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


9/29-30/2013 – 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. Pilots elated over working hours vote, 9/30 IrishExaminer.com
    DUBLIN, ireland - MEPs have voted against new European rules for flying hours in a move welcomed by pilots who claimed the new regulations threatened flight safety .
    Today the EU’s transport and tourism committee, by 20 votes to 13, rejected the proposals which would have allowed a team of two pilots to take long-haul flights instead of three.
    Pilot's unions had expressed concern that the rules did not account for working hours before a flight had taken off.
    They said the changes could have forced a team of two pilots to land a long-haul flight after a 22-hour working day.

    The regulations will still be voted on by the full European Parliament in the coming weeks.
    Last week, in an incident reported to the CAA, two pilots flying a British-operated Airbus cited extreme fatigue after having only five hours sleep over two days.
    Balpa, a UK pilot's organisation, also published a survey last week saying more than half of pilots had fallen asleep during flights.

  2. Council invites unions to talks over pay cuts and working hours, Stirling TV via news.stv.tv
    STIRLING, Scotland - Stirling Council has invited trade unions to a meeting to discuss new proposals to try and end a dispute over changes to pay and conditions.
    The council said around 2,700 employees – some 90% of the workforce – has now signed up to the new arrangements which will come into effect in November.
    The changes will see staff work a 37 hour week and take a pay reduction of £10 a month for middle and higher paid employees.
    The lowest grades will have a pay increase to £7.50 an hour.

    Stirling Council staff held a one-day strike on 26 August, with members of the IT department staging an additional selective strike earlier this month.
    The council said talks would “focus on ways to ensure that employees continued to enjoy good terms and conditions” after the new arrangements have been implemented.
    But unions said the council seemed to have “no intention” of addressing the issue of working hours and pay cuts, and said staff had agreed to the changes because they were worried about losing their jobs.
    Lesley Russell, chair of the joint trade unions at Stirling Council, said: "Unions are always happy to meet with the employer to try to resolve the dispute.
    "However, it seems clear that the council have no intention of moving on the two issues that most concern our members, namely longer hours along with pay cuts.
    "The chief executive's figures don't add up when our members are facing a 4.4% cut.
    "Our members signed their contracts 'under protest' to protect their jobs, not because they wanted to.”
    Bob Jack, council chief executive, said: “We have invited the unions to meet with us during the week to discuss new proposals to bring the dispute to an end.
    “The time has come to look beyond the current situation and plan how we can protect pay, conditions and public services in the future.
    “We recognise that our employees are making real sacrifices in accepting the current changes, so we want to work with unions on how they can benefit as the Council reshapes the way it operates in the years ahead.
    “In a climate where we already have to make £24 million in savings, with the possibility of more to come, it is vital that we build a new spirit of partnership to protect jobs and public services in the future.”

  3. Workers decry French law closing stores on Sunday, posted in World, 9/29 Bryan-College Station Eagle via theeagle.com
    GENNEVILLIERS, France - Employees at two big home-improvement retailers are putting the screws to France's government to let their stores stay open on Sundays.
    The protests at the Castorama and Leroy Merlin chains cut to the heart of an economic conundrum here: many French view labor protections such as reduced opening hours as sacrosanct, but others say they are one reason the economy is flailing.
    Some employees led petition drives and wore T-shirts that read "Yes Week End" after a judge ruled last week that 14 Paris-area stores in the chains had violated the law. The stores got waivers or other last-minute exemptions to open this Sunday.
    A 1906 French law established Sunday as a mandatory day off - with some exceptions - to help ensure rest and a certain quality of life.
    Cashiers of a do-it-yourself store wear shirts to protest against last week's court decision to force shorter working hours on Sundays, in Gennevilliers, France, north of Paris, Sunday Sept. 29, 2013... (AP Photo Caption)
    A Cashier of a do-it-yourself store wears a shirt ["Yes Week End"] to protest the court decision last week to force short working hours on Sundays, in Gennevilliers, France, north of Paris, Sunday Sept. 29, 2013... (AP Photo Caption)
    Cars crowd in front of the main entrance of a do-it-yourself store [Leroy Merlin] is seen in Gennevilliers, France, north of Paris, Sunday Sept. 29, 2013, after a court decision last week is forcing stores to have shorter working hours on Sundays... (AP Photo Caption)
    A member of the union of the "bricoleur du dimanche" (handyman on Sunday) group, collect[s] signatures to protest against the court decision to close all stores on Sundays, at the entrance of a do-it-yourself store Gennevilliers, France, north of Paris, Sunday Sept. 29, 2013... (AP Photo Caption)


9/28/2013 – 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. SEIU Members In Illinois Strike Over Cut In Work Hours Blamed On Obamacare, By: Tony Lee (Breitbart), Fox News via nation.foxnews.com
    CHICAGO, Illin., USA - Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members in Chicago have gone on strike after a janitorial company cut some union jobs and hours because of Obamacare, a law the SEIU supported.
    [Unions have totally lost their correct intuition that shorter hours is their power issue and prevents them and all employees from sinking into powerless surplus-commodity status.]
    Tyler French, the organizing director of SEIU Local 1 in Chicago, said a janitorial company called "Professional Maintenance" cut the jobs and hours.
    Under Obamacare's employer mandate, which was delayed for a year, companies that employ 50 or more full-time employees will have to provide insurance to employees who work 30 hours or more a week--which is how Obamacare defines full-time employees--or pay hefty fines.

  2. A government shutdown would affect public quickly, widely, by Evan Halper & Richard Simon, (9/27 late pickup) Los Angeles Times via latimes.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The Pentagon would furlough 400,000 civilian workers and temporarily stop paying death benefits to military families. The National Park Service would close all 401 national parks and give overnight campers two days to leave. Calls to the IRS would go unanswered.
    Those are among the effects that the public probably will notice first if federal agencies start shutting down Tuesday because Congress has failed to pass a bill to provide money for the new fiscal year.
    Agencies began disclosing their contingency plans Friday, and the announcements immediately became part of the partisan back-and-forth over whether the government will shut down and who is to blame.
    Unlike some other Washington budget battles, the impact of a shutdown would quickly become visible. Approximately half the government's civilian workforce, about 1.2 million employees, is expected to face furloughs. The Pentagon would have to stop paying service members, although they would still be required to report to duty.
    The first paychecks that would not be issued — if a shutdown lasted long enough — would be the ones due on Oct. 15, said Undersecretary of Defense Robert F. Hale, the Pentagon's top financial officer, who briefed reporters. In a shutdown, the department would also be forced to stop other payments, including death benefits, Hale said.
    "We would have no authority to pay the money, and in that case the payment would be delayed," he said.
    A shutdown would grow increasingly difficult to manage over time, as the military runs out of options for delaying operations and is prohibited from entering into any new contracts with vendors, he said. "The severity effects would grow quickly if it turns out to be long," Hale said.
    Because Congress has failed to pass any of the money bills needed to fund government agencies, most will have to begin shutting down when the new budget year begins Tuesday. The exceptions are programs that do not require annual appropriations, including Social Security and Medicare, and those deemed essential to protect life, property and national security. That means that fire suppression missions would continue, for example, but parks would close.
    Furloughed employees could be paid retroactively if Congress passed a law authorizing it. Retroactive pay was approved after the shutdowns of the mid-1990s but is not guaranteed.
    According to the Census Bureau, there are 169,000 civilian government workers in California, 124,000 in Maryland, 89,000 in Florida and 52,000 in Illinois. Most of them face the possibility of being furloughed.
    The last time a comparable shutdown happened, in 1995 and 1996, the effect on the economy was substantial. Closing parks cost nearby businesses about $14 million each day, according to the Congressional Research Service. The nonprofit National Parks Conservation Assn. projects that the hit this time would be more than twice as large.
    At the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, workers were already preparing to shutter the campgrounds and close hiking trails. Almost all the workers at the park would be furloughed, spokeswoman Kate Kuykendall said.
    In the event of a shutdown, "we will close all visitor facilities," she said.
    Overnight visitors at the popular Circle X Ranch campground would have two days to leave. Filming and weddings on parkland would cease, and companies that provide horseback rides on park trails would be suspended.
    "We'll be closing the gates to our parks and posting signs," Kuykendall said.
    The same type of closure scenario would play out at the nation's 400 other national parks and monuments.
    About 21,400 park service employees nationwide would be ordered not to report to work. Also facing that prospect are 37,000 employees who manage federal lands and coastal activities for the Interior Department.
    Because most law enforcement functions are considered essential, the impact would vary widely from federal department to department.
    At the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the U.S. Secret Service, the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, most of the 231,117 workers would remain on the job. Officials said 31,295 would be furloughed.
    By contrast, more than half of the Department of Health and Human Services' 78,000 workers would be furloughed.


9/27/2013 – 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. Premier cites 'hidden' salary increases, by Shelley Shan, TaipeiTimes.com
    TAIPEI, Taiwan - remier Jiang Yi-huah said the nation’s workers have had “hidden yet substantial” increases in salary after the government reduced working hours and increased employers’ contributions to the labor pension fund.
    Jiang made the comments during a discussion between President Ma Ying-jeou and seven Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislators on Thursday night.
    Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei said legislators had expressed their views on the nation’s housing policy, Internet service rates and workers’ salaries during the discussion. Some had brought up the fact that wages have fallen to the level of 16 years ago.
    In response, Jiang said that one should not simply look at the figures on paychecks and conclude that there have been no increases in salary. He said that the government reduced working hours from 48 hours per week to 84 hours every two weeks [=avg. 42-hour workweek]. The reduced working hours are equivalent to a pay raise of 12.5 percent, he said.
    [Let's all welcome Taiwan to 1939, when the USA was in-between its 44-hour workweek of 1938 and its 40 of 1940!]
    Jiang further noted that the nation adopted a new labor pension scheme in 2005 in which employers are required to allocate funds equivalent to 6 percent of a worker’s salary every month into the employee’s pension fund account. Previously, employers were only required to allocate 2 percent, he said.
    Aside from these “hidden yet substantial” increases, Jiang said that the government would try to raise the minimum wage and boost employment rates.
    Sun Yu-lien, secretary general of the Taiwan Labor Front, said that he was surprised by Jiang’s comments, adding that he may have been joking to alleviate the tension caused by the political strife between Ma and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng.
    He also saw it as ironic that the two examples Jiang cited were products of the previous Democratic Progressive Party administration.
    That Jiang used reduced working hours as evidence of pay increases showed that the premier is using “old-school” thought, Sun said.
    “Reduced working hours help increase workers’ productivity, not increase wages,” Sun said.
    Sun also said that many companies do not enforce the pension fund requirement, even though they are legally obligated to do so.
    “Some even use the pension fund requirement as an excuse to not increase wages,” he said.
    Sun added that labor in Taiwan was highly undervalued.
    To raise the minimum wage, Sun suggested that the government reform regulations on corporate governance, in which corporations are required to make their financial situation more transparent.
    “Some corporations are making money, but they are unwilling to share the profits with their employees,” he said.

  2. Focus: Flexible work hours for working parents, compiled by Donia Jenabzadeh, GulfNews.com
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Should parents be given flexible work hours? In an office, should performance be the only thing that matters? Or is it important to follow specific work timings, too? Gulf News readers shared their views in this week’s Facebook debate.
    Employee performance at the work place is all that should matter; imposing time and travel restrictions is unfair. I agree and while we are at it, salary offers should also be standardised based on employee performance and/or position applied for.
    Nitsuga Shoj
    I agree, but this would happen in a perfect company with perfect human resource management. But when relationships and references matter more than anything else then don’t look for fairness and just do your job to get your salary as nothing else matters.
    Masis Avadis Kasarjian
    Employee performance is all that matters. Many international organisations spend so much money on training and workshops for their employees as they are looking for quality. Imposing time and travel or any other restrictions that might unnecessarily put employees under pressure only leads to poor job performance. It is highly important for an employee to love his work place and be at ease when he is working. Restrictions and pressure only make you unhappy with your work life, resulting in resentment and poor performance!
    Brook Logun
    I disagree. With every occupation there are certain limitations; time and travel restrictions is one of them. I believe that without such restrictions we would actually become lazier and take things for granted. Yes, performance matters. However, with performance comes challenges and without such restrictions work and projects may become boring. It won’t be challenging enough to finish a complicated project or job with no time restriction at all, would it? A simple example is that of a teacher giving homework to his or her student. Without a submission deadline, it is unlikely that the students would even bother to finish and submit their homework. I think that such restrictions are part of every job and they help keep the pace of work moving.
    Sumera Malik
    Absolutely, but unfortunately it is quantity that matters in most cases and not quality. The management is happy with those who spend useless hours in the office rather than with those who finish their work on time and leave. With time and technology changing so quickly, the outlook of organisations should also change and they should start recognising smart workers rather than hard workers.
    Tuhina Bhattacharya
    Sometimes it depends on the work place and field of work but if the organisation is result-oriented, there is no need for other things, only the results and work performance sould matter.
    Anil Sharma
    Working parents should be allowed flexible work hours. I disagree. Children are parents’ responsibility and not the company’s. We almost always have sympathy with working parents, but we have to understand that it is expensive to run a business and if a company hires you, and is paying you, it needs you to put in your effort as well. It is up to the parents to adjust their lifestyle. However, companies and line managers should be compassionate and grant leniency in case of family emergencies i.e. if a child has to be picked up from school due to sickness. This can’t be generalised. These things should be handled on a case-to-case basis. If the employee is productive and is doing justice to his or her work, then timing can be overlooked.
    Mahnaaz Sheikh
    I disagree as in reality it is not possible. The working period for all staff should be in sync. Flexible timings in reality can hamper core productive timing for any work. Discipline and organised lifestyle is the main key to having a well-balanced life. Even after flexible timing, the lack of these two factors will cause the same existing problems.
    Indrajit DasGupta
    I disagree! Working parents should balance their personal and professional life. A company cannot provide flexible hours to working parents as it is not at all justifiable. In case of emergency, leniency can be provided.
    Hasi Halai
    I agree, as far as the work you are doing is not affected and you are completing it on time. Parents always have some emergency where they need flexibility i.e. a call from school, parent teacher meeting etc. Productivity will increase if you keep employees happy!
    Sonal Patel
    In my opinion, working mothers and wives need flexible hours for maintaining a good balance between their professional and personal lives, and to cater to their work, family, house and themselves. However, working fathers and husbands need not be given the concession so that they can devote 100 per cent towards their work and become successful in life in order to take care of their families.
    Zainab Das
    I disagree that flexible working hours should be applicable to working parents. However, I believe that flexible hours should be an option within a company to all staff. I have worked for many big corporate companies and all have used a similar type of basis for implementing a flexible working environment. For example, core working hours can be established, which would be a time where every employee has to be at work, and therefore it was encouraged to have meetings during these core hours. I have found flexible hours to be very beneficial, particularly when it comes to having to take children to extramural activities or to doctors appointments, because then I don’t need to ask to take time off work to meet these obligations.
    Cheryl Kamp
    It depends on the field they work in. For example, parents working in medical emergency units and fire departments etc. cannot be given flexible work hours due to the unpredictable nature of their work. Also, certain jobs require people to work in stipulated timings, such as banks, public offices etc. Those fields where work hour flexibility can be afforded, working parents should be allowed it.
    Zaid Marshal
    I disagree, as it will not be fair on other employees. Parents who choose to work must also find ways to prioritise and work a balance through their office assignments and home chores. Yes, on occasions when they need absence from the work place due to some important participation in their children’s life it may be planned as per their employment terms such as leave etc.
    Simran Vedvyas
    Yes of course, they should have flexible working hours, especially the mothers. If a company allows flexible working hours by focusing on the work performed, rather than the number of hours spent in the office, the workers will appreciate the motive of the employer and perform well. Staff retention, staff satisfaction and motivation to perform for a company that cares for you will increase. Also, many women won’t have to be torn between home and the office, if they are allowed flexible hours and/or working from home. There are so many things you can effectively do from home, instead of wasting time in morning and evening traffic on the road, when there is no reason to be present in the office. That doesn’t mean that the working mothers won’t have to come to the office but if they are evaluated based on the work done, rather than the number of hours present in the office or clock in/out time, it would be mutually beneficial.
    Nizreena Ismail
    I do not agree. With fixed working hours, your day would be planned accordingly, and your child’s routine would be set. However, with flexible working hours, you would be juggling with time, making things difficult for you and the child. Hence, it is better to have fixed working hours.
    Mala Anil
    I agree, especially for working mothers as it is usually their responsibility to nurture and take care of the children at home. With flexible hours, working mothers could balance between keeping a job and taking care of the family. However, it is also healthy for mothers to get on their feet and get employed, instead of staying home all day, 365 days a year.
    Lisa Koh
    Flexible working hours will only add value to a business and make it more productive. Strict laws will only create a bunch of unhappy employees.
    Sanjeewa Marasinghe
    I strongly agree, flexible working hours would boost the productivity and morale and improve an employee’s personal life .
    Madhu Madan
    No. There are more talented and jobless people around who are committed to any opportunity, I would give it to them. I might be lenient only if it is an employee who has been working for years.
    Haroon Rasheed
    Honestly, more than flexible hours, I think timings for working mothers should be from 8am to 2pm, six hours..for five days.\.a week. In today’s world, with all the connectivity that is there, most jobs can be done at home through emails, too. Whenever necessary, you can reply to emails and sort out issues at work. This will help the child to have some quality time with their mother and mothers can help out with their studies. Being a working mother, I always feel guilty for not spending enough time with my child. I wish I was there to pick her up from the bus stop, listen to her stories of her day in school, cook her favourite dishes whenever she wants rather than only over the weekend. It is an emotional struggle for me when my daughter asks me why I cannot pick her up in the afternoon or why I come late due to traffic or work.
    Sarah Thomas

    Today many companies have flexible timings for both genders, particularly in the IT field. This can be considered for working parents because both may not be able to devote time for the studies and extra curricular activities of their children.
    Ragavan Krishnamachary
    — Compiled by Donia Jenabzadeh/ She is a trainee with Gulf News Gulf News asked: The traditional office environment is not conducive to optimal performance.
    Agree 81%
    Disagree 19%


9/26/2013 – 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. ObamaCare List Hits 313 As 54 Colleges Cut Adjunct Hours, by Jed Graham, Investor's Business Daily via news.investors.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - If one job category stands out for bearing a heavy price from ObamaCare-related cuts to work hours, it might be adjunct college faculty.
    Among 313 employers now on IBD's ObamaCare Employer Mandate List Of Cuts To Hours, Jobs that have cut work hours or permanent staff, or shifted to part-time hiring, there are 54 colleges and universities that have scaled back the hours adjunct faculty may teach.
    [Better cuts to hours than jobs.]
    The list also includes 80 public school districts that have cut hours or outsourced the job functions of teacher aides, cafeteria workers and other employees.
    Still, the inclusion of a number of community college systems such as Maricopa, Ivy Tech and Dallas County means that cuts in adjunct faculty hours now extend to nearly 200 college and university campuses attended by about 1.6 million students.
    All over the country, adjunct teaching loads are being limited to nine credit hours — just below the 30-hour threshold at which Affordable Care Act employer penalties hit. That's the equivalent of nine hours per week in the classroom and 18 hours of work preparing, grading, etc.
    In lean budget times, many schools became heavily dependent upon modestly paid, part-time faculty members who were ineligible for health benefits. Now, faced with providing the same type of generous coverage offered tenured professors or cutting hours, many see little choice but to cut.
    Of a dozen employers added to IBD's list on Sept. 25, nine are colleges and universities. Of those, eight put new restrictions on adjunct hours. Several also cut work hours for students, a step backward for helping future grads emerge with manageable levels of student loan debt.
    One furious grad student reached out to IBD to share her story about her hours being cut for a grant-funded program.
    Because such grants don't come with insurance, someone else has to provide it. In this case, the university she attends is not prepared to do so.
    "This is extremely problematic," she wrote in an email, "as many of us have supported ourselves working full-time without benefits for the University for years as we complete our research training (and are still paying tuition.)"
    Among the new additions: Arkansas State University; Pulaski Technical College; San Diego Community College District; Elmhurst College ; Drury University; Bergen Community College; Columbus State Community College; Cumberland University and Texas Christian University.

