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


10/31/2013 – 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. Tourist helicopter service on Jersey City waterfront bows to FAA, cuts hours, flights - Sires to ask FAA to ban tourist helicopters from flying over NJ side of Hudson River, by Michaelangelo Conte, The Jersey Journal via NJ.com
    JERSEY CITY, N.J., USA - The number of flights and hours of operation of a tourist helicopter service on the Jersey City waterfront have been limited following a push to better the quality of life on the waterfront, which has been marred by chopper noise.
    Helicopters had operated from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, but will now be restricted to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
    The changes were announced last night following an agreement reached during a conference call with New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, Congressman Albio Sires and FAA Eastern Regional Administrator Carmine Gallo.
    As a result of repeated concerns raised by Menendez and Sires, the FAA, working with Goldman Sachs, which owns the Paulus Hook Helipad, and the helicopter operations council, brokered the agreement.
    The helicopter tourism company will also be limited to operating one helicopter at a time, after having unilaterally decided to operate three at a time, spokesmen for Menendez and Sires said.
    A man who answered the phone at the company, Helicopter Flight Service, said he was aware of the changes in hours of operation but directed all questions to a spokesman who could not immediately be reached.
    Residents, elected officials from Hudson County’s waterfront municipalities, and the Hudson County Board of Freeholders have been involved in the fight to suppress chopper noise.
    Gallo also agreed to convene a technical meeting within the next month to develop a broader plan to address the noise concerns.
    Sires said he is pleased with the FAA actions but there is still much more to be done.

  2. Courts decide when employees on short time working should get guarantee payments - The Court of Appeal has looked at what is meant by an employee being “normally” required to work, by Paul Mander & Arran Macloed (sp?), Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development via CIPD.co.uk (blog)
    LONDON, England, U.K. - Employers experiencing a downturn in trading have the option under the Employment Rights Act 1996 to lay off employees or put them on short-time working as an alternative to dismissal. Employees on short-time working may be entitled to a guarantee payment (currently £24.20) for those days when they would normally work, but do not have work because their employer has imposed a temporary reduction in working hours.
    In the case Abercrombie v AGA Rangemaster, recently heard at the Court of Appeal, the court considered, for the first time, when an employee being “normally” required to work occurs.
    Facts
    Abercrombie and his colleagues were hourly paid employees, contracted to work Monday to Friday. Due to poor trading, the employees entered into an agreement with the employer to reduce their working hours temporarily and to shorten their working week to Monday toThursday. The agreement, which allowed the employer to call its employees back to their full working hours on one week’s notice, initially ran until 26 June 2009 but was subsequently extended to 31 December 2009.
    The employees’ trade union, the GMB, requested confirmation that the employees were entitled to guarantee payments for the Fridays they were no longer working. The employer denied that the employees had a right to guarantee payments on the basis that, under the new agreement, they did not “normally” work on Fridays. The trade union disagreed and issued tribunal proceedings.
    Tribunals
    The claims were initially dismissed by both the employment tribunal and the Employment Appeals Tribunal on the basis that a temporary change to an employee’s contract did result in a change to the employee’s “normal working hours”. The Court of Appeal, however, overturned the earlier decisions and held in favour of Abercrombie and his colleagues.
    Court of Appeal
    The court distinguished this from previous cases where employers had permanently varied employees’ working hours under their contracts of employment. The difference in this case was that the variation to the employees’ contracts of employment was temporary and not permanent.
    The court concluded that, due to its temporary and “abnormal” nature, the employees’ express agreement to alter their normal working days did not preclude them from the right to guarantee payments. The court held that Fridays remained days on which Abercrombie and his colleagues were “normally contractually required to work” and they were, therefore, entitled to guarantee payments for those days without work.
    Comment
    While claims for guarantee payments are rare, employers that are considering reducing employees’ weekly hours temporarily should be aware that they may, in fact, still be required to pay employees guarantee payments for any days they would normally have worked under their contracts of employment. Employees can currently claim up to a maximum of five guarantee payments in any three-month period.
    Arran Macloed is a trainee and Paul Mander is head of employment at Penningtons Manches.

  3. Qantas workers bid to save jobs, TheAge.com.au
    LARA, Vic., Australia - Engineers at the Qantas Avalon Airport base will offer to take three months' leave without pay next year, in a desperate bid to save their jobs.
    Last month, the airline signalled it would sack the 300 aircraft engineers who work at Avalon.
    Qantas domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi said that there would be a review process into whether to keep the facility open that would finish at the end of October.
    But the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers' Association on Thursday afternoon put forward a new offer to Qantas, at a press conference held in Avalon.
    The association represents 200 of around 300 engineers.
    Its federal secretary Steve Purvinas said that there was around six months worth of work scheduled to be done at Avalon next year.
    Qantas staff there would make an offer to management to take three months of leave without pay, Mr Purvinas said.
    "The other three months can be acquitted with people taking long-service leave, annual leave and doing training," he said. "It's a 25 per cent cut in the wages bill for Qantas."
    Mr Purvinas said that, in return, workers wanted to have their employment guaranteed in 2015, when there would be more work needed on aircraft in the Qantas fleet, making Avalon more viable.
    "There is work in 2015, that's not an issue," Mr Purvinas said. "But we think their ultimate objective is moving that work offshore."
    Mr Purvinas said the plan "is not perfect ... it will hurt. But at the end of the day, it will deliver 21 months of employment over the next 24 months. The alternative is they all lose their jobs".
    He said the association was offering a way to keep the Avalon facility open.
    "They used the excuse that there wasn't enough work. We have given them the perfect solution. If they still decide to shut the place down, it's clear they've been disingenuous," Mr Purvinas said.
    A spokesman for Qantas said it was not clear how the proposal solved the problem "that there is no work in the hangar for around five months each year for the next four years".
    He said that the airline had spent six weeks looking at options to keep maintenance staff employed, including the one from the engineers association.
    Avalon had become less able to be used into the future because of the airline’s gradual retirement of its Boeing 747 fleet, he said. "[These] are being replaced by new aircraft which require less maintenance. No business could afford to ignore these realities," the Qantas spokesman said.
    He said a decision on Avalon’s future would "be completed shortly".

  4. Ethiopians protest long work hours sans overtime, wkly off, [10/30 updated on 1/11] Arab Times Kuwait English Daily via arabtimesonline.com
    KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait - Scores of Ethiopians demonstrated in front of Labor Office in the Capital Governorate against their cleaning company demanding labor and legal rights, reports Al-Seyassah daily.
    The laborers were accompanied by one of the officials at the Ethiopian embassy. A complaint has also been filed with the Ministry of Social Affairs And Labor.
    According to the complaint the laborers work for between 12 and 16 hours daily and they are not paid overtime money.
    In addition they are also not given a weekly day off.
    To add insult to injury the company is reportedly deducting KD 10 from their salary every month for unknown reasons. The embassy official noted about 1,800 Ethiopian laborers face deportation or can even lose their jobs for demanding their rights.
    She noted the law which permits for transfer of residence after three years of work with the sponsor is largely ineffective.
    [Sounds like Kuwaitis need to make up their minds what century they're in.]

  5. The 30-Hour Workweek Is Here (If You Want It), by Sydney Brownstone, Co.Exist via fastcoexist.com
    [It's hardly optional for employees, either for those who still have "full time" 35-40 hour/week jobs and are being pressured to work 50-60-70, or for those being cut to 29.9 hours so their employers can avoid Obamacare premiums.]
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - In 1930, famed economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that within his lifetime, the future economy would be powered with a quarter of the effort. In a hundred years, he wrote, humanity would actually be confronted with the problem of too much leisure time, and what to do with it. Technological innovation meant that we could accomplish whatever needed doing in a 15-hour workweek, and we’d be endeavoring “to spread the bread thin on the butter,” distributing what little work was necessary as equally as possible.
    [We can accomplish whatever needs doing in a 15-hour workweek in the robotics age, but sharing the vanishing work doesn't happen by magic - it takes employee pressure as shown by the persistent 100 years of employee pressure that lost battle after battle against mechanization but won the worksharing war by 1940 and halved the 80-hour workweek of 1840. But it hasn't been touched since 1940 despite 83 subsequent years of automation and robotization.]
    Today, despite massive gains in productivity, and thanks to unrepentant consumerism, Keynes’s prediction couldn’t have been further off.
    [Let's straighten out the wording here. Consumerism is standing up for consumer rights such as frankenfood (GMO) labeling, which has no reason to repent and every reason to resurge. Consumer spending is what keeps the economy out of recession and we don't have enough of it now because we've allowed a labor surplus to shrink wages and coagulate the money supply at the top. Consumption can hurt the environment if it's not "doing more with less" - many people are repentant about it - and CEOs in the 1920s deliberately promoted the "Gospel of Consumption" to block shorter hours, according to historian Ben Hunnicutt in an early chapter of his "Work Without End."]
    In 1991, sociologist Juliet Schor found that Americans in the early ‘90s were working 163 more hours than they were in 1973. But now, economists (including Schor) are considering a perception of time that actually makes sense for a post-industrial clock. In a recent book published by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), called Time on Our Side, they examine why a 30-hour workweek would be a more rational, efficient, and sustainable approach to the modern, developed economy.
    [At last, someone's given us the title of the book.]
    Most importantly, they say it’s totally doable--and big companies could even play a key part. "Wouldn’t people prefer to spend more time doing things other than working?"
    Three years ago, NEF’s head of social policy Anna Coote proposed the 21-hour workweek during the Ghent TEDx conference. As a “rallying cry” to suggest radical change, the idea earned a fair share of controversy. Meanwhile, “Time on Our Side is something that we want to get people to talk about in academic circles and policy formation circles,” she told me over the phone. As a result, the book includes contributions from 16 economists and thinkers discussing ways in which the current set-up drives carbon emissions, socio-economic and gender-based inequality, and stress.
    For example, the NEF included work from researcher Martin Pullinger, who found that longer working hours have a direct link to increased household greenhouse gas emissions in the United Kingdom. Other essays examine how an economy that overemphasizes constant growth and material consumption devalues professions that don’t necessarily benefit from increased output per unit of time--like teaching, for instance, or nursing. One piece included in the collection proposes that the U.K. implement something called “National Gardening Leave,” which would mandate a four-day workweek, but distribute a remainder of the time to both leisurely and productive agriculture.
    “Wouldn’t people prefer to spend more time doing things other than working?” Coote asks. “And if other economies are just as successful as the American economy and have markedly shorter hours--just look at Germany, for example--isn't there an argument there that you could do things differently?” "If higher paid workers started to work less hours, it would become a desirable thing."
    As Coote mentions, several European economies operate pretty closely to the 30-hour ideal. The average worker in Germany puts in 35 hours, but the German economy remains the fourth-largest in the world. The country also largely excludes work on Sundays, and the unemployment rate sits at a healthy 5%, compared to the United States’ 7%.
    But while a 30-hour workweek might appear distant from a present that prizes long working hours and constant connectedness to work through iPhone push notifications, Coote suggests that it wouldn’t be all that difficult to accomplish. In fact, she thinks that highly paid women (think along Lean In lines) could play a major role in pushing the shift.
    “If higher paid workers started to work less hours, it would become a desirable thing. It would be something to aspire to,” Coote says.
    Coote also believes that big companies could lead the way to a reduced workweek, even to the betterment of productivity--as long as their sunny sustainability claims are genuine. “There are also schools of thought that say that some corporations can see that they can have a market advantage if they make different kinds of products, if they make things sustainably, and that can include the changes in working hours,” she says. “I think we should remain a little optimistic about what corporations can do, but not have the wool pulled over our eyes by a lot of waffle about corporate responsibility and just meaningless gesturing, which a lot of them go in for.”
    Sydney Brownstone is a New York-based staff writer at Co.Exist. She lives in a Brooklyn apartment with windows that don’t quite open, and is interested in systemic abuse of public space and the commons. She’s written for the Village Voice, Mother Jones, Brooklyn Magazine, The L Magazine, and has contributed to NPR.
    [However, the above approach has enemies -]
    The International Franchise Association wants changes to Affordable Care Act's workweek definition, by Paula Burkes, NewsOK.com
    Alexander King, a Tulsa franchise attorney with Crowe & Dunlevy, discusses the International Franchise Association's stance on the Affordable Care Act's definition of a full-time employee.
    TULSA, Okla., USA - Q&A with Alexander King
    Q: The International Franchise Association (IFA) is lobbying to change the definition of a full-time employee. Why?
    A: The Affordable Care Act will require companies employing more than 50 full-time workers to provide at least the minimum level of government-defined health coverage to its full-time employees. For the purposes of this provision, “full-time employee” means an employee who works 30 hours or more per week. The IFA has adopted the position that the “30-hour per week” definition will stunt franchise growth. The IFA argues that some franchisees that would otherwise have opened additional locations or bought additional territories won't expand in order to stay below the 50-employee threshold. The IFA further argues that franchisees will be forced to cut hours for some part-time employees to fewer than 30 per week, thereby limiting the employees' earning potential, requiring the franchisee to hire additional part-time employees and potentially resulting in a less skilled workforce.
    Q: Are there any studies indicate the potential impact?
    A: The “30 hour per week” definition will have no impact on franchisees with fewer than 50 “full-time” employees, which includes most single-unit franchisees. The impact on larger franchisees will depend to some extent on the industry. For example, a University of California-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education study indicates that across all industries about 9 percent of employees in large companies work between 30 and 36 hours per week. Accordingly, most workers are either under the 30 hours per week threshold of the current provision or at or near the 40 hours per week threshold preferred by the IFA.


10/30/2013 – 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. Legislative Change Expands Shared Work Program - Additional Connecticut Employers Can Take Part; Goal Is To Provide Alternative to Layoff, media release, (10/30 late pickup) Connecticut Dept. of Labor Communications Office via ctdol.state.ct.us
    WETHERSFIELD, Conn., USA - Additional Connecticut employers now have the option to participate in the state’s Shared Work Program as a means to avoid layoffs and instead preserve jobs and retain skilled employees during financially trying times.
    According to State Labor Commissioner Sharon M. Palmer, the Shared Work Program allows a business to reduce the work schedule of permanent, full time employees during a temporary decline in business. The affected employees receive partial unemployment benefits to help supplement their lost wages.
    ”Since the program’s inception in 1992, businesses considered as ‘contributing employers’ – those that pay into the state’s Unemployment Insurance Program – have been eligible,” Palmer explains. “A legislative change enacted aspart of Public Act 13 - 66 that took effect earlier this month, expands the state’s Shared Work program by allowing all Connecticut employers meeting certain criteria to participate.”
    Prior to the Oct. 1 expansion of this program, ineligible employers such as self - funded non - profits were often faced with the need to lay - off a percentage of their workforce when facing business downturns. The change will give these employers the option of temporarily reducing hours and corresponding wages of all or some employees in order to avoid layoffs, retain skilled workers, remain prepared for business upswings, minimize training costs, and increase employee morale.
    The Shared Work Program administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor is made available to Connecticut companies through special eligibility regulations. Participating companies must have at least four full - time employees, cannot eliminate or reduce employee fringe benefits, and hours and wages cannot be reduced by less than 20 percent or more than 40 percent. “Approximately 275 companies are currently taking advantage of the program,” Palmer said. “These companies value their workers, but at this time do not have enough current business to keep their employee base operating at full force.”
    The Shared Work Program helps the participating company better position itself for the future once its economic situation has stabilized, allowing companies to avoid costly retraining expenses that would result if layoffs took place. Employees taking part must be able to work and available for full - time employment with the participating employer, and they must meet all regular unemploymentcompensation requirements. For additional information about the Shared Work Program or to obtain an application, visit the Connecticut Department of Labor’s website at www.ct.gov/dol and click on Shared Work Program. Inquiries can be made by emailing DOL.SharedWork@ct.gov or calling (860) 263-6660.
    Media Contact: Nancy Steffens, Communications Director
    200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109-1114
    Phone: (860) 263-6535 – Fax: (860) 263-6536 – www.ct.gov/dol
    An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

    [A press summary -]
    State Law for Avoiding Layoffs Now Available to More Companies, Patch.com
    "[T]he Shared Work Program allows a business to reduce the work schedule of permanent, full time employees during a temporary decline in business [...] affected employees receive partial unemployment benefits to help supplement their lost wages."
    WETHERSFIELD, Conn., USA - The Connecticut Department of Labor issued the following news release on Wednesday, Oct. 30:
    Additional Connecticut employers now have the option to participate in the state’s Shared Work Program as a means to avoid layoffs and instead preserve jobs and retain skilled employees during financially trying times.
    According to State Labor Commissioner Sharon M. Palmer, the Shared Work Program allows a business to reduce the work schedule of permanent, full time employees during a temporary decline in business. The affected employees receive partial unemployment benefits to help supplement their lost wages.
    ”Since the program’s inception in 1992, businesses considered as ‘contributing employers’ – those that pay into the state’s Unemployment Insurance Program – have been eligible,” Palmer explains. “A legislative change enacted as part of Public Act 13-66 that took effect earlier this month, expands the state’s Shared Work program by allowing all Connecticut employers meeting certain criteria to participate.”
    Prior to the Oct. 1 expansion of this program, ineligible employers such as self-funded non-profits were often faced with the need to lay-off a percentage of their workforce when facing business downturns. The change will give these employers the option of temporarily reducing hours and corresponding wages of all or some employees in order to avoid layoffs, retain skilled workers, remain prepared for business upswings, minimize training costs, and increase employee morale.
    The Shared Work Program administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor is made available to Connecticut companies through special eligibility regulations. Participating companies must have at least four full-time employees, cannot eliminate or reduce employee fringe benefits, and hours and wages cannot be reduced by less than 20 percent or more than 40 percent.
    “Approximately 275 companies are currently taking advantage of the program,” Palmer said. “These companies value their workers, but at this time do not have enough current business to keep their employee base operating at full force.”
    The Shared Work Program helps the participating company better position itself for the future once its economic situation has stabilized, allowing companies to avoid costly retraining expenses that would result if layoffs took place.
    Employees taking part must be able to work and available for full-time employment with the participating employer, and they must meet all regular unemployment compensation requirements.
    For additional information about the Shared Work Program or to obtain an application, visit the Connecticut Department of Labor’s website at www.ct.gov/dol and click on Shared Work Program. Inquiries can be made by emailing DOL.SharedWork@ct.gov or calling (860) 263-6660.

  2. Letter: Don't ignore issue of working hours, Newmarket Journal via newmarketjournal.co.uk
    NEWMARKET, Suff., England - I write in response to Cllr [Councillor] Tim Huggan’s letter last week regarding stable staff salaries.
    While I applaud those organisations and individuals who campaign for better pay for stable staff, I feel they have ignored a much more damaging issue.
    My husband has been a head man in racing for over 25 years and is definitely much closer to the bottom of the pay scale mentioned than the top and, in order to earn it, he works an average of 64 hours a week, 13 days out of every 14. It is not unusual either for him to lose his one day off a fortnight when other staff are absent. i am certain that these long hours are a greater contributory factor to marital breakdowns, neglected children and mental health problems within the industry than any financial headship.
    Name and address supplied [??]


10/29/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Goldman Sachs eases its long working hours for junior staff, by Tim Wallace & James Waterson (10/30 early pickup) CITY A.M. via cityam.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Junior staff at Goldman Sachs are to get more regular hours and more colleagues to share the burden of their work, the investment bank said yesterday.
    The analysts are being told they should not regularly work weekends, in a drive both to combat the image of the sector as one based solely on long hours, and to make Goldman’s working conditions more attractive relative to its rivals.
    The proposals are among several being implemented by a new task force which is monitoring the working conditions of junior bankers.
    “The goal is for our analysts to want to be here for a career,” said David Solomon, co-head of investment banking. “We want them to be challenged, but also to operate at a pace where they’re going to stay here and learn important skills that are going to stick. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
    The bank is increasing its analyst intake, hiring 332 in 2014, up 14 per cent on this year and 23 per cent on 2012.
    The industry came in for criticism after the death of Bank of America Merrill Lynch intern Moritz Erhardt this summer, when it was revealed he had been working long hours.
    [Note WSJ's headline on this today -]
    A kinder, gentler Goldman? Wall Street Journal, C1.

  2. SERPS Invaders introduce Four-day Work Week, Econsultancy.com (press release) (blog) [sic]
    EDINBURGH, Scotland, U.K. - SERPS [Search Engine Results Pages] Invaders in Edinburgh has become the first digital agency in Scotland to introduce the four-day work-week.
    The full-service multilingual digital agency and its staff voted on the change, which was implemented in September 2013. Already staff are reporting greater satisfaction at work, a more relaxed atmosphere, and increased productivity. They also say they look forward to the weekend and feel more refreshed upon returning to work on Monday mornings.
    Felicitas Betzl, Managing Director and Founder of SERPS Invaders, said: “We wanted to differentiate ourselves further from other agencies. As a small digital agency it’s vital to provide great incentives in order to attract the best talent. We have already implemented personal training budgets and monthly research time allowances for all our staff, and we were looking for something that was truly unique that other employers in our sector are not able to offer their staff. Having studied the benefits of a 4 day week and convinced my business partners, we were glad to find that all of our staff immediately welcomed this new opportunity.”
    The goal at SERPS is to work a 37.50-hour work-week, Monday to Thursday, giving staff plenty of off-the-clock time to relax and work on personal projects.
    [Ergo four 9-hour days plus an hour&ahalf somewhere?]
    Staff can also choose their working hours, whereby some staff start their day at 7.30am, whereas others come in later. This also allows them time for personal mid-week tasks without being absent. All staff have laptops, so staff are able to work remotely and allows them to be on-call should any clients need them.
    Reports earlier this year showed that 70% of marketing and communications agency employees say work affects their health, and recently economists have recommended a 30-hour working week for a healthier populace. The four-day work week is one way to improve staff morale and reduce work hours in an efficient way, giving staff more free time to spend as they please.
    Several forward thinking and successful businesses have pioneered the four-day work-week as a way to shake up routine and encourage innovation. Software company 37 Signals (the creators of Basecamp), whose staff switch to a four-day work week May through October. After this and other changes CEO Jason Fried reported “the greatest burst of creativity I’ve seen from our 34-member staff. It was fun, and it was a big morale booster. It was also ultraproductive,” in an opinion piece in the New York Times. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/opinion/sunday/be-more-productive-shorten-the-workweek.html?_r=0)
    Many government bodies and independent agencies also cite huge reductions in gas mileage and pollution, making their companies greener and more efficient. This also reduces costs both for staff in the form of petrol and for the company in the form of lower utility bills. Working from home is also an option for many agencies, with Fridays standing in as “research days” for catching up on independent research or spending time with families.
    After 2 months under the new regime, Managing Director of SERPS Invaders Felicitas Betzl said: “We are seeing great results from the 4-day work week so far. Staff are happier and more productive, it has been great for morale, and we are all more refreshed and happy upon returning to the office on Monday morning. Our clients have given us great feedback so far, and although the office is usually closed on Fridays, we are still flexible towards our clients’ needs and will always be available for emergencies or campaign deadlines.“
    Notes for Editors About SERPS Invaders - SERPS Invaders is an international digital agency with offices in Edinburgh, Scotland and Gibraltar, specialising in cross channel multilingual digital marketing strategies. SERPS offer online marketing services in 35 languages, which makes us one of the top multilingual SEO [Search Engine Optimizer] and digital marketing partners for our client base. The company now also offers full digital design & build services with the expansion of their team to include award winning Creative Director Ruaridh Currie who has provided creative solutions for world famous brands such as Channel 4 & Tottenham Hotspur in the last few years.
    SERPS stands for Search Engine Results Pages.
    For further information, please contact Felicitas Betzl (Managing Director) felicitas@serps-invaders.com | +44 (0)131 558 5433
    Web: http://www.serps-invaders.com
    Twitter: @SERPS_Invaders Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/serpsinvaders

  3. Zero-working hour contracts are 'exploitative' and create uncertainty, Manchester MP Kate Green claims, by David Aspinall, MancunianMatters.co.uk
    ["Mancunian" - ohyeah: Cambridge-Cantabrigian, Halifax-Haligonian, Manchester-Mancunian!]
    MANCHESTER, England, U.K. - Zero-hour working contracts [=purely on-call] have been attacked by Stretford and Urmston’s MP Kate Green who has branded them as 'exploitative'.
    ["Pitfall to Avoid" Dept.]
    The Labour MP has demanded an end to the contracts after recent estimates show that nationally 20% of workplaces now employ up to one million people on these contracts.
    Ms Green said: “I recognise that employers and employees need some flexibility but I’m not in favour of people in Stretford & Urmston lacking job security and having to be flexible about whether or not they can afford the weekly shop.
    “Hard-working people should feel confident and secure in their jobs and that’s why I will campaign to put an end to the exploitative use of zero-hours contracts.”
    Last month Labour leader Ed Miliband announced plans to enforce a code of practice for zero-hours contracts including banning their misuse where employees are on regular hours or are forced to exclusively work for one company.
    Philip Duval, a 48-year-old Stretford resident who has previously been dismissed from a job where zero-hour contracts were used, said: “Life on these contracts is insecure and feels like something out of the nineteenth century. People deserve better than this."

  4. Federal appellate courts split on use of fluctuating workweek to calculate overtime payments, (10/25 late posting) Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP via Lexology.com (registration)
    [Another pitfall to avoid.]
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - When faced with the legal obligation to pay overtime to highly compensated but non-exempt[-from-overtime] employees [ie: eligible for overtime], many employers turn to the Fluctuating Workweek (FWW) method as an alternative way to manage overtime costs. In return for paying the employee a guaranteed salary, FWW allows the employer to pay a half-time overtime premium instead of the usual time and one-half overtime otherwise owed to the employee.
    What happens when the employer misclassifies the employee as exempt, and pays them a guaranteed salary with no overtime premium? Should the employer retroactively enjoy the benefits of FWW for overtime calculations, even though the parties never intended that it be used for compensation purposes? Federal appellate courts across the U.S. have split on this issue. Earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that FWW should not be used as the basis for backwage calculations in a misclassification case. In Black v. SettlePou PC, the plaintiff was a paralegal who was erroneously deemed to be salaried exempt. She successfully sued for unpaid overtime, but the district court calculated the damages according to FWW, reducing her award by more than two thirds.
    The Fifth Circuit reversed this decision, ordering the lower court to recalculate damages based on time and one-half overtime. The court concluded that FWW should not be retroactively used in this case, because there was no agreement between the parties that this method would be the basis for her compensation. While FWW does not require written consent of the employee, in this case, the plaintiff had repeatedly objected to the lack of overtime pay.Other federal circuits including the Fourth (which includes North Carolina and South Carolina) have taken the position that FWW should be used to measure damages in misclassification cases where the plaintiff was paid a guaranteed salary. These courts concluded that the plaintiff's acceptance of the salary over a period of time represented implied agreement to be paid on a salaried basis.
    When the Department of Labor conducts wage and hour audits, the measure of damages sought can depend on the state in which the employer is located, and the position of the relevant appellate court on this issue. Absent U.S. Supreme Court review of this dichotomy, employers with operations in different parts of the country may face different methods for damages calculations for employees misclassified for overtime purposes.
    [And here's the stump of another article on this topic -]
    RadioShack Defends Fluctuating Workweek In OT Suit, by Igor Kossov, (10/25 late posting) Law360.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA -- RadioShack Corp. on Thursday asked a Pennsylvania federal court to dismiss a former employee's class action accusing the company of underpaying him for overtime, claiming the plaintiff worked a fluctuating workweek allowed under state and federal law.
    David Verderame brought the suit in April, alleging Radio Shack had failed to compensate him for all his working hours and that its fluctuating workweek payment structure violated the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act of 1968. But RadioShack defended the flexible workweek in its motion to dismiss...


10/27-28/2013 – 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. White House ObamaCare Math: 29.5-Hour Workweek Equals 30, by Jed Graham, 10/28 Investor's Business Daily via news.investors.com
    Yes, fewer are working 30-34 hours - The number of people clocking 30-34 hour weeks has been falling from a year earlier - except in months when full-time workers were taking time off. (graph caption)
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - The White House sees no sign that ObamaCare is affecting Americans' work hours. But its data have a problem: Government economists count workers limited to 29.5 hours as 30-hour-per-week workers.
    That's no small rounding error in this case.
    Employers, as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recently said, are "restructuring their workforce to give workers 29- and-a-half hours " to dodge ObamaCare's health coverage mandate.
    Anecdotes abound about employers cutting workers' hours to 29.5 or even 29.75 — just below the 30-hour workweek at which ObamaCare penalties kick in for employers who don't offer health care coverage. (Eleven are listed below.)
    The White House used Current Population Survey data to show that ObamaCare is not affecting the number of workers clocking 30- to 34-hour workweeks. The CPS is the monthly household survey used to calculate the unemployment rate.
    But the Obama administration left out an important detail: The interviewers for the survey are instructed to round up.
    ["]Use whole numbers (Count 30 minutes or more as a whole hour[)]," the interviewers are told.
    That means the White House has no clue how many of the 5-million-plus workers who are reported to be clocking 30-hour weeks are actually working 29.5 hours, though there are surely more than there used to be.
    Off The Books
    ObamaCare's impact on the work hours of people clocking 30 to 34 hours per week is of particular interest because these workers are already considered part-time under the Labor Department definition. Thus, their hours could be cut below 30 per week without any official rise in part-time employment.
    Other analysts, including the Center For Economic and Policy Research and Bloomberg News, have made the same oversight as the White House.
    As a result, all of these widely cited analyses overestimate the number of workers clocking 30 hours or more and underestimate how many are working just below 30 hours.
    Even with the rounding problem, the CPS numbers do offer evidence of ObamaCare's impact on the workweek.
    The data show a clear trend of fewer people working 30- to 34-hour weeks in their main jobs.The change is not large, but it should not be discounted, especially since the number is padded with workers whose hours have fallen to as few as 29.5 hours.
    The declines also have come even as the total number of people working has grown by about 2 million from a year ago.

