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


6/29-30/2014 – 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. Convergys Call Center To Use Layoff Alternative, 6/30 Fox28 WNYF - 7News WWNY TV via wwnytv.com
    WATERTOWN, N.Y., USA - At first, it was announced that 200 jobs were on the line, but now as many as 120 people will be affected at the end of July when a contract between Convergys and an unnamed client expires.
    Employees at the Watertown call center, formally known as Stream, tell us that client is Sprint.
    Now, company officials are turning to a state program called Shared Work.
    "It allows a company to retain their workforce even though the workforce will be on a part-time basis and they'll be able to collect unemployment," said Cheryl Mayforth, executive director of The WorkPlace.

    Simply put, under Shared Work, an employee can work two and a half days per week and collect unemployment for another two and a half days.
    Last week, the state approved Convergys for the program and 65 employees will take part in it.
    Should Convergys not pick up another client before July 31, another 55 workers will take part.
    They can only take part for six months.

    "So that within the time frame allowed in Shared Work that they would be able to, in this case, take on new contracts so that the employees can return to full time," said Mayforth.
    And that's something Convergys continues to work on.
    According to documents obtained by 7 News, the company was in negotiations with three potential clients last month, but those fell through.
    According to those same documents, it's continuing to search.
    We placed calls to a Convergys spokesperson, but they were not returned as of late Monday afternoon.

  2. Paso Robles school district ends staff furloughs as budget improves, by Patrick S. Pemberton ppemberton@thetribunenews.com, 6/29 (6/28 late pickup) The Tribune via SanLuisObispo.com... PASO ROBLES, Calif., USA - The Paso Robles school board unanimously voted this week to eliminate staff furlough days, a sign that the district’s financial troubles — which once threatened to result in a state takeover — are in the past.
    “We have turned the corner,” said Jim Lynett, executive director of the teachers union. “We’re optimistic going forward.”
    While Paso Robles became the last school district in the county to eliminate furloughs — a point of contention with some staffers — the decision was greeted with a standing ovation at Tuesday’s board meeting, Lynett said.
    The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District’s financial troubles surfaced publicly in December 2011, when the school board submitted a negative certification, saying it didn’t have the 1 percent reserve fund required by the state at the end of the school year.
    Faced with the prospect of losing local control, the district instituted layoffs and furlough days. At its worst, the district required 12 furlough days during the school year.

    [But maybe 18 furlough days would have meant zero layoffs? Needed the excuse to get rid of poor performers? If you need excuses, you're the poor performer - as a manager - and need either to get out or get training.]
    [But maybe 18 furlough days would have meant zero layoffs? Needed the excuse to get rid of poor performers? If you need excuses, you're the poor performer - as a manager - and need either to get out or get training.]
    But gradually, the district began to rebuild its reserves, partly as a result of the cuts. After three consecutive years of mandatory furloughs, the board voted to end those beginning with the 2014-15 school year.
    “Every one of our board members is thankful for the sacrifices our staff made in order to help us be financially solvent,” said board President Katy Griffin, whose husband is a teacher in the district.
    It wasn’t without a cost, Lynett said. Some teachers who didn’t get laid off eventually left for more secure jobs in other districts, he said. Others suffered financially.
    “I know teachers who lost their homes and had to move into rentals,” he said.
    This past school year, even after the district had regained its financial footing, the district still required six furlough days — over the objection of the teachers.
    “We didn’t believe we needed furloughs last school year,” Lynett said.
    The board also passed its $56.6 million budget for the 2014-15 school year this week.
    The budget allows for a reserve of about 6 percent, said Ashley Lightfoot, the district’s public information officer. That number has more than doubled from its 2011 amount. While the state requires districts to have a 3 percent reserve, the district is shooting for a 10 percent reserve in case it encounters unforeseen financial challenges in the future.
    “The problem is 3 percent doesn’t even cover one month of payroll,” Lightfoot said.
    This year’s budget process was difficult, Lightfoot said, because the funding formula has changed. That has led some to mistakenly believe there is a budget shortfall, which is not the case, he said. While final numbers are still pending, the district is making gains, Lightfoot said.
    “We’re still digging ourselves out of a economic hole, but we’re moving positively,” he said.


6/28/2014 – 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 Work-Sharing a Policy Alternative That Can Reduce Poverty and Unemployment? LibertarianJew.blogspot.ca
    CALGARY, Alta.(?), Canada - Although the Great Recession technically ended about five years ago, we are still feeling the effects of the financial crisis that engendered the recession. Increases in employment can barely keep up with population growth, and unemployment is still a major issue. There are those who are well-intended [ie: intentioned], but suggest poor public policy, such as raising the minimum wage or increasing unemployment benefits. I was reading a paper recently published by the centrist [ie: left-leaning?] Brookings Institution coming up with [sic] various policy alternatives. One such policy they wrote about was the encouragement of work-sharing.
    Work-sharing is an agreement in which employees redistribute labor hours amongst themselves in order to help maintain the employment rate (i.e., prevent layoffs), usually because of reduced demand on the employer's part [ie: side], but sometimes to help employees create a better work-life balance.
    [This Jewish blogger is uncharacteristically incoherent.]
    Work-sharing is slightly different from job sharing. Job sharing has no ties to unemployment insurance whatsoever.
    [- and usually splits a 40-hour job description among two people.]
    Under work-sharing, the individual would be offered prorated unemployment insurance (UI) in addition [to their prorated pay] to maintain their employment on a part-time basis, which is particularly useful when there is temporary, counter-cyclical demand. What this means that instead of laying off twenty workers, [an employer would trim 20% off the workweek of] one hundred employees [who] would temporarily receive a 20 percent reduction in their wages while receiving a smaller compensation of UI.
    One of the distinct advantages of implementing work-sharing is that labor hours can be redistributed in lieu of causing involuntary unemployment. Considering how long-term unemployment makes it more difficult for the unemployed to regain entry into the labor market, this alternative would help reduce the number of long-term unemployed. In addition to avoiding layoffs, it would help businesses retain valued employees while avoiding hiring costs for when the economy does get better. Firing and hiring cost businesses money, and cutting back on those labor costs would also help businesses. Based on these analyses, work-sharing seems to work, as long as output does not deteriorate (Böckerman and Kiander, 2002).
    Germany is usually touted as the shining example of how work-sharing programs can succeed (Baker, 2011). Ezra Klein makes a good point, which is that work-sharing works better when there are an inordinate amount of labor laws that make the firing process take months. What the St. Louis Federal Reserve found in 2013 is that it is more difficult to implement in the United States because it is arguably both easier to lay off workers and for workers to find a new job, i.e., the United States has a less rigid labor market that makes it easier to allow for workers to shift from declining sectors to growing ones.
    [Uh, WHAT "growing ones"?]
    Seventeen states [no, 28 states - he must be looking at an old summary] have implemented work-sharing programs already, including California. Although it could be due to mismanagement or not enough PR, I would put my money on the fact that the nature of labor markets is notably different in the United States than it is in Europe. If you can get the conservatives over at the American Enterprise Institute on board (also see Hassett and Strain, 2014), work-sharing is probably an above average policy.
    That being said, I do have some reservations, most notably as to whether work-sharing only has negligible effects (Kapteyn et al., 2004; Jacobson and Ohlsson, 2000). Another one [=reservation?] is that although the cost of the policy would be roughly that of the current UI system, it would make people even more dependent on the government for their livelihood, which is not something that sits well with me. Work-sharing can be viewed as a way to hide the extent of labor market issues [=problems] by artificially increasing the employment rate. Work-sharing also assumes that there are [sic] a fixed amount of work-hours to be had,
    [ohoh, the LOLF sophistry rears its perverse head - the writer is presumably assuming we admit that the amount of work-hours to be had are not fixed ie: unlimited (even though the willingness to pay for them is fixed or declining and without pay, they ain't work-hours)]
    and that the status quo is preferable. Markets are dynamic and interconnected, and thus need the ability to adjust when new situations come along, even if that is a recession.
    [Sounds like Morgan Stanley's Steve Roach before his sister got laid off.]
    We should be encouraging entrepreneurship, not discouraging it.
    [Bit of a non-sequitur there. How is cutting jobs and impoverishing the consumer base "discouraging entrepreneurship"? = More of the twisted reasoning of Constipated Capitalism.]
    If there were a bright side to recessions, it would be that it weeds out inefficient businesses and allows for remaining businesses to be more efficient in their practices, thereby causing a more efficient allocation of scarce resources.
    [Fine and dandy as long as we regard impoverishing consumer-spenders as "efficient" and ignore the possibility that a self-accelerating, increasingly indiscriminate "weeding" can get established - sort of like, "oh no, there's absolutely no way global warming could just keep going". We're so used to homeostasis we have a hard time imagining anything else.]
    While labor is an important element of running a business, there is also capital, land, and entrepreneurship that are vital inputs, which is why businesses need that flexibility to make the choice about which inputs at what proportion are more important. This is especially true if work-sharing became more of a norm, as well as a labor rigidity that would make it more difficult to fire employees.
    [He's verging on Schumpeter's "gale of creative destruction" which strangely omits consideration of the possibility that the destruction may totally overwhelm the creativity or creation.]
    Work-sharing seems to be an improvement over the current UI system. You keep employees working, there is less of a "long-term unemployment epidemic" that causes economic and social costs, and the other benefit here is that employment levels are maintained (as opposed to straight-up UI benefits, which actually decrease employment levels). I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to trying out an expansion of work-sharing, especially if employers collaborate with the government's UI program on a voluntary basis.
    [= "damned by faint praise"?]
    Conversely, since my reservations still remain, I would also suggest looking for other alternatives in the meantime.
    [= passing the buck? Note the characteristic total disregard of the consumer base throughout, like, "oh nothing can hurt consumption, it's invulnerable!"]

  2. Reporters to Gather for Furlough Friday while Register Brass Plans Gala July 4 Party in Newport Beach, by Dan Chmielewski, (6/27 late pickup) TheLiberalOC.com [Orange County CA]
    NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., USA - Tonight [6/27] in Orange, the OC Press Club, which features quite a few newly-departed OC Register reporters, editors and photographers, will gather for the first Furlough Friday — a “Drinking Liberally” of sorts for journalists.
    ["Newly-departed" sounds like "laid off" while "Furlough Friday" sounds like a workweek cut to avoid layoffs. Which is it? or is it both? Later remarks sound like it's "laid off" with Furlough Friday brought in only as a kind of tasteless alliteration.]
    That’s at Paul’s Cocktails on West Chapman in Orange starting at 6PM. Consider stopping by and buying a round. The invite from the Press Club concludes with “See you in the Funny Papers.”
    And “Funny Papers” might be the appropriate new name for Freedom Communications. We’ve been sent a flier for a VIP July 4th bash in Newport Dunes sponsored by the Register featuring a free concert by KC and the Sunshine band. “Exclusive Perks and VIP access to “Freedom Place” and a prime spot to watch the fireworks. Now, any business going through a tough patch would be mistaken to cut its marketing efforts. But in light on the massive cuts in staff, the shrinking newshole in the paper, and the loss of senior experienced journalists, marketing efforts by the Register might be better done via a more subtle approach to assure its reader’s of standards for quality journalism, commitment to “news that matters,” and to advertisers to let them know about the how the paper reaches potential customers.
    A VIP reception with a concert and a hospitality suite strikes [me as] invok[ing] an image of the string quartet playing as the Titanic sank to an icy grave. I’d think VIPs would be a tough crowd for Register management to deal with especially if they are business leaders or advertisers in the community.
    For those friends we have at Register going to the Furlough Friday event today, check out the jukebox and play some KC & The Sunshine Band. That’s the way, uh-huh-uh-huh, I like it, uh-huh uh-huh.

  3. Now everyone has the right to demand flexible working hours: And parents and carers could lose out to colleagues who simply want a lie-in, by Jack Doyle, Daily Mail via mailonline.co.uk
    • Britain's 30million workers will have the right to demand flexible hours
    • They will not have to give a reason why they want to be off at certain times
    • Bosses expect to be hit with a deluge of requests which must be considered in order they were received
    • Government bosses say move will make for more modern workplaces
    Stressed: Parents and carers - who already have the right to ask for flexible working - could lose out to those with less pressing responsibilities (photo caption)
    LONDON, Great Britain - Britain's 30million workers will have the right to demand flexible hours from Monday – even if they just want a lie-in [=sleep-in] or time off to pursue a hobby.
    ["Time off" sounds like shorter worktime by request, but only on a one-time basis. This whole development sounds kinda like "a maximum investment at a point of minimum return" - in other words, political grandstanding.]
    They will not have to give a reason why they want to be off at certain times and companies have been told they cannot judge requests on merit.
    It means parents and carers – who already have the right to ask for flexible working – could lose out to those with less pressing responsibilities.
    A request from a mother who wants to start work later so she can take her children to nursery will carry no more weight than one from a colleague simply wanting to spend a bit longer in bed.
    Bosses expect to be hit with a deluge of requests which must be considered in the order received.
    Astonishingly, government officials have told business groups that if employers receive conflicting requests which they cannot honour they should ‘put the names in a hat’.
    Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said the new rules meant that those with stronger claims to flexible working could lose out.
    He said: ‘The new rules make it harder for employers to prioritise requests. They cannot prioritise one employee over another, whereas before you could prioritise those who had childcare responsibilities or carer responsibilities for example.’
    When the measures were first announced by Nick Clegg in November 2012, businesses warned they would lead to more red tape.
    Many firms already offer flexible terms, but there are fears that the new rules could lead to a string of legal actions. There are also concerns that the ‘right to ask’ for flexible working will be confused with a ‘right to have’.
    Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business, said: ‘Our members recognise the benefits of flexible working and wherever possible have sought to work with employees to provide flexible working options.
    ‘However, extending the right to request flexible working to all employees will simply make the consideration process the employer needs to follow more complicated and time-consuming and only add to the administrative pressures already felt by many small business owners.’
    Flexible working laws were first introduced in 2003. Currently they mean firms must consider requests from parents with children under 17 and from those with caring responsibilities for elderly parents or other dependents.
    But from Monday, all workers will have the same ‘right to ask’ after they have been in a job for six months.
    They can make one request a year and businesses can only refuse under eight specific reasons, such as if the change creates additional costs or does not fit with customer demand. Employees who are unhappy with the decision can appeal.
    Lib Dem business minister Jo Swinson said: ‘Extending the right to request flexible working will help to create a cultural shift towards more modern, 21st century workplaces where working flexibly is the norm.
    ‘Firms that embrace flexible working are more likely to attract and retain the best talent and reap the benefits of a more motivated workforce.
    ‘Employees will benefit from being able to balance work with other commitments in their lives. It also helps drive a cultural shift where flexible working becomes the norm.'


6/27/2014 – 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. Missouri bill preserves shared-work program, AP via KSDK.com
    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., USA - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation preserving a program that encourages businesses to place employees on part-time status instead of laying them off.
    The measure enacted Friday is intended to keep Missouri in compliance with new federal requirements for the shared-work program.

    Nixon said about 335 employers and more than 21,000 people currently participate in the program. It allows businesses to split working hours among a group of employees as an alternative to laying some of them off. In exchange, the employees' incomes are supplemented with reduced amounts of unemployment benefits.
    Missouri's program had to be revised to match federal guidelines, or else it would have ended in August.
    Business groups supported the legislation, which could allow Missouri to get an additional $2.5 million in federal funds.
    Shared-work bill is SB844.
    [Here's another version - "from the horse's mouth"! - that showed up a day late -]
    Gov. Nixon signs bill to benefit employees and employers participating in shared work program - Senate Bill 844 is one of eight bills signed today, (6/27 late pickup) Office of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon via governor.mo.gov
    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., USA - Gov. Jay Nixon today signed into law a bill that benefits both employees and employers participating in a shared work program. A shared work program allows employers to divide available work among a group of employees as an alternative to laying employees off during a slowdown. By retaining trained staff, employers can avoid the costs of hiring and retraining workers when workloads increase. Currently, there are some 335 employers and more than 21,000 workers participating in the program throughout Missouri.
    Senate Bill 844 allows part-time workers to be eligible for unemployment benefits through the shared work program and also expands eligibility for the program to allow more employers to participate. In addition, employees covered under a shared work program will be able to participate in Workforce Investment Act training. By bringing Missouri into compliance with federal law, Senate Bill 844 will allow the state to continue to receive federal reimbursement for unemployment benefits paid under the shared work program.
    In addition to Senate Bill 844, the Governor today also signed:
    • Senate Bill 689 and House Bill 1304, which both modify packaging requirements on malt liquor;
    • Senate Bill 794, which allows certain financial institutions to transfer fiduciary obligations and modifies the law relating to insurance producers and holding companies;
    • Senate Bill 896, which modifies laws related to Buchanan, New Madrid, Perry and Randolph counties, as well as the City of Liberty;
    • House Bill 1270, which requires specified disclosures on new credit card processing service contracts;
    • House Bill 1412, supported by Secretary of State Jason Kander, makes it a crime to intentionally file a fraudulent financing statement or any financing statement with the Secretary of State with the intent to harass or defraud any other person; and [sic]
    House Bill 1693, a bill to help in the process of returning and redeeming of United States saving bonds that are unclaimed property. The bill, supported by State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, contains an emergency clause.

