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Timesizing News, May, 2014
[Commentary] ©2014 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Harvard Sq PO Box 117, Cambridge MA 02238 USA 617-623-8080


5/30-31/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Virginia Becomes 28th State to Enact Work-Sharing Program to Help Employers Avoid Layoffs, 5/30 National Employment Law Projectational Employment Law Project (NELP press release) via noodls.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - For Immediate Release: May 30, 2014
    Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed into law legislation that will make Virginia the 28th state in the nation to establish a work-sharing unemployment insurance program. Virginia's actions follow closely on the heels of similar legislation signed by Governor Dave Heineman in Nebraska last month.
    Work-sharing is a common-sense form of unemployment insurance that businesses can use to avert layoffs during difficult economic times. It is a voluntary program that enables workers to keep their jobs during a temporary downturn while employers retain skilled workers that won't need to be trained when business picks up.
    Under work-sharing, a business that is considering lay-offs to cut costs can instead reduce the schedules of a larger number of employees (typically by one day, or 20 percent), who receive prorated salaries and a partial unemployment benefit to help make up for lost pay. Opting for work- sharing instead of full layoffs allows the business to reduce its costs by the same amount as if there had been a layoff, while preserving jobs, income security for workers, and a skilled workforce for the employer. And it makes resuming full operations much easier once the need to cut costs has passed.
    Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, applauded the actions of Nebraska and Virginia: "Work-sharing is that rare program that is a win-win-win. It's good for workers who keep their jobs and their health insurance and retirement benefits. It's good for employers who retain their workforce and don't have to incur the costs of hiring and training new employees when business bounces back. And it's good for the economy when families don't have to sustain the hit of a lost paycheck, and people can still make their rent or mortgage payments and spend on essentials with local merchants."
    Since 2010, 11 states and the District of Columbia have passed work-sharing legislation. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that work-sharing has saved over half a million jobs nationally since 2008. Two years ago, Congress passed the Layoff Prevention Act of 2012, which provides financial incentives for states to adopt and update work-sharing programs. To qualify for those federal grants, however, states need to enact work-sharing laws before the end of 2014. Work-sharing legislative proposals are currently pending in the Illinois and North Carolina legislatures.
    Work-sharing was first authorized as an experimental program by the Reagan Administration in 1982. About one-third of the states adopted programs in the 1980s and early 1990s, but it only garnered real attention in the states when the Great Recession hit. Between 2007 and 2009, employers in the 17 states with work-sharing increased their usage by tenfold. Businesses that were-often for the first time-facing the painful decision to lay off workers sought out work-sharing as an alternative that would enable them to hold onto valued employees until things got better. Economists who have studied the use of work-sharing in Germany during the recession have credited the program with keeping that country's unemployment rate lower than other European nations and the United States, even though its economy performed similarly.
    Work-sharing has broad support from across the political spectrum. In an important 2012 commentary entitled, "The Human Disaster of Unemployment," economists Kevin Hassett from the conservative American Enterprise Institute and Dean Baker from the liberal Center for Economic Policy Research agreed that state work-sharing programs could actually help keep unemployment rates down in future recessions. "This [work-sharing] should slow job destruction in those states, which will improve chances for all workers seeking employment. From now on, the first line of defense during a recession should be to expand work sharing . . . ."
    Contact: Emma Stieglitz, emmaS@berlinrosen.com, (646) 200-5307.
    For more information about work-sharing, visit NELP's resource page at www.nelp.org/work-sharing.
    The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit www.nelp.org.
    NELP, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 601, New York, NY 10038 ? 212-285-3025.

  2. St. Augustine's announces layoffs, furloughs, 5/31`AP via RockyMountTelegram.com
    RALEIGH, N.C., USA – St. Augustine’s University is instituting layoffs and furloughs for its employees, which could save the cash-strapped school $1 million.
    Interim President Everett Ward met with employees Thursday to announce the job restructuring. The move includes 10 percent of the work force moving to 10-month employment instead of year-round. Four percent of the university’s positions will be eliminated.
    The university will furlough most employees for one week beginning July 7 after summer school ends. Some campus departments will alternate furloughs among employees to remain in operation. The employees moving to 10-month status will begin their schedule Thursday and come back to work Aug. 1.
    [Better furloughs than firings, and generally, the more furloughs the less layoffs = timesizing not downsizing.]
    Two federal agencies are reviewing how the school handles grants. A regional accrediting agency is looking at the school’s finances.


5/28-29/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Luxembourg labour market: 1800 employees on reduced working hours, 5/28 Luxemburger Wort - English Edition via wort.lu/en
    LUXEMBOURG - A Luxembourg economic committee has granted 20 applications by companies based in the Grand Duchy to place workers under reduced working hours.
    A total of 29 applications were filed in May, compared to 33 in April, but only 20 were given the go-ahead by government authorities.
    Out of a total number of 3,299 employees at the 20 companies, some 1,800 will work under reduced working hours starting June, with the state compensating workers for lost wages.
    The measure is aimed at helping businesses who are experiencing financial difficulties, either because of a difficult economic climate or structural issues. Companies need to re-apply on a monthly basis.

  2. Camanche Plant Cutting Hours, 5/28 KLJB.com
    CAMANCHE, Iowa, USA - The TMK IPSCO plant in Camanche is cutting back working hours and there's concern for job loss.
    The company's CEO says the cutbacks are stemming from what they believe is unfairly traded imports, specifically products used in the energy industry for down hole drilling.
    Right now they're involved in a major trade case in the US against nine countries, the biggest competitor being Korea.
    "We are certainly concerned," TMK IPSCO CEO Dave Mitch said. "We have to take short term action, however in terms of fighting for fair trade is really for the long term good of American manufacturing jobs."
    Mitch says they believe these foreign countries are exporting products that are "below cost", meaning they aren't making a profit. He says if this continues it could drive American manufacturing out of business.
    Mitch says they are assessing cutbacks on a week-by-week basis in Camanche but no lay-offs have been made or scheduled as of right now.

  3. November ballot initiatives include redistricting, soda tax, employee work hours, by Sophie Mattson, 5/29 Daily Californian via dailycal.org
    SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - So far this election season, measures aimed at advocating workers, tackling redistricting and taxing soda are among those slated to appear on the November ballot.
    Last week, a measure advocating more flexible work weeks for employees garnered enough signatures to appear on the ballot. If passed, the Flexible Work Time Initiative would advise the city of Berkeley to pass laws that would make it easier for employees to request flexible work hours or part-time schedules.
    “Right now, there are a lot of large businesses that have a policy of not allowing a lot of part-time workers, and if a law like this were passed, it would be much easier for employees to request part-time work,” said Charles Siegel, the organizer of the initiative.
    According to Siegel, this initiative is based on similar laws that exist in the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands, which establish the right to request a flexible work week. In 2013, a similar law was passed in San Francisco.
    After a legal battle over the redrawing of electoral boundaries, Berkeley voters will also decide this November whether to approve or deny a set of new district lines implemented in late April.
    These new lines would make District 7 into a student supermajority district, with 86 percent of its population being student-aged residents. They were subject to a referendum, however, by those who believed that the lines unfairly removed blocks of Northside residences from the district.
    At the same time, there may be a provision in the ballot to amend the city charter to allow for an independent redistricting commission made up of city residents to draw new district lines. Currently, the City Council votes on its own lines.
    “It is clear that trusting politicians who stand to benefit from the electoral boundaries that they are drawing creates inherent conflict,” said Councilmember Jesse Arreguin. “It is better to create an independent process that is insulated from the City Council in which the citizens themselves have the power to draw the lines.”
    The council is set to discuss this amendment at its Tuesday meeting.
    The council also voted to consider putting a soda tax on the ballot, which stipulates that there will be a one-cent tax on every ounce of sugar-sweetened beverages sold.
    Councilmember Laurie Capitelli, who has been an advocate for the tax, said it is necessary because of the correlation between the consumption of sugar and the rise of Type 2 diabetes. The council plans to further discuss the details of the tax Tuesday.
    Contact Sophie Mattson at smattson@dailycal.org.
    Comments
    Charles_Siegel • 2 days ago
    Thanks for covering the Flexible Work Time Initiative. Let me add that 1) this is an advisory initiative asking both the city and the state to pass "right-to-request" laws 2) small businesses would be exempted, as in San Francisco 3) Vermont and San Francisco both passed this sort of law in 2013.
    For more information, see our web site at www.flexibleworktime.com. If you want to keep up with news about the initiative, follow the links to get on our email list or to "like" us on Facebook.
    Finally, let me summarize the benefits of flexible work time:
    Stronger Families: Our standard 40-hour week dates back to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, when families were expected to have stay-at-home mothers. Today, most American families with children have no stay-at-home parent, and 90% of those families say that they have trouble balancing the demands of work and family. To balance work and family obligations, today's parents need more flexibility than father needed 75 years ago.
    A Cleaner Environment: If people choose to work less and consume less, they will pollute less (all else being equal). If Americans worked as few hours as western Europeans, it would lower our energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and the reduction would become larger with time.
    More Jobs: Employers would hire more people to backfill for those who cut their hours. In the Netherlands, they say that increased part-time work was the main cause of what they call the "Dutch employment miracle," when unemployment fell from 13% in the mid-1980s to 6.7% in 1996, the lowest level in Western Europe at the time.
    On www.flexibleworktime.com the first thing you will see is a brief video that will give you a more complete explanation of the provisions and goals of the initiative.


5/25-26-27/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Japan's new Mountain Day holiday might help erode mountain of overwork [or clearer, relieve Japan's many overworkers], by Mike Sarzo, 5/25 AllVoices.com
    GLENN DALE, Maryld., USA - The United States and Japan are two countries that have some vastly different cultural histories but have one thing in common: Overwork.
    According to an article by Eric Pfeiffer that was published Saturday on Yahoo News, Japan just implemented a new holiday scheduled to begin its first observation in 2016.
    Mountain Day will be observed for the first time on Aug. 11 that year.
    That would mark the 16th official holiday in Japan, which already leads the developed world. The US has 10.
    “The meaning of Mountain Day is to have an opportunity to become closer to mountains
    and give thanks to their blessings,” the bill that established the holiday read. It was approved Friday as expected.
    However, Friday’s Diplomat story on Mountain Day’s implementation suggests another reason besides simply celebrating the beauty of Japan’s mountains for the new holiday. A Wall Street Journal survey reported that the average Japanese worker takes only 8.6 days of personal vacation a year.
    “In Japan, there is of course paid vacation, but people don’t take it,” said Rep. Seishiro Eto, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives in the Diet, the country’s national legislature. He represents the Oita Prrefecture as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan.
    To illustrate how difficult the task of keeping the notoriously hardworking Japanese people from going to the office, quotes in the Wall Street Journal’s report about the new holiday demonstrate the challenges inherent in Japan’s culture.
    “Many Japanese people don’t understand that paid annual leave is their right,” said Hirokuni Ikezoe, a senior researcher at the Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training. Ikezoe said Japanese workers are reluctant to burden colleagues with extra work and leaving one’s desk unoccupied while the boss is there is frowned upon.
    “It’s hard to take days off,” said Mizue Narusawa, a Tokyo office worker quoted in The Wall Street Journal story. “Even one day off, and the next day you have to apologize and say, ‘excuse me for being out.’”
    Japanese legislators apparently operated on the theory that injecting an additional legal holiday would allow people to get extra rest because other people would not be reporting to the office.
    “They shut down the office, nobody’s working. Ergo, there’s no stigma,” said Jon Messenger, a researcher at the International Labor Organization in Geneva.

    The United States has its own set of challenges when it comes to vacation time. Even though American workers on average take 10 of the 14 paid vacation days they’re typically allotted, a 2013 study conducted by Expedia.com reports that even that ratio still amounts to over 500 million unused annual vacation days.
    We may not have the same issues when it comes to a culture of overwork in the way Japan does, but it does seem as though overwork is also an American value. A commercial for the Cadillac ELR that aired during the Winter Olympics showed a man who extolled the virtues of hard work, setting up the contrast with other countries where people “stroll home, they stop by the café, they take August off.”
    “Why aren’t you like that? Why aren’t WE like that?” the man intones. “Because we’re crazy, driven hard-working believers, that’s why.”
    Lest anyone think that American hard work means we’re more productive in the office, Pfeiffer wrote that, “French workers have the highest amount of guaranteed time off of any major industrialized nation, yet their worker productivity is also among the world’s highest.”
    A French economist also challenged the notion of longer hours meaning more productivity.
    “When you have a longer working day, at some point because you’re becoming tired, it decreases your productivity,” Renaud Bourlès said, according to BusinessWeek. Compared to the often-celebrated 40-hour workweek in the United States, France has a 35-hour workweek. Sweden is looking into the possibility of reducing the standard workday to six hours, thus reducing its typical workweek to 30 hours.
    Studies have shown productivity begin to wane after six hours for manual laborers and five to six hours for whom Allvoices anchor Herbert Dyer, Jr. called “knowledge workers,” who “sit at desks and deal with words and data.”
    To quote Sara Robinson, who wrote an article called “Bring back the 40-hour week,” about the effect of long hours on worker productivity, “after six hours, all [the boss has] really got left is a butt in a chair.”
    The renowned celebration of overwork highlighted in the Cadillac commercial presents another problem: The issue of work-life balance has been one that’s been discussed for quite a while. Stories of fathers missing a daughter’s game or a son’s recital or mothers working two jobs and not being able to take their children to after school activities, let alone be there to cheer them on have become all too common.
    An article in TheNextWeb.com reporting on the top five regrets people have on their deathbed lists the second big regret as, “I wish I didn’t work so hard.”
    “This came from every male patient that I nursed,” wrote Bonnie Ware, who cared for dying patients for five years, in a commentary on the subject on her website. “They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.” She said women also had the same regret, but it was acute in men who were breadwinners.
    “All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much time of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
    To put it more acutely, I remember seeing something that said people never said “gee, if I’d only spent more time at the office” on their deathbed.
    It will be a welcome change for Japan to implement another holiday and get their famously overworked citizenry time away from work. We should look to the rest of the industrialized world for examples in improving the balance between working hard and enjoying life.
    Perhaps then, we’ll live with the maxim that we’re not working harder, we’re working smarter.
    Mike Sarzo is based in Glenn Dale, Maryland, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.

  2. The Maine Labor Market, Say's Law, and the Lump of Labor Fallacy Fallacy, by John Haskell (not to be confused with Kevin Hassett, Dean Baker's conservative ally in D.C.), 5/25 Bangor Daily News (BDN) via pinetreeconomics.bangordailynews.com
    BANGOR, Maine, USA - John Buell’s op-ed published in the BDN last week highlighted the effectiveness of work sharing in Germany to suppress unemployment amid slow economic growth. Likewise, as Paul Krugman recently noted, France has also been able to buoy it’s labor market, but does not note that the country has done this through similar practices as the Germans. The reason for Krugman’s omission is likely intentional, as economist Tom Walker points out, he has not been a fan of work sharing programs. From Walker [Tom Walker of Vancouver BC - click & search on Walker], quoting from two Krugman articles; one from 2003, and one from 2014:
    Paul Krugman in 2003: "Traditionally, it is a fallacy of the economically naïve left — for example, four years ago France’s Socialist government tried to create more jobs by reducing the length of the workweek."
    Paul Krugman in 2014: "Well, I hadn’t looked at this data for a while; and where we are now is quite stunning: [from graph: employment 1999 France 77.3%, U.S. 81.8; employment 2014 France 80.8%, U.S. 75.8%]
    “Since the late 1990s we have completely traded places: prime-age French adults are now much more likely than their US counterparts to have jobs.
    “Strange how amid the incessant bad-mouthing of French performance this fact never gets mentioned.”
    Now that you’ve mentioned this fact, Paul, how about revisiting the cogency of the lump-of-labor fallacy claim?
    “Economists call it the 'lump of labor fallacy.' It’s the idea that there is a fixed amount of work to be done in the world, so any increase in the amount each worker can produce reduces the number of available jobs. (A famous example: those dire warnings in the 1950?s that automation would lead to mass unemployment.) As the derisive name suggests, it’s an idea economists view with contempt, yet the fallacy makes a comeback whenever the economy is sluggish.”

    In the last paragraph, Krugman is echoing the criticism a lot have for work-sharing programs because, as Krugman notes, it assumes [the supposedly stupid idea] that there is a finite amount of work to be done.
    [But that supposedly stupid idea is only false if you have the really stupid idea either that work doesn't have to be paid for or that the infinite amount of work that could be done is matched by an infinite amount of willingness to pay for it and make it really qualify as "work."]
    Other instances where the lump of labor fallacy is discussed is when policymakers suggest lowering the retirement age to move older workers out of the labor force and move younger workers into their place to lower unemployment of younger workers. Similarly, those who oppose automation are said to be committing the fallacy. Perhaps the most used illustrations of the lump of labor fallacy are [A] the Luddites of the 18th century, skilled workers who destroyed the machines that were to replace them for fear of unemployment, and [B] farming, where through the introduction of mechanized farm equipment the percentage of America’s labor force working in agriculture fell from 41% in 1900 to 2% in 2000 while increasing output.
    Those like Krugman who suggest that the idea of a limited amount of work [is false] often note that while automation did displace workers (such as the Luddites and farmhands), it allowed those workers to seek employment in other areas [or to "choose" impoverished idleness?]. For instance, without moving 38% of the labor force off of the farms and into other sectors, we might not have any number of industries providing any number of goods and services [although we did consider that we had that before the big move off the farms]. However, the representation of those who support work-sharing and similar programs to address unemployment offered by those like Krugman overly-simply the rationales underpinning work-sharing and similar programs; the issue is not whether there are other jobs that could be done for those displaced workers, rather, the issue is whether there is demand for labor in those other jobs/industries.
    [Good point, because if those other industries are just doing displaced jobseekers a favor, you better believe they are going to offer lower and lower pay.]
    Markets exist because their are two entities; suppliers and consumers. Without one or the other, there is no market. In the case of displaced workers, there is obvious supply (displaced workers), but there is not necessarily demand for that supply. Krugman and others are themselves making a fundamental flaw by assuming Say’s Law – that supply creates its own demand [by lowering prices]; that those displaced workers will create a demand for their labor [which sometimes happens by lowering labor prices = wages]. The problem with Say’s Law is that it assumes there can never be overproduction [or oversupply...of labor, or that labor surplus takeup via lower wages can never mean less spending and weaker demand and underconsumption, and get into a self-fueling downspiral]. This, of course, fails the empirical test.
    So, Krugman and others suggesting that policies calling for work-sharing to decrease unemployment adhere to the lump of labor fallacy is in turn a fallacy of it’s own; the lump of labor fallacy fallacy. But why do I mention this in the context of the Maine labor market? Simple.
    In an op-ed published this morning, the Portland Press Herald writes:
    There are many reasons Maine will never be like Utah, which consistently ranks at the top of the business-climate rankings that rarely reflect well on this state. . . . But the lesson from Utah is that Maine must find an area of common agreement – however narrow – and make a long-term commitment to making it successful. The most reasonable place to start is with higher education [wrong - too many unemployed graduates already]. Calculated, sustained investment is necessary in this area to build a better workforce, and to fuel the state economy. [This op-ed must be written by a self-serving professor who's getting nervous about his/her shrinking enrollment.]
    Speaking last week at the annual conference of the Maine Real Estate and Development Association, Alan Hall, an entrepreneur and “angel” investor from Utah, said his state has set a goal to have 66 percent of all adults hold a college degree or technical certificate by 2020. That’s lofty, as no other state has reached that level. Utah, at 43 percent, is in the middle of the pack nationwide, but climbing, with state colleges and universities increasing the number of degrees awarded by about 4 percent each of the past three years.
    [Colleges and universities have just become another impotent makework campaign designed to "keep jobseekers out of the job market as long as possible, please!"]
    Maine’s rate is around 38 percent, below the New England average. An effort launched in 2004 aimed to increase the rate to 56 percent by 2020, though that effort was repurposed by a new coalition last year, with the reformed goal of 50 percent. It wouldn’t be easy to hit even that lower target under normal circumstances, and the higher education situation in Maine is hardly normal. Maine’s financial support for higher education has been declining steadily for years. According to a report by the Mitchell Institute, a group concerned with raising college aspirations for Maine students, state spending on higher education as a percentage of personal income has dropped 40 percent since 1990, and it is at its lowest level since 1967.
    Raising the state’s financial commitment to its colleges and universities is only part of creating a more highly skilled workforce. Too many Maine students come out of high school unprepared for the next level, a problem that demands reform stretching back to early education.
    By failing to invest properly in the state’s higher education system, however, Maine is playing a long, drawn-out, losing game. Only by taking seriously the state’s commitment to its higher institutions of learning can Maine expect to raise personal incomes and provide businesses with the manpower necessary to grow. That’s something everyone can get behind.
    [Not really. College education is much less efficient than on-the-job training, and even than apprenticeship. A radical rethink is required, along the lines of pervasive conversion of chronic overtime into overtime-targeted and -funded and -paced training and hiring. More ivory tower jobs is an extremely indirect way of generating jobs and spending and prosperity.]
    While the op-ed speaks of calculated investments in education, it only addresses increasing the supply of degree holders in the labor force. Because the article fails to address what other areas aside from increasing the number of degree holders require investment, one is left to conclude that increasing the number of degree holders is the key to fueling the economy; which, as noted above, is a faulty economic premise to build policy from because there is such a thing as over-production. Discussions about the supply of labor without any acknowledgement of whether there is adequate demand for that supply are incomplete.
    [Cambridge Mass. is the poster child for an oversupply of degree holders - even cab drivers have PhDs. Another place like that is Iceland. Yet with all these "smart" people, four of their bankers were still stupid enough to jeopardize their whole little country.]
    As I previously discussed, many discussions regarding the need to boost the number of degree holders in Maine’s labor force are premised on the Carnevale report, that drastically overstates the demand for those degrees, and impliedly argues that supply will create its own demand [=Say's Law again, which should be called Say's Fallacy, while the Lump of Labor Fallacy should be called the Diminishing Employment Truism]. In Maine, that argument is echoed far too often, if only impliedly.
    [Amen to that. Nice work, John!]
    About John Haskell - John graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Political Science, and from the University of Maine School of Law. He has worked in both the public and private sectors, and currently, works with a small business services company in the Mid-Coast area.

  3. A 35-hour workweek all over France? It's just a bar above which overtime or leave can be claimed, by By Cai Haoxiang, 5/26 BTinvest.com.sg
    SINGAPORE - A Citadines serviced apartment housekeeper in France at The Ascott Ltd, the largest Singapore employer there, takes home about 20,000 euros (S$34,127) a year.
    But after tagging on social security dues like on healthcare, family benefits, as well as unemployment insurance and pension contributions, Ascott pays about 30,000 euros a year, said Lee Sym Keun, Ascott's senior vice-president of asset management and business development in Europe.
    Still, he does not begrudge the French government the money. Having matters like healthcare taken care of ultimately helps the employee, and a satisfied employee will stay for longer, he said.
    "All in, the take-home income might seem low, overall costs might seem high. But somebody has to finance this benefit," he said.
    "When you invest in one country, I don't believe we should look at one specific factor. In Germany, the cost of labour is as high as France. Belgium is higher, Denmark is much higher, the United Kingdom is lower.
    "But again, through all these benefits, you get an employee who is benefiting from the health coverage. When he says he's sick, you don't need to worry too much.
    "I prefer to have employees who can benefit from free medical coverage than worry whether we, as an employer of choice, need to do something."
    To outsiders as well as those living in the country, France's labour costs are a subject of discussion and sometimes ridicule.
    Anecdotally, there are stories about the arguably infamous, legally-passed 35-hour workweek, as well as the acquis, a French word describing acquired benefits and the spirit of entitlement surrounding them.
    "It is difficult to hire French people. They want a lot of money and don't want to do a lot of work," complained an Italian restaurant owner, who has spent 30 years in France, to BT.
    Charlotte, a dentistry student who is working part time as a tour guide driving a "cyclopolitain" rickshaw-like vehicle in Lyon, said younger dentists want to work a few days a week, and take the rest of the time off - possibly because they could earn enough to get by.
    People have also been affected by the eurozone economic crisis, she said. "Even if you work a lot, you won't earn much."
    When told of the Singaporean tendency to work 12 hours a day, she quipped: "If the French had to work 12 hours a day, there would be another revolution."
    Of course, many French do not work just 35 hours a week.
    According to Eurostat, managers in France worked an average of 44.6 hours a week in the fourth quarter of 2012, ahead of the UK (43.6) and Germany (43.1). The number for employees was 36.5.
    The 35-hour limit is just a bar above which overtime can be claimed, or converted to leave.