    [Well, well. So even as "shorter hours is happening anyway but not the best way," it is "corelated" with more people working - and therefore earning and spending and putting a little more "beef" in the claim there's a slow recovery by fast-circulating a little bit more of the otherwise coagulated money supply.]
    On a year-to-year basis, the seasonally unadjusted data show that the number of workers clocking 30 to 34 hours has fallen in seven of the past 10 months. Further, a close look shows that the other three months aren't really exceptions: The ranks of 30- to 34-hour workers rose only because of a sudden drop in full-time work.
    [Instead of drops in full-time work, we should systemically be dropping the definition of full-time work with our unprecedented levels of mechanization-automation-robotization - dropping it as much as it takes to restore and maintain full employment and maximum consumer spending = fast-circulation of the money supply to provide sufficient marketable productivity for investments instead of blowing stock bubbles.]
    Take July: The number of workers clocking at least 35 hours a week was up by less than 1.5 million vs. July 2012. In comparison, June's year-over-year rise topped 2.4 million. More vacations (to be expected as the economy recovers), government furloughs and typical survey volatility are possible explanations.
    For these and other reasons, workforce-wide CPS data are of limited use in gauging the impact of the Affordable Care Act employer mandate on work hours.
    The best way to see whether ObamaCare is squeezing workers' hours is to look at data on industries where wages are low and fewer workers had insurance before the health care reform law.
    IBD has been doing such an analysis, which shows that low-wage earners' hours have taken a hit.
    In industries where pay averages up to about $14.50 an hour, the workweek is back near the 27.4-hour record low seen at the depth of the recession in 2009. The evidence points to a meaningful ObamaCare impact on hours.
    Employers cutting workers to 29.5 or 29.75 hours range from fashion retailer Forever 21 to the Middletown Township Public Schools in New Jersey.
    Middletown is one of 351 employers on IBD's list of employers that cut work hours to limit fines imposed by ObamaCare. In addition to Middletown, nine other employers explicitly said hours would fall to the 29.5- or 29.75-hour levels that the government counts as 30 hours a week. They are Utah's Davis School District; Indiana's Eastbrook, Greencastle, North Harrison and Richland-Bean Blossom Community Schools; Pennsylvania's Lori's Angels home care and school districts East Penn and Susquenita; and Directions in Research, with call-center operations in Michigan.
    Each entry on IBD's list is documented with links to news sources and public records.

  2. Study: 30-Hour Work Week Better for Employees, Companies and the Planet, by Brittany Greenquist, 10/28 RYOT News via ryot.org
    LONDON, U.K. - For those of you who work the standard 40-hour week, thankful for the seemingly normal, weekend’s-off schedule — you may be surprised to find that you’re actually working too much.
    According to claims made in a book by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), experts say workers should aim for a 30-hour week, as opposed to the typical 40.
    Allegedly cutting hours from 40 to 30 would improve our well-being, family life, friendships and communities — but that’s not even the best part. Aside from a significant boost in our personal lives, working less could be beneficial to the environment, as experts argue it would lower carbon emissions.
    [And nevermind lahdeedah lifestyle preferences. Shorter hours is now a system requirement, to maintain a sufficient velocity of circulation in global money supplies that are getting concentrated and coagulated without limit in the topmost tiny population. Shorter hours creates that magic employer-perceived labor shortage that harnesses market forces to maintain and raise wages and spending, and leach the torpid trillions out of the monetary black hole among the 1% of the 1%. Our problem is too few, too stupid people with waaaaaaaaay too much money, and no system reset like the Hebrew Jubilees or the Haida potlatch or the Hopi katchinadances or come to think of it, ANY sports league that resets every team every season to zero games won so the year-to-year scores don't keep cumulating into a totally boring game-killing totally foregone conclusion.]
    According to The Telegraph, the book encourages companies to give their workers more time off instead of pay raises, and allow young people starting out in the job market to work four-day weeks.
    The book also notes that, similar to Belgium, the Government should give workers right to request shorter hours, yet increase the minimum wage.
    Anna Coote, head of social policy at the NEF, claims “It’s time to make ‘part-time’ the new ‘full-time’… We all know the saying ‘time is money,’ but it is much more precious that than.”
    The Telegraph points out that Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany have shown that it is possible to adopt these changes without weakening their economies.
    Coote explains that shorter work weeks would also relieve pressure on career women and “enable their responsibilities to be more widely shared with men.”
    She explains that time poverty goes hand in hand with money poverty, saying, “Having too little time to call our own can seriously damage our health and well-being… No one should be made to work long and unsocial hours to make ends meet.”
    The Telegraph reports that many intelligent minds contributed to the NEF book, including Tim Jackson, professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey and Juliet Schor, professor in the sociology department, Boston College.
    RYOT note: I [I who?] don’t know anyone that would complain about a shorter work week, and perhaps we could use all that extra time to focus on helping others. Amnesty International dedicates all their time to fighting injustices against humans around the globe. Their vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards...
    [Original article -]
    Reduce working week to 30 hours, say economists - A shorter working week would make us healthier, give us more fulfilling and sustainable lives and be better for the environment, economists have suggested, by Rosa Silverman et al., (9/18 late pickup) The London Telegraph via telegraph.co.uk LONDON, U.K. - 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 [title??] 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.
    [Another summary -]
    Economists Say Reduce working week to 30 hours or die - Sort of, by John T. Roosevelt, 10/28 The Roosevelts via rsvlts.com
    HYDE PARK?, N.Y., USA - In a recent study, the UK based Telegraph says “A shorter working week would make us healthier, give us more fulfilling and sustainable lives and be better for the environment, economists have suggested.”
    Any young professional would not only chuckle, but bellow in laughter at the idea of a 30 hour work week, but economists say it’s possible. Cutting the amount of hours worked would greatly increase the quality of our well being, family life, friendships and communities. While the 30 hour week seems like a stretch by fantasies standards, with gradual changes to the labour market it’s foreseeable in the near future, says the NEF (New Economics Foundation).
    Companies should be encouraged to give workers more time off instead of pay rises, and entertain the thought of a four day work week, a practice that has seen much progress in the Netherlands.
    “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.”


10/26/2013 – 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. Some federal workers worried about future after furlough - They're back to work, but their concern remains over future furloughs and job security, by Brandie Kessler bkessler@ydr.com, York Daily Record via ydr.com
    [They'd be a lot more worried if they'd been fired, not furloughed - downsized, not timesized.]
    YORK, Maine, USA - The furlough is over and federal employees are back to work, but some -- even those who weren't out of work -- are apprehensive about what the future might bring.
    Robert Boutselis, president of the American Federal Government Employees Local 2004, said the furlough meant more to federal workers than just potentially lost pay.
    "We got mixed signals," Boutselis said on behalf of the 1,600 federal employees at New Cumberland Army Depot. "One minute, during the summer (sequestration), we're considered non-essential employees, and then (during the furlough) we're considered essential."
    Boutselis said many more employees lost several days of work over the summer during the sequestration -- though those lost days were spread out over several weeks -- than were furloughed at the beginning of October. In October, when the government shut down as politicians argued over the Affordable Care Act, just 35 federal employees at his installation were furloughed. Boutselis said the financial impact in October was "minimal" given the small number of employees who were furloughed.
    But the impact to morale was more substantial, he said. And that message reached all federal employees.
    "The word 'essential' is very subjective as far as the federal government goes," Boutselis said.
    Why were all the federal employees from his installation furloughed in the summer, he asked, and then only 35 were furloughed at the beginning of October?
    "What's going to happen next time?" Boutselis asked. "What happens in January if things don't get done?
    And if there is another furlough in the future, which workers will be considered essential and which will be considered non-essential, he asked.
    Sgt. Matt Jones, public affairs specialist for the Pennsylvania National Guard, said some in the private sector have the misconception that federal employees have better job security.
    "Trying to sort of characterize everyone in that way ... that's just as informed as saying everyone who has a private job can make millions of dollars," Jones said.
    In fact, with regard to the belief that federal workers have increased job security, Jones said many federal workers expect the opposite.
    "Unfortunately, that's kind of been the attitude of federal employees here for quite some time," Jones said. "This isn't the first time we were asked not to come back to work or had an absence of paychecks. This has actually happened a handful of times over the past five years."
    Jones said he didn't want to speak for all federal employees, but most federal employees know there is a risk of furlough when they take a federal job.
    "The sad fact is, the last few years it's been [a] given that these sorts of things can happen," Jones said of the furlough. "I think anyone who accepts or stays in one of these positions, the benefits are good, the pay can be good, but we take these jobs sort of knowing that (furloughs are possible.)"
    Jones said all federal employees who were furloughed should receive retroactive pay for the time they were furloughed. The Pennsylvania National Guard employees are expected to get that money in their next paychecks.
    Boutselis said all employees at the New Cumberland Army Depot are expected to also get retroactive pay, but he wasn't sure whether employees received that pay yet.
    Boutselis said the furlough has had a lasting influence on how some at the depot spend and save their money.
    Some workers, he said, have changed the contributions they make to their retirement savings and investment plan, and some employees who got part-time jobs when they were sequestered during the summer have maintained those jobs.
    "A loss of a job in today's economy is like a death in the family," Boutselis said, noting that the impact of lost pay is equally difficult for families to face.
    [Not really. Lost pay is temporary and partial. Loss of a job is permanent and total - until you find a new job in a "jobless recovery."]
    Ashley Kessler, a 30-year-old York Suburban High School graduate, and a veteran of the Air Force, told the York Daily Record earlier this month that she was furloughed at the beginning of October.
    [Any relation to reporter Brandie Kessler? Need full disclosure here!]
    Although Kessler could not be reached Friday, she previously said she was among those who lost several days of work over the summer during the sequestration. At that time, she got a part-time retail job to make up for the pay she was losing.
    "I'm thankful I kept that part-time job because of this time of freak-out mode," Kessler said on Oct. 4.
    Kessler noted that she took the federal job after her enlistment in the Air Force was up. At that time, she thought federal jobs were secure.
    "This is the last thing I would have thought would happen," she said.
    Contact Brandie Kessler at 771-2035.

  2. Re: A 35 hour Workweek would create Millions of Jobs, peakoil.com
    TOLEDO, Ohio, USA - Postby Newfie » Thu 24 Oct 2013, 20:05:20 Location: US East Coast
    Any chance we could kinda sorta wander back in the general direction of the topic?
    Here is a bit on topic by Bertrand Russel, 1933 [essay, In Praise of Idleness]
    http://grammar.about.com/od/classicessays/a/praiseidleness.htm
    "...But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached [eg: "work hard to get ahead"]..."
    Postby Subjectivist » Thu 24 Oct 2013, 20:36:10 Location: Northwest Ohio
    I guess in many ways it would be nice to have a 35 hour a week job presumably 5 days at 7 hours each. I once worked for a company where our schedule was 44 hours a week, 5 days at 8 hours plus 4 hours on Saturday. They decided to save money on overtime by changing the schedule to 5 days at 7 hours during the week and 5 hours on Saturday. Needless to say the employees were less than thrilled with having to work every saturday just to get a full regular check, and when they more or less made it mandatory I found a better job.
    It wasn't so much that they cut out our overtime, but the combination of cutting the overtime and forcing a six day a week schedule was too much to ask when they were competing with other companies for reliable workers.
    Postby vision-master » Fri 25 Oct 2013, 08:24:53 Location: Out of this World
    I would have become Messianic Judais[t] and then filed a lawsuit. :)
    Jewish Shabbat (Shabbath, Shabbes, Shobos, etc.) is a weekly day of rest, observed from sundown on Friday until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night; it is also observed by a minority of Christians (as in Messianic Judaism).
    Postby Threepwood » Fri 25 Oct 2013, 09:32:25
    "Shortening the Workweek to 35 hours would have immediate and drastic effect on the US jobs market."
    Like in France?
    [Why not? France's four-hour cut in the workweek between 1997 and 2001 before the US-led recession hit took it from 12.6 to 8.6% unemployment, 1% for each hourcut, same as the US got 1938-40.]

    People seem to forget that socialism is not just an academic argument, it's been tried all over the world, these are experiments that we already have results for.
    [Is Wall Street "socialist" for having its clerks work a 37.5 workweek, or for manipulating a $700 billion bailout from taxpayers? Which did more damage? Pick your battles.
    Is USA "socialist" for having cut its workweek from over 80 hours to 40 between 1840 and 1940?
    Threepwood and others who toss around the term should find out what it means before they toss - and get tossed...out of any informed discussion.]
    Some people like the results of reduced private sector, lower consumption etc, but that's a separate argument
    [Downsizing-friendly capitalism seems to be doing a better job of reducing its private sector than many "socialist" economies. And strangely, the US economy always does better under a Democrat administration than a Republican one. Wake up, Threep.]
    Postby Timo » Fri 25 Oct 2013, 11:37:18
    The whole concept of a 35-hour work week, imo [in my opinion], can and should be implemented across the country, and it would have a tremendous upside for the individual worker. People would be happier with more time away from work, and more time doing the things we always dream of doing but can't becauswe we're at work. However, there's always a downside to everything good, and one such downside would be a reduction in pay because of fewer hours worked [wrong: pay goes by supply&demand=surplus&shortage, not by more&lesshours, and with more job openings and fewer jobseekers, there would be an increase, not a reduction, in pay in a cross-country, or even just citywide, implementation], and potentially the need to hire more workers to maintain the same productivities required to maintain an overall stable economy.
    [An overall stable economy requires marketable productivity, not just productivity, and with more people employed, there would be stronger markets.]
    Personally, financially, i could handle the commensurate reduction in pay for fewer hours worked. It would have to be an equitable, fair, and equal reduction in both time and pay, but i could do it, and i suspect i'd be happier with my life than i am now at 40+ hours per week. If businesses are always trying to produce more outputs with less inputs, this should, theoretically, help their bottom line, and would also produce a more satisfied and ergo, more productive workforce. Now, the caveat to all this is that i've never owned my own business, so this pov [point of view] is entirely one-sided.
    Postby Newfie » Fri 25 Oct 2013, 17:27:17
    Timo, I both strongly agree and disagree.
    I think you are very right that it would have a positive effect. It would take a big bit[e] out of unemployment and share the wealth better.
    Where I think you are wrong in assuming people would be happier if they had more time to do what they want. Your in good company, Russel[l] made the same error in his piece I linked above.
    [Happy slaves like Newfie love their chains. Freedom lovers like Timo and Bertrand Russell have agendas of their own that are more interesting than other people's that they can get paid for in the workplace.]
    A simple fact of the human condition is that we WANT TO WORK. We want to feel like we are doing something useful for the tribe. That we are "contributing".
    [Work in the economic sense of doing something for pay is not necessarily doing something useful for the tribe or contributing.]
    It is typically very hard for us to stay home and do nothing, we loose [sic] our self esteem and become depressed.
    [Speak for yourself, uncreative one.]
    "............In my fantasy we have a system where everyone gets a fixed amount of unemployment in their lifetime. Say 6 years. You can use it at anytime, but that is all there is. No more, no waivers.
    Mandatory retirement age is, oh say 66. Any unused unemployment can then be used as early retirement. So, if you are like me and been continuously employed, you can retire at 60.
    Kinda like the 35 hour work week. In fact, I think we should do both.
    Postby vision-master » Fri 25 Oct 2013, 17:31:23
    "A simple fact of the human condition is that we WANT TO WORK..."
    lol - I'm sure those Wall-mart employees love to contribute towards the Walton's riches.....


10/25/2013 – 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. Windsor firefighters win 15% pay raise, reduced hours - Windsor’s 246 firefighters have been without a contract since the end of 2005, CBC News via CBC.ca
    Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis dispelled rumours about the closure of fire stations and layoffs in the city after a decision by a provincial arbitrator awarding firefighters a retroactive pay raise and reduced working hours Friday. (photo caption)
    WINDSOR, Ont., Canada - A provincial arbitrator awarded Windsor firefighters a 15 per cent retroactive pay increase and reduced working hours Friday — an award that has raised the ire of the city's mayor.
    The salary raise, retroactive to 2010, will bump a first-class firefighter’s pay to $90,000 annually by 2014 and cost the city about $12.8 million, according to Mayor Eddie Francis.
    “Once the (fire) chief and I have flushed through a plan we'll bring a plan forward that will mitigate against this impact,” Francis said.
    The key issue in the arbitration was work hours.
    The firefighters will see their work week come down from 48 to 42 hours starting by the end of next year.
    The reduction means the city will have to hire as many as 31 additional firefighters at a cost of about $3.6 million.
    Francis said there will be no layoffs and dispelled rumours about the closure of fire stations in the city, the CBC’s Gino Conte reported after the decision was announced.

    [This workweek is still above 40 hours, but here we have hourscuts instead of jobcuts, hourscuts deep enough from status quo to spread the work and create more jobs, resulting in more Windsor shoppers with money to spend in Windsor - all the mayor has to do is get more money from the people who have the most of it and basically have it on ice since they are spending and donating the smallest percentage of any bracket and therefore wasting it for anything but pecking order - their excuse that they're "getting it right back to work creating jobs" has zero support from the job numbers.]
    Windsor’s 246 firefighters have been without a contract since the end of 2005.
    An interim wage increase, awarded for the period 2006 to 2009, has already cost the city almost $7 million.
    Mayor Francis called Friday’s award an example of how the arbitration system in the province is broken.

  2. Work Week: Local jobs -- 150 years ago, by Carl Johnson, AllOverAlbany.com
    Maybe there would have been a job for you in Albany's booming lumber district. (photo caption)
    of lumber barge "Frank A. Jagger" on canal in Albany's lumber district, circa 1875, from the collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art)
    [This story answers the question, if workweek reduction is an easy way to create jobs, why aren't we doing it? why isn't it top priority on discussion tables around the world? This story is a dramatic example of how far below the radar the workweek is and indeed the whole issue of manipulating worktime per person to restore jobs and stimulate a real economic recovery. We start with work week in the title, but then there is absolutely no mention of it, or work hours, or work time, in the entire rest of this jobs article ... a breathtaking blindspot and damning symptom of human mental fuzziness -]
    ALBANY, N.Y., USA - Some folks have argued that our area, now christened Tech Valley for its apparent boom in nanotech, computer chips, and pharmaceuticals, has been a tech valley all along, going back to the introduction of an amazing bit of transportation technology called the Erie Canal. But it's fair to say that the job options brought about by the current boom, most of which seem to involve lab coats and neoprene gloves, are a far cry from the job options brought about by any earlier boom in the Capital District.
    Imagine it's 1863, and you're a young Albany resident ready to join the workforce. You might have had some schooling, if your family could afford it; school rates weren't abolished until 1862. You probably didn't have any high school, as the city's first free high school didn't open until 1868.
    Did it matter? Not much -- very few jobs of the day required anything by way of schooling. They were more likely to require some form of apprenticeship, a medieval form of on-the-job training (and a bit of serfdom) all but lost now.
    ["Medieval"? Nevermind Germany today is the envy of the world because it has massive economywide apprenticeship programs for efficient and effective skills transmission.]
    So, what might you have set out to be, 150 years ago?
    The jobs that are still familiar
    There were a lot of jobs that still exist, or at least are familiar to us today: boatman, mechanic, photographer, mason, carpenter, tobacconist, stonecutter, or blacksmith, for example.
    We may not have many coppersmiths like Adam Gray, or bookbinders like William Bain, but there's a good chance that a paperhanger like John Hargadon could still find work pasting up wallpaper today.
    The jobs that don't sound familiar
    There were a number of other jobs that we might have to think about. Residents of Albany were listed in the city directory as coopers, curriers, milliners, teamsters, and lastmakers. There aren't too many barrel-makers, hat-makers, horse-team drivers, or shoe-form creators anymore; there were a lot of them in 1863. But once you know what they did, it's easy to understand what they were.
    The jobs that are gone
    A number of common jobs from that time are just gone. Patrick Bacon was a "coalheaver"; he might have to find something else to do if he were alive today. Bootmakers like L.G. Haywood, or shoemakers like Conrad and Lawrence Hecker would find little employment. Harnessmakers are pretty much gone, though 1863 Albany had more than a handful, and saddlers as well, selling their wares on Broadway.
    There are no more watchmakers or boilermakers, no railroad agents, and any draughtsmen would be working with very different materials. Even the current effort to resurrect Albany ale probably doesn't have a dedicated maltster, but in 1863 Thomas Bain was one of many in the city. Bookbinders? Albany was lousy with them. Edmund Hardie was far from the only sailmaker in the city, even in the age of steam.
    The specialized jobs
    And there were some highly specialized jobs: Charles Baillie the marble polisher, Thomas Gunton the stocking weaver, and Francis Hesse the weaver of coachlace, a woven trim used in carriage upholstery. Gardiner, George and James Hendrie all worked as morocco dressers, a style of leather preparation used for furniture, book binding, and shoes.
    Muscle
    Many men in the directory were just listed as "laborer." It was a catch-all job in a time when labor was an essential part of any business, and back-breaking labor was not just the lot of immigrants. Along the Erie Canal, in Albany's bustling Lumber District (then the largest in the world), in the burgeoning stove and steel foundries, the piano factories, and the dozens of industrial works that lined the river, a man who could work was a man who could find work.
    There were some specialized forms of labor, like moulders, slaters, brickmakers, and furnacemen, but all of these jobs in 1863 were hard labor.
    Jobs for women
    If you were a woman, your options were more than a little limited. There were milliners, dressmakers, and tailoresses. Some were teachers, and some were music teachers.
    If a woman wasn't engaged in one of these jobs, her only chance to be listed in the directory was as "widow."
    Skilled and professional jobs
    So if a man didn't want to break his back, what were his options? There were few technical jobs, though Anthony Hedley ran a telegraph repair business from his home. Printers abounded and occupied a special place in society between labor and intelligentsia.
    Professional jobs didn't require nearly the level of schooling they do today [what about the level of working hours?], but still generally required some. There was a handful of physicians. There was Robert Harris, the US deputy tax and duty collector, and Samuel Harris, the county sealer, who also dabbled in wooden ware manufacture on the side. Williams D. Huntly ran the experimental department of the State Normal School, about as high in the teaching bureaucracy as it was possible to rise then.
    And of course there was a merchant class, like Moses Hanlein the grocer, Harders Harwich the butcher, or Edward Harley the dry goods dealer. There were some bookkeepers and clerks as well; these were as close to white collar jobs as one was likely to find.
    [Absolutely no mention throughout of labor hours, even though they are key to the most basic freedom, free time, and even though their reduction was then regarded as a major sign of social progress, and even though they were very much the top topic in labor discussions 1840-1865, including 1863 in the midst of the Civil War. By the end of the War (1861-65), unions had basically won a two-hour reduction in the workday to 10 hours from the 12 hours it was in 1840. And even though the author of this article is an historian, like so many historians today he completely blind to the critical issue of worktime -]
    Carl Johnson writes about local history and life at Hoxsie! and My Non-Urban Life.


10/24/2013 – 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. History lesson: 40-hour work week went into effect; Toronto Blue Jays became the first non-U.S. team to win the World Series, San Angelo Standard Times via goSanAngelo.com
    SAN ANGELO, Tex., USA - Today is Thursday, Oct. 24, the 297th day of 2013. There are 68 days left in the year.
    In 1537, Jane Seymour, the third wife of England's King Henry VIII, died 12 days after giving birth to Prince Edward, later King Edward VI.
    In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia (west-FAY'-lee-uh) [oder auf Deutsch, vest-FAH-lee-uh] ended the Thirty Years War and effectively destroyed the Holy Roman Empire.
    In 1861, the first transcontinental telegraph message was sent by Chief Justice Stephen J. Field of California from San Francisco to President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C., over a line built by the Western Union Telegraph Co.
    In 1901, widow Anna Edson Taylor became the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
    In 1939, Benny Goodman and his orchestra recorded their signature theme, "Let's Dance," for Columbia Records in New York. Nylon stockings were first sold publicly in Wilmington, Del.
    In 1940, the 40-hour work week went into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
    In 1945, the United Nations officially came into existence as its charter took effect.
    In 1952, Republican presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower declared in Detroit, "I shall go to Korea" as he promised to end the conflict. (He made the visit over a month later.)
    In 1962, a naval quarantine of Cuba ordered by President John F. Kennedy went into effect during the missile crisis; the blockade was aimed at interdicting the delivery of offensive weapons to the island.
    In 1972, Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who'd broken Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947, died in Stamford, Conn., at age 53.
    In 1987, 30 years after it was expelled, the Teamsters union was welcomed back into the AFL-CIO. (However, the Teamsters disafilliated themselves from the AFL-CIO in 2005.)
    In 1989, former television evangelist Jim Bakker (BAY'-kur) was sentenced by a judge in Charlotte, N.C., to 45 years in prison for fraud and conspiracy. (The sentence was later reduced to eight years; it was further reduced to four for good behavior.)
    In 1991, "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry died in Santa Monica, Calif., at age 70.
    In 1992, the Toronto Blue Jays became the first non-U.S. team to win the World Series as they defeated the Atlanta Braves, 4-3, in Game 6.
    In 2002, authorities arrested Army veteran John Allen Muhammad and teenager Lee Boyd Malvo near Myersville, Md., in connection with the Washington-area sniper attacks.
    In 2003, Three Concordes swooped into London's Heathrow Airport, joining in a spectacular finale to the era of luxury supersonic jet travel. International donors pledged more than $33 billion for Iraq's reconstruction in the next four years -- nearly two-thirds of it from the United States. Tiger Woods matched the 55-year-old standard set by Byron Nelson by making the cut in his 113th consecutive PGA Tour event. Se Ri Pak became the first woman to make the two-round cut in a men's golf tournament since Babe Zaharias in 1945.
    In 2008, singer-actress Jennifer Hudson's mother and brother were found slain in their Chicago home; the body of her 7-year-old nephew was found three days later. (Hudson's estranged brother-in-law has been arrested in the killings.) A Russian Soyuz capsule touched down in Kazakhstan after delivering the first two men to follow their fathers into space, a Russian and an American, to the international space station.
    In 2012, the San Francisco Giants took the first game of the World Series, 8-3, over the Detroit Tigers, as Pablo Sandoval became the fourth player to hit three home runs in a World Series game. Hurricane Sandy roared across Jamaica and toward Cuba, before taking aim on the eastern United States. On a 40-hour tour of a half-dozen battleground states, President Barack Obama predicted that a second term would bring quick agreement with Republicans to reduce federal deficits and overhaul immigration laws.

  2. Santa Fe chief: Police officers misusing sick leave to sabotage [restoration of] 5-day workweek, by Daniel J. Chacón, The New Mexican via SantaFeNewMexican.com
    SANTA FE, N.M., USA - Santa Fe Police Chief Ray Rael accused officers Monday of misusing sick leave to sabotage his decision to move to a five-day work week.
    Police sick leave has increased 30 percent since the 2011-12 fiscal year when the change was made to bring officers in for five eight-hour workdays, instead of the previous four 10-hour days, according to data compiled by the Santa Fe Police Department.
    [Shows how overdue is more free time in the age of automation and robotics. Even though four 10-hour days equal five 8-hour days, four 10s save the travel time and give you a chance to focus on having a life, your own life, in a three-day weekend without interruption. Besides, shorter hours for fuller employment and consumer spending is now a system requirement for reversing our "black hole economy" of hyperconcentrated money supply and a downward spiral of popping investment bubbles as far as the eye can see.]
    Rael told the City Council’s Finance Committee he suspected officers were intentionally taking sick leave. “Some of the usage is intentional to subvert the system to say that the eight-hour shifts aren’t working,” Rael said.
    The accusation is the latest dispute in an ongoing bout between Rael and the Santa Fe Police Officers Association, which has criticized the chief’s decision to change to five shifts per week and reducing the number of miles that officers could drive their squad cars home to 15 miles, from 45 miles previously. In April, the union released a survey showing that a majority of its members lacked confidence in Rael.
    Nearly 50 members of the police union, many wearing their uniforms or blue T-shirts with “Don’t Dictate Negotiate” in big white letters on the front, attended the committee meeting. Some of them shook their heads in dismay when the chief made the accusation, which even caught some city officials by surprise.
    “That’s a pretty serious claim,” said City Councilor Carmichael Dominguez.
    City Councilor Chris Rivera, a former fire chief, said he found Rael’s accusation hard to believe because officers wouldn’t leave their “fellow brothers and sisters” hanging.
    “I wasn’t going to say anything, but I’m a little taken aback that you would accuse the people that you’re supposed to be representing of calling in sick on purpose,” Rivera said. “I just can’t believe that that type of statement would be made here,” he said.
    Police Sgt. Adam Gallegos, president of the police union, said the chief’s allegation is “ridiculous.”
    “It’s totally baseless, and I challenge him to prove it,” he said.
    Rael told city officials he didn’t have proof but was looking into it. “We’ll address it if in fact I can verify that that is accurate,” he said. The committee had no formal action set on the issue, but had asked for an update on the shifts and what it might mean for city spending.
    Rael, a former police officer, said a majority of police departments nationwide have five shifts per week. Las Cruces has the only police department in the state with four 10-hour shifts. In Albuquerque, only the graveyard shift works four 10-hour days.
    “I fully understand and appreciate how nice it is to have an extra day off,” he said. “But I have been tasked with providing the citizens of Santa Fe with the most efficient service that I can get out of this police department in a financial crisis.”
    Rael contends the shift change has helped reduce property crime because of overlapping coverage during peak hours and also reduced overtime costs, though the union says other factors are at play.
    “He never once acknowledges the hard work of his people,” Gallegos said.
    Contact Daniel Chacon @dchacon@sfnewmexican.com.