  2. Standard Working Hours Committee meets members of the public at Fa Yuen Street Cooked Food Centre in Mong Kok, 7thSpace Interactive (press release) via 7thspace.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, USA - The following is issued on behalf of the Standard Working Hours Committee:
    The Chairperson of the Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC), Dr Leong Che-hung, together with members, visited the Cooked Food Centre at Fa Yuen Street Municipal Services Building in Mong Kok at lunch time today (June 27) to talk to members of the public and listen to their views on working hours.
    [Dunno if they're making much progress but they sure know how to have fun!]
    Dr Leong said, "Further to the visit to a construction site to meet with construction workers on June 12, we are pleased to go into the community today and chat with members of the public and employed persons of various sectors in a relaxing environment. We have learnt about their routine working hours and their views on working hours issues. The information gathered has enhanced the SWHC's understanding of the working hours situation of Hong Kong."
    The SWHC is organising a series of public consultation forums.
    Dr Leong appealed to the public to actively participate in the district forums organised for Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, New Territories West and New Territories East on July 9, 12, 19 and 26 respectively. For details, please browse the Committee website (www.swhc.org.hk) or call 2127 4504.
    Other than attending consultation sessions, members of the public are welcome to express their 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) before July 31.
    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

  3. Bio-medical staff at Northampton General protest in a dispute over pay and working hours, itv.com
    NORTHAMPTON, United Kingdom - Bio-medical staff at Northampton General are protesting outside the hospital in a dispute over pay and working hours.
    The pathology lab workers began industrial action earlier this week, by working to their set hours.
    [=presumably shorter than their actual hours...] But have now been refused entry to the hospital.
    The Unite Union claims the hospital's stopping them from working unless they agree to end their dispute.
    The Trust says the dispute could affect turnaround times for test results which could put patients at risk, so they have asked workers to stay at home until the action comes to an end.

  4. Summer working hours in the GCC, my Joanna Taylor & Neil Crossley & Patricia Wardrop & Ashleigh Robertson & Iain Skinner & Sarah Lawrence, DLA Piper via TheLawyer.com
    DUBAI (?), UAE - With summer now upon us and the temperature and humidity continuing to rise, the annual summertime working hours restrictions will soon be implemented in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, having already taken effect in the remaining GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries.
    [namely, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.]
    The aim of the summertime working hours is to protect the health and safety of employees. Employers must not force their employees to carry out any sort of work under direct sunlight.
    [So are summer hours shorter or just different, and in either case, could this be the origin of the famous Spanish siesta? = probably!]
    Employers face severe penalties if they are found by the labour inspectors to be breaching the summertime working hours restrictions. Penalties include fines, a ban on obtaining new work permits and, in severe cases, a closure of the establishment. ...


6/26/2014 – 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. Postal Service Plan to Cut Hours at Smaller Iowa Post Offices Picks up the Pace in July, by Dave Franzman, KCRG-TV9 via kcrg.com
    SWISHER, Iowa [halfway betw Iowa City & Cedar Rapids], USA — A United States Postal Service plan to save money by cutting hours at rural post offices is coming closer to completion. And in the first two full weeks of July, that will mean public hearings with postal officials in 70 Iowa communities to talk about service cutbacks.
    Postal customers in many smaller communities received mailed surveys from the USPS in recent weeks. The choices were accept a cut in hours that post offices were open in each community, close the post office itself or open a postal “substation” inside a private business in the community.
    Stacy St. John, communications programs specialist for the postal region including Iowa, said not surprisingly the vast majority of those responding to the survey picked the first choice — a cut in hours open.
    When the USPS launched the cost cutting POST plan in 2012, closing the only post office in a small community like Swisher in Johnson County was one of the extreme options. But the outcry nationwide convinced postal leaders to try to save money by cutting more hours instead.

    In Swisher, the proposed changed [sic] wouldn’t amount to much. It would reduce the time the post office there is open each weekday from 7.25 hours to six. The office would also open for two hours Saturday morning. Other communities might see a more significant cut depending on the level of business.
    Chris Taylor, Swisher mayor, said considering the alternative that kind of reduction isn’t so bad.
    “Realistically, we know where the post office wants to go, what options they want to choose. And I hope people are OK with that,” Taylor said.
    One customer at the Swisher post office, Harlan Belden, agreed customers could live with a cut in hours much more easily than losing a community post office.
    “I don’t see anything wrong with six hours,”
    Belden said adding “It’s a change but I think people will adapt to it, I really do.”
    The public meeting with postal officials for Swisher is set for 5 p.m. on July 7th at the post office. Other communities in Iowa have public meetings set from July 5th through the 18th.
    St. John said some who’ve attended the public meetings have argued against any service cuts at all. St. John said with the ongoing financial difficulties for the postal service that isn’t possible. But what may be possible is staggering hours to get more benefit out of the time the small post offices are open.
    “We can partner with neighboring towns so if one office wants to be open in the morning, the other could be in the afternoon. It’s a good opportunity to listen to the communities,” she said.
    The USPS is almost finished with the process of public hearings and announcing the cutback in hours at smaller community post offices. The final meetings take place in August. A total of 134 post offices in Iowa will go through the process of having service hours adjusted.
    Comments: (319) 368-8611; dave.franzman@sourcemedia.net

  2. Standard Working Hours Committee launches thematic exhibition on working hours, 7thSpace Interactive (press release) via 7thspace.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, USA - The following is issued on behalf of the Standard Working Hours Committee:
    Members of the public are invited to visit a thematic exhibition on working hours organised by the Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC), to be held at Dragon Centre in Sham Shui Po on June 28 and 29.
    At the exhibition, the SWHC will display panels featuring information on various working hours issues, broadcast a TV promotional video entitled "Get to Know Standard Working Hours" and distribute the comic book "Touring around the World of Working Hours" to enhance public understanding of the subject of working hours. In addition, a quiz game will be held during the exhibition and participants will receive SWHC souvenirs.
    The exhibition will be held at the 1/F Atrium, Dragon Centre, 37K Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po, from 11am to 8pm. Admission is free.
    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


6/25/2014 – 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. Will a 6-hour workday make Sweden more productive? As the city of Gothenburg embarks on this experiment with hours, we'll be watching closely, by Sami Grover, Mother Nature Network via mnn.com
    ATLANTA, Ga., USA - The city government in Gothenburg is about to embark on an interesting experiment, asking one set of workers to work only six hours a day, while another set of their colleagues will continue to work the standard seven, reports Fast Company. The idea is to test whether shorter workdays can increase productivity, decrease absenteeism, and maybe even boost job creation too.
    "We'll compare the two afterwards and see how they differ," Mat Pilhem, the Left Party deputy mayor of Gothenburg, told The Local. "We hope to get the staff members taking fewer sick days and feeling better mentally and physically after they've worked shorter days."
    The Fast Company report references statistics that show workers in OECD countries experiencing declines in productivity, the longer they work. But whether such statistics translate into direct productivity gains when hours are cut remains to be seen.
    The Swedes have experimented with such ideas in the past, with the Kiruna district council previously running a 16 -year experiment into comparing workers' hours to their productivity. The study concluded in 2005 with researchers unable to demonstrate direct benefits, partially because of increased costs in hiring more temporary workers, and partially because of resentment between teams asked to work full hours and those working reduced time.
    Ultimately, it seems hard to imagine that any single study will validate or disprove the notion that fewer work hours will mean more work done. As someone who has gone from a five-day week to a four-day week, I can testify that less time does tend to focus the mind — for me at least — meaning more work done in fewer hours. But a voluntary, autonomous move to fewer hours is quite different to one mandated from bosses or government.
    Perhaps the real solution is to focus on results, not hours, allowing each employee to choose their own schedule. Well that, and remembering that productivity isn't the sole purpose of being alive. There, at least, the Scandinavians seem to be a step ahead.
    Although the guy from the controversial Cadillac ELR ad might disagree...

  2. Council approves $18 million city budget, by Dana Cole dana.cole@bensonnews-sun.com, San Pedro Valley News-Sun via BensonNewsSun.com
    BENSON, Ariz., USA — Despite the unpopularity of mandatory furlough days for city employees, the Mayor and Council approved the City’s final budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 at Monday’s council meeting, reflecting a budget total of nearly $18 million.
    The budget was prepared based on input from council work sessions and is $2 million less than the 2013-2014 budget, as the city works to reduce expenditures in a tight economy. While the budget is flexible enough to accommodate economic changes, the city’s personnel side is considered the “most inflexible component of the budget” and contains the following highlights.
    • All personnel will be taking 20 furlough days, with the exception of the police department. Police officers will be taking 10 furlough days.
    • No cost of living adjustments will be coming for employees.
    • Employees will not be receiving merit increases.
    • There will be no significant changes in benefits.
    • There will be no layoffs.
    [Furloughs, not layoffs = timesizing, not downsizing.]
    The total budgeted personnel costs of nearly $5 million reflect a 10 percent decrease from the prior fiscal year. Because of delays in hiring vacated positions, there is a decrease of 3.23 full-time equivalent employees for a total of 99.06 full time employees. Departments that reflect decreases in personnel include the police department, library, utilities, golf course and transit.
    While council members approved the budget, such issues as a possible restructuring of staff, based on employee attrition, were suggested by Councilman Ron Brooks. “I just want to commend all the departments for getting this budget down to almost $2 million below last year’s budget,” Brooks said. Mayor Toney King weighed in on the issue of employee furloughs by issuing an apology to city staff, stating, “I just feel badly for the employees for these furloughs,” he said. “I wish I had paid more attention to the budget prior to Megan (Moreno) coming on. I’m sorry for you guys having to put up with the hardship of what is happening here because of this budget and I hope you guys understand that we are going to do everything we can to eliminate some of these furloughs if we can, if things get better.”
    In response, City Manager Bill Stephens offered a bit of good news for the community, based on a recent announcement that a Phoenix developer paid $26.6 million for Whetstone Ranch, with plans on bringing a master plan community into Benson. The developer, El Dorado Holdings, Inc. plans to bring some 20,000 homes to the area, to be introduced in phases. “So, it appears we’ve got some positive signs that things will begin (to improve) in terms of revenue…with construction comes construction sales tax,” Stephens said.
    Councilman Chris Moncada said he is “Very happy with the way the budget turned out,” noting that Stephens, as a new city manager, walked into a tough situation and handled it well.
    Meanwhile, Councilman Jeff Cook questioned why the furlough days were not spread evenly across departments, pointing to the 10 furlough days within the police department, while employees in other departments are forced to take 20 days. Cook then said, “There is a great deal of dissatisfaction among the employee body that they are not being treated equally.” He spoke of “preliminary talk” of an informal protest among employees.
    Stephens confirmed Cook’s employee protest concern, but also noted that it was because of cuts in police department staffing that allowed the reduction of furloughs for that department. While Stephens agreed “equity and fairness is the right approach,” he did not see where a reduction in furloughs for all employees would be possible at this stage in the budget process.
    Brooks stated that, while he is sympathetic with the employees, the tentative budget had already been approved by council, with the furloughs in place. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t see this coming earlier,” he said of the budget. “I think we have to look back at some of the management we had in the past that didn’t really keep us abreast of where we were.” Councilman Patrick Boyle defended reductions in furloughs within the police department, stating that given the nature of a police officer’s work, there needs to be flexibility in that department. Boyle said the officers are often subjected to situations that are not consistent with a normal work day, sometimes placing their lives at risk. “Things the police officers do are above and beyond what the normal person does at their work,” he said, adding, “Police work is an exclusive kind of job, something that requires a different way of looking at it...I don’t see anything unfair about this (furloughs).”
    While the budget was approved, Stephens agreed to keep the council apprised of any changes that could account for reductions in furloughs and other cuts that have been implemented. It was reiterated that the budget is a flexible tool and that adjustments could be made if revenues improve.
    In other business, the council approved the following:
    • A change in City Code to comply with state law when a Council vacancy occurs. The ordinance change states: “Council shall fill any vacancy that may occur by appointment until the next regularly scheduled council election if the vacancy occurs more than thirty days before the nomination petition deadline, otherwise the appointment is for the unexpired term. Otherwise, the appointment shall be made within 30 days of the date the vacancy occurs.”
    • An application by the Benson Historic Preservation Commission for a certified local government pass-through grant administered by the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office. The grant application is for an inventory of structures on Fourth Street that could be eligible for historic recognition. Some 52 structures in the city’s downtown commercial core could be considered for nomination, with the possibility of nominating multiple structures to create a historic district. The other possibility is nominating individual structures separately. This is a $4,000 matching grant, with the City of Benson responsible for 40 percent of the funding, or $1,600.
    • Financial highlights for April 2014, presented by Finance Director Megan Moreno that revealed April as a good month, with the city bringing in more revenue than was expended. The unrestricted cash sits at $1.2 million, with bond proceeds at $1.12 million. While April’s revenues exceeded expenditures by $109,000, the city continued to operate in the red by $105,000 for the fiscal year. Citywide, revenues were $804,000, with the year to date revenues at $7.8 million, reflecting a $762,000 decrease from the prior fiscal year. April showed a strong increase in sales tax, with a gradual increase in bed tax over the past three months.
    There will be a ceremony at the Benson Visitor Center at 10 a.m. Friday (June 27) “Benson Transportation Past, Present and Future,” featuring the official unveiling of the historical railroad logos and murals.
    In addition, Union Pacific Railroad will be recognized for making the logos possible, through a grant.

