standardised yet, so there needs to be a wide-ranging public consultation."
    Leong said the aim was to seek common ground, adding that the question of whether standard working hours should even be legislated had not even been decided.

    [Guess that depends on whether you Hong Kongers can learn from other people's "learning the hard way," or if you have to "reinvent the wheel."]
    Committee members might go to places such as Singapore and the US to study the situations there.
    The committee also might employ consultants to collect and compute statistics and analyse work patterns across different jobs.
    The 24-member committee, which includes representatives of workers, employers, academics and officials, was set up in early April to consider the benefits and disadvantages of standardising working hours.
    Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan had earlier criticised setting Leong's term at three years, saying this meant the present government would not have time to act on any recommendations.
    The committee, which met for the first time in May, will meet every two months, with the next date set for July 24.


6/06/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. 29-hour workweeks worry congressman, by Mary Beth Jackson, (5/30 late pickup) Register & Bee via GoDanRiver.com via NewsAdvance.com
    DANVILLE, Va. - U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt usually makes a point to travel the sprawling 5th District once a month. This week, he has been traversing U.S. 58 talking about Obamacare, Washington scandals and fuel prices.
    Hurt began Tuesday in Lawrenceville and wrapped Thursday in Martinsville. His office has billed the visits as the “Route 58 Energy Tour.” On Thursday, Hurt made stops in Danville, including Cloverdale Lumber, Collie Equipment, Ruben’s Restaurant and Harris Nursery.
    “The fuel prices are a huge issue,” Hurt told the Danville Register & Bee. “Energy is a huge issue.”
    He added, “The cost of everything goes up when fuel prices go up.”
    Hurt says high fuel prices have also hurt hiring.
    “We’ve made some progress, but employers still have a great deal of uncertainty about the economy,” he said. “They’re just maintaining.”
    Health care is also on the mind of constituents, he said. Hurt voted May 16 in favor of the House of Representative’s 37th bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare.”
    “I’d vote another 37 times to do it,” Hurt said. “Every time I go out, I hear this law is bad.”
    Hurt fears most jobs are headed for a 29-hour workweek as an unintended consequence of the legislation.
    “The people who came up with the law only had the best intentions,” he said.
    But it isn’t working, he notes.
    “I’ve heard stories about people who’ve quit their jobs… because the employer doesn’t provide coverage for their spouse.”
    Hurt says he’ll vote over and over until the law is off the books.
    “I believe the only solution is to repeal the law and replace it with market-based solutions,” he said.
    He wants insurance companies to be able to sell across state lines to increase competition and hopefully, drive down policy prices.
    When asked by the Register & Bee, Hurt also weighed in on the recent scandals concerning the attack on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, and the Justice Department’s investigation of Associated Press journalists.
    He says all are deeply disconcerting, but that the IRS investigations are particularly sticking in the craws of his constituents. Hurt called it a “brazen example of government overreach and arrogance.”
    He said targeting people based on what they believe and say is “not consistent with American principles and beliefs.”
    “It’s a great tragedy we’re having to deal with these things at all,” he said.
    He added, “We have a tremendous responsibility to create jobs and balance budgets. Now we’re being distracted from that.”
    Hurt also lamented the seizure of Associated Press phone records.
    “This is a non-partisan issue,” he said. “I have grave concerns about Justice Department officials snooping in journalists’ records and their families’ records.”
    He added, “I believe there’s people on both sides of the aisle … who are sickened by this.”
    Hurt stopped short of saying he’d support a federal shield law for journalists, but said, “I’m open to looking at that.”
    He said it would depend on what protections are afforded on the state level.
    According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 13 states, including Virginia, do not have a shield law for journalists. Twelve states, plus the District of Columbia, have a shield law include absolute privileges for sources. In 25 states, shield laws are in place for journalists, but privileges for sources are qualified or subject to exemptions. The Justice Department sought records from AP offices in states with shield laws with and without exemptions for sources.
    New federal protections have recently been proposed in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. House Resolution 1962, the “Free Flow of Information Act of 2013,” was introduced May 14 and has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. A companion act of the same name was introduced two days later in the Senate (S. 987) and has also been referred to committee. The Society of Professional Journalists is pressing for the passage of both.
    “A free and robust press is critical to our freedom,” said Hurt, noting a number of journalists in his family tree. “That’s what keeps our government as honest as anything.”
    Jackson reports for the Danville Register & Bee. mjackson@registerbee.com (434) 791-7981