    At software company Esker, engineers work 60 hours a week but get seven weeks of vacation in return, said CEO Jean-Michel Berard.
    The system can be taken advantage of. A fund manager claimed that a friend, working in financial services, was put on a French contract with 40 days of holiday a year. He accrued an extra 20 days of holiday by working extra hours, sold the leave back to the company, and used the money to pay for his 40-day vacation.
    "The whole thing cost him nothing. He said it was ridiculous."
    Still, there are advantages to recruiting in France, particularly in the field of engineering and programming.
    The grass is not greener on the other side of the pond, pointed out Mr Berard of Esker, a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) which employs 300 people.
    "If you want to find good skilled people, France is a good place," he said.
    Esker once set up a small office in California, and "it was tough to recruit even technical support" given the competition for talent against far larger companies like Oracle, Google or SAP.
    But in Lyon, France's second-largest city, Esker could find master's degree holders, he said.
    "The cost of living is still reasonable particularly in a city like Lyon, and we're in the centre of a huge European market."
    The French government is looking at cutting corporate taxes and labour costs in its recent announcements.
    Constant tax and labour law changes confuse, and are a hassle for business, he admitted.
    To him, the system of social entitlements means a lower take-home pay for his staff.
    "We have consultants doing software implementation everywhere in the world. Surprisingly, if you take the salary of a Singaporean, German, UK and French consultant, the total cost for the company is the same, plus or minus 5 per cent, for people of the same profile," he said.
    "But the social charges are so high that the French people receive a lower salary. So it doesn't harm the business, it harms the employee - though in exchange they have strong social security and other benefits.

  4. 4 Day Workweeks, The Trend That Will Save Us All, by Jacob Shriar, 5/27 Business2Community.com
    MONTRÉAL, Québec - Employers should be offering 4 day workweeks.
    I know this might seem radical to some, but I’ll try and prove to you in this post that not only is this possible, but you might achieve better results as a company if you give employees an extra day off.

    There are a few forward-thinking companies that are already starting to pick up on this trend, and they will end up having first-mover advantage.
    One of the companies I’ll talk about today is already taking employees away from Facebook and Google just because of their relaxed work environment.
    I can tell you personally, that it bothers me that we still all go to offices for a large part of our day.
    Related Resources from B2C
    » Free Webcast: Marketing Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards
    With all the advancements in technology, it seems to me like we haven’t fully caught on yet.
    Realistically, I could do all of my work from home. And even if you try and argue about the social aspect, we could always chat on Skype or Sqwiggle if we wanted to.
    As radical as a 4 day workweek seems, think about Tim Ferris’s best-selling book The 4 Hour Workweek.
    Imagine only working half a day out of the whole week. This book really breaks down how he actually does it, but I won’t even go that far.
    For this post, I’ll just argue for taking one day off.
    The Case Against The 4 Day Workweek
    Before I really get started, I think it might be fair to talk about why companies might be against a 4 day workweek.
    There are a few reasons that I can think of, but it’s important that I say some businesses might think that they can’t operate this way because of the line of work they’re in.
    For example, if you’re in a call center or shipping warehouse, you can’t shut the place down for a day.
    You could easily create shifts though, and have some people take Monday off, and some people take Friday off, allowing everyone to have a 4 day workweek.
    This might lead to another problem I see, which is the complexity it adds in tracking and managing schedules. It’s possible the companies don’t see the added value in offering that. To me, it’s totally worth it.
    Another problem I could see companies having, and this is probably the biggest one, is they can’t make the link between giving their employees downtime, and them being more productive.
    This frustrates me so much.
    When will companies wake up, and realize that people aren’t machines?
    You need to have downtime to be more productive.
    How Downtime Affects Your Productivity
    Just in case you think I’m making this stuff up, let me link you to 2 scientific studies that show how taking breaks makes you more productive.
    1. Brief Diversions Vastly Improve Focus, Researchers Find
    2. Why Crunch Modes Doesn’t Work: Six Lessons
    Companies can’t seem to understand that no one can maintain a high level of productivity all the time.
    Here’s some tips to improve productivity at work.
    This leads to employee burnout.
    When you’re tired and overworked, you end up making so many more mistakes, and you go at a much slower pace.
    As an employer, you actually end up getting more bang for your buck if you let employees take time off. Companies Implementing 4 Day Workweeks
    There are many companies that have already implemented this type of work schedule, and it’s been going amazing for them. Let’s look at a few together.
    1. Treehouse – Seriously, read this article where he explains the incredible results they’ve achieved. I also got a chance to interview Ryan Carson, their CEO to find out how they make that work.
    2. Basecamp – Jason Fried, who happens to be a personal hero of mine, wrote an article in the New York Times about how him and his team are more productive because of the shortened workweek.
    3. Slingshot SEO – The founder of the company wrote a great post in Inc Magazine about why working a 4 day workweek is good for him and his team.
    Do You Think A 4 Day Workweek Makes Any Sense?
    I personally think it leads to so much more productivity, since you have enough time to rest, and take care of errands that you need to attend do. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!
    Author: Jacob Shriar - Jacob is the Growth Manager of Officevibe, an employee engagement platform. When he’s not reinventing the world over a glass of scotch, he likes to find new skills to learn.


5/24/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Sun sets on 2014 Legislative session, (5/22 late pickup) Farmington Press via DailyJournalOnline.com
    Sen. Gary Romine R-3 (photo caption)
    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., USA - Shared-Work is a federal program overseen by the Missouri Department of Labor. When business is slow, the program allows certain employers to reduce hours and give workers access to partial unemployment benefits. Last year, more than 30,000 workers were able to avoid layoffs by using the state aid to make up for reduced wages.
    The program has been a success since first adopted in Missouri in 1987. It gives some companies the flexibility they need to retain a skilled workforce during economically challenging times, and prevents hard-working Missourians from losing their jobs. Due to new federal mandates, though, the program is in danger of being eliminated.
    This year we’ve been working on legislation to meet the new federal standards so we can keep this incredibly important program intact. However, the feds overreached again and the legislation could have negatively affected every business in Missouri.
    The provision would have forced all business owners to fund a program many of them don’t even use. Not only is this an abuse of a system designed to provide aid to specific industries, it places an incredible burden on every business in the state, who are just now recovering from the exorbitant unemployment fees they’ve been paying for the last few years. Basically, it would have allowed major companies to use state funds to subsidize their employees’ salaries, paid for by businesses that don’t even use the program.

    [Yes but they use the customers who are still spending normally because they still have their jobs and their earnings.]
    We were also able to add language to a bill that will help St. Francois County. When St. Francois County moved to first class the residence requirements for the Industrial Development Association (IDA) changed. I was successful in pushing for a provision that allows the IDA in St. Francois County to remain as they are. The group has been incredibly successful, and there is no reason to add additional requirements on this group.
    Missouri is one of the largest producers of charcoal in the nation. It is a thriving industry in our state that employs countless citizens. As a state, we’ve tried to support growth through providing the Wood Energy Tax Credit, which allows individuals or businesses processing Missouri forestry industry residues into fuel to qualify for a tax incentive. These companies are particularly important to rural areas, providing citizens with quality job opportunities.
    Unfortunately, the credit expired last year, endangering an industry that is critical to the economy of our state and region. Thankfully, along with the help of Rep. Paul Fitzwater and Senator Dan Brown, we were able to approve legislation that renews the tax incentive. The credit will allow these critical businesses to continue working in the state and hopefully encourage future growth and expansion.
    The 2014 legislative now comes to an end. We officially adjourned for the year Friday, May 16, at 6 p.m. I will be happy to get back home and in the district. I and my legislative director, Dan Hutton, will be traveling the district this interim and my administrative assistant, Karen Jacquin will be available at the Capitol. Also, I want to thank my legislative interns this session, Lisa Rose and Kevin Abts. They were a tremendous help and I wish them the best of luck.
    I’ll also continue my work on the Lead Industry Employment, Economic Development and Environmental Remediation Task Force and the Joint Committee on Education, of which I was recently appointed chairman.
    It has been an honor to serve you in the Capitol this year. Please feel free to contact me with any concerns you have about state government.
    I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at 573-751-4008 or at the District Office at 573-756-7154. You may write me at Gary Romine, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101; or email me at gary.romine@senate.mo.gov; or www.senate.mo.gov/romine.
    This report is filed at the end of each week during the legislative session. This report was filed at the close of the session last week.

  2. What's being said on facebook.com, (5/26 over dateline) South China Morning Post via scmp.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - In survey showing many in Hong Kong's labour force work more than 44 hours a week:
    Luigi Coradduzza - Many people do "voluntary" free overtime, bosses are therefore used to "expect" this attitude. Shameful.
    Simon Lynch - Only 44? Wish I only worked 44. Try a 70 hour+ week.
    Jay Mamaril - A survey was needed? Really?
    Kofi Time - Working hours in HK are longer than the mainland.
    Blanche Abasa - Not to mention domestic helpers' working hours 16x6=96+4hrs before and after day off = 100 hours a week.
    Cherry Tch - Foreign domestic helpers work 24 hours a day without overtime payment rules and yet locals complain for only 44 hours a week? That is nothing at all to complain about.
    Ailyn Cruz - I work more than 90 hours a week. But I don't care because I choose this kind of job. Some people complain about their work. If you don't like your job then quit.
    [Easier said than done when you have to find another job and workaholics like Ailyn Cruz with no life of their own are using up far more than their share of the not-just-steady-but-diminishing market-demanded human working hours in the age of automation and robotics and the standard downsizing response they elicit. And don't give us that old "lump of labor fallacy" sophistry. Maybe the amount of work that could be done is infinite but the willingness to pay for it certainly is not, and without pay, it is not work.]


5/23/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Standard Working Hours Committee holds seventh meeting, 7thSpace Interactive via 7thspace.com
    Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC) held its seventh meeting today (May 23). The SWHC considered the progress reports of its two working groups on Working Hours Consultation and Working Hours Study.
    The Chairperson of the SWHC, Dr Leong Che-hung, said after the meeting, "To widely listen to the views of the community on working hours issues, the SWHC will from May 29 to July 26 hold 13 large-scale open consultation forums for sectors with relatively long working hours mentioned in the Government's earlier Report of the Policy Study on Standard Working Hours, other major industries, members of employers' associations and labour organisations, and the general public. The SWHC encourages the public to attend the relevant forums.
    They are welcome to download the enrolment form from the SWHC website or call 2127 4504 to register. Apart from attending consultation sessions, members of the public and stakeholding organisations are also welcome to give their views in writing through email, fax or mail by July 31. For details, please visit the SWHC website (www.swhc.org.hk).
    "Apart from the series of upcoming consultation sessions, the SWHC will also proactively arrange community and workplace visits to listen to the views of more members of the public and the relevant working people on working hours issues.
    "On working hours study, the SWHC will between June and August 2014 conduct a large-scale household survey to collect working hours statistics from at least 10 000 employed persons through face-to-face interviews.
    To enhance the coverage of the survey, the SWHC will also collect at least 1 500 questionnaires from those engaged in occupations or professions with relatively long working hours or distinctive working hours patterns."
    Dr Leong added, "As the data collected will be instrumental to the future work of the SWHC and community discussions on working hours, we appeal to the public, if selected, to actively support and take part in the surveys. Furthermore, to enhance public understanding of working hours issues, the SWHC will continue to step up education and promotional activities through various channels including roving exhibitions and distribution of comic books and DVDs. Members of the public are welcome to browse the SWHC website for relevant information."
    Details of the 13 consultation forums are provided in the Appendix.
    The SWHC comprises a Chairperson and 23 members, including 12 serving members (employer and employee representatives) of the Labour Advisory Board. The remaining 11 members come from the labour and business sectors, academia, the community at large and the Government.
    Source: HKSAR Government

  2. More families to qualify for low-income benefits - Cut in minimum working hours to give more families low-income benefits, by Jennifer Ngo jennifer.ngo@scmp.com, (5/24 over dateline) South China Morning Post via scmp.com
    Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said the proposed threshold for the full subsidy of HK$1,000 would be lowered from 208 to 192, adding 61,000 families to the list of those qualifying. (Photo caption)
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - The minimum working hours to qualify for a low-income family subsidy are to be lowered by 16 hours a month to an "absolute baseline" for the government.
    The welfare chief said yesterday the proposed threshold for the full subsidy of HK$1,000 would be lowered from 208 to 192, adding 61,000 families to the list of those qualifying.

    "This is our absolute baseline, taking into account its effects on the labour market as well," Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said.
    But a pressure group helping the working poor said the change would have little real impact.
    The subsidy, applying to families with at least one member in full-time employment, is due to start next year. Those working 192 to 144 hours will receive HK$600 while those with children will get an extra HK$800 or HK$400 per child according to their working hours.
    Under the latest proposal, 60 per cent of about 204,000 families set to benefit will now qualify for the full HK$1,000.
    Herrick Lee Yen-hao, of the pressure group Concerning CSSA and Low Income Alliance, said the change was only slight and the threshold should be 176 hours. He said this was based on 22 working days a month, five days a week and eight hours a day. The government's 192 hours was based on 24 working days.
    "It's a matter of principle - employees should not have work take over their whole life."
    Pro-democracy lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee, a member of the Commission on Poverty, agreed the level should be 176 hours. "The government has made a concession but it is not enough," he said.


5/22/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. City offices, library to close Tuesday for furlough day, (5/21 late pickup) JournalTimes.com
    RACINE, Wisc., USA — City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., and the Racine Public Library, 75 Seventh St., will be closed Tuesday, May 27, the day after Memorial Day for a city employee furlough day.
    Other city buildings and offices will be closed on Tuesday as well, but the public counter at the Racine Police Department, 730 Center St., will be open.
    There will be no trash or recycling pick up on Tuesday as well as Memorial Day.
    The common furlough day is the first of three city employees will take this year in an effort to save the city about $225,000 in labor costs next year.
    The remaining furlough days for this year are Tuesday, Sept. 2, the day after Labor Day, and Monday Oct. 13, Columbus Day.
    On-street, non-management police officers will not take the furlough days nor will most firefighters, but other staff in those departments will be required to take the unpaid days off.
    City officials first implemented furlough days as a way to cut costs in 2013.
    [Better furloughs than firings, "Timesizing not downsizing!"]

  2. The Average American Works Only 35 Hours a Week ??? ActiveRain.Trulia.com
    RICHMOND, Va., USA - So you think you work too much? I know a lot of people that feel the same way and it made me wonder, how much do Americans really work as compared to the rest of the world? I decided to do some research on the subject and found exactly what I was looking for.
    According to statistics the average hours worked each year from 1950 all the way through 2013 have changed substantially. I was very surprised to find out that we worked substantially more hours in 1950 than we do today; approximately 200 hours more a year and that equates to 5 additional full time weeks!
    [But "we" was only one breadwinner in 1950, so much better paid that both parents did not have to work. And in 1950, there were still plenty of job openings relative to jobseekers thanks to the 44-42-40hour workweeks in 1938-39-40 and the killing&maiming of employees in World War II, so everyone who wanted a full-time (40-hour) job could easily get one. Both situations changed around 1970 when the postwar babyboomers, now grown up, entered the job market and replaced the surplus of jobseekers last seen in the Great Depression.]
    I always thought of the 50’s as an “easy” time when people took life a day at a time and daddy was always home by 5:30 for the traditional family dinner but apparently that was not always the case.
    How do we compare with the rest of the world today? The chart *[here] represents the average hours worked by people living in France, Germany, Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong and of course, the U.S.
    [The titles actually say "Actual Annual Hours Worked by Persons Engaged for United States" and for these other countries. So it's probably that it really only applies to government workers.]
    As you can see we [or our government workers, with our congressmen pulling the average waaay down] work fewer hours than ever before in our country and up until the early 80’s we actually worked less than the other 5 countries depicted on the graph. It was at that time that French and German workers began to work less than we do.
    [Juliet Schor in The Overworked American comes to quite a different conclusion - that by 1992 Americans worked an extra month per year more than they did in 1970. And she'd probably say that those still holding down a "full time" job are working even longer today because our official and hidden unemployment is much higher and the threat of joblessness that much more damaging.]
    Did you notice the huge difference between us and the 3 Asian countries? Today workers in Hong Kong average about 2,350 working hours a year versus 1,700 for the average American worker. That’s an additional 650 hours or more than 16 additional full time weeks a year! Can you imagine doing 16 months worth of work in only 12 months? Well, if you are working 48 hours a week with 3 weeks off for vacations, holidays and personal days that’s exactly what you are doing!
    What I find most surprising is that according to the chart American workers averaged only 1,700 hours of work time last year. Is that accurate?
    [Probably only relative to American government workers, especially in view of last year's rash of furloughs which pulled averages way down.]
    Based on the “3 week off scenario” that comes out to be less than 35 hours a week. I don’t think I know anyone that works only 35 hours a week and if I did I would love to know their secret. Apparently I didn’t get the memo!
    So what country works the least? Believe it or not that would be Germany. A country that was once [and still] known for its exceptional engineering design skills and producing the finest cars in the world now works an average of only 1,400 hours a year or a stunning 28.5 hours a week. Hmmmm….. I wonder what it’s like to be a realtor in Germany.
    [Wahrscheinlich viel mehr Spass! = Probably a lot more fun!]


5/21/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Civil servants reject plan to increase working hours, The Daily Star via dailystar.com.lb
    BEIRUT, Lebanon - Dozens of civil servants marched toward the value added tax building Wednesday to denounce the amendments made to the original salary scale bill and threatened to escalate the situation if officials shelved their demands.
    Most government offices, according to organizers, observed a brief strike to express their rejection of the amendments made by MPs to the 121 percent salary hike proposal.
    | Last week, Parliament, which met at the request of Speaker Nabih Berri, slashed the funding of the salary scale from $1.9 billion to $1.2 billion and adopted some tax measures to finance the package.
    But the lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a proposal to increase the VAT ratio from 10 percent to 11 percent and also tax the developers of illegal sea resorts that were built during the Civil War.
    Berri adjourned the discussion of the bill until May 27.
    The civil servants also rejected a law passed by Parliament that calls for increasing the office hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a lunch break from 2-3 p.m.
    [- increasing them to 8-5 from what, 9-5?]
    Addressing the protesters, the spokesman for the civil servants Mahmoud Haidar threatened to escalate the strikes and demonstrations after May 27 if Parliament failed to pass all of the Union Coordination Committee’s demands.
    “For three years we have been in the streets to press for our demands but no one paid any attention to us. No one asked how money was wasted or who was responsible for the high inflation in the country,” he said.
    He also rejected increasing the office hours in public departments.
    “We are also applying taxes on the poor under the pretext of funding the salary scale,” Haidar said.

  2. Legal minute with Cooley Shrair: Overtime Pay, WWLP 22News via wwlp.com
    What is overtime? Attorney Robert Dambrov from the Law Offices of Cooley Shrair in Springfield shared more. (photo caption)
    SPRINGFIELD, Mass., USA - What is overtime?
    Under the federal and state law, an employee is required to be paid one and one half times his/her regular rate of pay for all hours actually worked over 40 in any workweek.
    If someone is paid for over 40 hours in a workweek, are they automatically entitled to overtime?
    No. By law, only the hours actually worked are counted. Thus, pay for holidays, vacation, and sickness are not counted.
    Are all employees entitled to overtime?
    No. Certain employees can be exempt from overtime as executives, administrators, professionals, outside salespersons, computer professionals, and several other specific situations. However, in most cases, there are specific requirements that must be complied with such as being paid a salary, rather than hourly, supervising two or more persons, or having a certain level of education or training.
    If someone works over 40 hours in one week, can an employer avoid paying overtime by allowing the employee to take off time in another week?
    No. You are talking about what is commonly called “compensatory time.” Except for some specific exceptions, the law looks at each workweek separately and what is done in one workweek has nothing to do with what is done in another workweek. Unless compensatory time is given in the same workweek, it cannot be used to reduce or eliminate the duty to pay overtime.
    If an employee is told never to put down that they worked over 40 hours, but does work over 40 hours because they work through their meal break, or begin working early, or stay late, are they still entitled to overtime?
    Yes. The law says that employees must be paid overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek and that an employee cannot waive, or give up, this right.
    If an employee feels they’re entitled to overtime, what should they do? The employee can contact the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Dept. of Labor, or the Fair Labor Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, or contact an attorney who is experienced in wage and hour issues.
    Cooley Shrair, 1380 Main Street, Springfield MA
    For more information call (413) 781 – 0750 or visit www.CooleyShrair.com.
    About Cooley Shrair:
    Cooley, Shrair P.C., founded in 1946 by Judge Sidney M. Cooley and Attorney Edward B. Cooley, is a progressive law firm located in Springfield, MA. Cooley Shrair provides unequaled service to its clients. Our unparalleled response time to our clients’ needs is the foundation of our mission statement.
    At Cooley Shrair, family and business have always had a way of blending together. We know the importance of balancing the boardroom and the courtroom with the living room from time to time. We listen carefully to understand our clients’ concerns and work vigorously with them to develop strategies for success. It’s not just business, it’s personal.
    We pride ourselves in being the most responsive lawyers in the area, covering virtually every area of practice for individuals and multinational corporations across the United States and Canada. Cooley Shrair is recognized consistently for exceeding client expectations and providing competent, integrated, and cost-effective legal services.
    Our attorneys are each distinguished in their respective areas of concentration and are complemented by a professional support staff. Cooley Shrair is a formidable opponent who fiercely advocates on behalf of our clients and we take pride in our commitment to provide unparalleled response and unparalleled solutions.
    We’re a family, and to us, that’s very personal business.
    Promotional consideration provided by Cooley Shrair.

  3. Restricted work hours at MCL mines hits coal despatch, offtake, Business-Standard.com
    ANGUL, India - The Angul district administration’s direction to restrict work hours at coal mines of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) during peak summer has adversely impacted coal production and its despatch to power stations.
    The administration had directed the MCL authorities to restrict working hours from 11 am to 3.30 pm during the current summer.
    The work restriction has pulled down coal output at MCL’s Lingaraj and Kaniha mines, affecting supplies to Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS) and the 3,000 Mw Kaniha super thermal plant, both of which are battling critical coal stock. Presently, the average daily coal supply from Lingraj and Kaniha mines is 42,000 tonne only compared to the combined daily requirement of 62,000 tonne of the two NTPC stations.
    Finding it tough to meet coal requirement of power plants, MCL has urged the state government to relax the restriction on work hours at the mines to step up output.
    “MCL is under tremendous pressure to produce and supply the targeted quantity of coal to the large number of linked power houses throughout the country including NTPC units and all other linked non-power sector consumers. All the power and non-power consumers have signed FSAs (fuel supply agreements) with MCL and the supply commitments are very high,” MCL’s director (technical & operations) wrote to P K Jena, principal secretary (energy).
    “We have received notices from district administration directing MCL authorities to restrict and reschedule working hours during peak hours of the day from 11 am to 3.30 pm during the current peak summer season. This is adversely affecting our production, transportation and loading activities at the mines. We have taken all required precautions to protect the workers during this time from direct heat of sun by providing rest sheds/shelters, first aid facilities, cold drinking water at all work sites. There is provision for air conditioning in most of the machines to avoid any sun stroke to workmen. Therefore, you are requested to advice the district administration to consider relaxation in ‘no work time hours,” the letter added.
    Top state officials including chief secretary J K Mohapatra and P K Jena, principal secretary (energy) recently met NTPC and MCL authorities to discuss on coal supply position to NTPC plants. Jena had expressed concern over the short supply of coal to TTPS and NTPC Kaniha. While Odisha was drawing the entire power from 460 Mw TTPS, it had a major power share from NTPC’s Kaniha plant.


5/20/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. One in two Hongkongers work more than 44 hours a week, by Phila Siu phila.siu@scmp.com, South China Morning Post via scmp.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - More than half of the local labour force work more than 44 hours a week, a survey has found.
    In particular, nearly one in five respondents put in more than 52 hours at work each week.
    The findings signalled a need for the city to introduce a law on working hours as soon as possible, a moderate pan-democratic political group said.
    "Family disputes arise very easily in these cases because family members do not have much time to spend with one another," lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung, of the Neighbourhood and Workers Service Centre, said yesterday.
    "The government always stresses the importance of harmonious family ties, but how can that happen when it is so slow in standardising working hours?"