  2. Government Shutdown - Shutdown would not endanger cloud environments, by Frank Konkel, FCW.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - A government shutdown won't weaken the security of the data inside the government's various cloud environments, be they private, public or a combination of the two, according to those responsible for cybersecurity and federal IT.
    "It'll be business as usual," said Barry West, CIO of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. West spoke Sept. 26 at a conference on big data held in Washington, D.C.
    Federal agencies have been given guidelines to decide whom to furlough and what programs to delay if a shutdown occurs, and it appears feds have decided that cybersecurity experts and the IT personnel who defend the country's cloud computing infrastructures and data stores will not be furloughed. IT gurus and network wizards are also unlikely to be told to stay home.
    Private clouds – those located on-premises – play vital roles in some federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture and the intelligence community. If a significant number of federal employees in cybersecurity roles were off the job, attackers might have windows of opportunity to wreak havoc in the event of a shutdown.
    By law, agencies cannot furlough employees who provide for national security, provide benefit payments and performance of obligations or conduct activities that protect life and property.
    "I don't see any potential issues," said Agriculture Department Deputy CIO Charles McClam. "They are exempted personnel, so they'll be there."
    Agencies that make use of vendor-hosted public clouds should expect no security or reliability issues either, according to Naeem Musa, chief information security officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
    Musa said third-party vendors provide security, services and support to their data centers, so a government shutdown would not affect any processes.
    FCW contacted several large federal cloud vendors and none reported any cybersecurity concerns regarding the potential shutdown.
    About the Author - Frank Konkel is a staff writer covering big data, mobile, open government and a range of science/technology issues. Connect with him on Twitter at @Frank_Konkel.

  3. Flexible timings for oil rig workers soon, TimesOfIndia.indiatimes.com
    [See also yesterday's story, "Oil sector to get new working-day norms."]
    NEW DELHI, India: Employees at onshore oil drilling sites may soon get the benefit of flexible working hours that would enable them, among other things, to bunch their leaves together for visiting their families.
    Responding to demands from workers, oil and gas companies operating in India had approached the mines ministry for amending the rules governing working hours in the sector, said Cairn India CEO P Elango on Wednesday.
    "The notification in this regard is currently being vetted by the law ministry. We expect the changes to come into effect soon," he said.
    Under the current rules, workers are required to put in an eight-hour day for six days a week. The amended rules will allow more flexibility and would marginally lower the total working hours, Elango said.
    The CEO was interacting with journalists on the eve of a global health, safety and environment ( HSE) conference being organized by the oil major in the capital. The conference, which Cairn India said was the first of its kind in south Asia, will bring together experts from around the world to address issues of safe and sustainable business operations across sectors.
    The two-day meet is being co-hosted by the government's Oil Industry Safety Directorate. It will be inaugurated by Union oil and gas minister Veerappa Moily.
    [Another "take" -]
    Govt plans to make petro sector work hours flexible, by? Surabhi , Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, IndianExpress.com
    NEW DELHI, India - In the first major relaxation of India's tough labour laws, the government plans to allow companies in the oil and gas sector to decide on the working hours for their onsite workers.
    Workers in the sector will be allowed to work at a stretch on rigs and at refineries instead of the mandatory eight hours on a work day with a weekly off day. At present, companies, including those in the public sector, follow this flexible system even though there is no legal sanction. Significantly, the government will bring in the change through an executive order instead of amending labour laws as that would be difficult to steer through Parliament, it is learnt.
    "The proposal is in line with international practice as given the far-off locations at which oil fields are located, it is neither viable nor possible for workers to get weekly offs," said a senior government official.
    Under the existing system, companies with workers posted at offshore oil rigs or at remote locations onshore, have two options: if they get employees to work continuous shifts, they risk violating labour laws. The alternative is to get them to work for six days a week but that raises employee costs and makes no sense at non-family stations. The companies in the sector have now approached the ministry of labour and employment to get around the problem as the number of such employees have jumped with the expansion in oil and gas exploration fields.
    "The country's labour laws are decades old and do not reflect the present reality. For a worker living in the middle of the sea on an oil rig without a family, a weekly off does not have any significance," pointed out Michael Dias, secretary, Employers' Association of Delhi and a member of the Council of Indian Employers. A government official said the proposal was being examined and a decision was expected soon.
    Although there are specific laws that govern different sectors such as the Mines Act, the Shops and Establishments Act and the Plantation Labour Act, the maximum working hours for any contract or permanent worker cannot be more than 48 hours a week, with a weekly off after every six working days.
    The move in the oil and gas sector also opens the way for amending provisions in other sectors without waiting for legislative approval. This would mark a significant milestone in India's labour laws that are not only decades old, but are also seen as rigid and unfriendly.

  4. New EMS Contract does not address fatigue issue, by Tina Shively, KVUE.com
    AUSTIN, Tex., USA -- A 48-hour work week is taking a toll on Austin-Travis County EMS workers. A new city audit that surveyed medics says they're sleepy on the job, have trouble focusing at times, and are frustrated.
    After months of negotiation, they got a new contract Thursday, but it doesn't include the one thing they really wanted -- a shorter work week.

    President of the EMS Employee Association Tony Marquardt explained the challenge. "We start with a 48-hour work week -- 24 hours on and a couple of days off, which is grueling," he said.
    Paramedic Trevor Burrier has been responding to emergency calls in Austin for seven years. He's excited that the contract includes a pay raise and flexibility in the hiring process. Burrier believes a shorter week will help with the most critical challenges of his job, which can be both physical, and emotional.
    "It fatigues a lot of our employees. Anything we can do to reduce that down to a 42 hour -- or even less -- maybe a 40 hour, maybe it would be great," added Burrier.
    While city leaders say they understand the need for a shorter work week, at this point it's not a condition they can agree to.
    "It's a management right that we need to retain so we can change hours as demand changes in the city," says Deven Desai, the Chief Labor Relations Officer for the City of Austin.
    Desai says a happy and healthy workforce is a top priority, but points out other civil servants like police officers and firefighters also do not have the shorter workweek provision in their contracts.
    There are some EMS employees who work shorter hours, including administrators and communications staff. Burrier hopes all of his coworkers will soon be included in that group adding, "It will help an employee's longevity and in turn help the City of Austin, because that's who we're here for."
    Marquardt says discussions have already started about possibly changing the workweek policy. He says he's confident that both sides can find a solution.


9/25/2013 – 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. Final push to preserve jobs, services, by David Chapman, (9/24 late pickup) Jacksonville Daily Record via jaxdailyrecord.com
    JACKSONVILLE, Fla., USA - Saving several city jobs.
    Restoring several Jacksonville Journey programs, as well as senior center offerings.
    Eliminating the Human Rights Commission.
    All of those are among at least three dozen amendments the City Council will debate tonight before voting on the city budget.
    The council Finance Committee restored more than $50 million in cuts in Mayor Alvin Brown's proposed budget, which had about $65 million in service cuts. Those restorations, plus whatever makes it through tonight, will be funded by a tax rate increase of up to 1.5 mills – good for an additional $65 million in revenue.
    With about $14 million remaining, tonight will be the final opportunity to spend or save those funds.
    Many programs, services, projects and personnel with cuts outstanding are slated to be addressed by council.
    As of Monday afternoon, 36 floor amendments had been filed totaling $9.53 million from the special council contingency, the location of the projected millage revenue.
    About $12.6 million would be borrowed through the banking fund.
    The Jacksonville Public Library board still seeks $449,641 to maintain Saturday hours at the Main Library and another $173,370 for materials. Council member Bill Bishop has sponsored an amendment for the hours, but no one has come forth for the materials funding.
    Library officials last week had to tell the committee about the hours cut, which was met with unhappiness after members voted in August to restore $1.8 million to keep six branches open and Sunday hours at their current level.

    [But at least hours cut, not jobs cut.]
    "We understand that closing one of the most popular public buildings downtown is in direct conflict with downtown reinvestment. However … we have no other option as we are losing eight full-time positions, and funds for custodial and security costs," library board Chair Brenda Simmons-Hutchins said Monday.
    Library Director Barbara Gubbin and several library advocates will be in the crowd Tuesday.
    During the budget review, several items that came up short on votes for the nine-person Finance Committee will be heard by all 19 members.
    That includes a $399,880 restoration to Local Initiatives Support Corp., proposed by council member Greg Anderson.
    The agency helps residential neighborhoods and commercial developments by assisting nonprofits through lending, staff, training and other means.
    The funds would come through the Jacksonville Journey, another hard-hit program.
    Council members Robin Lumb, John Crescimbeni and Reggie Brown have combined on one amendment to restore $880,121 to the anti-crime initiative.
    That allocation would mean nearly all programs currently funded would be at the same level for the next fiscal year.
    The two exceptions would be the Juvenile Assessment Center and Ex-Offender Re-Entry Portal that the committee earlier agreed to fund at other levels.
    Brown will be the most active, with seven floor amendments in addition to his joint effort with Lumb and Crescimbeni.
    He is attempting to restore $84,875 for the Bob Hayes Track Meet, $254,821 for the Summer Night Lights program and $22,932 to keep Forest View Park open, among other actions.
    Council member Warren Jones has five amendments, most dealing with keeping parks and senior centers and their programs funded. He is seeking $202,019 to keep Louis Dinah, Hammond and Longbranch senior centers open, as well as $87,500 for the Edith Brown Community Center.
    "The City of Jacksonville for decades has always been concerned for senior citizens and young people," Jones said. "I'm trying to make sure some of these programs stay in place."
    One of two programs slated to lose funding through council amendments is the Downtown Investment Authority, which is proposed to have its $1.5 million operations budget slashed by $204,000.
    Authority CEO Aundra Wallace initially asked for a $1.7 million budget that included five people, but the Finance Committee decided for just four people and no deputy director position.
    When Wallace came back telling the committee he could make the numbers work for all five positions, the committee decided to cut the budget accordingly and left it at a four-person operation.
    Wallace on Monday said the funds and extra person would allow the organization to be competitive.
    The other floor amendment to cut funding will be offered by Don Redman, who is proposing to defund the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission. He has unsuccessfully tried to do so in the past.
    Jones said he is expecting a long night, a sentiment council President Bill Gulliford agreed with Monday.
    Gulliford said he is considering ways to push budget amendments toward the beginning of the meeting to encourage more involved debate.
    He said with the amount of amendments, he will consider coming up with a way to randomly select the order in which they will be heard.
    Gulliford said he also might ask council members to limit their debate time, but admitted that might be difficult.
    How the budget has arrived at this point has both pros and cons, but it's one that "addresses major concerns."
    "In some ways it's gone badly because of the budget we received. It's gone well from the efforts of many council members," he said.
    Although council has the option to use revenue up to the 1.5 mill increase, Gulliford said that as an individual council member, he would rather not for "symbolic" reasons.
    "I know there are still issues out there that need to be addressed," he said, "but I yield to the will of my colleagues."
    dchapman@baileypub.com (904)356-2466

  2. Time nears on working hours, by Kelly Ip, (9/26 over dateline) Hong Kong Standard via thestandard.com.hk
    HONG KONG - The study on standard working hours legislation is expected to begin early next year.
    Public consultation will be held in three districts, according to the Standard Working Hours Committee after its third meeting yesterday.
    Working Hours Consultation group convener Stanley Ng Chau-pei said: "Our group will strengthen public education, including producing introductory videos, [setting up] websites and exhibitions to stimulate discussions."
    Working Hours Study group convener Stanley Lau Chin-ho said the committee will study the effects of legislating standard hours on work culture, the environment, staff salaries, economic activities and competitiveness.
    The study is expected to be completed in the final quarter of next year.

    Committee chairman Leong Che-hung said the two working groups responsible for the consultation and study have begun their work.
    The committee agreed to conduct consultation in four areas, including the long working hours sectors mentioned in the Report of the Policy Study on Standard Working Hours, specific occupations or professions, the general public and other organizations.
    "On the working hours study, the committee agreed to use the Annual Earnings and Hours Survey, dedicated working hours surveys and a basket of factors for collecting and analyzing the required statistical data and information," Leong said.
    The committee will be able to obtain more updated and in-depth local working hours statistics and conduct a more comprehensive analysis and discussion, Leong added.
    The committee has agreed to ask consulting firms to assist with public consultation and the dedicated working hours surveys.
    Leong said the committee aims to complete a selection of consultants within the year and start the public consultation and the surveys as soon as possible.
    The working groups will strive to complete their work by the end of next year, and submit reports to the committee for deliberation and formulation of the next work stage.

  3. NHS employers make plea for a pay freeze to save jobs, by Laura Donnelly, (9/24 late pickup) Telegraph.co.uk
    NHS [National Health Service] trusts have called for a pay freeze for all staff this year, saying it would save the jobs of more than 15,000 nurses.
    LONDON, U.K. - Last year, employees were given a 1 per cent pay rise, after most had basic pay frozen for two years.
    NHS employers last night warned that repeating the rise would jeopardise patient care, and risk thousands of jobs.
    In a submission to independent pay review bodies, senior managers said an increase in pay in 2014/15 would be both “unaffordable and unnecessary”.
    They pointed out that despite pay freezes, average earnings have continued to increase in recent years because under a lucrative NHS scheme most staff automatically receive a salary boost regardless.
    Experts say that about 55 per cent of all NHS staff enjoy an automatic salary increase every year under pay scales which mean most receive an "incremental" rise for every year's service.
    The system means that in the past four years, average pay has risen by nearly nine per cent.
    NHS Employers, the organisation which represents health trusts, said that the whole system needed to be reformed, so that patients can receive proper care seven days a week.
    Ministers have pledged to introduce changes so that there are more senior staff working in hospitals at weekends, but doctors are seeking pay rises if they have to take on more un-social hours.
    An automatic 1 per cent pay rise for all staff would cost the NHS £500 million – the equivalent of more than 15,000 nurses or almost 5,000 consultants’ posts, NHS Employers said last night.
    Dean Royles, chief executive of the organisation said: “We have been listening to employers and they tell us that money in the NHS is very tight, while they are doing everything they can to retain staff and increase quality.”
    “We are already seeing considerable pressure on our ability to maintain staffing numbers and any such increase is bound to add to the pressure, impact on patient care and undermine job security. So a pay increase is not appropriate this year.”
    If the independent pay review decided to increase pay nonetheless, NHS Employers asked that the extra money be put aside to be put into future reform of pay and conditions.
    NHS Employers said current earnings in the NHS were “attractive and competitive”.
    Average pay in the NHS in 2012 was: £30,564 for a nurse, £109,651 for a consultant, £47,702 for a manager and £36,130 for a qualified paramedic.
    More than 10,000 senior NHS managers earn an average salary of more than £75,000.
    Official figures show that on average, NHS pay has risen by 9 per cent since 2009, despite pay freezes in two of the years. However, the highest increases have been enjoyed by senior managers, who have seen pay rise by an average of 13 per cent in four years, while nurse pay rose by an average of 7.5 per cent.
    Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has said the NHS needs to change the way it operates, to provide “proper out of hospital care” and higher standards within hospitals at weekends, if It is to remain sustainable.
    NHS consultants have agreed to renegotiate their contact, but will seek additional pay if they are asked to increase the number of weekend shifts they work.

  4. Oil sector to get new working-day norms - New norms allowing companies to post workers for 28 days on-site, followed by a 28-day off period, by Jyoti Mukul, (9/26 early pickup) Business-Standard.com
    NEW DELHI, India - In a move to standardise working hours within the oil and gas sector, the government might soon notify new norms allowing companies to post workers for 28 days on-site, followed by a 28-day off period.
    An industry group had made the suggestion of standardising working hours to the government after consulting trade unions. The suggestion has been accepted.

    The new rules are currently under legal vetting by the law ministry. The oil industry in India is governed by mining legislations. Working hours, conditions of service and employment in the industry are regulated under the Mines Act administered by the ministry of labour and employment.
    A new clause under Section 83 of the Mines Act is likely to be notified that would standardise the rule allowing companies to have 28 on and off days, said a person close to the development. “Section 83-A would be notified after the approval of Minister for Labour Sis Ram Ola,” he said.
    Section 83 of the Mines Act allows the government to exempt any area or mine or group of mines from certain provisions of the Act. This would bring Indian rules on par with international norms.
    Different companies follow varying practices with regard to notifying rest days. Within companies, the norms vary, depending on the location. Government-controlled Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), for instance, has staff working for 14 days on-site followed by 14 rest days. ONGC is the largest oil and gas explorer in the country.
    Cairn India, the largest private sector crude oil producer, follows a 21-day norm. Its major operations are in the remote Barmer district of Rajasthan.

    A senior ONGC executive said the norm differs on onshore locations according to the posting. For instance, the usual practice of six days eight hours work schedule is followed in Delhi offices.
    The change would be beneficial to the staff working in remote or offshore locations away from their families. “It would help to motivate people to work in remote locations,” said a senior executive of a private oil and gas company.
    However, the same norm for onshore and offshore locations might not serve the purpose. “The 14-day practice in ONGC was a well thought of move. It was set after elaborate discussions and deliberations,” said R P Pandey, national president, Association of Scientific and Technical Officers, a 23,000 member officers' body of ONGC. Pandey said while the 28-day norm could work in onshore locations, where in case of emergency a person can reach his family within hours, it might not be feasible in offshore locations.

  5. It happened on September 25th: Henry Ford creates the 5-day work week, by Josée Paquet, Auto123.com
    DETROIT, Mich., USA - On September 25th, 1926, Henry Ford revolutionized American working habits by shortening the traditional week from six to five days, and reducing each day from nine to eight hours.
    [The 40-hour workweek certainly existed before 1926. After all, a 40-hour workweek in continuous-process manufacturing and for women was already part of Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive "Bull Moose" Party platform in the 1912 presidential elections against corrupt Republican incumbent Taft and Democrat Woodrow Wilson. See Roediger & Foner's history of the workweek, Our Own Time.]
    Better yet, employees continued the earn the same wage!
    Henry Ford, who caused a stir in 1914 by creating the Five Dollar Day, helped further raise the daily wage to $6 in 1919, and $7 in 1927.
    Another historic moment for Ford occurred on September 25th, this one in 1913: The company ratified an agreement to sell the Model T in China.


9/24/2013 – 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. Working hours: Get a life, by C.W. & A.K.J.D., The Economist (blog) via economist.com
    LONDON, U.K. - Bertrand Russell, the English philosopher, was not a fan of work. In his 1932 essay, “In Praise of Idleness”, he reckoned that if society were better managed the average person would only need to work four hours a day. Such a small working day would “entitle a man to the necessities and elementary comforts of life.” The rest of the day could be devoted to the pursuit of science, painting and writing.
    Russell thought that technological advancement could free people from toil. John Maynard Keynes mooted a similar idea in a 1930 essay, "Economic possibilities for our grandchildren", in which he reckoned people might need work no more than 15 hours per week by 2030. But over eighty years after these speculations people seem to be working harder than ever. The Financial Times reports today that Workaholics Anonymous groups are taking off. Over the summer Bank of America faced intense criticism after a Stakhanovite intern died.
    But data from the OECD, a club of rich countries, tell a more positive story. For the countries for which data are available the vast majority of people work fewer hours than they did in 1990:
    *Working hours in 1990 and 2012, OECD countries [scan down to first graph]
    And it seems that more productive—and, consequently, better-paid—workers put in less time in at the office. The graph below shows the relationship between productivity (GDP per hour worked) and annual working hours:
    *Relationship between hours worked and productivity (OECD countries, 1990-2012) [scan down to second graph]
    The Greeks are some of the most hardworking in the OECD, putting in over 2,000 hours a year on average. Germans, on the other hand, are comparative slackers, working about 1,400 hours each year. But German productivity is about 70% higher.
    One important question concerns whether appetite for work actually diminishes as people earn more. There are countervailing effects. On the one hand, a higher wage raises the opportunity cost of leisure time and should lead people to work more. On the other hand, a higher income should lead a worker to consume more of the stuff he or she enjoys, which presumably includes leisure.
    Some research shows that higher pay does not, on net, lead workers to do more. Rather, they may work less. A famous study by Colin Camerer and colleagues, which looked at taxi drivers, reached a controversial conclusion. The authors suggested that taxi drivers had a daily income "target", and that:
    "When wages are high, drivers will reach their target more quickly and quit early; on low-wage days they will drive longer hours to reach the target."
    Alternatively, the graph above might suggest that people who work fewer hours are more productive. This idea is not new. Adam Smith reckoned that
    "[T]he man who works so moderately as to be able to work constantly, not only preserves his health the longest, but in the course of the year, executes the greatest quantity of works."
    There are aberrations, of course. Americans are relatively productive and work relatively long hours. And within the American labour force, hours worked among the rich have risen while those of the poor have fallen. But a paper released yesterday by the New Zealand Productivity Commission showed that even if you work more hours, you do not necessarily work better. The paper made envious comparisons between Kiwis and Australians—the latter group has more efficient workers.
    So maybe we should be more self-critical about how much we work. Working less may make us more productive. And, as Russell argued, working less will guarantee “happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia".