  3. Spain turning back the clock on siestas, edition.CNN.com
    [And if Spain further coagulates its natural market-demanded employment by relengthening rather than shortening working hours going forward, it will worsen its already bad unemployment, further impoverish its already struggling consumer base, and indeed "turn back the clock" to a sordid feudal poverty. Same with France if it doesn't further cut its "radical" (oh please!) 35-hour workweek as much as it takes to restore full employment, and same with the once-great USA if it doesn't follow through on the 30-hour workweek it passed through the U.S. Senate in 1933 and make the 30-hour workweek, that Obamacare is motivating thousands of companies to cut to, the new official "full time" with complete full-time benefits.]
    MADRID, Spain -- As Spain continues its drive to slash budgets and cut spending, one of the nation's favorite pastimes -- the siesta -- is under threat as ministers look for ways to boost productivity.
    Three-hour lunches and catnaps, long the envy of Spain's European neighbors, could soon be a thing of the past.
    Last month a parliamentary commission called for the government to turn back the country's clocks by an hour and introduce regular working hours from 9am to 5pm.
    With the economy contracting and unemployment among the highest in Europe, the proposal is the latest move by the embattled Mediterranean nation to spur growth and create jobs in the wake of a four-year long eurozone debt crisis.
    A spokesperson for the Spanish economy ministry said the government is looking at the proposal for a time zone change and "more rational working hours" following the Commission's study.
    The move would potentially see Spain revert to Greenwich Mean Time, after Spain's long-time dictator Franco moved the country's clocks on to Central European Time to align with Nazi Germany in the 1940s.
    Speaking with CNN, Ignacio Buqueras, president of the Association for the Rationalization of Spanish Working Hours, said: "For 71 years we have been on the wrong clock. We need a clock that is more convenient."
    He added: "We are also recommending a more flexible work schedule so that the days don't finish any later than 5pm and that at midday, lunch won't last any longer than roughly forty minutes."
    One business that is trialling a new working day is Studio Banana, a Madrid-based design firm, where workers have found a novel way to incorporate breaks, siestas and lunch into a normal working day.
    Using an 'Ostrichpillow' -- a full-head pillow that allows users to sleep anywhere -- employees at Studio Banana take short power naps and return to work fresh.
    Ali Ganjavian, co-creator of Ostrich Pillow, said: "It came about because we were spending a lot of time working in the studios so we thought to ourselves 'why don't we create a product that allows us to sleep anywhere.'"
    Spain's unemployment crisis
    The Commission's proposal to shift time zones is part of an effort to improve the country's productivity and align Spain's working hours with other European partners.
    But while the economic picture in Spain may look bleak, unemployment figures for the third-quarter improved slightly to 25.98% compared with 26.26% in the second three months of 2013, according to the country's National Institute of Statistics.
    However, youth unemployment, which remains over 50%, still poses a major problem for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government as many young people flee abroad in search of work.
    Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, the Spanish government's high commissioner for Brand Spain, told CNN that it will take "many years" for the jobless rate to drop to single digits.
    "My estimate is something like five years before figures go below 10%," Monteros said, "[No one has a] magic solution."
    Since the eurozone crisis began in 2009, policymakers have called on troubled nations to reform labor markets and increase flexibility, making it easier for employers to hire and fire employees.
    Monteros believes Spain has to become a "business friendly" country and argues that if the government wants the country to return to growth taxes must be reduced.
    "The labor reform has been an asset," he said, "because most multinational companies that compare the situation in Europe are ranking Spain as the first one in terms of flexibility and cost of labor."
    CNN's Oliver Joy contributed to this report.


10/23/2013 – 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. ObamaCare Still Having Big Impact On Work Hours, by Jed Graham, Investor's Business Daily (IBD) via news.investors.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - suddenly, a new consensus has emerged among economics pundits that ObamaCare's impact on the workweek is benign.
    That view reverses the consensus earlier in the year, when soaring part-time jobs and a dearth of full-time hiring were blamed on the health care reform.
    But the focus on full-time vs. part-time jobs misses ObamaCare's fallout on low-wage workers.
    The September jobs report released Tuesday showed that the ranks of full-time workers surged by 691,000 as part-time workers plunged by 594,000.
    While the employment data showed a disappointing loss of hiring momentum overall, the White House touted the big swing toward full-time jobs as disproving the charge that ObamaCare is causing an increase in part-time work.
    Conservative American Enterprise Institute pundits said much the same thing. Surely both couldn't be wrong, could they?
    Actually, they could, and for a very simple reason: they are examining the wrong data.
    $14.50 Or Less
    Almost all of the analysis of ObamaCare's impact on the workweek and part-time jobs has focused — erroneously — on workforce-wide data. To answer the question of whether ObamaCare is having a negative impact on work hours, one has to focus on what is happening in industries where wages are low and the ranks of the uninsured tend to be high.
    Such industries, with tight profit margins and limited pricing power, have little wherewithal to take on substantial new costs and are most likely to cut work schedules to just below the 30-hours-per-week threshold at which ObamaCare employer penalties hit.
    IBD has been doing such an analysis and continues to find that something is seriously depressing the hours worked by modest-wage earners.
    A closer look at the industry hours worked reveals two distinct job markets. Private industries where pay for nonsupervisors averages up to about $14.50 an hour employ 29 million workers (roughly the bottom quartile). In these industries, the workweek is back near the 27.4-hour record low seen at the depth of the recession in 2009.
    Meanwhile, the average workweek for the 85 million jobs that comprise the rest of the private sector is 36.9 hours — an hour longer than it was in mid-2009 and slightly higher even than it was before the recession.
    While it's impossible to say for sure whether the low-wage workweek would have been flat, down or up over the past year and a half in the absence of the employer mandate, the evidence points to a meaningful impact on hours worked from ObamaCare.
    Hours worked have turned down in a wide range of industries, including grocery stores, department stores, lodging and services for the elderly and disabled. Also, anecdotes about work-hour cuts to avoid ObamaCare costs in these very industries provide at least a partial explanation for their shorter workweek.
    Half-Baked Jobs
    The workweek at retail bakeries plunged from 29.7 hours in November 2012 to 27 hours now. While not representative of the broader trend, the stunning drop has no explanation other than ObamaCare.
    The workweek in these low-paying industries perked up slightly to 27.5 hours in August, the latest data available that are broken down by industry subgroup. It's possible that the improvement is connected to the July 2 announcement that employer penalties will be delayed to 2015. However, September data show a decline in the workweek in the leisure and hospitality and retail sectors, suggesting much of August's gain will be reversed.
    Even still, aggregate hours worked in these industries have grown only 60% as fast as job growth this year through August. In other words, the shorter workweek is responsible for about 180,000 of the 440,000 job gains in these industries in 2013.
    IBD has a running list that now includes 351 employers that have opted to cut work hours below 30 per week or take related steps to limit liability under ObamaCare's employer mandate. Each entry is documented with links to news sources and public records.
    About 275 entries on IBD's list come from the public sector, including more than 100 school districts. BLS doesn't track hours in the public sector so the cuts don't show up in industry workweek data.
    While economics pundits now doubt that ObamaCare is leading to shorter work schedules, the public has no such doubts.
    A recent IBD/TIPP poll found that 8% of respondents had a family member who had work hours cut due to ObamaCare. A Democracy Corps poll last week found that 84% were concerned that employers would cut work hours to avoid paying for insurance.
    Still, the old consensus that America was rapidly shifting to a part-time society was also flawed. Those who had argued that nearly all jobs created in 2013 were part-time had relied on an unreliable point of comparison — after full-time jobs grew 1.4 million and part-time jobs fell by 400,000 in the last five months of 2012.
    1 Comment
    Mike Gentles • 21 hours ago -
    If the full time work week is redefined to 40 hours, the employment rate will go up. Business will let go of those under productive employees and add more hours to their most productive workers.
    [Uh, isn't this a scenario where the UNemployment rate will go up?]

  2. HC's no to withdrawal of circular on working hours of SHOs, by IANS (submitted by admin4), India News via TwoCircles.net
    New Delhi, India : The Delhi High Court (HC) Wednesday refused to direct the city police to withdraw its circular relating to the "inhuman working conditions" of station house officers (SHO) here.
    A division bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Manmohan said that the court "cannot interfere in the administrative order" and affected police official can approach the government.
    The court was hearing a plea seeking withdrawal of a police circular relating to the working conditions of SHOs, according to which they have to work for 24 hours without any leave.
    The bench, dismissing the plea, said that judges also work after court hours and police officials have to perform their duty to maintain law and order in the city.
    It added that "working longer hours is an old practice in the police, and it is not something new which they (police commissioner) are doing. Problem is they start delegating duties".
    "How can we decide how many hours they (police officials) can work? It is for the department to look after. Let the affected police officials file representation to the government. We cannot interfere in administration order," the court said.
    The petition, filed by advocate A.K. Biswas, said that as per the circular, SHOs are not allowed to go home at all and "if they do have to go home for some reason, they can go to their residence once a week at night but only if their seniors permit it".
    Earlier, the city police commissioner filed his reply before the court, saying "the job of the police officer is of urgent and emergent nature and directly relates to public service, so the police be allowed to continue with this practice for better public service".
    "This circular was issued to make the area policing effective, to instill confidence among citizens at large and make them feel responsible for whatever happened in their jurisdiction," said the reply filed by G.S. Awana, additional deputy commissioner of Delhi Police on behalf of the police commissioner.
    The PIL had sought better working conditions for police officers because of the peculiar responsibilities of SHOs towards people and society and said that their health and working conditions are major concerns.


10/22/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. 40-hour work-week as a tool of emiserating economic growth, BoingBoing.net
    TORONTO, Ont., Canada - David Cain's 2010 essay "Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed" -- occasioned by his return to full-time employment -- has a sharp-edged rumination on the modern, 40-hour work-week and what it does to us. In Cain's view, the 40-hour office week leaves us "tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have." -
    As technologies and methods advanced, workers in all industries became able to produce much more value in a shorter amount of time. You’d think this would lead to shorter workdays.
    But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
    We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.
    Western economies, particularly that of the United States, have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom.
    Can you imagine what would happen if all of America stopped buying so much unnecessary fluff that doesn’t add a lot of lasting value to our lives?
    The economy would collapse and never recover.
    All of America’s well-publicized problems, including obesity, depression, pollution and corruption are what it costs to create and sustain a trillion-dollar economy. For the economy to be “healthy”, America has to remain unhealthy. Healthy, happy people don’t feel like they need much they don’t already have, and that means they don’t buy a lot of junk, don’t need to be entertained as much, and they don’t end up watching a lot of commercials.
    The culture of the eight-hour workday is big business’ most powerful tool for keeping people in this same dissatisfied state where the answer to every problem is to buy something.

  2. Anganwadi workers plan protest seeking shorter working hours, NewIndianExpress.com
    BANGALORE, India - Anganwadi [=childcare] workers are planning statewide protests to demand that the government shorten the working hours of Anganwadis. The workers blamed the state government of ignoring the health of children when it decided to keep anganwadi centres (AWCs) open till 4 pm two years ago.
    K V Bhat, president of the Karnataka State Samyukta Anganwadi Workers Association, provided details of the agitation plan at a press conference here on Monday. Anganwadi workers belonging to four associations will march from the City Railway Station to the Freedom Park on November 19 to draw the government’s attention to the problems caused by the extended working hours, he said. While anganwadis in other parts of the country usually work between 9 to 1.30 am, those in the state are open till 4 pm. Bhat claimed this was causing many problems for both the children and the staff. “Even after 4 pm, we have to spend about two hours for related works. We have approached both state and Central governments but no action has been taken. How can we force children to stay and sleep in dark rooms till 4 pm everyday?” he said. Bhat also pointed out that most anganwadis lack basic amenities such as toilets.
    “Our students are of different ages. They do not get proper nutrition. This is harming the children but the government does not see this. If you keep children who are aged between three and six years till 4 pm in anganwadis, what will happen to them?,” said Vijaylakshmi, an association member.
    Demonstrations will be held across the state in concert with the march in Bangalore on November 19. The workers will also submit petitions to the Chief Minister.


10/20-21/2013 – 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. Youth workers' hours cut and Children's centres budgets reduced, TheNorthernEcho,co.uk
    HARTLEPOOL, U.K. - A SENIOR councillor has voiced anger over Government cuts to funding for services that provide support to families in Hartlepool.
    Councillor Chris Simmons, who chairs Hartlepool Council’s committee for Children’s Services, spoke out following a cut of £1.52m in a grant for young children in 2013 -2015 – a cut of almost 25 per cent over the two years.
    The grant is the Early Intervention Grant, which helps provide services for young children and families.
    Coun Simmons said: “Early intervention services are intended to provide a longer-term solution to some of the issues facing local families.
    “They have the potential to save the public purse significant sums of money over time and they also have important implications for society.
    “The EIG was introduced in 2011 yet just two years on the Government is now imposing big reductions on local authorities. Where is the sense in that? How can you justify cutting services in this way? I am astounded by it.”
    Council finance bosses have had to reduce operating costs at Hartlepool’s Children’s Centres, reduce the hours of all youth centre posts, close Brinkburn Youth Centre and “rationalise” youth work management posts.
    Councillor Simmons said: “We are in a very difficult situation but I can only congratulate officers for finding the least painful way of achieving the required cuts.”

    [Better hourscuts than jobcuts.]

  2. Insight: Hard work, long hours: French find Chinese recipe sour, by Alexandria Sage & Nicholas Vinocur, 10/20 Reuters via ChicagoTribune.com
    PARIS, France - A newspaper open on the bar of this Paris cafe tells of a row over France's Sunday trading rules. But the bar owner, Zhang Chang, says he has little time to follow such debates. He's too busy working.
    [This has been a problem with unregulated workweeks for 200 years = no time to "bother" with civic duties such as informing yourself so you can vote intelligently about government policies. And we see the first hint of a totally below-the-radar problem with unregulated migration = people are not only from different geographic zones of the planet but different social-evolutionary time zones, and the more advanced nations they come to do not take the trouble and expense to catch-up immigrants from earlier time zones. And so they gradually dilute their own adaptive democracy and turn it back into an unadaptive plutocracy.]
    While French workers worry the country's long economic downturn could mean the end of laws banning Sunday trading and enforcing a 35-hour week, Zhang and Chinese immigrants like him are quietly [= illegally] getting ahead the old-fashioned [and now economy-destroying] way - 11 hours a day, six days a week.
    [The USA passed downward through a 66-hour workweek way back around 1853, but now there's been an additional 160 years of mechanization, automation and robotics to further compete with and cheapen human labor.]
    "As I see it, when you work, you're paid. So why stop at 35 hours?" he asks, perplexed by France's landmark law which shaved four hours off the statutory working week in the late 1990s.
    ["When you work, you're paid"? What about the thousands of young people today who can find nothing but unpaid internships? People with this primitive pre-technology view are driving down wages and destroying their own and their neighbors' quality of life.]
    Zhang owns the Cafe Le Marais in central Paris and is part of a wave of entrepreneurial migrants [legal or illegal?] from China's coastal Wenzhou region who are taking over France's "bar tabac" business [and what's happening to the people they're taking it over from?]. They are doing it by sweat and sacrifice - and by navigating [=circumventing?] restrictive labor rules, focusing on the bar and restaurant sector that is exempt from the 35-hour rule [a loophole that needs closing] and the Sunday trading ban, unlike many other industries.
    That approach, and their work ethos, runs counter to the work-life balance long treasured by many French and vigorously defended by their unions over the past century - but it chimes with others who say it may be time for a change.
    [Yes, by all means, let's all go back to 1840's 84-hour workweeks and Dickens' "dark Satanic mills" and lives not worth living, all for the sake of patting ourselves on the back for an obsolete Protestant or Puritan "work ethos"!]
    Some 71 percent of French said in a recent Ifop poll they would be willing to work Sundays if their pay was boosted. And many white-collar French workers and business-owners say that in reality they already work much longer than 35 hours a week.
    [Then France is finished as a leader in human progress and freedom, because the most fundamental freedom is free time, because without it the other freedoms are either meaningless or inaccessible.]
    However President Francois Hollande, unwilling to raise the unions' ire, has so far defended the ban on Sunday trading and, despite a reform this year that eased some rigidity in labor rules, has sidestepped the issue of the 35-hour work week.
    [What nonsense. His is the pre-eminent political party of the unions, and the nationwide 35-hour workweek was his party's first-in-the-world accomplishment. And as for this whole spin that it's radical or something, the USA passed a 30-hour workweek through the Senate in 1933 to decoagulate employment and spending power, suffered another eight years of Great Depression for blocking it in the House (though mitigated by 44-42-40 hour workweeks in 1938-39-40) and some of its most conservative industries (insurance, academe...) had 35-hour workweeks in the 60s when even clerks on Wall Street had 37.5-hour workweeks. Let's get some more responsible journalism here, Sage & Vinocur!]
    While the debate continues, the Chinese plough on.
    "We the Chinese think all the unemployment is because people can't work enough," said Xiao, a restaurant owner who declined to give her last name as she dished out Wenzhou specialties such as chewy stir-fried rice cake and beef hot pot to young Paris professionals.
    [In China people work themselves to death - is that enough? - and their unemployment is over-20%. And why is she afraid to give her last name - because she doesn't want to get shipped back to China, so instead, she's going to destroy the quality of life in France with her self-righteous work-&-spending coagulating naivete?]
    Even the dining habits of the French reveal a lack of get up and go, she added. "I have people who linger for three hours after they're done eating. It drives me crazy!"
    [Then why fight going back to China? You don't like French values? Freedom? There's the door!]
    Entrepreneurial Spirit
    The success [definition? - note the admission below: "Economic success does exist, but for a small minority."] of Zhang and Xiao is just another sign of China's growing presence in France, alongside the Asian nation's ownership of famed vineyards, its billion-euro holdings in blue-chips such as energy firm GDP Suez and the daily busloads of Chinese tourists spending hard in Paris department stores.
    [Yes, we're back to the ecology-bashing Gospel of Consumption that shortsighted control-freak American CEOs invented in the 1920s to fight shorter hours and more freedom and leisure. See the early chapters of Ben Hunnicut's worktime-based history of the Depression, Work Without End.]
    Zhang arrived in 1996 without working papers [another hypocrite who started life in a new country by breaking its laws and now wants to ruin its living standards] and - like most of the 150,000 Wenzhou immigrants who came in the 1980s and 90s - worked off-the-books [=illegal] jobs until he obtained his green card. That's a classic pattern among Wenzhou immigrants, who have formed the economic engine of France's Asian community [does "economic engine" really apply in the context of the slave wages that the selectively interviewed entrepreneurs' relatives are getting?], says researcher Richard Beraha, author of "China in Paris."
    [Why are these highly data-selective journalists praising lawbreaking low-standard hypocrites? Who's paying them? With what intent?]
    "They don't expect anything from the French state, since they learned to stay hidden [oh great, then go back to China!], often arriving without papers," he said. "Unemployment in France is of little concern [bingo - they don't give a damn about their new countrymen], because essentially they're all entrepreneurs [oh now that justifies everything?!]. It's a state of mind."
    [Yeah, a retarded mind full of suicidal tendencies.]
    Wenzhou, a port city 500 km south of Shanghai, is known for a culture of private enterprise, which the immigrants [illegals aren't immigrants, they're criminals] bring with them. Family members furnish labor and capital - it takes seed money of just 50,000 euros ($67,800) to start a takeout food shop, said Beraha, and staffing it with relatives keeps labor costs low.
    [And these relatives also don't matter because they're working for little or nothing - so nothing we're back to slavery and we're supposed to rationalize this with the words enterprise and entrepreneur? Let's get back to reality here, and recall that the only reason for accepting entrepreneurial immigrants is the hope that they'll create well-paying jobs.]
    Many are pouring their energies into bar-tabacs - a focal point of French life where locals can drink, buy cigarettes and bet on horses that is being abandoned by many French owners on the grounds it is too labor-intensive for too little profit [at least now that competition from desperate foreigners has driven down profits]. Sixty percent of the businesses for sale in Paris are being purchased by Asian buyers, most of them Chinese, said Gerard Bohelay, head of the Paris federation of bar-tabac owners.
    [That will finish Paris as the premier tourist destination of the world. The French (and everyone else!) better get a grip on immigration or they're done for.]
    "I'm the only one left," sighed Patrick Loubiere, whose parents were among many French country people from the central Auvergne region to seek a better life in Paris. They set up Le Celtic bar-tabac, near Zhang's Le Cafe Marais, that he now runs.
    "The younger generation doesn't want to do it," added Loubiere, who doubts his son will take over the business. "It's too early in the morning for some, too late at night for others. They're getting lazy."
    [Now a Frenchman who has failed to delegate and justifies his workaholism with name-calling.]
    Says Yves Boungnong, another bar-tabac owner whose parents emigrated from Laos in the 1970s: "It's not the French who want to work here, it's the immigrants."
    [Another version of American CEOs' thin rationalization of illegal entrants - "They're doing work no American wants to do!" - nevermind the slave wages they get away with paying such desperate, low-expectation people, and nevermind the wage-depressing effect on America's existing legal minorities.]
    Jealous[?] Neighbours [how about Quality-of-Life Losing Locals?]
    The takeover has irritated some locals who say it's easier to find bok choy than baguettes in some areas, and protest the reluctance of some Chinese bar-tabac owners to serve French food along with beer and cigarettes.
    [The elite French decision-makers are destroying their distinctive culture with their sloppy immigration policies. In today's world of 7B overpopulation, every country should be on steady-state migration, one-out one-in, until they work out population policies tied to their job market.]
    Right-leaning magazine Le Point picked up on this feeling in a recent article about Chinese entrepreneurs which asked "How the devil do they do it?" then listed "five commandments": 1) work 80 hours a week 2) sleep in your shop 3) don't pay your employees as they are family members 4) don't contribute to the system and 5) don't pay taxes.
    [The Right flings people to the left by their international communism of goods and services dignified by the name of Free Trade. The Left flings people to the right by their international communism of population, propped up by accusing anyone who disagrees of racism. Both sides need to remember that communism was outcompeted when private property was evolved so that "the buck" would stop somewhere, and someone would take responsibility.]
    Although an investigation into illegal activity in the Paris bar-tabac industry was opened last year, Beraha said tax evasion is no more prevalent in the Chinese community than in others.
    [An unbiassed researcher??]
    Pierre Aidenbaum, mayor of the Third Arrondissement, where the Chinese took over empty Jewish textiles storefronts in the 1950s, attributes such feelings to envy in tough times: "It's jealousy towards your neighbor, who has made it."
    [A Jewish Frenchman angry about lingering French antiJewishness?]
    Conflicts a decade ago between locals and Chinese were resolved after wholesale businesses agreed to shut on Sundays and workshops stopped using sewing machines after 8pm, he said.
    "We have more problems today with the noise from the cafe terraces than the noise from the Chinese workshops," he said.
    [Because the cafes are now run by the Chinese?]
    Still, abuses exist. A 2005 report for the Geneva-based International Labor Organization found workplace rules were regularly flouted in Chinese restaurants and sweatshops and that many used subcontractors hiring illegal immigrants.
    [Better we were turning the world into Japan rather than China!]
    Those immigrants further down the ladder are often the ones who are really struggling [oh, where is the section on these "enviable" immigrants "struggling"?]. Often recent arrivals from northeast China, lacking family in France, they are looked down upon by those from Wenzhou and scrape by as nannies, cooks, delivery men and manicurists. Many women struggling to support a family turn to prostitution in order to repay the cost of being smuggled [a plague of illegality] into the country - often more than 12,000 euros - police say.
    "Economic success does exist, but for a small minority," said Donatien Schramm, who teaches French to new Chinese immigrants. "So many who don't have shops - they have to work in small factories, restaurants, take side jobs."
    One woman, "Aiyim," said she regretted having made the long, expensive journey to France 12 years ago. Unable to get working papers, she supports herself and a son in China working illegally as a nanny and maid for a French banker, who pays her the equivalent of the minimum wage for around-the-clock work.
    [More sabotage of French culture and quality of life by France's onepercenters. They are nurturing another French Revolution and this time bankers will replace aristocrats in the charrettes.]
    Asked how she sees her future, Aiyim smiles sadly: "I can't even think about it. I have to focus on working every day."
    There are signs that French attitudes to longer working hours are starting to shift. In a first for the country, workers from home improvement (DIY) chains recently took to the streets to protest a court ruling ordering them to close on Sunday, when many other stores are also banned from trading.
    [The slaves who love their chains.]
    Employees of cosmetics store Sephora are also campaigning to overturn another ruling, which forbade its Champs Elysees outlet to stay open until midnight.
    But that urge to work is something Bohelay of the bar-tabac group warned needed to be more in evidence in France.
    [Yes, let's hurry and flush France down the toilet of third world standards.]
    "People aren't hungry here anymore," he said. [Oh yeah, now Hunger Is Good!] "But they're going to have to get back to work, because the new immigrants [=illegals] are ready to work twice as hard, for twice as long, and they will end up being the bosses."
    [Or, the French could halt their demise by tightening and enforcing their immigration laws. As could we all, including the third world which is going to get more and more returnees as their illegal surplus destroys the developed world.]
    ($1 = 0.7373 euros)
    (Editing by Sophie Walker)