  3. 'Employee Or Work Sharing' – The Future Of Work, by Anthony Onesto, (5/12 very late pickup) Linkedin via TheBusinessAim.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Digital and Advertising expert Anthony Onesto wrote on his Linkedin page that his ~
    My father worked for the New York Times his entire career. He started in the delivery department and worked his way up into accounting.
    In the end, he was required to apply for his own accounting job and forced to retire early. His experience, working for one company his entire life is very rare these days. I believe in the future, even working for just one company at any given time will be rare.
    The current structure of the employee-company relationship is 1-to-1. You work for one company (unless you are a consultant) and that company pays you. In the future the way we work and relationship structures will change. In fact, I am seeing it happening already. The idea is a “one to many” relationship. There are many folks, experts in their area (accounting, HR, sales, marketing), who are working for multiple companies. In most cases, the companies are not in competition, so there are no conflicts. I call this “Employee Sharing” or “Work Sharing”.
    [Here's a third use of the term "work sharing" to confuse things beyond the second use = Patent Offices' and project managers' "synonym" for project sharing and our own, solely valid [puhleez!], usage = sharing the diminishing amount of natural market-demanded human working hours still not taken over by automation or robotics.]
    The concept is similar to “time-sharing”. In the same way people time-share vacation locations, companies will soon employee share. This is not temp work or consulting, but companies acquiring a share of a person’s available hours during any given week or month. For instance, if your company needs a marketer, you can buy a share of a marketing professionals time during the next week or month.
    These professionals will provide their expertise and focus in that allotted time purchased and could be asked to retain [sic] for a specific time period. There are times when you don’t need a certain function for 40 hours and in other times you need THAT function for more than 40 hours.
    [Dream on. More and more people are getting "part" timed, cuz the market-demanded human hours are being automated and robotized, and ANY activity that is standardizable is automatable. And as long as CEOs' basic luddite response to technology is downsizing instead of timesizing, the retention of a 1940-level of worktime per person per week will just concentrate those hours on ever fewer, evermore powerless, evermore overworked people with less and less free time to buy stuff, and the percentage of disemployed, impoverished, dependent people will grow and grow.]
    The key is to aggregate all of these professionals in one place, a website, where a company can go and look at profiles/expertise, time available and lock in that specific time (and of course rate). You could get one rate from a company that has the need and would pay a higher rate, than other companies that could afford to wait and pay during an open time.
    The back-end would work like a temp agency and pay the employee and bill the client or you could just make it subscription based and have the payment done outside the technology between the individual and company.
    You also get expertise from around the world, so if you need a sales person in Milan, you can time-share with that person for the allotted time.
    Lastly, the key is to ensure there is no conflict of interest. HR and legal departments MUST get sophisticated in this area, as I see this becoming popular in the future. The benefit to the professional is working for multiple companies, experiences, and keeping their interest continually peaked. The benefit for the company is you use and pay for the skills you need, when you need them.
    Via: LinkedIn Influencer


6/24/2014 – 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. What state workers earn: California firefighters, by Jon Ortiz jortiz@sacbee.com, The State Worker via Sacramento Bee via sacbee.com
    SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - The union representing California’s state firefighters closed last year with the distinction of being the only state labor group whose current contract doesn’t include a pay increase.
    The California Department of Forestry Firefighters made a decision in the summer of 2012 to ask for a four-year extension of its 2010-13 contract. The deal gave members security in exchange for swallowing a one-day-per-month furlough that Gov. Jerry Brown demanded all the state employee unions accept [in lieu of jobcuts!]. It hedged against losing ground if the state budget woes continued, but it also kept members’ pay static well into 2017.
    [and their jobs "static" = secure! And why should they get more pay when they've allowed a pervasive labor surplus to depress wages, instead of continuing labor's fight for shorter enough hours to prevent wage-sinking labor surplus as automation rolls in and kneejerk downsizing follows?]
    The contract was also a de facto bet that voters wouldn’t pass Proposition 30 in the November 2012 election. Then Brown’s tax-hike measure passed and the impact of the higher state revenues converted into modest pay raises for most state workers. But not the firefighters. The union tried to reopen its contract, invoking a provision that allowed it to renegotiate pay. No luck.
    With raises kicking in for most state workers on July 1, this is the seventh in a series of State Worker blog posts looking at what unionized government employees earned last year. The numbers feeding the series come from the state controller’s payroll data. The figures include only regular pay issued to full-time employees represented by the 21 bargaining units that negotiate contracts with the state. Employees who earned less than $1,000 last year are not included in the calculations.
    Bargaining Unit 8 – Firefighters (California Department of Forestry Firefighters)
    Number of full-time employees in 2013: 5,731
    2013 average full-time pay: $37,588
    2013 median full-time pay: $40,693
    Number of full-time employees in 2012: 5,646
    2012 average full-time pay: $36,754
    2012 median full-time pay: $40,903
    Number of full-time employees in 2011: 5,735
    2011 average full-time pay: $35,953
    2011 median full-time pay: $40,470
    Note: During the three-year span covered by the above numbers, firefighters were on 1-day-per-month furlough from July 2012 through June 2013. A new top-step pay increase kicked in last summer for senior employees. And a large number of state workers entered retirement. Keep those events in mind as you look at the figures.
    The numbers do not include overtime or other pays common for firefighters because this series is looking only at regular pay rates in the state workforce.

  2. Historic sites to stay open, but hours cut - State budget likely will require reduced hours after Labor Day, by Doug Finke, GateHouse Media Illinois via Peoria Journal Star via pjstar.com
    SPRINGFIELD, Illin., USA — No state historic sites will close for now because of budget cuts, but many could see reduced hours after the Labor Day holiday.
    [Hourscuts, not closures = timesizing, not downsizing.]
    “The governor’s office has given us some direction in how we will move forward with budget implementation,” said Amy Martin, director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. “We will be looking to maintain services as best possible through the rest of this calendar year and hope the budget for IHPA will be restored in November or January.”
    Lawmakers return to Springfield for their veto session in November following the elections. They are also expected to meet briefly in a lame-duck session in January before newly elected legislators are sworn in.
    As part of the cobbled-together budget lawmakers passed last month, about $1.1 million was cut from the historic sites section of the Historic Preservation Agency’s budget. That represents a 19 percent reduction.
    Until now, IHPA did not rule out the possibility that some historic sites would have to close to cover the shortfall.
    “The good news is we will have no closures at this time,” Martin told the IHPA’s board of trustees. “However, we will be reducing hours at the sites after Labor Day. We are currently evaluating that. Which sites exactly that will affect, we hope to have that determination soon.”
    IHPA wants to have the list finalized by Aug. 1. However, none of the reduced hours will take effect before Labor Day. Martin said the agency wants to keep regular hours during the summer vacation season.
    Many sites are open seven days a week during much of the year, with some going to five days a week during the middle of winter. Other sites are open only five days a week even in summer months.
    If hours are reduced, it most likely would mean closing for a full day or more rather than closing early several days a week.
    In addition to reducing hours, the agency will postpone filling vacancies until it sees if its budget will be restored. That will have an immediate effect on the Vachel Lindsay Home Historic Site in Springfield. The site superintendent is scheduled to retire July 1. After that, the home may be open by appointment only or for special events.
    The Lindsay home has among the fewest visitors of the state’s historic sites.
    Martin acknowledged there are risks involved in not implementing deep cuts to the agency earlier in the budget year, rather than hoping the Legislature passes a supplemental appropriation in November or January.
    “If we don’t get (the budget restored), then the consequences would be worse because now you only have six months to make the cuts,” she said. “We do hope working with the Legislature and the governor’s office that we’ll be able to restore our budget."
    Contact Doug Finke: doug.finke@sj-r.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr.

  3. Frustration as toilet opening hours cut short, Northumberland Gazette
    [Here's a discreetly neglected area of shorter hours! - Well yes, it is minimally relevant to shorter hours as the Hope of the World (but we just "had to go"!)]
    Toilets next to the Tou[r]ist Information Centre, Amble (photo caption)
    AMBLE, Northumb., UK - Frustrated [=constipated?] councillors have spoken of their disappointment after extended opening hours of the town’s public toilets have been cut short.
    Over the last few months, members have called for the toilets at the harbour and next to the tourist information centre (TIC) to stay open longer than 5pm during the summer months.
    Recently, Northumberland County Council agreed to extend the operating hours to 7pm.
    But after a report of vandalism at the TIC toilets, on Queen Street, the authority has reduced this to 6pm.

    At this month’s town council meeting, Mayor Coun Craig Weir said that the word vandalism was too strong as nothing was damaged.
    Coun[cillor] Helen Lewis said that she believed that the incident was more a case of anti-social behaviour. She added: “We should send a letter to the county council saying that we are very disappointed that after such a short trial and one complaint they have seen it fit to reduce the opening hours.
    “This is just the start of the summer season and we hoped it would go for longer than this.”
    Clerk Elaine Brown added that the county council’s neighbourhood services team would be keeping a close eye on the situation.
    Years ago the toilets used to be open until 8pm from Easter/April until the end of September, but this was stopped as a result of vandalism.
    At the April meeting of the town council, members said that they wanted to explore the options available to extend the opening hours of the toilets.
    With Amble trying to promote itself as a tourism town, including the development of the harbour village, members agreed that it was important for toilet provision to be extended.
    The toilets were extended until 7pm from May 13, but the decision to close them at 6pm was made just under a week later.

  4. Men in Ireland work 3.3 hours a week more than women, thejournal.ie
    While Ireland has the eighth highest agreed working hours in the EU, we actually work the sixth fewest number of hours.
    [Because of differences in amount of entitled leave?]
    DUBLIN, Eire - Ireland has one of the sharpest differences in working hours between men and women in the EU.
    That is the finding of Eurofound – the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.
    The survey of agreed working hours for 2013 found that while Ireland has the eighth highest agreed working hours in the EU, we actually work the sixth fewest number of hours.
    In 2013, actual hours worked by men in full-time employment continued to exceed those of their female counterparts in all EU member states and Norway.
    Across the EU28, men worked on average two hours more than women.
    The gap is wider in the EU15 (2.3 hours) than in the other 13 (1.4 hours), with the biggest gaps in Ireland and the UK (3.3 and 3.4 hours more, respectively), in Italy (2.8 hours) and in Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, and Norway (between two and 2.4 hours more).
    In total, Irish workers are due to work 1,778.4 hours a year, based on statutory minimums. That is above the average for both the EU 15 and EU 28 and over 200 hours a year more than France and 120 hours a year more than Germany.
    However, the Germans’ actual working hours are the fourth-highest in Europe.
    The major difference across Europe is in the level of leave to which workers are generally entitled, the report points out.
    All 28 countries studied have a statutory minimum period of paid annual leave, and the average figure for the EU28, including paid leave and public holidays, stood at 35.3 days.
    In Ireland, that figure is 32, while Germans get 40.
    About the author: Paul Hosford @PTHosford paulhosford@thejournal.ie

  5. "Exhausting work hours" label found in Primark dress, South Wales Evening Post via Sportswear International via sportswearnet.com
    Rebecca Gallagher showing the note stitched into the label (photo caption)
    SOUTH WALES, Cymru, UK - A UK-based Primark shopper has found an additional label reading "Forced to work exhausting hours" in one of her dresses when checking for the washing instructions.
    The origin of this label is unclear - it might have been sewn into the garment in the UK but also by a factory employee when it was originally sewn together.
    Following a media storm, Primark has now reacted to the cause, saying that they are currently investigating the origins of the label and take these allegations “very seriously”. Via a corporate statement, the low-price fashion chain said: “We have asked the customer who discovered the label to return the dress, which has not been available for sale since 2013, to us so we can fully investigate how the label became attached and whether there are issues which need to be looked into.
    [The shorter our hours, the more of us with jobs and money to spend.]


6/22-23/2014 – 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. United furloughed 111 flight attendants in April, by Richard Newman, 6/23 North Jersey Record via NorthJersey.com
    The merger between United and Continental airlines resulted in $172 million in buyouts. (photo caption) CHICAGO, Illin., USA - United Airlines furloughed 111 flight attendants this spring after the workers refused company offers to work for the carriers' legacy Continental Airlines subsidiary, which meant they relinquished seniority and face possible relocations and cuts in pay, their union said.
    According to Christopher Clarke, a Chicago-based spokesman for the Association of Flight Attendants, the 111 who were laid off for an indefinite period of time, had six to eight years of seniority and were offered jobs with the former Continental Airlines flight attendant group - which has operated separately since the two carriers' 2010 merger. More than 300 took the offer, he said. Those who didn't received a small severance check.
    "The majority of them are receiving less hourly pay. Some are paying more for health insurance," Clarke said.
    The layoffs were system-wide and included a number of United flight attendants who were based in the New York City area, at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Some of the more than 300 who accepted the job offers have been relocated to the legacy Continental flight attendant base at Newark Liberty International Airport, said Clarke, who did not have specific relocation numbers.
    Scores of other flight attendants who faced involuntary furlough participated in voluntary leave or job-sharing programs.
    [Sharing a 40-hour job isn't as good as thawing the Frozen Forty and flexibly adjusting that technologically dated anachronism downward, but "every little bit helps."]
    The company has said the United flight attendant group was overstaffed despite more than 1,000 buyouts and voluntary leaves of absence in recent years and a six-year freeze on new hires.
    The union filed a grievance to challenge the legality of the latest furloughs and has argued that the United flight attendants group is not overstaffed, and that flight attendant crews on the United side of the operation are now stretched too thin. The union argues that involuntary furloughs were prohibited under a 2012 agreement.
    Negotiations on a joint contract that would integrate the three flight attendant groups - United, Continental and Continental Micronesia - have been underway for about a year and half and the negotiating groups recently agreed to call on the National Labor Relations Board to help facilitate the talks.
    For many of the 111 who were furloughed, the shift also would have resulted in relocating to other cities, or enduring cross-country commutes.
    "They couldn't guarantee that we'd be at our current bases," said one six-year United flight attendant from Chicago who didn't want to her name published out of fear of employer retribution. "I'd have to transfer to San Francisco or Newark or Denver or some other hub. I couldn't take the chance of moving my family and going to the bottom of the seniority list."
    She said she is collecting unemployment, but said her family's health insurance runs out at the end of June.
    Seniority is important to flight attendants because it affects pay as well as who gets the most sought-after work schedules and destinations.
    When United starts hiring flight attendants again, those on furlough will be the first to return, by seniority.
    A United spokeswoman had incorrectly said last week that the company avoided furloughing any of the more than 680 flight attendants whose jobs were on the block this spring by offering them positions at legacy Continental.
    Spokeswoman Megan McCarthy corrected the error on Monday.
    "I made a mistake. I am sorry," she said. "We offered jobs to all of those flight attendants, but 111 chose not to take those positions."
    Email: newman@northjersey.com

  2. Comparison with Rivals: "Korean Working Hours Are Fewer than Those of Hong Kong and Singapore”, 6/23 BusinessKorea.com
    SEOUL, South Korea - The Center for Free Enterprise claimed that working hours in Korea are similar to or even less than rival Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan.
    Hyuk Chul Kwon, President of the Center for Free Enterprise, published a report on June 20 comparing and analyzing the working hours and labor productivity of OECD countries and other major competitors. The purpose of this report was to re-evaluate amendments of the Labor Standards Act, which include holiday working hours as overtime hours.
    According to this report, the yearly working hours of Korea in 2010 were 2,193 hours, which is 400 hours more than the OECD average figures of 1,775 hours, but less than the 2,287 hours of Hong Kong or the 2,392 hours of Singapore.
    [Then good for S.Korea - they will encounter slightly less resistance to jobcut-triggering automation than Hong Kong or Singapore (but much more than average resistance in the OECD).]
    Taiwan, which has a similar per capita income to Korea, recorded 2,174 hours, which is quite similar.
    President Kwon insisted that Korea is not the country of the longest working hours, as Koreans work similar to or fewer hours than rival Asian countries.
    On the contrary, labor productivity in Korea is remarkably lower than developed countries, including the U.S.
    [Very unlikely, considering the self-serving padding in American productivity figures.]
    In 2012, per-hour labor productivity in Korea was $28.90, which is less than half of the U.S. ($61.60), France ($59.50), or Germany ($58.30), and 2/3 of the OECD average ($45.80).
    According to the analysis of The Center for Free Enterprise, Koreans need to work 2.13 times harder than Americans, 2.06 times harder than the French, and 2.02 harder than Germans in order to catch up.
    ['Harder' meaning 'longer' and in contrast to 'smarter'? This whole thing sounds like a really skewed 'take' dreamed up by the flaming workaholics of the Center for Free Enterprise. Do any of these masochists ever consider just injecting more worksaving automata & robotix per person? No, they want to excuse any stupidity with sacred Hard Work, as if they were 17th century Puritans with their pre-industrial Work Ethic as if "Busyness confers Importance!" no matter how trivial it be. A truer truism = misery loves company.]
    In addition, to keep up with OECD average labor productivity, Koreans need to work 1.59 times more.
    Sang Hun Lee, a researcher at The Center for Free Enterprise, pointed out that it is practically impossible to extend working hours. He also mentioned that Korea has to be cautious on amendments of the Labor Standards Act, which include holiday working hours as overtime hours, as the country only works 57 percent as effectively as Americans.
    [Again, very unlikely, considering the self-serving padding in American productivity figures.]