  2. Pelosi: Death Of 40-hour Work Week Means Freedom To ‘Follow Your Passion’, bizpacreview.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Americans with a lot free time on their hands thanks to Obamacare can spend it pursuing their happiness instead of earning a living, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday.
    During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Candy Crowley read Pelosi part of a letter signed by union [leader] James Hoffa Jr. that described Obamacare’s impact on employers as a way to “destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week.”
    "That’s pretty tough from a loyal Democratic constituency,” said Crowley, sometimes considered a pretty loyal Democratic constituency herself.
    Pelosi was unfazed.
    Some parts of Obamacare need to be clarified, she acknowledged, but losing that 40-hour work week will really free Americans to “pursue your happiness … follow your passion.”
    “Overwhelmingly, for the American people, this is a liberation,” the San Francisco millionaire said dreamily, possibly confusing “the American people” who have to make a living with her fellow guests at George Soros’s wedding Saturday in New York.
    “It’s about wellness, it’s about prevention, it’s about a healthy America,” she said. ...


9/22-23/2013 – 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. Ford carmaker temporarily halts car production; approx. 2,500 employees in a short time working situation, by Tom Holland tom.holland@scmp.com, 9/23 ACTmedia.eu
    CRAIOVA, Romania - Craiova-based (southern Romania) Ford car plant is temporally halting production of B-Max cars, as of Friday, because of a falling demand on the European market. Approximately 2,500 employees of the plant are currently found in a short time working situation, following the halt of production.
    The production will be suspended over September 20-October 4, following in the meantime the employees to be paid 80 percent of their standard wage, as dictated by the collective labour agreement.
    Late in August the Ford representatives made an announcement that the production will be stopped temporally as a reaction to the precarious situation on the European market.
    Ford Romania begin production at the plant in Craiova in 2012, when it launched the B-Max model, being the first model produced at the plant and the first 5-star EuroNCAP Romanian car. Also in 2012, Ford Romania began to produce in Craiova the 1.0 liter three-cylinder turbo gasoline direct fuel injection EcoBoost engine, which won the title of the International Engine of the year 2012. In 2013, Ford launched the production in Craiova of the second 1.5-liter Ecoboost engine (on gasoline), in the case of which it also began the serial production.
    Almost two months ago, Ford announced that it wanted to put an end to the period of losses in Europe and specified it had no intention to reduce again its production capacities in the region, since the market already looked like it was beginning to stabilize.

  2. A 15-hour work week sounds great, but we'd still want more, 9/22 South China Morning Post via scmp.com
    Our failure to spend more time in leisure is a result of our desire for material wealth with an emphasis on output growth for its own sake.
    [No it isn't. It's a result of the unstructured but effective conspiracy of the big industrialists in the 1920's to fight shorter-hours full employment with the "Gospel of Consumption" that Ben Hunnicutt documents in an early chapter of his wonderful history of the great depression ("Work Without End," 1988). They succeeded, via Madison Avenue (advertising), in stimulating desire for material wealth with an emphasis on output growth because they were compulsive control freaks - they wanted control, they wanted maximum face time, they wanted labor surplus to suppress wage "costs," nevermind a weakened consumer base, and within five years they had caused the Great Depression. And today they're causing the "Slow Recovery." Capitalism has always run poorly on an M1-coagulating&decirculating labor surplus, smoothly on an M1-spreading&circulating labor shortage - as perceived by employers (think labor-shortage-based wartime prosperity). Engineer-inventor-sociologist Arthur Dahlberg pointed this out in 1932 in his "Jobs, Machines & Capitalism" (Preface). And what "man hath put together (labor & surplus), man can rend asunder," with timesizing, not downsizing.]
    HONG KONG - Last Tuesday, Monitor [Christian Science Monitor?] looked at the rise of what it euphemistically called "billshut jobs".
    The article was inspired by London School of Economics professor David Graeber, who set out to solve a puzzle.
    In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by the early 21st century, advances in technology would require us to work for no more than 15 hours a week, allowing us to spend the rest of our time in leisure.
    Why, wondered the LSE professor, has this prediction so signally failed to come true?
    Graeber concluded that although in developed economies, industrial, agricultural and domestic occupations had indeed been automated largely out of existence, they had been replaced by vast numbers of jobs in public relations, management consultancy, human resources and similarly unproductive fields that kept millions busy achieving nothing at all.
    "It's as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working," he argued. "The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger."
    Monitor thought the explanation was less a conspiracy, more a demonstration of Parkinson's Law, which decrees that any task swells in importance and complexity in proportion to the time available. As a result, "a lack of real activity does not, of necessity, result in leisure".
    As you might imagine, the column elicited a considerable response, most jocular, but some serious.
    My thanks to the managing director of one British company, who blamed the proliferation of unproductive jobs on the ballooning influence of the state, which in Britain at least appears to be doing its best to stifle enterprise with red tape, tying up small companies with new regulations at the rate of dozens a month.
    I am especially grateful, however, to the good folk at publishing house Penguin China, which sent over a newly released paperback by Robert and Edward Skidelsky.
    How Much Is Enough? also sets out to explain where Keynes went wrong, although at a rather more cerebral level than last Tuesday's Monitor.
    As the accompanying charts show, Keynes' forecast of output per head was remarkably accurate. It was just his prediction for working hours that was so wide of the mark.
    The father and son, historian and philosopher team of Skidelsky and Skidelsky blame this failure to enjoy the leisure that ought to be ours on our economic insatiability: our desire for the material tokens of relative wealth, exacerbated by the failings of our modern economic system, with its undue emphasis on output growth for its own sake.
    On even the most cursory reading, there is a lot of wisdom in what they write. For example, their criticism of the world's obsession with gross domestic product is especially pertinent.
    As China is now finding, GDP is of limited use in gauging economic development. It's great at measuring output, but tells you nothing about the cost of that output in environmental or human welfare terms.
    But although they rightly ascribe our urge for more material wealth - iPhones, cars, luxury holidays, whatever - to our desire to possess more than our neighbours, Skidelsky and Skidelsky still underestimate the extent to which humans are a competitive species.
    Millions of years of evolution have equipped us to compete against each other, and for many, even most, of us, material goods - accumulated by long hours of work - are the way we attempt to show each other that we are winning the competition.
    It may be shallow, futile and destructive. But it's how we are.
    Alas, redirecting this competitive impulse away from gross materialism towards something more constructive is a task far, far beyond Keynes or any other economist.


9/21/2013 – 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. Long Work Hours By Doctors Linked With Work-Home Conflict, HuffingtonPost.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - A doctor's work may be objectively meaningful, but all those long hours could be taking a toll on his or her own well-being and work-home balance, according to new research.
    A study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine shows that about half of doctors experience work-home conflicts, which raises the risk of burnout.
    The study is based on survey results from 7,288 doctors (75.2 percent of whom are men) and 891 partners of doctors (73 percent of whom are women), who were evaluated on their burnout, quality of life and depression symptoms, as well as satisfaction with work-life balance, relationships and career. They were also questioned about work-home conflicts.
    The Mayo Clinic researchers found that 44.3 percent of doctors and 55.7 of employed partners reported work-home conflicts in the last three weeks, with more work hours correlating with greater work-home conflicts.
    Plus, work-home conflict was linked with burnout, with 47.1 percent of doctors who recently had a conflict reporting burnout symptoms, compared with 26.6 percent of doctors who didn't recently have a conflict.
    Female doctors, younger doctors, and doctors working at academic medical centers seemed to be especially affected by work-home conflicts, researchers found.
    They explained potential ramifications of work-home conflicts in the study:
    Previous studies of surgeons suggest an association between WHC and professional burnout, symptoms of depression, poor quality of life, alcohol abuse/dependency, relationship difficulties, and career dissatisfaction. Another study found that physicians who experienced role conflicts (as they struggle to balance personal responsibilities with a demanding medical career) were more dissatisfied with their spouse and parental duties. In addition, WHC also appear associated with career decisions, such as intent to reduce clinical hours and leave the current practice, which may impact access to medical care.
    The author of this study, Liselotte Dyrbye, found in past research that work hours and the presence and resolution of work-home conflicts have huge sway over burnout symptoms among doctors. Those findings, which were published in 2011 in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest "that work/home conflict and how that conflict is managed may be central factors for physician burnout in a variety of practice settings."
    Recently, a study in the journal Annals of Family Medicine showed that mindfulness training could be a useful tool in combating burnout in doctors and helping them better connect with their patients.

  2. Firms take 'wait and see' approach on health law, AP via Philly.com
    LEVITTOWN, Pa., USA - The mandate that large employers provide health care coverage to their employees has been put off until 2015, but some businesses have already started changing health care benefits.
    Still, many local employers say they have little choice but to "wait and see" how the Affordable Care Act and the public health marketplace that opens Oct. 1 will affect how they cover their workers.
    "We came to the conclusion, let's take a step back," said Wes Kuehnle, chief operating officer and co-owner of Spalding Automotive. "Let's see what happens. Let's not mess anybody up."
    Spalding, which makes parts for the automotive industry, employs more than 70 people at its manufacturing facility in Bensalem. The company offers a fully paid, high-deductible health plan to its employees and their families. It also gives $2,500 to each employee for a Health Savings Account with which they can pay medical costs, including treatment co-pays and prescriptions, Kuehnle said.
    That'll change next year, when employees start contributing 10 percent to their health plans. And any new hires going forward will pay a larger portion to cover their families. Kuehnle said the new arrangements were made after meeting with the union representing its employees.
    "We're basically forming a 'wait and see' attitude," he said. "It has not affected our hiring at this point. We had already believed in covering our employees. I can't imagine not giving them health insurance."
    The Affordable Care Act seeks to increase employer-sponsored health coverage in two ways: by requiring businesses with more than 50 employees to cover those who work at least 30 hours a week or face penalties for not doing so; and by giving tax credits to small businesses with fewer than 25 employees who decide to provide health insurance.
    Employees can shop around on the public exchanges starting Oct. 1, but they may not qualify for subsidies if their employer already provides an affordable health insurance plan that complies with Affordable Care Act rules. There's a separate exchange offering plans for small employers, but experts say many are choosing to avoid those exchanges because they can get more options elsewhere. Shopping on the small business exchange is only required if a small employer plans to claim the tax credits.
    Across the country, employers are reacting.
    A survey released in March by professional services firm Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health found that more than 80 percent of respondents plan to continue raising the share of the premiums paid by employees. But 82 percent said they wouldn't direct active employees to an exchange without a subsidy over the next five years. And 60 percent said they wouldn't do so even if the employees were eligible for subsidies based on their income.
    Some companies, like Wegmans, are changing who they cover. The grocery store chain, which has a market in Warrington and one under construction in Montgomery Township, announced earlier this summer that it would increase its eligibility requirements from 20 hours a week to 30 hours starting in 2015.
    "Even though the new health care law is requiring some changes, we are not going to do anything that will hurt our employees," the company said in a statement. "Wegmans will continue to offer health care benefits for part-time employees, but eligibility requirements will change."
    Other employers are cutting worker hours.
    Retailer Forever 21 announced last month it would cut line workers to 29.5 hours a week. The company denied the decision was made based on the Affordable Care Act, but rather a result of an internal audit. And still others, like UPS, said they'd no longer cover spouses of non-union employees if the spouse could get coverage through his or her own employer.
    In the past few years, the Advertising Specialty Institute, a Bensalem trade group for the promotional products industry, also stopped covering spouses who could get coverage through their own employer, said CEO Tim Andrews.
    "We started looking at (health insurance) several years ago," Andrews said. "The costs were going up so dramatically every year."
    With 450 employees, ASI is one of Bucks County's largest employers. The company has more than 600 people enrolled in its benefits plan, including employee spouses and children.
    "We've been preparing for a long time, putting programs in place," Andrews said. "Now we're really ramping up as time gets a little closer."
    Among those programs are incentives for employees who quit smoking - up to $1,500 in cash - and wellness programs like fitness classes and healthy lunch options in the company cafeteria. The Affordable Care Act encourages workplace wellness programs.
    "At the end of the day, people don't know what's going to happen," Andrews said. "People can have any theory they want. The theory can be that the healthy people flee to another plan, and the people left behind are the people who are most expensive to cover. We don't know. All we know is that we want to provide the best benefits that we can for our employees, and do it at a cost that makes sense for them and for us."
    Scott Post, vice president of corporate and association affairs for Independence Blue Cross, said employers will begin to see a new suite of plan offerings starting in 2014. Those plans have been reconfigured to comply with the ACA.
    "We're withdrawing all our current products over the next year and introducing a whole new product suite," Post said. "It's a big effort to get everything ready. We've been at it for well over a year. They'll all carry the same essential health benefits. But come your renewal date, you'll, at that point, have to come into a compliant health plan to offer your employees, if you choose to offer them."
    Post said the insurer hasn't seen a large-scale exodus of companies dumping health insurance. But it is seeing a larger number of employers adopt defined contribution as a benefit strategy, in which the employer contributes a set amount and allows the employee to pick from a private exchange with several plans.
    "A carrier can go to an employer and say, 'I'll set up a whole suite of products for you - as many as 5 or 10 product designs - and you can decide to give your employee a set amount of money to go into this exchange and be able to find a product that they like and they purchase, and in that way your expenses are capped. They're known. And next year you can decide to increase that amount or not," Post explained.
    Kristen Dougherty, employee benefits sales manager for Univest Insurance, said she's seen a similar trend toward defined contribution benefits.
    "This was something in place in the past, and we've gotten away from this," she said. "(The employer is) setting a dollar amount, and you pick what makes sense for you. The insurers are on board with this; they're allowing us to offer multiple plan options. In the past, it was only two or three plans. Now it can be five ... up to 20 plans being offered."
    Univest Insurance is a division of the Souderton-based Univest Corp., which provides insurance to 605 full-time and part-time employees working at least 20 hours a week, said Theresa Schwartzer, senior vice president and director of human resources.
    Univest has been self-insured for the past seven years, and its plan is already compliant with the Affordable Care Act requirements, Schwartzer said.
    "We look at that as a very important part of our overall compensation package," she said. "We pride ourselves in offering an affordable plan."
    US BioDesigns, a medical textile manufacturer headquartered in Quakertown, has 15 full- and part-time employees, and provides medical coverage with a Health Savings Account plan to its full-time workers, said CEO Tom Molz.
    The cost of providing that care went up nearly 20 percent this year, and the company is bracing for an even greater impact next year.
    "It's a huge concern," Molz said. "It makes us hesitate significantly to hire full-time employees. That's a sad thing to say. Everyone wants to become employed and have benefits and take care of their families, but from a company perspective, it's a huge deal."
    His company is looking into taking advantage of next year's tax credits, which would require it to purchase health insurance through a small-business exchange similar to the public exchanges. But it's also considering other options, including make direct contributions to help employees obtain their own coverage.
    "We have a health insurance broker that we deal with, and it's very confusing to everyone," said Molz, who added that he "fundamentally disagrees" with government-enforced health care.
    Ed MacConnell, president of Total Benefits Solutions, a benefits brokerage in Lower Southampton, said he, too, is seeing confusion among his clients.
    "The big concern for my clients is, 'what are we supposed to do?' " he said. "Business people are smart. They try to prepare. So many clients are just not sure. They want to do the right thing. But sometimes, they're afraid to act because it may be wrong, or the rules may change.
    "The impact isn't necessarily on the rates, as it is on their own planning and staffing. If you have 24 people and you qualify for a tax credit in the exchange, then you think about hiring two more people, you eliminated yourself from that tax credit," MacConnell added. "You have to be aware as a business owner what that means. The same also applies if you're on the borderline of 50. Do you lay people off? Do you add people?"


9/20/2013 – 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. Opposition asks judges to review longer work week, ThePortugalNews.com
    LISBON, Portugal - The opposition Socialist Party in Portugal’s parliament has submitted to the Constitutional Court a request that it review the legality of government legislation that foresees[??] an increase in the work week of public sector employees to 40 hours.
    The new rules are to come into force on 28 September, in a change that the government says should save some €204 million between now and 2014. Public sector employees currently work no more than 35 hours a week.

  2. Long working hours can age you! Wonder Woman via wonderwoman.intoday.in
    NEW DELHI, India - If you are sitting all day in office and giving extra hours, you might get a good pay check but chances are that you will also get old sooner than you can imagine.
    According to Jill Zander, founder of the Jill Zander Skin Rejuvenation Clinic, sitting and working on a desk is directly connected to ageing.
    Sitting with your head bent slightly forward staring at a keyboard, laptop or iPad screen, may shorten the neck muscles and increase the gravitational pull on the jawline eventually leading to the formation of jowls, reports femalefirst.co.uk.
    To avoid this, it is important to keep the position of computer screens positioned in the right manner. This helps prevent a drooping jawline which can be caused by looking down too much.
    If you constantly lean your face on your hands in certain positions at your desk day after day, it can enhance the sleep lines that are formed if you sleep in a particular position.
    To avoid this you can adjust your chair height so that your forearms rest on the desk. This will make you less likely to lean on your hand and make you more aware of your sitting position.
    Office stress can lead to skin stress.
    According to a study, the stress can have damaging effect on critical DNA in the cells in the body. Because of stress the sebaceous glands also produce more oil and this can result in adult acne.
    A walk for five minutes outside office can help you de-stress and it can also boost Vitamin D levels, which stimulates the production of elastin and collagen.