  3. Summative Evaluation of Work Sharing While Learning and Increased Referrals to Training: Final Report, 10/20 (Apr/2005 very late pickup) ERIC via files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED519647.pdf
    OTTAWA, Canada -
    EI [Employment Insurance] Evaluation
    Audit and Evaluation Directorate
    Strategic Policy and Planning Branch
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    April 2005
    SP-AH-665-04-05E
    (également disponible en français)
    Paper
    ISBN : 0-662- 40898-5
    Cat. No.: HS28-26/2005E
    PDF
    ISBN : 0-662- 40899-3
    Cat. No.: HS28-26/2005E - PDF
    HTML
    ISBN : 0-662- 40900-0
    Cat. No.: HS28-26/2005E - HTML
    Table of Contents
    Executive Summary .................................................................................................. i
    Management Response ............................................................................................. iii
    1. Introduction......................................................................................................... 1
    2. Program Descriptions......................................................................................... 3
    2.1 WSWL ........................................................................................................ 3
    2.2 IRT .............................................................................................................. 6
    3. Scope of Evaluation............................................................................................. 9
    3.1 Evaluation Questions .................................................................................. 9
    3.2 Lines of Evidence ....................................................................................... 10
    4. Evaluation Findings ............................................................................................ 13
    4.1 Findings on WSWL .................................................................................... 13
    4.2 Findings on IRT .......................................................................................... 15
    4.3 Findings Related to the Softwood Lumber Industry................................... 18
    5. Summary & Conclusions.................................................................................... 21
    Appendix 1 – List of Documents.............................................................................. 23
    List of Charts
    Figure 1 Logic Model WSWL................................................................................. 5
    Figure 2 Logic Model IRT ...................................................................................... 7
    List of Exhibits
    Table 1 Evaluation Questions and Proposed Lines of Evidence ........................... 11
    Executive Summary
    In October of 2002, the former Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) announced that it would participate in a $246.5 million initiative to support workers and communities in regions of high unemployment. The $71 million HRDC contribution consisted primarily of three components:
    Work Sharing While Learning (WSWL), Increased Referrals to Training (IRT) and the extension of the Older Workers Pilot Project Initiative (OWPPI).
    The first two initiatives form the focus of this evaluation. To date, however, participation in these two programs has been very limited. Therefore, this evaluation has focused on explaining the reasons for the low take-up, rather than on traditional evaluation issues related to program impacts and outcomes. The current evaluation seeks to provide lessons for consideration in future policy development.
    The following is an interim report on the evaluation of the WSWL and IRT programs. The evaluation derived its results from three lines of evidence: a literature review , a report by a panel of labour market experts, and a report assessing the need for these programs by the softwood lumber industry.
    Main Findings
    WSWL
    As of March 2004, there have been no signed WSWL agreements. The evaluation identified some of the possible reasons for the lack of participation:
    • Companies may be unable to pay for training of a large portion of their workforce when they are going through a period of reduced output associated with the potential for layoff.
    • Companies may often find it impossible to make use of structured training courses: – It was found that, under the regular Work Sharing program, companies often vary their production and workforce utilization from week to week in an unpredictable manner, thus making scheduling training for a fixed day per week difficult.
    – A large portion of the training that is typically done by Canadian companies is “on- the-job.” Thus, companies may not have a need for the type of formal training envisioned by WSWL. • Workers, especially those who are not likely to face layoffs by reason of seniority, may be unwilling to accept a drop in wages if they are not compensated with increased time off.
    IRT
    IRT targets workers, who are facing job loss in high unemployment regions, with the prospect of completing a Return to Work Action Plan and collecting EI benefits while undergoing a training course. As of March 2004, the EI database identifies only 36 claimants who had been targeted by the two variants of IRT:
    – The first variant allows workers to quit their job to take a training course without loss of EI benefits. Only 14 workers have been authorized to quit.
    – The second variant includes workers who are encouraged to take training under this initiative, but who are not authorized to quit. Only 22 workers participated in this variant.
    • The first variant of allowing earlier adjustment to a layoff situation through authorizing workers to quit their jobs to take training courses appears to be a sound intervention conceptually. However, the panel of experts was puzzled as to what constitutes the second variant. In particular, it was not clear what “encouragement” was provided to increase the take-up of training.
    • The evaluation identified several potential reasons for the low IRT participation: – Workers may not be willing to quit their current job: i. if post-training employment prospects are not good; ii. if they might miss out on a negotiated severance package; or iii. if staying at the current job allows them to maximize their subsequent EI entitlement.
    – Workers may be less interested in training:
    i. if they live in high unemployment regions where post-training employment prospects are not good; or
    ii. if they live in rural regions where training opportunities are more difficult to make use of
    Management Response
    In October of 2002, the former Human Resources Development Canada announced that it would participate in a $246.5 million initiative to support workers and communities in regions of high unemployment. Two of the initiatives announced were the Work-Sharing While Learning (WSWL) Program and Increased Referral to Training (IRT) measure. In 2004, the Audit and Evaluation Branch of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada undertook an evaluation of these initiatives. Unlike traditional evaluations, this evaluation seeks to explain the reasons for the limited participation in both initiatives. Departmental representatives from program areas at National Headquarters have reviewed the evaluation and believe the reasons for this lack of participation are accurately reflected in the report and will take the observations into consideration for future policy and program development.
    WSWL
    The program area agrees with the observations raised in the evaluation on the lack of program take up. The evaluation has determined that many companies may not be able to pay for training a large portion of their workforce when they are going through a period of reduced output associated with the potential for layoff.
    It is understandable that many companies may often find it impossible to make use of structured training courses, especially when it is known that, under the regular Work-Sharing (WS) program, companies often vary their production and workforce utilization from week to week in an unpredictable manner, thus making scheduled training for a fixed day per week difficult. The evaluation also noted that a large portion of the training that is typically done by Canadian companies is “on-the-job.” Thus, companies may not have a need for the type of formal training envisioned by WSWL.
    It should be noted that training paid for by the employer was always possible under the regular WS program. The major difference with the WSWL program was the possibility of signing an agreement for 52 weeks with the possibility of an additional 52 week extension, however, even with this extended period of entitlement the program received no take up.
    An extensive advertising campaign was undertaken at the time of the WSWL program’s launch where 167,000 information kits were mailed to employers in the regional economic areas of 10 percent unemployment or greater. An additional 40,000 information kits were also distributed to employers in the Greater Montreal Area once they reached an unemployment rate of 10 percent. Even with every effort being made to ensure that employers undergoing restructuring were made aware of the WSWL program there was no take-up.
    [Comment: This seems such a struggle. Are these people learning anything from the hundreds of other governments at both state and national levels that are doing worksharing, especially from the very successful Kurzarbeit program in Germany? Or are they reinventing the wheel and making all the same mistakes over again?]
    IRT
    The observations that were brought forward in the evaluation as to the lack of participation in the IRT initiative are valid. It is important to note that under this measure, the intent was to encourage and assist more workers who were facing job loss and who worked in areas of high unemployment to take proactive steps toward obtaining the necessary skills for securing new and different employment within existing departmental programs.
    Authorizing workers to quit their jobs was only done in situations in which lay-offs were imminent and training courses commenced prior to the date of lay-off. For those workers who were authorized to quit, there may have been reluctance on their part to do so. Some reasons for this may include:
    • re-employment prospects are poor in high unemployment regions;
    • workers may miss out on any negotiated severance package if they quit their jobs early; and
    • an extra few weeks of work might maximize the workers’ entitlement to subsequent Employment Insurance benefits.
    Another reason for the lack of take-up in the IRT measure could have been that the target population for the measure may have simply been a difficult one to encourage to train. In the geographic areas where participation in the measure could have been allowed, few training opportunities exist and post-training job opportunities are limited.
    With respect to the observation on the effort in making workers aware of the IRT initiative, it has been noted that the marketing of the measure may have been insignificant. In the future, the department could have a more coherent communication plan which addresses visibility on the department’s web-site and dissemination of in formation to staff and stakeholders.
    It is important to note that the IRT initiative was to encourage and assist more workers who were facing job loss and who work in areas of high unemployment to take proactive steps toward obtaining the necessary skills for securing new and different employment within existing departmental programs. Authorizing workers to quit their jobs was only done in situations where the steps that were necessary in obtaining the necessary skills for securing new and different employment commenced prior to the date of imminent lay-off.
    In October of 2002, Human Resources Development Canada{1} (HRDC) announced that it would participate in a $246.5 million Government of Canada initiative to support workers and communities in regions of high unemployment. The $71 million HRSDC portion was composed of three primary components:
    • Work Sharing While Learning (WSWL) – This new program adds a training component to the traditional Work Sharing program and targets firms facing a structural downturn; • Increased Referrals to Training (IRT) – This new initiative is intended to test and evaluate the effects of referring more individuals to training when they are facing job loss; and • Older Workers Pilot Projects Initiative (OWPPI) – A series of pilot projects, designed to encourage labour force attachment on the part of older workers, was extended until March 31, 2004.
    WSWL and IRT are evaluated separately from OWPPI, since OWPPI was already underway at the time of the announcement and already had an evaluation strategy in place. However, participation in WSWL and IRT was very limited at the time of the project planning (October 2003). Therefore, it was proposed that the evaluation be conducted in two phases. Phase I explores the reasons for the low take-up of the two programs. If participation in the programs increases sufficiently to warrant a more complete evaluation, Phase II is to examine traditional evaluation issues such as program outcomes and impacts. To date (March 2004), participation remains very low, and it seems unlikely that the Phase II portion of the evaluation will be warranted.
    This report presents the findings of Phase I of the evaluation of WSWL and IRT. It focuses on explaining the reasons for the lack of program take-up in order to provide lessons for future policy development. In the following section, the two programs are described. The third section presents the evaluation questions and the lines of evidence used to answer them. The fourth section presents the findings. The fifth and final section presents a summary and conclusions.
    {1} HRDC has since been split into two departments : Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and Social Development Canada (SDC). Responsibility for the EI system, including WSWL and IRT, rests with HRSDC. Henceforth, we will refer to the programs as being located in HRSDC, although the original Evaluation Questions and Logic Models have been used, which name HRDC.
    2. Program Descriptions
    2.1 WSWL
    The Work Sharing While Learning (WSWL) program initiative, announced in October 2002, targeted not only the softwood lumber industry but other industries in regions of high unemployment (higher than 10 percent). Unlike regular Work Sharing, which is designed for firms facing a temporary downturn, WSWL is designed for firms that are facing a more permanent structural change. Companies must be confronted with major downturns, beyond their direct control, that require them to undertake major restructuring to remain viable. WSWL is a pan-Canadian initiative delivered by HRSDC staff. The WSWL initiative has two objectives:
    • to reduce or avert layoffs; and • to encourage investment in employee skill development through retraining.
    Employees of firms with a WSWL agreement will have access to EI benefits for up to one year while attending employer-funded training. Under exceptional circumstances, these agreements may be extended to as long as 104 weeks.
    Upon entering into a WSWL agreement, employees in an affected WSWL unit would work reduced hours as the employer implements a restructuring plan to ensure the company’s viability. As part of the restructuring plan, the employer must identify their specific employee retraining needs and these must be related to the employer’s workforce skill needs. The employer must fund the training of the employees selected for the WSWL program. The employees will receive EI benefits for the hours that they are not working, but must participate in workplace training during this time.
    To be eligible, the employer must demonstrate [definition?? = exactly HOW do you "demonstrate" the future? the word on the street about federal Canadian worksharing is that it has so much red tape as to be unusuable] that:
    • they will face a 20-60% reduction in business;
    • they will be undertaking significant restructuring;
    •they will fund significant, incremental training of their employees;
    • layoffs are the alternative option at the WSWL site;
    • they have been operating in Canada for at least two years; and
    • union or employee representatives agree to WSWL.
    To be eligible, the employee of the restructuring company must:
    • be eligible to collect EI;
    • be in a designated position requiring skills retraining in support of company restructuring; and
    • agree to participate.
    The WSWL unit must consist of two or more employees; there is no maximum number of employees. The restructuring company can make permanent layoffs but cannot include in the layoffs members of the WSWL unit. In turn, the participating employees may be full-time, part-time, or seasonal.
    A WSWL agreement with a company does not preclude that company from participating in other HRSDC programs. There may, however, be certain restrictions. For example, the employer may have signed a Labour Market Partnership (LMP) agreement but the LMP cannot be used to cover the costs of the actual training and the other associated costs (books, travel) under the WSWL program.
    The company, in applying for a WSWL agreement, must provide a feasible and realistic industrial restructuring plan that includes defined strategic outcomes, evidence of confirmed financing, and a human resource (HR) development plan. HRSDC staff will assess only the HR development plan and its training options.
    The training plan must be directly linked to and in support of the company’s restructuring activities. The training plan must identify:
    • the type of training;
    • who will be trained;
    • how the training will be provided;
    • the cost of training;
    • training timelines; and
    • evidence of support for training by employees/unions.
    The workplace training provided to a participating employee must be significant and incremental and not part of the company’s ongoing operational needs (e.g. safety training). The workplace training can be purchased and delivered by the company, a union, a community partner, or a combination thereof and be offered to the employee on or off the company premises.
    The training offered to employees must constitute at least 30% of the reduced hours for which employees are receiving EI benefits, or a minimum average of 4 hours per person per week, whichever is greater.
    Figure 1 [refer to source URL written out above after title] links the inputs of the WSWL program to activities and to intermediate and long-term impacts. For HRSDC program managers, the major output of the program will be the number and value of the WSWL agreements reached. The expected outcomes include, in the intermediate term:
    • enhanced skills for employees;
    • avoidance or reduction of layoffs;

    [Better worksharing than layoffs.]
    • companies stay in business; and
    • increased financial support for training by businesses.
    To date (March 2004), there have not been any signed WSWL agreements, and thus no participation [this is damning! how long as this program been available??]. However, program management made a significant effort to make companies aware of the new program. The Employment Programs Branch of HRSDC sent out roughly 167,000 flyers to employ ers in affected regions across Ca nada. These mail- outs described the WSWL program and provided frequently-ask ed questions and answers. A further mail- out of 40,000 pamphlets is currently being undertaken in the economic region of Montreal, which recently crossed above a 10 percent unem ployment rate.
    2.2 IRT
    The Increased Referrals to Training (IRT) initi ative is intended to encourage and assist more workers who are facing job loss and who work in areas of high unemployment to take proactive steps toward obtaining the n ecessary skills for securing new and different employment. Figure 2 outlines the links between the training decision, program activities, and the intermediate and long term impact s, based on documentat ion available to the Program Evaluation Directorate.
    To be eligible for EI benefits under this ini tiative, individuals are targeted for increased referrals to training if they meet all of the following conditions:
    • they work in an eligible EI economic region, one with an unemploymen t rate of 10 percent or higher;
    • the employees are facing imminent job loss; and
    • a lack of marketable skills has been identif ied as a barrier to future re-employment.
    Individuals are considered to be facing imminent job loss if they have received a layoff notice that is permanent, or for at least 6 months, or if there is documented evidence that their employment will soon be terminat ed (e.g. the announcement of a plant closure). Individuals who are facing job loss must be qualified fo r EI or qualify as a “Reachback” client.
    These individuals confronting imminent job lo ss must consult with a case manager (either a HRCC counsellor or EAS service provider) a nd must develop a Return To Work Action Plan (RTWAP). Furthermore, before they are approved for Empl oyment Benefits and Support Measures (EBSM’s), they must have been accepted into a training program that is supported by their RTWAP and which allows them to move to new and different employment upon successful completion.
    HRSDC officials with dele gated authority under the EI Act , in these exceptional circumstances of imminent job loss, can au thorize individuals to quit their current employment to participate in a training progr am and to seek new work, when the startdate of the training program precedes the expected layoff date. Quitting employment in these cases would be considered just cause for the purposes of the EI Act and would therefore not disqualify the individual when he or she applies for EI benefits.
    The EI databank tracks two variants of IR T, both of which would have differing economic implications:
    I. individuals who are facing j ob loss and are authorized to quit their employment to participate in a training intervention that started before their anticipated layoff date (coded as “R” in the EI Database Stat us Vector – reason for separation); and
    II. individuals who were facing job loss who receive a referral to training but are not authorized to quit their employment as the training intervention started subsequent to their anticipated layoff da te (coded as “V” in the EI Status Vector – reason for separation
    Figure 2 - Logic Model IRT (see on URL listed above after title)
    As of March 2004, the EI database has recorded 14 IRT participants who were authorized to quit and 22 participants who were not author ized to quit. None of these participants were from the softwood lumber industry. Th e database is also tracking two potential comparison groups, with the same characteristic s as those above, but in regions of less than 10% unemployment. There are actually slightly more of these “non-participants” from low unemployment regions.
    3. Scope of Evaluation
    3.1 Evaluation Questions
    Traditionally, evaluations focu s on the objectives, outcomes and achiev ements, and impacts of programs. In this case, how ever, the two programs have virtually no part icipation, thus an assessment of their impacts is im possible. Instead, this evaluation has fo cussed on explaining the possible re asons for a known outcome: th e lack of partic ipation in the programs. Thus, the overall scope of the evaluation is considerably reduced as compared to if the program had a large number of participants.
    Five evaluation questions were developed with respect to the low le vel of participation. The questions follow a progression exploring possible reasons for the low take-up. The first, a traditional evalua tion question, focuses on the ra tionales of the programs:
    • Q-1: Are the rationales of WSWL and IRT relevant and why?
    Assuming the first question is answered in the affirmative, and the rationales are valid, the next question relates to the awareness of the initiatives by the targeted firms and workers:
    • Q-2: Are softwood lumber companies and employees aware of the availability of WSWL and IRT?
    Again, assuming affirmative answers to the fi rst two questions, the next question relates to specific reasons why firms or workers might not have partic ipated in the two programs:
    • Q-3: Are there specific asp ects of WSWL and IRT that companies and workers find unattractive?
    The fourth question relates to the possibility that the softw ood lumber industry was not as badly impacted by external trade events as had been thought, and thus might not have needed the new programming:
    • Q-4: What has been the state of the so ftwood lumber industry since the imposition of countervailing and antidumping duties, and since the introductio n of the Softwood Lumber Initiative?
    A final possibility is that the softwood lu mber industry simply found the traditional programming of HRSDC to be more attractive than the new programs. This leads to the fifth and final question:
    • Q-5: Are companies or employees from the softwood lumber industry making use of other programs provided by HRDC?
    3.2 Lines of Evidence
    In order to provide answers to the ev aluation questions, the methodology document proposed using four lines of evidence. The initial me thodology document proposed conducting interviews with representatives of the softwood industry. However, after the completion of the other three lines of eviden ce, it was felt that these interviews were unnecessary. Thus, this report synthesizes the results of three lines of evidence. In addition, a short note was wr itten describing the lack of take-up of the programs and the tracking of the take-up in the EI database. All of the completed reports, as well as the methodology document, are listed in Appendix 1.
    Literature Review
    As a first step toward the evaluation, a lit erature review was conducted. The document attempts to shed light on the reasons for the low take-up of the programs by examining the economic literature. It focussed on the motivations for firms a nd workers to undertake the programs.
    Panel of Labour Market Experts
    A panel of experts was assembled in order to discuss the economic rationale of the two programs and the potential reasons for the lo w take-up of the programs. The panel was composed of four leading academics in the field including:
    • one of the foremost experts on labour market and training programs;
    • one of the original developers of the regular Work Sharing program;
    • a labour market expert who acted as a consul tant for the evaluation of the regular Work Sharing program; and
    • an expert on internationa l work sharing programs.
    The panel spent a day discussing the issues and then provided a report on their views.
    Softwood Industry Analysis / Administrative Data Analysis
    This document explores the health and em ployment levels in the softwood lumber industry. It uses various data sources incl uding the Labour Force Su rvey, the Survey of Employment, Payrolls, and Hours (SEPH), da ta series from the Statistics Canada’s CANSIM database, and HRSDC’s EI database.
    Linking Questions to Lines of Evidence
    Table 1 links the evaluati on questions to the line of evidence used to answer them. The next section will present the fi ndings of these lines of evidence for each question.
    Table 1 [see URL after title] - Evaluation Questions and Proposed Lines of Evidence
    3.2 Lines of Evidence
    In order to provide answers to the ev aluation questions, the methodology document proposed using four lines of evidence. The initial me thodology document proposed conducting interviews with representatives of the softwood industry. However, after the completion of the other three lines of eviden ce, it was felt that these interviews were unnecessary. Thus, this report synthesizes the results of three lines of evidence. In addition, a short note was wr itten describing the lack of take-up of the programs and the tracking of the take-up in the EI database. All of the completed reports, as well as the methodology document, are listed in Appendix 1.
    Literature Review
    As a first step toward the evaluation, a lit erature review was conducted. The document attempts to shed light on the reasons for the low take-up of the programs by examining the economic literature. It focussed on the motivations for firms a nd workers to undertake the programs.
    Panel of Labour Market Experts
    A panel of experts was assembled in order to discuss the economic rationale of the two programs and the potential reasons for the lo w take-up of the programs. The panel was composed of four leading academics in the field including:
    • one of the foremost experts on labour market and training programs;
    • one of the original developers of the regular Work Sharing program;
    • a labour market expert who acted as a consul tant for the evaluation of the regular Work Sharing program; and
    • an expert on internationa l work sharing programs.
    The panel spent a day discussing the issues and then provided a report on their views.
    Softwood Industry Analysis / Administrative Data Analysis
    This document explores the health and em ployment levels in the softwood lumber industry. It uses various data sources incl uding the Labour Force Su rvey, the Survey of Employment, Payrolls, and Hours (SEPH), da ta series from the Statistics Canada’s CANSIM database, andHRSDC’s EI database.
    Linking Questions to Lines of Evidence
    Table 1 links the evaluati on questions to the line of evidence used to answer them. The next section will present the fi ndings of these lines of evidence for each question.
    Table 1 [follows in text form]
    Evaluation Questions and Proposed Lines of Evidence
    Evaluation Questions [-] Lines of Evidence
    Q-1: Are the rationales of WSWL and IRT relevant and why? - Literature Review [&] Panel of Labour Market Experts
    Q-2: Are softwood lumber companies and employees aware of the availability of WSWL and IRT? - No direct evidence on level of awareness, but evidence of efforts made to inform potential participants.
    Q-3: Are there specific aspects of WSWL or IRT that companies or workers find unattractive? - Literature Review [&] Panel of Labour Market Experts
    Q-4: What has been the state of the softwood lumber industry since the imposition of countervailing and anti-dumping duties, and since the introduction of the Softwood Lumber Initiative? - Industry Analysis / Administrative File Analysis
    Q-5: Are companies or employees from the softwood lumber industry making use of other programs provided by HRDC? - Industry Analysis / Administrative File Analysis
    4. Evaluation Findings
    4.1 Findings on WSWL
    Findings related to Q-1 – The Rationale for WSWL
    The overall rationale of WSWL is twofol d: reduce or avert layoffs, and encourage investment in employee retraining. The pane l of experts was supportive of both of these goals, and was thus initially su pportive of the concept of the WSWL program. However, after careful consideration of th e features of WSWL, the panel identified a num ber of details that are likely to be proble matic for programs that seek to link training and work sharing.
    When assessing the rationale for a program, evaluators typically ask what would happen if the program did not exist. In the case of WSWL, one must consider the restructuring process of a firm. Presumably, without th e WSWL program, a rest ructuring firm would lay off the workers who no longer had the requir ed skill set in the new restructured firm. The firm would then, in order to complete the restru cturing, be forced to hire new workers who did have the required ski ll set. In contrast, under th e WSWL program, the firm would retrain its existing workers for the ne w positions. Thus, the WSWL program makes the implicit assumption that it is preferable for a firm to retrai n its existing workforce for the new jobs, rather than lay off the current workers and hire new ones.{2} However, WSWL is restricted to high unemployment regions wher e new workers with the required skill set may be prevalent in the pool of unemployed workers. Companies may therefore find it easier to hire new employees rather than retrain their current employees.
    A simple example of how WS WL might work illustrates some of the other potential difficulties with the program. Suppose a fi rm faces a downturn in demand for its product of 20 percent. The firm plans to restructur e its operations in order to increase sales. Suppose 100 workers make up the “work unit” a nd because of the necessary restructuring the firm plans to lay off 20 of them. To co mplete the restructuring, the firm will hire 20 new workers who have the new skill set required for the restructured firm.{3}
    Under the WSWL program, the firm does not la y off the 20 workers. Instead, it reduces the working hours of all 100 workers by one da y per week. During th is time, the entire work unit is expected to undert ake training during the off day. At the end of the training, the restructured firm will increase its producti on back to levels where it can fully employ these workers.
    {2} While this second option may, in fact, be preferable, there has been no discussion in the WSWL policy documents as to why it is preferable.
    {3} There is no reason why the number of workers to be laid off should correspond to the number of new workers to be hired. However, if it doe s not, it makes the case for WSWL even more difficult.