  2. Structured work hours allow more freedom, by Kylie Pierce, RomeObserver.com
    ROME, N.Y., USA - As you may remember, dear reader, I’m a little prone to workaholism. I come by it naturally, as my father always worked long hours and wouldn’t quit until something was completed, sometimes to the exclusion of things that he enjoyed or valued more. I know well that a job well done can turn into a job that could be better done or a job that isn’t quite up to my own high standards.
    We’ve had a little shimmying around in the office with the summer coming up, and in order to have the coverage that we needed at the Capitol, I’ve started doing regular work-a-day hours. At first I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get enough done; I was used to working afternoons, late nights and weekends, and wasn’t sure how regular days would sit with me.
    To my complete surprise, I have found that a regularly structured work day, with defined start times and slightly-less-defined but still recommended end times, presented a rare opportunity for closure to my work week.
    By working similar hours daily Monday-Friday, I was better able to turn my “work brain” off at night and enjoy my personal time. My weekends are more defined as well, because I know that I’ve done the best that I can do for the hours in which I was scheduled. I can accept social engagements and initiate projects at home without worrying about items left undone at the office.
    Those of you who already work consistent hours may know whereby I speak. On the flip side, some of you may have regular hours and take them for granted, dreading the mornings and fleeing in the evenings without considering just how valuable work closure can be.
    Unfortunately, some people who run their own businesses or work jobs that keep them on call may have more difficulty finding the closure they need. Still others have jobs that meld so well with their life values and goals that work and personal life don’t need to be separated. To the latter, I offer my sincere congratulations; it is a goal we all strive to achieve, whether we admit it or not.
    I am closer to that goal than I was in past positions, but the added complication of being prone to workaholism makes it inadvisable to throw myself entirely into the things I love about my job because I automatically generate more work for myself. Having created the monster, I must constantly strive to keep it in check.
    Now that summer is upon us, I wish you all the wherewithal and presence to make boundaries between work and the other things you value where they are needed. Summer is a great time to enjoy family and friends, to relax and take life a little slower. Save me a glass of lemonade.
    Kylie Pierce, Rome Observer columnist, authored 'Confessions of a Pollyanna.'


6/05/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Tri-C's new formula to determine adjunct work hours stirs debate, by Harlan Spector, The Plain Dealer via cleveland.com
    PARMA, Ohio, USA - Cuyahoga Community College [CCC or "Tri-C"] says it won't cut teaching courseloads of part-time faculty, as some colleges are doing to avoid paying health insurance under the new federal health care law.
    Instead, Tri-C has adopted a controversial standard for gauging how many work hours part-timers, known as adjunct professors, put in per week. The new standard -- which assumes an instructor works one hour outside class for every hour of class -- means that adjuncts teaching the maximum credit hours would not reach 30 work hours a week that would qualify them for health care, leaders of a part-time faculty group say.
    The federal law known as Obamacare says that, starting next year, colleges and other large employers must provide health benefits to employees who work more than 30 hours a week.
    Some colleges, including the University of Akron and Baldwin Wallace University, have chosen to reduce maximum credit hours adjuncts are allowed to teach in order to keep their weekly hours below 30.
    The policies have touched off a firestorm among adjuncts, who have assumed a greater share of teaching duties as colleges across the country have reduced tenured positions. The part-timers have long complained of low pay and lack of benefits and job security. Adjuncts are paid per course – about $2,700 per three credit-hour class, according to a 2010 national survey. Many travel from college to college and typically don't have offices.
    In an e-mail to managers last week regarding the impact of the federal Affordable Care Act, Tri-C said adjuncts can still teach up to 12.6 credit hours per semester. But based on guidance from an association of college human resources professionals, Tri-C said it will calculate that adjuncts work one hour for every hour in the classroom.
    "This 1:1 ratio will allow us to keep our adjunct instructors whole without negatively impacting our students," the e-mail said.
    Determining work hours of adjuncts under the federal health care law has been a subject of intense debate. The IRS advised colleges to use a "reasonable method" for determining hours. But colleges have been seeking clearer direction.
    The IRS is expected to issue more specific guidance in the coming months. In the meantime, groups representing universities told the IRS that assuming a one-to-one ratio for work outside the classroom for each hour of teaching is fair.
    "We think it captures the realities of what's going on on campus," said Steven Bloom of the American Council on Education, which represents universities. He said the formula is based on Department of Education data from surveys of adjunct professors.
    But members of the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association, which organized this year to represent adjuncts, said the one-to-one ratio is arbitrary and simplistic. They say out-of-classroom work hours differ depending on the area of study, and they are calling for more thorough analysis.
    Most adjuncts work more than one hour for every hour in the classroom, said Maria Maisto, an organizer of the part-time association and president of an affiliated group called the New Faculty Majority.
    Tri-C's standard "means that part-time faculty will be forced to lie about how many hours they actually teach, thus cheating themselves, or actually (spending) less time than they would normally spend preparing, grading, etc.," Maisto wrote in an e-mail. She is an adjunct English instructor at Tri-C.
    Asked if Tri-C expects that any of its 1,113 adjuncts will qualify for health benefits under the health care law, spokesman Al Moran said it wasn't yet known.
    The college's e-mail also said Tri-C's 1,559 non-teaching, part-time employees will be limited to 20 hours a week. "We realize this may be different from past practice but recognize that this is now required," the e-mail said.
    To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: hspector@plaind.com, 216-999-4543