  3. SWAIA reports improved finances, restores workweek, by Anne Constable, 6/22 SantaFeNewMexican.com
    SANTA FE, N.M., USA - The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts says that it is over the financial hump that caused a cut in the workweek earlier this year and contributed to an exodus of several key employees months before Indian Market, the biggest single event in the city’s cultural year.
    [but enabled the association itself to survive. Nice that Santa Fe has low enough unemployment that key employees have aternative job options. Maybe keep it quiet lest desperate Americans from everywhere else descend...]
    The staff of seven full-time employees is back at work five days a week, marketing director John Paul Rangel said in an interview last week.
    A short-term financial crisis is not uncommon for the nonprofit, which presents the Santa Fe Indian Market every August on the downtown Plaza. The coffers begin filling again as artists begin sending in their booth fees for the next market.
    There will be about 700 booths and approximately 1,100 artists at the 93rd Indian Market on Aug. 23 and 24. Another 100 artists are on a waiting list, standing by to take over an unclaimed booth at 7 a.m. Saturday morning of market or to move in after another artist has sold out.
    Booth fees are $650 for a 10-foot by 10-foot booth on the Plaza for two days, and $400 for a booth that is 5 feet by 10 feet. (The cost, Rangel said, is well below what is charged at other major shows.)
    Rangel said high-quality donations [sooo déclassé to mention quantity?] are pouring in for the fundraising gala held the Saturday night of market weekend. The event, which raises $250,000 to $300,000, helps pay the bills and carry SWAIA through the dry winter and early spring. Among the donations are a modern silver necklace by Maria Samora of Taos and a gold ranger set by Jesse Monogyn valued at more than $70,000.
    “It’s pretty clear there’s been an outpouring of support from artists,” Rangel said. “They want to protect the thing that’s helped them be a success.”
    The market is also trying to strengthen alliances in the business community that had been neglected in recent years. Rangel said that SWAIA is working with Randy Randall from the city’s convention and visitors bureau to partner with hotels. In the works this year is an event at the Hilton Hotel.
    Staff are also working to improve or revive relations with area galleries and other shops.
    “We are going out and finding out what it takes to mend those relationships or create new ones,” Rangel said, adding, “Our goal is to be a good neighbor.”
    Blue Rain Gallery on Lincoln Avenue, for example, has made a $5,000 donation and is also underwriting a $2,500 artistic award.
    Blue Rain’s art associate, Vanessa Elmore, credits Dallin Maybee, an attorney and Native artist who was serving on the SWAIA board when he was tapped as interim chief operating officer last month.
    “He responded to the call that you do have to go knocking on doors. You do have to maintain relationship with galleries that support Native American artists year-round,” Elmore said.
    Gallery owner Leroy Garcia, she said, “wanted to make a public showing to combat some of the negativity SWAIA has been enduring over the last couple of months. We want collectors to feel confident [in Indian Market, the quality of work shown, the city and the Blue Rain Gallery] when they come to Santa Fe this August.”
    Garcia said, “We’re hoping more of the business community donates money to SWAIA. It’s really good for the city, for the state and for the people.”
    The gallery is hosting a party next week for collectors to introduce them to SWAIA’s new leadership, including Maybee, Garcia said.
    Maybee replaced John Torres Nez, who resigned from SWAIA on March 31 and soon after announced he was starting a new market with Paula Rivera, formerly chief of artists’ services at SWAIA, and Tailinh Agoyo, SWAIA’s former marketing director.
    The new Indigenous Fine Art Market will be taking over the Santa Fe Railyard on Aug. 21 and 22, said Sandra Brice, marketing director for the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corp. “We anticipate this is going to be quite large,” she said.
    Brice said booths will be set up in the park, in the parking lot behind Site Santa Fe, near the tracks behind Warehouse 21, as well as in the Railyard Plaza and under the shade structure where the farmers market takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
    The new market will also be in the Railyard on Aug. 23, the Saturday of Indian Market, but will be confined to the Railyard Park area because of other scheduled activities there. Brice said some artists intend to move to the Plaza on Saturday and Sunday of Indian Market weekend.
    “We’re very excited to have it here,” Brice said. “It’s another opportunity to exhibit art and for families to have some fun.”
    Torres Nez said this week that he expected there to be about 280 booths and 450 artists, including about 200 “new” artists who haven’t exhibited at Indian Market.
    There will be a lot of new work from artists coming from both the Northeast and the Northwest, he said. “I’m really amazed at how diverse the group is.”
    Nez said the Indigenous Fine Art Market’s own jurying process is underway, but the group has previously said that artists who have been accepted into Indian Market are automatically eligible for the new market.
    Earlier this month, the new market fell short in an online Kickstarter campaign when only about $8,000 of the $60,000 goal was pledged by online donors for programming. Nez said that some of its supporters might have had technological problems with the site or don’t like the idea of giving out their credit card numbers but, “We thought we’d give it a shot.”
    Rangel reiterated that SWAIA supports the new market. “They are friends of mine and I wish them well. I want Native American artists to succeed,” he said.
    Contact Anne Constable at 986-3022 or aconstable@sfnewmexican.com.

  4. Girl Writes Google Letter About Dad's Work Hours, 6/23 CBS MoneyWatch via WFMY News 2 via wfmynews2.com
    SILICON VALLEY, Calif., USA - Silicon Valley is known for its hard-driving culture, with employees working late into the night or on weekends. While that might lead to spiffy new apps and programs, it doesn't always create a healthy work-life balance.
    Take a young girl named Katie, whose father works at the most elite Silicon Valley company of them all, Google. Frustrated by her father's six-day workweek, she penned a letter to express her feelings and plead for her father to receive a day off on his birthday.
    "Dear google worker," she wrote. "Can you please make sure when daddy goes to work, he gets one day off. Like he can get a day off on Wednesday. Because daddy ONLY gets a day off on saturday." In two postscripts, she noted, "It is daddy's birthday!" and, "it is summer, you know."
    Apparently her letter touched a soft spot within Google's managerial ranks. Google senior design manager Daniel Shiplacoff responded with a letter of his own, calling her request "thoughtful."
    "On the occasion of his Birthday, and recognizing the importance of taking some Wednesdays off during the summer, we are giving him the whole first week of July as vacation time," he wrote.
    [Oh gee gosh oh golly, a WHOLE WEEK? Seems like Americans know less and less about having a life and less and less about real freedom = free time. The USA is the only (still-barely-)advanced economy that still has no minimum vacation laws.]
    He also explained that her father "has been hard at work designing many beautiful and delightful things for Google and millions of people around the globe."
    Google confirmed to CBS MoneyWatch that the letter is authentic. It declined to provide additional comment.
    [Well yeah, we do sorta havta assume that her father didn't put her up to it, or that Google didn't put her father up to putting her up to it.]
    Still, while the letter may prove to some that Silicon Valley is a place with heart, there might be a nagging suspicion among some that heart-tugging pleas could backfire. After all, the tech industry values workers willing to put their personal lives on the back burner while they code away their evenings. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has admitted to sneaking out for dinner with her family, but then later catching up with work at home.
    The tech industry isn't the first to value a "company first" mindset, of course. Wall Street and law firms also have reputations for cultures requiring 60 or 80 hour workweeks, causing stress and havoc on personal lives. In Silicon Valley, the hours are so tough that an advocacy group has sprouted up to demand a return to the 40-hour workweek.
    That may be trickling down into other industries, especially as smartphones and Internet connections allows employees to check into work at all times of the day. Even though the U.S. is the only industrialized country that doesn't guarantee paid vacation, Americans are terrible about taking the time they do receive, with workers using only half their eligible days off.
    Even though Katie's father will have a vacation next week, if he's like most Americans, he'll still be checking in with work while trying to kick back.
    [And this is what will make the First last, because if Americans continue to avoid sharing the diminishing human employment of the Robotics Age, they will continue to enlarge their dependent population and shrink their domestic consumer markets.]


6/21/2014 – 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. What the law says: How long should you work during Ramadan? Is it applicable to non-Muslims? Can salary be deducted for loss of hours? Experts answer, by Shuchita Kapur, (6/22 timezone issue) Emirates 24/7 via emirates247.com
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Office work hours during the Holy month of Ramadan are different, with an average two hours reduced from the daily job schedule, but there may be exceptions.
    Here are some questions answered by experts at Taylor Wessing (Middle East), an international law firm, relevant for office goers in Dubai during Ramadan.
    What are Ramadan Hours?
    Under the Labour Law, the working hours of all employees shall be reduced by two hours per day during the Holy month of Ramadan [roughly, July]. This means that employees should only work 6 hours per day (as the statutory maximum working hours are 8 hours per day).
    Under the DIFC Employment Law, employees who observe the fast during the Holy month of Ramadan shall not be required to work in excess of 6 hours each day. Fasting employees who choose to work for more than 6 hours a day shall be entitled to their statutory rest breaks (i.e., of not more than one hour in aggregate – as if the employee worked a full day).
    Does it apply to my company?
    Yes, Ramadan hours apply to all companies in the UAE proper, whether they are based onshore or in a free zone.
    Ramadan hours apply to all companies in the DIFC.
    Is it applicable for non-Muslims?
    UA Labour Law provides that working hours should be reduced by two hours per day and does not differentiate between fasting and non-fasting employees. Therefore, it is applicable to all employees irrespective of their religion or whether they are fasting or not.
    Within the DIFC, only fasting employees’ working hours are reduced by two hours. Non-fasting employees can be required to work normal hours.
    Can my company get into trouble if we work normal hours?
    The authorities do conduct checks from time to time to ensure that companies are compliant with the Labour Law and employees are working Ramadan hours. If a company is found in breach of the Labour Law, the authorities have the discretion to penalise such company. The penalty is in the discretion of the authorities and may be imposed on a case by case basis.
    The same holds for DIFC. Authorities may conduct checks from time to time to ensure companies comply with the DIFC Employment Law and if a company is found in breach, such company may be penalised.
    Can I only pay my employees for 6 hours during this period as they are not working full time?
    No, there should be no reduction in compensation as a result of a reduction in working hours. Employees should be paid at their normal rates as if they are working normal working hours.
    As in Dubai proper, there shall be no reduction in compensation as a result of a reduction in working hours for fasting DIFC employees.
    NOTE: There are different laws that govern employment issues for employees in the UAE/Dubai proper (including free zones as they are subject to UAE Federal Law) and for employees in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC, which have own labour law separate from the rest of the UAE). In the UAE, the UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 as amended (the Labour Law) applies to all employees working in the UAE with a couple of exceptions (such as government employees, household servants etc.). Similarly, the DIFC Employment Law No. 4 of 2005 as amended (DIFC Employment Law) applies to employees working within the DIFC.

  2. As summer warms up, employers loosen work hours, by Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Wilkes Barre Times-Leader via timesleader.com
    MILWAUKEE, Wisc., USA - Now that warmer weather has arrived after a long and harsh winter, some businesses are finding ways to give their workers longer weekends by letting them take off early on Fridays — boosting morale without hurting the company’s bottom line much, if at all.
    That kind of flexibility in working hours is emblematic of a national trend, with an increasing number of companies allowing at least some employees to decide when and even where they work, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, a professional association with more than 275,000 members.
    “At a time when many organizations are asking people to do more with less, providing workplace flexibility is a way to get at morale issues with a relative low cost, or no cost, to the employer,” said Lisa Horn, co-leader of the society’s Workplace Flexibility Initiative.
    An example: At Mercury Marine Inc., the outboard engine manufacturer in Fond du Lac, Wis., white-collar workers are given the option of working 40 hours in 4 1/2 days and taking off Friday afternoons in the summer.
    “It has become one of the most valuable arrangements or benefits that we offer folks … ” said Denise Devereaux, vice president of human resources.
    "We don't see a drop in productivity. In fact, I think the exact opposite occurs. People are so excited about being able to have that half day off ... they're extremely focused in their regular hours."
    [Compressed workweeks don't really provide more chronic overtime to convert into jobs for fuller employment and stronger consumer markets as reduced workweeks do. But they do offer hope of unfreezing the 40-hour workweek and they suggest why so many workweek reductions result in a productivity boost, not plop = more focus and more prioritization.]
    The flexible hours from Memorial Day to Labor Day give workers more opportunities to get outdoors, and Mercury encourages the employees to go boating and use marine engine products.
    “For us, it seems like a logical fit. Our employees are going to have a better understanding of how customers use our products if they’re able to use the products themselves,” Devereaux said.
    Not all of Mercury’s office workers get to be off Friday afternoons, and some people choose another day of the week. But the majority of the eligible workers, or several hundred employees, have chosen the compressed summer work schedules, according to the company.
    Because of production schedules, the policy doesn’t apply to blue-collar employees. “We haven’t figured out the right recipe for (production employees), but it’s something we are working on,” Devereaux said.
    In a recent survey of 1,051 organizations with 50 or more employees, the Society for Human Resource Management found that 43 percent of the employers allowed at least some people to compress their workweek, by logging longer hours on fewer days, for at least part of the year.
    That’s up from 38 percent in 2008, when a similar survey was done.
    Flexibility over when and where full-time employees work is on the rise, the recent survey showed, including hours in the office and working from home on occasion.
    Small companies are more likely to allow people to change their work hours, the survey showed.
    Quality Tool & Die, in West Allis, Wis., lets employees set their work hours year-round, provided business deadlines are met and, for safety reasons, people don’t work alone.
    “I am always here 10 hours a day … so if someone wants to come in a little early, or take time off during the day for something, that’s fine with me,” said company owner Ron Loos.
    Many of his employees start early so they can finish up when there’s still plenty of time left in the day.
    “My guys have been coming in (this summer) at 6 a.m. or 6:30, and they’re out of here by 3:30 unless they want to work longer,” Loos said.
    Manpower Group Inc., the Milwaukee-based global staffing agency, gives employees the option of leaving early on certain days preceding holiday weekends. The company also provides free picnic lunches and live music on its plaza during the warm months.
    Summertime events can go a long way in boosting employee pride and encouraging company loyalty. The goal is to re-energize and motivate people, said Marty Nowlin, vice president of human resources.
    “During the summer, in particular, we offer numerous opportunities for employees to informally socialize and enjoy the nice weather,” Nowlin said.
    Not everyone agrees that flexible summer hours are a good thing. According to a survey of more than 600 white-collar employees done in 2012 by Boston-based digital media company Captivate Network, nearly half of respondents said their employer offered special summer hours, such as working four 10-hour days with Fridays off.
    Of those taking advantage of the flexible shifts, however, 53 percent who left work early on Friday reported a drop in personal productivity, and 23 percent reported higher stress levels from working longer hours Monday through Thursday.
    “It resulted in kind of a negative workplace,” said Scott Marden, vice president of marketing and research at Captivate, whose clients include Toyota, BMW, Dell, IBM and Hewlett-Packard. “The best thing to do is let people telecommute, working four days from the office and the fifth day from home. However, only 4 percent of the companies in the survey allowed people to do that.”
    But if done correctly, flexible work schedules won’t reduce productivity, according to Horn, of the Society for Human Resource Management.
    “I think finding a solution that works, for both organizations and the workforce, is the key,” she said.
    Some businesses say offering flexible working conditions can help with employee recruiting and retention.
    Mercury Marine is considering extending its summer hours policy year-round.
    “We know that it could be a deciding factor with some of our job candidates. … A lot of our (company) neighbors in (Wisconsin’s) Fox Valley don’t do this type of thing,” Devereaux said.
    Companies have to be more flexible in their work schedules if they want to retain good employees, said Mark Tyler, chief executive officer of OEM Fabricators, a metal fabricator in Woodville, Wis. “That’s kind of how the world is today,” Tyler said.
    At Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., employees can request compressed workweeks and flexible schedules throughout the year.
    “I know of some working parents who arrange to take every other Friday off so they can meet their day care needs,” said Betsy Hoylman, director of media and public relations.
    Briggs & Stratton Corp. in Wauwatosa, Wis., allows schedule adjustments on an individual basis, said Laura Timm, vice president of corporate communications and public affairs.
    “In 21 years, I have seen the shift occur in the workplace from a very strict 8-to-5 day to a more flexible environment,” Timm said. “I have seen what I believe to be happier, more productive employees."