    Two questions emerge from this example. Th e first relates to the number of workers who receive training. The WSWL program assumes that all workers in the work unit require training in order for the firm to restructure, but this is not necessarily the case. It seems likely that the 20 workers who would otherwis e be laid off are those who are most in need of training, while the 80 workers who would not have b een laid off may have little or no training needs. If onl y a portion of the workers needs retraining, it is not clear what to do about the workers who do not. The firm could leave these workers out of the WSWL agreement, so that they continue working full time, but this would increase the required work reduction in th e rest of the work unit. On e could potentially envisage a situation where there were concurrent regu lar Work Sharing and WSWL agreements for those who do and do not require training. Ho wever, this situation would be very complicated, as the 20 workers who would otherw ise be laid off would likely all be in the WSWL agreement (since they are the most likel y to require training), leaving the regular Work Sharing agreement filled with workers for whom no layoff was intended.
    The second questi on relates to the timi ng of the proc ess. WSWL, which requires a significant restructuring of the firm’s operations, is suitable if the structural change in demand for the firm’s pro duct is expected to be permanent. The panel of ex perts points out, however, that the dura tion of a firm’s downturn in demand (i.e. whether or not it is permanent) is often highly uncertain. Taki ng the softwood lumber industry, for example, there is considerable unc ertainty as to when the duties will be lifted and exports return to normal. Formal training courses, on the other hand, normally require a fixed amount of time to be completed. Thus, it could be quite unlikely that the dur ation of the training matches the duration that the firm will require decreased production. The panel of experts felt that, if disrupti ons to the softwood lumber indus try are viewed as temporary, then restructuring would not be required and regular Work Sharing would be more appropriate than WSWL (of course, WSWL provides a longer period of benefits).
    Findings Related to Q-3 – Attractiveness of WSWL to Firms and Workers
    Attractiveness to Firms
    The review of the policy and economic literature found that previous experiments with linking the Work Sharing program and training have also met with low levels of take-up. Previous evaluations of the Work Sharing program in 1984 and 1993 both noted that such experiments had levels of participation t oo low to include the option in the overall evaluation. To date, WSWL has had no participants.
    Because of the low take-up, it may be that th ere are specific aspect s of WSWL that may make it less attractive to firms. From the pers pective of the firm, the cost of the training may be a major inhibiting fact or. Training a large work un it is often quite expensive, and Canadian firms are not known for spe nding large amounts on fo rmal structured training. Most employer trai ning is on-the-job and inform al. Under WSWL, companies are required to invest significan tly in training at a time when they can least afford it: when they are on the verge of layoffs. This ma y be especially difficu lt in regions of high unemployment, where WSWL has been targeted.
    Another potential problem for firms is that scheduling the training for one or two days per week can be difficult to ba lance with the need for flexibilit y in production. With regular Work Sharing agreements, for example, the utiliza tion rate often va ries from week to week in an unpredictable manner, thus making scheduling training difficult. However, training typically requires a fixed schedule.
    The company may thus see other alternatives as being more attractive than WSWL. As mentioned above, it could simply lay off the workers and hire new wo rkers. Or, it could use the regular Work Sh aring program. From the firm’s perspective, there is nothing stopping it from doing some training of it s workers during a regular Work Sharing agreement, but there is no requirement that it must do so. The only negative aspect of Work Sharing compared to WSWL, from a firm ’s perspective, is that the duration of a Work Sharing agreement can only be six months as opposed to a year.
    Attractiveness to Workers
    There may also be aspects of WSWL that make it less attractive to wo rkers. Work Sharing requires that senior workers, w ho are unlikely to be laid off, accept a decrease in working time and salary in order to avoid the layoffs of th e more junior staff. On e of the benefits they receive for doing this is the fact that they receive extra time off from work. It is possible that senior workers may not be willing to participate in a WSWL agreement since, in spite of receiving lower income, they are expected to undertake training rather than receiving the extra time off.
    While this is especially true of more seni or workers, based on a recent evaluation of the regular Work Sharing program, almost all Work Sharing participants in focus groups felt that they should be allowed to do what they want during their day off since they are not being paid for it by the company. They felt it was unfair to expect them to receive decreased income without bei ng compensated with time off.
    4.2 Findings on IRT
    Findings Related to Q-1 – The Rationale of IRT
    The literature review, quoting th e various drafts of the IR T policy document, points out that the thrust of the IRT initia tive went through some changes from its initial conception. Initially, based on the policy documents provided to Program Evaluation,{4} the program was conceived of being ju st the increased use of the authoriz ation to quit. Ho wever, the final description of the ini tiative described it more as a gene ral retargeting of workers with pre-existing training programs. Authorization to quit was still an option, but it was no longer the major thrust of the initiative.
    {4} See Appendix 1 for the list of document s on which the programs are described.
    The panel of experts was gene rally enthusiastic about the idea of encouraging early planning on the part of worker s in the face of future layoffs . The experts cited previous research which shows the benefits of, for exam ple, increased notice to workers prior to a layoff. Increasing the notice of a forthcomi ng layoff allows workers to begin their job search earlier. Thus, instead of all of the workers being laid off suddenly and at the same time, some of the workers will have already moved to new jobs. This allows the labour market a greater period of time to absorb the available workers. IRT could be viewed similarly as an attempt to allow earl ier adjustment to a layoff situation.
    In spite of their general enthusiasm for the concept, the expert panel was puzzled as to what exactly the IRT program provides in the case of workers who are not authorized to quit their jobs. It is not clear what these wo rkers receive from the IRT initiative that they could not have received prior to the initiative. It seems as though the IRT initiative makes it more likely that training is provided to workers with the three characteristics described in section 2.2, as oppos ed to other workers. The qu estion that one then asks is: if IRT is really just a retargeting of who gets training, w ith no overall increase in EI Part II dollars, who is it who is expected to get less training than previously?
    There was, however, additional EI Part 1 money requested for the IRT initiati ve. The panel of experts was uncertain as to why this money was require d. Under the auth orization to quit option, a claimant receives benefits earlier than otherwise, but pr esumably would have collected the same amount of benefits at a la ter date if there were no IRT initiative. No documentation was pr ovided to Program Evaluation on how these funds were allocated.
    Findings Related to Q-3 – Attractiveness of IRT to Firms and Workers
    Authorization to Quit Option
    In terms of its attractiveness to workers, seve ral potential reasons were identified as to why the take-up of the IRT initiative may be low. The first three relate to the low take-up of the authorization to quit option.
    First of all, IRT is targeted in regions of high un employment. The expe rt panel pointed out that this means that opportuniti es for employment after the trai ning period are likely to be limited. Thus, workers may feel that they are better off keeping their current job as long as possible, rather than quitting and betting on the possibility of findin g a new job after the training. They could potentia lly sign up for the training af ter their existing job ends.
    The expert panel also pointed out the possibil ity that a worker who quits prior to being laid off may miss out on any ne gotiated severance package that they otherwise may have received. The panel noted that unions often recommend stayi ng with the firm as long as possible for exactly that reason.
    Finally, the expert panel noted that from the worker’s pe rspective, working as many weeks as possible at the current firm maximizes the worker’s entitlement to EI benefits in case the subsequent unemploymen t spell is long in duration.
    No Authorization to Quit
    There are also potential reasons for the low take-up of IRT without the authorization to quit option. In this cas e, the review of the literature suggested th e group targeted by IRT is simply a difficult group to convince to train.
    Again, part of the difficulty may be the fact th at IRT is targeted in regions of greater than 10 percent unemployment. Workers in regi ons of high unemployment are known to be less willing to train. This is primarily b ecause of the reduced lik elihood of finding a new job upon completion of the training program. The high unemployment regions are also more likely to be rural. Often, workers in rural areas are less likely to take training simply because fewer training opportunities ex ist in rural areas and often there are significantly higher time and trav el costs for such training.
    Furthermore, the demographics of the work ers in the softwood i ndustry in particular mean that they are less likely to train than the general population. In general, workers who invest in training are more likely to be young, female, and have a high level of education. Workers in the softwood lumber i ndustry are slightly older than average, are predominantly male, and are le ss likely to have high levels of education. Also, because the softwood industry is high ly seasonal, many workers have faced layoff many times during their careers and have previously been called back. Workers, believing that they will be called back once again, may not perceive the need to leave the industry.
    A final point relating to the attractiveness to workers is the fact that in order to be considered for IRT, the potential candidate s must take the initi ative to visit a HRCC prior to having been laid off. Since the extent to which workers are aw are of the IRT program is unknown, it is uncertain how many workers would know to visit the HRCC prior to the job loss.
    Attractiveness to Firms
    It appears as though the decision to enter the IRT initiative lies primarily with workers. If a worker is not authorized to quit, there seems to be no impact on the firm, and thus it is unlikely that the firm would exert any influence on the decision process.
    Authorizing a worker to quit their employment may have some impact on the company if it still requires the workers for its operations . The IRT policy paper indicates that HRSDC staff should be “sensiti ve to the effects on employers of any authorization to quit.” However, given the fact that the comp any has already indicated that it intends to lay the worker off in the near future, it seems unlikely that the company would have strong objections to the worker quitting. Thus, it seems unlik ely that the low take-up of IRT relates to a lack of attractiveness to firms.
    In spite of the fact that the firm is likel y unaffected by the worker’s decision regarding IRT, the amount of notice it gives to employees about the upcoming layoff could directly impact whether a worker enters the program. Since, in order to be eligible for IRT, workers must visit an HRCC after receiving no tice of layoff but before being laid off, if an employer gives only a short amount of notice, it may be unlik ely that workers will participate. Regulations re garding required notice vary by province and by the amount of time the worker has been on the job. There have been suggestions that firms are unwilling to announce layoffs until they believe it absolutely necessary.
    4.3 Findings Related to the Softwood Lumber Industry
    Findings Related to Q-4: The State of the Softwood Lumber Industry
    While the WSWL and IRT programs were designed to be available to workers in all industries, they were done so with the diffi culties faced by the softwood lumber industry in the background. As such, it is useful to examine the softwood lumber industry in more detail. The study, “Structural Analysis of the Labour Market Aspects of the Softwood Lumber Industry,” examines the state of th e softwood lumber indust ry over the duration of the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) with the United States, and since itssubsequent expiry and the imposition of duties on Canadian exports of softwood lumber.Two industries, Logging, Forestry and S upport, and Wood Manufacturing, are jointly considered to make up the softwood lumber industry.
    The report describes how, after the SLA expired in March 2001, the United States imposed preliminary countervailing duties in August 2001. Preliminary antidumping duties were imposed in October 2001. The pr eliminary countervailing duties expired in December 2001. The US Department of Co mmerce made its final determination and re-imposed the countervailing and antidum ping duties in May 2002. In October 2002, the Government of Canada announced its package intended to aid softwood lumber workers and communities, including the WSWL and IRT initiatives.
    The study finds that the value of exports of softwood lumber declined substantially since the imposition of the duties. At the same time, however, domestic demand for softwood lumber was very strong as domestic hous ing starts reached an all time high.
    The overall impact on employment in the indu stry is not clear. The report presents results from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the Survey of Employment, Payrolls, and Hours (SEPH). While both surveys pr ovide similar estimates of the overall employment levels in the industry, they diffe r somewhat in terms of the trend since the imposition of the duties. Both surveys show a decline in employment in logging and forestry, although the SEPH show s more significant declines (as much as 23 percent from August 2000 to August 2002) than the LFS (around 10-15 percent). Both surveys show that employment in the industry is very seasona l, and results from the SEPH indicate that most of the loss in employment in logging and forestry was due to a decrease in hiring in the summer months rather than large incr eases in layoffs in the winter months.
    In terms of the wood manufacturing industr y, the SEPH shows a constant level of employment, whereas the LFS shows strong gains in employment. Thus, for the overall softwood industry, the SEPH show s a decline in employment si nce the expiry of the SLA and the imposition of countervailing and an tidumping duties. The LFS shows slight gains: a slight loss in loggi ng and forestry offset by str ong gains in wood manufacturing.
    The study also reports on the number of layoffs in the softwood industry as measured by HRSDC’s Record of Employment (ROE) File. RO E’s that were issued for the reason of “shortage of work” were relatively stable from y ear to year, although va ried from season to season. There was an increase of about 5,000 layoffs from the fourth quarter of 2000 to the fourth quarter of 2001. The latter was just after the preliminary co untervailing duties were imposed, and was also a time of generally poor economic performance . Otherwise, layoffs were at their tradition al seasonal levels.
    Anecdotal evidence suggests that the larger, mo re efficient, firms are tending to do better than, and are replacing the smaller firms. For example, a recent newspaper article{5} states that the forest products company, Canfor, recently opened the largest sawmill in the world in Houston, B.C. If it is indeed the cas e that large firms are replacing small firms, this could potentially result in greater likeli hood of use of WSWL, si nce larger firms are known to do more training of their employees than do smaller firms.
    Findings Related to Q-5: Use of Alternative Programs by Softwood
    The extent to which firms and workers from the softwood lumber industry made use of other HRSDC programs was also examined. The most obvious alternative for workers laid off from the softwood lumber industry is to co llect regular EI benefits . Like the employment situation in the softwood indus try, the volume of EI claims is quite seasonal, rising significantly in the fourth quarter. From the fourth quarter of 2000 to the fourth quarter of 2001, the number of claims increased by about 5,000. As mentioned above, this was just after the imposition of the countervailing duties and corresponded to a period of generally poor economic conditions. After this time, layoffs were roughly at their traditional seasonal levels.
    Softwood companies have made somewhat higher use of the regular Work Sharing program since the imposition of the duties. There have been roughly 4,400 Work Sharing claims from softwood workers since the imposition of the pr eliminary countervailing duties and 2,900 claims since the announcement of th e WSWL program. The use of the Work Sharing program by all industries picked up to a similar extent over this time period.
    Finally, the number of softwood workers receivi ng EI Part II money was examined. This number, in the range of 1,000 to 1,500 claima nts per year, does not appear to have increased since the duties were imposed.
    {5} “Canfor opens super sawmill,” Montr eal Gazette, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2004 - http://www.canada.com/national/features/softwooddispute/story.html?id=217DD3CB-E08C-4D0A-90E8-2C954BAE9740
    Findings Related to Q-2 – Awareness of WSWL and IRT
    The extent to which the industry is aware of the two programs has not been fully assessed. However, there is evidence that the Employment Programs Branch, responsible for delivering WSWL, has made a significant effort to make companies aware of the availability of WSWL. Shortly after th e launch of WSWL, EPB sent out roughly 167,000 pamphlets describing the program to companies in eligible regions. Currently, a further mail-out of 40,000 additional pamphl ets is being sent to businesses in the economic region of Montreal, which recently became eligible due to its unemployment rate rising above 10 per cent. In addition, information on WSWL is readily available on HRSDC’s website and the Government of Canada website.
    The IRT initiative is more difficult to fi nd on HRSDC’s website. In fact, the only mention of the initiative on the HRSDC website is the October 8, 2002 news release announcing the WSWL, IRT and the Older Work ers Pilot Project In itiative. Although local HRSDC offices in the affected regions have been encouraged to promote the IRT measure, the extent to which they activel y do so is unknown. The extent to which workers are aware of IRT is th erefore unknown. Since, in orde r to be targeted by IRT, a worker must visit a HRCC prior to being laid off (since they must be facing job loss), a lack of knowledge of the measure may ha ve contributed to the lack of uptake.
    5. Summary & Conclusions
    The evaluation of the Work Sharing While Learning and Increased Referrals to Training programs has focussed on explaining the reasons for the very low levels of participation in these two programs. It was intended to provide lessons for future policy development. It therefore explored questions related to the rationale and design of the programs as well as questions related to th e need for the programs in the softwood lumber industry.
    Since the take-up of the two programs rema ins low to date, it is unlikely that the proposed Phase II of the evaluation, which w ould have examined program impacts and outcomes, will be conducted.
    WSWL
    With respect to the WSWL program, the evalua tion has raised several questions related to the program’s rationale. Firstly, the WSWL progr am implicitly assumes that it is better if a company retrains its current workers rath er than laying them off and hiring new workers for the restructured positions. Howeve r, a case has not been made as to why this is the preferred option or why a progr am should intervene to encourage it.
    A second question relates to the WSWL require ment that all members of the work unit undertake training. In situations where only a portion of the work unit requires retraining, it is not clear what to do about the workers who do not.
    From the perspective of the company, it is not clear that a company that is on the verge of laying off workers will be able to afford to pay for the training of a large portion of its workforce. Also, a firm might find it difficult to schedule training days for its workers when its week-to-week production sc hedule is uncertain and variable.
    From the workers’ perspective, regular Work Sharing particip ants have made it clear that, since the firm is not paying them, they consider the Work Sharing days off to be their own. They would be reluct ant to give up this time fo r mandatory training. This is especially true in the case of senior workers who are unlik ely to be laid off even without WSWL.
    Although no direct evidence was collected on the awareness of comp anies of the WSWL program, it seems unlikely that lack of awar eness is the cause fo r the low take-up. The Employment Programs Branch has made si gnificant efforts to inform firms of the program including direct mail-outs to potential participants and a readily accessible description on the HRSDC website.
    It has been suggested that if HRSDC were to pay for the training, firms might be more willing to participate in WSWL. However, a case has not been made as to whether the expected benefits of such an expanded pr ogram would warrant the large outlays of EI money that would be required from HRSDC.
    IRT
    Generally, the evaluation results suggest that the overall rationale of encouraging earlier adjustment to a layoff situation makes sense. In the case of participants who are authorized to quit their jobs, the rationale is fairly clear. However, there are a number of reasons that might still explain the low level of participation in the case of authorizations to quit.
    Workers might be reluctant to quit their jobs for the following reasons, among others: re-employment prospects are poor in high unemployment regions; workers may miss out on any negotiated severance pack age if they quit their jobs early; working an extra few weeks might maximize the workers’ enti tlement to subsequent EI benefits.
    In the case of workers who are notauthorized to quit their jobs, it is not clear exactly what the IRT initiative provides. From the documentation pr ovided to the Program Evaluation Directorate, such claimants do not appear to be eligible for substantia lly different treatment than prior to the IRT initiative.
    It also seems as though the IRT target popul ation may simply be a difficult one to encourage to train. Workers in high unemp loyment regions and ru ral regions are known to be less likely to train. This is both because of the lack of training opportunities and because of the lack of post-training job opportun ities. In particular, the demographics of the softwood lumber industry workers make workers in the industr y less likely than average to find training attractive.
    It is also possible that lack of awareness of the IRT initiative on the part of workers may have contributed to the lack of participation. In order for a worker to be targeted under IRT, they must visit a HRCC prior to being laid off. If they were not aware of the initiative, they might not take the initiative to visit a HRCC until after they are laid off. The extent to which local HRSDC offices have promoted the IRT initiative to workers is unknown. Nor does there appear to have been an effort to make workers aware of the initiative on a national basis, and a descri ption of IRT is difficult to find on HRSDC’s internet website.
    Softwood
    An analysis of the impacts on the softwood lumber industry of the counterv ailing and antidumping duties was also cond ucted. To some extent the ne gative impact of the duties was offset by the strong domes tic housing market. The overal l impact on employment in the industry was measured differently depending on the survey instrument, with the Survey of Employment, Payrolls, and Hours indicating that employment ha d been signific antly reduced since the duties, a nd the Labour Fo rce survey showing a negligible impact.
    HRSDC’s own records show that layoffs and EI take-up were sl ightly higher than usual in the fourth quarter of 2001. Ap art from this period, however, there were la yoffs, but they were not higher than their ty pical seasonal levels . The regular Work Sharing program has been used by the industry fairly steadily. Receipt of EI Part II money was, and remains, low by workers from the industry.
    Appendix 1
    List of Documents
    Technical Reports
    Gray, D., M. Gunderson, D. Smith, and G. Swartz (February 2004) “ Work Sharing While Learning and Increased Referrals to Trai ning: Report of the Panel of Experts ,” Prepared for HRSDC
    HRDC (October 2003) “ A Proposed Methodology for th e Evaluation of the Softwood Lumber Initiative – Phase I ,” EI Evaluation, Program Evaluation
    HRDC (October 2003) “ Note on the Take-up of Work Sharing While Learning and Increased Referrals to Training ,” EI Evaluation, Program Evaluation
    HRSDC (March 2004) “ Literature Review for Wo rk Sharing While Learning and Increased Referrals to Training ,” EI Evaluation, Program Evaluation
    HRSDC (March 2004) “ Structural Analysis of the Labour Market Aspects of the Softwood Lumber Industry ,” EI Evaluation, Program Evaluation
    Documents Used for Program Descriptions
    HRDC (October 8, 2002) “ Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) expands and enriches programs to assist the Canadian softwood lumber sector ,” News Release, http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/en/cs/ comm/news/2002/021008b_back.shtml
    HRDC (July 25, 2002) “Policy Paper (Draft) – Increased Referrals to Training,” - unpublished
    HRDC (Feb. 3, 2003) “Policy Paper (Final) – Incr eased Referrals to Training,” - unpublished
    HRDC (April 23, 2003) “Work Sharing While Learning Policy,”– unpublished.


10/19/2013 – 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. Medical facility in Missoula eliminating positions through cuts, furloughs, AP via TheRepublic.com
    MISSOULA, Montana — Community Medical Center in Missoula is eliminating the equivalent of about 60 full-time positions through a combination of furloughs and 20 job cuts.
    Hospital CEO Steve Carlson tells the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/19T9rVk ) in a story on Saturday that a decreased demand for acute care services has forced the reduction at the facility that employees more than 1,020 full- and part-time workers.
    "I think naturally some people are disappointed, and I understand that," Carlson said. "We take no satisfaction in having to adjust work hours for people I'm sure are feeling the economic pinch."
    Managers have been taking a one-day furlough each pay period the last two months as the center attempts to attain about $3 million in savings.
    [More time trims, less job cuts.]
    Carlson said the ratio of nurses to patients will remain within accepted national standards. Nurses are about a third of the hospital staff.
    Carlson said the reductions are needed because fewer patients are being admitted for at least 24 hours for acute care. That's also been happening at other hospitals.
    "Yes, there is a trend nationwide for hospitals to see fewer acute care stays," said Bob Olsen, vice president of the Montana Hospital Association.
    He said advances in surgical techniques have led to less invasive procedures and shorter hospital stays, as well as a decrease in readmission rates. Some other reasons for less demand for acute care services include increased vaccination rates for common acute illnesses, and people deciding against non-essential procedures because of larger co-pays under insurance plans.
    Still, he noted that some hospitals are seeing an increase in acute care stays. Reasons for that include population growth and cuts in services at smaller hospitals, pushing patients to larger centers. Olson said some areas, such as Kalispell and Bozeman, are seeing about the same number of patients.
    John Bartos, CEO at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, said that hospital has not seen a decline in admission rates and has no plans to lay off workers.
    "Today we do not have any plans for that to occur," he said. "But what the future brings and what will be happening in D.C. as they address the deficit and address payment to hospitals, that's unknown."
    Olson said a 2 percent cut to Medicare reimbursements due to sequestration as well as the decision by Montana lawmakers not to expand Medicaid has put a strain on hospitals.

  2. RIA Employees furloughed during shutdown get back pay, by Christine Souders csouders@cbs4qc.com, cbs4qc.com
    ROCK ISLAND, Illin., USA - Federal workers who were furloughed during the 16 day government shutdown will start seeing the pay they missed, a sigh of relief for thousands of Rock Island Arsenal employees.
    [Furloughs, not firings.]
    The announcement was made Thursday, but Arsenal workers will still have to wait nearly two weeks to get those back wages.
    "Our [sic] we going to get paid? Are we not going to get paid? Are we donating our time?" said Gloria Cypret who was a furloughed program analyst at the Rock Island Arsenal.
    Cypret said in the 30 years she's worked on the island, she's never been more nervous about getting paid then she was during the shutdown.
    "It was a stressful time."
    On Thursday, her paycheck, along with the other thousands working without the promise of pay in these past couple of weeks, was short by up to five days of compensation, a financial hardship for many who have bills to pay.
    "I was one of the fortunate ones. I had my savings to fall back on, so we got through it," Cypret said.
    But now employees know the money is coming.
    "We are busily, amending time and attendance reports, so that it will appear as though we all worked regular hours during that period of time," said Renee Michl, the Human Resources Director for Garrison on the Arsenal.
    We're told things should get back to normal.
    "It is as though the furlough impacts have basically been reversed, so the difficult part is that it happened, the good part is it's going to be as though it never happened."
    Arsenal workers should see the back pay reflected in their paychecks at the end of October.
    Gloria Cypret said for now this takes some of the worries away, but is taking it with a grain of salt because the government is only funded through January 15th.
    The measure ending the shutdown also lets federal workers get a 1% raise in January.
    Although, officials at the Rock Island Arsenal said they have not been notified yet about the raise, it would be the first pay increase since salaries were frozen in 2010.
    The legislation keeps on track a plan for raises that President Barack Obama laid out earlier this year.


10/18/2013 – 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. Texas dealership steers clear of long workweeks, by Joseph Lichterman, Automotive News via autonews.com
    FORT WORTH, Tex., USA - Upon retiring from the Army after tours in Iraq and Germany, Greg Milner was looking for a job that would allow him to spend more time with his family.
    And he found one at Park Place Lexus Grapevine in suburban Fort Worth, Texas, where he started as a salesman in 2007.
    Park Place Grapevine is closed on Sundays, and all 199 staff members get a second day off each week, even if they're scheduled to work on Saturday. The dealership also schedules employees to work no more than eight-hour days.
    "Where I came from," says Milner, "it was a little tough at times to have free time to spend with the family. But here, not only have you come to expect it, but you can count on it."
    The commitment to a regular work schedule extends to employees who work on commission. Management also is committed not to pressure salespeople to work extra hours unless they want to.
    "We're not one of those dealerships who is going to say, 'Hey, it's the last week of the month, don't take your day off,'" says Park Place Lexus Grapevine General Manager Gary Venner.
    "It's just not even talked about -- working your day off," Venner added. "They're welcome to, but it's actually encouraged to take it off. They need to go home and be with their family and recharge. If they can't get it done in five days, then six probably isn't going to get it done either."
    That attitude certainly is not the industry norm, as shown by the latest NADA Workforce Study. Among dealerships that participated in the study, conducted by NADA University for the National Automobile Dealers Association, sales consultants are scheduled to work an average of 46 hours a week. One third of the dealerships surveyed require 50 hours or more each week, and 60 percent of the dealerships surveyed require sales consultants to work four weekends per month.
    Though Milner, who is now a Lexus technology specialist, appreciates the time with family members, he jokes that maybe they aren't as pleased that he's around more.
    "My son just joined the Army so maybe I was spending a little too much time with him," he says.
    There are instances when employees are needed for extra shifts. But when that happens, the dealership lets the employees and team leaders figure out the best way to arrange the additional shifts, says Scott Dearing, the master lead technician. The store pays them for the extra time they work.
    "They've allowed us to figure it out on our own," Dearing says. "We know we need to get from point A to point B."
    Dearing says younger technicians tend to volunteer to work on Saturdays or take extra shifts, thereby getting the extra pay, adding that "the group leaders know who those guys are, and we'll ask those guys to come in."
    Saturday is the dealership's busiest day of the week, and all employees working that day get a free lunch.
    The dealership, which sold or leased 2,279 new vehicles in 2012, also recognizes team members of the month and has an annual award banquet with music, food and games.
    Each department picks 11 winners. Each winner gets a personalized prize valued near $1,000. The dealership keeps a file on what each employee would want to receive, so it's able to pick a prize that best suits the employee.
    Park Place Lexus Grapevine also participates in Lexus' Master Lease Program, which gives qualified dealership employees $200 per month toward the lease of a Lexus vehicle. The dealership doubles the factory contribution, so any employee who has been with the dealership for longer than three years and meets Lexus' requirement can get at least $400 off their lease.
    You can reach Joseph Lichterman at jlichterman@crain.com

  2. Labour Ministry to support graduates' employment, (10/17 late pickup) Czech News Agency (CTK) via Prague Daily Monitor via praguemonitor.com
    PRAGUE, Czech Republic - The Czech Labour and Social Affairs Ministry plans to use most finances originally earmarked for "Kurzarbeit" to help firms in trouble in support of fresh graduates' employment, outgoing Labour Minister Frantisek Konicek told reporters after a tripartite meeting Thursday.
    The tripartite or the Council of Social Agreement comprises representatives of the government, trade unions and employers.
    The Labour Ministry originally offered 400 million crowns to firms for "Kurzarbeit" (contracts for part-time jobs and reduced working hours), which could be drawn by August 2015, to prevent them from sacking their employees.
    However, the firms did not use this offer very much.
    According to the ministry's data, only 29 firms have drawn support (ten million in total) to "Kurzarbeit" since September 2012.
    This is why the ministry has decided to transfer 250 million crowns from the programme to contribution to young graduates' salaries.
    The remaining 140 million crowns will be preserved for support to "Kurzarbeit."
    Employers have agreed with this measure.
    Under the ministry's new programme, a firm can draw up to 24,000 crowns a month for wages and health and social insurance payments of a new employee under 30 years. This subsidy can be drawn for up to one year.
    "It is a good chance for a young graduate who has not found any job within four months since the graduation," Konicek said.
    He added that he believed the employers would use the state contribution and that fresh graduates, too, would be interested in the offer.
    The labour offices registered 168,300 unemployed under 30 years as of the end of September, which is 30 percent of all jobless, according to the documents submitted to the tripartite meeting.
    The contribution for wages was provided for 8953 young employees.
    Confederation of Industry President Jaroslav Hanak said as much money as possible should be transferred in support of graduates' employment.
    Czech firms have not joined the "Kurzarbeit" project as many of them do not want to admit that they face troubles, Hanak said.
    [This is like being alone in your apartment, falling and not being able to get up, and not pushing your MedicAlert button because "you don't want to bother anybody."]
    The EU funding has failed, too, in this respect, he added.


10/17/2013 – 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. DBS Law cuts staff working hours following record turnover, TheLawyer.com
    BIRMINGHAM, U.K. - West Midlands firm DBS Law is to cut staff hours after posting record growth over the last year.
    The Birmingham-headquartered firm said staff would benefit from a two and half hour cut to the working week.
    Turnover for 2012/13 stood at £5.4m, an increase by a quarter of a million from the previous year.
    The firm has been growing each year as part of a growth strategy implemented in 2008 to hit the £30m mark by July 2016, that represents growth of 455 per cent.
    DBS CEO Rob Brohl said most of this income will be generated by acquisitive growth: “We’re looking at six potential acquisitions at the moment including having an operation in London. London is an interesting market with lots of niche and boutique firms doing well.”
    The firm acquired two firms this year with Birmingham firm Hearne & Co in July 2013 and Nottingham firm Andersons in October 2013.

  2. Fines of €650k for hospitals in breach of doctors' working hours - Managers will also face sanctions if they do not comply with the new rules, TheJournal.ie
    DUBLIN, Ireland - The Irish Medical Organization recommended yesterday that junior doctors say ‘yes’ to the Labour Relations Court proposals that will bring an end to junior doctors working shifts more than 24 hours and will establish financial sanctions to hospitals that are in breach of the European Directive on working hours.
    The HSE have agreed that by 14 January, no doctor will work more than a 24 hour shift and that all hospitals will be compliant with working time directives by the end of 2014.
    Breaching agreements
    Under the agreement with the IMO, any hospital found to be in breach will be sanctioned. Hospital managers will also face sanctions if their hospital breaks the rules.
    No additional payment will be made to doctors under the new agreement.
    Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Barry O’Brien, National HR Director for the HSE said he didn’t think the word “sanction” was an appropriate word to use, but said under the agreement there is a method in place to “incentivise compliance”.
    He said the IMO and the HSE had agreed to work collectively to maximise compliance by the end of 2014.
    Financial hit
    Hospitals that are found to break the rules in relation to working hours will be hit financially.
    O’Brien said that the amount of money is dependent on the grade of hospital, stating that there are three bands of hospitals.
    The bigger hospitals will be hit with a yearly sanction of €650,000, band two hospitals will be hit by €350,000 and band three by €225,000.
    He said the hospitals would be penalised pro rata on a monthly basis if they haven’t complied.
    When asked what punishments hospital managers will face, he said that they will be subject to “HR procedures and policies,” which he clarified could be the reassigning of the responsibility of implementation to another manager or another manager could be reassigned their job.
    Patients
    He said that the HSE were working to reschedule patients that had their appointments and operations cancelled last week during the strike.
    O’Brien said they were taking it in good faith that an agreement had been made with the IMO and said they would not be waiting for the outcome of the ballot on November 14 to reschedule patient appointments.
    “We are taking it in good faith the agreement made and we are taking action, today, to reschedule those people who were discommoded last week,” he said.


10/16/2013 – 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. Fresh proposals on doctors' working hours expected, RTE.ie
    DUBLIN, Ireland - The Irish Medical Organisation's Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor committee has decided to put the latest Labour Relations Commission proposals to a ballot of members with a recommendation for acceptance.
    Hospitals could face significant financial sanctions if they breach rules limiting working hours for non-consultant hospital doctors under proposals aimed at resolving the row between the Health Service Executive and the Irish Medical Organisation.
    The HSE has already undertaken that by 14 January, no doctor will work a single shift longer than 24 hours, and that all hospitals will be fully compliant with European Working Time restrictions by the end of 2014.
    The LRC document includes measures to ensure that hospitals are fully compliant with working time legislation by the end of next year.
    The IMO had sought financial sanctions to ensure compliance by hospitals, but the HSE had ruled out any additional payment to individual doctors.
    It is understood that today's document provides that if a hospital breaches the rules, and a doctor is obliged to work excessive hours, a financial sanction will be imposed on the hospital but in a way that does not impact on patient care.
    In addition, sanctions may be imposed on managers responsible for the breach.
    However, no additional payment will be made to individual doctors.
    Payment to a training fund for doctors has also been ruled out.
    The sanctions would only apply where the working time legislation was breached, or where hospitals fail to implement measures required to secure compliance by December 2014.
    The financial sanctions would be deducted on a monthly basis until the hospital reaches compliance.
    The doctors have already staged a one-day strike that disrupted procedures and outpatient appointments for 7,400 patients - but suspended further industrial action to allow negotiations to take place.
    [Another take -]
    LRC To Present Doctors Working Hours Proposals, Build.ie
    DUBLIN, Ireland - New proposals over the working hours of non-consultant hospital doctors are expected to be presented to the Health Service Executive and Irish Medical Organisation today.
    Talks between the the HSE and IMO have so far failed to reach an agreement on all issues but the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) is now expected to present their proposals in an effort to end the dispute.
    The HSE maintain that, from January, no doctor will work a shift longer than 24 hours with all hospitals being compliant with European Working Time limits of a 48-hour working week by the end of 2014.
    The IMO has also called for financial sanctions to be imposed when doctors are forced to work excessive hours, a move that the HSE has said should be unnecessary.
    (MH/JP)

  2. In support of NCHDs' strike over long working hours, letter to editor by Emily O’Conor, Irish Medical Times via imt.ie
    DUBLIN, Ireland - I am writing in support the NCHD campaign for safer working hours. The long shifts, stretching to three or four days, endured by my generation of doctors should not be revisited on younger colleagues.
    The rosters for NCHDs in Emergency Medicine (EM) have long been compliant with the European Working Time Directive. The challenge lies in making non-EM specialties compliant.
    A proportion of patients who attend at emergency departments (EDs) require review by another specialty. I am concerned that the response of those tasked with making specialty rosters compliant, is simply to strip service to patients in the ED, especially at night-times and weekends. Patients waiting in overcrowded EDs truly do not deserve this additional blow.
    Can I ask that the Labour Relations Commission include in their decision, an instruction, that all proposed roster changes are interrogated to ensure that the care of patients waiting in EDs is not further delayed.
    Emily O’Conor,
    MRCPI, FCEM, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Connolly Hospital, Dublin