  2. Flexible work-week will be a reality, says Labour minister, (6/04 late pickup) JamaicaObserver.com
    KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier, says every effort will now be made to ensure that Flexible Work Arrangements become a reality in the country.
    Kellier in his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, June 4 said that a Ministry Paper will be tabled shortly and drafting instructions issued to the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, to facilitate the legislative amendments.
    He said that to facilitate across-the-board implementation, several pieces of legislation are being amended to remove restrictive clauses.
    Some of these legislations include: the Holidays With Pay Act, the Shops Regulations, the Women (Employment of) Act, the Post Office Regulation, the National Minimum Wage Act and Orders, the Towns and Communities Act, and the Apprenticeship (Motor Mechanic Trade) Order, among others.
    “Jamaica stands to reap many of the potential benefits of flexible work arrangements, including: increased employment as persons exploit part-time work; opportunities for second employment and job-sharing; increased productivity; and more time for family and personal interests, particularly if a compressed work week is utilised,” said Kellier.
    Flexible Work Arrangements refers to a variable work schedule, and incorporates flexi-time, which allows the worker and employer the opportunity to arrange the traditional 40-hour work week as best suits their needs; part-time work with benefits; telecommuting; job-sharing and a compressed work week.
    ["Job-sharing" usually means rigidly splitting a 40-hour job, but here it probably refers to flexible work-sharing.]