9/19/2013 – 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. Press release - Regulatory News: PSA Peugeot Citroen (Paris:UG): New Social Contract, Business Wire via Wall Street Journal via online.wsj.com
    PARIS, France - PSA Peugeot Citroen, Meeting of 18 September [Minutes Summary]
    On 18 September, the eleventh meeting was held with employee representatives to build the New Social Contract to align the Group's competitiveness needs with employee interests.
    The two objectives of this meeting, which was added to the original schedule, were to respond to questions about measures proposed in prior meetings and to present and discuss an initial draft of the New Social Contract agreement.
    During the Q&A session, Management explained important measures that would take effect if the agreement receives majority backing, covering in particular:
    -- The PSA intergenerational contract.
    -- The management of reduced workweek days (RTT).
    -- The variable hours working system in the plants.
    -- Telecommuting.
    -- A promotional offer for used vehicle purchases by employees.
    -- A system to give employees a share in the results of PSA Peugeot Citroën's recovery.
    1. More than 2,000 young people to be hired on work-study contracts in the next two years
    If the agreement is signed, Management announced its commitment to hiring more than 2,000 young people in the next two years under work-study arrangements (apprenticeship, skills qualification, VIE co-op placement or CIFRE doctoral student contract) within the framework of the PSA intergenerational contract applicable in France for the 2014-2016 period. This intergenerational contract is based on the concept of one young person brought into the workforce for one senior retained through end-of-career transitioning.
    Interested seniors would also be given the opportunity to adjust their end-of-career schedules over a maximum period of two years (extended to three years for employees in hardship positions).
    2. Reduced workweek day (RTT) system maintained, with an obligation to take allotted days within each year (day shift employees)
    [RTT = réduit temps de travail? = reduced worktime]
    To align employees' basic interests with the need to reduce provision expenses stemming from the capitalisation of reduced workweek days (RTT), Management has proposed to maintain the existing system of 11 days for day shift employees, with an obligation to take the allotted days within each year.
    The days would be tallied as of 1 January of each year.
    The rules for taking RTT days would be revised:
    -- Employees would be obliged to take the 11 days within the calendar year.
    -- Up to five of the RTT days would be scheduled in cooperation with the departments and local labour unions on the basis of collective work programmes. One of the RTT days would be scheduled on the French national solidarity day and at least five would be scheduled at the employee's discretion.
    -- Current RTT tallies would be maintained, but the balance as of 31 December 2013 would have to be gradually taken:
    -- Before the employee leaves the Company or retires, for the permanent un-capped reserve.
    -- By 31 December 2015 (date under review), for the permanent capped reserve (currently capped at 20 days).
    -- Employees would be able to receive payment in lieu of time off only in exceptional circumstances, for example to buy a Peugeot or Citroën vehicle, to prevent over-indebtedness, to finance their children's higher education or in the event of a marriage or civil partnership.
    3. Rules governing the variable hours working system in the plants defined The 45% premium currently applied for variable hours on Saturdays would be reduced to the legally mandated level of 25% and would be paid at the end of the month. The variable hours working system would range from five extra days to five days off, with the possibility of carrying over three extra days/three days off. Any changes in the work schedule notified less than seven days in advance would not be covered by the variable hours working system.
    4. Innovative measures concerning workplace quality of life were proposed, notably telecommuting with related guarantees.
    5. At the labour unions' request, a plan to launch a promotional offer for used vehicle purchases by employees will be defined in the near future. This plan would extend the existing employee offer.
    6. To give employees a share in the results of the Company's recovery (as defined by a return to breakeven in the Automobile Division), Management confirmed its commitment to drafting an amendment to the current three-year agreement governing discretionary and non-discretionary profit sharing. This amendment would increase the percentage of redistribution of recurring operating income and revise the allocation of amounts paid under discretionary profit sharing.
    The Group will also propose an additional discretionary profit sharing payment after 2014, once the Automobile Division has returned to breakeven.
    An initial draft of the New Social Contract framework agreement was submitted to the labour unions for review.
    The New Social Contract includes four agreements covering measures to:
    -- Strengthen social dialogue as part of the recovery strategy (social cohesion to share the Company's vision, challenges and projects).
    -- Anticipate changes in jobs and skills within the Group (secure jobs and skills).
    -- Create a PSA intergenerational contract (bring young people into the workforce and retain seniors under appropriate arrangements).
    -- Sustain a dynamic of development and competitiveness (maintain PSA Peugeot Citroën's strong base in France and preserve employees' essential interests).
    As announced, details will be provided at the next meeting on the commitments and concessions in the agreement on competitiveness to maintain the Group's strong base in France.
    CONTACT: PSA Peugeot Citroen
    SOURCE: PSA Peugeot Citroen via Business Wire 2013
    Visit http://djnweurope.ar.wilink.com/?ticker=FR0000121501 or call +44 (0)208 391 6028
    Order free Annual Report for Peugeot SA
    Visit http://djnweurope.ar.wilink.com/?ticker=US7168255005 or call +44 (0)208 391 6028

  2. ObamaCare Mandate: 301 Employers Cut Hours, Jobs, Investor's Business Daily via news.investors.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - More than 300 employers have cut work hours or jobs, or otherwise shifted away from full-time staff, to limit liability under ObamaCare, according to a newly updated IBD analysis.
    [Probably a gross undercount.]

    The ObamaCare Employer Mandate: A List Of Cuts To Work Hours, Jobs now includes 62 private employers and 239 public-sector employers. The list includes 80 school districts that have cited Affordable Care Act costs as a reason for cutting work hours — or in several cases outsourcing functions — of part-time instructional aides, cafeteria workers, custodians and bus drivers.
    It also includes 46 universities and colleges — in some cases college systems — that have reduced teaching loads for adjunct faculty.
    The 43 entries added to the list in the past two weeks reflect numerous actions taken before the Obama administration announced a one-year delay of ObamaCare employer mandate penalties on July 2. But the list also includes actions taken more recently, such as SeaWorld Entertainment's decision to limit part-time workers to 28 hours per week, down from 32 hours previously.
    Although the mandate won't take effect until January 2015, fines will be based on employment levels beginning in the second half of 2014 — or earlier.
    The IBD list reflects an extensive effort to find cases of employers responding to ObamaCare's penalties by reducing work, but only those instances in which evidence (generally news accounts or public documents) is clear-cut.
    The list doesn't begin to provide an actual accounting of the impact of the employer mandate. A large share of employers on the list has emerged due to solid local reporting. That may be a reason why Indiana, with 47 employers on the list, tops any other state.
    And private employers who spend a lot of money and effort to build up their brands may be wary of admitting to actions that will hurt modest-wage workers.
    In addition to SeaWorld (SEAS), 10 other private employers just added to the list include a group home for disabled adults; a YMCA; two private universities; the K-VA-T Food Stores regional supermarket; the Bealls regional department store ; and four restaurant operations.
    The White House and like-minded economists have downplayed the growing body of anecdotal evidence about the downside of ObamaCare's employer mandate, insisting that there's no sign hours work are being curtailed.
    Official data show the opposite is true: Something is seriously depressing the workweek for low-wage earners.
    Workers in low-wage industries clocked the shortest average workweek on record in July, just 27.4 hours, an IBD analysis of the latest available Bureau of Labor Statistics industry data shows.

  3. Maximum working hours and reasonable additional hours, Keren Letherbarrow, Baker & McKenzie via Lexology.com (registration)
    Sydney, Australia - Somewhere between responding to emails at the traffic lights, and dialling into a teleconference in the interval of a school Christmas pageant, most of us have found the time to complain about the ever increasing spread of our working hours. In August this year, the death of a German bank intern in London reportedly caused by his excessive working hours, highlighted the tendency towards long hours in professional circles. More recently in New York, a former personal assistant to Lady Gaga has caused a stir by pressing a suit for overtime in a case that sheds light on the bizarre life of a pop-star's aide. The former PA, Jennifer O'Neill, alleges that she spent the majority of her waking hours with Lady Gaga, often sleeping alongside her employer, and being woken to perform routine tasks such as changing a DVD. The claim, and exposé of showbiz oddities continues…
    Closer to home and reality, a recent study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggests that we aren't working longer hours. Although, we still work significant amounts of unpaid overtime. As at November 2012, over a third of Australian employees regularly worked additional hours, with more than a quarter of this group doing so unpaid (Working Time Arrangements, Australia, November 2012 ABS 6342.0 3 May 2013).
    Thankfully, workplace deaths due to working hours are rare, although long hours are often associated with many other health and wellbeing issues. In a number of professions there is no financial disincentive (like overtime) to employers who ask their employees to put in additional hours. Employees who are not covered by awards or industrial instruments are often paid an annualised salary, which includes payment for all hours worked. Whilst this is permissible in most instances, employers must be mindful of the maximum working hours restrictions applicable to employees in Australia. Of course, even where employees are compensated directly for overtime, employers must still comply with maximum working hours laws.
    The Golden Rule: 38 hours + "reasonable additional hours"
    The Fair Work Act sets the maximum working hours for full time employees at 38 hours per week. Although, the Fair Work Act also allows employers to require "reasonable additional hours" of their employees.

    When determining what constitutes "reasonable additional hours", the Fair Work Act lists 10 factors to be taken into account:
    1. any risk to health and safety;
    2. the employee's personal circumstances, including family responsibilities;
    3. the needs of the workplace;
    4. any overtime payments, penalty rates or other compensation for working additional hours;
    5. notice given by the employer;
    6. notice given by the employee of their refusal to work the additional hours;
    7. the usual patterns of work in the relevant industry;
    8. the nature of the employee's role and level of responsibility;
    9. whether the additional hours are in accordance with averaging terms included in applicable modern awards or enterprise agreements that, or with an agreed averaging arrangement; and
    10. any other relevant matter.
    Where the additional hours are not "reasonable", an employee may refuse to work the additional hours
    When reasonable becomes unreasonable: what Courts and Tribunals say
    It can be a difficult exercise to determine how far a Court or Commission will stretch the concept of reasonable additional hours in a particular instance. Importantly, cases on reasonable working hours, such as Macpherson v Coal & Allied Mining Service (No 2) [2009] FMCA 88 and Premier Pet Pty Ltd trading as Bay Fish v Brown (No 2) [2013] FCA 167, show that the Courts will take into account each employee's personal circumstances when determining reasonableness, whilst balancing the interests and conduct of the employer in seeking to have additional hours worked.
    In Macpherson, the employee mineworker argued against a rostered increase in hours from 40 to 44 per week because of his personal circumstances. He alleged that the longer hours disrupted his family responsibilities, such as meal times and coaching his son's sporting team.
    Whilst the Magistrate accepted that the employee's personal circumstances were relevant, more weight was given to the needs of the workplace and the usual patterns of work in the mining industry. In particular, the Magistrate noted that the extra hours were consistent with industry practice, and that the new roster would result in extra time off for the employee. It was also significant that the extra hours were supported by a pay increase. Taking account of these factors, the Magistrate found that the benefit to the employer outweighed the detriment to the employee, and that the additional working hours were "reasonable".
    Macpherson was later applied by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in the case of Secretary, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations v Jan Kliszka [2011] AATA 56. In this case, the employer increased the working hours of its employees by six hours of overtime on occasional Saturdays during the December busy period. The employee refused to do the time and was subsequently terminated on the grounds of misconduct because he "refused to work reasonable overtime". As a result of the misconduct, an officer of Centrelink (the Applicant) imposed an 8 week non-payment period on the employee's Newstart Allowance.
    In this case, the Tribunal applied Macpherson and found that the additional hours were "reasonable". In particular, the Tribunal placed emphasis on the following factors:
    • there was no associated health and safety risk;
    • the employee's evidence that the additional hours were unreasonable due to his personal circumstances (being that he played golf on Saturdays) was not persuasive;
    • the employer's operational requirements during December required the employee to work occasional Saturdays; and
    • clear notice of the additional hours was given to the employee.
    The employer was not so lucky in the case of Premier. This case involved an appeal against a successful claim by the employee that his termination was adverse action in contravention of the Fair Work Act, because he had chosen to exercise a workplace right in refusing to work unreasonable overtime.
    The employee was employed as a full-time fish keeper with Premier in March 2011. In July, Premier introduced mandatory rostering arrangements which required all employees to conduct routine maintenance work on non-trading days (weekends and public holidays). The employee refused to participate in the mandatory overtime roster and was dismissed on 15 July 2011.
    In ruling that the employee was entitled to refuse to work the additional hours, the Magistrate considered the 10 factors in the Fair Work Act, and gave particular attention to the following:
    • the employee's personal circumstances, being that he was bankrupt, assisted his live-in mother and worked for an internet retail business selling swords when not at work for Premier;
    • the lack of evidence presented by Premier as to the needs of the particular workforce, the usual patterns in the industry and the employee's level of responsibility;
    • the lack of consultation with employees about changes to rosters;
    • that the employee did not refuse to work overtime or on weekends, he simply suggested that there ought to be some time off in lieu or other recognition of the time he worked on the weekend.
    The Federal Court found no reason to overturn the Magistrates decision, and the employee was reinstated to his role of fish keeper.
    Being mindful of not just how long, but "when"
    These cases concentrate more on the question of "when", as opposed to how long. Employees tend to take issue more readily where their personal commitments are impacted, as apposed to the sheer number of hours they clock in. It is true that, whilst working on your golf handicap doesn't make the cut, personal circumstances may be a legitimate cause to refuse additional hours. And in considering whether the number of additional hours worked is reasonable, it is clear that the Courts will consider the health and safety of individual employees.
    In any event, and while smartphones continue to increase their IQ with every new release, complaints about working hours are likely to continue for as long as we rely on technology to empower flexible work arrangements. Whilst remote access is undoubtedly convenient for many industries, employers should still consider the impact of such access on their employees' "reasonable additional hours". When considering employees' working hours, employers need to be mindful of personal circumstances, the impact of working hours on health and safety, and also the long term impact of unsuitable working hours on workforce productivity. We also strongly recommend that you change your own DVDs and avoid sleepovers with your subordinates....


9/18/2013 – 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. Reduce working week to 30 hours, say economists, by Rosa Silverman, Telegraph.co.uk
    LONDON, U.K. - A shorter working week would make us healthier, give us more fulfilling and sustainable lives and be better for the environment, economists have suggested.
    Cutting the hours we work each week to 30 instead of 40 would improve our wellbeing, our family life, friendships and communities, they say.
    Combined with a range of new career breaks, it could also lower carbon emissions, it was argued.
    The claims are made in new book by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), in which experts say that aiming for a 30-hour week could be possible through gradual changes to the labour market.
    Companies should be encouraged to give workers more time off instead of pay rises, while young people starting out in the job market could work a four-day week, as has happened in the Netherlands, it notes.
    Following the lead of Belgium, the Government should give all workers a right to request shorter hours and increase the minimum wage, it says.
    Anna Coote, head of social policy at the NEF, an independent think-tank, said: "It's time to make 'part-time' the new 'full-time'.
    "We must rethink the way we divide up our hours between paid and unpaid activities, and make sure everyone has a fair share of free time."
    Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany have shown it is possible to make changes like these without weakening their economies, the books claims.
    It adds: "Time spent providing unpaid care constitutes an important civic contribution that is often unrecognised.
    "A shorter working week would both ease the pressure on carers, most of whom are women, and enable their responsibilities to be more widely shared with men. It could therefore help tackle the entrenched domestic bases of gender inequalities."
    Tim Jackson, professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey, Robert Skidelsky, emeritus professor of political economy at Warwick University, and Juliet Schor, professor in the sociology department, Boston College, are among the book contributors.
    Ms Coote said: "We all know the saying 'time is money', but it is much more precious than that.
    "Inequalities between rich and poor are widening. This scandal masks another inequality - between those who have plenty of control over their time, and those who don't.
    "Time poverty and money poverty often go hand in hand."
    "Having too little time to call our own can seriously damage our health and wellbeing, our family life, friendships and communities.
    "No one should be made to work long and unsocial hours to make ends meet. Low pay and long-hours working must be tackled at the same time."

  2. Doctor's action is supported by nurses, by Clodagh Sheehy, Herald.ie
    DUBLIN, Ireland – Nurses have pledged support for junior hospital doctors who will begin industrial action next Wednesday in a dispute over long working hours.
    The nurses have been advised by their organisation not to do the work normally carried out by non-consultant hospital doctors on the day of the dispute.
    The executive council of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) took the unanimous decision yesterday in response to a request from the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO).
    It has also condemned the HSE for its failure to implement the maximum working hours directive for the doctors.
    BREACH
    Speaking after the meeting, INMO general secretary Liam Doran said: "The HSE are clearly in breach of both Irish and EU law and are exposing the State to very substantial fines from the EU for their continuing failure to implement the law having breached all deadlines.
    "It is unacceptable that they have now forced doctors into dispute in order to achieve safe working hours and protect patients."
    The junior doctors are due to go on strike in a dispute over rosters.
    The IMO has said the doctors are not paid enough to justify their workload with interns starting at €32,000 a year rising to the most senior level earning about €80,000.
    The doctors' organisation says the excessive working hours of its members is leading to a huge rise in emigration with estimates of more than 50pc planning to leave the Irish health service.
    hnews@herald.ie


9/17/2013 – 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. Who Works Harder? American And European Entrepreneurs By The Numbers, by Meghan Casserly, Forbes.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Forget the 4-Hour workweek. American entrepreneurs work, on average, six hours longer than their contracted counterparts each week and are busier than ever.
    [Forget who works harder and longer. The real question is, Who works smarter and shorter?]
    But when we stack the stateside small business community against the European, it seems Americans aren’t putting in anything close to the long hours of their overseas competitors.
    The fifth annual Hiscox ‘DNA of an Entrepreneur’ study surveys roughly 200,000 small business owners across six countries: the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Germany Spain and France. The goal for the company, which provides insurance to entrepreneurs, is to better take the temperature on client needs. Of course in doing so each year they highlight a different trend—in 2012 the focus was resiliency, 2013 surveys levels of optimism. You get the idea.
    But the most interesting piece of insight from the 2013 report, released this month, comes in a country-by-country breakdown of the entrepreneur’s workweek. Who works the longest and what do these small business owners actually count as work?
    By the numbers German entrepreneurs put in the most hours, at an average 43.7 hours a week while American small business owners own up to just shy of 40 (for reference, the current average work week of an American employee is 33.7). But a closer look at what founders told Hiscox about how they define “work” reveals that we’re not quite talking apples to apples.
    German and Spanish entrepreneurs, for example, lead the thinking that continuing education in their area of expertise counts as work. 70% agree in those countries, trailed by a few percentage points in the U.K, U.S. and the Netherlands while French entrepreneurs seem to disagree. 58% of French business owners say “increasing expertise” is a part of the job description. Similarly entrepreneurs in these nations color networking events in different lights. The majority of Spanish, Dutch, American and British entrepreneurs count hours spent socializing professionally in their work-week while the German and French do not.
    Here’s the breakdown by the numbers—fun to go through over lunch. For the record, if you’re a British founder, you’d count that as work. The Germans would wag their finger—and dock your pay.
    Germany
    Average working week: 43.7 hours
    Agree that “work” includes:
    -eating lunch at desk 20%
    -entertaining clients 51%
    -traveling to and from work 42%
    -networking events 44%
    -continuing education (increasing expertise) 70%
    -out of office email and calls 62%
    Spain
    Average working week: 43.6 hours
    Agree that “work” includes:
    -eating lunch at desk 43%
    -entertaining clients 67%
    -traveling to and from work 54%
    -networking events 65%
    -continuing education (increasing expertise) 70%
    -out of office email and calls 62%
    France
    Average working week: 42.1 hours
    Agree that “work” includes:
    -eating lunch at desk 37%
    -entertaining clients 36%
    -traveling to and from work 45%
    -networking events 34%
    -continuing education (increasing expertise) 58%
    -out of office email and calls 63%
    Netherlands
    Average working week: 40.3 hours
    Agree that “work” includes:
    -eating lunch at desk 34%
    -entertaining clients 76%
    -traveling to and from work 42%
    -networking events 63%
    -continuing education (increasing expertise) 66%
    -out of office email and calls 67%
    United Kingdom
    Average working week: 37.6 hours
    Agree that “work” includes:
    -eating lunch at desk 51%
    -entertaining clients 69%
    -traveling to and from work 43%
    -networking events 71%
    -continuing education (increasing expertise) 69%
    -out of office email and calls 72%
    United States
    Average working week: 39.5 hours
    Agree that “work” includes:
    -eating lunch at desk 40%
    -entertaining clients 54%
    -traveling to and from work 44%
    -networking events 57%
    -continuing education (increasing expertise) 67%
    -out of office email and calls 62%

  2. The 72-Hour Workweek Is the New Norm, but Don't Blame Your Smartphone, by Brittany Ballenstedt, Nextgov.com
    TRAVIS AIRFORCE BASE, Calif., USA - Has the number of hours you work per week increased in recent years? You may be inclined to blame your smartphone, according to a new study.
    A recent survey of 483 executive, managers and professionals by the Center for Creative Leadership found that 60 percent of those who carry smartphones for work are connected to their jobs 13.5 or more hours per day on weekdays and about five hours on weekends, for a total of 72 hours. This breaks down to employees spending 62 percent of their waking hours each week connected to work.
    Still, the challenge here may have little to do with the technology. Most respondents surveyed did not seem to mind clocking those additional hours, with many saying they appreciate the ability to respond to urgent work requests while at home or on vacation, if only to help their colleagues and keep operations running smoothly.
    Instead, what bothers many professionals is that their organizations are using this “always on” connectivity to mask poor processes, indecision, dysfunctional cultures and subpar infrastructure, the study found.
    "While technology may be a logical scapegoat, it is actually just a new-age mask for an age-old problem: poor management and poor leadership,” the report states. “But now, the stakes are higher as professionals begin to ask, ‘Where did my life go?’”
    As a result, many professionals are having to use their personal time – and their smartphones – to make up for lost or wasted time at the office. The most common time-wasters cited by respondents were unnecessary emails (96 percent), poorly planned meetings (90 percent), unnecessary meetings (87 percent), and inadequate technology (78 percent).
    The center advised organizations to evaluate these time wasters and calculate the costs of keeping the status quo. It may be more cost-effective to buy new computers or update technology systems, for example, than waste the valuable time of employees. More thorough meeting planning, better communication and/or hiring additional staff also could help alleviate some workers’ frustrations, the study noted.
    “In the past, technological limitations largely prevented employees from paying the price for many organizational inefficiencies,” the report states. “Today, organizations have a new tool they can use to shift the costs of that wasted time to the individual. How to manage the demand for increased production without needing to be more efficient or hire more people? Issue EMPs smartphones, declare yours a ‘flexible workplace,’ and increase the workweek from 8/5 to 24/.7.”
    As a federal employee, can you identify with some of the concerns cited by workers in the study? Has technology become the scapegoat for poor management and outdated processes?
    Hat tip: Harvard Business Review


9/15-16/2013 – 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. Social Service head asks about year-round four day work week, by Keith Lobdell, 9/15 Denton Publications via DenPubs.com
    ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y., USA — The Department of Social Services is looking to continue a summer policy into the winter.
    Department Director John O’Neill spoke to members of the Human Services Committee during its Sept. 9 meeting about offering department employees a four day work week.
    “It’s probably half of our department that takes advantage of that,” O’Neill said about the current policy of allowing employees to work four day weeks during the summer. “So far in talking with employees and customers, this has not created any hardships that impact our employees or impact our customers.”
    Currently, the Department of Public Works allows for four day work weeks throughout the year.
    “This is a little bit different than the four day work week in the DPW,” County Manager Dan Palmer said. “In this case, the office remains open all five days and it is just a matter of scheduling different employees to work at different times during the week.”