10/13-14-15/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Time for a change - On the three-day Columbus Day weekend, a pitch for a compressed workweek, by Jim Braude, 10/13 BostonGlobe.com
    BOSTON, Mass., USA - There are two kinds of people you’ll come upon tomorrow: happy ones and those stuck working Columbus Day. But the delight enjoyed by the former shouldn’t be limited to the half dozen or so weeks of the year with a Monday federal holiday. In a time when the value of paychecks is shrinking, the workweek should be shrinking, too. I don’t mean less work or pay, just four days of 10 hours each — a so-called 4/10 schedule — and a fifth of no hours. Time for undone errands, doctor’s appointments you otherwise couldn’t schedule, sleep — and, finally, those oboe lessons!
    [But four 8-hour days is even better cuz it frees up some hours to absorb the floods of mutually underbidding jobseekers.]
    Academics and HR types call this a compressed week. People like Kevin Hutchings, who’s worked 19 years at Double E Co. in West Bridgewater, call it “like having a vacation every week.” He and his 30-plus manufacturing co-workers are off Fridays.
    Americans once labored six days out of seven, then unions demanded a five-day week. When the feds mandated a 40-hour week for everyone in 1940, the two-day weekend was born. It’s time to give birth to the three-day version.
    Riva Poor made just that point four decades ago in her book 4 days, 40 hours: Reporting a Revolution in Work and Leisure. In September, she told me the revolution has succeeded. She’s right if you consider all kinds of work flexibility — job sharing, flextime, telecommuting (I tried that, but my chair spent more time in front of my refrigerator than my desk). But the four-day solution has a ways to go.
    New York’s Families and Work Institute reported in 2012 that 36 percent of workplaces offer a compressed week at least part of the year. It’s big in the airline industry, food service, and law enforcement. By some estimates, about half of registered nurses can work a compressed week. Then there’s Utah.
    36 %: Portion of US workplaces that offer a compressed week, accor[d]ing to a 2012 Families and Work Institute survey (blowout quote)
    In early 2012, I introduced myself to that state’s former governor and then presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. I joked that I was thinking of moving to New Hampshire so I could vote for the man who, in 2008, implemented a 4/10 workweek for more than 70 percent of Utah’s state employees, about 17,000 people. He thanked me but said that I was a little late — the Utah Legislature had repealed his measure a few months before we spoke. Ended it despite wide employee and taxpayer satisfaction and a greater ability to compete in recruiting with flexibility-friendly Google and Microsoft.
    In Massachusetts, compressed options have crept into large workplaces like Raytheon, Blue Cross, and State Street Corp. and smaller ones like that manufacturing firm in West Bridgewater and the town of Reading, where the Town Hall is open earlier Monday through Thursday and later on Tuesdays. Town Manager Bob LeLacheur says he was inspired by Utah’s experiment and that the majority of residents love it. Now, 9-to-5 commuters can get service that used to be available only when they were not. His workers seem to be happy, too. Jessie Wilson, a staff planner, sums up the schedule in one word: “awesome.”
    Wilson is not alone. Jaime Caruso has been at State Street for 15 years. She works nine longer days and has every second Friday off. Of her 7,500 Massachusetts co-workers with some sort of flexible arrangement, 600 have a compressed week. Asked if she were offered the same job elsewhere with a 10 percent raise but a traditional workweek, Caruso says she wouldn’t move. “I value the flexibility more than the money.”
    All four-dayers tell me much the same thing: They spend less time and money commuting, they can run errands when stores aren’t packed, and they have more time to take kids or parents to doctor’s appointments. They volunteer, pursue hobbies, or just recharge. Employers talk of energy savings, improved morale, and better recruitment and retention. Plus, research suggests that less is more, that a compressed worker is a more productive worker.
    It’s not for everyone, though. Longer days can be stressful, tiring. Extended child care may be harder to find and more expensive. And some unconvinced employers say that even rotating the days off won’t allow enough coverage for eager customers.
    But if the critics are the outliers, why aren’t more workplaces 4/10? Huntsman, who now cochairs No Labels, with the oxymoronic goal of bipartisan problem-solving, tells me that if he were still governor, “there would be a four-day workweek.” He blames risk-aversion for the fact there isn’t.
    Reading’s LeLacheur is more blunt: “It’s a lack of political courage!” And organized labor, whose bumper stickers remind us it “brought you the weekend,” has other priorities and appears less enamored of the three-day variety than it was of the two.
    But Brad Harrington, executive director of Boston College’s Center for Work & Family, is optimistic: “The more we move to a results-based culture, the less it will matter where, when, and how we work — as long as the job gets done.”
    So if you’re off tomorrow, enjoy the three-day weekend. And here’s hoping that some year soon there will be 51 more just like it.
    Jim Braude is host of Broadside: The News With Jim Braude on NECN and co-host of WGBH’s Boston Public Radio on 89.7 FM. You can follow him on Twitter @jimbraude. Send comments to magazine@globe.com

  2. Furlough the Park Rangers, by Holly Robichaud hollyrobichaud@msn.com, 10/14 BostonHerald.com (blog)
    [They already have - that's why the national parks are closed in states that haven't stepped up to pay to reopen them, as Arizona has with the Grand Canyon.]
    BOSTON, Mass., USA - If the federal government is shut down, why are the Park Rangers still working? [- many of them aren't.] They need to be furloughed. [Many of them are.]
    [That's why the national parks are short-handed and shut.]
    Since the start of the government shut down, the Dept. of the Interior and their Park Rangers have gone out of their way to cause problems [or was it avoiding problems, like liability problems?]. They shut down the Grand Canyon
    ...
    [The Grand Canyon has been reopened thanks to the government (oh nooo!) of the State of Arizona. Make up your mind - you wanna shutdown our national government or don't you? Our national "government" includes our national parks and memorials. Make up your mind. And meanwhile, congratulations - you're carrying out a more damaging attack on your nation than 9-11 cuz you can believe and rant but not compromise or negotiate.]
    They blocked people from being able to stop to look at the Mt. Rushmore. And then there is the World War II Memorial.
    It is an open air memorial, but yet the Park Rangers keep putting up barriers to stop people from visiting the site. Yesterday, veterans protested and took down the blockades. Still not getting the hint, park rangers put them up again this morning. It is time to furlough these political pawn park rangers.
    Comments
    tpartynitwit - The vast majority of Park Rangers have been furloughed, and those that remain are protecting the monuments and grounds from being overrun by Bible chewing Teatard mo rons like those who participated in yesterday's Several Veteran's and a Lot of Cameramen March. Why don't you go clip some grass and empty trash barrels yourself, Holly, if putting people out of work is so important to you? Did you miss the memo? Shut down the government, you don't get stuff the government normally takes care of, like access to shutdown monuments...
    [It is interesting how many teapartiers want to "starve the beast" and destroy the US Government and still get all its services and subsidies.]

  3. HSE And IMO Resume Working Hours Talks, 10/15 Build.ie
    DUBLIN, Ireland - Talks have resumed this morning between the Health Service Executive and the Irish Medical Organisation over the working hours of non-consultant hospital doctors.
    The organisations are meeting at the Labour Relations Commission in an attempt to resolve the ongoing dispute over working hours.
    Some 3,000 junior doctors took to the picket lines last week in a one-day protest over long working hours, which the IMO says exceed European Working Time limits.


10/12/2013 – 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. Hospital: Hours cut, jobs unfilled due to less business, by Joshua Sterling jsterling@titusvilleherald.com, TitusvilleHerald.com
    TITUSVILLE, Pa., USA - A drop in hospital demand has caused Titusville Area Hospital to cut some hours, and leave some vacant positions unfilled.
    Tony Nasralla, TAH president and CEO, said that hospitals across the state are seeing a reduction in demand.
    "Hospital business across Pennsylvania is down 5 percent, overall," he said.
    [Shouldn't that be good news cuz people are healthier, or is it bad news cuz people still have no health insurance?]
    The decline in hours is also determined on seasonal and even daily fluctuations, hospital officials said.
    "The hospital adjusts staffing regularly at the department level, based upon fluctuations in service volume and service demand," Nasralla explained. "While there have not been layoffs, per se, staff hours have been adjusted, and vacant positions have been left unfilled, in response to lower patient volumes and decreasing reimbursements.
    [Timesizing, not downsizing!]
    "The impact, thus far, in fiscal year 2014 versus fiscal year 2013, is a reduction in excess of 10 full-time equivalent positions."
    Linda Harris, vice president of patient services, said that "staffing is actually adjusted on a shift-by-shift basis, depending upon patient census and level of service required. This is primarily accomplished through the scheduling of part-time staff members."
    Harris said that, in the event of a catastrophe, such as a large incident at an industrial plant or major vehicle accident, hospital staff numbers can be quickly increased to suit the need.
    "If the hospital's disaster plan is activated, each department has a roster of available staff to call upon," she explained. "Our employees have always been quick to respond when called, in the event of a disaster or rapid influx of patients."

  2. The 35-hour week is the problem at the heart of any change, HeraldScotland.com
    EDINBURGH, Scotland - There is so much we expect and take for granted in the UK, finding nothing strange about our demands.
    We want what we want when we want it, and can become quite petulant when our needs are not met.
    Our main demand is instant gratification (and I'm saying "our" because to say "your" still seems odd despite being on the other side of the Channel).
    We become peevish and irritated if a machine goes wrong and isn't fixed within 24 hours; angry if the garage has not returned our car on the day stated; irrational if business and financial transactions can't be accomplished by a click on the computer.
    Should we wish to eat a full meal at 4pm or 4am, we can. Should we want to buy groceries at midnight, we have several choices. Even on Christmas Day there is always somewhere, someone, open for business. And why not, we say huffily, if a need of ours has to be met, however inconvenient. Don't people want the work? The money?
    It doesn't take long living in France, particularly in the countryside, to realise none of the above applies. There is no "right" to anything. Nothing, nothing is that pressing or important.
    And after a while you simply develop your own Gallic shrug and accept: there is no concept of customer service; tradesmen can take up to a year to fulfil a renovation contract; you will eat out only between noon and 2pm or 7pm and 9pm; and you will be turned away if arriving 10 minutes before closing. Shops are not there for your convenience, public authorities have no desire to help you, and you will be paying twice as much as in the UK for most major items because of the bar on competition.
    Many expats waste hours of their lives fulminating against the above. They become furious and rent their garments at being unable to buy a nail at lunchtime.
    They annoy the hell out of minor functionaries by shouting louder and earning themselves three more visits and a mound of paperwork.
    Me? Being indolent, I just go with the flow most times, but then I've never needed a nail at lunchtime.
    Having once been the consumer's consumer I actually rather enjoy this aspect of France, but again I've known what it is to have, and appreciate, the other.
    So it was with some surprise, indeed shock, that I watched French TV news the other night and saw the reactions to what is becoming a most vociferous debate over Sunday and late-night opening.
    The unions are against it; some retailers, especially in Paris, are in favour of it. As usual there have been demonstrations in the streets, on both sides, to the extent that the Government has been forced into a review of the strict trading laws.
    The reporter did vox pops, stopping people in the street for their views. He used the UK as an example and said: "Did you know …"
    Their faces told all. They didn't. You could see, flitting across those faces, the realisation that somehow they'd been forbidden access to what many of us take for granted.
    And most of them wanted it. Now.
    Any opposition [to what?] is seen as reinforcing France's 35-hour week, which is essentially the problem at the heart of any change [meaning??], particularly under a socialist government.
    In fact, despite the rest of the world viewing the French as lazy, most work far longer hours and are more productive within those hours, as independent research has shown.

    Enshrined in law, however, since 1906 has been the guarantee for workers of a day of rest - Sunday.
    But nothing is that simple in the "Kafkaesque millefeuille" of rules that apply in France, as Les Echos, the business daily, put it so perfectly recently.
    Garden centres and furniture stores are allowed to open all day on Sunday, while food stores can open for half the day. DIY and other retailers must stay shut.
    Once again it reminds me of the Scotland I arrived in, in my early twenties. A Scotland where ferries couldn't run and swings in playgrounds were padlocked on a Sunday, a Scotland where to get a drink on the Sabbath one had to be a bona-fide traveller.
    It seemed a strange, alien place to me, coming from an England that was then pulling apart all boundaries in the rush towards personal freedom.
    Those Scottish punitive restrictions came from a harsh, dour and dark history, and needed to be overturned.
    France has an equally dark history but it has always married it with a corresponding love of life, a bubbling over of joie de vivre, no matter how black all around becomes.
    And, cliche though it is, France marries it with a belief in the work-life balance.
    Paris, like all world cities, is the exception. There, instant gratification is paramount.
    But still, in the outer-land beyond, there is resistance to change.
    It will, of course, come here too. And frankly, who am I to say it shouldn't?
    Been there. Done that. Loved it. It's time for the French to have the same choices. About time in many ways, but sad in its own way too.


10/11/2013 – 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. 35-Hour work week, Eye On The Nation via eyeonthenation.wordpress.com
    [You leftwingers think you have a monopoly on shorter hours? Dream on! This rightwinger's endorsement demoes the solid 3rd-way centrality of this high-strategy-but-totally-below-the-radar approach.]
    OCOEE, Fla., USA - The quality of life of those in the U.S. is most likely lower than some other countries due to the amount of time we spend working. According to a study done by ABC News, the average worker in the United States works more than 40 hours on average. Those receiving a salary or in management positions often work even longer due to meetings and other business related commitments. They are oftentimes uncompensated for this overtime. Money seems to be everything these days, and people will push their limit just to achieve a monetary goal. This leads to more stress and less free time to do activities they enjoy. People get so caught up in their work that they have little time to enjoy themselves. Other European countries work far less for this very reason. They often work shorter days and have extended vacations. Studies have shown this leads to even more productivity.
    A 35-Hour Work Week
    Eliminating the 35-hour work week was probably a bad idea. It seemed like a successful law in the past. Fewer work hours leads to happier lives and increased productivity in the long run. Some people may be happy with the decision, however. They enjoy the opportunity to make more money. The majority do not want to work longer each day, and this will probably lead to increased stress among the workers. The overall quality of life may deteriorate.
    Quality of Life
    Employers should most definitely consider the quality of life of their employees and worry about their well-being. Overworking your employees only causes more problems. Stress and fatigue can lead to a variety of health problems as well. Workers are more likely to be angry with customers, and overall job satisfaction may decrease. The employer must find the sweet spot when it comes to the number of hours an employee must work. I think France had it right with the 35-hour work week. While recent data suggest the 35-hour work week is a thing of the past, even in France, the work environment in Europe is much more laid back.
    Factors of Unemployment
    There are many factors that determine unemployment rate and GDP. The world economy can vary largely from country to country. Politics also plays a large role in the economy/unemployment. Europeans also tend to have more benefits and a larger amount of vacation days. When the economy is struggling, it is tough to keep such a system running. You can’t really play the numbers on the amount of hours they work compared to ours.
    At the end of the day, Americans love to follow tradition. When it comes to working, we haven’t adapted like many European countries. I think it’s time for a change. Who’s with me?
    ?’s, comments or concerns email me [Mike Kara?] at: eyeonthenation@gmail.com

  2. Industrial Unrest Brews At Sheraton, by Neil Hartnell nhartnell@tribunemedia.net, Bahamas Tribune via Tribune242.com
    NASSAU, Bahamas - Industrial unrest appeared to be brewing at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort last night, a trade union warning the resort to “avoid unintended consequences” over moves to reduce work hours for middle management staff.
    [In highly seasonal situations, reducing work hours in off season can leave employers with no employees for on seasons. But that's why France (and others) invented "annualisation."]
    Documents seen by Tribune Business show that the resort, which is owned by Baha Mar, has moved to cut costs and better align the working hours for Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association (BHMA) employees with occupancies/demand.
    Such action is normal throughout the Bahamian resort industry during the traditional ‘slow period’ of August-October, and “reduced schedules” for BHMA members have taken effect this week.
    However, this has not gone down well with the Association, which is alleging that the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort’s “unilateral” move to alter its members’ working hours without consulting it is a breach of their industrial agreement.
    Labour attorney Obie Ferguson, who is also the Association’s president, wrote in an October 7, 2013, letter that the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort had failed to account for sections 50-52 in their industrial agreement.
    Addressing Sharon Sands, the Sheraton’s director of human resources, Mr Ferguson said: “The effect of your letter....., where you asserted your intent to unilaterally vary the industrial agreement by reducing the work week beginning October 7, 2013, without the union’s agreement, if carried out would be a fundamental breach of the industrial agreement.
    “It is our hope that the Sheraton Cable Beach Resort will begin negotiations with the Association immediately so as to avoid unintended consequences.
    Mr Ferguson did not respond to Tribune Business messages left at his office or on his cell phone yesterday, seeking comment.
    A voice mail message left for the Sheraton’s general manager, Edward Baten, was not returned either. Robert Sands, Baha Mar’s senior vice-president of government and external affairs, told this newspaper he was in the middle of giving “presentations” in New York yesterday, and did not return this newspaper’s call prior to press time.
    In her original letter to Mr Ferguson on October 1, the Sheraton’s Ms Sands said the reduced work hours and schedules were designed “to deal with the low occupancy levels” it was currently experiencing.
    “We have already begun the slowest months of our tourism season, and as is the norm, business demands are dictating operational needs,” Ms Sands wrote.
    “Beginning August 19, 2013, the schedules for most of our line associates were adjusted to reflect the occupancy levels.”
    And she added: “With effect from October 1, 2013, we have consolidated a number of our restaurants and modified their menu options....
    “Inevitably, the reduction in labour demand also affects associates covered by our agreement with BHMA, and therefore we must now take steps to also reduce their schedules. The reduced schedules will go into effect for the week beginning October 7, 2013.”
    Bahamian resorts typically reduce staff levels, and hours worked, during the August-October period in an effort to match reduced tourist demand and reduce losses that can run into the millions.
    The Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort is thus doing nothing out of the ordinary, and is encouraging staff with vacation owing to take it during this time.
    “Until occupancy levels return to normal and/or our business level demands an increase in labour, every effort will be made to rotate the available weeks between those that are not on an approved leave of absence,” Ms Sands wrote.
    “We are looking forward to the day when we are not so affected by seasonality. However, until then we must respond accordingly."


10/10/2013 – 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. DOL expands program to avoid layoffs, by Jennifer Bissell, WestfairOnline.com
    HARTFORD, Conn., USA - To comply with recent federal law, the state’s Department of Labor is expanding a program that helps employers avoid layoffs during tough economic times.
    In addition to private employers with more than four employees, nonprofits and government agencies will now be able to enroll in the state’s Shared Work Program, as of Oct. 1.
    Enacted in 1990s, the Shared Work program gives employers the chance to reduce the work schedule of full-time employees during what the employer believes will be a temporary hardship. In turn, the company’s employees will receive partial unemployment benefits to supplement lost wages.
    “Among the general business community it has been a very well-received program,” said Mark Soycher, human resource counsel at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA). “To the extent that they can use it as an alternative to getting rid of people, it’s a great opportunity to manage the ups and downs of the economy. It’s really permitted companies to have their workers access unemployment benefits more readily.”
    Reflecting the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, the program’s expansion will help the state conform with the national shared work program. It stands to receive a $1.3 million grant to help develop, upgrade and promote the program, as well. If it hadn’t expanded, it would have likely lost federal unemployment insurance money, which funds about half of the labor department’s operations.
    Previously the Labor Department’s law excluded nonprofits and government agencies that don’t pay taxes into the Unemployment Trust Fund. But under the new national standard, those that pay dollar-for-dollar for unemployment benefits, like nonprofits, will also be able to participate, though, the program isn’t as financially attractive as it is for private employers.
    Historically, use of the program was relatively low in the 17 states that had it until the recession hit, said George Wentworth, a senior staff attorney with the National Employment Law Project. Then, tens of thousands of employers were suddenly enrolled, spurring Congress to encourage more states to create programs, Wentworth said.
    “There was an explosion of interest as employers were looking to keep employees on the payroll,” he said. National use increased 10-fold between 2007 and 2009. The program is estimated to have saved 450,000 jobs during the recession and into 2012.
    Today, about 275 companies are enrolled in the program in Connecticut, according to the Labor Department. However, officials are unsure how many more companies might enroll once the department follows through with promotional plans.
    As nonprofits and government agencies experience the same impacts of a rough economy, CBIA’s Soycher said he believed the expansion would be a good thing for the business community.
    Studies have shown similar programs in countries like Germany, where there is a high usage of shared work programs, have helped keep unemployment rates low during recessionary periods.
    “There’s no reason why nonprofits shouldn’t be able to take advantage of the flexibility this provides in managing their workforce,” Soycher said. “That is a good thing.”

  2. Workers say Warren steelmaker will cut hours, wages, Youngstown Vindicator
    WARREN, Ohio, USA — More than 100 workers at Warren Steel Holdings were told during a special meeting today that both their wages and hours will be cut, according to those in attendance.
    Employees at the Warren-based steelmaker were told orders had steadily fallen and it was time to focus on the future. Workers who shared information with The Vindicator asked to remain anonymous fearing disciplinary action from the company.
    No layoffs were imminent, but workers said they feared the worse if orders continue to fall.
    Thursday's announcement comes after a round of layoffs at the company in recent months, workers said.


10/09/2013 – 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. Update memo re: Delaware County finances, by Larry Riley, Muncie Star Press via thestarpress.com
    MUNCIE, Ind., USA - The Delaware County fiscal condition never comes as only good news: bad news, of course, always accompanies.
    The good? The latest projection based on actual September revenues and outlays are slightly better — make that punily better, if I may make an adverb out of puny — than 30 days earlier: the general fund year-end balance is now estimated to be $4.1 million, up $78,000 from last month’s projection.
    Unfortunately, all of this is because the Delaware County Council in September raided the EMS Capital Improvement Fund yet again, taking $109,000 to pay operating expenses and lowering the capital fund balance to less than $50,000.
    The general fund projected balance does not include repayment of $1.4 million from this balance back into the county’s rainy day fund, a cash cache that council members just about emptied out earlier this year, “borrowing” $3.5 million — the whole fund save $50,000 — to make ends meet.
    (The $50,000 left in RDF was for attorney fees in council’s battle with the county’s judges, begun last year: hold that $50K thought for a moment.)
    Since council did opt to pay back some of the “loan” — which they’ll be needing quickly after the start of next year — the actual projection for the year-end balance would be $2.7 million.
    Recall we started this year with $3.9 million and began borrowing from the rainy day fund, as well as raiding other funds, by February, so desperate for cash was the county.
    Better, more, ahem, healthy news? Health care projections for when the county hits red ink have been pushed back a month. County auditor office officials at the end of August predicted going into the hole before the end of October.
    Now the estimate for that is the end of November, and perhaps the county is better off than that.
    April’s outlay for health care was $1.5 million over projected payments, but for each month since then through August, the actual expenses ran $100,000 under estimates.
    That held true again for September, though for a lesser amount if you count $46,000 in bills held over until this month (for billing issues, not lack of money, thankfully).
    If this trend continues, health care money might end the year not in the red, but with a modest balance, perhaps $100,000. That will be only half of what the county’s health funds began this year with, so a hedge against celebrating too much good news.
    Finally, the Delaware County Council last week ended a yearlong battle with judges of the county’s circuit courts. In 2011, to combat financial shortfalls, the council eliminated some positions, cut the wages and workweek of most employees paid out of the general fund, and closed the Delaware County Building on Fridays.
    Public safety employees (e.g., sheriff deputies, EMS providers) were exempted, and the workweek of court employees was not reduced, but court employee pay was.
    Eight months later, with no change in fiscal status but with elections coming up, county officials reinstated everyone’s pay, returned everyone to their normal 35-hour workweek, and reopened the government building on Fridays.
    The judges’ response was to mandate back pay for court employees and they wanted riding bailiffs, who had been eliminated (the sheriff’s office picked up their duties of serving court papers), returned to the workforce.
    Council refused and, per law, the Indiana Supreme Court appointed a hearing officer to act as judge and try the issue. Negotiations went back and forth.
    The bottom line focused financially, in the end, on only $22,000 but focused politically on egos, shows of strength, and the uncomfortable fact that the four judges issuing the order were two Republicans and two dissident Democrats who defeated party leader favorites to win their benches. County Council’s majority are four Headquarters Democrats.
    After protracted talks and even mediation, an agreement was reached (and, I understand, un-reached, re-written several times, and re-reached), signed Friday. Both sides wanted to assure the other side wouldn’t repeat their moves under a subsequent budget.
    The agreement simply calls for the court system to transfer $96,000 within its budget, and county council appropriated $22,000, to come up with back pay for employees.
    Issue settled.
    Except for paying attorneys for both sides. The $50,000 in rainy day money set aside? A pittance, naturally.
    Estimates are the judges’ Indianapolis attorneys — $450 per hour high rollers — will get $75,000. Council’s local attorney, supplemented by another expensive Indianapolis law firm, will cost about $55,000.
    Reminds me of the adage “If you don’t have time to do the job right, where will you find time to do it again?”
    If you can’t afford to make the wrong move, how can you afford the attorney bill when you’re sued?
    Larry Riley teaches English at Ball State University. Email him at at lriley@bsu.edu
    [Gad, from his photo he looks like Isaac Asimov!]

  2. San Francisco gives employees right to flexible work hours, Reuters via NDTV via profit.ndtv.com
    SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., USA - San Francisco workers with children or other dependents will have greater ability to change their hours, telecommute or share job duties under a law approved on Tuesday that marks the first time a US city has told private employers to accommodate flexible workplace arrangements.
    Employers would be required to state a business reason for denying a request, such as increased costs. The rule would not affect businesses with less than 20 employees.
    "I hope that this legislation is a nudge to make real changes in our workplace culture to eliminate the stigma and bias around workers who request flexible working arrangements," said Supervisor David Chiu, who proposed the ordinance which won unanimous approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
    Starting on January 1, San Francisco will become the first city in the nation to make workplace flexibility requests an employee right, according to Chiu and national group the Society for Human Resource Management. Less than five months ago, Vermont became the first and only state to implement similar legislation, which also goes into effect in January.
    In addition to raising workplace morale, the ordinance would make San Francisco more inviting to families, Chiu said in a statement. San Francisco has the lowest per capita population of children of any major U.S. city, he said.
    Aside from those with children, the ordinance also will apply to workers with sick spouses and elderly parents.
    Under the city's mandate, employers must meet with workers within 21 days of their requests for such arrangements as partial instead of full-time work, shift changes, telecommuting or job sharing.
    [Job sharing (eg: splitting a 40-hour job in half for two people) is not as flexible as worksharing (eg: redefining "full time" from 40 to 39-38-37- or from 5x8hours to 4x9, 5x7, 4x8, 5x6, 4x7 or etc.) but it's a start.]
    The employer would give a written answer and would be required to provide detailed reasons in the case of a denial.
    Under the ordinance, business owners would also need to inform workers and post information about their new rights. Refusing to comply with the mandate could lead to fines of up to $50 per employee each day the business is in violation.
    San Francisco could also take civil action through the city attorney against an employer that violates the mandate.
    The Society for Human Resource Management advocates widely for suggested flexible workplace policies but is concerned about the mandatory nature of San Francisco's ordinance, said Michael Kalt, employment attorney and government affairs director for the organization's California chapter.
    "It creates a whole new potential to sue employers," he said.
    San Francisco's move to become the first in the nation to require more flexible workplaces follows a number of other efforts by the mostly liberal, Northern California city to take action where other cities have held back.
    In 2011, it sought to require cell phone retailers to warn consumers about potentially dangerous radiation levels in the devices. Earlier this year, the city's leaders revoked the ordinance after losing a key round in court against the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association.
    After pushing back on an initial proposal last spring, which would have imposed stricter mandates on employers, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has taken a neutral stance on the ordinance, said the group's spokesman Jim Lazarus.
    "There are ways employers can trip up and expose themselves to legal action if they don't dot their i's and cross their t's," Lazarus said. "That's where our problems come from."

  3. Striking doctors claim strong public support, (10/08 late pickup) Irish Independent via independent.ie
    DUBLIN, Ireland - Junior doctors have claimed strong public support for their strike over working hours.
    Fifty-one hospitals have been hit by the walk-out by 3,000 non-consultant hospital doctors with pickets placed outside at least eight hospitals.
    Dr John Donnellan, of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), blamed the Health Service Executive (HSE) for the withdrawal of services.
    "Responsibility for this day of action rests fairly and squarely with the HSE who have abused the position of NCHDs for over a decade," he said.
    "Throughout that time they have misled doctors, they have broken promises and commitments and they have ignored their obligations under EU law.
    "As a result they are presiding over an unsafe working environment where the health of patients and that of our own NCHD colleagues is routinely put at risk. Today we are saying loud and clear - enough is enough we are not taking this anymore."
    The strike began at 7am and will continue until midnight tonight with hospitals operating at a Sunday standard.
    Scores of doctors picketed the Mater, Beaumont, St Vincent's and Connolly hospitals in Dublin and outside the capital in Cork University, Tullamore, Portiuncula and the Mercy in Cork.
    The IMO said that doctors on the pickets were reporting strong support for the action from members of the public and from colleagues in the hospitals.
    The doctors' strike follows weeks of failed negotiations with the HSE over shifts that run for more than 24 hours.
    Doctors will carry out any required transplant and dialysis service and the normal weekend palliative care, attend for patients who are undergoing active chemotherapy and radiotherapy which cannot be deferred and any unforeseen major incident.
    About 12,000 outpatient appointments have been cancelled as a result and about 3,000 operations have had to be postponed.
    Meanwhile, Irish Twitter users have taken to the social networking site to express their support for the junior doctors.

  4. Working hours cut faces rough ride - Labor and management at loggerheads over proposal to cut work hours, KoreaHerald.com
    SEOUL, S.Korea - A recent proposal by politicians and the government to cut maximum working hours is raising eyebrows among businesses worried about possible cost increases and limits to flexible work shifts.
    Labor circles are also less than enthused with the legislation. It may come later than they anticipate, could affect their wages and could still give leeway for employers to lengthen work time.
    Despite such concerns the government and the ruling Saenuri Party are firmly committed to what would be one of the biggest changes to the workaholic [and dependency-raising and consumer-base clobbering] culture in Korea.
    [Guess the great stepped-by-size reduction for companies from 44 to 40 hours a week between 2004 and 2011 had a lot of loopholes. This is not mainly a matter of laziness vs. workaholism - it's a system requirement, because with our latest deterioration of globalization, the mirage of Salvation Through Exports is fading and - there's nothin' like that home-grown "domestic" consumer spending and, no jobs, no consumer spending, no markets, no economy.]
    On Monday, policymakers from the Ministry of Employment and Labor and the party agreed to work together for the passage of the bill submitted by its lawmaker Kim Seong-tae in May.
    The bill aims to reduce the legal maximum work hours from the current de facto 68 hours to 52 by revising complicated clauses of the labor laws.
    The current law allows employees to work up to 68 hours a week = 52 hours from Monday to Friday, eight hours on Saturday and another eight hours on Sunday.