6/20/2014 – 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. Warning working hours cut for doctors is 'not a quick fix', HeraldScotland.com
    GREENOCK, Scotland - Targets to cut the working hours of junior doctors in Scotland must not be seen as a "quick fix" that will address the level of pressure on young medical staff, it has been stated.
    [Who said it would? This is the lamest criticism in the book, and if it wasn't meant as a criticism, it's pretty lame as a statement of support.]
    Health Secretary Alex Neil has told health boards they must end rotas which force junior doctors to work seven nights in a row and more than seven days back to back.
    Opposition politicians yesterday welcomed the move. It comes after Brian Connelly, the father of Dr Lauren Connelly who died driving home from a hospital night shift in Greenock, revealed her arduous shift patterns.
    The MSPs also said more resources were needed to ensure junior doctors were not over stretched.
    Neil Findlay, health spokesman for Scottish Labour, said: "Alex Neil's announcements cannot be seen as a quick fix that will cure all the ills faced by junior doctors in our NHS.
    [so this is another case of "With friends like this, who needs enemies?" - Scottish Labour in general and their spokesman in particular need to get a lot more positive in their statements.]
    They must be backed by resources within our health service that will ensure that junior doctors don't need to be stretched to fill gaps."
    [Well, duh, that's obvious - how about getting a bit more specific/helpful with something like, the working hours cut must be backed by greater management skills (and probably training) in the area of suturing shorter shifts and hiring more staff?! After all, the greatest advantage to shorter hours in general is: more jobs > wages > consumer spending > $circulation > economic health. Or are we not yet ready to think of the sacred Health Service, particularly its lofty Doctors, as part of the common, yuk, economy?]
    Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw described Mr Neil's announcement as "unexpected" but welcome.
    Dr Rosemary Hollick, chair of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh Trainees & Members' Committee, said the "challenging" rotas doctors had to work at short notice had made it difficult to recruit young medical staff.
    She said Mr Neil's announcement should improve patient safety, adding: "We hope this signals further work on supporting trainee doctors and making their roles, particularly that of the medical registrar, more attractive to support recruitment."
    [There's the real problem: the unspoken effort, by the medical establishment before women began to come into powerful positions, to inflate their salaries by discouraging the accessing of their skills with a suffering-martyr pose, and then strangling access to those skills by long and expensive skill acquisition gauntlets (and an even deeper problem: kludgy medical nomenclature like "Cowper's gland" that communicates nothing of medical usefulness such as function instead of history). It's even worse in the U.S.]
    A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "Under this Government the number of Junior doctors has already increased by 6.3 per cent, which is in addition to the 2,000 extra doctors working in Scotland's NHS.
    [Sounds good...]
    "Improving the planning of rotas will allow the NHS to make better use of their time."

  2. Tianjin delegated power of approval of special working hours systems to lower level authority, King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) via Lexology.com
    [So are these "special working hours systems" basically worksharing systems as now in 28 U.S. states and many other advanced economies such as Germany ("Kurzarbeit")?]
    TIANJIN, China - From 1 February, 2014, Tianjin municipal government fully delegates its authority of approval of special working hours system to district or county labor administration of human resource and social security from the municipal and district level human resource and social security department.
    Given this, the approval authority in relationship to special working hours system to the foreign invested enterprises with registered capital of or above USD 50,000,000 and the cross-regional chain enterprises is delegated to lower district or county level human resources and social security department where the enterprise is located. The approval authority of special working hours system to cross-regional chain enterprises, is reserved to the district of country human resource and social security department where its major business office is located. In the event of any dispute or any ambiguity over the jurisdiction, Tianjin municipal human resource and social security bureau will designate the competent authority.
    KWM comments: For the employers who fall into the special categories, when applying for special working hours system, they would be able to submit such application at labor authorities at county level rather than other higher levels.
    [The following article from two days ago may indicate that the main thrust of these "special work schedules" or "systems" is merely flexibility and not worksharing -]
    China implements special work schedules in the outsourcing services industry, by Jian (Brenda) Xu, Squire Patton Boggs via 6/18/2014 Lexology.com
    Key Points: - Special work schedules apply to outsourcing services enterprises in 20 cities
    - Details on procedures and requirements published in Beijing and Jiangsu

    BEIJING, China - On January 15, 2009 the State Council approved Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”) proposals on several policies supporting the development of China’s outsourcing services industry. One of the supporting policies permits qualified technically advanced outsourcing services enterprises (“TAOSE”) to offer special work schedules to their employees.
    On March 29, 2009 the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (“MHRSS”) and MOFCOM jointly promulgated a MHRSS and MOFCOM Circular specifying that in the 20 model cities for outsourcing services (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Dalian, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Harbin, Chengdu, Nanjing, Xi’an, Jinan, Hangzhou, Hefei, Nanchang, Changsha, Daqing, Suzhou and Wuxi), upon approval from the provincial human resources administration and social security administration, the qualified TAOSEs may apply either (i) a flexible work schedule to software design personnel, technology research and development personnel, mid-level and senior management and other personnel who cannot work under a fixed schedule or (ii) a comprehensive calculation work schedule to personnel the nature of whose work requires continuous operation or is suited to a comprehensive calculation work schedule.
    [such as annualization to account for seasonal work?]
    Consistent with MHRSS and MOFCOM’s Circular, the Jiangsu Provincial Administration of Labor and Social Security and Beijing Municipal Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security have each promulgated separate [conflicting?] sets of local rules for implementing the special work schedule in qualified TAOSEs (the “Jiangsu Rules“ and the “Beijing Rules”). Under the Beijing Rules, an enterprise or branch division registered in Beijing may apply to the district or county level administrator of human resources and social security to implement special work schedules. The applicant is required to ask for opinions on the application of a special work schedule from the trade union, or from the affected employees in the absence of a trade union, and submit the opinions it solicits to the approval authority. In Beijing, the approved period for applications of special work schedules varies from one to three years.
    The Jiangsu Rules provide more detailed requirements to TAOSEs wishing to apply special work schedules. The Jiangsu Rules also clarify that with the consent of the dispatching enterprise, the labor-receiving enterprise under a labor deployment arrangement can apply to implement special work schedules. Applicants are required to submit a detailed plan for implementing their special work schedules, which must specify the positions and number of personnel to whom the special work schedule applies, the implementation period, their salaries, their rest and holiday periods, work protections and safety measures, and additional issues related to their employment practices. The applicants are also required to (i) provide notice to their workers of the special work schedule implementation plan for at least five working days; (ii) amend the plan by consulting with the trade union or workers; and (iii) publish and maintain an announcement of the authorities’ approval of the special work schedule’s implementation prominently in the workplace.
    In Jiangsu, applications for implementation of a special work schedule must be submitted to the city labor and social security administration, which conducts an onsite inspection after accepting the application and may also seek the opinions of the trade union or workers on the proposed new system. It takes approximately 35 days for administrators to review and examine an application, after which they submit their preliminary review opinions, along with the application materials, to the Jiangsu Provincial Administrator of Labor and Social Security, which may issue its final decision within 10 working days of receiving the opinions and materials and publish that decision on its website. The Jiangsu Rules require that the approved period for application of special work schedules generally not exceed one year.
    To apply for special work schedules, TAOSEs are required to be certified jointly by the departments of science and technology, finance, taxation, development and reform, from the city to the provincial level, based on criteria jointly set up by the Ministry of Finance, the State Administration of Taxation, MOFCOM and the National Development and Reform Commission. In addition to application of special work schedules, such certified TAOSEs may also be granted a preferential 15% taxation rate on the enterprise income tax.
    [The main thrust here seems to be flexibility rather than worksharing.]


6/19/2014 – 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. "Comité de Conjoncture": 18 companies granted reduced working hours, AnB via Luxemburger Wort - English Edition via wort.lu/en
    LUXEMBOURG - In June, 18 companies were granted their request to place employees under reduced working hours for the month of July by the economic committee “Comité de Conjuncture”.
    The number of companies seeking help has decreased over the last months. Whereas in 33 applications were filed in April, only 29 companies applied in May, a number which shrank further to 24 in June.
    1,403 workers will be affected by the reduced working hours, out of the total 2,231 people employed by the 18 companies concerned. This means that there has also been a drop in the number of people touched by the [worksharing] scheme. In comparison, last month the state compensated the lost wages of around 1,800 employees.
    [Nice to see a little "deLux" economy with the common sense to "workshare" its way to maintaining employment and domestic consumer spending. There are now 28 state-level programs in the U.S. in imitation of your EU worksharing idea but many of them are unpublicized & inactive. The ultimate form of this for the US & Canada would involve energetically converting chronic overtime into training & jobs, & slowly adjusting the workweek as much as it takes to produce sufficient convertible overtime for full employment & maximum markets. Meanwhile there are still plenty of people over here trying to get growth or UPsizing by downsizing, but Schumpeter's "creative destruction" is evincing more destruction than creation.]
    Businesses facing serious financial difficulties, either because of the harsh economic climate or structural problems, can apply to the “chômage partiel” measure to reduce their costs by saving on their workers' wages. Companies need to reapply on a monthly basis.
    The next meeting of the “Comité de Conjuncture” is held on July 23.

  2. Encouraging Work Sharing to Reduce Unemployment, by Katharine G. Abraham & Susan G. Houseman, Brookings.edu
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - During the Great Recession, millions of Americans lost their jobs as employers downsized in response to falling demand. A substantial body of research implies that these job losses can lead to significant and persistent problems for affected workers, including lengthy periods of unemployment, sustained earnings losses, serious health problems, and other adverse outcomes (see, for example, Black, Devereux, and Salvanes 2012; Davis and von Wachter 2011; Jacobson, LaLonde, and Sullivan 1993; Stevens 1997; Sullivan and von Wachter 2009; von Wachter, Song, and Manchester 2011). Furthermore, the adverse impacts of job loss may extend to future generations: there is growing evidence that job loss for a parent can lead to lower educational attainment and lower lifetime earnings among their children (see, for example, Hilger 2013; Oreopoulus, Page, and Stevens 2008).
    Related Initiatives
    Recent public debate about the problem of unemployment— and especially long-term unemployment—has focused to a great extent on providing extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to support family incomes following a job loss. Strategies for preventing layoffs have not received comparable attention in the United States. By comparison, many other developed countries have incorporated work sharing into their UI systems, permitting the payment of prorated benefits to workers who are kept on the job with reduced hours because of slack demand.
    If work sharing was more accessible in the United States, more employers might be encouraged to reduce work hours during periods of slack demand rather than lay people off. Instead of letting twenty full-time workers go, for example, a company could achieve an equivalent reduction in force by reducing the hours of 100 employees by 20 percent. Work sharing should be particularly attractive when employers expect the reduction in the demand for their products or services to be temporary, as is often the case during a recession. By avoiding layoffs, employers can retain valued employees and avoid screening, hiring, and training costs when the economy improves and they want to hire more workers. By adopting work sharing, employers also may be able to avoid the adverse effects that layoffs have on employee morale and productivity.
    Work sharing has been credited with substantially reducing the number of layoffs and mitigating unemployment during the recent recession in several other countries. In contrast, during the Great Recession only seventeen U.S. states offered a formal work-sharing option; even where available, employer use of this option was very low. The success of work sharing in other countries and the lingering impacts of the recession on the U.S. labor market have spurred growing interest in work sharing in this country.
    The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 is best known for extending the payroll tax cut originally introduced in 2011 and authorizing an extension of emergency UI compensation. But the Act also included several provisions designed to encourage wider adoption and greater use of work-sharing programs. Since the recession, an additional nine states and the District of Columbia have incorporated work-share programs into their UI systems. While the 2012 legislation constitutes an important first step, it does not go far enough. We propose that the federal government take additional actions to encourage the use of work sharing as an alternative to layoffs during future U.S. recessions.

  3. Library to make cuts to hours, but not to jobs, by Tyler Whetstone, JacksonSun.com
    JACKSON, Tenn., USA - The Jackson-Madison County Library will have to make cuts for the 2014-15 fiscal year because it will receive less funding from the city of Jackson than from Madison County under a joint funding agreement.
    The library’s budget will be about $132,000 less than in 2013-14.
    Wednesday afternoon the library’s board of trustees met and found a compromise that won’t result in any lost jobs but will cut back hours of operation for both the main and north branches.

    “It’s fine. We’ll survive and continue to serve the people of Jackson-Madison County to the very utmost of our ability,” Dinah Harris, library director, said.
    In 2013-14, the library operated on a $1,238,244 budget that started with $487,500 from the city and $604,000 from the county. To make up the difference, the county paid an additional $146,744 so that the library could have its full budget.
    For 2014-15, the county approved $619,122 for the library. The city, due to budget restrictions because of past-due liquor-by-the-drink tax payments for education, paid its maintenance of effort, or what it contractually agreed to, of $487,597.
    “It was a little bit of a shock to deal with less money, but I think we have dealt with it in a way that will keep the library in good shape,” said Jerry Bastin, a library board member and county commissioner for District 10.
    “I know that money is short in all governments, and I know they’re struggling to finance all of these projects that are here going, but the library is important for many reasons,” he said.
    The library will cut operating hours and the hours that most employees work, Harris said.
    Employees who work 30 hours a week are considered full time and receive full-time benefits, she said, but it was unclear Wednesday how many if any would be cut below the 30-hour-a-week minimum.
    The library also will have to cut its materials budget $21,875. Harris will have fewer funds for items such as e-books, DVDs, databases and new books, she said.
    Finally, the library will use half of its $75,000 in reserves to finish balancing the budget.
    ad the library not met its minimum maintenance of effort level of funding — a year after ending its contract with a private management company and becoming regulated under the state’s library system — the library could have been penalized by the state.
    “I’m sad that we had to cut hours, but I’m very thankful that we at least did maintain our maintenance of effort because that was the biggie,” Harris said.
    A violation of the maintenance of effort would have meant lost access to the state’s e-book collection, worth millions of dollars, lost access to any grants and finally it could have meant lost access to training and materials from the regional library system.
    The change in the coming year’s budget is relief for now, but it doesn’t solve the issue, Harris said.
    “It will work. My concern is if we use half of (the $75,000) this year and half of it next year, we’re hoping then by the end of that two-year period that we can be restored back up to that other amount (by the city) because if not then there will be problems that have to be addressed then that we skirted this time,” Harris said.
    For now, Harris can return to her normal duties as librarian and not worry about cutting her budget for the first time in a few months.
    “I am a true librarian with a passion for my job, and I’m always looking for ways to improve the library, what we can do without money and making plans for what we can do when we have money,” she said.
    Tyler Whetstone, 425-9629

  4. Readers Write: Time has come for four-day work week, by Charles Samek, TheIslandNow.com
    MINEOLA, Long Is., N.Y., USA - Recently, Marco Rubio in Florida was saying that everyone should again work a 40-hour week. This is in reference to so many working ‘part-time.’
    I have said it numerous times that as it stands, there are more products and services available than are being bought: No shortages! [So no need to work longer.]
    Technology and automatiion is making life easier.
    [Except when CEOs respond with jobcuts instead of hourscuts.]
    I saw on TV how in an automobile manufacturing plant how robots painted the cars and dipped them in degreaser vats.
    All of the heavy lifting and much more done by them. This company also has paid apprentices from schools learning the trade.
    Recently, on the PBS Newshour was a man promoting his new book on economics. Artificial economics, if you ask me. The real thing is closer to that of merely counting ‘taters’ and ‘maters.’ [??]
    It amounts to so-called economists hanging on to a profession that is becoming quite misty.
    It was around 1922 that a large business [Ford?] adopted the idea of a 40-hour week for itself. The idea caught on and it became the norm but that does not make it sacred.
    The days for that are long gone. Our Creator did not put us here for economy.
    Boosting the economy for that which is not needed merely creates more pollution. It is only those for whom it is a financial racket who are prolonging it as it is.
    The following seems to be a sound solution: A four-day work week (32 hours). One way it could work: An example with 20 employees: four are off Friday, four are off Thursday, four are off Wednesday, four are off Tuesday and four are off Monday. The day off could be required to be spent on education. The result would be that everyone has a job (the four day week would take up the ‘employment slack’) and everyone’s skills would improve.
    [No new level, however short, can be frozen forever when worksaving technology is constantly being introduced. But a cute little shift scheme anyway.]
    I have mentioned about having a way of determining the mean value of a home so that buyers could not be defrauded by the likes of realtors and banks.
    A way has to be determined so as to know what is the part of the value of produced goods that fairly belongs to those who actually produce them.
    That would answer any wage and salary questions. With a four day week, one’s income cannot leave one in poverty
    No one, no matter who they think they are has a right to more than their fair share. No one is better than any of their fellow citizens.