    The Labour Department defines standard working hours as the normal number of hours an employee should work on a regular basis, beyond which overtime wages are payable.
    The centre wants working hours capped at 44 a week, with workers getting 1.5 times their normal wages for any extra time they put in. Bosses say a law may hurt competitiveness and worsen the labour shortage.
    The centre polled 287 employees from sectors including finance, retail and restaurants from March to this month.
    It found that 36 per cent of them put in 44 to 52 hours of work a week; 19 per cent worked over 52 hours. Another 31 per cent worked 18 to 44 hours, while 14 per cent did fewer than 18 hours.
    Almost 90 per cent supported standardising work hours, with 4 per cent against it.
    Leung said some employees feared losing their jobs if business costs rose as a result of the law. A 2012 government study showed employers would have to pay up to HK$55.2 billion more a year in wages if a law was introduced.
    A 24-member special committee, set up last year to look into the pros and cons of such a law, has commissioned a consultancy to poll about 10,000 workers.
    Sum Chik-wing, a security guard in a factory building, gets paid the minimum hourly wage of HK$30. "I work 12 hours a day, 72 hours a week. Where do I get the time to be with my family? I don't even have enough time to rest," he said.

  2. Les Allemands veulent travailler 35 heures ou moins, LeFigaro.fr
    = Germans want to work 35 hours or less
    BERLIN, Germany - Tel est le résultat d'un sondage commandé par le puissant syndicat IG Metall auprès de 500.000 personnes, adhérents ou non.
    =Such is the result of a survey ordered by the powerful union IG Metall across 500,000 people, union members or not.
    Après le salaire minimum, promis par le nouveau gouvernement Merkel, voici que les travailleurs allemands font mine de vouloir s'aligner sur le modèle français en matière de temps de travail, voué aux gémonies par le patronat hexagonal. Alors que la durée légale est de 40 heures hebdomadaires outre-Rhin, 70% des travailleurs allemands souhaitent travailler 35 heures ou moins. Tel est le résultat d'un sondage commandé par le puissant syndicat IG Metall auprès de 500.000 personnes, adhérents ou non. Dans le détail, 45% se satisferaient d'une semaine de 35 heures (durée qui concerne actuellement 17,9% des salariés), 18,5% entre 21 et 34 heures et 5% encore moins.
    = After the minimum wage promised by the new Merkel government, here's what German workers want, to align themselves with the French model in the area of worktime, despite public obloquy by French employers. While the legal limit is 40 hours across the Rhine, 70% of German workers want to work 35 hours or less. Such is the result of a survey commissioned by the powerful IG Metall union across 500,000 people, union members or not. Specifically, 45% would be satisfied with a 35-hour week (a week that currently applies to 17.9% of employees), 18.5%with between 21 and 34 hours, and 5% with less.
    Réagissant à cette enquête, la ministre du Travail Andrea Nahles s'est dite étonnée de l'ampleur du chiffre. Selon elle, les salariés ont exprimé leur souhait de «davantage de flexibilité» et d'un meilleur équilibre entre vie professionnelle et vie privée. De fait, 78% des sondés ont répondu qu'ils étaient prêts à s'adapter à la flexibilité réclamée par leurs employeurs mais qu'ils attendaient en retour plus à de souplesse.
    = Responding to this survey, the Minister of Labour Andrea Nahles said she was astonished at the high percentage. According to her, the employees expressed their desire for "more flexibility" and a better balance between professional life and private life. In fact, 78% of respondents said they were willing to adapt to the flexibility demanded by their employers, but they expected in return more flexibility.
    Selon une autre enquête publiée mardi en France, plus de deux salariés européens sur trois (67%) affirment être sollicités par leur travail en dehors des heures de bureau. Le patron d'IG Metall, Detlef Wetzel, en présentant son enquête, a demandé que «le travail s'adapte à la vie des gens et pas seulement le contraire». Le leader syndical est convaincu que l'équilibre entre vie familiale et vie professionnelle sera l'un des «sujets de société des prochaines années».
    = According to another inquiry published Tuesday in France, more than two out of three European workers (67%) say they were asked to work outside of office hours. The head of IG Metall, Detlef Wetzel, upon presenting his inquiry, demanded that "work adapt to people's lives and not just vice versa." The union leader is convinced that the balance between family life and professional life will be one of the "social issues of coming years".

  3. Cognition Affected by Long Work Hours, ABC News Radio via KMBZ.com Kansas City
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA -- If anyone says working too hard isn't good for you, they may be onto something.
    According to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, all those extra hours you're putting in at the job might be negatively affecting your cognitive skills.
    British researchers looked at the work habits of more than 2,000 civil servants from the years 1997-1999 and again in 2002-2004 while testing participants' short-term memory, reasoning and language skills.
    The results, during both periods, showed that people working 55 hours a week or more did more poorly in vocabulary and reasoning tests compared to workers who didn't spend more than 40 hours a week on the job, even when all other personal issues were taken into account.

    Other drawbacks to working longer hours included psychological distress and fewer hours sleeping.
    [It's funny, these commonsensical results apply in all professions except medical in North America - where they're messianic, omnipotent, indefatigable (and desperate to maintain the gauntlet that bottlenecks acquisition of their skills and gooses their pay, regardless of cost to their own or their patients' health - and dammit, they'll pay whatever it takes for the "scientific" surveys to prove that black is white!) -]

  4. Reducing residents' work hours may have unintended consequences, MedicalXpress.com
    TORONTO, Ont., Canada - Medical residents [=trainees] in Canada may work longer hours per shift and per week than their counterparts in Europe, Australia and New Zealand but there is conflicting evidence whether shorter shifts improve patient safety, a new study has found.
    [The medicos have mounted a number of studies before this to maintain their myth of heroic self-sacrifice (and high fees) and prove black is white - where there's a will, there's a way. A zombie profession lurches on, clinging to the status quo with bonywhite knuckles and ultrahigh caffein intake.]
    In fact, reducing medical resident duty hours may have unforeseen consequences and changes must be made carefully to ensure both patient safety and resident well-being, says Dr. Reena Pattani, the chief resident at St. Michael's Hospital.
    [So Reena, how about really ensuring patient safety and resident well-being by increasing medical resident duty hours to all 168 hours a week?! Maybe we can karoshi the lot of you and start over with a less self-flagellating professional culture.]
    Her analysis of resident duty hours was published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
    Dr. Pattani said residents work an average of 60-90 hours a week in Canada under agreements negotiated between provincial residents' associations and employers.
    [Probably a major reason why a hospital is a most unhealthy place to go in North America.]
    Residents are limited to 24 to 26 hours of consecutive work, except in Quebec, where on-call shifts were limited to 16 hours after a provincial arbitrator ruled in 2011 that a 24-hour shift posed a danger to residents' health and violated the Charter of Rights.
    [Presumably bringing Québec closer to the world's best medical system, the French, but Pattani is evidently determined to keep North American practice closer to her subcontinental origins.]
    In New Zealand, residents are limited to 72 hours of work in a week and 16 hours of continuous work in any one shift. The Australian Medical Association has said that work in excess of 50 hours a week puts the resident at risk. The European Collective Agreement limits residents to 48 hours of work a week.
    In the United States, senior residents may work up to 80 hours a week, averaged over four weeks and up to 24 hours continuously, but junior interns are limited to 16 hours of continuous work.
    Last year a National Steering Committee on Resident Duty hours said the status quo in Canada was unacceptable and that shifts of 24 hours or longer without sleep should be avoided. It urged all provinces and health care institutions to develop comprehensive strategies to minimize fatigue and fatigue-related risks during residency.
    However, concerns that patient care may suffer under the watch of sleep-deprived residents are not borne out by existing evidence, much of which is conflicting over the perceived benefits of shorter hours. Reducing resident hours would also increase workloads of staff physicians and would reduce time for teaching and for learning the practice of medicine. Some studies suggest reduced hours increases the number of errors because it increases the number of shift handovers.
    "Although the National Steering Committee challenged the notion of a one-size fits all solution, in doing so it has left out important details, such as how individual residency programs should design fatigue risk management plans," Dr. Pattani and colleagues said. "Will scheduled naps during 24-hour call shifts be sufficient, or will residency programs inexorably move toward shifts that are no longer than 16 hours?"
    Dr. Pattani said if residents' work hours are curtailed, it may mean their overall residency periods have to be lengthened so they can see a wide variety and high volume of patients, or teaching hospitals may have to come up with innovative teaching methods, such as greater use of simulation. Or, they may have to move toward competency-based programs, such as that used by the University of Toronto to train orthopedic surgeons, who can graduate in three or four years, depending on how quickly they attain the necessary skills.
    A recent study by Dr. Najma Ahmed, a trauma surgeon at St. Michael's, also warned about strictly limiting the number of hours surgical residents can work, saying it has not improved patient outcomes but may have increased complications for some patients and led to higher failure rates on certification exams.
    Dr. Pattani will attend Harvard University next year to study for her Master of Public Health, with a focus on Health and Social Behavior. She received a prestigious Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship for students from some Commonwealth countries.


5/18-19/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Business Notebook 5/19/14, by Amity Shedd, Southeast Missourian via semissourian.com
    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., USA - The Missouri Senate on Friday unanimously approved Senate Bill 844, legislation that extends the federal Shared-Work Program, after the Missouri House approved the bill Thursday on a vote of 143-4.
    In the event of temporary declines in business, the Shared-Work Program allows participating companies to reduce hours of their permanent employees, and those employees are able to collect partial unemployment payments to make up for lost wages.
    The program has helped businesses avoid layoffs during temporary work slowdowns and allowed them to retain skilled workers
    , according to a previous news release from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is in favor of the bill.
    The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, a Republican from Springfield, Missouri, now heads to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk for signature.
    An emergency clause in the bill allows it to immediately take effect upon the governor's signature, according to the previous release.
    Unless the bill is passed and enacted by Aug. 22, the program will end in Missouri, according to state labor officials.
    Up to $53 million available in Workforce Innovation Fund grants
    The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the availability of up to $53 million in grants through the Workforce Innovation Fund.
    The fund is designed to strengthen public job training programs by "delivering employment and training services more efficiently and effectively, facilitating greater cooperation across workforce programs and funding streams, scaling best practices, and implementing rigorous evaluation techniques," according to a news release from department.
    This is the second round of grants available under the fund. Approximately $171 million in grants already have been awarded, and many of those grantees are working with local and regional employers, industry groups and state commerce and development agencies on public-private partnerships, the release said.
    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity received a $11.9 million grant for its "Illinois Pathways Initiative" that will "scale up and sustain six to eight regional sector partnerships to address skilled worker shortages in manufacturing." This second round of funding will help expand similar efforts.
    State workforce agencies, local workforce investment boards and institutions eligible to apply for Workforce Innovation Act Section 166 grants are eligible grantees, according to the release.
    Applications are due by June 18 and grants will be awarded in September. For more information, visit innovation.workforce3one.org.

  2. Lincoln trustees approve contract - Unanimous OK provides 8 percent raise for teachers, by Keith Reid, 5/18 (5/17 late pickup) Stockton Record via recordnet.com
    STOCKTON, Calif., USA- Lincoln Unified School District trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to ratify an 8 percent compensation increase for teachers.
    Lincoln Unified teachers association co-president Lori Thomas said her group is pleased with the deal and is now moving forward to formulate ideas for future bargaining talks.
    The agreement approved Wednesday night includes a 5.47 percent base pay raise retroactive to July, a 1.62 percent raise for three additional workdays this year, a 5 percent raise for seventh- and eighth-grade teachers who will be required to work additional class time and a 15 percent pay raise for speech teachers, according to the district office.
    Thomas said the union voted overwhelmingly to accept the deal when it voted on the tentative agreement in April.
    Teachers in many San Joaquin County districts, including Lincoln Unified, have taken pay concessions or endured layoffs and/or furlough days in recent years to help adjust to millions of dollars budget shortfalls that have trickled down from the state level.
    Lincoln Unified teachers took five furlough days in 2010, Thomas said,
    and have made other concessions, ranging from layoffs to increased class sizes in the recent past.
    Lincoln Unified and the union did not come to the April agreement quickly.
    After months of negotiations, the two sides declared an impasse in March, when a 7.45 percent pay raise was on the table.
    At that time, union leaders said they could not agree to a deal that included "strings attached" that included more work for some teachers and higher student-to-teacher ratios than the union wanted to see.
    Mediators helped both sides reach an agreement.
    Contact reporter Keith Reid at (209) 546-8257 or kreid@recordnet.com. Follow him at www.recordnet.com/edublog and on Twitter @KReidme.

  3. Restaurant associations fear effects of Obamacare requirements, Don Ames reporting, 5/19 5/19 WWL First News via wwl.com
    NEW ORLEANS, La., USA - The Louisiana Restaurant Association is supporting an effort by the National Restaurant Association, which is lobbying to change the Affordable Care Act's definition of a full-time employee from 30 hours to 40 hours a week.
    By 2015, businesses with more than 50 employees will be required to offer all full-time employees qualifying health insurance. According to the ACA's definition, full-time employees are those who work more than 30 hours a week.
    According to a study from the University of California-Berkeley Labor Center, about one in five restaurant employees work between 30 and 36 hours a week, more than twice the rate across industries. Meantime, less than half of restaurant employees work 37 or more hours per week.
    The restaurant industry could face difficulties complying with Obamacare, given the itinerant nature of its employees.
    "It's an industry that has many seasonal workers, part-time workers, shift workers, people who come and go frequently from one year to the other, where there's a lot of turnover...or where people may change jobs from one restaurant to the next relatively frequently...where there's a lot of mobility," says Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs with the National Restaurant Association
    "Restaurants aren't 9 to 5 businesses," says DeFife. "Restaurants are pretty close to 24/7. In Louisiana, and New Orleans especially, they may be going all night."
    Discerning between part-time and full-time workers may become a challenge for restaurants.
    "In the restaurant industry, 30 hours a week is not full-time," DeFife says. "30 hours a week is one of the three shifts that you might have during the day."
    "So, when you use a 30-hour work week and try to define all of those people as full-time, you're in a completely different setting than the tradition of the restaurant industry. Somebody who might want to work a couple nights and weekends to pick up some extra shifts, all of a sudden could be deemed a full-time employee, when otherwise they were a part-time, weekend shift worker."
    DeFife says defining full-time as 40 hours a week would be much more in line with traditional practice within the restaurant industry.
    It's feared the ACA may offer restaurants an incentive to reduce employee hours, even if it means hiring more part-time workers, to avoid increased health coverage costs.
    That solution for a restaurant facing pressure on its margins because of Obamacare might not be the best one.
    "New Orleans is one of the greatest restaurants cities in the world, and known for its service and hospitality. The one thing that restaurant owners and operators don't want to do, is impact the level of service," says DeFife. "Because, if you're customers aren't happy, they're not coming back."
    He says labor is one-third the operating cost of a restaurant. "Restaurants don't have large margins. They're fairly narrow operating margins...high volume and labor intensive."
    Increasing prices also turns people away, affecting foot traffic and ultimately impacting the number of jobs that can be created in the industry.
    DeFifie says his association is very concerned about pressures on the workforce and the ability to grow jobs that could result as a result of the ACA.
    "The great thing about restaurant jobs is that they're in every community."
    "The restaurant jobs in New Orleans have never left New Orleans [just the customers have left?], even when times are really difficult, and the city has been through so much. Restaurant jobs are the first jobs back, the first jobs to grow in the community and that's what we want to continue to see happening."


5/17/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Missouri acts to renew shared-work program intended to prevent job layoffs, (5/16 late pickup) The Columbus Republic (Indiana) via therepublic.com
    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., USA — Missouri lawmakers have approved the renewal of a program that helps avoid job layoffs by subsidizing employers to keep people on the payroll in a part-time capacity.
    The bill given final approval Friday would put Missouri in line with new federal requirements for the shared-work unemployment program.
    Under the program, businesses can agree to reduce the hours that employees work instead of laying them off, and the employees then can receive a reduced amount of unemployment benefits.
    The state labor department says 372 businesses participated in the program during the 2013 fiscal year, affecting nearly 30,000 workers.
    Missouri's program will end in August if it no longer matches federal law.

    The state could get an additional $2.5 million in federal funds by bringing the program into federal compliance.
    Shared work bill is SB844.
    Online: Legislature: http://www.moga.mo.gov

  2. Oneida parent company EveryWare temporarily closes 2 factories, furloughs workers; shares fall, (5/16 late pickup) AP via CanadianBusiness.com
    LANCASTER, Ohio, USA – EveryWare Global Inc., the maker of Oneida plates, forks and spoons, said it is temporarily closing two factories and furloughing workers in order to save money.
    The company said Thursday that the factories will be shut for three to four weeks.
    A spokeswoman declined to say how many workers will be affected by the furloughs.
    One factory, which is located in Lancaster, Ohio, employs 1,140 people. The other factory, in Monaca, Pennsylvania, employs 445.

    The two facilities make dishes, glasses and cutlery for EveryWare’s brands, which include Oneida and Anchor Hocking.
    EveryWare has posted losses over the past several quarters. By shutting the factories, the company hopes to raise cash and help the company’s growth, acting CEO Sam Solomon said in statement Thursday.
    Shares of the Lancaster-based company fell 44 cents, or 32 per cent, to close at 94 cents Friday. Its shares were worth $10 a year ago.


5/16/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Downstate Rep. Proposes Furlough Day for Lawmakers, (5/15 late pickup) News Channel abc20 via WICS.com
    SPRINGFIELD, Illin., USA - As state representatives debate the budget, a group of lawmakers is calling on peers to take pay cuts of their own.
    A proposed bill would require lawmakers to take one furlough day every month, and would prohibit a cost-of-living adjustment for the coming year.

    The bill's primary sponsor said Illinois lawmakers are paid nearly $68,000 a year, but they aren't living up to their responsibilities.
    "To continue to say 'you're doing a great job' by giving them additional income or giving all of us additional income--or even holding flat--is simply ridiculous," Rep. Dwight Kay (R - Glen Carbon) said.
    Kay said he doesn't think the savings would be significant, but it would show citizens that lawmakers are concerned.
    The legislature passed a similar bill last year.

  2. Romanian state TV station TVR might cut work hours, salaries by a quarter, (5/15 late pickup) Romania-Insider.com
    [= Better than cutting jobs by 25% and spurring the downward spiral!]
    BUCHAREST, Romania - The state–owned television company TVR considers a reduction in schedule for its employees, as well as a salary cut by a quarter, in order to save more money, according to Mediafax, quoting sources within the TVR. The potential plan was also confirmed by Hotnews.ro.
    However, union representatives say the idea was discussed but not very concretely within the board. They argue the measures would demotivate staff, which will be reflected in the quality of the content.
    If approved, the schedule cut of two hours, to six hours of work a day, as well as the pay cut, would come soon after the TVR manager Stelian Tanase was mandated to present a new structuring plan for the media company.
    [If really impossible to maintain funding at previous levels, it's certainly better to cut hours (and pay) 25% for everyone and keep everyone employed and spending, than to cut 25% of staff and have 25% of staff go into shock and spending arrest. That way lies the slow "recovery" dba continued downturn we've all been experiencing.]
    TVR axed staff under its reorganization plan in 2012 – 2013, in an attempt to stop bleeding money, under the helm of the previous manager Claudiu Saftoiu.
    Interim manager of Romanian state Television TVR suffers heart attack amidst rumors of his replacement
    Romanian legislators dismiss board of state – owned TV station TVR, soon after manager steps down
    editor@romania-insider.com


5/15/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Program that keeps 30000 workers on the job could be eliminated, El Dorado Springs Sun via eldoradospringsmo.com
    EL DORADO SPRINGS, Mo., USA - Last year, nearly 350 Missouri employers were able to avoid layoffs using the state’s Shared-Work Program. When business is slow, Shared-Work allows companies to reduce hours and gives impacted workers access to partial unemployment benefits. As a result, nearly 30,000 Missourians kept their jobs in 2013, working part time and using unemployment benefits to help cover the reduction in wages. Even greater numbers of employees were helped during the recent recession.
    But unless action is taken this week in the Missouri General Assembly, Missouri employers could lose access to the Shared-Work Program. This would likely result in Missouri employers being forced to terminate thousands of employees during periods of slow business.
    “The Shared-Work Program has been an incredibly valuable tool for our state’s business community,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “This program has even helped attract jobs to Missouri because it gives employers greater flexibility during hard times. It has truly been a win-win for everyone involved — Missouri workers stay on the job and our state’s businesses can retain their skilled employees. We are urging our state lawmakers to act now, during these final days of session, before this successful program disappears.”
    Shared-Work is a federal program administered locally by the Missouri Department of Labor. Missouri joined the program in 1987. The federal government is requiring Missouri to update the state’s statutes to continue accessing the program. Those fixes are included in Senate Bill 844 is sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, a Republican from Springfield, and House Bill 1713 is sponsored by Rep. Jeanie Lauer, a Republican from Blue Springs. Both bills must still clear significant legislative hurdles to pass before session ends on Friday.
    “The Missouri Chamber and businesses statewide have been calling for action on the Shared-Work Program,” Mehan said. “We also want to ask Missouri workers to join us in this effort. If this program goes away, our state could see thousands of positions lost in coming years. This should be a top priority for our lawmakers during these final days. Let’s make sure we don’t lose access to this valuable program."
    [Another version -]
    Shared Work program in danger, AIM via aimo.com
    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., USA – Associated Industries of Missouri [AIM] has been a strong supporter of the Shared Work program. We are working to pass legislation needed to comply with a federal mandate to keep the program in Missouri. The bill, Senate Bill 844, that would accomplish this purpose has already been passed by the Senate and, if the bill is not amended, the bill could be passed to the Governor by the House today.
    Unfortunately, some have expressed unfounded concerns about the program and want to add unnecessary amendments to the bill. We believe the bill needs to be passed without amendment and are working toward that goal in these final two days of the legislative session. Our fear is if the bill is changed, it must be again approved by the Senate and there is a chance time will run out before the legislation is passed.
    If we are not successful in making the federal compliance changes by the August 22 deadline, the Shared Work program will end in Missouri.
    Our member employers have used the Shared Work program to avoid laying off qualified and experienced employees when faced with a situation that requires a reduction in payroll. The program allows an employer to reduce hours for a group of employees and the employees receive partial unemployment payments for the reduced work schedule. The impact to the employers’ experience rating is the same as if the employer had laid off a corresponding number of employees, but the employer is able to retain quality employees. Also, the program allows people to stay in the routine of working during these periods, making the return to a full work schedule easier when the employer is able to increase payroll.
    Missouri businesses used this program to successfully navigate the unusual economic downturn in recent years and we need to preserve the ability to use the program in the future. Associated Industries of Missouri strongly supports this program. We will keep you informed of our progress.