    The bill articulates a week as “seven days” including weekends and counts weekend shifts as overtime. Currently, weekend work is categorized as “holiday work” and not regarded as overtime.
    To minimize the impact on businesses, they decided during the meeting to introduce the reduction in phases, first to large companies with more than 1,000 employees in 2016, to those with 100 to 1000 workers in 2017, and smaller firms hiring less than 100 in 2018.
    Its promoters believe that the shortened work time is indispensable to a better work-life balance and job creation.
    “The 10-year debate over lowering the maximum working hours should end here. We can’t fully be in favor of one side, but the revision should be passed immediately for the social good,” Kim told The Korea Herald on Wednesday.
    “This is precisely why the ruling and opposition party lawmakers have all agreed on the bill already.”
    Parliamentary sources said the bill will likely be debated at the National Assembly Environment and Labor Committee in mid-November.
    President Park Geun-hye pledged to cut the nation’s notoriously long work hours and raise the employment rate to 70 percent by 2017 during her election campaign last year.
    Despite growing support in the political circles, the plan is facing a rough ride given strong resistance from businesses and persistent demands from labor unionists that its effect on their wages and conditions be minimized.
    The Korea Employers Federation, one of the major business lobbies, said less working hours will inevitably lead to lower wages, which will in turn exacerbate the conflict between labor and management.
    The limit will also make it more difficult for companies to adjust work hours flexibly to changing demands, the group said.
    It would especially have negative effects on smaller companies which do not have enough financial resources to hire more employees when work increases.
    “Long-hour weekend shifts have been a win-win strategy for both workers and management,” Kim Pan-joong, director of economic research at KEF, told The Korea Herald.
    “Management, especially those in small- and medium-sized enterprises, can be more productive by making employees work extra hours on weekends, without the need for additional facility investment and hiring,” Kim explained.
    The economist added that employees, on the other hand, can earn more money by doing more shifts and those whose income is low will suffer economically if the government limits weekend work hours.
    “Korean workers’ base pay accounts for only 35 to 50 percent of the total salary. To complement the low base pay, companies have different types of overtime pay,” said Kim Jong-jin, research fellow at the Korea Labor and Society Institute.
    “The country’s wage system is the biggest problem here. The quality of workers’ life may improve, but their bank accounts will have fewer digits.”
    To lessen the burden on businesses and expedite the implementation, experts suggest the government offer tax benefits and manpower support.
    “Once the law is effectuated, companies will have to come up with measures like hiring more temporary and part-time workers,” the researcher noted.
    Korea is notorious for its long working hours and limited time off. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Koreans worked 2,092 hours on average in 2011, the second longest among its 34 member countries.
    The figure is far above the OECD average of 1,776 hours, and the U.S.’ 1,704 hours in the same year.


10/08/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Employment Security furloughs 418 staff, puts another 415 on part time, by Brad Shannon, Olympian via BellinghamHerald.com
    OLYMPIA, Washington State, USA - The federal government shutdown has prompted big cutbacks at the state Employment Security Department, which on Tuesday put half of its 1,669 staffers on furlough or reduced hours. Dale Peinecke, the commissioner who runs the agency, is among those on reduced hours.
    About 833 workers are affected by the cutbacks, including about 415 who are working at 50 percent or 60 percent of "full time"
    [our quotes - maybe it's time to resume our 1840-1940 downward revision of "full time"]
    and 418 who are furloughed indefinitely [an indefinite furlough qualifies as a layoff].
    “The bulk of the furloughs are here in Olympia. I’d say the bulk of the reduced hours are out in the field,’’ agency spokeswoman Sheryl Hutchison said Tuesday.
    “We’re about 87 percent federally funded. Any blips in the federal funding really affect us,’’ Hutchison said, noting that layoff notices had gone out Oct. 1 when the shutdown began.
    Because some federal funding was awarded during summer, the agency still has funds to keep its WorkSource offices open. Those are staffed with employees working reduced hours in most cases to help job seekers, Hutchison said.
    But as Gov. Jay Inslee cautioned in a Sunday news conference, the agency lacks funds to keep a few dozen federally funded veterans specialists on duty to help military vets with jobless claims or to connect them with other services such as training. ESD had some funds left over for that purpose but has exhausted them in the week since the federal shutdown began Oct. 1, Hutchison said.
    The agency’s commissioner, Dale Peinecke, and deputy commissioner Nan Thomas are among the staffers working just 60 percent time and receiving partial pay.
    “They wanted to share the pain and make the statement this is not just about front line staff being reduced,’’ Hutchison said
    .
    [If we all did it together it wouldn't be painful because we'd reduce our current deluge of desperate resumes, and wage levels would rise to attract good help in a perceived labor shortage, and the national income would stop funneling to the richest and most cushioned & out-of-touch people in the land.]
    The reductions in force come as the Military Department brought roughly 700 furloughed workers back on the job Tuesday and Joint Base Lewis McChord brought thousands of its workers back on Monday. The state Military Department still has 80 staffers on furlough.
    Employment Security could face further slimming down in the coming weeks. That is because the funds available to pay unemployment benefits will run out without federal action – and the state has limited funds available to keep staff on hand to process claims that usually are paid using federal dollars.
    “We figure we are good for at least a few more weeks,’’ Hutchison said. “At some point we have to make a decision – do we keep paying for unemployment benefits and not have money for things we had planned such as computer projects and other things on the back end.’’
    The agency is estimating that roughly 80,000 to 90,000 people are receiving unemployment benefits in Washington. Precise figures are a few weeks old and have not been freshened due to the squeeze caused by the federal shutdown, but the number is expected to be higher after the federal shutdown.
    “I know one day alone we had 5,000 federal (worker) apps come in. That was just Thursday only,’’ Hutchison said.
    And now, some agency employees are joining the ranks of the jobless.

  2. Doctors strike at Irish hospitals in protest over long work hours and conditions - Strike action is another blow to Irish government as operations cancelled, by Patrick Counihan, IrishCentral.com
    DUBLIN, Ireland - Irish doctors ["junior" doctors anyway, whatever that means] have gone on strike over working conditions in another blow to Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his beleaguered coalition government.
    The one day strike by non-consultant hospital doctors began at 7am on Tuesday morning in 51 hospitals across the country.
    The strike comes just days after Kenny was embarrassed by defeat in the referendum to decide on the future of the Irish senate.
    The Irish Times reports that 12,000 outpatient appointments and 3,000 operations have been cancelled as a result of the industrial action.
    The paper says emergency departments are open but patients are experiencing delays as staffing levels are reduced.
    Over 3,000 doctors have joined the action in protest at their long working hours.
    The strike comes ahead of next week’s budget when health minister James Reilly is expected to announce further cuts in his department’s spending.
    The union representing the doctors, the Irish Medical Organisation, has described the action as a ‘dramatic escalation’ of its long-running dispute over the issue of ‘dangerously long’ working hours.
    Speaking to the Irish Times from a picket outside the Mater Hospital in Dublin, Eric Young, assistant director of industrial relations at the IMO, said doctors’ main concern was patient safety.
    He said: “We want to see a situation where patients are treated by doctors who are rested and are in a position to provide maximum care.”
    Liam Doran, general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, told the Irish Times that nurses and midwives would be carrying out their nursing duties as normal but would not take on the work of their doctor colleagues.
    Doran said: “We won’t be providing any extra duties... but we’re supporting and solid with our doctor colleagues as they strive to implement something that should have been implemented nine years ago.”
    The IMO has warned of further hospital strikes to follow unless the Health Service Executive, HSE, engages seriously on the issue of long working hours.
    The organisation says its members are providing the equivlent of Sunday levels of staffing, with one additional on-call registrar for intensive care units.
    IMO spokesman Young has warned further days of action might follow if the HSE continued to ignore the continuing breach of European directives.
    He added: “The HSE has relied on the goodwill and professionalism of our members to continue working illegal working hours.
    “They can no longer take our members for granted. They must demonstrate a commitment to engaging with our members in a serious and credible way or there will be further disruptions ahead.
    [Another take -]
    Taoiseach [Prime Minister] blames FF for junior doctors' strike, IrishExaminer.com
    DUBLIN, Ireland - The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has blamed Fianna Fáil [FF = conservative political party in Ireland: tip o' the hat to colleague Kate who picks up these trivia/gems from The Economist mag of London] for the ongoing difficulties with working hours for junior doctors.
    Up to 3,000 non consultant hospital doctors have withdrawn their services in a dispute over long working hours, resulting in the cancellation of 15,000 appointments and surgeries.
    Mr Kenny said the previous Government had 11 years to impose the EU rules on working hours but failed to do so.
    He has told the Dáil that he regrets the strike being undertaken by junior doctors today, but he called on the Irish Medical Organisation to go back to the Labour Relations Commission to end the current dispute.
    “I would say the place to sort it out is at the Labour Relations Commission - not across the airwaves. That’s a tried and tested forum,” he said.
    Mr Kenny said the commission can resolve the dispute.
    “I will say that both sides, the invitation is there for them. The propositions are on the table,” he said.
    “Surely it’s possible to work out a solution to this and not have people who are distressed and very put out in the situation that applies at the moment.
    “I do hope that this will be responded to in a positive fashion and hopefully can be resolved so that, understanding that we want to get to a point at the end of next year where the working time directive is fully implemented in respect of all the doctors and all the hospitals as should be many years ago.”
    Dr Anthony O'Connor from the Mater Hospital, who came out on the picket today to support junior doctors, said they want hospitals to implement the EU working time directive and end the practice of shifts of longer than 24 hours.
    [Another take -]
    IMO warns of further hospital strikes - Doctors say there will be more action if HSE fails to engage on long working hours, IrishTimes.com
    More than 3,000 non-consultant hospital doctors are expected to take part in the action, described yesterday by the IMO as a “dramatic escalation” of its long-running dispute over the issue of “dangerously long” working hours. (photo caption)
    DUBLIN, Ireland - The Irish Medical Organisation [IMO] has warned of further hospital strikes to follow today’s industrial action unless the HSE [Health Service Executive] engages seriously on the issue of long working hours.
    About 12,000 outpatient appointments and 3,000 operations have been cancelled because of today’s one-day strike, which starts at 7am and runs until midnight in 51 hospitals around the country.
    The organisation, which represents doctors, is providing the equivalent of Sunday levels of staffing, with one additional on-call registrar for intensive care units. Staff will provide transplant, dialysis and palliative care services and will attend for patients with chemotherapy and radiotherapy “which cannot be deferred”. They will also support any unforeseen major incident.
    ‘Dramatic escalation’
    More than 3,000 non-consultant hospital doctors are expected to take part in the action, described yesterday by the IMO as a “dramatic escalation” of its long-running dispute over the issue of “dangerously long” working hours.
    Both the IMO and the HSE spent yesterday making preparations for the strike and there were no late moves to return to the negotiating table. Sinn Féin spokesman on health Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called on Minister for Health James Reilly to make an 11th-hour intervention as a former IMO president and avert the industrial action.
    Dr Reilly has said there was little between the sides after negotiations, where differences centred on the sanctions that would be imposed where hospitals failed to limit maximum shifts to 24 hours.
    Patient safety
    The Irish Hospital Consultants Association said it supported junior colleagues “on the urgent need to reduce their working hours” in the interest of patient safety and doctor welfare.
    Emergency department doctors said staffing levels today are unlikely to be adequate to meet demand and delays for patients were inevitable. “It is important for the public to realise that while emergencies will continue to be managed during any industrial action, there will be disruption to services and delays for patients,” the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine said.
    The association said it supported the long overdue implementation of the European working time directive, which sets limits on the hours of work of medical staff. Most emergency departments were already in compliance with the directive.
    Eric Young, IMO assistant director of industrial relations, warned further days of action might follow if the HSE continued to ignore the continuing breach of European directives. “The HSE has relied on the goodwill and professionalism of our members to continue working illegal working hours. They can no longer take our members for granted. They must demonstrate a commitment to engaging with our members in a serious and credible way or there will be further disruptions ahead.


10/06-07/2013 – 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. Working hours of junior doctors unsustainable, by Alicia Compton, 10/06 (10/07 early pickup) IrishTimes.com
    DUBLIN, Ireland - In the face of action planned for tomorrow, junior doctors are considering HSE proposals for hospital rosters in compliance with working time regulations.
    Our stretched public health system is expected to give around-the-clock care, but can an adequate service be provided in compliance with the EU working time directive and our domestic implementing legislation? Let us look at the culture of long working hours and the challenges of meeting healthcare needs within the constraints of working time legislation.
    The Marine Casualty Investigation Board report on the 2012 Tit Bonhomme tragedy, in which five fishermen lost their lives in west Cork, stated that insufficient rest time for the crew was the overriding causal factor to the accident. In the 40 hours that the vessel was at sea, crew members had at most four to five hours of sleep. This was found to have had a detrimental effect on watch-keeping arrangements. The investigation board’s recommendations included that the Minister for Transport enforce the working time regulations for workers on fishing vessels.
    Spectrum
    Fatal incidents represent the extreme end of the consequences of long working hours. However, possible adverse effects cover the spectrum. Research indicates that a lack of rest causes work accidents, adversely affects the wellbeing of workers and is simply counter-productive.
    When the European Commission originally proposed to legislate for working time, it did so on the basis that work fatigue sets in after eight hours and that working more than 50 hours a week has adverse consequences. The regulation of working time thus began at EU level in 1993 and was followed by Irish implementing measures in 1997 with the Organisation of Working Time Act.
    The working week is limited to 48 hours, averaged over reference periods of four, six or 12 months, depending on the sector or local agreement. Minimum rest periods between shifts apply and workers are entitled to one day off in every seven or two in every 14.

    Initially, the legislation did not cover junior doctors. Specific, incremental regulations for doctors in training came into force in 2004 which limited the working week to 58 hours, averaged over a year, until 2007. This was reduced to 56 hours to apply until 2009 and thereafter, training doctors’ hours were capped at an averaged 48-hour week. Working time includes hours during which doctors are on call, as they are at the disposal of their employer and this covers periods in which the doctor is provided with a room and a bed. The law is clear and current rostering practices are clearly in violation of it.
    Health and safety legislation requires employers to ensure, as far as practicable, both safe places and safe systems of work. It is difficult to see how requiring staff to work in excess of 24-hour shifts, on a regular basis, can sit easily with this duty.
    Compliance
    The Irish Medical Organisation wants an end to shifts over 24 hours and calls for a move towards compliance with the working time directive by the end of 2014.
    Formal notice from the European Commission of Ireland’s disregard for working time rules was first sent in November 2009. This was followed by a reasoned opinion by the European Commission in 2011 regarding Ireland’s non-compliance with the directive. The Department of Health submitted a plan to the commission in 2012 on how to deal with the issue. The IMO has lodged a formal complaint and argues that continuing breaches could lead to the State facing substantial fines in infringement proceedings.
    Of the estimated 4,000 junior doctors in Irish hospitals, about 1,800 are reported to be unionised and the threatened strike action evidences their unwillingness to sustain what the organisation has referred to as “dangerously long working hours”.
    The potential effects for the public of industrial unrest among our hospital personnel overshadows wider issues – in particular, the repercussions, in terms of mental and physical health and work-life balance, for workers who consistently work punishing hours.
    Alicia Compton is a partner in the William Fry Employment Practice Group

  2. Weekly work hours to be cut, by Nam Hyun-woo, 10/07 KoreaTimes.co.kr
    SEOUL, S.Korea - The government and the ruling party agreed Monday to reduce the maximum permissible weekly working hours for employees from the current 68 hours to 52. Implementation of the new work system will begin in 2016.
    [Presumably this means permissible even including overtime.]
    The Saenuri Party and the Ministry of Employment and Labor held a meeting at the National Assembly and decided to revise the current Labor Standards Law to keep President Park Geun-hye’s election promise of reducing working hours and raising the employment rate to 70 percent.

    The revision states that regular work hours on weekdays should not exceed 40; while overtime is limited to a maximum 12 hours.
    Contrary to earlier speculation, the new plan includes work on Saturdays and Sundays as overtime.
    The government expects that it will create more part-time jobs, helping to meet Park’s election pledge during her campaign last year.
    The two also agreed to impose the new regulations gradually from 2016 according to company size.
    Companies with more than 1,000 employees must comply with the rule from 2016, those with 100 to 1,000 from 2017, and firms with less than 100 workers from 2018.
    “Both the ruling and main opposition parties are actively working to cut the weekly working hours,” said Rep. Kim Sung-tae of the Saenuri Party.
    During the meeting, the two sides also decided to consider raising the minimum wage after the 52-hour rule goes into effect.
    However, complaints from small- and medium-sized companies are anticipated, as the plan could add costs for firms in hiring extra part-timers.
    They also argue that it will create short-term non-regular workers only, which will lower their productivity.
    Critics point out that the revision may ease employees’ extra workload, but it does not solve the country’s youth unemployment problem as it only raises the employment rate temporarily by hiring more part-timers.
    The working hours of Korean employees are among the longest within OECD member states — 2,193 hours per year as of 2010 outpacing the OECD average of 1,749.
    namhw@ktimes.co.kr


10/05/2013 – 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. Osborne's proposals on the unemployed doing 35 hours community work? Yahoo Answers United Kingdom via answers.yahoo.com
    LONDON, U.K. - The government has decided that the unemployed should do community service, therefore effectively being stigmatised as criminals. Some may not see it this way, but it's the reality. Of course, I agree that if people are claiming benefits then they should be working for it, but let's look at the bigger picture here - it's effectively slave labour.
    If we take Job Seekers Allowance in my area, £65 a week, add on housing benefit at £80 a week, the unemployed are getting £145 to live on. This works out to be rounghly 23 hours a week on minimum wage. The government wants the unemployed to work up to 35 hours a week which on minimum wage would be £220, £75 more than what the unemployed would receive.
    [So the U.K. government has given up trying to maintain the 40-hour workweek, despite British economists trying to spin France as radical for making official a nationwide 35-hour workweek? "Shorter hours are happening anyway" - it's a system requirement in the robotics age because robots supply stuff for sale but don't demand stuff for purchase. If we could only robotize shopping... Well, there actually are robot shoppers but - they never actually pay; they exist only to fool advertisers into thinking their ads will be seen by a lot of people.]
    Of course people will also say "but what about council tax"? Bottom line, no one should be paying council tax as it's illegal and unlawful, ironically so is paying any tax full stop. To which people will then say, but if there's no tax then there's no welfare state? I agree fully. We should look after ourselves and loved ones. Even better we pay the politicians in government (personally I don't want any) the minimum wage. That way they won't institute the mad legislation they do in regards to societal way of life for all.
    If the unemployed work then they should be paid the equivalent for the same job. Women have complained all along about unfair pay in the workplace and won. Why should it be different for the unemployed? Technically speaking, an unemployed woman working in a job and getting less than other staff, (men) is unlawful and illegal.
    This whole situation is morally wrong. Pay the worker the wage. Don't threaten their living benefits, because you're effectively paying them over 30% reduced minimum wage. More in some areas.
    And ask a question also why there are so many unemployed? As much as I don't want to say it, flooding the country with non indigenous and those people attaining jobs means that they're taking jobs away from the indigenous. This is a non debatable argument. The government has flooded the UK with immigrants for various reasons; a voting base for starters, but moreso that more people equals more competition for jobs, therefore a reduction in wage and/or a static wage. Private landlords also smile with glee as more people equals more demand for housing which results in a higher rent.
    As usual this is yet more legislation being passed by politicians who are completely and utterly ignorant to how the majority lives. They live on six/seven figure salaries, most of which goes straight into the bank and their day to day living costs are claimed on expenses.
    I am no socialist, liberal or tory. I'm just disgusted at the blatantly unfair situation that exists here in the UK when it comes to employment and the indigenous. ...
    Additional Details
    Sure, this is for those who are unemployed for over three years, but the bottom line is a simple one, regardless whether someone has been unemployed for 1 day or 1000 days, if someone does a job they're paid the going rate for that job!!!
    Is that too hard for some of you to understand? Would you do a job and work for less than your colleagues? Would you be happy taking home £150 a week compared to their £230 for doing the same job? That £80 difference makes a hell of a lot of difference in living cost..\..
    Your views please.
    3 days ago [comment]
    @The Saint - I'm always open for debate, the problem is there's no debate on this. Why make the unemployed do community service, created for offenders? Why not put them in voluntary work placements to utilise their skills? If they take home £150 a week in benefit then give them £150 worth of work hours on minimum wage doing what they're good at? If they're good at office work give them a test as well as others in that office and if a member of staff scores low sack them and give the unemployed their job. That's fair isn't it? Why should skilled people do sh*t jobs when they can boost the workplace by taking jobs from people not good at them? Hey, you might be the one who'd lose your job? Only fair after all.

  2. US Shutdown Cut In Half After Pentagon Recalls 400,000 Workers: Half Of All Furloughs, submitted by Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge.com
    [Furloughs, not firings = timesizing, not downsizing.]
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - It took just four days before the Federal government caved to Congress and admitted that it can't even operate in a partial, "non-essential" shutdown. A few short hours ago Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered 400,000 furloughed Pentagon civilian employees - or about half the total defense employees - back to work. it is also roughly half of the total employees furloughed since the start of the government shutdown, which is now in its fifth day, and since both the House and the Senate are now gone until Monday afternoon, it appears the shutdown, even if now at half mast will continue for at least a week.
    Why did Hagel decide he can get bypass orders and tell government workers they can cut their vacation short? The Hill explains:
    After consulting with the Justice Department and Department of Defense legal counsel, Hagel noted furloughed employees could be brought back to the Pentagon, while still complying with federal guidelines governing the shutdown, according to the memo.
    Civilian workers at DOD shown to play a role in the "morale, well-being [and]...readiness" of U.S. forces could be brought back, under federal rules, Hagel wrote.
    Pentagon Comptroller Bob Hale is scheduled to hold a briefing on the details of the recall later today.

    The decision was prised by both sides of Congress, even as the political grandstanding and talking point reiterating continued:
    Lawmakers praised the Pentagon's decision to put the department's civilian workforce back on the federal pay roll. "Congress fully intended for all of our civilian defense workers to be treated the same as our active duty military members," House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) said in a statement Saturday.
    "All [federal employees] are vital to our national defense and need to be on the job protecting the nation," he added.
    While supportive of the Pentagon's decision, Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said the move would have been unnecessary if Obama had not "been playing politics" with civilian furloughs.
    The White Houses [sic] "should not have furloughed these hard working men and women," Turner said in a statement Saturday.
    "They should have been allowed to work through this entire shutdown," the House defense panel member said, adding Obama is using federal workers as "bargaining chips" in the ongoing shutdown stand off with congressional Republicans.
    "These men and women are crucial to our country's national defense and I am glad they will be allowed to go back to work this week to support our armed forces," he added.

    Alas, since the coffers of the Treasury are finite, and since there rate of cash inflows is still the same, the fact that suddenly 400k more people will have to be paid salaries will mean that the government's cash will ran out that much faster, likely well before the October 17 X-Date, meaning the debt ceiling deadline, and surrounding negotiations, just got pushed forward.
    Finally, all this happened hours after the House passed the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, H.R. 3223, in a 407-0 vote: in an expected outcome. This means that the second the government is "restarted" all the furloughed workers will get all their accrued pay backdate to the start of the government shutdown. In other words: government workers just got an extended vacation, and one which may even result in double pay, as most furloughed employees can apply for and receive unemployment benefits, with the proviso that they refund any such compensation the BLS gives them once the furlough ends. Something tells us the BLS will be less than strict in enforcing said collection.


10/04/2013 – 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. Express Employment's Funk: Obamacare Is 'Disincentivizing Business to Hire [40-hr/wk] Employees, by Michelle Smith, MoneyNews.com
    KANSAS CITY, Mo., USA - Staffing firms are growing rapidly thanks to Obamacare, but that growth is not in the best interest of the nation, says Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment and former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    "Businessmen need to know what their bottom line is going to be when they set up their budgets every year, and they can't do that not knowing what Obamacare is," Funk tells Yahoo.
    Employers are particularly concerned about the portion of the law known as the employer mandate. It requires companies with 50 or more employees to either provide health insurance for full-time workers or face a penalty. Traditionally, full time was considered a 40-hour workweek; under Obamacare it's defined as 30 hours.
    An "unfortunate" consequence of the law is that small businesses are trying not to grow, Funk notes.
    "It is disincentivizing people. And they're going to stop [hiring for 40-hour weeks] at 49 employees," he adds.
    [Fine! Looong past due in the age of automation and beyond! Or does Funk want to keep surplusing the workforce, driving down wages, and funneling the money supply to the top 30,000 Americans for whom not all the money he can print can be sufficiently reassuring that everything's sustainable.]
    Funk also paints a dim prospect for full-time job growth, forewarning that the nation is set to see a notable shift to jobs with shorter workweeks.
    [All to the good! A frozen 40-hour workweek forever into the age of automation and robotics? Ridiculous! And it's waaay past high time we redefined "full" time downward.]
    "We're trying to go to full time employment. We'd love to have people on 40 hours a week, but the government is going in just the opposite direction, from 40 hours a week down to 29 or 30 hours a week. We don't think that's in the best interest of industry in particular," he explains.
    [Well, we in worktime economics think it is in the best interest of industries and the economy as a whole, because the way we're going, trying unsuccessfully to dream up enough makework to occupy everyone for a 40-hour workweek, despite automation and robotization, is failing miserably and serving merely to marginalize more and more people and cast them into welfare, disability, homelessness, prison and suicide. Industry cannot possibly survive with less and less consumer spending, while we funnel the money supply to the top 1% or 1% who cannot possibly spend it. High time for Bob Funk to wake up to the realities of the age of robotics and get his head out of the pre-industrial age.]
    In fact, Funk claims that many companies are trying to sever direct ties with all of their workers.
    [And don't forget the spread of completely robotized "lights out" manufacturing! All this is all the more reason to save work by cutting hours and sharing it, and then moving on with permanent timesizing. We can't go on burdening taxpayers with makework to compensate for every new technological worksaving, and we can't go on burdening the biosphere by straining for sufficient private-sector busywork to fill 40 hours for everyone forever.]
    "Many of them are wanting to put all of their employees on our payroll. We don't think that's in the best interest of the company culture for small or medium sized business," says Funk.
    He points out that "the Supreme Court determined [Obamacare] is going to be a tax. And any time that government taxes businesses, it will retreat, of course, in their growth,"
    Funk projects that Obamacare will "slow down business for quite sometime to come" because that's what happens every time government "intrudes into business in a negative way," he says. And anything that takes away businessmen's incentive to build their companies is bad for the nation.
    [But what businessmen have been doing for the past 40 years in terms of kneejerk downsizing has been weakening their markets, and left them building castles, oops, companies in the air, bubble after bubble. It is now a system requirement that they switch to timesizing, because without markets, incentive for businessmen to build their companies does nothing for the nation, except probably burden taxpayers more heavily to provide these pointless incentives. As for shorter hours ïntruding into business in a negative way," was it negative to cut the workweek from 80 to 40 hours between 1840 and 1940? Does Funk wish us to return to 80 hours a week and have half today's workforce - and markets? Funk is aptly named. His type of obsolete views and in-the-box thinking is keeping the nation and the world in an economic funk that will not end without full-blown emergency worksharing and permanent timesizing.]
    Surveys confirm Funk's observations.
    An April survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found 41 percent of the 603 small business owners polled delayed hiring because of the federal healthcare law, Fox Business Network reports.
    The government delayed the employer mandate until 2015, but still, the survey reported one in five companies had already cut hours and 20 percent had reduced payroll.
    And Fox said Mercer, a human resources consulting firm, reported that 12 percent of all US employers plan to cut employees hours because of Obamacare.
    [We cannot avoid shorter hours. They are happening anyway in the worst way. We can avoid fewer people in the workforce and fewer shoppers with less to spend in the consumer base. But that will take getting a grip on the process and ensuring it happens in, not the worst, but the best ways, such as Timesizing.]

  2. Demanding work hours impacting health of resident physicians: Report, (9/25 late pickup) Canadian Occupational Safety via cos-mag.com
    TORONTO, Ont., Canada - The National Steering Committee on Resident Duty Hours has released Canada's first comprehensive, collaborative and evidence-based report on the hotly debated issue of how much fatigue is too much fatigue for Canada's approximately 12,000 resident physicians.
    "Residents are essential members of our health system, working long hours, and fatigue impacts their physical and mental health," said Kevin Imrie, co-chair of the national steering committee and physician in chief at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. "This report provides clear recommendations to help ensure residents are healthy and fit to provide the highest quality of patient care to Canadians."
    Traditionally, resident physicians have worked a variety of lengthy shifts, a practice that has come under increasing scrutiny. With funding from Health Canada, the national steering committee brought together nine health-care organizations and experts for Canada's first cross-jurisdictional effort to find consensus on the critical health and safety issue of resident duty hours.
    Across Canada, no single standard exists about how many resident duty hours are appropriate or safe because each of our multiple health jurisdictions has unique standards.
    "Canadian health care is too complex, and the differences between disciplines and jurisdictions too great for a 'one size fits all' solution," said Jason Frank, co-chair of the national steering committee. "What's more, evidence suggests that work hours are only one piece of the puzzle. A much broader approach is needed."
    The report stresses the status quo is not acceptable and that shifts of 24 hours or longer without restorative sleep should be avoided. Among its recommendations, the report urges all provinces and health-care institutions to develop comprehensive strategies to minimize fatigue and fatigue-related risks during residency.
    Also proposed: changes to accreditation standards, increased use of simulation and skills training for the safe handover of patient information.
    This broad approach is crucial. Based on the available evidence, restricting resident duty hours alone will not improve patient safety. A successful approach must address all of the many factors that contribute to fatigue, said the report.
    "Fatigue is more than how many hours are worked. It's also the type of work being done, the intensity of workload and many other factors," Imrie said. "We need to better manage fatigue, create more effective call schedules and do a better job of designing our training programs in order to create positive, lasting change."