  5. Give employees more say on work hours, by Greg Fingas, Regina Leader-Post via leaderpost.com
    [Not really possible when natural market-demanded human employment is the key vanishing resource of the Robotics Age and must be spread around to fund a maximum of employee-consumers so we don't split the human population into resentful workers and vulnerable drones, and of course, the M1-coagulating and recession-inducing topmost brackets. But this article presents an interesting What-If anyway.]
    REGINA, Sask., USA - In the not-too-distant past, hours of work represented a flashpoint of social conflict. But there's been little dispute over the acceptable work week for well over a halfcentury.
    Despite some recent backsliding, we properly expect that employees shouldn't be required to work more than approximately 40 hours a week under most circumstances. But in determining how those hours are to be distributed, employers exercise significantly more control than many workers might realize.
    In general, workplaces are subject to a default requirement of only one day off per week [huh?]. And in theory, employers may require any employee to work at any time so long as the employee receives a period of rest between shifts.
    That means all workers (except those protected by a collective bargaining agreement) are theoretically at the mercy of employers in determining when they're required to work, with any remedy limited to suing the employer for breach of contract. And while responsible employers might be expected to work within an employee's availability, less-responsible ones enjoy the upper hand based on the imbalance of power in the workplace.
    It's highly questionable whether we want our public policy to reflect the idea that employer demands should take precedence over every other consideration in our lives. And while the claim that employers should be allowed to dictate work hours could prove problematic for nearly anybody, it's even more obviously unfair when applied to workers who hold more than one job to make a living - and who may thus face conflicting and irreconcilable schedules from multiple employers.
    Again, we'd hope for employers to exercise their unilateral power over working hours fairly.
    [And their overwhelming power in general, in a world where unions have dropped their power lever, shorter hours, and allowed a massive surplus of jobseekers to arise as technology is introduced and followed with downsizing.]
    However, instead of leaving that to chance [=employers], we could easily [not!] give employees significantly more control over their work hours without placing any undue demands on employers - just as we recognize the need for legal protection in so many other aspects of the employer/employee relationship.
    [- all of which are weakening as the massive surplus of anxious mutually-underbidding jobseekers takes its toll.]
    Since work scheduling is already covered by law, it would be relatively simple to add one more step: employees could choose to give notice of the hours they're prepared to work in advance of an employer's normal scheduling period.
    [This is already generally done, insofar as some employers condescend to allow it.]
    In turn, the employer would generally be required to schedule work within the employees' open time periods, subject to exceptions for emergencies or subsequent employee consent.
    In practice, many employees would likely choose to keep their schedules open, particularly if employers encourage that choice by offering premiums for greater flexibility or less-desirable shifts. And that would be entirely in keeping with the reality that many workers choose[?] to stay on the job for more hours than they can legally be required to work.
    [and for more hours than they are paid for? = creeping slavery]
    At the same time, employees facing conflicting demands on their time or unreasonable employers would have a legal alternative other than to abandon a job altogether - which itself may not be permitted thanks to the Saskatchewan Party's decision to impose a notice period on workers.
    [nevermind the lack of job options in this deepening labor surplus.]
    Other jurisdictions are already starting to recognize the importance of allowing workers some say in their scheduling. In the UK, that principle has taken the form of a "right to ask", in which employers are required to give reasonable consideration a worker's request for a specific flexible hours arrangement. And the OECD has recommended that the U.S. examine the possibility as well, based on the negative impact of job stress on businesses and individuals alike.
    Saskatchewan still has the opportunity to lead the way in providing workers with a greater say over their time. The value of giving employees more control over working hours may someday seem as obvious as the importance of the 40-hour work week does today.
    [Not an optimistic statement in view of the fact that the 40-hour workweek has been getting blurred, mostly in the lengthening direction.]
    Greg Fingas is a Regina lawyer, blogger and freelance political commentator who has written about provincial and national issues from a progressive NDP perspective since 2005. His column appears every Thursday.
    You can read more from Fingas at www.gregfingas.com

  6. Hospital working hours cut after death of junior doctor, HeraldScotland.com
    GREENOCK, Scotland - Hospitals are being told to reduce the working hours of junior doctors following the death of a young medic on her drive home from work.
    Health Secretary Alex Neil will announce today that NHS managers must end all rotas that make doctors work seven night shifts in a row and more than seven days back-to-back.
    The move comes in response to a campaign initiated by Brian Connelly, the father of Dr Lauren Connelly, who was killed in an accident on the M8 after seven intense weeks in her first job.
    Mr Connelly told The Herald last year that 23-year-old Dr Connelly had worked 10 days in a row on commencing work at Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock and had completed another 12-day run of more than 107 hours in the weeks before she died. He believes his daughter was suffering from accumulated fatigue at the time of her fatal crash.

    Outlining the action being taken, Mr Neil and Paul Gray, NHS Scotland director general for health and social care and chief executive, will echo Mr Connelly's own words when they say they want not just the letter but "the spirit" of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD), which should limit junior doctors' working hours, to be implemented in hospitals.
    Until recently, official government responses to Mr Connelly's concerns stated that all health boards were ­meeting the requirements of the EWTD, which restricts junior doctors' hours to 48 a week. However, health boards achieve this by averaging working hours over six months.
    Freedom of Information requests lodged by The Herald revealed some doctors were rostered to work more than 90 hours in a week.
    Mr Gray, who took up his post at the end of last year, said: "I said that I would take this matter very seriously and I have done this in consultation with partner organisations, the British Medical Association and the management steering group because I believe it is important for patient care and for the safety of our staff that we provide working conditions that allow everyone to perform at their best."
    In a letter to NHS chief executives, sent yesterday, Mr Gray said no junior doctor should work seven full night shifts in a row from next February and no junior doctor should work more than seven day shifts in a row by 2016.
    Hospitals must also provide rest­facilities that doctors can use during or after shifts.
    Mr Neil said external assessments would be carried out to ensure "that these actions are being taken forward by NHS boards and that junior doctors see the improvements in their work-life balance that we all desire."
    Mr Connelly, who has met Mr Gray, said: "Since I first raised the issue of junior doctors' excessive working hours, I believe that I have detected an acknowledgement among senior health professionals and senior NHS managers that there is a problem - and recognition of this is the first step to getting the problem sorted."
    He described Mr Gray's letter as a step in the right direction, but added: "A lot more still needs to be done to reduce junior doctors' working hours to eradicate the excessive working hours they are required to work routinely. I hope further improvements can be made to reduce the risks to junior doctors and their patients."
    Dr David Reid, chairman of the BMA's Scottish Junior Doctors Committee, said there was growing evidence that arduous shift patterns affected the safety of patients and how well doctors performed.
    He welcomed the action on night shifts, but added: "Many junior doctors still work a combination of both day and night shifts, which for some means they can be working up to 90 hours a week. It will be a challenge for NHS employers and the Scottish Government to achieve the target to end long stretches of day shifts."
    Mr Neil said: "Scotland's NHS must continue to attract world-class staff so that it can provide truly world-class services for patients. We have already increased the number of staff working within NHS Scotland and are now focusing on ensuring that they have the best possible working practices."
    Dr Connelly died in September 2011, and when Mr Connelly spoke out in The Herald about her working hours last year it prompted a number of other doctors and their relatives to raise similar concerns.
    Earlier this year Ian Ritchie, a surgeon and ­chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland, also called for a rethink of the workload placed on junior doctors.


6/18/2014 – 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. Indian Jute Factory CEO Beaten To Death Over Increased Work Hours, AP via Huffington Post Canada via huffingtonpost.ca
    KOLKATA, India - An angry mob of Indian workers wielding iron rods and stones beat the CEO of a jute factory to death in a dispute over increasing their working hours, police said Monday after arresting six workers.
    The suspects — two detained Monday and four on Sunday — are expected to be charged with murder, vandalism and other crimes allegedly committed when the mob of about 200 workers stormed the office of 60-year-old H.K. Maheswari in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, according to Hooghly District Police Superintendent Sunil Chowdhury.
    Maheswari had denied their earlier request to work and be paid for 40 hours a week at the North Brook Jute Mill, instead of the current norm of 25. He had also proposed shutting down the mill for three days a week to limit mounting financial losses, according to the factory's general manager, Kiranjit Singh. [A martyr for shorter hours?]
    "The mill workers suddenly resorted to stone pelting while we were busy in a meeting," Kiranjit Singh said. At one point during Sunday's meeting, Maheswari looked out the window at the growing crowd and was struck in the head by two stones. He collapsed, at which point a large group of workers stormed the office, Singh said.
    "The CEO was thrashed with iron rods, and he succumbed to his injuries very soon," Singh said. Both the general manager and a security guard were hospitalized for injuries and later released, while Maheswari died on the way to a hospital, police said.
    West Bengal is known for its combative labour unions backed by political parties, and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee immediately blamed the violence on unions run by opposition parties. The opposition denied any role in the attack, and said an independent investigation should be held before any blame is hurled.
    On Monday, Banerjee sought to reassure the business community that her government did not tolerate union violence.
    "There is no place for violence in a democracy," she said, while also telling members of the state assembly that a regular police investigation would suffice.
    Meanwhile, work at the mill has been suspended indefinitely.
    A funeral was planned for Tuesday for Maheswari, who is survived by his wife, two grown daughters and a son.

  2. Mothercare puts 500 jobs at risk in new working hours plans, Toy News via toynews-online.biz
    LONDON, U.K. - Mothercare has spoken of plans to reduce the number of hours that store staff work in a move that will put 500 jobs at risk.
    Following a period of declining sales and profits, the mother and baby specialist wants to reduce the hours of customer service advisors currently working 24 hours or more a week. [Sounds rather that management is trying to avoid reducing jobs by reducing hours and keeping everyone employed.]
    Employees who do not accept the new terms could be made redundant, putting 500 jobs at risk, according to The Times.
    [So we're blaming a company - that's fighting for its survival and has devised a way for employees to keep their jobs by trimming hours instead of jobs - for "putting jobs at risk"? This is like the cartoonist's friends who keep advising him to do a cartoon movie and then when he does, call him a "sell out".]

    The firm does expect to employ about 200 new part-time sales assistants during peak trading hours in its designs to modernize and attract customers, achieve cost efficiencies and “become profitable again.”
    “Mothercare is valued by its customers or high levels of service, expertise and advice,” said a Mothercare spokesperson.
    “As an important part of its continued commitment to service, and in response to customer feedback, Mothercare is looking to increase the proportion of colleagues serving customers at our busiest times.
    “As well as creating new jobs, this step will lead to changes in working practices for a number of our UK store colleagues and we are consulting with those affected.”
    A Mothercare spokeswoman added that the firm did not intend to introduce zero-hour contracts.
    [And another article a few days later gives additional info -]
    Mothercare staff face cut in hours, 6/20/2014 DerbyTelegraph.co.uk
    DERBY, U.K. - Staff at the Derby store of mother and baby products retailer Mothercare are facing the possibility of having their hours cut.
    The firm has announced plans to overhaul the hours of up to 500 workers.
    Mothercare, which employs around 3,500 full-time staff at 220 stores, including outlets at the Wyvern Retail Park, Derby, and Underhill Walk, Burton, is in talks to cut the hours of staff who work more than 24 hours a week.

  3. Final schools budget requires 42 layoffs, down from 69 - School board also OKs principal recommendations, (6/16 late pickup) Ledger-Enquirer.com
    MUSKOGEE COUNTY, Ga., USA - As promised last week, superintendent David Lewis on Monday night delivered a fiscal year 2015 budget to the Muscogee County School Board that includes laying off fewer school-based employees than originally announced. The board also approved hiring three principals and the lateral transfer of five more principals.
    Instead of the 69 layoffs that were in the preliminary budget the board approved June 2, board members passed the $264,717,610 budget -- $5.9 million (2.2 percent) less than the fiscal year 2014 original budget -- that now requires 42 layoffs.
    The budget numbers didn't change, but the layoff number did because the central office received word of more retirements and resignations, Lewis said. In fact, Lewis said after the meeting, he expects the layoffs ultimately to be even fewer, thanks to more attrition before the school year starts in August. And he continued to vow that the laid-off employees who are certified and qualified will receive the first chance to interview for open positions.
    The administration also has reduced 44 district-level positions in Lewis' reorganization of the central office, but none of those job cuts had people in them because of attrition or reassignments, Kathy Tessin, the district's human resources chief has said.
    School-based employees among those layoffs are teachers, counselors and media specialists, Tessin has said. Lewis reaffirmed after the meeting that 19 of the layoffs are for teachers who have received poor performance evaluations or aren't certified or qualified for any available positions.
    The budget also calls for closing the Patterson Planetarium and contracting with the Columbus State University Coca-Cola Space Science Center to teach those lessons. The millage rate remains at 23.37 for the 18th straight year, and there will be no furlough days for the second straight year.
    The district's allotment from the state is expected to be $143,550,332, which is about $1 million less than last year, chief financial officer Sharon Adams has said. Although the district is projecting a 1 percent increase in property tax revenue due to growth in the digest, several counties in the state are experiencing losses in their tax base, so Muscogee will lose $5.2 million in equalization funding from the state, she has said.
    Overall, the district has lost a total of $155 million in state funding the past 13 years, Adams has said - more than a full year's worth of allotment.
    The budget uses $10 million of reserve to make up for the revenue shortfall and increased expenses, such as health insurance, teacher retirement system, utilities and textbooks. That leaves $19.7 million of fund balance, which covers about 26 days of operations, Adams has said.
    As he did two weeks ago during the preliminary budget vote, District 2 representative John Wells, who faces John F. Thomas in the July 22 runoff, urged the board to use some of the "fat bank account"[??] to cancel the layoffs.
    "We have 26 days," he said. "It will take only 2½ days to save these teachers."

    But his proposal didn't even get a vote this time as no other board member present supported it. Wells cast the lone opposing vote in the 5-1 approval of the budget. Chairman Rob Varner of District 5, vice chairwoman Pat Hugley Green of District 1, Athavia "A.J." Senior of District 3, Naomi Buckner of District 4 and Mark Cantrell of District 6 voted for approval.
    Green called Wells' proposal a short-term "Band-Aid" instead of the "sustainable" solution the district needs.
    Cantrell said teachers called him to say they would prefer to have furlough days than seeing colleagues lose their jobs, but Green reminded him the board's budget parameters include no furlough days after "overwhelmingly" hearing opposition to them, and Adams said furloughs wouldn't be financially feasible this year.
    [Sounds like teachers need to make up their minds if they prefer furloughs or firings.]
    Principals hired
    The board approved Lewis' recommendation to hire three principals:
    Carver High assistant principal Craig Fitts to replace the deceased Chris Cox.
    Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary assistant principal Carla Henry to replace the resigning Joe Myles.
    Tujuana Wiggins, the principal of Deer Chase Elementary in Hephzibah, to replace the retiring Penny Thornton.
    The board approved Fitts and Henry in 6-0 votes. Wells cast the lone opposing vote against Wiggins. He explained that he isn't against the individual but he is against hiring someone from outside the district while teachers are being laid off.
    In April, the board approved Lewis' recommendation to hire Wiggins' husband, T.W. Josey Comprehensive High School principal Ronald Wiggins, as one of the district's regional chiefs. Deer Chase and Josey are in the Richmond County School System.
    Lewis said after the meeting that Tujuana Wiggins wasn't promised a job in Muscogee when her husband was hired here. A Georgia Department of Education official along with Lewis and regional chief Terry Baker interviewed Tujuana Wiggins and one internal candidate, Lewis said. The state representative was added, Lewis said, because Fox received a School Improve Grant. Lewis also noted Tujuana Wiggins was the only applicant with principal experience and she moved Deer Chase from the Needs Improvement list to making Adequate Yearly Progress.
    In the consent agenda, the board unanimously approved Lewis' lateral transfers of five principals:
    Eddy Middle principal Johnny Freeman to Spencer High.
    Spencer High principal Reginald Griffin to the AIM alternative school at Edgewood.
    AIM principal Eddie Lindsey III to Key Elementary.
    Key principal Karen Garner to replace the retiring Angi Idel at Allen Elementary.
    Blackmon Road principal Marty Richburg to replace James Wilson at Northside High. Wilson was promoted to regional chief in April.
    Blackmon Road and Eddy are the remaining principal vacancies to be filled.
    Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.