  2. Hyundai Motor Union demands higher wages shorter hours, The Star Online via thestar.com.my
    Hyundai Motor Co faces the threat of industrial action in South Korea as the labour union demands higher pay and bonuses and more cuts to working hours in the annual wage talks in June (AFP Photo caption)
    SEOUL, South Korea - Hyundai Motor Co's South Korean labour union has demanded higher pay and bonuses and more cuts to working hours, as the automaker heads into annual wage talks in June under the threat of industrial action.
    [Well they better put shorter hours first and harness market forces on their side in response to a reduced labor surplus, or they'll wind up with neither.]
    Any strike action in South Korea - which makes nearly 40% of Hyundai vehicles sold globally - could disrupt supply around the world as the company fights to reverse a fall in profits linked to the stronger won and competition from the likes of Volkswagen AG.
    New union boss Lee Kyung-hoon is seen as a moderate but he has not ruled out industrial action, telling a union newspaper in February that he was "willing to risk waging an all-out war" to get a better deal for workers.
    Hyundai, the world's fifth-biggest automaker along with its affiliate Kia Motors Corp, has been hit by strikes in all but four of the union's 27-year history, leading to lost production worth 14.4 trillion won (US$14.06bil).
    Union delegates finalised their demands late Wednesday, including an 8.2% rise in the monthly basic wage and performance pay totalling 30% of the automaker's 2013 net profit distributed to workers. The most contentious issue would be expanding the definition of the regular wage, which is the basis for calculating overtime and other payments to the firm's 47,000 workers in South Korea.
    The union is also calling for daily working hours to be trimmed by one hour to 16 from 2015, after the automaker scaled them back from 20 to 17 starting from March last year.
    Moderate Union Boss
    E*Trade Korea auto analyst Kang Sang-min said Hyundai faced an "uphill battle" to reach an agreement with the union over tricky issues like the regular wage.
    "A potential disruption to output will dampen investor sentiment, already hurt by Hyundai's decelerating growth," he said.
    Hyundai, which was an outperformer during the 2009 global economic downturn, has posted lacklustre earnings in the past couple of years. Its January-March net profit slipped to its lowest in five quarters, missing estimates.
    The strengthening won and stiffer competition from rivals' refreshed models has seen Hyundai's US market share drop from a record 5.1% in 2011 to 4.4% this year.
    The labour talks will be the first since Lee took the reins of South Korea's biggest union in December, stirring hope of steadier industrial relations after his predecessor called strikes in two consecutive years. Lee led the union during a rare, strike-free period from 2009 to 2011, although a company spokesman said his previous record counted for nothing in the forthcoming negotiations.
    "The current union leader is seen as a moderate, but he is still a unionist," the spokesman said.
    Kia Motors is also preparing separate annual wage talks with its South Korean union, while General Motors' South Korean unit kicked off annual wage negotiations in late April. - Reuters


5/14/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Jefferson schools deficit not as severe - But the district still faces a shortfall of about $100,000, by Jennifer Moody, Albany Democrat Herald via democratherald.com
    JEFFERSON, Ore., USA — Next year’s financial picture for the Jefferson School District is a little less bleak than it looked when Superintendent Kent
    Klewitz first put his budget message together.
    However, Klewitz cautioned following a meeting Monday of the Jefferson school board that the district still faces a deficit and must find a way to balance its budget, possibly still through furlough days as recommended.
    The next meeting of the school district’s budget committee is 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, at the district office. It is open to the public.
    Klewitz said the district is facing a triple hit going into 2014-15: declining enrollment, a loss in state school funds this year and a change in the funding formula used to calculate students in poverty.
    Combined, the shortfall appeared to be about $200,000 when Klewitz presented his budget message last month. As of this week, updated state school fund figures cut that gap to about $100,000, which he called “much more workable.”
    In his April budget message, Klewitz proposed a furlough schedule next year of nine, 10 and 11 days, respectively, for classified employees, teachers and administrators.
    The district scheduled two furlough days this year. Employees also took a nine-, 10- and 11-day furlough schedule the previous year.
    Presidents of the district’s certified and classified employee associations, along with one parent, all spoke during the public comment period Monday to ask whether other options could be considered.
    Poul Murtha, president of the teachers’ union; and parent Cara Wild both noted that state funding is up this year and many nearby districts are hiring additional positions or adding to programs.
    “It’s not good to address the entire shortfall from one line item: payroll,” Murtha said. “The district will have a hard time meeting the needs of student learning when the district is closed due to furlough days.”
    Debbie Human, president of the classified union, echoed his concerns, particularly about seat time. The 2014-15 calendar, which the board adopted in April, calls for early release days every Wednesday for teacher planning, nearly triple the number of shortened days suggested earlier this year.
    Human said she’s concerned about seat time, and also worries her members will lose pay because of the early release schedule. Klewitz said following the meeting that classified employees will lose no hours under that schedule.
    Wild said she’s also concerned about making the seat time hours required by the state, particularly for high school students.
    Board members told Murtha they’d look over his questions and reply as soon as they can.
    Many questions should be answered at next week’s budget meeting, board member Terry Kamlade said. As to making up the deficit solely from payroll, he stressed no decisions had been made.
    However, he added, “That’s our biggest expense and the one we see the most impact when we change that.”
    Jennifer Moody is the education reporter for the Democrat-Herald. She can be reached at 541-812-6113 or jennifer.moody@lee.net.

  2. Micke Grove Regional Park staff limit sprinkler use, cut hours at children's water park, by Kristopher Anderson, Lodi News-Sentinel via lodinews.com
    LODI, Calif., USA - Parks in and around Lodi are doing what they can to conserve water during California’s ongoing drought.
    For Micke Grove Regional Park, this means doing just enough to keep the vegetation from turning brown.
    The park is running its irrigation system just two days a week, a 50 percent reduction from its regular irrigation schedule, park supervisor Robbie Nascimento said.
    The park also features two water attractions that allow visitors to cool off on hot summer days. Nascimento said one of the attractions is only operating on weekends, instead of its typical seven days per week. The other attraction, a new water fountain for kids, will continue operating as normal, since the water flows into the on-site lake and is then reused.
    Nascimento added that similar water restrictions have been placed on all of the parks operated by Micke Grove throughout the county, such as Oak Grove and Dos Reis parks.
    “We knew we’re in a drought and we’re barely keeping our lawns alive,” Nascimento said.
    [Here's another quirky reason for cutting hours = drought. But they're still keeping their lawns green so maybe it's still more "drought" than DROUGHT.]
    Despite the state of emergency, Nascimento said he won’t let the vegetation die at county parks under Micke Grove’s control.
    Nascimento, who has worked for San Joaquin County for 38 years, shared his memories of a drought more than 30 years ago. Much of the vegetation in the county parks died, and the county spent a lot of money to reseed and regrow acres of plants.
    “One way or another, we’re going to keep it alive,” he said. “This is a gift. It’s a beautiful place to work.”
    The city of Lodi is taking similar steps to reduce water usage.
    The city began cutting back irrigation frequency in the winter, and is continuing to reduce the run-time of sprinklers.
    In addition, public works will soon install meters for all outdoor landscape water services, a watershed position will be proposed for the upcoming fiscal years, and it will be recommended on May 21 that the Lodi City Council adopt a drought resolution, which will reflect the drought emergency signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, according to Jeff Hood, director of Lodi Parks, Recreations and Cultural Services.
    Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at krisa@ lodinews.com.


5/13/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Proposed DeKalb school system budget includes pay raise, NeighborNewspapers.com
    DEKALB, Ga., USA - Last week DeKalb County School District Superintendent Michael Thurmond presented his proposed fiscal 2015 general fund budget to the board of education.
    The proposed budget features a general fund balance or rainy day fund of $20 million, restoration of a full 190-day school calendar by the elimination of four remaining teacher furlough days, reduction of class sizes by hiring 90 new teachers, providing all employees with a 1 percent cost of living adjustment raise and increased investments in school safety and academic achievement.
    The proposed 2015 budget includes estimated revenues of $801.5 million, excluding the $20 million fund balance, against estimated expenditures of over $800 million for the period July 1 to June 30, 2015.
    “Providing quality educational opportunities for the children of DeKalb County is contingent upon the construction of a solid fiscal foundation,” said Thurmond. “We are restoring fiscal integrity by balancing the budget, rebuilding our general fund balance and increasing funding for classroom instruction, without raising taxes. We have made significant progress on the journey back from the fiscal crisis that existed a little over 12 months ago.”
    During fiscal 2013, the school district labored under a $14 million deficit from the prior year and had less than $100,000 in its general fund balance. School-based employees endured six furlough days and had worked six years without a pay raise. [But at least they worked while millions were losing their jobs = furloughs not firings, timesizing not downsizing.]
    District budget officers had projected an additional $24 million dollar deficit when the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.
    Following his appointment in February 2013, Thurmond informed the newly reconstituted board of education of the existence of millions in federal and local revenue streams that had not been included in previous projections. The board subsequently adopted Thurmond’s fiscal 2014 budget proposal that included the newly discovered revenue and deep cuts in legal fees and central office costs. A state report later confirmed the deficit had been eliminated and the district ended the fiscal year with a small surplus.
    The 2015 proposed budget includes $2.1 million for the hiring, training and equipping of six new school resource officers who will be assigned to patrol and monitor district elementary schools. More than $23 million is proposed for school-based academic enhancements, which include $8 million to add 100 new teachers and support staff and $5.3 million for new textbooks and rebinding of old textbooks. Increased funding is also proposed for the International Baccalaureate program.
    “For the past 15 months, the board and Superintendent Thurmond have worked hard and collaboratively to be good stewards of the district’s resources,” said Melvin Johnson, board chair. “The hopes and dreams of the children of DeKalb County rely on our leadership.”

  2. France's 35-Hour Work Week? Oui. Ban on Work Email after 6 PM? by Kiyana Kiel, (5/12 late pickup) MontageLegal.com
    PARIS, France - Recent headlines reporting on a purported French law banning work emails after 6 PM has, once again, brought France’s labor law and policy to the forefront. Opinions disparaging “lazy French workers” and French labor laws, including the 35-hour workweek, became pervasive and almost impossible to circumvent. Weeding through the various reports on the “law,” the following became clear:
    1. The law is not a law at all. It is an agreement between several French employers in the technology sector and labor unions, and has the potential to affect approximately 200,000-250,000 workers, not the whole of the French workforce.
    2. The French government did not pass or adopt a new law/regulation/policy on this issue.
    3. The agreement is aimed at workers mainly employed in autonomous/management positions that typically “work all hours of the day and evening;” thereby exempting many employees from its application. See here.
    4. The agreement does not mention a “6 PM” cutoff, rather it states workers should “step away from their work email for 11 hours a day,” but only after working a 13-hour day. See here.
    But, what if the 6 PM email cutoff was a reality for attorneys in the United States?
    People are no longer surprised to hear that many lawyers work around the clock for 80-100 hours per week. Many attorneys and law firms believe that these long hours are simply a right of passage, and are part of the deal. It also comes as no surprise that many attorneys chose to opt out of this type of work schedule because it is simply not sustainable.
    Would a 6pm email cut-off help these overworked attorneys? Likely not. There may be a few progressive law firms that would support an 11 hours away from email policy, but many others would likely shift to requiring attorneys to be present for meetings or other less efficient and effective means of communication after the 6pm cut off.
    What about all of the working mother attorneys who rely on alternative schedules to fit everything into a 20-hour day? A 6pm deadline may be a death sentence to their ability to fit everything in.
    Unless there is a dramatic shift in expectations and lifestyle across the profession, a 6pm email cut-off is unrealistic at best, and harmful at worst. Or, it could be a positive step in shifting expectations. We may never know.
    Vivre selon vos propres termes! [Live on your own terms!]
    Disclaimer: I took high school French for one year nearly two decades ago!
    Kiyana Kiel - Kiyana-ColorKiyana Kiel received her BA in American Literature with College Honors in 2003. She received her JD from the University of California Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall in 2006. While at Berkeley Law, Kiyana was Articles Editor of African American Law and Policy Report, and received the Prosser Prize in Asian Americans and the Law.
    Following law school, Kiyana joined Manatt, Phelps & Phillips as an associate in the real estate group. Kiyana then joined Xenon Investment Corporation as a legal analyst/property manager, and subsequently joined Pacific McGeorge School of Law as the Director of Education Pipeline Initiative, where she was liaison to local, state, and national education pipeline programs and governmental agencies. Kiyana then became an attorney for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in 2010, where she focused on real estate, land use, and environmental law including CEQA/NEPA, CESA, RCRA, and CERCLA. At SMUD, Kiyana handled due diligence, purchase and sale agreements, leasing, construction, development, and entitlement contracts. She also represented SMUD in legal and regulatory proceedings.
    Kiyana is currently the Director of Academic Success at the University of San Diego School of Law, where she designs and implements academic success materials and programs, and bar exam preparation workshops. Kiyana affiliated with Montage Legal Group in 2013, and handles freelance real estate, land use, and environmental law projects for law firms in California
    .


5/11-12/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Nambour train station hours cut, 5/12 SunshineCoastDaily.com.au
    NAMBOUR, France oops Queensland, Australia - Nambour train station will no longer be open for 24 hours, despite assurances less than a year ago that it would be.
    Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson announced plans "to end Labor's practice of having stations open when there were no trains or passengers".
    Seven stations, Nambour, Caboolture, Petrie, Beenleigh, Ipswich, Manly and Robina, will be affected.
    "The seven stations, which are currently staffed when there are no trains between midnight and 4am, will remain staffed from first to last service, seven days a week," Mr Emerson said.

    "Overnight security patrols will still operate at the seven stations."
    No staff will be made redundant.
    Instead staff, including one Sunshine Coast employee, will be redeployed to busier sites at Corinda, Ferny Grove, Indooroopilly and Yeerongpilly to "improve customer service".
    In July last year the Daily questioned Mr Emerson about rumoured plans to make Nambour station no longer open for 24 hours.
    A spokesman denied the claims.
    "Caboolture, Petrie and Nambour stations are staffed 24 hours a day and there are no plans to close these stations for any part of the day," he said.
    "We have also promised to double the number of senior network officers providing safety and security across south-east Queensland."
    Mr Emerson's spokesman explained the apparent change of heart after a review found Labor had rostered customer service staff on when there were no passengers and no trains.
    "Our plan won't see a reduction in the number of staff, rather we are using our resources smarter, allowing more stations to remain open for longer," she said.
    Regular commuter Jeff Addison said his first concern was cuts in security at stations could lead to more vandalism and graffiti.
    "I understand security is still occurring though," he said.
    "The silver lining is there will be no job losses."