  3. €208 million in savings in 2014, AlgarveResident.com
    LISBON, Portugal - The Portuguese government hopes to save €79 million this year and €208 million in 2014 from its recently-implemented 40-hour workweek for the public sector. Savings estimated for 2013 are more than double the figure it had predicted in May (€36 million).
    In a document handed to the Lisbon Administrative Court, the Ministry of Finance presented its estimations in an attempt to argue its case in the face of heavy contestation from various public sector unions opposing the increase in the weekly working hours from 35 to 40. The measure came into force on September 28.
    The budgetary saving of €79 million is more than double the €36 million it had reported to the Troika in May, along with other targets within the State Reform.
    In the same report, signed by Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, the alterations to the working week for public sector workers were expected to generate savings of €204 million in 2014, but in a recent review the target has been raised to €208 million.
    This made a good enough argument for the court to reject an injunction by the tax workers’ union (STI) which requested the suspension of the 40-hour workweek law.
    It is also the intention of the government to bring the public sector workweek in line with other member states and the private sector.
    “Attempts to block the 40-hour law could result in the government’s budgetary targets not being met and could put at risk the State’s finances,” said the Ministry of Finance.
    || Nurses say longer working week will affect patients
    A longer working week is expected to take its toll on the quality of care provided by nurses, according to the Portuguese Nurses Union (SEP), which announced it will be appealing in court against the government’s decision to increase weekly working hours from 35 to 40.
    SEP representative Isabel Barbosa said: “Nurses, just like other workers who will be working 40 hours per week, should refuse to do so because it represents a rise in exploitation and a devaluation of their work.”
    She considered nursing “a demanding and risky job which deals with suffering every day”, which is why, in her opinion, the heavier working hours will have an effect on the quality of nursing services.
    The representative also shared her concern about the risk of lay-offs affecting nurses the same way it is affecting workers in the public sector in general.
    For all these reasons, Barbosa confirmed that SEP would be presenting its case in the Lisbon Administrative Court.
    “We will not give up this fight. We will keep striving towards a 35-hour working schedule,” she added.
    The representative was speaking at the Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon, where a black banner was put up by the union as an act of protest. Nurses are now required to work an extra hour per day with no extra pay.


10/03/2013 – 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. Come Celebrate the 11th Annual 'Take Back Your Time' Day*, Thurs., Oct.3, 2013, 7:00-8:30 pm - Reduced Work Hours: The Key to Gross National Happiness - Promoting and Measuring Well-Being, ca-mg6.mail.yahoo.com
    SAN JOSE, Calif., USA - What is the intersection between reduced working hours at a living wage and happiness? Come hear why shorter working hours—especially in rich countries like the United States—are key to happiness, health and long-term sustainability. The United States, with the longest working hours in the industrial world, scores far below northern European nations in calculations of leisure time, longevity and overall health, while having an ecological footprint nearly twice as large. If the U.S. is the poster child for overwork in the world, Silicon Valley is the epicenter.
    [What an insult to intelligence - SIlicon Valley is the world center of high technology, and the whole reason for technology and innovation is supposedly "to make life easier for everyone." Ain't happenin' without deliberately redefining "full time" downward as technological productivity moves upward.]
    [Presentation by:]
    Film Maker [and] Author – John De Graaf -\- Executive Director of Take Back Your Time [TBYT], an organization challenging time poverty and overwork in the U.S. and Canada. A recipient of more than 100 regional, national, and international awards for filmmaking. After John’s recent visit to Bhutan, the home of the UN-approved GNH indicators of human well-being, he helped author the Bhutan report on GNH to the U.N... His life’s work focuses on issues of overwork and over-consumption in America. [He is] editor of "Take Back Your Time," and co-author of the best-selling "Affluenza” and most recently published “What’s the Economy For, Anyway?” With the economic goal of the greatest good for the greatest number over the longest run, John will have copies available of his new book.
    What: 11TH Annual Take Back Your Time Day
    When: Thursday, October 3, 2013, 7:00 PM
    Site: San Jose Peace & Justice Center
    48 S. 7th St., San Jose, CA 95112 (1/2 block from SJSU)
    [=San Jose State University?]
    Parking: Parking on the Street
    Sponsors: SJSU Department of Health Science & Recreation, Human Agenda, & TBYT
    A Human Agenda Human Rights Roundtable
    For more information contact: Richard Hobbs, Executive Director, Human Agenda, richhobbs@msn.com, 408-460-2999.
    *Take Back Your Time Day is held in October each year because the average European works 2-3 month[-equivalent]s less than the average American.

  2. Why the French are Fighting Over Work Hours [or more accurately, business opening hours], NewYorker.com (blog)
    PARIS, France - It’s telling that in France, where several stores are fighting an order requiring them to close on Sundays, retail employees showed up at work last month wearing T-shirts that read, “Yes Week End.” It was a play on Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan, and a symbol of the fact that some in France—where shops have been barred from opening on Sundays, with some exceptions, since 1906—have lately been eyeing a more American approach to work.
    In September, a French tribunal de commerce said that two big home-improvement stores, Castorama and Leroy Merlin, would face daily fines of a hundred and twenty thousand euros per store (about a hundred and fifty thousand dollars) if they continue to operate on Sunday. The retailers have said they will open despite the fines, the result of a lawsuit. People in France like to work on home improvement on Sundays, which makes it one of the busiest days for do-it-yourself stores, accounting for between fifteen and twenty per cent of their sales. Closing on Sunday could jeopardize the jobs of some twelve hundred employees, according to the Fédération des Magasins de Bricolage, which translates, roughly, as the Federation of Do-It-Yourself Stores.
    “I really don’t understand,” said one customer, quoted in the Catholic daily La Croix. “If everyone has agreed to work, why can’t you open the store?”
    For an American coming from the world of 24/7 capitalism, where the market and individual freedom are hallowed values, the French approach to labor seems upside down. Here is a country with a 10.5 per cent unemployment rate, mired in a prolonged recession and desperate for growth, whose national debt has spiraled from seventy-three per cent of G.D.P. to more than a hundred per cent since the recession began—and it’s preventing businesses from remaining open and keeping people who want to work from doing so? But before rolling our eyes at the ideological rigidity of the French government, it is perhaps worthwhile to examine why the French—and other Europeans—might look at this issue so differently.
    Stores in Germany—which has the strongest economy in Europe—are closed on Sunday, with even fewer exceptions than in France. “The Sunday day of rest enjoys consensus in Germany among unions, employees, consumers, and business owners,” Werner Zettelmeier, the research director of Paris’s Center for Information and Research on Contemporary Germany, wrote in yesterday’s La Croix. “Any politician who proposed opening stores on Sunday would risk his or her career.”
    While there are clear economic advantages to staying open on Sunday, each society has a legitimate choice to make between money and leisure, the French economists Patrick Artus, Pierre Cahuc, and André Zylberberg argue in the most extensive French study of the Sunday-work issue. Their hundred-and-thirty-eight-page report, “Temps de Travail, Revenu et Emploi” (Work Time, Revenue, and Employment), published in 2007, offers a sweeping historical and cross-cultural examination.
    Back in the ancien régime, the French worked quite a bit less than they do today, with some hundred and sixty-four holidays during the year; that is, they spent forty-five per cent of the year not working. This was partly because most people were farmers, and the seasonal nature of the work and the lack of electricity restricted how much labor was possible. During the industrial revolution, work hours increased considerably, in the soul-crushing fashion described by Dickens and Zola.
    For years, there was nothing particularly leisurely about the French compared to others: in the nineteen-fifties, the average Frenchman worked nearly twenty-two hundred hours a year—three hundred more than his American counterpart, who worked about nineteen hundred hours. The gradual reduction of working time was considered one of the great achievements of the era following the Second World War. It declined virtually everywhere, including in the U.S. By 1980, Germany, France, and the United States converged at about seventeen hundred hours.
    Then, something changed. Most European countries continued reducing work hours while, in the U.S., working hours crept back up. Today, Americans work just under eighteen hundred hours per year, compared with fifteen hundred hours for the French.

    *Annual Hours Worked (chart caption) [scan halfway down page]
    What happened? In the eighties, the U.S. and Europe began moving in opposite directions. Europe consolidated its generous welfare state, and the U.S., under Ronald Reagan, began dismantling its own in the name of making its economy more competitive. Both approaches achieved their aims.
    Today, the average disposable household income is thirty-four per cent higher in the U.S. than in France, according to the O.E.C.D., and Americans, on average, report a higher level of life satisfaction [reference?]; the French, along with having three hundred more hours of leisure time [= Free Time, the most fundamental form of Freedom], enjoy a stronger social support network and a much better work-life balance than Americans (not to mention better bread, cheese, and wine). All this translates into a quality of life that is at least as good as—if not better than—that of Americans. Adding to that, French workers [the 99%] have protections and guarantees that went by the wayside a generation ago in the United States. The French approach to labor might be less productive [for the 1%], from a purely [quantitative] economic point of view, but it has its [qualitative] benefits. Closing Home Depot on Sundays might seem like a serious abridgement of freedom to Americans, but many Europeans see it differently.
    “The well-being of each of us is not independent of what others do,” Artus, Cahuc, and Zylberberg wrote. “The value of our free time depends on the possibility of spending it with one’s family and friends and the ability to share that time with others.” In other words, the value of almost no one working on Sunday is that it forces families—or friends—to do things together.
    This isn’t as trivial as it may seem, on first glance; social scientists are increasingly finding links between family time and well-being. A number of studies in the U.S. show that children who have dinner regularly with their families do better in school and are less likely to get into trouble. Families that rarely eat together see higher average rates of obesity, drinking, and drug use among teenagers, and more teen pregnancy. The entrenchment of 24/7 capitalism in the U.S.—which has forced many parents to work late hours, or hold down multiple jobs—has gone hand in hand with various negative social trends: rising divorce rates, child obesity, drug use, teen pregnancy.
    Still, the French showdown may be a sign that the French system is in serious need of revision. “The French labor system is based on the flawed assumption that if everyone worked fewer hours, there would be more jobs to go around,” Zylberberg, an economist at the University of Paris I, told me. “It’s based on the idea that the job market is a zero-sum game in which the more one person works, the less is left for others. That’s simply wrong.” In 2000, France passed a law instituting a thirty-five-hour work week; since then, the number of hours has indeed gone down—but unemployment has gone up. Furthermore, Zylberberg said, his research shows that “in countries where businesses were free to stay open on Sundays or evenings, the retail sectors grew by three to ten per cent, which is not negligible.”
    Zylberberg and other economists also point to France’s generous pension system as a problem. France recently pushed its retirement age from sixty to sixty-two; there is already pressure on the left to move it back to sixty. With people increasingly living into their eighties and nineties, a low birth rate, and shrinking numbers of workers, the math clearly doesn’t add up. “The French model is not sustainable,” Zylberberg said.
    With unemployment rising in France, public opinion has gradually shifted on this and similar issues. In the mid-aughts, fifty-seven per cent of French people said they would prefer to have more leisure time than more money. Today, the percentage of those saying that they would give up more leisure for more money is growing, especially among the young. Perhaps that’s one reason that some of the people who are protesting the store closures include workers themselves, who, on Sundays, would prefer the cash to leisure time.
    The government of François Hollande is working this week to try to avoid a head-on collision with the retail stores. Zylberberg and his colleagues have a clever suggestion for the government: leave it up to mayors. This would facilitate a wonderful natural experiment in which the French could compare the outcome in cities that close their shops with the result in those that don’t. Leaving the decision to mayors would get the national government out of the uncomfortable position of having to choose between unions and big retail businesses. But that would run against the grain of France’s republican tradition, which is decidedly centralized, and based on the notion that we are in it together—whether we like it or not.

  3. Pilots elated over working hours vote, (9/30 late pickup) BreakingNews.ie
    BRUSSELS, European Union - MEPs [some members of the European Parliament] 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 [US Civil Aviation Authority], two pilots flying a British-operated Airbus cited extreme fatigue after having only five hours sleep over two days.
    Balpa [British Air Line Pilots Assoc.], a UK pilot's organisation, also published a survey last week saying more than half of pilots had fallen asleep during flights.


10/02/2013 – 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. Shutdown furloughs 70 percent of U.S. intelligence workers [& 80% of US intelligence in general?]- Officials say closure is ‘dreamland’ for foreign spies to recruit Americans, by Shaun Waterman, WashingtonTimes.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — U.S. intelligence agencies have had to furlough 70 percent of their civilian staff, including operations personnel, and the government shutdown makes employees easy targets for recruitment by enemy agents, officials said Wednesday.
    Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no choice but to follow the clear legal guidelines in determining who he could keep on the job.
    Staff could report for duty only if their job “is necessary to protect against imminent threat to life or property. And so our applying that standard is what resulted across the board in furloughing of roughly 70 percent,” Mr. Clapper said.
    Mr. Clapper’s spokesman, Shawn Turner, confirmed that the furloughs covered the full range of duties of staff across the sprawling collection of agencies that insiders call the intelligence community — including both operations and support personnel.
    “If there are people working on ongoing operations where [the target does not present] an imminent threat to life or property, some of those people have been furloughed,” Mr. Turner said.
    Mr. Clapper, the nation’s fourth director of national intelligence, also told Congress that the financial impact of being without wages would make intelligence staff more vulnerable to recruitment by America’s enemies.
    “This is a dreamland for foreign intelligence service to recruit, particularly as our employees already, many of whom were subject to furloughs driven by sequestration, are going to have, I believe, even greater financial challenges,” he warned.
    He said that his office was working to get counseling for employees “to help them manage their finances” as the shutdown dragged on.
    Mr. Clapper said the furloughs “seriously damage our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation and its citizens,” and he said decisions about which employees are reporting to work are reviewed daily.
    “We will have to shuffle people in and out depending on what we believe the concern of the day is,” he said.
    He said the longer the shutdown goes on, the more the danger builds.
    “So each day that goes by, the jeopardy increases,” he said.
    Testifying alongside Mr. Clapper, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, echoed that warning.
    The NSA had by law to focus on “the most specific threats against our nation” — which meant “the most significant counterterrorism and other threats that we see [and] the support to our military forces in Afghanistan and overseas,” he said.
    The shutdown “has had a huge impact on morale,” Gen. Alexander concluded.
    Republican senators at the hearing said Congress should pass a bill that would specifically fund the 16 agencies of the intelligence community and the civilian functions of the Pentagon. Both chambers this week already passed legislation, which President Obama signed, to exempt the military services from furloughs and other effects of the shutdown.
    [Another take on this -]
    GOP senator: NSA furloughs ‘scared the hell out of us’, by Adam Serwer, tv.msnbc.com
    National Intelligence Director James Clapper arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. U.S. intelligence officials say the government shutdown is seriously damaging the intelligence community’s ability to guard against threats. (photo caption) WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Thanks to the federal government shutdown, children are being denied head start meals, cancer patients are being turned away from clinics, and private companies in states with strict immigration laws are unable to hire new employees.
    None of that has budged right-wing factions of the Republican Party’s position that the Affordable Care Act should be delayed or repealed in exchange for funding the federal government, but during a Senate hearing Wednesday, one Senate Republican spoke out about the shutdown.
    “You scared the hell out of us!” South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told two of the nation’s top national security officials during a Senate hearing Wednesday. “I want the American people to know that there are shutdowns before 9/11 and there are shutdowns after 9/11! And there’s a huge difference.”
    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander were scheduled to testify before the Senate Wednesday about the NSA’s surveillance program and possible avenues for reform. Following a public backlash caused by leaks that showed the public was unaware of the scope of the government’s surveillance programs, several legislators have proposed far-reaching reforms to post-9/11 national security laws. But while both officials reiterated prior defenses of the NSA, the conversation swiftly veered into how the intelligence community was dealing with the government shutdown. More than 70% of federal workers in the intelligence community have been furloughed. “The damage will be insidious,” Clapper told the committee. “Each day that goes by, the jeopardy increases.”
    Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who for weeks urged Republicans to shut down the government rather than fund the Affordable Care Act, put the blame straight where he thought it belonged–on the president. “I don’t think President Obama should be playing politics with this,” said Cruz, who recently apologized for comparing a law extending health insurance to millions of Americans to the Bataan Death March, a Japanese war crime committed during World War II. “He should be stepping forward to address this problem right now.”
    Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley also seemed concerned about whether the shutdown would endanger national security. “Does America remain safe even with a shutdown?” He asked Clapper. “I don’t feel that I can make such a guarantee as each day of this shutdown goes by.”
    Clapper likely wouldn’t be able to “guarantee” American safety with or without the shutdown, but even with possibility that the intelligence community’s ability to prevent a terrorist attack could be diminished, Republicans are likely to remain focused on the real threat to the American way of life: The possibility that millions more Americans could end up with health insurance coverage.

  2. New protections against changing rosters and working hours, by Steven Troeth & Gisella D’Costa, Gadens Lawyers via (9/30>10/01 late pickup) Lexology.com (registration)
    CANBERRA, Capital Terr., Australia - Recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act) provide increased protections for employees, who will be entitled to the benefit of greater consultation in relation to proposed changes to their rosters and hours of work from 1 January 2014.
    What are the new rostering protections?
    Modern awards
    Modern awards will be varied with effect from 1 January 2014 to require employers to consult employees about changes to their regular rosters or ordinary hours of work. The amendments also allow employees to be represented for the purposes of such consultation. Employers will be required to provide information about the proposed change, invite employees to give their views about the impact of the proposed change (including any impact in relation to their family or caring responsibilities) and consider any views given by the employees about the impact of the change before implementing the change.
    Enterprise agreements
    All enterprise agreements made on or after 1 January 2014 must also include a consultation term that requires the employer to consult with employees about a proposed change to their regular roster or ordinary hours of work.
    This mandatory term will also require employers to provide employees with information about the change, invite the employees to give their views about the impact of the change (including any impact in relation to their family or caring responsibilities) and consider any views given by the employees about the impact of the change. It is presumed that the model consultation term (which applies where there is no consultation term in an enterprise agreement) will be varied to reflect these amendments, although it remains to be seen whether any changes to the model term would apply retrospectively.
    When will the new rostering protections apply?
    The new rostering protections will generally apply where any of the following industrial instruments apply to an employee:
    • a modern award that has been varied to include the new consultation term;
    • an enterprise agreement made before 1 January 2014 that incorporates a modern award as varied, amended or replaced from time to time (subject to any ‘inconsistency of provisions’ clause);
    • if variations to the model term apply retrospectively, an enterprise agreement made before 1 January 2014 that does not include a consultation term and to which the model consultation term applies; or
    • an enterprise agreement made after 1 January 2014.
    Impact on employers
    Employers will be required to genuinely consult with affected employees prior to making a decision to change their regular roster or ordinary hours of work. This will be a significant change for employers who are currently not subject to any such restrictions. The consultation obligation will apply regardless of whether an employee is permanent or casual, where the employee has an understanding of, and reliance on the fact that, their working arrangements are regular and systematic. The greatest impact of the change is likely to occur when employers wish to change the roster or working hours of part-time employees.
    Although the requirement to consult with employees does not mean that an employer must reach agreement with employees, consultation must be meaningful and may involve representatives of the affected employees. Employers will have to consider the impact of the changes on affected employees includingbut not limited to any impact on their family or carer’s responsibilities. This opens the prospect of discrimination claims being made against employers who make changes to an employee’s ordinary hours of work despite objection from employees on the grounds of family or carer’s responsibilities.
    Failure to comply with the new consultation obligations will amount to a breach of the modern award or enterprise agreement exposing the employer to penalties under the Act.
    Lessons for employers
    In preparation for the changes, employers should:
    • Consider whether the increased roster and change of hours protections will apply to any of their employees
    • Keep track of the variations to relevant modern awards (including any modern award that is incorporated in the employer’s enterprise agreement) and the model consultation term
    • Be aware that, if they are currently in the process of negotiating an enterprise agreement, the new rostering and change of hours protections must be included in the agreement (unless the agreement will be made by 31 December 2013)
    • Review their employment documents, including policies and procedures concerning changes to regular rosters and ordinary hours of work, to ensure that they will comply with the new obligations from 1 January 2014 vv Ensure that they comply with the new consultation obligations. While consultation does not require an employer to agree with the affected employees, consultation must be meaningful.


10/01/2013 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from today will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Low paid workers face losing wages and having to pay extra for healthcare as employers cut hours to dodge Obamacare payments, by Sara Malm, London Daily Mail via dailymail.co.uk
    • Nationwide companies are cutting hours for workers to avoid payments
    • Under the Affordable Care Act they will have to pay health cover for staff working over 30 hours
    • Forever 21, SeaWorld and Trader Joe's have all announced cuts
    Forever 21-hours: The clothing chain announced that it will make cuts to benefits and pay for hundreds of its employees in a staff memo leaked in August to keep them under the 30-hour mark (photo 1 caption)
    Financial nightmare: President Obama announces the government shutdown caused by the Senate and the House failing to agree on the health care reforms (photo 2 caption)
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Employers across the US are cutting hours for workers in order to avoid paying for their health insurance.
    Under the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, companies with more than 50 employees are required to offer health insurance to staff working over 30 hours per week.
    This will hit low-paid workers on hourly wages the hardest as they fear smaller pay checks, as well as higher health premiums.

    [And therefore it will hit consumer spending and all other markets the hardest. So it's happening anyway but definitely not a good way that maintains personal income and consumer spending and general market dynamism. This is more of what comes of putting benefits per person, or pay, or anything else, before worktime per person. The power elite have been carefully avoiding the subject of lowering the workweek while heightening technology now for 83 years, after their eventually successful campaign in the 1920s to substitute the Gospel of Consumption for more of the most basic freedom, Free Time. Cry the beloved country! The once-great USofA, fragged by Bill Clinton's failure to veto the repeal of the great Glass-Steagall Banking Act in 1999, and by absolutely everything in the Baby Bush regime, and by the leadership vacuum of the Obama years thus far, is entering the Big Chute to Failed-State Status. America's plutocrats have just drifted off too-far too-fast on their own planet. The Problem is not at the bottom but the top. And one gentle, market-oriented way out is to federalize worksharing and move on quickly to timesizing.]
    As several companies deny that the new legislation has been a factor in their decision to cut hours, many workers now fear a double hit on both pay and benefits.
    The legislation, said to be behind today's government shutdown, will see companies face a fine of $2,000 per full-time employee lest they pay for their health cover.
    The Affordable Care Act, a health reform commonly referred to as Obamacare, opens for enrollment today and comes into force on January, 2014.
    As a result, many companies are looking for a way to avoid both health payments and fines and have simply slashed hours for their employees.
    These include international high-street clothing brand Forever 21, which will cut hours for hundreds of their employees according to a leaked staff memo, and grocery chain Trader Joe's which will cut benefits for all employees working less than 30 hours a week, replacing it with a $500 check to pay for coverage.
    Depending on income earned outside of Trader Joe’s, we believe that with the $500 from Trader Joe’s and the tax credits available under the ACA, many crew members should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little, if any, net cost,’ the 400-store chain said in a statement last month.
    Other companies cutting hours and benefits include tourist favourite SeaWorld, logistics giant UPS and multi-national computer firm IBM which announced it will end their health plan for over 100,000 retiring employees.
    Smaller businesses are following in their footsteps with 50 per cent admitting that they will cut the number of full-time employees or reduce their hours in order to avoid paying for health insurance.
    In a July survey from the U.S. Chamber of commerce, only 30 per cent of small businesses said they were prepared for Obamacare, LA Times reported.
    As a result of the ACA, about 27 per cent of small businesses intend to cut hours to reduce full-time employees and 23 per cent plan to replace them will part-time workers.
    In addition, 24 per cent will reduce the number of staff hired, saying the healthcare bill is their biggest obstacle to hiring more employees, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said.
    The Democrat heavy Senate’s battle against the Republican majority House of Representatives resulted in a standoff which led to a government shut-down at midnight on Tuesday.
    Lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled Congress failed to pass a budget allowing for the federal government to continue to be funded as it headed into the new fiscal year at midnight.
    Late-night negotiations ended in deadlock after the Senate Democrats refused to consider any version of the budget that included changes to President Obama's signature health care law.
    This lack of compromise means that nearly a million federal workers will go on unpaid leave until the two legislative bodies come to an agreement.
    [And have our overpaid and underperforming economists anything to add from their useless econometric models about what percent this will weaken the markets and the economy at large?]
    More...
    • Shutdown: Hundreds of thousands will go without pay as federal government loses funding for the first time in 17 years, following Republicans' last-ditch effort to arrange a budget compromise with Senate Democrats
      [Uh, has the Daily Mail been taken in by the insanely smooth GOP spindoctors? Shouldn't this read, "following Republicans' "beast"-starving sabotage effort to prevent a budget compromise with Senate Democrats" - as in yesterday's NY Times editorial headline, "The House rushes to a shutdown - Scorning the impending deadline, Republicans pile high the ideological demands".]
    • Boehner makes fun of Obama on the House floor by impersonating the President during the final hours of the shutdown debate
      [Boener is the bane of his own existence. This useless flipflopping morceau de merde who can't seem to get a boner on when his country calls should be banished.]
    • Obamacare's insurance marketplace goes live despite Government shutdown
    • FAA furloughs thousands of airline safety inspectors

  2. Shutdown furloughs 800000 federal workers, by Laura Meckler, MarketWatch.com
    [But technically a "furlough" has a definite and defined end. This does not. So we can't chant our usual taunt: "It's happening anyway but not the best way." So it's really technically a "layoff" without predetermined end but with guaranteed rehiring (though dressed up as a temporary "furlough"), but not yet a "firing" with no predetermined end and no rehiring.]
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The federal government’s forced shutdown of vast swaths of its operations will send more than 800,000 federal workers home without pay, close national parks and cripple some programs, while leaving essential services up and running.
    When no budget deal was reached in Congress by the midnight deadline, workers were set to report to their agencies Tuesday morning for a half-day of shutdown preparations, including posting “closed” signs and securing computers. Workers were instructed to record voice-mail messages and post alerts on Facebook and Twitter notifying the public of closures.
    Many furloughed workers would have up to four hours to wrap things up and then be sent home until further notice. They would be barred from using official smartphones or otherwise working, as long as the budget impasse persists.
    At national parks, rangers prepared to advise most overnight campers that they have 48 hours to leave. All but essential roads across federal lands would be closed to traffic.
    A Wall Street Journal review of agencies’ shutdown plans found that more than 818,000 workers would be furloughed. In all, the federal government employs just under 2.9 million civilian employees.
    The impact of a government shutdown varies widely by agency. Some, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, were sending almost everybody home. Others, like the Justice Department, said the vast majority of its workers were essential to protect life and property, and would stay on the job.
    President Barack Obama laid out the impact in a late-afternoon appearance at the White House Monday. Social Security checks would be mailed, he said, and air-traffic controllers, prison guards and border-patrol agents would stay on the job. But other functions would cease.
    “Veterans, who’ve sacrificed for their country, will find their support centers unstaffed,” the president said. “Tourists will find every one of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, immediately closed.”
    About half of all Pentagon workers would be furloughed. Other agencies, such as the State Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, have enough money left in most of their accounts to stay open for at least several days.

  3. Doctors stand firm as strike set to go ahead, by Luke Byrne, Herald.ie
    DUBLIN, Ireland - The row over working hours for junior doctors rumbled on today as the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) refused to back down on its threat of strike action.
    Junior doctors have now warned that public hospitals across the country will be hit by strike action next Tuesday.
    The action was due to go ahead last Wednesday but was suspended to allow for talks to go ahead at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).
    But after considering the HSE plans, the doctors' union described them as inadequate and refused to put them to a vote.
    It has emerged that the IMO's threat of industrial action is focusing on the HSE's refusal to impose sanctions on hospitals that failed to meet the agreed working hours.
    However the HSE today stood by its decision not to impose financial sanctions on hospitals and said the proposed strike action would cause serious problems for patients.
    SANCTIONS
    "The industrial action proposed for next Tuesday will not advance the process of improving the working conditions for NCHDs but will seriously discommode the general public," the HSE's Barry O'Brien told RTE's Morning Ireland.
    However the IMO today said it was adamant that financial sanctions must be imposed.
    When the strike action goes ahead, hospitals will be reduced to emergency cover only by the medics in some areas and weekend staffing in others.
    The HSE said it was extremely disappointed at the decision to serve strike notice yesterday.
    "Significant progress has been achieved at the LRC recently and this progress was subsequently confirmed and acknowledged by the IMO following that engagement," Mr O'Brien said.
    "Proceeding with strike action at this time will only serve to create significant disruption for patients."
    He called on the IMO to reconsider its position and to allow the process as set out in the management proposals to reduce the working hours.
    The doctors would benefit through the implementation of these proposals which would see the rollout of a shift system that will not exceed 24 hours.
    hnews@herald.ie




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