    Palmer echoed the remarks by O’Neill that there had been no complaints with the summer policy in place.
    “I have not gotten any complaints or issues from the public or from anybody else saying they could not get service because there was not enough staff on during the summer months,” Palmer said. “It comes down to whether or not this board wanted to approve it.”
    “My concern would be that if we allowed one department and then every department would want to do it,” Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston said.
    “It does not change the five days, it just changes who would be staffing the office during the five days,” Palmer responded, saying that the ultimate decision would come down to each department head.
    “In my department, I probably would not allow it because we are just too small,” Palmer said. “It would just come down to each department head and what they would want to do.”

  2. EDF Urged to Revise Staff Working Hours to Bolster Productivity, by Tara Patel, 9/16 Businessweek.com
    PARIS, France - Électricité de France SA, Europe’s biggest power generator, must review the 32-hour working week of its employees to increase their availability and boost productivity, the state auditor said.
    State-controlled EDF should tighten control of “on call” hours to reduce costly overtime, the Cour des Comptes said today in a letter to the finance minister published on its website.

    The advisory is the latest of several audits of EDF, which has been saddled with billions of euros of costs to improve safety at its French reactors. Last year the Cour des Comptes said EDF staff perks including housing benefits amounted to an “exorbitant” 645 million euros ($862 million) annually, while salary increases outstripped those at private companies.
    Neither Paris-based EDF nor its two distribution and transport units have “reliable tools to count working hours,” the auditor said today. The three entities, which employ about 105,000 people, signed a “mosaic” of labor agreements in 1999, the most common designating a 32-hour week to allow more hiring.
    EDF began reviewing working hours in April, Jill Coulombez, a spokeswoman, said today by telephone, declining to elaborate.
    The utility in February promised to cut expenses by 1 billion euros on top of a plan to reduce costs by 2.5 billion euros from 2010 to 2015. Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici urged EDF in July to strengthen its cost-saving program further.
    To contact the reporter on this story: Tara Patel in Paris at tpatel2@bloomberg.net


9/14/2013 – 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. Why Workers —And Employers— Need a 4-Day Work Week - Many employers openly oppose 4-day work weeks; Some industries are more adaptable than others, by Richard Eisenberg, Patch.com via sanbruno.patch.com
    ...Several reasons why..we should all work 4-day work weeks. (photo caption)
    [This is the long original version of the article we featured an excerpt of on 9/05/2013 #3 below.]
    San Bruno, Calif., USA - After Labor Day, I have a suggestion for America's employers that I think would make their employees happier and more productive: Offer them a four-day workweek.
    Giving staffers one weekday off would be especially appealing to the biggest chunk of the American labor force – boomers.
    Many of them could use the free day to take their parents to doctor's appointments or handle other eldercare duties, spend time with their grandkids, learn new skills and transition into retirement. Four-day workweeks can also let them cut their commutes.
    4-Day Weeks' Pay and Benefits
    If you put in 40 hours during your four days, you generally get full pay and benefits. You might even keep your benefits by working 30 to 40 hours, though you'll likely take a proportional pay cut.
    No matter how you structure a four-day workweek, though, your job needs to get done – either by you or by you and someone working the fifth day.
    Compressed workweeks – the delightful[?] term human resources people use for putting in 40 hours in fewer than five days – are "a great way to provide employees the flexibility to meet the demands of work and life outside of work," says Lisa Horn, co-leader of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Workplace Flexibility Initiative and partnership with the Families and Work Institute.
    "A four-day workweek allows you to continue to contribute on the job while gaining the time to pursue a long-neglected avocation, to help care for the grandchildren or to simply enjoy the other parts of life," says Cali Williams Yost, chief executive and founder of Flex+Strategy Groupin Madison, N.J.
    Brooke Dixon, co-founder and chief executive of Hourly.com, a site that matches job-seekers with employers, says "well above half our users are looking for something other than a traditional workweek."
    Jay Love, the former chief executive of Indianapolis search engine optimization consultant Slingshot SEO, which has a four-day workweek told Inc. that this employee perk "is an amazing draw in the age of recruiting the best talent to your team" and leads to soaring retention rates.
    What Makes 4-Day Workweeks Rare?
    So why are employers with four-day workweeks so hard to find in America, especially when there seems to be such a demand for this benefit? (Never mind that the average workweek is far shorter than 40 hours in many parts of the world: 29 hours in the Netherlands and 33 hours in Norway and Denmark, for example. And don't get me started on best-selling author Tim Ferriss' Four Hour Workweek notion.)
    Today, harried five-day-a-week workers must routinely, and sometimes furtively, scoot out for doctor's appointments, errands and elder care duties for their parents – and they're doing so more often. Employers often don't like it when staffers head out for these reasons.
    According to the Captivate Network's recent Homing From Work survey of 4,000 white collar workers, 45 percent leave work for doctor and dentist appointments and 52 percent go out to buy gifts, greeting cards and flowers. There's been a 31 percent increase in running errands since 2011, the study says.
    Yet just 36 percent of employers permit at least some employees to have four-day workweeks, says Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute. Only 7 percent allow all or most staffers to do their jobs this way.
    "I don't believe the majority of workplaces are supportive of four-day workweeks," says Jessica DeGroot, founder of the Third Path Institute, a Philadelphia-based group that aims to help employees lead "integrated" lives.
    Why employers oppose 4-day workweeks
    1. Strong organizational norms on who gets ahead at work. DeGroot says managers tend to promote staffers who "put work first," which typically means showing up every weekday.
    2. Four-day workweeks add complexity to managers' jobs. "It's much easier to say to everyone, 'Come in at the same time every day and work long hours,'" she says.
    "Often, it isn't that employers don't want to offer four-day workweeks, it's that they're not sure what's in it for them," Horn says.
    Of course, some types of jobs or workplaces don't easily lend themselves to four-day workweeks. And some employers must pay hourly staffers overtime if they put in more than eight hours a day to get the fifth day off.
    Where the Perk Exists
    That said, progressive employers in a variety of fields let all or a portion of their staffers work four days a week. (Technology and accounting firms seem to be leading the way.)
    Everyone gets a four-day week year-round at tech educator Treehouse Island, in Orlando, Fla., and at Slingshot SEO. Chicago software company 37signals has 32-hour, four-day shifts from May through October.
    When Work Works, a book published by the Families and Work Institute and SHRM, describes dozens of employers offering four-day workweeks and other types of flexible schedules.
    Some enterprising employees, including ones at senior levels, manage to pull off their own four-day schedules.
    Ivan Axelrod, chief operating officer for Provident Financial Management in Santa Monica, Calif., four years ago began taking Mondays off to provide child care for his granddaughter Madelyn, allowing her mom to work those days.
    "Finding ways to interact with children and grandchildren just has a reward you can't get out of work," Axelrod told ThirdPath. He now provides caregiving for a grandson each week, too.
    Different Ways They're Offered
    Four-day workweeks can be done in many ways, with varying hours. For example, the 5-4/9 arrangement lets staffers alternate between weeks of five nine-hour days and ones with four nine-hour days, so you get a day off every other week.
    Pat Katepoo, the Kaneohe, Hawaii-based head of Work Options, a firm that helps employees negotiate flexible work arrangements, thinks boomers might especially like working a somewhat kinder version of that: eight-hour days with every other Friday off, even if doing so means taking a small pay cut.
    "That's a good, creative option for this age group," Katepoo says."They can enjoy longer weekends 26 times a year and with Monday federal holidays, get some four-day weekends. That would let them shoot up to Cape Cod or drive three states over to see their grandkids."
    The Trouble With One Method
    But I'm not keen on what's known as the 4/10 model, especially for boomers, even though it's the most widely used compressed workweek schedule.
    This one requires employees to punch 10-hour days on each of their four workdays. But you can wind up so pooped after continually clocking in for 10 hours that you'll lack the stamina to make your fifth day enjoyable and productive.
    "I'm 52 and I don't have the energy I had when I was 22," DeGroot says. "With a 4/10 schedule, I'd need the other day to recover and that defeats the whole purpose of a four-day workweek."

  2. Canada's Longest Workweek: Alberta's Average Workweek Is The Longest In The Country, Huffpost Alberta via Huffington Post Canada via huffingtonpost.ca
    CALGARY, Alta., Canada - There is no doubt that Alberta is the land of plenty.
    There are plenty of jobs, plenty of natural resources, plenty of opportunity and, as the June flood very well demonstrated, plenty of community spirit.
    But there is one plenty that is not so celebratory and ties in with an international HuffPost initiative called the Third Metric, an effort to redefine success using measures other than wealth, celebrity or power.
    A Statistics Canada report compiling data from 2012 shows that out of all provinces in the country, workers in Alberta have the longest workweek.
    While the modern Canadian standard workweek lies somewhere between 35 and 37.5 hours per week, employees in Alberta put in an average of 39 hours of work each week.
    By comparison, the Canadian average is 36.6 hours per week. That's a national figure that, according to Stats Can, had been in steady decline from a high of nearly 39 hours in 1979, to a low of 36 hours in 2009.
    ...
    At 35.4 hours, Quebec is the province with the shortest workweek in Canada. (slide caption)
    [Aaaah, zose fransh canucque-steurs reelly know 'ow to live! Vive francophonie and pass the poutine, sugar pie, crevettes étouffées, un bon vin blanc, cavalia, cirque de soleil, bandes dessinées, metropolitan opera's giant tri-keyboard stage...]
    At 35.8 hours, B.C. has the second shortest workweek in Canada. (slide caption)
    [Ah, beautiful mountainview Vancouver. Victoria, Canada's Adelaide and Florida. The Drive in East Van, Canada's left bank...]
    Ontario has the third shortest work week in Canada, at 36.5 hours. (slide caption)
    [Hmm, the three big old provs know more about life than upstart Alberta, and le pays du Québec most of all.]
    Nova Scotians tie the national average, clocking in 36.6-hour workweeks. (slide caption)
    Manitoba has the fifth shortest workweeks in Canada, at 36.8 hours. (slide caption)
    At 37.4, Prince Edward Island has the fifth longest workweeks in the country. (slide caption)
    The fourth longest workweek in Canada - at 37.5 hours - can be found in New Brunswick. (slide caption)
    Saskatchewan has the third longest workweek in Canada, at 38.8 hours. (slide caption)
    At 38.9 hours per week, Newfoundland logs in with the second longest workweek in Canada. (slide caption)
    The unenviable "honour" [our quotes] of having Canada's longest workweek goes to Alberta, where the average workweek is 39 hours. (slide caption)
    [And what about Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories and Nunavut?]


9/13/2013 – 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. FBI Plans 10 Furlough Days for 2014, by Eric Katz, GovExec.com
    FBI Director [is] James Comey (photo caption)
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - The FBI is planning 10 agencywide furlough days in fiscal 2014 should sequestration continue as expected, according to The New York Times.
    While the bureau will shutter its national headquarters in Washington and regional offices nationwide, it will maintain a small staff on the furlough days. The FBI spends $16 million on salaries each day, the Times reported, which accounts for 60 percent of its budget.
    The furlough days will wrap around weekends, which will accentuate savings by limiting the costs of reopening offices. The exact dates have not yet been set, but will be spread out to minimize the impact on employees. Employees may be called back to work if circumstances, such as a terrorist attack, require additional agents.
    [Better furloughs than firings, timesizing not downsizing.]
    The Justice Department -- the FBI’s parent agency -- avoided furloughs in fiscal 2013 after Congress allowed it to reprogram funds to cover sequestration-induced shortfalls. However, former FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress the bureau could not avoid the mandatory unpaid leave in fiscal 2014.
    “I have long said people are the bureau’s greatest asset,” Mueller, who led the FBI for 12 years before stepping down in September, said in congressional testimony in May. “Additional operational cuts and furloughs will impact the FBI’s ability to prevent crime and terrorism, which will in turn impact the safety and security of our nation.”
    The bureau’s new director, James Comey, said in a recent press conference he intended to publicize the impacts of sequestration as much as possible.
    “I can’t imagine that if we have charged people with protecting their fellow citizens, that it makes sense to send them home and tell them you can’t work [and won’t be paid] for two weeks” he said.
    He added on top of the furloughs, the FBI has about 3,000 fewer employees as a result of an ongoing hiring freeze. The bureau has already cut training and will not buy new vehicles, according to the Times.
    The FBI will have to cut about $700 million from its budget in fiscal 2014, should sequestration continue to be implemented as expected, after absorbing $550 million in cuts in fiscal 2013. Congress also appropriated $150 million less for fiscal 2013.

  2. Goldman Sachs under investigation over working hours in Switzerland, GlobalPost.com
    ZÜRICH, Switzerland - Swiss labor inspectors said Thursday they had visited the Zurich offices of US investment bank Goldman Sachs after a complaint about inadequate record keeping of working hours and overtime.
    The investigation comes amid intense scrutiny of working conditions in the corporate world following the recent suicides of two senior executives at Swiss companies and the death of a German exchange student at the London offices of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

    Zurich’s labor inspectorate said it carried out the on-site inspection on Wednesday in response to a complaint from a bank employee lobby group that Goldman Sachs had allegedly breached rules on working hours, Reuters reported.
    Further details were not available.
    Goldman Sachs declined Reuters' request for comment.


9/12/2013 – 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. Central Bank: 40% of staff work less than 35 hours, RTE News via RTE.ie
    DUBLIN, Ireland - Over 40% of staff at the Central Bank are contracted to work less than 35 hours a week, according to the Bank.
    Central Bank management and staff have been attending an internal tribunal today to discuss the introduction of longer working hours in line with the Haddington Road Agreement.
    According to the Central Bank, 41% of its 1400 employees are contracted to work 32.5 - 35 hours a week, while 59% work between 35 and 39 hours a week.
    However, under the HRA, public servants working less than 37 hours a week were to increase their weekly hours to 37.
    A spokesperson for the Central Bank said the Bank was currently engaged in a negotiating process with Unite in respect of certain professional and administrative grades involving 1250 staff members.
    He said the two sides are discussing the terms of a collective agreement to introduce reforms modelled on the HRA, including increasing working hours to 37 a week for professional and administrative grades.
    The Central Bank spokesperson said it would be inappropriate to outline further details on the substantive issues in dispute.
    Sources said it was unlikely that an outcome would be known today.
    The Central Bank has also confirmed that pay cuts in line with the HRA have been imposed on around 570 staff across all grades.
    These involve cuts of 5.5 - 10% for staff earning over E65,000.
    The application of the HRA for technical and general grades at the Bank is being discussed in a separate process.

  2. Korea poised to cut maximum weekly working hours to 52 starting 2016, by yjkim@arirang.co.kr, (9/11 late pickuy) Arirang News via arirang.co.kr
    SEOUL, South Korea - In line with the government's efforts to improve quality of life Korea may soon reduce the maximum number of work hours allowed per week.
    The labor ministry says the plan is part of a proposed revision to the country's labor law that would limit the number of hours a person can work per week to 52, from the current 68.
    The 52-hour limit would allow people to work 40 hours on weekdays. and put in an additional 12 hours of overtime during the week or on the weekend, instead of the current 28 hours.
    The reduced working hours would also serve to increase the number of part-time jobs in the country.
    The revision is widely expected to pass through the National Assembly, and would be implemented starting in 2016.
    [So what SK dropped by company size between 2004 & 2011? It must have been the point where overtime pay has to start, and not they're dropping the absolute maximum allowed (per person per week), no further overtime period.]
    [Another version -]
    Korea Likely to Lower Ceiling on Working Hours, Arirang News via Chosun Media's chosun ilbo via english.chosun.com
    SEOUL, South Korea - Korea may soon reduce the maximum number of weekly working hours in line with the government's efforts to improve people's quality of life.
    The Ministry of Employment and Labor said the plan is part of a proposal to lower the ceiling from the current 68 hours to 52 per week -- 40 regular hours during weekdays and another 12 as either overtime or at the weekend.
    The measure would also create more part-time positions to give the ailing job market a boost.


9/11/2013 – 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. A 35 hour work week will end unemployment, by Bakari Kafele, MoveOn Petitions via *petitions.moveon.org
    SAN PABLO, Calif., USA - To be delivered to: The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama
    Petition Statement
    A 35 hour work week will eliminate unemployment, as well as raise average wages (due to competition for workers), and allow citizens more time for family. It is long over due, as productivity per worker has increased over a dozen-fold since the 40-hour week was adopted.
    Mandate time-and a half after 35 hours in a single week.
    Petition Background
    Thanks to outsourcing and corporate consolidation, and especially because of increasing technology, productivity per worker has increased dramatically over the past century, while (real) wages have stagnated for several decades.
    This is the primary reason why income inequality is increasing, unemployment has gotten so high, the rich have grown super rich, and the poor and middle class are hurting - when productivity is raised, the labor supply increases, and companies lay people off while keeping the same output. When jobs are scarce, companies can offer lower wages, because competition is high.
    We need to lower hours now for the same reason we needed to after the industrial revolution - and all the same excuses for why it wouldn't work were said then, and they all proved to be wrong.
    More here: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2011/10/dramatically-reduce-unemployment-by.html
    There are currently 20 signatures
    We need 50 signatures
    Previous petition signers
    #21 Phil Hyde Sep 11, 2013 Somerville, MA
    Can't get recovery=UPsizing with DOWNsizing but can with TIMEsizing which keeps everyone employed - cut hours, not jobs!
    #20 Shannon Dorsey Sep 11, 2013 Buffalo, NY
    #19 Ambrosia Danu Sep 11, 2013 Eureka, CA
    #18 Jimi Doyle Sep 11, 2013 Montopolis, TX
    #17 Joe Goldberg Sep 11, 2013 SEATTLE, WA
    MMM sent me
    #16 Tyrie Vella Sep 11, 2013 Bellevue, WA
    #15 Tasha Sep 11, 2013 Sterling, VA
    #14 Joe Sep 11, 2013 Las Vegas, NV
    #13 Steven Fetterly Sep 11, 2013 Scarborough, Canada
    #12 Matthew J Crouch Sep 11, 2013 Columbus, OH
    #11 William McGaughey Sep 11, 2013 Minneapolis, MN
    While I would have preferred a 4-day, 32-hour workweek, this is a step in the right direction. Labor productivity is, if anything, increasing with the perfection of robots. We need to preserve human labor as a moral basis of economic reward.
    #10 Megan Barber Sep 11, 2013 Holyoke, MA
    #9 Lois Heaney Sep 10, 2013 Oakland, CA
    #8 Michele Clark Sep 10, 2013 Tonawanda, NY
    #7 andrea nievera Sep 10, 2013 brooklyn, NY
    #6 Paul Somogyi Sep 10, 2013 Virginia Beach, VA
    A 35 hour work week is way past due!
    #5 eve hernandez Sep 10, 2013 Buffalo, NY
    #4 Amanda Windberg Sep 10, 2013 Bellingham, WA
    #3 Ralph Bates Sep 10, 2013 Huntly, VA
    #2 Gwen Bates Sep 10, 2013 Huntly, VA
    I love the idea.
    #1 Bakari Kafele Sep 10, 2013 San Pablo, CA

  2. Rejiggering a 110-hour workweek, BusinessManagementDaily.com
    BOSTON, Mass., USA - Stephen Shapiro used to work 50 hours a week for a computer manufacturer [Accenture?]. His boss worked 60 hours a week, but after she was laid off Shapiro’s job expanded.
    His employer expected Shapiro to absorb his former supervisor’s responsibilities. To his horror, he concluded that he’d need to work 110 hours a week to get it all done.
    So Shapiro analyzed all the activities on his plate and found only a small percentage of those activities truly mattered.