6/17/2014 – 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. Is it time for France to ditch the 35-hour week? by Joshua Melvin joshua.melvin@thelocal.com, TheLocal.fr
    Could ditching the 35-hour workweek fix France's economy? (photo caption)
    [Definitely. "Ditching" it in the sense of [A] lowering it further, to 32 or 30 hours, say, would spread the employment and wages to more people who spend a high percentage of their income, reduce the surplus of mutually underbidding jobseekers, raise wages and speed up monetary circulation and the whole French economy with the multiplier effect.
    "Ditching" it in the sense of [B] discarding it and raising it back to 39-40 hours a week would concentrate employment and wages among fewer people, increase the surplus of mutually underbidding jobseekers, depress wages and slow down monetary circulation and the whole French economy with a reverse multiplier effect. In addition, the national income "saved" out of general wages and spending due to the jobseeker surplus, jobopening shortage would funnel up to the tiny population in the topmost brackets which spend a tiny percentage of their income, and push France deeper into the dread Black Hole economy, like the shrinking U.S. economy, and necessitate another French Revolution to save any vestige of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. Pick one, A or B.] PARIS, France - As French lawmakers launch a new effort to look at the impact of their landmark and oft-ridiculed 35-hour work week, some experts say ditching the flagship law would be a catastrophe for France, while others say it could save the economy.
    [In brief, raising it would slow down the French economy, lowering it would speed up the French economy. And the same goes for every other nation's economy. This ridicule, chiefly from jealous English-speaking economists, has been ignoring economic history In 2006 the former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, one of the key protagonists behind the creation of France’s 35-hour work week, defended the reform by simply saying: "One makes more, while working less."
    [Absolutely right. And countries with the longest hours have the lowest pay and worst conditions and highest employee suicide rates, like China.]
    “When you bring working hours down from 39 to 35 per week without a reduction in salary, you, by definition, give a comparative advantage to workers," Jospin went on.
    While Jospin's supporters marvelled at the humane piece of economic policy that was introduced in 2000, his critics, both in France and beyond its borders, have continued to argue the now sacred 35-hour week acts as a jobs-killer and a brake on the economy.
    [That's because no workweek level is sacred and France's level of technological productivity REQUIRES a LOWER workweek than 35.]
    Not surprisingly as France continues to struggle to breathe life into the ailing economy, MPs have decided it is once again time to look at the question of whether the country would be better off ditching this landmark Socialist legislation, that makes France unique in the European Union.
    A new commission has been tasked with looking at the “societal, social, economic and fiscal impact” of the law, although for now at least, there's certainly no talk of ditching something that is as synonymous with France as foie gras and rail strikes.
    [More time wasting by MPs.]
    But what would happen if the commission's report or even the financial crisis persuaded the government that it was time to scrap the flagship legislation?
    [Scrap for a lower workweek = faster economy and stabler society. Scrap for a higher workweek = slower economy and social unrest.]
    ‘Catastrophic harm for France’
    For economist Henri Sterdyniak from the French Economic Observatory ditching the 35-hour work week when the economy is in dire straits would have "catastrophic" consequences. If French leaders decide to end the shortened week, now is not the time, he tells The Local.
    “It would mean companies wouldn’t have to hire anyone. That would have a catastrophic impact on the unemployment rate,” Sterdyniak said. “It would essentially be telling firms to use their current workers ten times more instead of hiring others.

    If employees were told they had to again work 39 hours per week, as they did prior to the reforms in 2000, and got no corresponding pay increase, the subsequent cost-free boost in productivity for companies would simply dissuade them from recruiting, Sterdyniak argues.
    But dissuading companies from hiring is certainly not what the French government is looking to do at a time of record unemployment. In fact, France plans to cut €50 billion from its budget in the next three years in order to pay for a reduction in payroll taxes on businesses, with the goal of encouraging companies to hire more people.
    The 35-hour work week was born of an idea that if everyone puts in just a few hours less on the job it would create a need for extra workers. Jospin's government also handed over billions in subsidies to companies to make up for the cost and added flexibility to how employees’ work time is calculated, all with the intent to spur hiring.
    Numerous exceptions in reality mean the 35-hour week applies to slightly less than half of French workers, and does not include managers. A labour ministry report published last year revealed French workers put in an average of 39.5 hours a week in 2011, slightly behind the EU average of 40.3 hours and the 41-hour working week in Germany and 42.4 hours in the UK.
    The same survey showed French middle-management worked an average of 44.1 hours a week.
    But to get around the 35-hour week law most companies simply offer workers extra days holiday, known as RTT, in return for working a 39-hour week.
    Boost for France’s economy
    But not everyone agrees with Sterdyniak that France would be making its ailing economy even sicker by tossing aside the 35-hour work week.
    Jérôme Dubus from France’s bosses' union Medef told The Local a longer week is exactly what France needs.
    For Dubus the shorter week has played an integral part in pushing up French labour costs and driving down its productivity.
    While in Germany, workers cost their employers €30 per hour, in France it is €33 an hour, said Dubus, and in France workers are on the job for an average of 200 hours a year less than their neighbours, he claimed. The knock-on effect of those figures is that France is producing less and less, leaving it with a €70 billion trade deficit.
    'It's about workers' buying power'
    Dubus argues getting rid of the 35-hour week would be like taking one’s foot off the brake of a slow-rolling vehicle.
    “The goal is to produce more. If you produce more, you are going to have to create jobs,” Dubus said.
    [No, the goal is to have more MARKETABLE productivity. Producing more that you can't sell is ridiculous and you can sell more if you have a rising domestic consumer base. Dubus' brain is locked in the 17th Century of the Puritan Work Ethic before the Industrial Revolution arrived and changed everything.]
    “Getting rid of the 35-hour week would allow people to work more, spur growth and productivity. Thus it would create new jobs," he said.
    [This nitwit has not moved from Work Hard to Work Smart. He presumably thinks the amount of work to be done is infinite, nevermind the willingness to pay for it isn't, and without pay it isn't and doesn't work.]
    He noted the new, longer working week could be rolled out gradually to ease the pain of changing. Though in the end, he believes, it would be well worth it.
    [What an idiot, totally ignorant of the whole point and trend of the Industrial Revolution, not to mention the part of the French Revolution directed toward Liberté, of which the most fundamental kind is Free Time, without which the other freedoms are either meaningless or inaccessible. Deport this phony Frenchman to China where he can enjoy working all 168 hours a week.]
    "Ultimately this is about workers' buying power," he said. "When people make more money it's good for the economy. They spend it and it helps the whole system."
    [Wake up, Dubus! The people with the longest hours, e.g., the Chinese, make the least money in the world because they overwhelm the market demand for working hours and drive pay down down down. Dubus is one of an unfortunately still large number of people who can't seem to understand the paradox of supply and demand = when employees offer more hours and swell the ranks of jobseekers, wages go down, not up. When employees offer fewer hours and shrink the ranks of jobseekers, wages go up, not down. Jospin is correct. Unfortunately, he quit in a sulk, right in line with, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of a passionate intensity."]
    Economist Gérard Cornilleau, of the French Economic Observatory, also believes French firms would be boosted if dropping the 35-hour week came without any increase in wages. Cheaper labour would mean an advantage for France over its neighbours in the European Union.
    "You would have a massive increase in competitiveness [yeah, in the Race to the Bottom]. Basically it would decrease everyone’s salary by ten percent,” said Cornilleau.
    [Ah, wasn't Dubus just claiming that people would make more money? Maybe he just meant the CEOs of French firms.]
    However, on a warning note, he said: “If it would be good for France, it would be very bad for the EU and basically what is bad for Europe is also bad for France.”
    Would it end the stereotype of the 'work-shy French'?
    [Who cares? The name callers are just jealous and "Living well is the best revenge."]
    Although productivity in France is above Germany’s and close to that of the United States, according to 2011 data from the Paris-based OECD think tank, the 35-hour week is often used to push the stereotype of work-shy French employees and can dissuade foreign investors.
    [Who needs foreign investors? They can and do pull out at a moment's notice and just render your economy vulnerable and unstable. And what in the world is so radical about the 35-hour workweek in the first place? The US Senate passed a 30-hour workweek bill in 1933 and some of the most conservative industries in the US had 35-hour workweeks in the 1960s, insurance, academe...even Wall Street had a 37.5-hour workweek in the 60s. Ignore these envious name-callers!]
    American CEO Maurice Taylor zeroed in on that reputation in a harsh letter to a French minister in 2013. "The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three," Taylor told Arnaud Montebourg, after being asked to invest in a doomed French tyre factory.
    [Ah, the new Taylorism. Leave this moron to ruin his own economy. No reason to spread his toxins to France.]
    For the Observatory's Cornilleau though, it’s laughable to think doing away with the 35-hour week could help undo the potentially damaging stereotypes some hold of France.
    “Just because we have a legal maximum working week of 35 hours that doesn’t mean that we work less than other countries,” Cornilleau told The Local. "If we just dropped the 35 hours like that, then yes we would have a reputation, but it would be for all the strikes and protests that would follow," Dubus jokes.

  2. Hours cut for part-time employees, by Jennifer Cohron, Daily Mountain Eagle via mountaineagle.com
    JASPER, Ala., USA - The Walker County Commission voted Monday to reduce the schedule for part-time, seasonal and temporary employees from 32 to 29 hours per week to avoid paying health insurance costs now required by the Affordable Care Act.
    Approximately 40 employees will be affected by the change, which goes into effect July 1.

    [And if those extra 32-29= 3 hours are really needed, this will mean that 3hrsx40employees= 120 hours will have to be filled by hiring new people...120/29= 4.1 new jobs, four fewer anxious jobseekers to bid local wages lower, four more local consumer-spenders to bolster local businesses...]
    County attorney Eddie Jackson explained that under the ACA, the county is required to provide health insurance to anyone who works more than 29 hours.
    “The Civil Service Board rules suggest that the part-time cutoff is 32 hours. I have suggested that we notify all department heads that we are going to change our definition to be less than 29 hours,” Jackson said.
    County officials estimated that the annual cost of including the employees in a health insurance plan would have been approximately $340,000, or $8,500 per employee.
    “I think the quote from Miss Pelosi is when we know what’s in it (the ACA), we’ll like it. Well, so far, I don’t,” Commission chairman Billy Luster said.
    Commissioners Keith Davis and Steven Aderholt said cutting hours was not an ideal solution.
    “We just don’t have the extra $340,000 that is being demanded of us by this Obamacare mandate. This is the only option we have. I personally hate it because the majority of my workforce is part-time.?Now they are going to be going without pay for those three hours a week,” Davis said.
    Aderholt clarified that no employees will lose their health insurance because of the change.
    “We’re not taking away health care from full-time employees. We’re taking away gas money from part-time employees that they could have gotten in those three hours a week. That’s what Obamacare is doing for us at this point,” Aderholt said.
    In other action, the commission:
    • declined to pay more than $9,000 in legal fees that Probate Judge Rick Allison incurred after filing a lawsuit against the county in Walker County Circuit Court over election notices.
    Circuit Judge Hoyt Elliott ruled that the county commission, not Allison, should determine which newspaper publishes the notices. Allison signed a contract with Corridor Messenger owner Ken Guin in March.
    The commission awarded the notices to the Daily Mountain Eagle in May.
    “Some of the things that Rick Allison has done, he hasn’t done intentionally to divide this commission. He’s just always done it. When you do a job as many years as he’s been doing it, unless somebody says something’s wrong, it just keeps getting done. I think it was a big misunderstanding, and I’d vote to pay for it,” said District 2 Commissioner Dan Wright.
    Wright made a motion to pay the fees, but it died for lack of a second.
    The commission also declined to pay more than $29,000 to the Corridor Messenger for election notices that were published while the lawsuit was pending.
    The commission sent a letter to Guin on April 10 stating that the county would not pay for any advertising regarding voter information until further notice.
    The same day as Elliott’s ruling, the Messenger published the Qualified Voters List for a stated fee of $29,325.
    Jackson said the bill is now closer to $30,000 because of interest that has been attached to the bill.
    “If you determine that you are not going to pay that fee, I will write Mr. Guin’s newspaper and advise them that consistent with what we previously told them and consistent with the court order, it wasn’t our obligation,” Jackson said.
    No motion to pay the bill was made.
    • declined to approve travel expenses for revenue auditor Susan Russell and District 2 Commissioner Dan Wright to attend the annual convention of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama in Orange Beach in August.
    Commissioners voted June 5 to require all travel requests for commissioners, engineers, administrators and staff to come before the board for approval.
    Travel was not listed on the original agenda. Shortly after the meeting began, Luster asked for Russell’s travel request to be added to the agenda.
    Wright then noted that he and Luster will be receiving certificates at the conference for completing the Commissioner Graduate Program through the Alabama Local Government Training Institute.
    After Davis recommended voting on the three travel requests individually instead of with one motion, Luster said he will be paying for his own expenses if he attends.
    The issue died when no motion was made to add the travel requests for Russell and Wright.

  3. Report: City could cut work days, pay if tax fails, (6/16 late pickup) Associated Press via Midland Daily News via ourmidland.com
    MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich., USA — The Detroit suburb of Mount Clemens should move to a four-day workweek and seek 15 percent pay cuts for employees if a tax proposal on the Aug. 5 ballot fails, according to a new report.
    [Better maintain employment and spending with hourscuts for all, than jobcuts for a few, then a few more, then a few more... Timesizing, not downsizing!]
    The review from a consultant for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments also spells out recommendations if voters approve the measure, which would raise property taxes from 15 mills to 20 mills, The Macomb Daily reported (http://bit.ly/1iAQxWX ).
    Consultant David Boerger said in the report that the tax increase "is an appropriate next step to offset deficits created by major property tax and state revenue drops created by the Great Recession." The Mount Clemens City Commission is expected to review the report.
    A mill is $1 per $1,000 of a property's assessed value, and Michigan assesses property at half its estimated market value.
    Mount Clemens invited a team of SEMCOG representatives to analyze the city's finances and prepare recommendations to restructure budgets, assist in collaboration opportunities with neighboring communities or Macomb County, and assess ways to structure legacy costs.
    The city says it can't continue to pay for unfunded liabilities such as retiree health care and still provide essential services with existing revenues. And Interim City Manager Robert Bruner has said the city could a financial emergency and state oversight if the proposal fails.
    The current budget carries $1.1 million more in expenses than revenues.
    Information from: The Macomb Daily, http://www.macombdaily.com


6/15-16/2014 – 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. Districts fear sub shortage will grow with health care law, by Sarah Hofius Hall, 6/15 Scranton Times-Tribune via thetimes-tribune.com
    SCRANTON, Pa., USA - Area school districts will soon restrict substitute teachers ["subs"] from working more than 30 hours a week, despite sub shortages that left area classrooms uncovered this year.
    Starting in January, under the Affordable Care Act, employees who work more than 30 hours a week must be offered health insurance. If substitute teachers work more than four days a week, they will work more than 30 hours. Superintendents say their districts cannot afford to offer insurance.
    “This is one of the situations where I think the law has unintended negative consequences for districts [or positive for jobs?],” said local attorney John Audi, who has advised districts he represents to start tracking hours now.