  2. The Effects of the French 35-Hour Workweek Regulation on Intra Household Time-Allocation: Very preliminary version, by Ariane Pailhé (INED) & Anne Solaz (INED) & Arthur Souletie (ENSAE), 5/11 Institut National Études Démographiques via ined.fr/fichier
    PARIS, France - Abstract: In France, as in most developed countries, the reduction of gender inequalities in domestic time is very slow, and mainly due to a decrease in the female participation to [ie: in] housework. France has undergone a major working time reform at the end of the 1990[s] that may affect male and female time use: the 35 hours legal workweek. This reform gives [ie: involves] a natural time chock [ie: clock?] experiment to analyze how the relaxation of working time constraints may affect the housework time allocation. Using the most recent French time-use survey (2010), we evaluate the effect of this reform by selecting working women and men who benefited from it, and by matching them with control groups using propensity score methods. Men who benefit from the reform spend more time doing housework on weekdays, doing more male-oriented tasks, while women spend more time to care [ie: caring for] children. Finally, the reform has contributed to reduce [ie: reducing] gender inequalities in time use.
    Keywords: Workweek reform, housework, childcare, men
    1. Introduction
    Individuals’ use of t ime ha s dramatically changed across the last decades in most of industrialized countries . From the 60s, people have on average more free time and spend less time doing housework and less time at work (Gershuny, 2000; Aguiar & Hurst, 2007; Robinson & Godbey, 1997; Huberman & Minns, 2007) . Several factors have explained these trends . First t hese changes partly result from structural variation s in the labo r market , and in particular the considerable increase in women’s labor force participation. The growth of unemployed people due to economic hardsh ip and industrial restructuring might also have affected the allocation of time (Berik and Kongar 2013). Secon d , demographic factors such as th e increase of retired people due to population ageing and the decrease of large families have also affected average times devoted to different activities . Finally, t echnological progress in home activities has also reduced the domestic workload (Greenwood et al., 2005).
    L ooking at these historical trends is not helpful in identifying how indi viduals react to a variation in time allocation and thus to predict how they will react to a permanent cut in market work (Lee et al., 201 2 ). Hence, these major changes were linked and simultaneous, making difficult to infer the sense of causality . It is n ot clear whether work has more affected private sphere than the reverse . For instance, w omen have spen t less time on domestic activities partly because they have spen t more time at work, but women have entered the labo r market position because their family duties have been reduced. One way to go around this methodological issue of endogeneity is to use exogenous chock that may modify suddenly one type of time, and analyze how people reallocate time. In our case, we analyze the effect of the reduction of working legal workweek to observe how people use the additional free time.
    As far as we know, only one recent study has identified how individuals’ time allocation react s to an exogenous permanent decline in market working time. Lee et al. (201 2 ), using cuts in legislated standard working hours occurring in Japan and South Korea, show that free - up time in Japan was reallocated to leisure and personal maintenance, while in Korea to household production. This type of study is difficult to implement since exogenous chocks on working time are either non - permanent or do not concern the whole population. The recent French reform of the working schedules gives us the rare opportunity to see how people use additional time in the European context .
    France has undergone a major working time reform at the end of the 1990ies and beginning of the 2000’s : the length of the legal workweek was cut from 39h to 35h in 2000 for large firms and 2002 for small firms . The aim was to reduce working time in order to share work and thus decrease unemployment. The reform consist ed in decreasing the working time by 10% with no reduction in income. Several studies have tried to evaluate the impact of the reform on employment. They have found mixed results: ei ther a slight posi tive effect, no effect or a negative effect on the level of employment (Bunel & Jugnot, 2003; De Coninck, 2004 ; Schreiber, 2008 ; Chemin & Wasmer 2011 ) while working conditions have been w orsening (Afsa & Biscourp, 2004) . T his reduction of work schedule has also had individual consequences in terms of well - being and quality of life. For instance, p eople declare that their personal quality of life has improved, thanks to a reduction of time constraints (Estrade et al., 2001; Cette et al., 2004) .
    Beyond the consequences of this reform on employment level , s uch an exogenous shock is also of great interest to understand how intra - household time allocation evolves . This drop in work time is likely to relax time constraints, and th us to involve time re allocation for the worker himself, but also 3 for other household members.The aim of this paper is to evaluate how the 35h workweek regulation has affected time allocation of men and women. It analyze s which type of activities has been re allocate d : personal maintenance time, housework, childcare or leisure . D o men and women use this extra time to do housework orto spend more enjoyable activities ? A key issue we examine is whet her the workweek reduction has contributed to gre a ter or lower wellbeing. Since such a reform might have different effects on men and women timetables, the consequences in terms of g ender equality are also questioned.
    To answer these questions, we use the most recent, and the first one since th e 35hours reform generalization, time - use survey performed in 2009 - 2010. This database give s detailed information on time use. The paper first present s previous stud ies evaluating the change of w orking time regulations on time – schedules. Then the principles and timing of t he French reform are presented. In a third section , the data and the method used are described , and finally the results are displayed .
    2. Literature review
    Many countries regulate the work week by law, by stipulating minimum daily rest periods , annual holidays and a maximum number of working hours per week. From the beginning of the 20th century, the legal workweek exist s in many European countries. The objective of this regulation was to protect workers’ health and safety and to improve their living co nditions. A maximum limit to weekly or daily working hours has been implemented and progressively reduced along the century. A weekly rest period of at least one day for each 7 - day period and several weeks of paid annual leave have also been introduced dur ing the period.
    In most European Union countries, working time has been gradually decreasing over time. In France,the 8 hour day was introduced in 1919, the 40 hour workweek and two week annual leave in 1936, this annual leave was extended to three weeks in 1956 and four in 1969. In 1982, the fifth week of leave and the reduction to the workweek of 39 hours (Jugnot 2013) marked the end of this wish of improving the working conditions and well - being of workers.
    In the subsequent standard workweek reforms that have been implemented in some European countries, in particular Germany, France and Sweden, during the 1980s and 1990s, the objective had changed. The main motivation of standard workweek reforms has been “work - sharing”. The idea was to improve the le vel of employment through a reduction in hours per workers in a context of huge increase of the level of unemployment. Most papers dealing with the impact of changes in the legal workweek have then evaluated its effect on employment.
    Findings about the ef fects of work - sharing on employment are however ambiguous . For instance, Raposo and Van Ours (2010b), who exploit regional, sectoral and firm - size variation in the share of workers affected by the reform, find a positive impact on employment of the working time reduction from 44h to 40h introduced in Portugal in 1996. Jacobsen and Ohlsson (2000) u sing a VAR model with cointegration constraints over 1970 - 90, that e mployment is not affected by the decrease of hours per workers in Sweden .But most papers find a negative effect on employment level. Hunt (1998, 1999) using cross - industry variation in reduction in standard hours finds that the reduction in hours that occurred in 1985 decreased mal e employment in Germany in the period 1984 - 94. Cr é pon and Kramarz 20 02 studied the effect of the 1982 law in France find an increase in the probability of making a transition from employment to unemployment. Evaluations of the impact of the 35 h refo r m on employment level in France also find mixed results, depending on the method and data. Crépon, Leclair and Roux (2005) use firm - level data compare firms that reduce the workweek to 25 hours relative to those that maintained it at 39h. They find that em ployment increased by 9.9% in firms that reduced the workweek relative to the others. On the other hand, Chemin and Wasmer ( 2011 ) benefit ing from the geographic disparity in the implementation of the 35h reform in France , find no impact of the reform on th e employment growth . Schreiber (2008), using a structural VAR model also found s adverse employment effects.
    Not surprisingly, the reform s have reduced the individual working time and workers who are affected by the reform have shorter working hours (Hunt, 1998 for Germany; Raposo and van Ours, 2010a in Portugal, Goux et al., 2011 in France) , b ut the decreasing legal working time has also ha d indirect effects on working conditions as previous reforms along the century, and general well - being . Hunt (1998) shows that reduction of standard hours of full - time male workers induced small reduction in the hours of their spouse, possibly due to complementarity of leisure between spouses. Similarly, Goux et al. (2011) demonstrate that husbands of wives who were affected by the 35h were also impacted by the reform (Goux et al., 2011) . They have reduced their labor supply by about half an hour per week. On the other hand, no significant effect was found for women whose husbands were treated.
    Another possib le effect of the reduction of working time is changes in time allocation. Up to now, o nly few studies have tried to evaluate the effect of the working time on private time use. The difficulty remains that most of changes in working time were gradual and ge nerally concomitant to other in changes such as income or other technological change that might affect the time - allocation decision process of individuals. To overcome these methodological difficulties, one can use the legislative changes, that have the hu ge advantage to be exogenous to individual behavior. But such changes are quite scarce. As far as we know, only Lee, Kawaguchi and Hamermesh ( 2012 ) analyze how J apanese and South Korean workers spend their time on leisure and personal care after a reform respectively in the 1990’s and in the beginning of 2000’s in South Korea . They show that free - up time in Japan was reallocated to leisure and personal maintenance, while in Korea free - up time was reallocated to household production. In France, in a survey conducted just after the reform, individuals , women more than men, declare d they have m ore time for rest, small repairs and gardening, and more time with children (Estrade & Meda, 2002; Cette et al., 2004) . 60% of dual earners parents with young children said it has improved their work - family balance (Fagnani and Letablier, 2004). But this survey was based on self - declaration and does not allow measur ing the precise impact of the 35 hours legal workweek on time use.
    Finally, if the impact of the reform on employment level is ambiguous, s uch reform s ha ve generally improved quality of life since their leisure time has increased and actual working hours are closer to desired hours (Hunt, 1998). It also affects working time preferences. Hence, using exogenous variation in the length of the standard workweek of West - German civil servants and public sectors employees, Loog et al. (2012) show that this reduction generates a decrease in desired hours worked, that remains even in the long run. However, results diffe r by gender. Estevao and Sa (2008) show that after the reform men were less happy with their workweek while women were happier. This last study is a rare one that analyses the impact of the reform by gender, in spite of huge differences in time use by gend er. Our aim will be to shed light on changes in time allocation by gender.
    3. The French working time reforms
    The reduction of working hours has been a sequential process in France , with two main objectives improving workers well - being and reducing unemployment . After a series of agreements at the industry level during the 1960ies and 1970ies, a legislation proposed by the new socialist government was voted in 1982. T he legal workweek was cut from 40 hours to 39 hours with full wage compensation, and a fifth paid week of vacation was introduced . In this framework, overwork was allowed, with a maximum of 130 hours a year and a bonus of 25% was set for overtime. The conservative government relaunched the process of workweek reduction i n 1996 . I n a conte xt of economic crisis, the Robien law was passed in order to give incentives to firms that reduce working time and hire workers. Payroll contributions were lowered for firms that reduced working time and increased employment by 10%. But t he impact of this reform was very limited, only 3000 agreements were passed, affecting 280 000 workers, i.e. only 2% of the workforce .
    At the end of the 1990es , two laws were passed to generalize the reduction of working time without wage reduction , i.e. the Aubry I and Aubry II Laws (from the name of the Ministry of Labor , Martine Aubry ) . The new workweek was phased in slowly. The Aubry I law, voted in June 1998, set the length of the legal workweek at 35 hours in the private firms employing more than 20 workers beginning in February 2000 and in January 2002 for smaller firms and gave firms incentive for reduction of working time (for instance subsidies per workers on condition that firm’s employment increased by at least 9%) . In order to boost the process, a second law was voted in October 1999 . From the 1rst January 2001, all firms in the private sectoremploying more than 20 workers had to negotiate agreements with their employees in order to decrease weekly working time to 3 5 hours with full wage compensation – which represents a fall of 10% of working time – , the other firms had to start the negotiation from the 1rst January 2002. T he legal workweek was 35 hours, and overtime was set to a maximum of 48 ho urs a week and 130 ho urs a year, overtime bonus being 25% . T o ease the transition for small firms, overtime bonus was reduced to 10% in small firms until 2003. In exchange to working time reduction, trade - unions accepted a more flexible accounting of working time f rom a weekly to an annual basis that could enhance productivity. Concretely, all workers affected by the reform do not work 35 hours a week. Some workers, mainly executives, can work longer hours, these extra - hours being cumulated and used as half or full days off, c alled “RTT days” (with a maximum of 4 hours a week). In April 2002, according to the data of the Ministry of labor, 284 770 have applied the reform, 9,633,000 employees were covered, representing 57 % of workers potentially affected by the reform (see figu res 1 and 2). The coverage rate was much higher in large firms than in firms employing 20 workers and less (respectively 23% and 74% in April 2003 according to data from the Ministry of Labor ).
    In April 2002, the Conservative government came back to power and stopped the process. Then the government passed several laws to increase overtime contingent (up to 48 hours in any week) and to maintain the reduced ov ertime bonus of 10% in small companies , b ut did not cancelled the 35 hours le gal workweek.
    O ur empirical analysis will take profit of discrepancies in the reform implementation. As seen above, a ll workers have not been affected by the reform in the same way. Employees can be in different situ ations after the reform in 2010. In case of firm application, they can work 35h and keep the same day - offs as before or they can work more than 35h a week with compensating day - offs.
    Figure 1 Data: DARES - URSSAF database
    Figure 2 Data: DARES - URSSAF database
    4. Data
    Time Use Surveys represent a unique and precious source of information on daily activities. They use the time diary technique, whereby individuals report their time use during a period of 24 hours – day randomly distributed – providing extremely detailed i nformation on the activities performed during that day, based on a grid of 10 minute - intervals of time, with a description of the main activity carried out by the respondent, the concurrent activity, their location and the presence of other 7 persons. Beside s the diary, all the data sets contain rich sets of information on the background and socio - economic situation of individuals and households. We use the most recent time use survey that was conducted in 2009 - 2010 by the French national statistical Institut e of Statistics (INSEE). Two household members aged 11 + at the most were interviewed and they filled a diary for both a weekday and a week - end day. We also use former time use surveys (1985 and 1998) to display the long term evolutions in time use.
    We con centrate on main activity carried out by the respondent , using standard definitions of activities:
    • Paid work : Employment - related activities, work breaks, + transport associated to these activities
    • Unpaid work : home maintenance, shopping, paying bills and household management , transports related to these activities , care of other family members and c hildcare .
    • Leisure including sleeping
    • Self - care : eating, washing etc.
    In a second step of the analysis we distinguish several activities among unpaid work:
    • C are includes childcare ( Interactive childcare, physical care, transports and minding only withthe children in the household) and carefor adults
    • Cooking
    • Cleaning
    • Purchasing goods
    • Maintenance, repairs
    • Household management
    • Others (care for animals, . ..)
    In a third step, in order to analyze how the reform has affected workers’ well - being, we use subjective information on i) fatigue (due to work hardness or work intensity), ii) life satisfaction (satisfaction regarding couple, leisure, time with children, social relation ), iii) gender division of housework, and iv) time for oneself.
    Sample
    Our sampleconsists of male and female full - time wage earners . Self - employed are excluded since they were not affected by t he reform. The reform has been applicable for part - time workers, but we arenot able to quantify the effect of the reform for them. Workers who work less than 35 hours are also excluded , which concerns mainly teachers . The first reason is that the reform has almost not affected teachers, at least public or assimilated teachers. The second reason is t hat the ir working weekly time is not precisely known and heterogeneous . When they are asked about the amount of their working hours, some declare the number of hours they spend with pupils, whereas others answer the legal hours, or the time they spend working at the whole, including lessons preparation (that we can also c alculate from the daily booklet ). Therefore, no legal hours are available for them.
    5. Method
    T o answer t he question to what extent beneficiating from the reform has changed the individual time - allocation, the identification strategy exploits the fact that some workers were not eligible for the 35 h workweek relies on matching . We implement a matching analysis whose principle is to compare outcomes of two comparable populations, one of which benefited from the reform called the treated , i.e. employees working in firms which implemented the 35 hours reform, and one “similar” control group , i.e . employee s working in firms which did not. O bservable firm characteristics, such as size or sector , were major determinants of the probability of having beneficiated from the reform(1). Thus, matching analysis using propensity scores(2) is well suited for constructing a control group on the basis of these observable criteria (see Brodaty et al., 2007, Givord 2010).
    ----------
    (1) For instance the percentage of companies that applied the reform was 27% in industry, 22% in construction and 18% in service industry.
    (2) As, it is not easy to match individuals on the basis of the characteristics X, Rosenbaum and Rubin (1983) used a function of those variables on the probability of being treated, called the propensity score.
    ----------
    The main hypothesis implies that assignment to the treatment becomes independent, conditioned on observable variables. From an individual point of view, being affected and the way of being affected are quite exogenous since i t was not possible to anticipate which firm would implement the reform before 2002. After 2002, workers could have searched for firms which have alrea dy implemented the reform but we consider this as marginal. As French labor market is quite rigid with a high level of unemployment, moves are relatively risky, and might concern very privileged workers. In this context, professional moves motivated by the only wish to benefit from the reform are probably rare. Then, under the hypothesis that these groups are “similar” on all observables except the variable of interest , any differences observed between these two groups are therefore attributable to the impl ementation of the reform. The impact of the reform is obtained by calculating the sample mean of the differences in time - allocation between reform beneficiaries and non - beneficiaries .
    Table 1 summarizes the different cases in which one full - time employee can be, and the number of observations in the survey. The amount of weekly legal hours in the firm which ranges from 35h to 39 h and more(columns) is balanced by the possibility of benefiting from additional day - offs (lines). To define treated and contro ls, we use individual information on usual weekly working hours and “RTT days” since we have unfortunately no direct information on legal workweek in the firm . However , such information at the firm - level would not be necessary better suited for the analysi s since the application of reform might differ according to the professional status within a given firm.(3) Our group of treated is made of individuals who work 35 hours a week, declare they work full - time, with no RTT days. For sure these employees belong to firms that have benefited from the reform. Our control group is composed of people who work 39 hours and more and do not have RTT days (see boxes i n table 1). For sure this last group is not affected by the reform.
    ----------
    (3) The common situation is tha t only manual workers work 35 hours a week whereas executives in the same firm are concerned by another legislation and would benefit from additional day - offs instead of a reduction of hours.(3) The common situation is tha t only manual workers work 35 hours a week whereas executives in the same firm are concerned by another legislation and would benefit from additional day - offs instead of a reduction of hours.
    ----------
    A t this stage, firms that have opted for mixed solution , such as not reducing or reducing only partly the working hours and giving additional day - offs (first line of table 1) a r e not taken into account. The idea is that the reform has more visible effects on time - allocation if the changes are regular such as in case of daily or weekly hour reduction rather than occasional such as in case of yearly additional day - offs. The free time regular gift given by the 35 reform is more likely to affect sustainably the family organization.
    Table 1: Sample size of different group of workers according to the firm workweek legislation Workweek 35 h 36h - 38h 39h + RTT days RTT N = 830 RTT & overtime N = 1956 No RTT days 35h N = 1840 35h+Overtime N =373 Overtime or no reform of working time N = 1798
    In order to select comparable groups within our sample, we include several characteristics that might affect both the treatment (belonging to a firm having implemented the reform) and the outcomes (time - allocation after the reform). The set of conditional covariates used to compute this propensity score are: sex , education level ( 5 levels) , type of household (single, childless couples or couples with children ), type of position (manual worker, clerk or executives) and s everal ind icators describing the job types and the firm: the size of the firm (4 sizes) and the branch of activity ( in nine categories ).
    Propensity score estimations are presented in appendix 1 . Figure s in appendix 2 report the smoothed densities of the propensity scores for both beneficiaries and non - beneficiaries . The common support is very good. Treated and controls populations share enough common traits. In other words, employees who benefit ed from workweek regulation do not differ so much in terms of observable characteristics from workers who did not , and we can easily find a twin . Of course, they can still differ by non - observable individual characteristics.
    It is clear form a ppendix 1 th at firm characteristics play a greater role in the propensity to work 35h than individuals ’ ones . It means than, from an individual point of view, belonging to a firm which implemented 35 h reform is almost random and that matching analysis are particularl y suited in th at case. It remains that people may orient preferably toward firms which have implemented the reform. For robustness check, we have implemented an additional estimation on the specific sample of wage - earners that were employed in the same com pany at the time of the reform, i.e. with at least eight years tenure.
    Each treated observation is matched with one or a set of observations of the controls. Three different algorithms have been used to match treated and controls: the k nearest neighbors (here two neighbors), all the neighbors within a defined distance called caliper matching (here we took 0.01 as a distance) and a kernel estimator(4). Bootstrap method resampling with 200 iterations was used for the latter. Since obtained results are robust to the different specifications, we present and comment here only results based on a kernel estimator. We observe the Average treatment effect on the treated (ATT).
    ----------
    (4) Kernel estimator relates each worker who benefited from the 35h reform to all the workers who did not benefit and work full-time, by assigning to the latter a weight inversely proportional to their distance from the 35h beneficiaries.
    ----------
    The balancing tests in Appendix 3 , that check the quality of the match, are satisfied. T - t ests for equality of means between the treated and non - treated groups show no differences after matching, proof of a good balancing. The variances in both populations are also si milar (expressed by the % bias) . The standardized bias after matching is alsoless than 5% after matching. This is less true when propensity distributions are separated into several blocks: in some case, the mean of propensity score in each block is not systematically equal between treated and controls.
    6. Results
    6.1. Descriptive statistics
    Figure 3 displays the evolution of time use from the 1980s. It shows a trend in decreasing working time and increasing leisure for men and women since the 80s. We note that the decrease in working time started before the 35 hour workweek regulation, and that the decrease w as higher during the 1990s than later. Housework has decreased for women while it is stable for men. On the other hand, childcare time has slightly increased, both for men and women.
    Figure 3: Evolution of time main activities
    5,12 6,42 4,48 5,68 4,19 5,32 0,00 1,00 2,003,004,00 5,00 6,00 7,00
    Women Men
    Paid work (hours per day) 1985 1998 2010 3,31 1,65 3,14 1,62 2,72 1,59 0,00 1,00 2,00 3,00 4,00 5,006,00 7,00 Women Men
    Housework (hours per day) 3,31 3,99 3,81 4,60 4,17 4,760,00 1,00 2,00 3,00 4,00 5,00 6,00 7,00 Women Men
    Leisure (hours per day) 0,49 0,24 0,60 0,29 0,71 0,43 0,00 1,00 2,00 3,00 4,00 5,00 6,00 7,00 Women Men
    Care (hours per day)
    6.2. Matching analysis results
    Table 2 reports the results for the whole population, according to the day of the diary was filled in (either on weekdays and week - end days), and according to sex. We present time use for the treated population, i.e. employees whose firm appl ied 35 hours workweek regulation and for controls , i.e. similar persons whose firm has not implemented the reform.
    Of course, workers who benefited from the reform spend less time on work, around half an hour per day (34 minut e s) in average, then four hours (34*7=238 m i n) weekly which corresponds to the workweek reduction from 39 to 35 hours. Workers who benefit of the reform spend one additional quarter ( 16 minutes ) on leisure per day , which represent s an increase of 5% , they spe nd around 10 minut e s more on housework . B eneficiaries of the reform also spend more time on personal care , but the difference is not significant .
    Since the reform concerns working time, it should have affected more strongly weekday schedule s rather than w eek - end schedule s . But a new organization of time use between week days and week - end days might emerge : a s people have more time during workweek, they can do domestic tasks previously performed during the week - end, and thus have more time for leisure on week- ends. However, such reallocation of time over week days does not appear to have occurred: our results show no significant effect of the workweek regulation reform on leisure , physiological or unpaid , or work ing times on week - ends. All the significant changes occurred on week - days. Workers who work 35 hours per week enjoy more leisure and personal care and do more unpaid work.
    The reform has modified time use quite differently according to gender . M en who benefit from the reform spend more time on leisure than men who work 39h and more , around half a n hour per day , whereas the effect on leisure is very weak and not significant for women. Men also spend more time on unpaid work (domestic plus childcare) . The effect is only significant during weekdays , with around 20 minut e s more spent on unpaid work. This effect is quite considerable relatively to the long term evolution of male participation in domestic sphere . For instance, between 1985 and 1999, time spent by men on housework has increased by 6 min utes, and childcare by 6 minutes (Champagne et al., 2014) .For women, the effect s (the whole and on weekday) are also positive for unpaid work but with small magnitude , and the effect s are not s trong enough to besignificant .
    Table 2: Global effect of 35h reform, by sex, on weekday and week - ends (minut e s per day) All (n=3579) Treated Control 35h no ATT se Paid wo rk 23 3 26 8- 3 4 *** 8.9 Leisure 314 29 8 16 ** 7 .5 Personnal care 636 6 306 5 .4 Unpaid work 16 7 15 6 11 * * 5 .5 Week (n=1997) Week - end (n=1582) Treated Control Treated Control 35h no ATT se 35h no ATT se Paid work 351 406 - 54 *** 10.5 90 82 8 10.5 Leisure 236 217 19 *** 7.3 407 406 1 10.1 Personnal care 611 600 12 ** 6.0 666 671 - 5 7.9 Unpaid work 149 125 24 *** 6.6 190 196 - 6 8.7 Women (n=1546) Men (n=2033) Treated Control Treated Control 35h no ATT se 35h no ATT se Paid work 221 245 - 24 14.8 249 283 - 34 ** 14.4 Leisure 282 281 1 11.5 342 31528 ** 11.7 Personnal care 643 638 5 7.5 628 624 4 7.9 Unpaid work 204 193 11 8.3 133 1276 7.3 Week Women (n=852) Week Men (n=1145) Treated Control Treated Control 35h no ATT se 35h no ATT se Paid work 330 374 - 45*** 15.9 375 428 - 53 *** 16.0 Leisure 213 206 7 10.8 257 227 30 *** 11.0 Personnal care 621 609 12 8.4 601 593 8 7.7 Unpaid work 183 168 15 10.8 115 9521 ** 8.0
    Unpaid work includes housework and childcare tasks
    Standards errors are computed by bootstrap estimations on 200 iterations.
    The 35h workweek regulation has affected differently workers regarding their family situation (table 3) . The main significant result is that men, in particular men in couple with children, have a higher participation to domestic work on weekdays (+ 25 minutes) . In this case, the reform has contributed to reduce of gender inequalities in domestic workload division . The re is also a huge increase of leisure time for single men and women. However, the limits of our sample sizes are reached here and most of results are not significant because of reduced sample sizes.
    Table 3 Effect of 35h reform for men and women on weekda y according family situation Women in childless couple Men in childless couple Treated Control se Treated Control se 35h noATT 35h no ATT Paid work 331 407 - 76 ** 37.3 410 422 - 11.7 Leisure 232 190 41.7 256 238 17.7 Personnal care 634 624 10 590 606 - 16 Total unpaid work 158 151 7.8 101 78 22.4 Women in couple with children Men in couple with children Paid work 331 345 - 14.5 353 427 - 7.4 *** 24.1 Leisure 180 202 - 21.8 246 224 21 Personnal care 628 609 18.9 613 59221.5 * 12.0 Total unpaid work 213 206 7.2 132 106 25 ** 11.3 Women aloneMen alone Paid work 318 421 - 10.3 ** 42.0 382 452 -71 Leisure 276 224 52.7 * 27.6 280 187 93 *** 92.1 Personnal care 616 611 5 600 594 6.5 Total unpaid work 136 94 41.5 * 24.0 90 82 8
    Unpaid work includes housework and childcare tasks
    Standards errors are computed by bootstrap estimations on 200 iterations.
    Table 4 presents the results for detailed type of domestic tasks. Seven tasks are distinguished among domestic work : childcare, cooking, cleaning, purchasing goods or services for the household, the maintenance and repairing, gardening. Women clearly spend more time in caring activities , around one quarter per day, i.e. one hour and half a week . Thi s care time concerns mainly childcare, as caring for adult includ ed in the category remains rare . The time saved thanks to the reform is dedicated to children first. This result is in line with the increasing trend of parental activities over time , observe d in US and other developed countries (Bianchi & al. , XXX ; Pailhé et al., 2014 ). Childcare seem to be a time that parents are not ready to substitute easily because of its emotional dimension. In case on unemployment, Pailhé and Solaz (2008) showed that pa rental activities were only partly transferable from the working spouse to the unemployed partner because of it s emotional dimension. In our case, the “gift of time”(5) offered by the 35 hours reform to women is devoted mainly to children. It is not the case for men , who spend more time on leisure activities as previously showed , and on maintenance, repairs or gardening activities , around 9 minut e s daily . Men profit from the free time to take care of their home , activities considered as semi - leisure activitie s, they do not benefit from more time during the week thanks to the workweek reduction to perform the core of domestic tasks . Results during weekdays confi rm and reinforce previous results. Women spend more time on child care whereas men devote to maintenan ce and to a lesser extend to purchasing goods and services for the household. Thus, the traditional division of housework is not modified, and even reinforced by the 35h reform.
    ----------
    (5) The ex p ression comes from the paper of Hamermersh et al (XXXX)
    ----------
    Table 4 : Effect of 35h reform on type of unpaid work by sex and type of day (minut e s per day) Women Men Treated Control se Treated Control se 35h no ATT 35h no ATT Total unpaid work 204 193 11 8.3 133 127 6 7.3 Care 43.1 29.8 13.3 *** 3.7 25.3 27.6 - 2.4 2.9 Cooking 55.8 56.8 - 0.9 3.3 24.0 23.5 0.5 1.9 Cleaning 62.6 62.7 - 0.1 4.1 16.5 19.1 - 2.6 2.2 Purchasing goods 25.2 30.1 - 4.9 3.6 18.0 17.0 1.0 2.2 Maintenance, repairs 11.0 7.5 3.5 2.1 41.5 32.3 9.2 ** 3.8 Household management 4.9 5.1 - 0.2 1.2 5.7 4.6 1.1 1.8 Others 1.4 0.7 0.7 0.7 1.7 2.9 - 1.3 1.3 Women weekday Men weekday Treated Control Treated Control 35h no ATT 35h no ATT Total unpaid work 183 168 15 10.8 115 95 21 ** 8.0 Care 45.8 31.1 17.7 *** 5.2 24.6 26.1 - 1.5 3.2 Cooking 51.7 50.8 0.9 4.2 21.0 18.8 2.2 1.8 Cleaning 50.4 51.1 - 0.7 5.2 11.2 11.5 - 0.3 2.1 Purchasing goods 19.5 21.9 - 2.4 3.7 14.1 9.3 4.9 ** 2.1 Maintenance, repairs 8.7 6.9 1.8 2.7 37.2 21.3 16.0 *** 5.0 Household management 5.9 5.0 0.8 2.2 6.3 4.2 2.0 2.2Others 1.4 1.4 0.0 1.2 1.0 3.6 - 2.6 1.6
    Unpaid work includes housework and childcare tasks
    Standards errors are computed by bootstrap estimations on 200 iterations.
    Finally, we examine how the reduction of the workweek time has affected worker’s well - being. This question is not trivial. Indeed, o n the one hand, it may have reduced well - being because work intensity has increased, e mployers ask ing for the same results in less time (XXX). Do theyreally enjoy better time or do their work day are so intense that they are as tired as others at the end of the work day?
    Benefiting from the 35 h workweek has small effect on subjective well - being. Concerning working conditions , beneficiaries of the workweek reform are as tired as others. They do not declare more fatigue du e to hard work or more intense work than non - beneficiaries. They are not more satisfied with housework sharing and with their own personal time. Interestingly, women are more satisfied with their leisure, whereas men are more satisfied with their social r elations with friends and parents and time with children. Even if men do not spend significantly more time to care their children, they are more satisfied with the time they spend together. Men probably enjoy more time with the whole family and with their friends. Women have perhaps more time to organize better quality leisure.
    Table 5 Effect of 35h reform on well - being Women MenTreated Control Treated Control 35h N o ATT se 35h N o ATT se Often tired 0.30 0.31 - 0.05 0.29 0.31 - 0.02 Because work hardness 0.17 0.15 0.02 0.19 0.21 - 0.02 Because work intensity 0.25 0.28 - 0.03 0.22 0.23 - 0.02 Couple satisfaction 5.23 5.33 - 0.10 5.37 5.27 0.10 Leisure satisfaction 3.48 3.00 0.48 * 0.25 3.79 3.65 0.14 Social relation satisfaction 4.59 4.55 0.03 4.69 4.43 0.26 ** 0.13 Time with children satis. 4.13 3.90 0.24 4.33 3.92 0.41 ** 0.16 More housework share 0.61 0.61 0.01 0.04 0.02 0.02 Time for oneself 0.66 0.62 0.0 4 0.63 0.57 0.06
    Unpaid work includes housework and childcare tasks
    Standards errors are computed by bootstrap estimations on 200 iterations.
    Robustness checks
    Working in a firm in which the reform has been implemented might be a choice for workers after the beginning of the reform. Workers who have a preference for leisure rather work might try to find a job in such a firm. Even if the high rate of unemployment and rigidity of the French labor market makes this assumption to be far from plausible, it could exist. As a robustness check, we restricted the estimation to the subsample of wage - earners who were already in the firm when the wor k week reform has been impl emented (before 1 st January 2001).Of course, this selection involves other drawback and possible bias, as selecting more stable and older workers. However, our results on this specific sample are very close to those previously found for leisure and workin g time of men, even not significant because of sample size reduction. Women still use their additional time to spend more time on care activities, with their children.
    Table 6 Effect of 35h reform for workers with at least 8 year tenure All Treated Control 35h no ATT S e Paid work 231 268 - 37 *** 1 5.2 Leisure 311 284 27.6 ** Personnal care 636 633 2 8.1 Unpaid work 181 177 4 8.4 Care 24.9 23.7 1.2 Women Men Treated Control Treated Control 35h no ATT S e 35h no ATT se Paid work 215 239 - 24 21.0 245 277 - 32 23.5 Leisure 278 266 12 15.4 336 309 27 17.8 Personnal care 644 6404 11.1 627 630 - 3 12.6 Unpaid work 217 213 4 12.5 146 139 7 12.5 Care 13 *** 4.8 - 7.4 5
    Unpaid work includes housework and childcare tasks
    Standards errors are computed by bootstrap estimations on 200 iterations.
    Conclusion
    Finally, w ho profit from the reform? Both m en , who spend more time on leisure , and w omen who spend more time with their children , and children as well, who are more likely to spend time with their working mother, especially during weekdays. Since men spend more time on semi - leisure activities , such as repairing and gardening, t he home and the garden should be also in better shape , thus living environment may be improved .
    Concerning gender equality, our results are twofold. First, changes correspond to gender stereotypes and norms, women additional activities being mainly devoted to their maternal role, and men performing th e most “male - oriented” activities such as repairs and gardening, or already shared activities such as purchase rather than “feminine oriented tasks”. However, men are a little more engaged on housework activities at the end.
    Up to now, we looked at the ef fect of the reform for beneficiaries only. We would like to see how the reform by giving another value to work might have also have affected also pairs. In a further work, we will take into account both partners in the couple by first introducing some characteristics on the time constraints and work schedule of the possible partner since schedules should interact themselves as Goux et al. found. Secondly, we could see if spouses of beneficiaries have different time use patterns than spouse from non - benefici aries to see spill - over effect of the reform. Finally, we could also evaluate the global effect of the reform (intention to treat) for the whole population using differences in differences methods.
    References
    C. Afsa, P. Biscourp, 2004, « Evolution des rythmes de travail entre 1995 et 2001 : quel impact des 35 heures ? », Economie et statistique, n°376 - 377, p173 - 198
    Bianchi & al., XXX
    Brodaty T, Crépon B., Fougère D, 2007, “Les méthodes micro - économétrique d’évaluation et leurs applicati ons aux politiques actives de l’emploi”, Economie et Prévision , 177(1).
    Bunel & Jugnot, 2003, « 35 heures :Évaluations de l’effet emploi » , Revue économique , 54(3), 595 – 606.
    G. Cette, N. Dromel, D. Méda, 2004, « Les Déterminants du jugement des salariés sur la RTT », Economie et statistique, n°376 - 377, p117 - 151
    M. Chemin, E. Wasmer, 2009, «Using Alsace - Moselle Local Laws to Build a Difference - in - Differences Estimation Strategy of the Employement Effects of the 35 Hours Worweek Regulation in France», Jour nal of Labor Economics , vol 27, n°4, p 487 - 524
    A. Chenu, N. Herpin « Une pause dans la marche vers la civilisation des loisirs? »,Economie et statistique , n°352 - 353, p 15 - 36
    De Coninck R. (2004), The 35 - hour Workweek i n France: A Regression Disconti nuity Analysis , Mimeo, Department of Economics, University of Chicago.
    B.Crépon , F. Kramarz, 2002, « Employed 40 hours or not employed: lessons from the 1981 mandatory reduction of the weekly working hours » , Journal of Political Economy , vol. 110, pp. 13 55 - 1389.
    R. Dehejia, S. Wahba , 1999 , « Causal effects in non experimental studies: reevaluating the evaluation of training programs », Journal of Statistical American Association , 94(448).
    Fagnani, J., & Letablier, M., 2004, Work and family life balance: The impact of the 35 -hour laws in France. Work, Employment & Society, 18(3), 551 – 572.
    Givord P., 2010, “Econometric methods for public policies evaluation”, Document de travail de la DESE , Insee, G2010 - 08.
    D. Kawaguchi, J . Lee, D.S. Hamermesh, 2012, “ A gift of time”, IZA working paper , DP No. 6700 July.
    M - A. Estrade, D. Méda, « Principaux Résultats de l’enquête RTT et mode de vie », DARES, 2006, n°56
    D. Goux, E. Maurin, B. Petrongolo , 2014, « Worktime Regulations and Spous al Labour Supply » , American Economic Review 104 , 1 (2014) 252 - 276
    Pailhé and Solaz (2008)
    Schreiber, 2008
    Appendix 1 Common support of propensity score (men and women together) 0 1 2 3 0 .2 .4 .6 .8 x kdensity _pstreated kdensity _pscontrol
    Appendix 2: Estimation of the propensity score for being 35hours workweek beneficiaries all Coef. Std. Err. sex 0,347 *** 0,049 No diploma 0,033 0,093 professional 0,084 0,081 general 0,229 ** 0,096 First degree 0,157 * 0,090 University ref Manual worker 1,144 *** 0,091 Clerk 1,066 *** 0,083 Executives ref Firm size <50 - 0,048 0,218 50 - 199 0,487 ** 0,222200 - 499 0,499 ** 0,228 >=500 0,365 0,226 farm industry 0,289 *** 0,070 Construction 0,094 0,085 grocery 0,331 *** 0,075 finance 0,200 0,127 administrative 0,133 0,109 tourism 0,159 * 0,095 other services 0,483 *** 0,090 leisure 0,534 *** 0,106 _cons - 1,905 *** 0,244 pseudoR2 0,100 N 3579 20
    Appendix 3: Balancing tests ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Unmatched | Mean %reduct | t - test Variable Matched | Treated Control %bias |bias| | t p>|t| -------------------------- + ---------------------------------- + ---------------- sex U | 1.4897 1.3736 23.6 | 7.06 0.000 M | 1.4897 1.4968 - 1.4 93.9 | - 0.42 0.672 No diploma U | .16787 .1573 2.9 | 0.86 0.392 M | .16787 .17569 - 2.1 26.0 | - 0.62 0.534 professional U | .46304 .41517 9.7 | 2.89 0.004 M | .46304 .45886 0.8 91.3 | 0.25 0.802 general U | .12451 .09719 8.7 | 2.60 0.009 M | .12451 .11338 3.5 59.2 | 1.03 0.302 First degree U | .14619 .12528 6.1 | 1.83 0. 068 M | .14619 .14914 - 0.9 85.9 | - 0.25 0.803 University U | .09839 .20506 - 30.1 |- 9.00 0.000 M | .09839 .10293 - 1.3 95.7 | - 0.45 0.651 Manual worker U | .43191 .34888 17.1 | 5.11 0.000 M | .43191 .43098 0.2 98.9 | 0.06 0.955 Clerk U | .51973 .42247 19.6 | 5.85 0.000 M | .51973 .52037 - 0.1 99.3 | - 0.04 0.969 Executives U | .04836 .22865 - 54.1 | - 16.19 0.000 M | .04836 .04865 - 0.1 99.8 | - 0.04 0.968 Firm size <50 U | .51529 .64831 - 27.2 | - 8.14 0.000 M | .51529 .53216 - 3.5 87.3 | - 1.01 0.311 50 - 199 U | .2418 .1573 21.3 | 6.36 0.000 M | .2418 .23209 2.4 88.5 | 0.68 0.494 200 - 499 U | .11506 .07472 13.8 | 4.12 0.000 M | .11506 .102 4.5 67.6 | 1.26 0.208 >=500 U | .1184 .10955 2.8 | 0.83 0.405 M | .1184 .12371 - 1.7 39.9 | - 0.49 0.625 farm industry U | .20345 .1736 7.6 | 2.28 0.022 M | .20345 .19009 3.4 55.3 | 1.01 0.314 Construction U | .0945 .13258 - 12.0 | - 3.60 0.000 M | .0945 .09591 - 0.4 96.3 | - 0.14 0.885 G rocery U | .15564 .1309 7.1 | 2.11 0.035 M | .15564 .14802 2 .2 69.2 | 0.64 0.525finance U | .03224 .03708 - 2.6 | - 0.79 0.429 M | .03224 .03286 - 0.3 87.2 | - 0.10 0.916 administrative U | .04225 .07191 - 12.8 | - 3.83 0.00 0 M | .04225 .04458 - 1.0 92.1 | - 0.34 0.731tourism U | .06337 .06685 - 1.4 | - 0.42 0.673 M | .06337 .07111 - 3.1 - 122.2 | - 0.93 0.354 other services U | .10728 .0573 18.3 | 5.46 0.000 M | .10728 .10558 0.6 96.6 | 0.17 0.869 leisure U | .06392 .04157 10.0 | 2.99 0.003 M | .06392 .05927 2.1 79.2 | 0.58 0.562