    Over a weekend, he separated essential duties from extraneous ones, eliminated unnecessary tasks, delegated ones that others could do more efficiently, and identified only those high-priority activities that he needed to perform.
    The result? He stopped doing what he deemed unnecessary tasks—and no one noticed. Then he delegated other tasks to colleagues who were more qualified to handle them. He harnessed technology as a timesaver. By automating certain transactional procedures, he saved more time.
    Within two weeks, Shapiro had reduced his weekly work hours from 110 to 20.
    As a result, he could focus on innovating and improving operational results.
    In recent years, Shapiro has become a speaker and consultant. His research shows that salespeople, on average, spend only 20% to 35% of their workday interacting with customers. The rest of their time is spent in meetings or doing paperwork.
    If you manage salespeople, revamp how they spend their workday with the goal of doubling their time in front of customers. This will maximize their efforts and boost their production.
    — Adapted from Best Practices Are Stupid, Stephen Shapiro, Portfolio/Penguin.


9/10/2013 – 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. 35 Hours Is the Goal If You Ask Me! by mikecart1 via Motley Fool CAPS via caps.fool.com
    [Motley Fool CAPS = Motley Fool Community Asininely Picking Stocks?]
    ALEXANDRIA, Va., USA - We live in a society where we strive to acquire as much as possible for doing as little as possible. It is a fast world and everyone always wants to say how 'busy' they are. In fact, I believe being 'busy' is the #1 excuse for doing absolutely nothing. People are too busy to exercise for the health, too busy to take up a new hobby, too busy to go out and have fun, too busy to do anything.
    When it comes to the typical stock investor, most would rather get the news at their feet quickly and in the most concise manner, buy a stock, and then come back months or years later with much more money in returns. They see the lucky few do it and they say "why can't I do it too?" Well I say YOU CAN, just don't wonder why things didn't turn out as good as you had hoped.
    35 hours is the goal if you ask me if you have 10 or more holdings. Yes, that is 35 HOURS PER WEEK! You might think it is insane to spend so long following the market, your stocks, YOUR MONEY. I mean why would any sane person spend this much time when you can order a subscription package of 'hot stocks' or 'golden returns' or whatever else you can buy and do next to nothing else?
    But I say 35 for the simple reason that the market for most stocks is open from 9:30am to 4:00pm. Yes that is just 6.5 hours and at 5 days a week, that comes out to 32.5 hours. Well the other half hour each day is up to you. Either spend it in the 30 minutes in pre-market or after-market. Why? Because that is when many companies release news. You see, when you decide to ignore the news, you wind up being one of the millions that have the confused look the next day when you read that your stock ticker has suddenly shot up or down in afterhours. It would be nice to know why for once.
    Overall, 35 hours is for your benefit. No one cares as much about your money as you ever will. Despite the hope that your financial advisor, friend, or subscription service, or even your super nice stock guru cares deeply for you to become wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, you might as well keep dreaming for this to happen. Just like your personal trainer couldn't care less if you ever get in shape, just like your university/school couldn't care less if you graduate as long as you keep paying tuition, no one really cares if your stocks make you a penny.
    From my experience, the more time and effort you put into your money, your investments, and your finances, the better your returns will be. You might lose some despite your time researching, but at least you will know why and be able to close a holding and capture a new one. In the end, the 35 hours is for your current and potential future holdings. It just takes a second of news for something big to occur that will leave a golden opportunity to buy or sell.
    Basically you could ask yourself this:
    How long would you let just $1000 of your own money sit on a desk/chair/table without you checking if it is still there?

  2. Institutions plan to cut hours of part-time faculty as health care mandate approaches, by Saran Mishra, PurdueExponent.org
    LAFAYETTE, Ind., USA - Earlier this month, Ivy Tech Community College claimed it will cut hours for part-time faculty in lieu of dealing with the costs of the upcoming Affordable Care Act.
    Other institutions of higher learning have followed this measure – officials from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
    have admitted the conversation regarding the ramifications of the federal health care mandate amongst school administrators needs to happen soon. Administrators from Arizona State University recently notified non-tenured associate faculty members that they will be limited to teaching six credit hours per semester beginning this fall, which amounts to two general-education courses as opposed to more classes.
    Institutions of higher learning are fearful of rising costs, as the federal law will require employers to provide health insurance to part-time employees if they work 30 or more hours a week.
    President Mitch Daniels said he is waiting to see the impact of the law before making any changes on hours or faculty. Though nothing is confirmed, Daniels said that this law is going to make things a lot more expensive.
    When asked if Purdue University would see similar cutbacks for part-time faculty, Daniels said, “I don’t think so ... as far as I know, we don’t have any departments doing that.”
    While visiting Zucrow Laboratories at Purdue last month, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said the law will not apply until 2015 and by that time there will be changes made.
    “I’m the co-sponsor of a bill that says the health care law should move forward with the understanding that the full work week is 40 hours, not 30 hours, which would completely fix the problem they are discussing,” Donnelly said. “Ivy Tech’s main focus should be on trying to train students to obtain good jobs and new jobs.”
    He said the benefits of the health care bill far outweigh the detriments, especially as the benefits can be amended in the future.
    “Instead of voting 40 times to defund a bill that will provide health care to Hoosiers, many for the first time ever, my job should be to make the law as effective as possible, as reasonable cost-wise and make sure that there is access,” Donnelly said.
    He also spoke of the direct impact the mandate would have on citizens from Indiana.
    “What I can tell you is that for Hoosiers, who have diabetes or arthritis or cancer ... who have never been able to get coverage any time in their life, for the first time, they will be able to get coverage in January of next year,” Donnelly said.


9/08-09/2013 – 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. Rhode Island amends its UI law regarding worksharing, confidentiality, and quarterly wage reports, 9/09 hr.CCH.com
    PROVIDENCE, R.I., USA - Rhode Island has amended its Employment Security Act as follows:
    Confidentiality. The legislation now permits the Director to provide data on unemployment insurance recipients that is contained in the Department’s records to the Department’s designated research partners for the purpose of its workforce data quality and workforce innovation fund initiatives. The provision of these records will be done in accordance with an approved data-sharing agreement between the Department and its designated research partners that protects the security and confidentiality of the records.
    Quarterly wage reports. The Department may provide employee quarterly wage information to the Department’s designated research partners for the purpose of its workforce data quality and workforce innovation fund initiatives in accordance with an approved data-sharing agreement.
    Work-sharing. Rhode Island’s work-sharing statute has been amended to comply with the provisions of the federal Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. In addition to clarifying the criteria for plan approval, the statute provides that any work-sharing benefits paid on or after July 1, 2013, that are eligible for federal reimbursement will not be chargeable to employer accounts. Moreover, employers liable for payments in lieu of contributions will not be responsible for reimbursing the Employment Security Fund for any benefits paid to their employees on or after July 1, 2013, that are reimbursed by the federal government.

  2. Employees entitled to overtime pay, by Ashish Mehta, 9/08 KhaleejTimes.com
    DUBAI, United Arab Republic - I would like to know about the overtime payment for employees in the UAE. For blue-collared workers, the employer is entitled to pay overtime after the normal working hours. But does this hold good for a white collar worker, too? Do they get paid extra pay for overtime? Suppose an employee works for 12 hours a day but have signed a contract for a nine-hour shift, will he get three hours overtime? In the UAE, the normal working hours is 8 hours. But there are companies where they sign a contract for 9 hours to 10 hours shift (as normal working hours). So does that become a legal issue?
    In the UAE, the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 on Regulation of Labour Relations regulates employment conditions at privately-owned companies established under the federal laws, while there are separate laws regulating labour relations for companies established in various free zones as well as in Government entities. All such laws provide differing provisions in matters pertaining to overtime work and remuneration.
    Since you have not specified your choice, we will respond to your queries in the context of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 on Regulation of Labour Relations (the ‘Labour Law’). Provisions pertaining to ‘Hours of Work’ are dealt with under Chapter I of PART IV of the Labour Law.
    The Labour Law defines the term ‘overtime’ in respect to normal working hours and provides that a worker is entitled to receive remuneration in respect of any overtime work which shall correspond to his normal working hours and he shall also be entitled to a supplement of a minimum of 25 per cent of the remuneration as in accordance with Article 67 of the Labour Law which states: “Where the circumstances of the work require a worker to work more than the normal number of hours, any period worked in excess shall be treated as overtime, for which the worker shall receive remuneration equal to that corresponding to his normal hours of work, plus a supplement of at least 25 per cent of the remuneration.”
    Additionally, Article 68 states: “Where the circumstances of the work require a worker to work overtime between 9pm and 4am, he shall be entitled in respect of such overtime to the remuneration stipulated for his normal hours of work, plus a supplement of at least 50 per cent of the remuneration.”
    Further, it is provided that the overtime shall not be more than two hours a day in accordance with Article 69 of the Labour Law which states: “The number of actual hours of overtime shall not exceed two a day, unless work is necessary to prevent the occurrence of substantial loss or a serious accident or to eliminate or alleviate its consequences.”
    While the aforementioned provisions of the Labour Law pertaining to overtime work and remuneration, are applicable to all workers irrespective of white collar or blue collar workers, certain exceptions have been provided in respect of management workers. Article 72 of the Labour Law provides that the provisions pertaining to ‘Hours of Work’ as provided within the Labour Law shall not apply to persons holding responsible managerial or supervisory provisions or of workers constituting the crews of seagoing ships or persons employed at the sea. It reads as follows: “The provisions of this Chapter shall not apply to the following classes of persons:
    • Persons holding responsible managerial or supervisory positions, if such positions confer upon the holders the powers of an employer over workers. The categories in question shall be specified by order of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
    • Workers constituting the crew of seagoing ships and persons employed at sea and enjoying special conditions of service on account of the nature of their work, except dock workers engaged in loading and unloading and related operations.”
    Following the aforementioned provisions of the Labour Law, it can be said that it would depend on the nature of work undertaken by a white-collared employee as to whether he is entitled to remuneration in respect of overtime. The same will also apply to the situation where an individual works for 12 hours in place of 9 hours of normal working hours. Whether or not he shall be entitled to three hours of overtime remuneration shall entirely depend upon the nature of his work.
    In the UAE, the normal working hours for adult workers is fixed at eight hours a day, however, for certain commercial establishments the working hours may be extended for up to nine hours a day. This is in accordance with Article 65 of the Labour Law which states: “The maximum normal hours of work of adult workers shall be eight a day or 48 a week. The hours of work may be increased to nine hours a day in commercial establishments, hotels and cafes and of guard duties and any other operations where such increase is authorised by order of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. The daily hours of work may be reduced in the case of arduous or unhealthy operations by order of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
    The normal hours of work shall be reduced by two during the holy month of Ramadan.
    The periods spent by a worker in travelling between his home and place of work shall not be included in his hours of work.”
    Thus, while the prescribed normal working hours are 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week, companies are within their rights to designate working hours of up to nine or 10 hours a day corresponding to a particular employment where the nature of work requires the worker to stay at work for such long hours. However, excluding certain kinds of work, all other workers are generally entitled to remuneration in respect of their overtime work.
    Ashish Mehta, LLB, F.I.C.A., M.C.I.T., M.C.I.Arb., is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore and India... Visit www.amalawyers.com for further information...


9/07/2013 – 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. A Proposal That Just Might Solve the Primary Care Crisis: Meet the 35 Hour Work Week, by Leslie Kernisan, Hastings Center "Over 65" Blog via over65.thehastingscenter.org
    GARRISON, N.Y., USA - In March, The Health Care Blog published a truly outstanding commentary by Jeff Goldsmith, on why practice redesign isn’t going to solve the primary care shortage. In the post, Goldsmith explains why a proposed model of high-volume primary care practice — having docs see even more patients per day, and grouping them in pods — is unlikely to be accepted by either tomorrow’s doctors or tomorrow’s boomer patients. He points out that we are replacing a generation of workaholic boomer PCPs with “Gen Y physicians with a revealed preference for 35-hour work weeks.” (Guilty as charged.) Goldsmith ends by predicting a “horrendous shortfall” of front-line clinicians in the next decade.
    Now, not everyone believes that a shortfall of PCPs is a serious problem.
    However, if you believe, as I do, that the most pressing health services problems to solve pertain to Medicare, then a shortfall of PCPs is a very serious problem indeed.
    So serious that maybe it’s time to consider the unthinkable: encouraging clinicians to become Medicare PCPs by aligning the job with a 35 hour work week.
    I can already hear all clinicians and readers older than myself harrumphing, but bear with me and let’s see if I can make a persuasive case for this.
    First, consider the situation:
    The most pressing and urgent health services research problem society must solve is how to restructure healthcare such that we can provide compassionate, effective healthcare to an expanding Medicare population, at a cost the nation can sustain.
    This is a problem with very high human stakes. As we know, most older adults end up undergoing considerable health-related suffering at some point, with family caregivers often being affected as well. Much of this is due to the tolls of advancing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, COPD, arthritis, dementia. (See this handy CMS chartbook for the latest statistics on chronic disease burden in the Medicare population.) And a fair part of the suffering is inflicted by the healthcare system itself, which remains ill-suited to provide patient-centered care to those medically complex older adults – and their caregivers — who use the system the most.
    Needless to say, the financial stakes are high as well, with projected Medicare expenditures usually cited as the number one budget buster threatening the nation’s financial stability over the next 50 years.
    Next, consider an essential component to compassionately and effectively meeting the healthcare needs of the Medicare population:
    Medicare beneficiaries – and their family caregivers – must be partnered with good PCPs who can focus on person-centered care, and can collaborate with them as they navigate the many health challenges of late life.
    Especially once they are suffering from multiple chronic illnesses and/or disability, seniors – and their families — need a stable relationship with a clinician who can fulfill the role of trusted consultant and advisor as they go through their extended medical journey. Healthcare for older adults almost always becomes complex and stressful for seniors and their families. Even educated and activated patients who are willing and able to direct their own care will need a generalist who can maintain a longitudinal health dialogue with them, and who can help them sort through complicated medical situations as they arise.
    Now, much as been made of teams in primary care, and the importance of moving past our historic model of PCP as the person who knows it all, and does it all. This change is long-overdue, and I’m thrilled to see it coming. When properly implemented, I’m quite sure that team-based care will help older adults obtain the comprehensive primary care services they need and want.
    But even with excellent team-based care, I believe most older adults will want and need a PCP to function as their high-level medical strategy consultant and collaborator.
    For instance, consider the kinds of issues I routinely addressed as a general internist for older adults:
    • Following up on 6+ chronic conditions and 12+ medications, in an integrated whole-person fashion.
    • Following-up on the work of multiple specialists, many of whom hadn’t explained their thinking to the patient and family. Yes these specialists should get better at explaining their thinking. No, they will probably not resolve the conflicts between their recommendations and some other specialist’s recommendations.
    • Resolving the conflicts inherent in attempting to follow clinical practice guidelines in patients with multiple conditions. (See this JAMA article to understand how well intentioned practice guidelines could cause serious problems for elderly patients.)
    • Adjusting care plans as a function of goals and what seems feasible for the patient. It is pointless to recommend chronic disease management per best practices if it doesn’t seem feasible to the patient and family. Also, many disease management approaches must be modified in the face of conditions such as dementia, cancer, advanced COPD, etc.
    • Explaining why certain commonly requested interventions – antibiotics, diagnostic tests, specialty consults – might not be helpful. People have questions. Answering questions takes time and attentiveness. It’s obviously much easier to rely on the historic approach of doctors and just tell people what to do, but that’s not good care.
    • Helping patients and families prioritize and identify a few key health issues to work on at any given moment. Many older patients have 15 items on their problem list. Prioritizing is key. (Not losing track of all the issues is hard though.)
    • Helping patients and families evaluate the likely benefits and burdens of possible medical approaches. Should that lung nodule be biopsied? Should knee replacement surgery be considered now, or deferred? So many of the decisions we face have no clear right answer.
    • Helping patients and families cope with the uncertainties of the future. For instance, it’s impossible to predict how quickly someone with dementia will decline and become unable to live at home, but these issues are of grave concern to families and they need a clinician to talk to.
    • Addressing end of life planning. I’ve found this is often trickier in the outpatient setting than on an inpatient palliative care service.
    • Weighing in on family conflicts. I’ve had to watch patients and spouses squabble in the visit over what the patient is and isn’t able to do. Similarly, adult children worried about a parent will call and ask for me to intervene. (Stop her from driving! Make him take his pills!)
    I must say that I love doing the work above. It’s deeply satisfying to help patients make sense of all that is medically happening to them, and to support them as they cope with their health challenges. But it’s also, as you can imagine, difficult work that is cognitively and emotionally demanding. The pressure of 15-20 minute visits makes things harder than they should be, but even if we went to 30-45 minute visits, the work will remain fundamentally intense and somewhat taxing for the provider.
    Can anyone seriously argue that we won’t need PCPs to do the work above for Medicare beneficiaries over the next 20 years? (Plus we’ll need them do manage dementia, falls, and all the other geriatric problems too.)
    Ok. Then if we agree that the work above is essential to the wellbeing of millions of older adults, and is a crucial component to providing overall cost-effective healthcare to the Medicare population, we must get serious about how we can recruit and keep clinicians as Medicare PCPs.
    The benefits of a 35 hour work week
    If the work of Medicare PCP could be organized so that it fit into a 35 hour work week, we’d see the following benefits:
    More clinicians would be willing to do, or stay, in the job.
    Let’s face it, we have ample evidence that work-life balance is important to the younger generation of physicians, especially those with young children. As much as this dismays the older generation of physicians, this trend seems to be here to stay, so perhaps we should learn to work with it. Debt relief – the usual hope for attracting people to primary care – is never going to be enough on its own.
    PCPs would do the job much better. Providing compassionate, comprehensive person-centered care to medically complex patients demands cognitive and emotional energy. The work of Daniel Kahneman and others has shown that people do get cognitively depleted by work which requires complex decision-making. (Once depleted, they begin seriously avoiding cognitive and emotional challenges.)
    Given that we are asking PCPs to engage actively with patients and families, embrace shared-decision making, adapt to technological changes, and make a whole host of behavior changes, making sure that clinicians in this role aren’t burnt out by long working hours just makes sense.
    The impending shortage of PCPs constitutes a national emergency. In order to provide the growing Medicare population with compassionate, effective healthcare at a sustainable cost, seniors will need stable relationships with PCPs who can function as their strategic medical consultants, collaborate in helping to meet healthcare goals, and provide emotional support.
    Doing this type of PCP work can be extremely rewarding, but it’s also cognitively and emotionally demanding.
    Structuring the job of Medicare PCPs into a 35 hour work week would probably attract more clinicians to the job. It would also help PCPs maintain the cognitive and emotional resources needed to do the job consistently well, and could reduce burnout in this group of key clinicians.
    Leslie Kernisan, MD, MPH...has been practicing geriatrics since 2006, and is board-certified in Internal Medicine and in Geriatric Medicine. She blogs at GeriTech.org.

  2. WireCo lays off 21 employees in St. Joseph, has started shortened work week, AP via TheRepublic.com
    ST. JOSEPH, Mo., USA — The WireCo World Group has laid off 21 employees, about a month after instituting a 32-hour work week for all employees at its St. Joseph plant.
    WireCo, formerly known as Wire Rope, cited the poor economy as the reason for the changes.