6/04/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. ObamaCare's $96 an hour cost spike may end 30-hour workweek, by Jed Graham, Investor's Business Daily via news.investors.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Under ObamaCare, the 30-hour workweek may take a cue from the clumsy Dodo bird and disappear — due to clumsy regulation.
    If that sounds extreme, just consider: For a worker making $16 an hour for 29 hours per week, the 30th hour of work each week could cost an employer $112.15.
    In other words, ObamaCare could cost an employer as much as $96.15 extra an hour — or six times the going hourly wage in this example.
    Here's how: Employers who offer health coverage that is deemed either too pricey or too skimpy will owe $3,000 for each full-time, 30-hour-per-week, worker who taps ObamaCare subsidies.
    Because the $3,000 fine is nondeductible, it's equal to $5,000 in deductible wages for a profit-making firm facing a 40% combined federal and state tax rate.
    Simply dividing that $5,000 by 52 weeks yields an ObamaCare cost of $96.15 per hour.
    The 31-hour, 32-hour, 33-hour and 34-hour workweeks also may become relatively rare.
    For example, ObamaCare could tack on as much as $48 per hour for a worker clocking 31 hours, or two hours beyond ObamaCare's care-free threshold of 29 hours per week.
    Yet, even for those clocking 40 hours, the incremental cost of ObamaCare of $8.74 per hour beyond the 29th hour of work could effectively add 55% to a $16/hour wage.
    When it comes to modest-skilled, modest-wage workers in highly competitive industries with low profit margins, employers will be hard-pressed to ignore such cost increases.
    Not surprisingly, there's evidence that employers are already taking steps to dodge ObamaCare's penalties. Retailers have been cutting hours for nonsupervisory workers at the sharpest rate in more than three decades, Labor Department data show.
    Still, there is much uncertainty about just how dramatic the shift to sub-30 hours per week will be. Employers will likely perceive a cost to worker productivity and satisfaction if they depend too heavily on part-timers. However, the pressure to keep prices low or risk losing business may limit flexibility.
    A big unknown is the extent to which workers who are eligible for ObamaCare subsidies will opt to sign up. Doing so will require those earning 200% to 300% of the poverty level to fork over 4% to 7% of income for a bronze plan.
    Some employers are betting young, low-income workers won't. As an enticement to keep ObamaCare participation low, some firms are preparing to offer their workers "skinny" coverage for basic expenses like doctors visits and generic drugs as an alternative to paying a tax penalty.
    Still, it will be harder for employers to escape ObamaCare costs for older workers, who would take on bigger risks by going without insurance. The result may be that older workers will be the most likely to see their hours reduced below 30.
    The lowest earners also will be extremely likely to see their hours cut. For example, a worker earning $8 per hour would have to pay just $79 a year to get ObamaCare's subsidized bronze-level plan, according to Kaiser Family Foundation's health subsidy calculator. That's less than the potential tax penalty.
    Even spreading the cost of ObamaCare's wage-equivalent penalty of $5,000 over a 40-hour workweek would effectively raise the minimum full-time wage by $2.40 an hour.
    Yet this is among the worst approaches for raising a low-earner's take-home pay because it is one that employers can avoid — but only if they punish the worker by limiting hours of work.
    [But this is happening economywide, and therefore if employers really need the extra hours, they will have to hire more employees. And if enough of that happens, it will absorb the surplus of jobseekers underbidding against one another and get employers bidding against one another instead. And then wages will go up by market forces, leaching money out of the huge monetary black hole in the topmost brackets, and consumer spending will go up, marketable productivity will go up, stable investment will go up, and we will approach wartime prosperity without the war.]

  2. Furlough Friday: 4 fed agencies closed, CNN via WDAM-TV (Hattiesburg MS) via wdam.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA – Nearly 115,000 federal workers will get a four-day weekend, but it's not reason to celebrate.
    The employees have to take furlough days thanks to the forced spending cuts that kicked in March 1.
    The Internal Revue [sic] Service, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency and White House budget office will all be closed Friday.
    The shutdown is the first since 1996 when they entire federal congressional budget fights [sic].
    Taxpayers who want to check on their refunds should be prepared for delays.
    IRS workers will be out of the office at least five days this summer.

  3. Anne Arundel firefighters prevail in contract arbitration, by Andrea F. Siegel andrea.siegel@baltsun.com, BaltimoreSun.com
    ANNAPOLIS, Mryld., USA - Anne Arundel County's firefighters union has prevailed in its binding arbitration, keeping the current 42-hour work week, according to union president Craig Oldershaw. .
    "It just means that we are being treated no differently than the rest of the county employees and we are not working a longer workweek," Oldershaw said Tuesday.
    The county had proposed a schedule giving firefighters a 48-hour work week. It would have reduced the "one-day on, three days off" schedule to just two days off.
    The decision leaves the county in a position of deciding how to staff what could amount to the equivalent of dozens of jobs, whether by hiring more firefighters or paying overtime.
    A county spokesman could not be reached for comment.


6/02-03/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Ministry tells firms to comply with summer work hours, 6/03 Oman News Agency via OmanTribune.com
    MUSCAT, Oman - The Ministry of Manpower would spare no efforts to follow up and initiate legal actions against those violating establishments through intensive inspection campaigns on work sites to ensure they comply with the provisions to stop work during noon hours in summer, according to Salim Bin Said Al Badi, Director-General of Labour Welfare at the Ministry of Manpower.
    Al Badi added that the regulations on occupational safety and health measures in facilities governed by the Labour Law issued by the Ministerial Decision No. 286/ 2008 article (16) bans employment of workers in construction sites or open spaces in high temperatures during noon hours from 12:30pm to 3:30pm in the months of June, July and August every year. The ministry will not tolerate any violations in this regard, he added.