5/10/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. 'Women need flexible work hours, access to capital to contribute to economy', by Khetam Malkawi, (5/11 early pickup) The Jordan Times via Zawya.com (registration)
    [Two fairly faint-hope stories today, one borrowed from tomorrow. On this one, we can only hope that flexible includes shorter.]
    AMMAN, Jordan -- Women's employment and investment opportunities are still low in the region, with men dominating the business sector, women leaders said on Saturday.
    "Women are seen to work more in NGOs and charities, while [when it comes to] the investment sector, we find more men," Mayyada Abu Jaber, CEO and founder of World of Letters, said at the "Change Your World Amman" event organised by Yahoo's Business and Human Rights Programme and Yahoo Maktoob.
    She added that women's participation in the labour market is still low in general, a view also shared by Serene Shalan, networks manager at Oasis500 .
    "Women need more flexible hours in the work environment, in addition to access to capital to start a business, and proper training," Shalan said, adding that 20 per cent of the 1,400 beneficiaries who received training with Oasis500 were women.

    "As for the 73 investment opportunities that Oasis500 funded, 33 per cent [of the beneficiaries] were women," Shalan said.
    The Yahoo Change Your World series is a global conversation that highlights women who are harnessing the power of technology and media to change the world.
    "At Yahoo, we see how ordinary people use technology to do extraordinary things every day," said Ebele Okobi, global head of the Yahoo Business and Human Rights Programme.
    "The Change Your World series was born from the shared conviction that amplifying the voices of women who are passionate about changing the world can lead to truly great things," she added.
    "Each of the women participating is a pioneer and an inspiration, and to have these amazing leaders together is a real honour for us."
    She added that this is the second time the summit is being hosted in the Middle East, with the first of the series taking place in Cairo in 2012.
    Amman was a "natural location for the next chapter of our series, as it is one of our hubs for our operations in the Middle East and the home of Maktoob, which became part of Yahoo in 2009", Okobi said.
    Such an event helps uncover the untold stories about women in the region, she noted.
    The one-day event included panels about media and journalism, women who lead, entrepreneurship and women in the arts.

  2. UPS Furlough Over, (Page 23) Airline Pilot Central Forums via airlinepilotforums.com/cargo
    ["Furlough over" implies a real furlough = temporary, but the furlough mentioned in the quote implies a layoff = permanent.]
    CHICAGO(?), USA - Airbum.., Yesterday 03:11 AM, Joined APC: Dec 2005, Posts: 383
    Quote: Originally Posted by L'il J.Seinfeld
    UPS management pilot ranks are filled with three types.
    First are the scabs hired early on in 1988-90 or so. Enough said about them.
    Next are the amateur pilot types hired out of Purdue. Horrendously under qualified and inexperienced but made left seat in a few years.
    Lastly are the ones hired in 2005-07 timeframe. Many were furloughed legacy pilots who were troughing in the Guard/Reserves. They went from part time work to instant capt pay. The lesser of the three evils, and they are grateful for the paycheck.
    The whole setup sucks. It will be interesting to see this next contract because most of us are fed up. Funny how the number furloughed is in the ballpark of the number of managers we have. It stinks to high heaven and the lack of respect for the management pilot position is obvious.
    [In other words, the managers, however superfluous, are saving themselves by laying off the pilots, however essential?]
    this I can agree with.
    these poor pseudo captains can not be so delusional as to think they are respected.


5/09/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Colorado Springs D-11 employees to vote on proposed contract, by Debbie Kelley, Colorado Springs Gazette via gazette.com
    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., USA - Voting on a tentative contract agreement between the Pikes Peak region's only collective bargaining teachers' union and the region's largest school district opens at 5 p.m. Friday and closes at noon Tuesday.
    The Colorado Springs Education Association is conducting electronic elections for union members to ratify the salary and benefits agreement reached last week with Colorado Springs School District 11.
    All votes are anonymous and confidential, according to voting instructions.
    District officials will not comment on the negotiations and contract until an approved agreement is in hand, said spokeswoman Devra Ashby. Then, the district will issue a statement.
    Bargaining on 2014-2015 compensation for teachers and other union members, their workload, evaluation procedures and length of the master agreement between the union and the school district started April 23 and concluded May 3.
    D-11 administrators proposed increasing teacher work time by 7 percent or 30 minutes a day.
    The master agreement explains that it was the intention of the district administration to add five additional contract days to the district calendar, beginning with the 2006-2007 school year with one of the days being a teacher work day.
    However, budget cuts resulting from the 2008-2011 recession allowed only three days to be added, two of which were subsequently furloughed as time off without pay.
    Restoring the furlough days and contract days has remained a high priority for both parties, the master agreement states.

    D-11 administrators also proposed a one-time non-recurring 2 percent compensation bonus paid after a new salary schedule is negotiated, along with traditional pay increases based on experience and education.
    It appears that district officials backed down from those requests, and teachers are poised to not work additional hours next school year. The master agreement calls for 185 teacher work days. For the current school year, one required furlough day dropped the number to 184 days.
    And the overall proposed wages and benefits package represents more than a 5 percent increase to employees' recurring compensation, according to a copy of the tentative agreement obtained by The Gazette.
    Some of the conditions listed on the tentative agreement being considered for union member ratification include:
    - No increase to the work day
    - Restoring one remaining mandatory and unpaid furlough day
    - Increasing the base pay from $29,016 to $32,306
    - Raising all stipends to reflect the new base pay (including unfreezing coaching stipends)
    - 1 percent additional compensation across the board
    - D-11 to cover an insurance premium increase of 4.5 percent and a .9 percent employer contribution increase to the retirement fund
    - Jointly developing a "communications protocol document to limit redundancy, improve communication, develop a consistent set of expectations, identify a chain of command and establish protocol to limit inconsistent directives"
    - Giving employees who want to choice their child into a school priority placement
    - Tabling any new language regarding evaluations for one year
    - Extending the master agreement from expiring June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

  2. Standard Working Hours Committee organises large-scale public forums, 7thSpace Interactive (press release) via 7thspace.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - The following is issued on behalf of the Standard Working Hours Committee:
    The Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC) will from May 29 to July 26 hold 13 public forums for the sectors with relatively longer working hours mentioned in the Government's Report of the Policy Study on Standard Working Hours, other major industries, members of employers' associations and labour organisations, and the general public to widely listen to the views of the community on working hours issues.
    [The issue is not working-hour length relative to other economic sectors but relative to unemployment in the sense of percentage of population dependent on taxpayers. As long as unemployment in this sense is too high, overtime-to-training&hiring conversion is too weak and the weekly start of convertible overtime is too high, and regular workweek decrements are required for system optimization and sustainabilization, primarily in terms of maximizing job-market participation and domestic consumption. Note that the higher the job-market participation, the less the social unrest, and the higher the domestic consumption, the less the whole-system dependency on unpredictable export markets - which Hong Kong per se, like Singapore, is already dangerously dependent on.]
    For details, please see the Appendix or visit the Committee's website (www.swhc.org.hk).
    Apart from inviting relevant organisations to attend, all forums are now open for enrolment by members of the public who are welcome to download the enrolment form from the Committee website or call 2127 4504 to register.
    The Chairperson of the Committee, Dr Leong Che-hung, said, "The subject of working hours carries widespread and significant implications for the labour market, manpower demand, employment relations, work culture, business environment, economic development and business competitiveness. The SWHC welcomes the public to actively take part in the forums and express views through various channels to assist the Committee in exploring different options that suit the circumstances and needs of Hong Kong."
    The SWHC commenced public engagement and consultation on January 28, 2014.
    After meeting with major employers' associations and labour organisations, the SWHC is organising a series of symposia for other relevant organisations. Apart from attending consultation sessions, members of the public are welcome to express views by fax (3007 9037), email (workinghours@project-see.net) or mail (SEE Network Limited (Working Hours Consultation Consultant), Flat 727, 7/F, Block B, Profit Industrial Building, 1-15 Kwai Fung Crescent, Kwai Chung) on or before July 31.
    The SWHC comprises a Chairperson and 23 members, including 12 serving members (employer and employee representatives) of the Labour Advisory Board. As for the composition of the other 11 members, two are from the labour sector and the business sector respectively, three are academics, three represent the community at large and three are government officials.
    Source: HKSAR Government.


5/08/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. A shorter working day? by Paul Fontaine @pauldfontaine, grapevine.is
    [See followup stories starting on 10/17/2014.]
    REYKJAVIK, Iceland - Representatives of management are proposing shortening the working day – although they have their own particular take on what a shortened working day would look like.
    RÚV reports that Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir, the director of the Federation of Icelandic Industries, says she is ready to explore the concept of a shorter work day. In an interview with radio station Rás 2, Guðrún specifically cited Gothenburg, Sweden’s recent initiative for a six-hour workday [= 30-hour workweek - see 4/09/2014 #1].
    While the Swedish experiment is still in the trial stages – this most current attempt to last one year, and only to apply to some workers – it is hoped that workers will in general be happier, more productive, and take fewer sick days as a result.
    Guðrún has an emphasis of her own, telling reporters, “We have, for example, a lot of break hours, a lot of pauses in the working day. If people are ready to shorten those things, and shorten their working day, but produce the same amount of returns, then I don’t think employers will be against it.” She also says her organisation believes it is probably more realistic to shorten the workday to seven hours [= 35-hour workweek] rather than six.
    A formal proposal from the Federation of Icelandic Industries on the matter is expected soon.

  2. Government proposes new aid to save jobs, Dalje.com/en/
    [Croatia is getting worksharing, or strengthening a worksharing program they already have!]
    DALJ, Croatia - At its session on Thursday, the government adopted a bill on aid for the preservation of jobs which includes the existing possibility of a non-working Friday and a new possibility of a non-working Thursday.
    Labour and Pension System Minister Mirando Mrsic said the government-sponsored bill could save 2,000 jobs.
    He added that he had received support from social partners for his legal solutions and that five million kuna of the budgetary funds have been secured this year for the implementation of the bill.
    The bill, according to Mrsic, will enable employers facing difficulties in their business, who draw up a business recovery programme and a job preservation programme and have paid taxes and contributions, to use aid to save jobs.
    The government's proposal concerning a shorter work week stipulates that employers can cut the work week to last 60% of full time employment at the least.
    ["to last 60% of full time employment at the least"? - this phrase does not make sense in English, needs rephrasing.]
    The government also created the possibility of 12-month long use of the aid within a period of three years.

  3. Opening hours cut at Leicestershire's police stations to save money, LeicesterMercury.co.uk
    LEICESTER, Leics., UK - Public access to police stations has been cut under a plan to save the force £500,000.
    Most stations in Leicestershire will close earlier on weekdays, while others will no longer be open to the public at weekends.
    Two, Syston and Belgrave, are now closed to the public.
    Lutterworth, the oldest purpose-built police station in England, has also closed and is up for sale.
    Loughborough's front inquiry desk has moved to the neighbouring Charnwood Borough Council base.
    A similar arrangement will be struck with Rutland County Council later in the year.
    The force first announced a review of station opening hours last year.
    It said some of its smaller stations attracted fewer than one visitor an hour and people were increasingly likely to contact the force through e-mail, social media or by attending surgeries run by beat officers.
    The changes, which came into effect on Tuesday, could save £500,000.
    Due to voluntary redundancy and the redeployment of staff, there were no compulsory redundancies.
    [Earlier closings instead of compulsory redundancies = timesizings not downsizings.]
    Two supervisor posts have been created.
    The force has to cut its £170 million budget by £20 million over the next two years because of Government public spending reductions.
    Superintendent Adam Streets said: "We hope the new opening hours will better match public demand and ensure our front counters are not staffed when no one visits.
    "There are so many ways of contacting the police now, through phone, e-mail, social media, web chats and beat surgeries, that it's important we adapt to meet those modern demands and ensure we offer a service fit for the future."
    Police and crime commissioner Sir Clive Loader said: "Adjustments to the opening times of police station inquiry offices are part of a necessary transition to a service which better reflects demand and is more cost-effective. I would urge people to use the alternative ways of contacting the police."

  4. Cash-strapped Henderson cutting hours at pools, by: Venise Toussaint, AP & KSNV via MyNews3 Las Vegas KSNV via mynews3.com
    LAS VEGAS, Nev., USA — City officials in Henderson are cutting hours at public pools, raising admission fees and eliminating an under-utilized weekend food program at senior centers in an effort to close a budget gap.
    [Better hourscuts than jobcuts.]
    The cuts approved at the Henderson City Council meeting Tuesday will save the city $2 million.
    They are part of a larger effort to tackle a projected $17 million annual infrastructure shortfall.
    Pool entrance fees will climb from $2 to $3 for adults, while fees for youth sports leagues will increase from $40 to $50.
    The changes to the recreation programs are among the less-controversial recommendations presented in February by a citizen-led budget review committee. The group also suggested a property tax of up to 20 cents per $100 of assessed value.
    That proposal would require voter approval.
    The last time it rained, the downtown recreation center in Henderson flooded. Henderson police squad cars and fire trucks are old and need to be replaced. These are just a some of the projects the city has put off over the years, racking up a $17 million infrastructure and maintenance bill. The city now faced with making some tough decisions.
    "We're at a crossroads; as a community, do we invest more to take care of our infrastructure and preserve it for the future or let it continue to deteriorate?” asked Henderson chief financial officer Richard Derrick.
    On top of the infrastructure shortfall, Derrick says the city is also facing a $5 million budget deficit. City council members voted last night to cut meal services at Heritage Senior Center and reduce hours at other facilities, which will save Henderson $2 million.
    “It was very clear that any additional cuts would be programs and would be felt by the community,” he said.
    How did Nevada's second largest city get to this point? Derrick says Henderson is still feeling the effects of the recession, which left the city with a $30 million deficit a few years ago. Since then, Derrick says the city has cut $127 million from its budget over the past 5 years, but reduced revenue from the jail and courts has left it in the red.
    “We actually lease out beds in our jail and we have fewer inmates in the jail right now, which is a little bit lower revenue as well as our municipal court, we've seen lower volume in our court revenues."
    Derrick says raising property taxes is a long-term solution.
    If the council were to go down that path, the idea would be raised next summer, June of 2015, and would appear on the ballot in fall.

  5. Staff hours cut at W. Ross Macdonald School, BrantfordExpositor.ca
    BRANTFORD, Ont., Canada - Ontario is reducing the hours of 400 workers at its schools for the deaf, blind and learning-disabled, a move its union fears could lead to school closings.
    But an Education Ministry spokesperson said there aren't any plans to shut schools
    -- instead, the workers won't be paid when schools are closed during holiday breaks.
    [So hours reductions instead of job reductions...for now...]
    Under the changes coming this fall, workers will be paid for 96 fewer hours, resulting in reduced services for students, the civil service union warns.
    Located in five cities, including Brantford, London, Belleville and Ottawa, the schools serve students who need special attention school boards can't provide.
    In Brantford, the W. Ross Macdonald School serves the educational needs of blind and deaf-blind students.
    About 250 seasonal staff working at the school will lose 96 hours per year effective at the start of the school year in September, said Chris Cormier, a regional OPSEU vice-president.
    "It'll be, you show up, you work with the students and you go home. There'll be nothing dynamic happening as in the past," Cormier said.
    About 90% of employees at the special needs schools are contract employees and those 96 hours about to be cut would have been spent in such activities as attending student/parent meetings, at individual case meetings, as well as in a significant amount of professional designation training, CPR and first aid, he said.
    “All of these things are up in the air for next year,” Cormier said.
    The union had a deal with the province in which workers at the schools could average their hours over the school year instead of getting paid overtime.
    The province announced it was cancelling that deal.
    Workers have prep time, go to meetings where they talk about student needs and a weekly brainstorming session on how to ensure programs are running smoothly.
    How that will be covered now is unclear, Cormier said.
    "We understand there's a (provincial budget) deficit but children with disabilities shouldn't have to pay for it."
    [When the wealthy start undermining the vote via campaign contributions etc and democracy decays back into plutocracy so they can cut their own taxes, society starts to deteriorate all around them.]
    W. Ross Macdonald School has about 300 students and its enrolment has remained fairly steady over the years, Cormier said.
    This is in contrast to some of the other special schools where numbers are dwindling. No students are registered in Robarts' residential program next year -- the first time that's ever happened -- and seven staff have been told they'll be laid off if those numbers don't change by June 15.
    Cormier said that's a sign the government isn't doing enough to use the programs and expertise at schools, especially after a report this week from parent advocacy group People for Education detailed problems special education students face in mainstream schools.
    "We're very concerned that they (the Education Ministry) are using death by a thousand cuts to get the end result before people realize it's over," Cormier said.
    He fears the end result will be to close the provincial schools.

    Ministry spokesperson Gary Wheeler said there aren't plans to close schools.
    Instead, he wrote in an e-mail, the change is about how hours are scheduled and paid for seasonal staff. "It is not about job or service reductions."
    Wheeler said the ministry notified the union it intends to change an agreement that allowed seasonal employees to average out their hours over the school year, staying on the payroll when schools are closed during the Christmas and March breaks. "Staff will no longer be paid for time when students are not in school," he wrote.
    Besides counsellors, OPSEU said the reductions affect social workers, educational assistants, child and youth workers, behavioural therapists and secretaries.
    In London, at least 50 staff at Robarts School for the Deaf are affected, Cormier said. The London complex includes the Amethyst Demonstration school for students with severe learning disabilities.
    Two years ago, in a cost-cutting report to the government, economist Don Drummond recommended some of the schools be merged.
    Though the Liberals never acted on that, Cormier fears it may yet happen.
    "There's a lot of nervous parents, employees and students, most importantly."


5/07/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Easing work-hour regulations, editorial, The Japan Times via japantimes.co.jp
    TOKYO, Japan - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered key government panels to look into easing work-hour regulations under the Labor Standards Law so that some workers could be rewarded on the basis of their performance rather than the hours they spend in the office.
    While proponents say such changes would enable workers to flexibly decide their work hours according to their individual circumstances, the proposal needs to be carefully examined so that it is not exploited by businesses to effectively force their employees to work long hours without extra pay.
    The Abe administration reportedly believes that the work-hour deregulation would enable people to choose diverse ways of work and galvanize the labor market, and hopes to include the plan in its updated growth strategy for the Japanese economy to be released in June.
    The Labor Standards Law currently sets the limit on an employee’s work hours to eight hours a day and 40 hours a week. Companies are required to pay extra if their employees work beyond such limits, with the exception of workers in management positions. The proposal aims to lift the rules under certain conditions.
    While the specifics of what Abe has in mind are not yet known, the prime minister gave the order during a joint meeting of the government’s Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy and another panel on industrial competitiveness on April 22 in response to a proposal by Yasuchika Hasegawa, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) and president of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.
    Hasegawa, who sits on the industrial competitiveness panel as a representative of the business sector, proposed two types of schemes under which the work-hour regulations would not be applied:
    The first scheme envisions highly skilled workers with high income levels — possibly those with an annual salary of ¥10 million or more — who would be paid on the basis of their work performance irrespective of the hours spent in the office.
    The second model would apply to general workers who would be given the discretion to decide on their daily work hours within a yearly range agreed on between the company’s management and labor union.
    In both cases, employees would choose whether or not to opt for such schemes, which would be based on an accord between the labor union and management.
    During his earlier stint as prime minister between 2006 and 2007, Abe tried to introduce a similar system known as white-collar exemption, under which certain office workers would be excluded from the work-hour regulations under the Labor Standards Law.
    But he gave up the attempt in the face of strong opposition from labor unions and criticism that such a system would only exacerbate the notoriously long working hours for many of the nation’s company employees, possibly resulting in more overwork-induced health impairments.