    Company executive David Hornaday says the company has experienced a slowdown in some markets, which resulted in inventory imbalances. He says similar staff changes have been made at WireCo's other domestic and international plants.
    Jeff Jacobs, president of the plant's United Steel Workers union, said all employees are on a 32-hour schedule in a work-share program through the state. The St. Joseph News-Press reports (below) the program allows each employee to file for unemployment compensation for one day each week.
    The union represents 106 workers at WireCo.
    [And here's the original long version of the story from the St. Joseph News-Press -]
    WireCo announces layoffs - Company cuts 21 positions due to economy, by Ray Scherer, (9/06 late pickup) St. Joseph News-Press via newspressnow.com
    ST. JOSEPH, Mo., USA — WireCo World Group announced Thursday it laid off 21 of its employees at the St. Joseph facility due to a decline in the company's business.
    David Hornaday, WireCo’s senior vice president of global marketing, confirmed the Wednesday night and Thursday layoff announcements to the affected employees in e-mails to the News-Press, labeling poor economic conditions the company is facing as the culprit. Additionally, he said the company instituted a 32-hour work week about a month ago. The plant is located at 609 N. Second St.
    ”We have seen a slowdown in some markets and are working to correct some inventory imbalances that have resulted,” Mr. Hornaday said. “Once inventories get back in line with sales activities, we hope to bring the plant back to previous production levels.”
    Similar actions regarding WireCo employees have been occurring at its domestic and international plants, he added.
    Jeff Jacobs, president of Local 5738 of the United Steel Workers, said all plant employees were placed on the 32-hour schedule in a work-share program through the state, in which each person files for unemployment compensation for one day each week.
    Mr. Jacobs said management approached the union leadership earlier this week for a discussion of voluntary layoffs. But the company set the terms as non-negotiable, which he said the union rejected without any further talks.
    ”It’s rather sad,” Mr. Jacobs said. “We understand that it is the economy and hard times.”
    However, he said union members remain troubled about the stalemate between the local and management on the layoffs issue.
    ”There’s a lot of things we could work through” that would benefit both sides, Mr. Jacobs said.
    The union represents 106 workers at WireCo and also represents the employees of Midland Steel Co. in Wathena, Kan. Mr. Hornaday said the plant has a total of approximately 135 employees.
    The union has a new contract with WireCo that was ratified June 30, although Mr. Jacobs said language from the previous contract regarding plant reductions remains unchanged.
    Lanny Mears, who belongs to the union and is a 25-year company veteran, lamented but understands the need for the decisions.
    ”It’s a bad deal for everybody involved,” he said. “If anything at all, it’s not been real unexpected.”
    Mr. Mears said he worked a lot of overtime hours in 2012.
    ”This time last year, things were booming,” he said.
    Also last year, WireCo was in position to continue maneuvering through the depths of bankruptcy proceedings that had spilled over from the previous decade. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2002 due to heavy debt traced to its acquisitions, layoffs, and foreign competition. Those layoffs were due to the company’s inability to secure enough high-carbon steel rod needed to create its products.
    An enhanced business approach in the post-bankruptcy decade served as the catalyst for record sales the company logged in 2011. Domestic sales tallied more than 90 percent of volume in 2002. Expansion occurred in surface mining and new products were launched in underground mining.
    The company was involved in construction of the new Amelia Earhart Bridge at Atchison, Kan., and the new $6.4 billion eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which opened to traffic Tuesday. Several of WireCo’s 10-foot wire reels were used to assist in the construction, along with suspender cables, cat walks and hand ropes supplied by the company for installation.
    Earlier this year, WireCo WorldGroup’s Ira Glazer resigned as president and chief executive officer after holding that position since 2001. Board member Stephen Kessel, who became interim CEO, was succeeded by Christopher Ayers in July.
    Patt Lilly, president and chief executive officer of the St. Joseph Metro Chamber, said he was aware of questions and concerns over WireCo’s continued presence in St. Joseph — but also recognized economic conditions have a role. The company moved its corporate headquarters to Kansas City in 2007.
    ”Any time we see a reduction in force in any of the companies, we’re concerned,” Mr. Lilly said.
    Ray Scherer can be reached at ray.scherer@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPScherer.


9/06/2013 – 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. The Unemployment Numbers as Sham: Where Are the Freelancers? by Sara Horowitz, PBS.org
    Freelancers, like new members of Freelancers Union..are left out of the official employment figures. (photo caption)
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Here at the Making Sen$e Business Desk, the first Friday morning of each month is busy. Sure, we count down the seconds until the release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly jobs report at 8:30 a.m., but analyzing the official unemployment number, the "U3," is just the beginning of our day. We then use the BLS data to calculate our own more inclusive unemployment number, arriving at a figure, which we call the "Solman Scale U7," that we think is a much more accurate representation of just how many people in this country are without jobs.
    That August's more inclusive U7 (15.9 percent) was about 8.4 percentage points higher than the official U3 (7.3 percent) reinforced for us that the BLS isn't asking the right questions of the right people in the household surveys used to calculate the U3.
    We're not the only ones who think the BLS data doesn't tell the whole story. Sara Horowitz, the founder and executive director of Freelancers Union, who writes the Dispatches blog and appeared in this 2009 Making Sen$e segment, has been a vocal critic, and we were curious to know more about her reasoning.
    We asked her to weigh in on what our "Solman Scale U7" adds to the official rate. But more inclusivity, it turns out, doesn't address the issue freelancers have with the BLS data. "While your calculation definitely includes more people, and may give a more accurate assessment of who is working and who is not," Horowitz said, "we're interested in how people are working and what it looks like to be employed at a sustainable level -- which is different than what's being measured now."
    To hear more about what questions the BLS needs to ask, we asked Horowitz to elaborate on what she finds problematic with their data.
    Sara Horowitz: When the unemployment numbers are released the first Friday of each month, they drive headlines. Retailers cross their fingers. The business world looks for signs that interest rates may rise again.
    The problem is that the unemployment numbers are wrong. They just aren't keeping up with the changes we're seeing in the new workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment surveys were designed (back in the 1940s) to keep track of who has a full-time job, who doesn't, and who's looking.
    But the way we work has changed dramatically since then. People are abandoning the 40-hour workweek -- some by choice, some by circumstance -- and becoming freelancers, working gig to gig, project to project. At last count, in 2006, more than 42 million people were considered independent workers. That's nearly one-third of the workforce.
    The BLS surveys haven't kept up. They don't capture this type of independent, variable employment because they're not asking the right questions. The baseline question in the household survey is, "Last week, did you do any work for either pay or profit?"
    Imagine Caroline, a freelance web designer who just finished a project a week ago and has a gig with a new client starting in a few days. Last week, she did not "work for pay or profit," but she wasn't exactly unemployed, either; she had a job lined up. What would the BLS make of her?
    The BLS still uses a standard workweek as the measure of employment, but there's a whole workforce out there that doesn't fit easily into that box. For many freelancers, full-time employment is really a series of short-term (or part-time) gigs and projects.
    Imagine Marcus, an independent anesthesiologist who works 20 hours a week for a doctors' group, teaches as an adjunct professor at a local medical school and is a serious amateur photographer, selling photos on Etsy.
    His BLS interview would go off the rails at the question, "What is the main reason you do not want to work full-time?" Marcus has crafted the flexible work-life he wants, but the BLS assumes that he (and all Americans) should want to work one, full-time job.
    Traditional work is being replaced by fractional work and micro-gigs, and the BLS isn't capturing this massive economic movement. It's impossible to know how many people are being miscounted, undercounted or left out entirely. With freelancing on the rise, we can't just leave this new workforce out of our economic data. The BLS surveys need to be updated to reflect the way people work now.
    The issue isn't really about whether the official unemployment number would go up or down, but about rethinking what it means to be "employed" to address whether your income provides a sustainable life. The unemployment numbers currently tell us whether a person is or is not going to a job, but they don't tell us much about the quality of that job -- from an economic or social viewpoint -- which is important information to have to understand the economy and the labor force.
    Instead of focusing on whether someone's job is full-time or part-time, how about asking if they have enough work to sustain a life?
    We do have an employment problem in this country, but we're not going to figure out what it is until we start asking the right questions.

  2. The 30-Hour Work Week: An 80 Year Socialist [not!] Dream Come True, by Daniel Sylvia, Hardhatters.com
    [A 30-hour workweek sailed through the conservative US Senate on April 6, 1933 by a vote of 53 to 30. The Socialists have no special claim to it.]
    FORT WORTH, Tex., USA - According to the job report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, September 6th, the month of August saw an additional 169,000 jobs created and a little changed unemployment rate of 7.3%. On the surface, these numbers seem decent, but what these numbers don’t show is that the majority of the jobs created are either low paying full-time jobs or part-time jobs. In the past year, 75% of jobs created were part-time.
    While even the Huffington Post acknowledges that this influx of part-time jobs is at least partially due to Obamacare, numerous other media outlets deny that Obamacare is the reason more part-time jobs are created than full-time jobs. The Cleveland Plains Dealer, for example, recently quoted a source who claims any assertions that Obamacare leads to more part-time work are simply “political… there has been an effort to attack Obamacare every step of the way.” Media Matters claims that “economists have found no evidence to support [the] notion” that Obamacare is the cause of part-time job creation, while The Atlantic says that the idea of “’Part-Time America’ is an overblown crisis manufactured to fit headlines rather than statistics”, with the caveat that this “doesn’t mean the stats won’t eventually catch up to the headlines.”
    Even though numerous media sources attempt to deflect any blame away from Obamacare, the law clearly states that “The term ‘full-time employee’ means, with respect to any month, an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week.” This definition of what constitutes a full-time employee is concerning due to the fear that a 30 hour work week will lead to the creation of ‘29ers’, employees that are capped at only 29 hours of work per week in order for the employer to avoid the mandates for full-time workers. However, what should be even more concerning is that Obamacare’s 30 hour work week falls in line with what the Democrats and socialists have been wanting since the early 20th Century.
    In the 1930’s, Huey Long, the man known for his socialist “Every Man a King” vision [oh puhleez, Daniel Sylvia is ignorant of his own Republican Party history of shorter-hours advocacy, who labels everyone with an opinion differing from his own "socialist"], was also an advocate of limiting work hours. In a national radio address in 1934 in which he unveiled his “Share Our Wealth” plan, Long was one of the first to call for a 30 hour work week.
    [No he wasn't. G.K.Kellogg had introduced it at his HQ plant in Battle Creek, Mich., starting in Dec. 1930. Do your homework, Daniel - you're reinforcing our East Coast stereotype of the slow Texan.]
    In the same decade, the “Proposal for a Socialist Party Election Platform for 1936”, calls for a “Thirty hour week with no reduction in pay.”
    The 30 hour work week has been seen as a way to give more people the opportunity to be employed. This sort of wealth distribution was considered during the Great Depression as a means to combat growing unemployment. The United States Senate actually approved the Black-Connery bill in 1937, which would have created a national 30 hour work week, though the bill eventually died due to various reasons.
    Even eighty years later, the 2012-2013 Socialist Party USA Platform still calls for a “30 hour work week at no loss of pay, with six weeks annual paid vacation.” The Green Party USA platform also expresses a desire for “a 6-hour day with no cut in pay for the bottom 80% of the pay scale”, along with “a ‘second paycheck’ for workers enabling them to receive 40 hours of pay for 30 hours of work.”
    Democratic and socialist groups worked alongside organized labor to make the length of the full-time work week around 40 hours by the time World War II ended, and it appears that they are still working tirelessly to make the work week closer to 30 hours, similar to countries such as France and Germany.


9/05/2013 – 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. 'Shared Work:' A Win-Win-Win Solution, by Mark Cooper, Virginia Connection Newspapers via connectionnewspapers.com
    RICHMOND, Va., USA - How do we mitigate the devastating effects of layoffs on employees, employers and their communities? Is there a "win-win-win" solution?
    There is most definitely such a solution and it is called "Shared Work". Borrowed from a program called "Kurzarbeit" in Germany, a country considered one of the world's perennial industrial economies who knows a thing or two about surviving business cycles, this concept can decisively help Virginia companies, both large and small, weather temporary downturns by keeping their skilled workforce intact and on the job.
    I know. Before coming to Virginia, I was employed by and operated my own businesses in Germany from 1980 through 2008.
    From Fortune 500 companies like Texas Instruments, my first employer, to global giants like Mercedes, Bosch and others, I have personally experienced the effectiveness of these programs. And they work. A survey conducted by the state of Bavaria's Chamber of Commerce in July 2009, the depth of the Great Recession, revealed that 60 percent of respondents were able to avoid permanent layoffs, another 16 percent were able to come away with only minimal layoffs so that well over three quarters or 76 percent were able to keep all or most of their workforce through "Shared Work.”
    How? By reducing the days worked per week from 5 to 4, as an example, the companies are able to reduce a sizable portion of their labor costs, in this case 20 percent, maintain their workforce and additionally avoid costly rehiring and retraining expense when business picks up. More importantly, communities keep their breadwinners employed, which in turn continue paying taxes and consuming local goods and services. This keeps the "doors open" which in turn keeps families together.
    While the employee will see a reduction in gross salary or wages, through the clever use of unemployment benefits which the employer has been contributing towards previously, take-home wage reduction would be not as pronounced. And that extra day would be a welcome respite to those families where both spouses are working full-time and could restore some work-life balance in the interim; or the employer could decide to use the extra day for retraining and skill improvement.
    How do we proceed? In the U.S., 26 states have already adopted such "Shared Work" policy. Our commonwealth has not, to date, but the General Assembly should consider this proven public-private solution. Virginia's labor market, like many others, is still languishing. "Shared Work" can prevent layoffs, maintain the well being of employees and their communities and keep businesses competitive over the long run.
    This is an intelligent, tested policy that can truly provide a "win-win-win" for all Virginians.

  2. Saving Jobs in Hard Times - Virginia lawmakers will push work sharing legislation this session, by Victoria Ross, Virginia Connection Newspapers via connectionnewspapers.com
    David Balducchi, a national employment policy expert from Arlington, lobbies lawmakers to enact work sharing legislation. (photo caption)
    RICHMOND, Va., USA - When Springfield business owner Tony Coombs felt the “mind-boggling impact” the $87 billion in budget cuts would have on his IT and cyber-security company, he began preparing his 600 employees for the fallout.
    He froze bonuses and pay raises; he cut some employees’ hours by as much as 50 percent; he consolidated where he could and he began leasing his Springfield office building on a month-to-month basis.
    “I wanted to do everything I could to avoid laying off employees,” Coombs said. “There's not someone here who doesn't have some family connection, and a feeling of family is something we’ve always encouraged and embraced.”
    But the sequester caused serious setbacks to his company and employee morale, and after a few months of treading water, Coombs considered layoffs.
    “We had to rearrange our teams to use less people,” Coombs said. “That’s the worst thing for me because everyone knows my employees always come first.”
    Coombs, who participated in Congressional business roundtables to keep his company moving forward, learned about a government program adopted in several other states that help employers keep experienced workers on the payroll.
    Called work sharing, more than two dozen states are now using the program—a kind of unemployment insurance in reverse—which comes with free federal dollars to keep workers in their jobs instead of supporting them after they’re laid off. Instead of getting a pink slip during an economic downturn, workers have an opportunity to stay on the job and receive unemployment benefits for the hours they lose.
    And thanks to national employment policy experts such as David Balducchi of Arlington, work sharing is getting a new look from employers across the country and the state.
    “With work sharing, an employee’s lost day of work doesn’t have to mean a lost day of pay,” Balducchi said. “The hours of all employees are reduced instead of sacking some employees. Employees receive partial unemployment benefits only for their lost hours of work. And employees keep working and don’t have to search for a new position in a bleak market.”
    Balducchi has been crisscrossing the United States to educate lawmakers about work sharing and to help them enact legislation. In Washington State, for example, the program has paid dental technicians and plumbers at struggling companies. “The funds enable companies to hang on to experienced workers while they wait for the economy to improve,” Balducchi said.
    State Senator George Barker (D-39), a proponent of work sharing, is urging fellow lawmakers to make Virginia the next state that adopts the legislation.
    Barker, who said he is making work sharing legislation one of his top priorities for the 2014 General Assembly legislative session, worked with Balducchi and John Horejsi of SALT (Social Action Linking Together) to lobby other lawmakers to enact work sharing.
    “Having been through the recession and recent slight increases in Virginia unemployment rates as federal sequestration takes effect, it is important that we give Virginia businesses all the tools we can to help them and their employees get through challenging times. This bill does that,” Barker said Tuesday.
    The program, Barker said, is not a red state or blue state issue. In fact, the most recent states to pass some form of work sharing legislation this summer—Wisconsin and Ohio—are led by Republican governors.
    “This is a bipartisan bill put forth by Republican Senator Bill Stanley from Franklin County and myself,” Barker said. “We have worked with the business community on this bill, including the Virginia Federation of Independent Businesses, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and Virginia Association of Manufacturers as well as with community organizations. We have addressed the questions and concerns raised by legislators.”
    Under the bill proposed by Barker, the legislation would establish a shared work program that provides employers with the option of reducing the hours worked by employees, while permitting the employees whose hours are reduced to receive partial compensation for lost wages. Program participation requires Virginia Employment Commission approval of a plan, which must provide that the reduction in hours of work is in lieu of a layoff of an equivalent percentage of employees and that employees' fringe benefits cannot be reduced or eliminated during the plan.
    “Having been through the recession and recent slight increases in Virginia unemployment rates as federal sequestration takes effect, it is important that we give Virginia businesses all the tools we can to help them and their employees get through challenging times. This bill does that.”
    —State Sen. George Barker (D-39)

    According to U.S. Department of Labor data, work sharing has saved 61,299 jobs in a combined 19 states in 2012. 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 a Justice Center report.
    Balducchi said work share programs are gaining momentum with employers nationally because it gives them flexibility during an economic downturn. Instead of laying off highly-trained, experienced employees—which may save employers money in the short term—they have the flexibility to reduce hours and maintain a specialized workforce, which ultimately benefits employers in the long term.
    For an employer like Coombs, who has invested significant time and money in training top-rated cyber-security employees, the program gives him and his employees some breathing room.
    “If I have to lay off people, I’m not going to 7-11 [the corner convenience store] and find the talent, training and security level my clients expect. … This business revolved around a qualified team of people,” Coombs said.

    The Department of Workforce Development estimates work-share programs will save the unemployment reserve fund $4.9 million.
    “We almost got it passed in 2013 and look forward to success next year,” Barker said, adding that he remains optimistic the bill will pass in 2014.
    “We will rally the troops next year,” Horejsi said. “We are energized by the prospects for success for this commonsense legislation."
    Virginia’s Potential Saving According to David Balducchi: (blowout header)
    If Virginia enacted a work sharing law, the commonwealth is eligible for a U.S. Department of Labor planning and implementation grant of $2,739,420. The cutoff date to apply for the U.S. Department of Labor grant is Dec. 31, 2014.
    Also, had Virginia enacted work sharing the commonwealth over the three-year period beginning with passing of the federal law in February 2012, it would have enabled Virginia to receive 100 percent of federal reimbursement of work sharing benefits. According to the center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), the potential annual estimated saving in Virginia with federal financing of work sharing could reach $14,506,300. CEPR says this is an annual saving.

  3. Is It Time for a Four-Day Work Week? by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt, payscale.com
    SEATTLE, Wash., USA - How much happier would you be right now if today was your Friday? If Forbes contributor Richard Eisenberg had his way, it would be.
    "Today, harried five-day-a-week workers must routinely, and sometimes furtively, scoot out for doctor's appointments, errands and elder care duties for their parents -- and they're doing so more often," Eisenberg writes. "Employers often don't like it when staffers head out for these reasons."
    [But the more CEOs do kneejerk downsizing in response to technology, the more of a system requirement instead of a workstyle option it becomes to switch to timesizing (hourscuts not jobcuts) to retain markets for mushrooming technological productivity.]
    Benefits for Employers
    Only 36 percent of employers currently offer four-day work weeks, according to Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute, and then only to some employees, generally by special arrangement.