  2. Court hears nanny had 112-hour work week, by Keith Fraser, 6/02 Sunday Province via TheProvince.com
    VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada - A nanny says her employers threatened to send her back to the Philippines if she complained about her 16-hours-a-day, seven-day-a-week work schedule in Vancouver.
    Leticia Sarmiento testified Friday that Oi Ling Nicole Huen poked her in the head and frequently called her stupid in Chinese as she struggled to comply with the workload.
    Huen and husband Franco Yiu Kwan Orr pleaded not guilty to human-trafficking charges after allegations they kept Sarmiento in domestic servitude for nearly two years.
    [Domestic servitude in Canada! Workaholics take notice!]
    Sarmiento came to Canada from Hong Kong with Huen and Orr to care for their three children, court heard. She says she was treated well in Hong Kong but that her life changed dramatically when she got to Canada in September 2008.
    Sarmiento, a mother of three children who remain in the Philippines, said she was told she would only have to care for the couple's children and not do any housework.
    But a few weeks after she arrived in Vancouver, Huen handed her a work schedule that required her to get up every morning at 7 a.m. and continue working until nearly 11 p.m., she told a B.C. Supreme Court jury.
    Every day she prepared all of the meals for the three kids, changed their clothes and made dinner for Orr and Huen. At dinner time, she ate at the counter, not the table. She mopped the floors, vacuumed the rugs, cleaned the rooms and the kitchen and took out the garbage.
    Late in the evening, she said, she'd do the ironing, have a five-minute bath and go to bed.
    "Did Ms. Huen say what would happen if you didn't follow those rules?" asked Crown counsel Charles Hough.
    "She was telling me that if I did not obey whatever she was telling me, then I would go back to the Philippines," Sarmiento said.
    The nanny said she was paid $490 in cash a month, and was only allowed outside the house when with the couple. A regular churchgoer, Sarmiento said she was not allowed to attend church after Huen told her there were no Filipino churches in Vancouver.
    kfraser@theprovince.com twitter.com/keithrfraser