    The pro-business Abe administration is apparently trying to put the idea back on the table in light of the argument from the business community that the wage system in which employees are paid according to the hours they spend at work does not fit the job of many office workers because their performance does not necessarily go up or down in proportion to the length of work hours.
    Proponents say the proposed system is in fact aimed at reducing the hours spent at work because the workers can leave early once they’ve finished their work and lack of overtime pay would encourage employees to do their job more efficiently within the regular hours.
    Abe told the April 22 joint panel meeting that more diversity in the ways of work would help maximize the use of the nation’s manpower, thus contributing to sustainable growth of the economy. Proponents argue that with the decline in Japan’s working population, it is essential that more people who find it difficult to regularly work eight hours a day at workplaces — such as mothers raising small children and people who need to take care of ailing parents — join the labor force through a system that rewards them for the work done, not the hours spent at work.
    Greater flexibility in employment would indeed be a positive move if it leads to expanding labor participation.
    [And that does not happen by magic. Employers must be required to convert chronic overtime into training and jobs.]
    But the possible negative effects of the proposal need to be scrutinized in view of the prevailing practices in labor-management relations at Japanese firms, especially extremely long work hours and what is called saabisu zangyo (service overtime work) or overtime work for which management does not pay compensation.
    The average annual working hours of full-time employees at Japanese companies stayed above 2,000 hours in 2013. About 4.74 million workers, or 8.8 percent of the total, worked 60 or more hours a week on average. Chronically long working hours for salaried workers remain undiminished.
    Overwork-induced deaths ["karoshi"] and suicides of company employees remain such a serious issue
    that Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is preparing draft legislation obliging the government to take preventive measures.
    ["Stop dying! This is an order!" "Stop committing karoshi suicide! That is an order!" Japan has been deteriorating ever since employers started forgeting Ed Deming's wise attempts to discipline them and balance their power with that of employees via its famous lifetime employment guarantee, which had the whole world trying to copy it and writing management textbooks based on it in the 1980s. Once Japanese employers started copying America's suicidal "leansizing" in the late 1980s, it began a diagonally downward spiral that has become worse and worse, similar to that in the U.S. Japanese managers went from world leaders in management skills and quality products in the 1980s to world dummies with massive recalls after a decade of recessions in the 1990s. What's the use of having a wonderful unique language and culture and island-homogeneity if you're going to copy the most short-sighted narrowly-interested managers in the world in the once-great USA, where the only positive development is the slow and largely unpublicized state-by-state spread of worksharing Under the proposed system, it is supposed to be the voluntary decision of each worker whether or not to be rewarded on the basis of job performance, instead of the hours spent at work. But it is questionable whether individual workers would in fact be able to resist calls from employers who, as the labor ministry acknowledges, generally are in a much stronger position vis-a-vis their workers in Japan.
    [As long as there is a labor surplus instead of a job surplus, the idea that each worker has the possibility of making voluntary decisions is naive or disingenuous.]
    And it is most likely that the employers who evaluate the job performance of their workers also determine whether the workers have completed their job.
    The proposed system needs a mechanism to ensure that employers don’t use their powers arbitrarily to set workloads and to compel employees to work — no matter how long — until the job is finished.
    It must not be abused by employers as a means of cutting back on the cost of overtime work.

  2. Artisans sweat for France's "Best Worker" prize, by Alexandria Sage, Reuters UK via uk.reuters.com
    PARIS, France - - In a country known for a statutory 35-hour work week and a generous work-life balance, the "Best Worker of France" contest may seem an anomaly.
    [Only if it refers to long hours rather than quality of work, which it apparently does - see below.]
    But for the nearly 3,000 French hopefuls currently competing for the prestigious prize bestowed every four years, the coveted medal with its tricolour ribbon is a symbol of artisanal excellence, creativity and typically Gallic professional pride.
    Bakers, chefs, glass-blowers, welders, landscape artists, lingerie makers, even designers of dental prostheses and dog groomers can become "One of the Best Workers of France," a professional diploma now in its 90th year.
    Qualifying tests began late in 2013 and continue in coming months, with a new batch of "Best Workers" to be honoured next February out of an original pool of 2,689 candidates.
    On Tuesday, 473 hopefuls in the gastronomy category - whose president is acclaimed chef Alain Ducasse - gathered at catering schools in Paris for a written exam and practical test. Such are the sensitivities about winning and losing that organisers asked that all contestants remain anonymous in the competition phase.
    "I've dreamed about this for a long time," said a restaurant owner from eastern France's Haute Savoie region on his third try for the award. "I'm doing it for my own personal satisfaction."
    Organizers and former winners say the prize rewards years of hard work [ie: long hours], sacrifice, and a rejection of the more relaxed work ethic that has grown in France throughout the 20th century and culminated in 2000's law enshrining a 35-hour work week.
    [Another case of Europeans not knowing what they're doing right. And being manipulated by employers back toward the economy-killing "happy slave" ideal. With slaves being in no better position than robots in their inability to buy their own production.]
    "It requires a big personal investment. You don't get to be "Best Worker of France" in kicking back, that's for sure," said Alain Bariller, secretary general of the competition.
    He said organizers noticed a dip in the number of applicants after the 35-hour work week came into being: "They said ... with the 35 hours in place now, I'd rather take vacation rather than throw myself into this tough competition."
    For the chefs, saddle of rabbit, quail and a perfectly cut potato were the basis of the 15-minute preliminary test that was stressful, given the short time, if relatively basic, some said.
    "It was like going back in time 20 years when all we got to do was cut potatoes," said the chef from the Haute Savoie.
    Gilles Goujon, one of four jury presidents in the gastronomy group who will help decide who goes on to the next level in October, said his 1996 "Best Worker" distinction helped push him to earn three Michelin stars at his restaurant.
    "It's the best test in France," he said. "After you win, you gain confidence and you can go on to even bigger things."
    Winners can wear the award's distinctive blue, white and red stripes on their chef jackets for the rest of their careers.
    Bakers, Butchers, Energy Consultants
    Now in its 90th year, with nearly 8800 laureates since 1924, the professional diploma certifies mastery "in the exercise of a profession in the artisanal commercial service, industrial or agriculture domain." The judges are former winners and experts in each field.
    The contest is divided into 17 groups such as metal-working, textiles, construction and agriculture, with 136 occupations represented. Some of the oldest manual crafts still have pride of place, such as saddlery, millinery, stone-cutting and woodturning, not to mention butchers, bakers and cheesemakers.
    But organizers, under the auspices of France's education ministry, have striven in recent years to modernize the contest by including more service professions, thereby broadening the definition of what makes a "Best Worker" in the 21st century.
    Today, consultants in energy efficiency or food security, swimming pool specialists and hotel receptionists are also in the running. Professions with enough adherents can lobby for inclusion in the contest.
    While many public sector workers stick to the 35-hour work week in their contracts, the reality in the private sector is that hours are often much longer. A 2013 Labour Ministry report found that French workers on average worked 39.5 hours per week in 2011, not far behind the EU average of 40.3 hours.
    The subtlety of the best worker distinction is lost on some.
    "What's the definition of 'Best Worker' anyway?" asked Paris taxi driver Djamel Maamar, who was familiar with the award but questioned why certain professions were included and others not.
    "What's the criterion? What about stress levels, or danger? Why isn't there a 'Best Taxi Driver of France'?" said Maamar, 31, adding he worked 60 hours a week, six days out of seven.
    "In France, we just don't appreciate the effort in work," he said, adding that public servants with their limited hours and generous retirements have "the cushy jobs."
    France's tough employment laws have led to a two-tier labour market in which those with permanent contracts enjoy high levels of job protection, often accompanied by generous perks, while the self-employed, or those on cheaper temporary contracts have no job security.
    The contest has its origins in an early 20th century drive to boost apprenticeship, an effort that continues today.
    As part of efforts to reduce unemployment and make France more competitive, Socialist President Francois Hollande hopes to increase the number of apprentices from 440,000 to 500,000 by 2017 through financial incentives, such as lower social charges for small business owners who take on apprentices.
    France's relatively low number of apprentices - Germany, for example, has about 1.5 million - is due to "the poor image of the vocational path and manual occupations," according to a government report. Youth unemployment is at 23 percent.
    [Apprenticeship is overkill and clunky anyway. We can design much more efficient ways to transmit skills as we all did during World Wars I and II. Cut through the defensive skill protectionism of every (insecure) job during a shortage of jobs, which becomes obsolete with a shorter-workweek-enforced shortage of jobseekers.]
    According to Martial Carre, the first-ever dog groomer to win the award in 2011 after 30 years in the business, "The artisans are the ones making France run in terms of work."
    [Nope, in the age of automation and robotics, they are the ones ruining the French economy with fewer workers working longer - and fewer consumers with earnings to spend - and more jobseekers and potential consumers shut out and impoverished - and the whole economy shrinking from slowing circulation.]
    His profession and its demands go hand in hand with tendonitis, shoulder pain, even dog bites for the least experienced - all of which sit ill with young people, he said.
    [This is like judging how much fun you had at the party the night before by how much you vomit the morning after = one-upsmanship in misery = breeding up a nation of masochists. Maybe Old France really is a nation of self-fragging and slavish sissies after all. Hopefully New France, Québec, can save French honour.]
    "There are a lot of professions like this with a lot of hours," said Carre, 56, who also breeds fox terriers.
    "Young people don't want to do it - they think it's too tough.
    [or too stupid and unfree.]
    Better to sit behind a computer and push buttons."
    [or dog grooming only for a maximum of hours per week set as low as required to achieve and maintain full employment and maximum consumer spending on a system-wide basis, instead of maximum hours that take France back into the 19th century of low labor standards and high workplace injuries that this self-flagellator wants to set as some kind of goal.]
    (Editing by Mark John and Anna Willard)


5/06/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Council staff benefits cuts to save Wolverhampton £1.5m, ExpressAndStar.com
    WOLVERHAMPTON, Staffs., U.K. - Cutting hours, removing sick pay and reducing expenses for council staff in Wolverhampton will save the authority £1.5million a year it has emerged.
    The terms and conditions of all council staff are being changed as the cash-strapped local authority looks to claw back £123m.
    A prominent opposition councillor called the saving a ‘drop in the ocean’.
    Union bosses and finance chiefs are locked in talks in a bid to finalise the contract details, which are due to come into force from next April, affecting around 4,000 staff.
    As previously revealed by council chief executive Simon Warren, contracts for staff will be reduced from 37 hours a week to 35 under the plans.

    Staff won’t be paid for their first day off work sick, pay rises will be frozen and mileage for employees using their cars on council business could be cut from 45p to 25p.
    However the initial proposal as put forward in the council's savings programme suggest these changes will only come into force for two years – from 2015 to 2017 – saving the council £5.7m.
    Then in 2017 contracts would be changed back to their original terms and conditions, meaning the council would spend £3.8m in 2017/18 and £500,000 in 2018/19, making an overall saving of just £1.5m.
    Tory councillor Wendy Thompson said she was concerned at the proposal.
    “At the end of it all £1.5m in a revenue budget of something like £256m is just a drop in the ocean,” she said.
    “The staff are being asked to do extra and it’s just not right.
    “I’m not sure we’ll be getting the same quality of service in the future, which I find utterly deplorable.”
    Around 2,000 are expected to lose their jobs as the council makes crippling cuts to its services.
    Adrian Turner, branch secretary of the Wolverhampton Unison branch, said the union and the council were unlikely to agree terms on council contracts.
    Of the two-year changes to contracts he added: “Two years is too years too long.
    “Some of the things proposed are not acceptable and people earning less money is one of them.”
    He said discussions were ongoing between now and the end of the year.
    The terms and conditions savings proposals were announced in February, when staff were summoned to Wolverhampton Civic Hall to hear their fate.
    Council spokesman Tim Clark stressed that the proposals were very much at the initial stage and nothing had been finalised.
    “These proposals are subject to negotiation with the trade unions and that process is currently taking place,” he added.
    “We can’t speculate on the level of savings that could be achieved before the results of those negotiations are known."

  2. Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals slows production, furloughs workers, WRALtechWire.com
    RALEIGH, N.C., USA — Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, with two plants in north Raleigh, will shut down production for about three weeks this summer and furlough about 30 employees for an additional two weeks, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.
    Mallinckrodt, an Irish company, merged in April with California-based Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a deal valued at about $5.2 billion.
    [And how much did the investment bankers drain off?]
    In fiscal 2013, the company was valued at $2.2 billion, according to the corporate website.
    Spokeswoman Lynn Phillips said the shutdown and furlough were in response to market dynamics and customer demand. The furloughs are of employees across the board in Raleigh, but Phillips said other locations in the company, which employs about 5,500 people worldwide, were unaffected.

  3. Work (shared work) problem (Algebra 1/2) - Math Tips From Mathnasium, Wyckoff NJ Patch via wyckoff.patch.com
    [Here's a type of math that managers need to get good-at in the age of worksharing and timesizing.]
    WYCKOFF, N.J., USA - One type of word problem dealing with number of hours worked by x number of workers typically trips up a lot of student[s]. Students get overwhelmed by this type of word problem because they just don't know how to setup this kind of problem.
    [and because humans get confused by the time dimension.]
    This article hopefully will help you solve some of that mystery.
    Example1: It takes Tom and Jerry 3 hours to construct a woodshed together. If Tom can construct the woodshed in 4 hours by himself, how long will it take Jerry to construct the same woodshed by himself?
    Let x = number of hours it will take Jerry to construct the woodshed by himself
    Let 1 = total work done to construct one woodshed
    Then
    1/4 = The fraction of work that Tom can construct per hour by himself
    1/x = The fraction of work that Jerry can construct per hour by himself
    1/3 = The fraction of work that Tom & Jerry combined can construct per hour
    Therefore
    1/4 + 1/x = 1/3
    x/4x + 4/4x = 1/3
    (x + 4)/4x = 1/3
    4x = 3(x + 4)
    4x = 3x + 12
    x = 12
    So Jerry can construct the woodshed by himself in 12 hours.
    Example 2: It takes 1 painter 12 hours to paint an entire house, while it takes another painter 8 hours to [paint] the same house. How long will it take both painters to paint this same house?
    Painter 1: the amount of work accomplished per hour is 1/12
    Painter 2: the amount of work accomplished per hour is 1/8
    When working together, painter 1 and 2 in 1 hour can do
    1/12 + 1/8 = 2/24 + 3/24 = 5/24 of work
    Let x = number of hours it take for both painters to work together
    1/x = the amount of work accomplished by both painters per hour
    So
    1/x = 5/24
    Solving for x, we get x = 24/5, x = 4 4/5 hour = 4 hour 48 min.
    If you have any question regarding this type of problems, please feel free to reach out to me or any of the instructors in my center.
    Michael Huang
    Mathnasium of Glen Rock/Ridgewood
    236 Rock Road, Glen Rock, NJ 07452
    Tel: 201-444-8020, glenrock@mathnasium.com


5/04-05/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Is A 40 Hour Workweek Really Necessary? by Jacob Shriar, 5/5 Business2Community.com
    MONTRÉAL, Québec - Nope.
    In fact, we’re more productive when we take the proper time to rest and recover.
    I’ll go into more detail on this later.
    It’s now actually quite common for people to work more than 40 hours in a week, but research shows over and over again that you’re doing more damage.
    Not only is it not healthy, but you’re increasing your chances of burning out.

    [And by concentrating market-demanded human employment in the age of robotics, you're increasing the surplus of anxious jobseekers looking for your job and the downward pressure on your own pay = not at all smart if you're remotely capable of thinking more than one move ahead.]
    I’ve spoken a lot about working smarter, not harder, and I think that far too many people do “busy work” just to keep themselves occupied or look good to their manager.
    The fact of the matter is, managers are measuring the wrong thing. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend at work , or how much time you spend on a given task, what matters is what you got done.
    "Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is home because she figured out a faster way” – Jason Fried
    The Origins Of The 40 Hour Workweek
    Actually, the 40 hour workweek has only been in [U.S.] law since 1938, with the Fair Labour Standards Act [FLSA], but before then, it wasn’t uncommon for workers to work 14 hour days, six days a week.
    [Actually 12-14 hour days in summer thanks to the extra daylight weren't uncommon before 1838, but by the Civil War, the unions, newly formed in the 1840s to oppose the imposition of long summer hours throughout the winter with the aid of newly invented (and still dangerous) natural-gas lighting, had generally achieved the 10-hour day, and the FLSA enacted a 44-hour workweek in 1938, 42 in 1939, and 40 in 1940.]
    During the industrial revolution, workers worked long hours until one man, named Robert Owen, started a campaign to get people to work only 8 hours.
    His slogan was “Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”
    [I have never heard this claim before. It does appear in the Wikipedia article titled "Eight-hour day," but without any source reference and strangely does not appear in the Wikipedia article on "Robert Owen".]
    What I find interesting is that if you look way back in history, at Benjamin Franklin’s typical daily schedule, you’ll notice that he actually had a similar type of idea.
    Is A 40 Hour Workweek Really Necessary?
    He actually has a pretty good schedule going, and what’s really cool about the way he works is he takes a lot of time for reflexion, and has a two hour break in the middle of the day to avoid burnout.
    It took a while for people to realize that working less time could lead to higher productivity.
    Probably the first successful case study was the Ford motor company, who voluntarily implemented 40 hour workweeks, and doubled the pay of their workers.
    This actually increased productivity, increased loyalty, and employees had a greater sense of pride.
    Working In Sprints
    I talk a lot about working smarter, not harder, and the best way to do that is to manage your energy, not your time.
    There are 2 concepts I’ll talk about, but they both involve working for short periods of time, taking a break to recharge, and then getting back to work.
    They also both emphasize the importance of blocking out all distractions, and working on only one thing at a time.
    The first concept is called Ultradian Rhythm, which is a concept of how our energy levels work created by a sleep researcher named Nathan Kleitman.
    What he found was when we sleep, our bodies go through a cycle of light sleep, to deep sleep, and then back, which usually lasts 90 minutes.
    What he also found, was that our bodies when they’re awake go through a similar cycle.
    This concept has now been popularized by Tony Schwartz, an expert on managing your energy and being productive.
    The second concept, and I’ve spoken many times about this one, is the Pomodoro technique. The way this one works is you work for 25 minutes on a single task, and then take a 5 minute break.
    This is similar to the one above, but a little more fast-paced, and agile.
    What’s important for me to note is that we need to listen to our bodies. If you’re feeling tired, take a rest, don’t drink coffee to mask what you’re really going through.
    When you rest, and give your body the downtime it needs, you come back more refreshed and ready to go.
    The Importance Of Downtime
    It might seem counterintuitive at first for me to say that not working is the secret to being more productive, but there is a ton of evidence that shows that people who are well rested perform better.
    In a University of Illinois study, researchers found that simply having them take two brief breaks from their main task allowed them to stay focused during the entire experiment.
    Here are some tips to boost productivity
    A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.
    Researchers at Stanford found that when they got male basketball players to sleep 10 hours a night, their performances in practice dramatically improved: free-throw and three-point shooting each increased by an average of 9%.
    Companies like Treehouse are even becoming famous for their 4 day workweek, and there are lots of companies implementing “napping” into their offices to encourage employees to rest.
    During your downtime, you should stretch your muscles, it’s been proven to increase your productivity when you return to the task at hand.
    Hopefully, your company culture promotes daily team building activities at work that recognize the importance of downtime.
    Results Only Work Environment
    I’d like to introduce those that might not be familiar, to a concept called a results only work environment (ROWE).
    The concept behind it is essentially what the name says, and what matters only is results.
    [meaning it should be spelt with a hyphen: results-only work environment.]
    Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, too many managers are measuring the wrong thing.
    They seem to think that if an employee is not at their desk typing, then they must not be working. This is a very silly way of thinking, and doesn’t reflect the way humans work. Like I mentioned earlier, we have energy cycles, so we literally can’t be typing all day.
    What’s important to understand about ROWE is that it’s a complete change in the way you think.
    It’s not about working from home, or giving employees flexibility, it’s about looking only at results, that’s it.
    It’s somewhat revolutionary, but the thinking is, employees can do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done.
    On a deeper level, it’s about treating your employees with respect, and understanding that they have lives outside of work.
    In fact, you should be encouraging them to spend more time with their family, and enjoying life outside of work, because it will make them happier overall, which will lead to better performance at work.
    When you treat your employees with respect, they will be more engaged and will be excited to work at the company.
    “ROWE is the only way to survive the extreme pressures of Corporate America today. Burn-out would otherwise be just around the corner for many of us. With cutbacks and growing expectations, we need the flexibility of accomplishing our work when and how we need to.” – An Employee at Best Buy
    Actually, Best Buy famously discontinued the use of ROWE in their organization, and obviously that sent the internet into a frenzy about how it doesn’t work.
    I think the problem is much deeper than that, and there are a few important points to remember.
    1. Everyone needs to be on board – at Best Buy, only 2-3% of the workforce worked this way, while the way their store employees worked never changed.
    2. For ROWE to work, and any type of autonomy, there needs to be clear goals, so that people actually know what they need to do.
    3. They were really struggling financially, for other reasons, and decided that a big change was needed. There was no evidence that the ROWE was related to their poor performance.
    Luckily, the creators of ROWE wrote a great blog post explaining all of this [http://info.gorowe.com/blog/bid/327538/Welcome-to-the-Past-Best-Buy-Embraces-Last-Century-Management-Practices], and there’s a great article in Forbes that also explains this.
    [http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml]
    Do You Work More Than 40 Hours A Week?
    If So, How Come? Is It Part Of Your Company Culture?
    Author: Jacob Shriar..- Jacob is the Growth Manager of Officevibe, an employee engagement platform. When he’s not reinventing the world over a glass of scotch, he likes to find new skills to learn.
    This article originally appeared on Officevibe...

    [And a very similar article dated June 11, 2013 was written by Leo Widrich titled "The Origin of the 8-Hour Work Day and Why We Should Rethink It" on BufferApp.com and is available at blog.bufferapp.com/optimal-work-time-how-long-should-we-work-every-day-the-science-of-mental-strength and a previous very similar article dated May 27, 2013 was written by Daven Hiskey titled "Why a Typical Work Day is Eight Hours Long" on TodayIfoundOut.com and is available at todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/05/why-a-typical-work-day-is-eight-hours-long/ ]

  2. Campus office hours to compress for summer, 5/5 Daily Eastern News via dennews.com
    CHARLESTON, Illin., USA - Once again the employees of Eastern [Illinois University] will be condensing their normal five-day workweek into a 4.5-day workweek for the summer.
    [A four&ahalf (4 1/2) day workweek? That's one you don't hear about too often!]
    The 4.5-day workweek for the summer promotes energy efficiency and saves approximately $500,000 in utility costs, Bill Weber, the vice president for business affairs, said in a newsletter.
    Campus-wide summer office hours will be in effect from May 12 through Aug. 15. This excludes the two holiday weeks of May 27 through May 30 and June 30 through July 3.
    When summer office hours are in effect, all offices must be open Monday through Thursday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and on Friday 8 a.m. until noon.
    All administrative offices – and others where possible – will remain open during the lunch hour Monday through Thursday.
    The President’s Office, Admissions, Financial Aid, the Cashier’s Office, the University Police Department, Booth Library and the Renewable Energy Center will continue with regular business hours and remain open on Friday afternoons, Weber said in the newsletter.
    Holidays will be observed on May 26 for Memorial Day and July 4 for Independence Day. For the holiday weeks of May 27—30 and June 30—July 3, all offices must be open for regular business hours from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Classes scheduled to meet on Friday afternoons will be relocated to buildings where the air conditioning will remain on. Employees are to work with supervisors to ensure that a 37.5-hour workweek is accomplished, Weber said in the newsletter.
    Each office is to change voice mails, signs and other public communication to reflect its summer hours.
    Regular business hours will resume on Aug. 18.
    The staff of The Daily Eastern News can be reached at 581-2812 or dennewsdesk@gmail.com.