    That's a shame, because employers are losing the hours anyway: Eisenberg quotes Captivate Network's Homing from Work survey, which says that there's been a 31 percent increase in errand-running since 2011. Although, a cynic might wonder if some of these dentist appointments and trips to the bank are secretly job interviews, the result for the employer is the same: lost time and lost work.
    Benefits for Employees
    In addition to the obvious work-life balance benefits, a flexible schedule has psychological benefits for employees, who feel more appreciated by their employers and less stressed in general. A four-day work week has advantages over other flex arrangements, because it allows workers to essentially extend their weekend, which makes it easier to devote that time to recreation, rest, and hobbies.
    Caveats
    One downside to the four-day work week, Eisenberg says, is that some workers might find the typical ten-hour day tiring.
    "I'm 52 and I don't have the energy I had when I was 22," Jessica DeGroot of Third Path Institute tells Forbes. "With a 4/10 schedule, I'd need the other day to recover and that defeats the whole purpose of a four-day workweek."
    Even for energetic folks -- or people who are used to pulling longer days, anyway -- the 4/10 split can be a challenge. If you get an extra day off a week, you're not as likely to get sympathy from your manager if you do need time off during working hours.
    Still, it's worth adding the four-day week to our ever-growing list of options, when it comes to flextime.


9/04/2013 – 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. Xerox Corp. issuing furloughs, by Matthew Daneman, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle via democratandchronicle.com
    NORWALK, Conn., USA - Xerox Corp. has notified a number of U.S. workers that they will be furloughed this month.
    The Connecticut-based printing and business services company declined to say how many workers were affected by the one week of unpaid time off, though the company said the furloughs involved “a select number of non-client facing ... employees” in its services operations.
    In a statement, Xerox said the furloughs — being done to keep costs down — are “a better alternative to reducing headcount or layoffs, and we implement them very selectively.”
    [Better furloughs than firings, timesizing not downsizing.]
    Xerox stock closed Wednesday at $10.01, down 11 cents or 1 percent.

  2. Carillion makes cuts to save jobs, ExpressAndStar.com
    WOLVERHAMPTON, U.K. - Construction giant Carillion today announced plans to introduce flexible working hours and offer staff the chance to take extended holidays in a bid to cut costs and prevent redundancies.
    It comes as one of the oldest companies in the region, Willenhall Locks and Keys Ltd, confirmed it had gone into administration, putting around 30 jobs at risk.
    Staff from some departments at Wolverhampton-based Carillion were called into meetings to discuss options to save cash.
    Flexible working and sabbaticals are among the moves being considered, bosses admitted today, as they claimed it was ‘too premature’ to discuss whether compulsory redundancies would be made.
    [Better sabbaticals than sackings, timesizing not downsizing.]
    Meanwhile David Sambrook, director at family-run Willenhall Locks, which has been in Stringes Lane since 1959, said administrators Leonard Curtis had been appointed to handle the firm’s affairs.
    A spokesman for Carillion, based in Birch Street, said the company had a ‘strong focus on managing costs to ensure it remains as competitive as possible’. “As part of this, we briefed staff on a number of internal initiatives designed to reduce costs and improve competitiveness,” he added.
    It comes just days after the boss of Carillion underlined the firm’s commitment to its home in Wolverhampton and revealed it will be bidding to work on a new £370 million super hospital being built in Smethwick.
    The company employs around 750 people at its city centre headquarters.
    By last summer, its UK construction workforce had been cut by 1,750 to 3,000.
    Willenhall councillor Sean Coughlan said Willenhall Locks’ struggles were ‘another nail in the coffin’ for the town’s historic lock industry, which dates to the 16th century.
    “I’m really, really disappointed to hear that we’ve lost another business in Willenhall,” said Councillor Coughlan.
    “I know people who worked there so this has touched me in a number of ways.”

  3. 3 Things Your Employer Does Not Want You to Know About Overtime, by UnderCover Waitress Beth Taylor, PayScale Career News via payscale.com
    [New kind of Taylorism?]
    MIDDLEBURY, Vt., USA - For every law, there is a way around it. Know your rights.
    Not all employers are out to take advantage of or cheat their employees out of overtime pay. Some employers make honest mistakes, and those mistakes can be very costly when the employee discovers the problem and files a complaint. It is best for all involved that employers and employees have a clear understanding of overtime laws.
    Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
    The United States Department of Labor, Wage, and Hour Division explains:
    The federal overtime provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unless exempt, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay. There is no limit in the Act on the number of hours employees aged 16 and older may work in any workweek. The Act does not require overtime pay for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days.
    1. The definition of the "workweek" is not Sunday through Saturday.
    A workweek consists of seven consecutive 24-hour periods. The workweek does not have to coincide with the calendar week. For example, a workweek for a restaurant chef may be Wednesday through Sunday, with Monday and Tuesday off.
    If that chef works ten hours on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, he has worked 40 hours. Any hours worked on Sunday are overtime hours. The employer may not say that Sunday is the beginning of a new workweek. Sunday is the last day of the chef's workweek, and in this scenario he is entitled to overtime pay for hours worked on Sunday.
    2. Employees may not waive overtime.
    Some less scrupulous employers may ask employees to waive their right to overtime pay, and take "comp time" instead. Comp time is time paid time off in place of overtime. For example, you work 42 hours one week. The next week you work 38 hours. You are paid your regular rate of pay for 40 hours each of those two weeks.
    This is illegal. Overtime hours must be paid overtime rates, and the employee is not allowed to waive this right any more than an employer is allowed to ask.
    If an employee works unauthorized overtime hours, the employer may choose to discipline the employee. However, the employer has no choice and must pay overtime wages for any and all overtime worked, whether or not it was authorized.
    3. Regular rate of pay sometimes includes more than wages.
    Paul Edwards explains in Winning in Overtime:
    An employee's regular rate of pay actually includes all forms of compensation (not expressly exempted), including base hourly wage, nondiscretionary bonuses, commissions, on-call pay, shift differentials, reasonable cost of meals, lodging, and cash benefit payments from Section 125 Cafeteria Plans. It does not include gifts, such as purely discretionary Christmas bonuses or turkeys, vacation, or sick pay.
    Also, it is illegal for employers to call all bonuses "discretionary" in order to avoid paying accurate overtime wages. If your job includes commissions and bonuses as part of your pay package, these amounts must be included in overtime wage calculations.


9/01-02-03/2013 – 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. Saving Jobs in Hard Times, by Sara Rix, 9/03 Public Policy Institute via AARP News (blog) via blog.aarp.org
    [Throughout these Labor Day readings, it is well to remember that shorter hours is a policy for normal times, not just hard times, and it's not just an optional lifestyle issue but a system requirement without which we continue to incrementally defund our consumer base via our employment basement. And it's not called the consumer base for nothing. As it shrinks, it gets harder and harder for the financial sector to maintain its myth that it is the base. In fact, the financial sector has a better title to being the basic cause of recession and depression, because as it vacuums M1 (the money supply) to itself, M1 circulates slower and slower, because the top brackets spend and donate a smaller percentage of their money than any other brackets, and the vast monies they "spend" on investments increasingly stay - irrelevant to 99.9% of the population and moving only torpidly - completely within the financial sector.]
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Is there a way to protect some workers — younger as well as older — from job loss during economic downturns? Some might be helped during the next recession if more employers have access to and use what is known as short-time compensation or work sharing. Work sharing is exactly what it sounds like — the sharing, or spreading around — of the available work when times are tough. Work sharing is not to be confused with job sharing, which is when two workers split the responsibilities of a single job in order to achieve a better balance between their work and nonwork lives.
    Let’s say an employer plans to lay off 20 percent of the company’s employees to make ends meet. That is clearly bad news for the 20 percent, but it may also not do much for the morale of the remaining 80 percent. Instead of layoffs, however, an employer might reduce everyone’s work hours by 20 percent and achieve comparable savings. If state law allows it, work sharers who are eligible for unemployment insurance can receive prorated benefits to offset some of the lost wages. Most states also require employers to continue to provide health and pension benefits to work sharers.
    While workers on work share who would not have been laid off also experience a reduction in earnings, losses should be temporary, and unemployment benefits make up for some of them. Work sharing spreads the burden of a downturn more evenly across more workers than layoffs do.
    Work-share programs are not as common in the United States as they are in some countries. Germany, for example, which has used work sharing extensively according to a recent publication from the International Labor Organization, weathered the recession seeing far less impact on its unemployment rate than the U.S. did. A great deal of credit for this outcome has been attributed to the country’s work-share program.
    *Higher pre-recession unemployment rate in Germany is now lower than in U.S. (graph caption) [scan down for graph]
    Work sharing requires amending state unemployment insurance laws, but once that has been done, a program can be easy to implement. The decision to implement work sharing is up to an employer. Work sharing won’t work for all types of jobs and, by itself, will not keep all firms from going under — some just might not survive a slowdown. However, in the last recession, some states found that work sharing did help save jobs — an estimated 166,000 in 2009 alone, as reported by the Center for Law and Social Policy and the National Employment Law. Admittedly, this was a small percentage of the total number of job losers that year, but for those whose jobs were saved, work sharing “worked.”
    Congress has made nearly $100 million in grants available to implement or improve work sharing programs in the states. At last count, 26 U.S. states had work-sharing legislation in place, up from 17 at the height of the Great Recession. A timely expansion to other states of legislation that permits the payment of prorated unemployment benefits to work sharers could find those states better prepared to weather the next downturn, which they are likely to have to do eventually.
    A longer version of this blog appeared on Huffington Post’s Post 50.
    [See below 8/20/20213 #1.]
    Sara E. Rix, Ph.D., is a senior strategic policy adviser with the Economics Team of the AARP Public Policy Institute. She has written and spoken extensively on older workers, an aging society and aging issues for more than 30 years.

  2. Is the secret to happiness really more time at work? 9/02 NursingTimes.net (Jenni Middleton, ed.)
    LONDON, U.K. - According to the Mail Online “working shorter hours could make you more stressed and doesn’t improve job satisfaction”.
    The headlines follow publication of research in the Journal of Happiness Studies. The study makes use of South Korean survey data on working hours and life satisfaction, collected from married or cohabiting couples.
    In 2004, a Five-Day Working Policy was introduced in South Korea in order to reduce the long working hours [for companies over 1000 employees, with six subsequent annual stepdowns in company size]. Working hours gradually fell from 56 hours per week in 1998 to less than 51 hours in 2008. Contrary to the headlines, there was a consistent rise in satisfaction with working hours, life satisfaction and job satisfaction over the same period.
    Both men and women seemed to be most satisfied when working ‘non-overtime’ full-time jobs of 31–50 hours per week. Men had less satisfaction with working part-time jobs (less than 30 hours) – possibly due to reduced income. Women appeared to like part-time jobs, but they do not seem to be readily available in South Korea.
    However, because of the many cultural, historical and social differences between the UK and South Korea, this study is unlikely to have a great deal of relevance here.
    Where did the story come from?
    The study was carried out by a single author from the Division of International Studies, Korea University. No sources of funding are reported. The study was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Happiness Studies.
    The media has over-interpreted the findings of these South Korean survey reports, which may have very limited relevance in the UK.
    What kind of research was this?
    Several prior research studies have observed that employment is an important driver of individual happiness, in part because it is a driver of social participation and engagement. Downsides can, of course, include stress and fatigue from long working hours and loss of time with family. Several studies have tried to examine whether long working hours have positive or negative effects on wellbeing, with mixed results.
    The current study focuses on Korea – said to have some of the longest working hours in the developed world (during the 1990s, a third of men worked an average of 60 hours a week).
    However, since the introduction of the Five-Day Working Policy in 2004, the country has seen a decline in average working hours by around 10% or five hours per worker per week. The research looked at the working hours of married and cohabiting couples and their subjective wellbeing as reported in surveys conducted over the period 1998 to 2008.
    South Korea also continues to have a large gender gap when it comes to working, compared with other countries, with women often working fewer hours or being in lower positions.
    What did the research involve?
    The study uses data collected as part of the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study (KLIPS) during the years 1998–2008. KLIPS is said to be a nationally representative longitudinal survey of urban Korean households that started in 1998, covering 5,000 households and 13,783 individuals over 15 years old.
    A wide range of information was collected, including earnings, education, family and employment backgrounds, and other sociodemographic factors. KLIPS reportedly included a broad range of information on measures of subjective wellbeing and working hours.
    The sample used in this family is restricted to married and cohabiting couples, including a total 25,461 person-year observations for females and 25,214 person-year observations for males.
    Questions on job satisfaction and overall satisfaction with life were rated on a five-point scale from 1 (very satisfied) to 5 (very dissatisfied) and included questions such as:
    “Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your life?”
    “Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your main job?”
    “How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with regard to your main job on the following aspects?”

    Subsequent questions covered regular weekly working hours (according to contract) and average actual weekly working hours (actual time spent in work).
    The author looked at working hours, work and life satisfaction by gender pooled over the years 1998-2008. The author also constructed a statistical model to look at the associations between working hours, work and life satisfaction.
    What were the basic results?
    Average life and job satisfaction of wives/women and husbands/men were comparable, around 3.2 and 3.1, respectively, on the scale from 1 to 5. Satisfaction with working hours was slightly lower, with men being less satisfied than women: around 3.04 for women and 2.99 for men. In all cases, reports on the extremes of 1 (very satisfied) or 5 (very dissatisfied) were rare.
    The researcher says this could in part be explained by social and cultural norms in South Korea, which normally includes more modest use of language; expressions of intense emotions are also frowned upon.
    Overall, average working hours in Korea over the period 1998 to 2008 were long, with men and women spending around 40 to 60 hours a week at work, excluding commuting and lunch hours. More women than men worked in jobs where hours were lower than 40 hours per week, while more men worked extremely long hours (60+).
    About a third of men and a quarter of women with family duties still worked on average more than 60 hours a week. Less than a third of women with family ties were able to secure a job working less than 40 hours, suggesting the absence or lack of part-time working opportunities in Korea.
    For women, hours satisfaction was relatively high when working one to 50 hours a week, though the preferred category would be 31 to 40 hours a week, which many women are not able to do. Similar patterns were preferred for men, though men didn’t like working one to 30 hours a week (part-time).
    Overall job satisfaction was higher for both men and women when working ‘non-overtime’ full-time jobs (31–50 hours).
    Before the law was introduced in 2004, statutory working time was 44 hours and six days a week for most employees. In mid-2004, this had reduced to 40 hours and five days a week. Average weekly working hours were consistently more than 10 hours above this, although there was a decrease from 56 hours in 1998 to less than 51 hours in 2008.
    A graph presented in the study suggests that while working hours dropped from 1998 to 2008, satisfaction with working hours, life satisfaction and job satisfaction have been continually rising. The association between the introduction of the Five-Day Working Policy and hours, job and life satisfaction was also examined in a statistical model.
    The researcher found that there was a significant negative association between working hours and satisfaction with working hours (that is, as working hours decreased, satisfaction with working hours increased). However, the association between reduced working hours and job or life satisfaction was not significant when examined in the model.
    How did the researchers interpret the results?
    The author concludes that, “the introduction of the Five-Day Working Policy in Korea had only limited well-being effects on married workers and their families. Average reductions of more than four hours of work time did not have a significant impact on full-time workers’ overall job and life satisfaction. It did, however, significantly increase workers’ satisfaction with their working hours. The latter increase was stronger for women with larger reductions, indicating higher work-family conflict for Korean women.”
    Conclusion
    This study draws on a wealth of survey data collected for Korean married or cohabiting men and women between 1998 and 2008. It demonstrated trends in decreased working hours since the introduction of the Five-Day Working Policy in 2004.
    Despite the headlines, the findings do show a promising overall trend towards general increases in satisfaction with work, working hours and life over the 10 year period. It also makes some observations around the gender difference, and the possibility that Korean women may prefer the opportunity for part-time work but this is less readily available.
    This study provides an interesting look at the effects of working hours upon satisfaction with life and work among married or cohabiting couples in Korea. However, due to social, cultural and economic differences between the UK and Korea, the findings have limited relevance to this country.
    [Leave it to the nurses to do a great job in exploding the recent "research" from South Korea linking shorter hours with "no guarantee of happiness" and longer hours with happiness. And certainly the two Archetypical Professions, doctors and lawyers, agree, at least in the British Isles according to our next two stories -]

  3. Junior doctors expected to vote for strike action over 'immoral' [60/wk] working hours, 9/02 IrishExaminer.com
    DUBLIN, Ireland - Junior doctors are expected to vote in favour of industrial action when the result of a ballot by the Irish Medical Organisation [IMO] is released this afternoon.
    Some 2,000 doctors have been balloted on the action, calling for a reduction in working hours.
    The IMO has said most junior doctors work a 60 hour week, contrary to EU regulations.

    If the ballot result is in favour of action, doctors may withdraw from all work except emergency care in hospitals.
    Libby Enni, a junior doctor at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, says the current working conditions are "immoral".
    Ms Enni said: "I know there is an argument that doctors shouldn't go out on strike, but I think the way we are working at the moment is immoral and that there is a bigger wrong there than if the doctors continue to work like this in Ireland.
    "We are doing a worse thing by our patients than going out on strike now for a better healthcare system in the longer term."

  4. Women solicitors want shorter working hours, 9/01 (3/23/2010 very late reposting for Labour Day?) LawCareers.Net
    LONDON, U.K. - A recent survey of 800 women solicitors has revealed that while 80% experience "real enjoyment in their jobs", half think that their hours are too long. Conducted in 2009 by the Association of Women Solicitors and King's College London, the survey found that 42% believed that advancement to partnership was the main measure of success, but one in three did not think "there was a good chance to get ahead in their organisation". One-third said they were dissatisfied with their opportunities to work flexibly and 44% thought that flexible working had a negative impact on their promotion prospects.
    The author of the survey, Professor Janet Walsh, commented "The career development and work-life balance of women solicitors are issues of major concern for the future of the legal profession. Unfortunately, there is a perception among some women solicitors that law firms pay lip service to work-life policies and to flexible working and are not fully committed to their implementation. If law firms wish to avoid higher levels of burnout and dissatisfaction, they need to look carefully at the issue of women's career progression, particularly at senior associate/associate level, and to address women's concerns about work-life balance and flexible working at all levels of the profession."

  5. Number of furloughed workers triples in late August, by Christie Chen, 9/02 CNA via Focus Taiwan News Channel via focustaiwan.tw
    [Better furloughs than firings!]
    TAIPEI, Taiwan - The number of employees put on unpaid leave more than tripled in the last two weeks of August, according to statistics released by the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) Monday.
    As of Aug. 31, 2,345 workers at 34 companies had agreed to be put on unpaid leave, of which 2,240 had already begun furloughs, statistics showed.

    That represents a large increase from the Aug. 15 figures, which recorded 717 workers at 32 companies agreeing to unpaid leave, of which 663 were already furloughed.
    The increase came mainly from two electronics manufacturers, which reached furlough agreements with over 1,500 employees in the past two weeks, said Huang Wei-chen, senior executive officer of the council's Department of Working Conditions, who spoke to CNA by telephone.
    The two companies, both cell phone component manufacturers, are expected to implement the furlough plan over the next three months, Huang said.
    Huang dismissed concerns that the sudden increase represented an industry trend, however.
    "Our preliminary understanding is that these individual companies may be facing difficulties in their operations," Huang said, adding that his council has asked the Ministry of Economic Affairs to offer assistance as necessary.
    Most of the furloughed workers will take one to four days of leave each month, the council said.
    The late August furlough numbers are the highest since Feb. 28 this year, when 2,547 employees had agreed to and 2,216 were already on temporary leave.
    Employers are required to receive written consent from workers before placing them on furlough.
    Workers can call the CLA hotline (0800-085151) to file complaints if they suspect any irregularities or that their employers are violating regulations.




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April 2-30/2013
March/2013 +Apr.1
February/2013
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November/2012
October/2012
September/2012
August/2012
July/2012
June/2012
May/2012
April/2012
March/2012
February/2012
January/2012
December/2011
November/2011
October/2011
September/2011
August 2-31/2011
July/2011 + 8/01
June/2011
May/2011
April/2011
March 2-31/2011
February 2-28/2011 +3/01
January 2-31 +2/01/2011
December/2010 + 1/1/11
10/31+ November/2010
October 1-30/2010
September/2010
August/2010
July 2-31/2010
June 2-30/2010 +Jul.1
May 2-31/2010 +Jun.1
April 2-30/2010 +May 1
March 3-31/2010 +Apr.1
February 2-28/2010 +Mar.1-2
January/2010 +Feb.1
December/2009
November/2009
October/2009
September/2009
August/2009
July/2009
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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