6/01/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Shared Work — Texas Workforce Commission [TWC], twc.state.tx.us
    [Showing up on Google News Search? Texas must have updated its worksharing webpage! (or just renamed it from sharedworkfaq.html to shared-work.html?)]
    AUSTIN, Tex., USA - Shared Work
    On this page:
    • Overview
    • Details for a Shared Work Plan
    • Application Process
    • Employer Reporting Requirements
    • Employee Eligibility
    • Employee Unemployment Benefit Payments
    • Contact Information
    • Forms
    Overview
    The Shared Work program provides Texas employers with an alternative to temporary layoffs. TWC developed this voluntary program to help Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business.
    Shared Work allows employers to:
    • Supplement their full-time employees’ wages lost because of reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits.
    • Reduce normal weekly work hours for employees in an affected unit by at least 10 percent but not more than 40 percent; the reduction must affect at least 10 percent of the employees in that unit.
    Shared Work does not subsidize:
    • A seasonal employer during the off-season
    • An employer who traditionally has used part-time employees
    Shared Work unemployment benefits are payable to employees who qualify for and participate in an approved Shared Work Plan. Workers may choose not to participate. Employees who qualify will receive both wages and Shared Work unemployment benefits.
    How Shared Work Affects Your Unemployment Benefits Tax Rate
    Shared Work unemployment benefits affect the employer's tax rate in the same way as other benefit chargebacks. Unemployment benefits paid through the shared work program are charged to the employer's account and used to compute the general (experience) tax rate.
    Details for a Shared Work Plan
    You may have more than one plan. Employers can have multiple plans within the organization if each plan covers two or more employees.
    The percentage of reduced hours can be different for different individuals, as long as the reduction in normal weekly hours ranges from 10 percent to 40 percent each week, depending on plan specifications. The range of hours worked may vary under Shared Work rules. TWC calculates the number from the number of hours you specify as normal full-time employment. The figure may differ for various plan participants.
    A shared work plan is only for full-time employees whose hours have been reduced. You cannot use the plan for part-time workers.
    You can renew the shared work plan after it expires. When the plan expires, TWC will notify the employer to renew the plan by submitting a new application.
    You can implement a Shared Work Plan for one or more departments, shifts, or units. A unit consists of two or more employees. You have the flexibility to specify affected areas.
    You may return individuals or groups to work full time for a week or two and then continue the plan. You have the flexibility to stop or continue as needed.
    You may lay off some workers who were originally in the plan and keep the remainder in the plan, as long as they continue to meet requirements for an approved plan. You may replace an employee who leaves for personal reasons.
    You may modify the original plan after reporting any changes in writing to TWC. Substantial changes will be reevaluated for approval.
    Application Process
    How to Apply for a Shared Work Plan
    Complete and submit TWC’s Shared Work Plan Application and Employee Participant List Shared Work Plan Application and Employee Participant List MS Word or Shared Work Plan Application and Employee Participant List PDF by mail or fax. Your plan must include the names and Social Security numbers of all participating employees.
    Mail:
    Texas Workforce Commission
    UI Support Services
    101 E 15th St, Rm 354
    Austin, TX 78778
    Fax: 512-936-3250
    TWC approves or denies a plan within 30 days of receipt. The effective date of the plan is the date TWC approves it. To simplify time-keeping procedures, request an effective date for your plan that coincides with your payroll date. After TWC approval, the shared work plan is effective for one year (12 full calendar months).
    After Submitting a Shared Work Plan
    When TWC approves a Shared Work Plan, we mail to:
    • The employer a Notice of Shared Work Plan Status, for verification, and forms and instructions on how to file claims for its employees
    • The employee, a Federal Income Tax Voluntary Withholding Request to be completed and returned to TWC, and information regarding benefit payment to the TWC Chase debit card
    If TWC denies a Shared Work Plan, we contact you by phone.
    Employer Reporting Requirements
    Every two weeks, you submit to the TWC shared work coordinator:
    • Payment requests on behalf of the participating employees to establish a claim for benefits
    • A completed Shared Work Plan – Employee Participant List, which lists the names and Social Security numbers of participating employees, and hours worked per week
      • Shared Work Plan – Employee Participant List
    • A completed Shared Work Certification on behalf of the participating employees
      • TWC provides the Shared Work Certification form, after approving the Shared Work Plan
    Employee Eligibility
    Shared Work unemployment benefits are payable to employees who qualify for and participate in an approved Shared Work Plan. Workers may choose not to participate. Employees who qualify will receive both wages and Shared Work unemployment benefits.
    The employer can use the Shared Work Plan only for full-time employees whose hours have been reduced. Shared Work benefits can be paid only for wages lost because of a reduction in the employee's normal full-time hours. Normal full-time hours may not exceed 40 hours. An employee who normally works overtime may not receive shared work benefits for a reduction in their overtime hours.
    Shared work employees must:
    • Be eligible for regular unemployment benefits
    • Accept all work offered by the participating employer
    • Be able and available for full-time work with the employer
    Some Shared Work employees may receive unemployment benefits for a given week while others do not. Normally, that occurs when one or more employees work too many hours or too few hours to comply with the program requirements.
    Note: A Shared Work unemployment benefits claimant does not need to search for work. That work search exemption is similar to that of employees on temporary layoff who have a definite date to return to work.
    Employee Unemployment Benefit Payments
    Weekly Benefits Paid on Shared Work
    The percentage reduction in the employee’s work hours determines the amount of unemployment benefits a worker receives each week. If the worker’s hours are reduced by 20 percent, the worker will receive 20 percent of their weekly benefit amount. Consider this scenario, for example:
    • An employee is qualified to receive $400 in regular unemployment benefits.
    • A company cuts that employee’s hours from 40 per week to 32 per week — a 20 percent reduction.
    • To determine the amount of Shared Work benefits the worker would receive, multiply $400 (the regular benefit amount) by .20 (percent reduction in hours), which equals $80.
    • That eligible worker would receive $80 in Shared Work benefits each week in addition to their regular wages for the 32 hours worked.
    Shared Work does not require a one-week waiting period for benefit payment. If a claimant receives regular unemployment benefits, Texas law requires us to hold the payment for the first payable week, known as the “waiting week,” until the claimant receives three times their weekly benefit amount. Claimants under a Shared Work Plan may receive payment for the first claim week without serving a waiting week.
    Benefit Payments After a Shared Work Plan Expires
    Shared work benefits are payable only while the employer's plan is in effect. Employees working a reduced work schedule cannot receive shared work benefits after the plan expires. However, the employees may be eligible for benefits under the regular unemployment benefits program. Employees who work part time may receive some regular unemployment benefits. If the employer does not renew the shared work plan, employees would need to apply for regular unemployment benefits.
    Reporting Work & Earnings
    A Shared Work employer does not have to report wages their employees may earn from outside part-time employment. If a claimant worked during a claimed week with an employer other than the participating employer, the wages received from the nonparticipating employer do not need to be reported on the Shared Work benefit week ending date claim. TWC determines Shared Work benefits by the percentage of reduction that only the Shared Work Plan employer defines as full-time employment.