  3. As KU grad students negotiate hours and benefits, some look to union, by Ben Unglesbee, 5/04 Lawrence Journal World via www2.ljworld.com
    LAWRENCE, Kans., USA - Some Kansas University graduate students are looking to a long-dormant union as a way to strengthen their voice and bargaining power at a time when their work schedules and benefits are at stake.
    KU has said the university is considering a reduction of total graduate student work hours to adapt to the Affordable Care Act, which requires employers to provide group health coverage to employees working 30 hours a week or more.
    [Doesn't the University already provide health coverage? Harvard did in the 1960s.]
    Most teaching and research assistants work 20 hours a week under the terms of their appointment, but many work second jobs on campus to supplement their pay.
    [So separate jobs for different division(?) of same employer count to push you over the 30 hour threshold?]
    The proposal to limit total graduate student work hours to 20 per week would be a sizable hit to many students' income.
    [How many? Don't forget the drive to load these future wage slaves with as much debt as possible! Or, condition these young hominids to work unlimited hours and inculcate the fallacy that the longer hours they work, the higher their wages!]
    Last week graduate students learned about a detailed draft of the proposed policy on cuts to work hours dated Jan. 21, 2014, causing a new wave of anxiety for students.
    [Yessir, the once-great USA is still great at getting the naive to oppose their own interests, but at least this invisible-in-the-woodwork issue, the adjustability of working hours, is getting outed and discussed.]
    Looking for a voice
    When the work hours issue first came up, hundreds of graduate students responded by signing petitions asking administration to keep their work hours intact. Since then, some have seen the need for yet stronger leverage.
    A labor union for KU graduate teaching assistants has been gaining new interest. Founded in the 1990s, the Graduate Teaching Assistants Coalition is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. But it existed largely as an empty organizational shell at KU for the past several years, with no active leadership and scant membership or presence at the university, current members say.
    In recent weeks a handful of graduate students have been trying to create a new core of leaders for GTAC. They have also been working to boost membership, which has been helped along by the work hours issue.
    "This has been a big catalyst in getting people to sign up for the union and getting people involved," said Shane Willson, a Ph.D. student in sociology and one of the students involved in trying to reenergize GTAC.
    "It was clear we didn't really have a voice," said Laurie Petty, also a Ph.D. student in sociology involved in reviving the union.
    Willson said he personally has signed up 20 new members since an April meeting among graduate students from several departments to discuss the union, and more are signing up through other channels. On May 8 the union will host another open informational session for grad students.
    New contract
    Willson and Petty will be part of a GTAC team negotiating the graduate teaching assistant job contract with KU beginning next week.
    KU opened negotiations with the American Federation of Teachers, in April. Gavin Young, a KU spokesman, said KU wanted to address teaching assistant salaries covered by the contract, but he declined to comment on specifics before negotiations. The negotiations are unrelated to the work hours issue, Young said.
    KU's longterm strategic plan calls for increasing internal and external funding for doctoral students, and Willson and Petty said they hope that means KU wants to increase wages through the negotiations.
    They also hope the negotiation process will encourage more grad students to sign up to the union as a way to have a greater say in their compensation. "This is why we need a strong union," Willson said. "We need real input. We're real employees. We're grown people."
    Forums
    In a March statement to graduate students about the work hours proposal, Diane Goddard, KU vice provost for administration and finance, said the university was committed to providing students with information and gathering their input before making a decision.
    Next week the university will hold open forums for graduate students to discuss the work hours issue with administration.

  4. Flex time is getting less flexible, study finds, by Sarah Halzack, Washington Post via 5/04 Boston Globe, G3 (finder's cred to colleague Kate).
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Ask any company which benefits its workforce values most, and there’s one that nearly always ranks near the top of the list: flexibility. Because it’s prized by working parents and millennials who crave autonomy, employers are under increasing pressure to allow staff members to work where and when they want. (And, accordingly, to offer the technology that makes it possible.)
    But a new study has found that employers’ ideas of flexible work appear to be getting less, well, flexible. The Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management released last week the results of their 2014 National Study of Employers, a survey of human resources practices and policies.
    When it comes to full-time workers who want control over their schedules, the study found that workplaces have grown more accommodating. In 2014, about 67 percent of organizations allowed employees to occasionally telecommute, up from 50 percent in 2008, the last time researchers had asked the question. There was also an increase in the number of employers who gave workers control over what time they start and stop work each day. In 2014, 41 percent of workplaces permitted this, compared with 32 percent in 2008.
    But employers are cooling on just about every other form of flexible work arrangement. In 2008, about 29 percent of companies offered job-sharing arrangements; that has fallen to 18 percent. In 2008, 64 percent of companies allowed employees to take a career break for personal or family responsibilities; in 2014, only 52 percent have such a policy. Wish you could temporarily move to part-time work and keep your job title and your corner office? It’s less likely it would be allowed today. This year, 36 percent of organizations say they allow it, compared with 41 percent in 2008.
    Employers appear to be more willing to accommodate short-term solutions so that workers can, for example, duck out for their daughter’s piano recital. But if they are seeking more of a schedule overhaul employers are less willing to work with them.
    The report’s authors, Kenneth Matos and Ellen Galinsky, write that the sluggish economic recovery might be to blame. In the downturn and the uncertainty that has followed it, Matos and Galinsky write, changes ‘‘may be a result of employers focusing on maintaining smaller workforces and a reduced emphasis on long-term retention of employees interested in taking extended periods away from work.

  5. Short-Time Work [Kurz-arbeit]: The German Answer to the Great Recession, 5/5 publicpriorart.s3.amazonaws.com
    BERLIN, Germany - Abstract: Short-time work was the "German answer" to the economic crisis. The number of short-time workers strongly increased in the recession and peaked at more than 1.5 million. Without the extensive use of short-time work, unemployment would have risen by approximately twice as much as it actually did. Short-time work has certainly contributed to the mild response of the German labor market to the crisis, but this is likely due to the country-specific context. Although the crisis has been overcome and employment is strongly expanding, modified regulations governing short-time work are still in place. This leads to undesired side effects.
    [Main article, though end truncated, at: http://publicpriorart.s3.amazonaws.com/xml/20/1/1/2282/52065/20.1.1.2282.52065.xml
    and a possibly complete version "Available online at: www.cepr.org/pubs/dps/DP8449.asp".]


5/03/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Town manager's proposed Ware budget cuts hours of 20 full-time employees, would increase spending 0.6 percent, by Jim Russell, (5/02 late pickup) The Republican via MassLive.com
    WARE, Mass., USA — The wages of 20 municipal employees will be cut if the town manager’s proposed budget is approved at town meeting this month.
    Ware Town Manager Stuart Beckley is proposing a 0.6 percent budget increase to $26,095,709.50 for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Achieving that reduces by three hours each week the hours of employees he directs.
    [Better hours cuts than job cuts, timesizing than downsizing.]
    “The proposed budget would cut the hours of 20 employees. In most cases, the cut to full-time people is three hours, so administrative staff will go from 35 to 32 and department heads from 40 to 37,” Beckley said in a statement.
    Data provided show him taking a 6 percent pay cut of $5,604.35 to $86,097 for fiscal 2015. His predecessor, Mary T. Tzambazakis, earned $98,000 annually before she resigned Sept. 30, 2011.
    Employees interviewed are unhappy about the proposal lowering their wages, saying it would also lessen their retirement income, force them to work longer to be eligible for the same benefits, and disproportionately impacts women age 50 and older.
    “You can’t ignore the fact that nine people, all women – this will compromise their retirement,” one of the employees, Maggie Sorel, said in an interview. She is an administrative assistant with the building department and hopes to retire in seven years.
    Sorel said she currently works 35 hours per week, and that is the minimum number required for full-time employee status when retirement years of service are calculated.
    “We are getting hit twice – by money and by the amount of credited time for the retirement system," she said of [what] reducing the workweek from 35 to 32 hours means. "We all need to be treated the same.”
    Sorel said the “lesser of two evils” would be keeping the hours at 35 and only reducing the pay.
    She also said that she expects each particular wage line items for all the affected employees to be available to residents for review at the May 12 annual town meeting.
    “If this passes and is in effect the next seven years, I will have to work an additional seven months to obtain the same benefit,” she said. “The lesser of two evils for me is to just take a pay reduction and keep my status at 35 hours per week.”
    Selectmen are meeting jointly with the finance committee May 6, when the boards are expected to offer their recommendations on town meeting articles including the town manager’s proposed fiscal 2015 budget.
    The budget document shows Beckley is recommending a 0.3 percent increase in net school spending for Ware public schools, although a 6.6 percent hike was requested.
    In a related matter, the town manager recently told selectmen that the town’s persistent funding of the schools at levels below the minimum amount required by the state should end starting in the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2015. ...

  2. Parkrose eliminates furlough days, (5/02 late pickup) Gresham-Barlow Foundation pledge and Common Core at Centennial: East Multnomah County schools, by Beth Slovic, The Oregonian via oregonlive.com
    PORTLAND, Ore., USA - This week’s heat wave made it feel like summer vacation, but it was all business in east Portland and east Multnomah County schools. Here’s what’s happening.
    Parkrose to eliminate furlough days
    The Parkrose School District this week took steps toward finalizing its 2014-15 budget — and there’s good news for parents concerned about ever-shrinking school years.
    The district’s budget committee on Wednesday approved Superintendent Karen Fischer Gray’s proposed $30 million budget.
    The good news?
    The budget eliminates all nine furlough days that teachers accepted for the 2013-14 school year.
    Gray’s proposal marks the first time in six years that the district hasn’t used layoffs or furloughs to balance its budget.

    In other Parkrose developments, the school board voted Monday to begin reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the top of all of its meetings.
    Ed Grassel, school board chairman, voted ‘yes’ along with the other four members of the board. “We ask our students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and I think the school board should do the same thing,” he said.
    Gresham schools get a $20,000 pledge
    Vince Patrick, a member and president-elect of the Gresham Barlow Education Foundation, and his wife, Lindsay, have pledged $20,000 to the foundation, if the nonprofit can raise an additional $20,000 by April 2015.
    The foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
    Centennial plans outreach on Common Core
    Indiana made national news Monday when it became the first state to ditch the Common Core state standards under pressure from Tea Party and states’ rights activists.
    Here in Oregon, districts are pushing ahead with their voluntary adoption of the standards, and the Centennial School District is hosting an informational night for parents about the standards and the tests that go with them.
    The meeting will take place in the auditorium of Centennial High School and will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 15.
    Spanish- and Russian-language interpreters will be available, as will childcare.
    Lucky for parents, the meeting probably won’t include any pop quizzes.


5/02/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Thank God it's Thursday, by David Cook, Chattanooga Times Free Press via timesfreepress.com
    Make that kind of society where it is easier for men to be good. — Peter Maurin [blowout quote]
    CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., USA - Your weekend began this morning [Friday].
    Imagine it. A four-day work week ended Thursday afternoon at beer-thirty, and when you went to bed last night, you were on the good side of three days of whatever-you-want.
    This morning, you could read at your kid's school. Start a garden. Restart your novel. Lend a hand over at the local rec center. Or women's shelter. Or library.
    Because -- hang with me in this daydream just a sec more -- you've somehow landed a job that gives you back your Friday, no strings attached.
    Call it a three-day weekend, call it a compressed work week, but whatever you do, don't call it crazy.
    Because it could solve a lot of the mess we're in.
    Right now, Americans are either overworked and overtired or underworked and underpaid. We have lost our bearings on what it means to labor, and the reasons why we work.
    Americans are the most productive workforce in the world [maybe on an irrelevant output-per-person basis but certainly not on a per-hour basis], according to the International Labor Organization, yet far from the happiest or healthiest.
    Locally, we keep trying to create jobs and recruit talent.
    Well, what if jobs aren't coming back? At least not like they used to?
    What if salaries aren't either?
    So, instead of pouring money into salaries, benefits and job creation, what if companies gave employees more free time? Flexibility, instead of money?
    And instead of hiring one person to do massive amounts of work, companies hire two?
    "Take this job and share it," Chris Maisano writes in Jacobin.

    If companies eased off the traditional, Dolly Parton-9-to-5 work week, we'd all collectively exhale. Americans would get an extra day of weekend, which would make us happier, and healthier, and therefore more productive when we do return to work.
    Plus, if Fridays become Saturdays, companies could save on energy costs. And pay out less in salaries and insurance claims. And hire more folks.
    Most importantly, a four-day work week would reflect a shift in values: from capital to human capital.
    We work well when we're happy. We're happy when we're whole. We're whole when we're involved, rested, entertained and in community with one another.
    Somehow in this American Dream, we've fallen asleep to these truths.
    "Instead of fighting for more work, much of which is likely to be bad, how about fighting for less work for everybody?" Maisano says. "This could be a very effective way to make sure that there are enough jobs to go around for everyone while limiting the amount of time workers spend in deadening, alienating labor."
    Americans used to work six days a week, and then unions pushed for five. Who says it can't now go to four? Or three-and-a-half? We could work four days a week, 10 hours a day, or just redefine the 40-hour standard. Why can't 30 hours be the new 40?
    In a way, it's already happening.
    "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," Jim Braude writes in the Boston Globe.
    Working from home. Facetiming. Flexible scheduling. Chattanooga could pioneer all this and more for mid-sized Southern cities. If 50 of our top companies or workplaces could join together and begin to offer their employees a four-day week -- or a three-day weekend, which just sounds better -- we could announce this to the nation with as much gusto as our outdoor beauty, Gig and riverfront tourism.
    Move to Chattanooga: It's one long weekend.
    It could couple perfectly with our outdoorism, giving folks an extra day to paddle, climb or ride.
    It could benefit our communities and common spaces, freeing up time for people to volunteer and reconnect in public and civic ways.
    Most of all, it could realign things: people over profit.
    "We don't invest in people," one local artist said recently.
    This would.
    Flexible work weeks would push back against the hegemony of profit-making while reorganizing daily life to honor the human spirit, that indelibly precious part of us that exists not to sell things but to play, create and smile our way through life.
    Here's to more free time.
    [The most fundamental freedom, assuming it's financially secure.]
    And hey ... enjoy your weekend.
    Contact David Cook at dcook@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.
    About David Cook... David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

  2. Short Congressional Work Weeks Become the Norm, Newsmax.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Senators haven't stuck around to conduct real business or vote on a Friday since the end of December, with most of them often leaving by Thursday afternoon — but not all lawmakers are happy with having the unofficial three-day weekends, Politico reported.
    Senators last had a Friday roll call vote on Dec. 20, according to the political news website, when they voted to break a filibuster on Janet Yellen's Federal Reserve nomination. Before that, the partial government shutdown in October meant lawmakers were working on Fridays and weekends.
    Since then, there's only been one time senators almost had to work on a Friday. In April, a deal on Thursday votes fell through, almost forcing them to stay and vote on a Friday and sparking a debate between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over how the chamber was being run.
    Since there was no agreement over voting on Thursday, Reid canceled the Friday roll call because of concerns that the lack of attendance would be embarrassing.
    Some senators from both sides, however, say the workweek should not be so short.
    "It's amazing how people's zeal seems to vaporize when Friday rolls around," said Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, according to Politico.
    West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he'll work on weekends, and believes senators "should be here on Friday, doing the work here Friday and then try to get to know each other."
    The short workweeks haven't just been happening lately. Last August, a CNN analysis showed Congress has spent less time on Capitol Hill in 2013 than in any of the preceding five years.
    The analysis showed that the issue wasn't only in the Senate, but in the House, where members were in Washington for 56 percent of all nonholiday weekdays, or less than three days a week. Senators were present for 61 percent of weekdays.
    The analysis showed that the Senate did not have a single five-day workweek for the first seven months of 2013, while the House had two full weeks.
    [And if "what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," then what's sauce for the Senate is sauce for the House and hoi polloi.]
    McCain and other older senators often remember the Senate's earlier years when former majority leaders such as Robert Byrd and Bob Dole would insist the chamber finish a bill in a week and keep senators in session until the legislation was complete, Politico said.
    "There used to be the Thursday night deadline and people I guess would leave on Friday morning or Friday afternoon," Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker told Politico. "As I understand it, that caused people to come together and realize maybe the important amendment they wanted to offer, maybe it wasn't that important."
    Fridays aren't the only days senators often take off. Normally, they're not returning to Washington until after business hours on Monday, and after they work for full days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, they tend to wrap up by mid-afternoon Thursday before postponing work until the following week.
    But some senators defend having Fridays off in Washington, including Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill.
    "The only day we have to visit businesses and schools is Friday," she told Politico. "If you are in session from the beginning of the day Monday until the end of the day Friday, you really remove one of the most important parts of our work. And that is listening to how what we're doing is impacting people back at home."
    But Republicans say they will reinstate the five-day workweek if they take control of the Senate, and Minority Leader McDonnell thinks a five-day schedule will force consensus among senators. But Democrats say McConnell also hasn't been on the floor when the Senate opens session on Mondays at 2 p.m. since February.


5/01/2014 – 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 now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. House vote sends unemployment reform to governor's desk, by Karen Buschmann, El Dorado Springs Sun via eldoradospringsmo.com
    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., USA - For years, many Missouri employers have relied on the federal Shared-Work Program to help avoid layoffs during temporary work slowdowns.
    [What federal Shared-Work Program? As far as we know, it's a *state shared-work program because it's all state-by-state worksharing programs in the USA. True, in the Feb.2012 Jobs Bill, worksharing has support from the federal budget but that support is directed toward setting up state-level programs.]
    The program has protected Missouri families from economic swings and allowed businesses to retain their skilled workers. Now, state lawmakers must act this year to allow Missourians to continue to access this beneficial program.
    Under the Shared-Work Program, during a temporary decline in business, participating companies can reduce the hours of their permanent employees, allowing them to collect partial unemployment payments to make up for lost wages.
    On April 23, the Missouri Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 844, which would make necessary changes to Missouri’s statutes to make it possible for businesses in Missouri to continue using the Shared-Work Program. State labor officials have said that unless the bill is passed and enacted by Aug. 22, 2014, the program will end in Missouri. Senate Bill 844, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, a Republican from Springfield, contains an emergency clause allowing the bill to take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature. It must still pass the House of Representatives before the legislative session ends on May 16.
    “The shared work program has been a valuable tool used by many of our state’s employers over the years. We feel this is truly a win-win program, helping businesses retain the employees they need while ensuring workers are paid during slow periods,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “We thank the Senate for their vote and we are asking the House to quickly act as well.”
    The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.
    Vice President of Communications
    Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    Missouri lawmakers and the state’s business community agree — employees who are fired for stealing or doing drugs on the job shouldn’t be rewarded for these activities. Now, we will see if Gov. Jay Nixon agrees as well.
    On Tuesday April 30, the Missouri House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 510 by a 107-45 bipartisan vote. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk. The proposal would change Missouri’s standards that dictate which employees are allowed to receive unemployment benefits upon termination. Currently, Missouri’s unemployment benefits laws are far too inclusive, effectively rewarding some employees who willfully break workplace rules.
    “Missouri businesses are fortunate to have an outstanding workforce. Unfortunately, current state law is allowing a few bad apples to take advantage of the unemployment compensation system,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “Allowing these rightfully terminated employees into our unemployment system has contributed the federal huge debt that Missouri businesses must now repay. This is bad for all Missourians and it’s time for this to stop.”
    During the recent economic recession, the state’s unemployment system had to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government to pay for the influx Missourians who were qualifying for unemployment benefits. Missouri is one of 13 states that remain indebted to the federal government. Missouri currently owes $270 million. In addition to penalties, interest on the debt grows at a rate of approximately $12 million a year.
    “As we focus on growing our economy, this debt is a significant hurdle. We’d like to thank the legislature for addressing this problem,” said Mehan. “This bill will help reduce our debt and make it less likely our employers will face this burden again in the future. Now, we call on the governor to join our consensus and sign this bill.”
    Senate Bill 510 is sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit.
    The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.

  2. Marching to many beats, by Beatrice Siu, (5/02 over dateline) Hong Kong Standard via thestandard.com.hk
    HONG KONG, H.K.S.A.R., China - Thousands of workers marched on *Labor Day (May 1 is "May Day" in US & Canada; our Labor Day is Sept.1 or now, first Monday in Sept.), with demands ranging from standard working hours to a better MPF system [Mandatory Provident Fund has managed pension schemes in Hong Kong since 1936; compare the now virtually bankrupt Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) in USA] and more public holidays.
    [*May Day is not to be confused with our distress call "mayday, mayday!" that comes from the French for Help Me! = m'aidez! but May Day definitely coincides with our ancient festival to celebrate spring that features holidayers holding streamers attached to the top of a "maypole" and dancing round it, interweaving the streamers as they go. This amount of fun was too much for early New England Puritans and they quickly suppressed the 1627 maypole dancing at *Merrymount (now Quincy MA) in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.]
    The biggest protest, with about 5,000 marching from Southorn Playground in Wan Chai to the government headquarters at Tamar, was organized by the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions [FTU].
    Marchers called for the end of the mechanism that allows employers to use mandatory provident fund payments to offset severance pay. They also protested against long working hours.
    Among the protesters was cook Wong Pit-man, who said he was twice made jobless by the closures of restaurants and had lost HK$50,000 from his MPF due to the offset mechanism. "I am worried as I am still jobless and I am the breadwinner of my family," Wong said.
    Construction worker Tse Lee-hung, 54, said his company has been employing more foreign workers at the expense of locals.
    "My work projects have dropped by 20 to 30 percent, and my income from HK$30,000 a month to HK$20,000," he said.
    FTU chairman Stanley Ng Chau-pei accused the government of not honoring its promise to standardize working hours and to close the MPF loophole.
    In the afternoon, about 3,200 people joined a demonstration by the Confederation of Trade Unions, which set off from Victoria Park.
    Most of them were migrant workers who wore paper masks bearing the face of Erwiana, an Indonesian maid who was allegedly abused by her employer.
    They called for higher pay and more emphasis on labor rights.
    The Neighbourhood and Workers' Service Centre also staged a rally outside the government offices demanding standard working hours.
    A spokesman said the government is committed to improving employees' benefits and striking a reasonable balance between employees' interests and employers' affordability.

  3. Government on public sector working hours, BETA via B92.net
    BELGRADE, Serbia -- The Serbian government adopted on Thursday a decision that ministries, special organizations and government services will work from 07:30 to 15:30.
    [So what was it before? In any event, we welcome Serbia to the 40-hour workweek world of America in 1940...and maintained to this day despite increasing cost and dysfunction occasioned by the standard downsizing that follows episodes of automation and robotization.]
    The decision also applies to public agencies.
    As announced after the meeting of the cabinet, the goal of this move is to achieve "a better and more efficient organization of working hours."
    The government also adopted a decree on the use of official vehicles by state authorities, other public bodies and public agencies.
    The decree stipulates that the right to an official vehicle of high class in constant use is afforded to the president of the republic, the president of parliament, the president of the government and deputy presidents of the government, and to presidents of the Constitutional and Supreme courts.
    "A method of rational use of official vehicles to achieve maximum savings and ensure efficiency" has also been determined by this regulation.
    The government adopted a conclusion making the Belgrade on the Water project "a project of importance for Serbia."
    The Draft Law on Amending the Law on Road Traffic Safety was forwarded to the National Assembly for urgent consideration.
    Novak Nedic' was appointed secretary-general of the government, while his predecessor Veljko Odalovic' will now serve as secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  4. Can an employer legally own work that you create outside working hours? GameDev.net
    [Or more to the point during a mounting surplus of jobseekers who surrender to employers a blank check on their lives, is there any such a thing as "outside working hours" any more? Compare the subtitle of Ben Hunnicutt's 1988 book, Work Without End: Abandoning Shorter Hours for the Right to Work. And with longer hours in the age of automation and robotics and AI comes labor surplus, wage cuts, weakening markets, and evermore forced and vulnerable dependency/parasitism.]
    GRAPEVINE, Tex., USA - Started by staticVoid2, May 01 2014 12:57 PM 14 replies to this topic
    Hi,
    I'm not sure if any of you have heard the latest news but apparently Zenimax is suing Oculus over that fact that some of the "Intellectual property" John Carmack created for the Oculus Rift was done while he was still working for Zenimax.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/zenimax-oculus-rift-claims-2014-5
    This got me thinking, Is it legally (and morally) correct for a company to own work you create outside of working hours? I'm pretty sure that John Carmack must have spent a lot of his spare time writing software for this device and also put a lot of his own resources into it.
    I just don't think it's right that a company can effectively 'own' you for the entire time you are with that company, there is something about this that makes me feel my human rights are being violated, especially if the work you create is completely unrelated to the buisness at hand and the tools, practices and methods used in development are yours and yours alone.
    The reason I'm posting this is because I was thinkng about pursuing a goal of developing a small application in my spare time and making some money off of it but in the (very slight) possibility that I make a lot of money from it would it be in my employers rights to take all of the money I earn?
    Also, If I bake a cake and sell it at a charity bake sale could my employer sue the charity trust? because In my opinion it's effectively the same thing.
    Has anyone here had any experiences with this and could you share some advice?
    Thanks.




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