  2. Phased retirement offers benefits for both workers, employers, by Matt Sedensky, AP via Boston Globe, B6 (finder's credit to colleague Kate!).
    Stanley Consultants planner John Sayles, 79, cut his hours before formally retiring in 2003, and has continued to work part time in the decade since. (photo caption)
    MUSCATINE, Iowa, USA — There is an oft-told story about what happens when a worker at the Stanley Consultants engineering firm decides to retire.
    ‘‘They say you have the retirement party one day and you come back to work the next,’’ said Mary Jo Finchum, spokeswoman for the Muscatine, Iowa-based company.
    Stanley is among the US employers that have offered workers a softer landing into retirement, allowing them to scale back hours as they prepare to take the plunge and move into part-time positions once it’s official.
    ‘‘It’s really the best of all worlds,’’ said John Sayles, 79, a planner at Stanley who cut his hours before formally retiring in 2003, but who has continued to work part time in the decade since. ‘‘I’ll probably do it as long as the company would like me to help out.’’
    Like most phased retirement programs, Stanley approves participants case by case. Those who take part before officially resigning must work at least 20 hours to maintain their health benefits. Once they’ve retired, workers can cash in shares through the company profit-sharing plan and make 401(k) withdrawals, even if they continue to work part time.
    Dale Sweere, Stanley’s human resources director, said phased retirement gives employees a way to maximize their retirement savings and the company a way to retain an experienced employee who often has built close ties with clients.
    It also slows costs and productivity losses tied to turnover, and responds to a desire from employees who want to remain engaged in work, just not as much.
    ‘‘They don’t want to just walk away from the profession,’’ Sweere said. ‘‘And to try to replace these people, especially with the amount of experience they’ve gained, is very difficult.’’
    The phased retirement idea was born in Sweden in the 1970s and gained a foothold in the United States soon after.
    Sarah Rix, a policy adviser at AARP who worked on the issue in its early years, said it has been hard to quantify how many people have taken part in such programs because most are informal. A 2010 study by AARP and the Society for Human Resource Management found that 20 percent of employers had phased retirement programs in place or planned to start them.
    Companies that do embrace the concept often cite the wishes of older workers, who, surveys show, list flexibility as a priority in the twilight of their careers.
    [But what about taking jobs away from younger workers? But that's offset by -]
    Businesses also see phased retirement as a way for employees to transfer knowledge to their replacements and to mentor younger workers.
    It also is a way for them to reduce the payroll without losing a valued employee’s expertise and experience.
    ‘‘We’re helping not only the retiree to transition, but the retiree is hopefully helping us to transition too, by passing on that corporate memory,’’ said Judy Gonser, director of benefits and labor relations at The Aerospace Corp., whose engineers have been at the helm of a variety of space-age projects, including missile defense.
    The company lets employees take unpaid leaves of absence to give retirement a test run and switch to part-time status ahead of a full retirement, and gives retirees a chance to return to part-time work.
    Phased retirement has been most widespread on university campuses and, to a lesser degree, among government and health care workers. It has been far less common among blue-collar workers.
    Many formal phased retirement programs let employees maintain health insurance, vacation, and other perks, and continue building up their retirement benefit. Others are more like consulting agreements, with retirees returning to work as independent contractors without benefits.
    John Matzeder, compensation and benefits manager at the University of Kansas Medical Center, said phased retirement helps force individuals to think about their postcareer lives and determine how they want to spend their time.
    ‘‘You kind of want to transition into something and do something other than watch TV,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a good transition. You’re still coming to work, you’re drawing a good income, your benefits are not going to change, but you really have to come up with a plan for when you’re retired.’’
    Phil Eckhert, 65, who retired in April from his post as director of housing, community works and transit for Hennepin County, Minn., now works part time under the county’s phased-retirement program. It’s provided him with a chance to refocus his life, both at work and at home. He has more time for projects around the house and his hobbies of golf and photography. But he also finds new fulfillment on the job.
    He’ll take calls and offer advice to less senior colleagues, all while enjoying a more limited schedule and a full pension. ‘‘It’s been very nice to focus on a smaller number of things,’’ he said.
    Despite positive experiences around the country and decades of history, phased retirement still isn’t an option most workers have access to.
    Dallas Salisbury, president of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, said the economic picture will have to improve for the idea to get a more widespread embrace.
    ‘‘It will require unemployment to come back down significantly lower and, particularly for the unemployment rates for those coming out of high school and college before there’s interest in finding special ways to keep those who want to retire but the company would like to keep around part time,’’ he said.
    The idea gained a significant boost last year when Congress passed a law to allow some federal employees to participate in phased retirement. With an eye toward a potential mass exodus of baby boomer workers, the US Office of Personnel Management said the goal of the program is to facilitate the mentoring and training of employees’ replacements.
    At Stanley Consultants, phased retirees speak passionately of what the program has allowed them to do. Hank Mann, a 72-year-old engineer, cut back to 30 hours a week in the months leading up to his formal retirement last year, and has worked fewer hours since.
    He now coaches a swim team with his wife and volunteers harvesting grapes at a local winery. He relishes still being called upon to help with projects, but also enjoys being able to turn them down if he’s not interested.
    ‘‘Now I work on my schedule,’’ he said. ‘‘Not the company’s.’’

  3. Ground staff at Muscat airport on strike over pay, work hours, (6/02 early pickup) MuscatDaily.com
    MUSCAT, Oman - The strike by ground handling staff at Muscat International Airport that began on Friday over low salaries and long working hours continued on Saturday.
    [In U.S. history, as long as employees focused on fighting for shorter hours and not higher pay, they wound up with both because they prevented a surplus of themselves as technology came in. Once they focused on higher pay, they began to wind up with neither.]
    The strike led to some flights of the national carrier being delayed, though operations of most other airlines were not affected.
    A senior official from Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) said on Saturday evening, “It is confirmed that ground staff members of Oman Air are on strike, and it is ongoing. Though there are some problems, the other airlines are operating.”
    In a written statement, an Oman Air spokesperson said that the airline was 'disappointed' to learn of the strike, which it called 'unofficial', by a section of its staff at Muscat International Airport.
    “Oman Air is disappointed to learn that an unofficial strike has been called by a small number of staff at Muscat International Airport,” the statement said.
    “No advance notice of the strike was given as required by the Omani labour law and the national regulations governing industrial action appear not to have been observed. Oman Air’s formal complaints and grievance procedures remain available to any member of staff who wishes to raise issues of concern."
    “Oman Air has positioned additional staff to minimize the impact on customers and have managed a 81 per cent on time performance of all their flights between 0001 and 1800 today."
    “Oman Air’s commitment to its customers is absolute and the management in close coordination with the authorities and all service providers will ensure that the airport continues with normal operations of all flights.”
    Other airlines said their flights have been unaffected.
    Riyaz Kuttery, general manager, Jet Airways said, “Our staff took charge of our operations. All our staff members are working there in double shifts and helping the passengers. Because of this cooperation among our staff, none of our three flights have been delayed or postponed. Two flights left on Friday night and one on Saturday morning.”
    An Air India official too said that the airline's flights took off as scheduled.




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June/2009
May/2009
April/2009
March/2009
Jan-Feb/2009
2005-2008
Nov.27-30 (& Dec.)/2004
Nov.23-26/2004
Nov.16-22/2004
Nov.9-15/2004
Nov.2-8/2004
Oct.27-31/2004 + Nov.1
Oct.22-27/2004
Oct.16-21/2004
Oct.12-15/2004
Oct.6-11/2004
Oct.1-5/2004
Sept.25-30/2004
Sept.21-24/2004
Sept.11-20/2004
Sept.7-10/2004
Sept.4-6/2004
Sept.1-3/2004
Aug.27-31/2004
Aug.21-26/2004
Aug.11-20/2004
(July 31+) Aug.1-10/2004
July 20-30/2004
July 17-19/2004
July 13-16/2004
July 1-12/2004
June 16-30/2004
June 1-15/2004
May 15-31/2004
May 1-14/2004
Apr.16-30/2004
Apr.1-15/2004
Mar.23-31/2004
Mar.11-22/2004
Mar.2-10/2004
Feb.21-29/2004 + Mar.1
Feb.11-20/2004
Jan.31 + Feb.1-10/2004
Jan.21-30/2004
Jan.10-20/2004
Jan.1-9/2004
2003
2002
2001
Y2000
1999
1998 and previous years.

For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing on Amazon.com.

Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston, Mass., USA) or email us.


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