    The health care law will take effect at the same time districts struggle to find subs. Educators say some recent graduates are abandoning the idea of becoming a substitute teacher as a way to gain full-time employment, and instead, are changing careers or moving for job opportunities.
    Sub shortage
    In Scranton, on an average day, the district is able to get substitute teachers for 94 percent of vacancies. But on days with high numbers of absences for sickness or for professional development, the fill rate can drop to 60 percent, said William Gaynord, manager of personnel services.
    On some days, one school can have five absences and no substitutes, said Rosemary Boland, president of the Scranton Federation of Teachers. Teachers are then reassigned to teach those classes.
    For districts like Scranton, not having substitutes can be costly. Not only are students not receiving the type of education their normal teacher or a full-day sub could provide, when a substitute is not available, teachers are pulled from their prep periods to cover the absence. When teachers lose their prep period, they are paid $29.50 per hour, above their normal salary, for covering another class. Scranton substitutes make $90 a day. Within six hours, the district would pay its teachers a combined $177 for missing prep periods — or about double than it would to pay a substitute. The teachers also lose out on time for planning and grading.
    “It’s causing aggravation because people have work to do,” Ms. Boland said. “It’s becoming a mess. We need them to figure out a way to get more substitutes.”
    People holding a teaching certificate can become substitute teachers, and those with four-year degrees unrelated to education can apply for an emergency permit through the state Department of Education. Not all school districts in the region are experiencing shortages, but all must prepare for the 30-hour rule.
    Federal law
    Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, employees who average at least 30 hours a week are considered full-time. As of January, companies with more than 50 full-time employees must offer them health insurance. The rule had originally been set to go into effect this year, and that aspect of the law is one of many that are currently being debated by Republican lawmakers.
    At Abington Heights, the district is preparing to limit substitute teachers to less than 30 hours a week, even though on a day with higher-than-average absences, the district can be short on substitutes. Superintendent Michael Mahon, Ph.D. said he hopes the provision in the Affordable Care Act is eliminated before it takes effect.
    At Valley View, a lack of subs is “typically not an issue,” but the district is also preparing for the 30-hour rule. The district will use software that can track substitute hours, Superintendent Donald Kanavy said.
    As a way to avoid subs reaching 30 hours, Scranton is considering partnering with another district so the two can swap sub lists one day a week, Mr. Gaynord said.
    Attracting subs
    Traditionally, many substitute teachers are people seeking full-time teaching jobs. Fewer students are graduating with education degrees from Pennsylvania colleges and because of the few jobs available locally, people are leaving the region or changing careers, educators said.
    “A lot of our better subs went elsewhere to get employment,” North Pocono Superintendent Bryan McGraw said. “We struggle to find substitutes, especially when we have professional development.”
    At North Pocono, it’s normal to be down one or two subs each day, and on a day with high absences, there could be five or six classes without subs.
    The district pays $80 for the first 30 days someone subs and $90 for the next 30 days. For more than 60 days, the district pays $100 a day.
    To find more substitutes, the district may have to raise its rates.
    “That’s not easy with budget constraints,” Mr. McGraw said.
    Contact the writer: shofius@timesshamrock.com, @hofiushallTT on Twitter

  2. China's Forty Hour Work Week Is Mandatory - Except When It's Not - Part II, by Grace Yang, 6/16 ChinaLawBlog.com
    SHANGHAI, China - In China’s Forty Hour Work Week Is Mandatory. Except When It’s Not [- Part I], I wrote of how China’s labor law permits a flexible working hours system for senior management as an exception to the basic work week rule (it seems most municipalities enforce a 40-hour work week). This system can benefit employers needing greater employee hour flexibility, without having to pay overtime every time their employees work outside the basic hours.
    However, employers should proceed with caution.
    First, even for employees under the flexible working hours system, employers are legally required to provide adequate rest time to these employees. Though “adequate rest time” has been left undefined in some jurisdictions (Beijing being one of them), some are clear on what they require by this. Shanghai, for example, requires employers provide at least one day every week as rest time for their employees designated under the flexible working hours system.
    Second, you often cannot avoid paying overtime simply by implementing a flexible working hours system. Even in the case of a salaried employee system, some municipalities (Shanghai and Shenzhen immediately spring to mind) require employers pay 300% of an employee’s normal wages for time spent working on a Chinese legal holiday. For this reason, we tell our clients that the safest approach is for them not to have any employee work on Chinese national holidays, if at all possible.
    It also needs to be emphasized that employers cannot use a flexible working hours system with low level management and non-management employees, unless those employees fall under one of the following five categories:
    1. offsite sales personnel
    2. personnel permanently based out of town
    3. long distance transportation personnel
    4. non-production on-duty personnel
    5. others in special work positions that may arrange their own work and rest schedules.
    For example, it may be possible for you to secure approval from the local agency for your off-site sales managers or for your long-distance transportation employees who are constantly on the road, but note that you must secure the requisite permission from the authorities before you can apply a flexible working hours system to any employees who fall under the above five categories.
    In May 2012, China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security issued Draft Regulations on Management of Special Working Hours (“Draft Regulations”) for public comments. These regulations would have clarified various issues relating to the flexible working hours system. These Draft Regulations would have revised the above-mentioned categories by adding a new category: “employees in positions relating to technology, research and development, and creative work who may arrange their own work schedule with no attendance record requirement.” The Draft Regulations kept categories (1) and (3) above, as well as senior management, as positions eligible for the flexible working hours system.
    But these Draft Regulations have yet to take effect and until they do, the existing regulations are what apply, and as far as non-senior management employees are concerned, you can only use the flexible working hours system with those who fit into one of the five categories listed above.


6/14/2014 – 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. Europe's not lazy; Americans make the wrong trade-off, by Tom Keane, (6/15 2:57am early pickup) BostonGlobe.com
    An aerial view of sunbathers on the beach in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, where the average work week is 29 hours. (photo caption)
    BOSTON, Mass., USA - Those silly Europeans. Life on the continent seems a concerted effort to avoid work. In France, the legal workweek is 35 hours. The Netherlands is down to an average of 29. Sweden’s pushing for six-hour days. China, India, and other upstart nations have to be loving this. It’s a lot easier to beat your competitors when your competitors aren’t trying that hard.
    And then comes a widely publicized topper: France has passed legislation banning work-related e-mails between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. Oh, la vache! How lazy are these people?
    As it turns out, that story was an Internet version of the telephone game: It began with a germ of truth and then mushroomed into exaggeration. It wasn’t a law; it was a labor agreement. Only about 250,000 workers were covered. And there’s no mention of hours of the day. Still, wouldn’t it be nice?
    For an enormous number of workers there’s no such thing as quitting time. The line between work and non-work has blurred so much so that the line has essentially disappeared. Leaving the office may be a change of place but not a change of status: You’re still on; still expected to respond to e-mails, texts, and posts; still assumed to be available for a discussion or a review. And that’s not only true after hours but weekends and vacations too. You go off grid at risk of reproach.
    “I wasn’t able to reach you Sunday. Is everything OK?”
    “I was at the beach.”
    “So?”
    “Swimming.”
    “The whole time?”
    It’s easy to blame technology. Computers, tablets, and smartphones: Our devices are always with us, everyone knows it, and there’s no compunction about reaching out. As a result, we’re working more. White-collar workers with smartphones are now dealing with work-related matters an average of 13.5 hours a day — 72 hours a week — according to a study last August by the Center for Creative Leadership. For many, including blue-collar workers as well, jobs have become a 24/7/365 proposition (with perhaps time off for sleep).
    That’s why, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States ranks 29th out of 36 nations on a measure it calls work-life balance, in line with such not-so-fun places as Turkey and South Korea. Meanwhile, European countries rank far higher, arguably happier and healthier. We in the United States are grinding away [and shrinking our economy by piling the yet-to-be-automated workhours on the yet-to-be-downsized-but-insecure jobholders], while the Europeans drink wine, discuss philosophy, and do other things that would make ordinary Americans blush. Is it time to follow their lead?

    [The sooner we do, the sooner we'll stop becoming "Third World".]
    In the past, the United States kept workweeks in check by requiring that anyone working more than 40 hours be paid overtime. But there are broad and growing exceptions to that rule for white-collar employees and those in various professions (doctors and teachers, but also the tech savvy). The self-employed are exempt as well. The Obama administration is making an effort this year to get more covered, on the theory that the white-collar exemptions “have not kept up with our modern economy,” but it’s an uphill [and ant-hill?] battle.
    Why? Many people seem to enjoy structuring their workweeks as they want; offices, daily commutes, and a rigid 9-to-5 schedule seem so last century. Moreover, long workweeks are often a competitive necessity. Lawyers work all sorts of hours in part because their clients expect it. If they didn’t, they’d lose business to someone else. Similarly, the United States is all too aware of the global challenges it faces. The French may have a good work-life balance, but they also have an unemployment rate over 10 percent and per capita incomes well below Americans’ ($37,567 versus $52,547 in 2012).
    [But with hidden unemployment (long-term uncounted +welfare +disability +homeless +incarcerated {world record!} +suicide +{worst-of-all} self-employment with no clients), Americans easily have comprehensive unemployment-dependency of 20% and French don't, and if these income figures are averages, the huge economy-slowing megaconcentration of per capita income in the topmost brackets in the U.S. means that the U.S. 99% has no more per capita income than the French, and most have less, and all have waaay less public services. For example, the French have real universal healthcare and the best medical system in the world with the possible exception of the Cubans.]
    Most important, though, work and individual accomplishment are part of our culture.
    [No longer, when the US population is split between the entitled 1%, most of whom inherited, and a diminishing majority of overworkers and a ballooning minority of dependents in numerous.]
    Cadillac’s controversial ad for its luxury ELR makes the point and mocks Europeans to boot: “You work hard, create your own luck, and you got to believe anything is possible,” the ad says.
    [In the age of robotics, "working hard" in terms of working long hours and hoarding your skills (to foster your illusion of indispensibility) is funneling the national income to the topmost brackets (who spend/fast-circulate the tiniest percentage of their money) and slowing the U.S. economy. "Working hard" has become an economy-killer when the kneejerk reaction to technology is downsizing instead of timesizing. Europeans can now mock Americans right back as we waste money on gas-guzzling continent-warming Cadillacs and work ourselves into the Third World.]
    And as for things money can buy?
    [Who has time to buy things? or when bought, enjoy them?]
    “That’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August.”
    [There is no upside to being the only advanced economy with no minimum vacation laws. Our status as "advanced" is deteriorating daily, and paraphrasing JC, "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and...never really have a life."]
    Perhaps someday Americans will decide to trade off a little wealth for some more free time.
    [which after all, is the most basic Freedom, without which the other Freedoms are either inaccessible of meaningless. How ironic that the nation that most talks the talk of Freedom least walks the walk.]
    Until then, keep checking your smartphone.
    Tom Keane can be reached at tomkeane@tomkeane.com

  2. Thumbs up, Thumbs down, (6/13 late pickup) The Southern Illinoisan via thesouthern.com
    SPRINGFIELD, Illin., USA - Thumbs up … The Trico Lady Pioneers, who placed second at the Class 1A state softball tournament, did the region proud. The team won 26 straight games before losing, 2-1, to Altamont in the title game. With a record of 33-4, the Lady Pioneers were the only local softball or baseball team to make a trip to state this season. The communities that make up the Trico district supported the team by parading them around the region upon their return. It was great to see a small school get some time in the limelight. Congratulations on a great season!
    Thumbs down … The practice of Illinois legislators getting nearly automatic cost-of-living increases is outdated. And this year, for the first time in five years, members of the General Assembly didn't vote to take furlough days as a way to save taxpayer dollars, according to The Associated Press.
    [That means that for five years, members of the General Assembly DID take furlough days to save taxpayer dollars = another use for SWT (shorter work time).]
    That means each of the 177 members of the House and the Senate will see an extra $2,230 in their paychecks for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Lawmakers receive a base salary of $67,836 annually. Most also receive additional stipends for serving in leadership positions and on various committees. Beginning in 2009, lawmakers began taking one unpaid furlough day per month. A $70,000 part-time job with scheduled COLAs is one heck of a sweet gig! We like legislation that would freeze lawmaker paychecks and keeps them from receiving scheduled cost-of-living increases. Want a raise? Live like the rest of us; prove you’ve earned it.
    Thumbs up … Good luck to Rita Cheng, chancellor of SIU Carbondale, who is poised to take the president’s job at Northern Arizona University. Cheng took over here in 2010 for interim chancellor Sam Goldman. She’s faced challenges, including rising costs, shrinking funding levels and continually declining enrollment. It’s too soon to see if changes instituted under Cheng’s command can reverse the enrollment trend at SIU, but there are some positive signs. Cheng and Goldman did manage to stop the revolving door in the chancellor’s office, and she has comported herself with skill and professionalism. Her departure is a good opportunity for her and gives newly hired President Randy Dunn a chance to give his significant input as the university chooses its ranking leader for the Carbondale campus.
    Thumbs up … to the bill signed by Gov. Pat Quinn requiring Illinois high school students to get training on cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillators. The law takes effect for the 2014-15 school year. The legislation was prompted by paramedic George Laman. His daughter had a heart condition. She collapsed and died in 2008 during drill team practice at a suburban Chicago high school. Quinn's office says an AED was available at the school, but not used until paramedics arrived. Many people believe her life could have been saved had someone knew how to use it. AEDs are simple, safe and often effective, as is CPR. The methods and technology simply save lives. Really, there’s no reason most of us shouldn’t get the training.
    Thumbs up … Carbondale is pursuing a year-round farmers market that would have its own permanent home. We can’t help but like the sound of that. Local commerce, fresh eats, great shopping and fellowship -- what’s not to like? The city, residents, farmers and market organizers are working together on the possibility. Naturally, if we’re going to put city money on the table and the city is to own the year-round market building, we expect to hear about carefully considered costs and see a well-crafted plan for the enterprise. But we’ve got the goods, the providers, the consumers and the talent. Let’s put them all together at a year-round market.


6/13/2014 – 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. Shared-Work remains active in the Show-Me state, by Destiny McKeiver, (6/12 late pickup) HeartlandConnection.com
    KIRKSVILLE, Mo., USA -- There have been recent threats of losing a program that keeps 30,000 workers on the job.
    Last year, nearly 350 Missouri employers were able to avoid lay-offs using the state's Shared-Work Program, but this year, Missourians nearly lost access to that program.
    Shared-Work is a federal program administered by the Missouri Department of Labor.
    The program allows companies to reduce hours, and it allows select workers access to unemployment benefits.
    It’s said to be a valuable tool for the state's business community.
    It’s also said to be a win-win program for both employers and workers.
    “The employers will not have to lay off their workers. The employees aren't laid off and are able to recoup some of their lost wages. This allows employers the ability to retain their skilled workforce and in times of economic downturn or more of a temporary decline in business,” said Tracy King, Missouri Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Governmental Affairs.
    The federal government required Missouri to update state statutes to continue accessing the program.
    After jumping significant legislative hurdles, the program will remain active in the Show-Me state.

  2. Shrinking Workweeks: A Sign of Unequal Recovery from the Great Recession: Backgrounder #2921 on Labor, by Filip Jolevski & James Sherk, (6/12 late pickup) Heritage Foundation via heritage.org
    [And far better they did that and preserved employment and consumer spending than cut jobs and employment and consumer spending - this was like the Kurzarbeit that was and is so successful for the German economy. This is evidently the mother journal article of yesterday's more popular summary "Shorter Work Weeks: The New Normal?" below, where we have more fully commented on its points. Here we only observe that in addition to our yesterday's "out-ing" of this article as a veiled attack on Obamacare, today Krugman's article in the NY Times suggests this type of article is an example of the bait&switch tactics of "movement conservatives," that suck in low-income voters with gestures that seem to care about them but then once in power, these bogus "conservatives" switch to labor-surplus fostering (and growth clobbering) policies, such as importing even-lower-wage foreign workers, to please short-sighted CEOs. Ironically, the only market-based way out of this whole conundrum is a systemic and systematic shrinking of workweeks and a redefinition of "full time" down to levels more appropriate and wage&spending&growth friendly in an age of pervasive automation and robotization. Charts and tables can be seen on http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/06/shrinking-workweeks-a-sign-of-unequal-recovery-from-the-great-recession ]
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Abstract
    During the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, employers cut many of their employees’ work hours. For most, the average workweek eventually returned to pre-recession levels, but that was not true for those at the bottom quintile of the wage distribution. On average, low-wage employees work one hour less per week than they did in 2007, forgoing $500 per year in income. This trend has significantly affected several industries and occupations. Obamacare will further reduce hours by increasing the costs of hiring full-time employees while discouraging workers from working full-time. Fewer work hours will impede income mobility for low-wage workers.

    Five years after the end of the Great Recession, the labor market remains weak. In May 2014, the unemployment rate stood at 6.3 percent, matching the highest rate following the 2001 recession. Labor force participation has fallen to levels not seen since the Carter Administration, when far fewer women worked outside the home than do today.
    Policymakers and the media have paid close attention to these figures, but they have paid much less attention to another sign of the labor market’s condition: the length of the average workweek. This Backgrounder examines in detail the changes in the average workweek since the beginning of the recession.
    During the 2008–2009 economic downturn, the average number of hours that U.S. employees worked each week dropped sharply. Since then, the length of the average workweek has recovered for most segments of the labor market—but not for workers in the bottom quintile of the wage distribution. The average workweek of an employee in the bottom quintile has fallen by over 3 percent—the equivalent of more than an hour each week—since 2007. These reduced hours have cut the incomes of low-wage workers by approximately $500 a year.
    All of this has happened even before the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) financial penalties for hiring full-time low-wage employees legally take effect. The ACA, known as Obamacare, also subsidizes low-income and moderate-income employees who work part-time. When fully implemented, Obamacare will put further downward pressure on hours for low-income workers.
    Shift to Part-Time Employment
    Average workweeks typically shrink during recessions. Employers cut back on overtime, reduce regular hours, and shift employment to part-time employees. During recovery, employers reverse these trends and the workweek returns to its previous level. However, during and after the Great Recession, this pattern has held only partially.[1]
    Between the end of 2007 and the end of 2009, the proportion of employees with full-time hours in the bottom four wage quintiles dropped significantly.[2] The probability of full-time employment fell the most for those with the lowest pay: those in the bottom quintile.
    Full-time employment rates recovered for the middle three quintiles between the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2009 and Q4 2013. On net, the change in the proportion of workers in these quintiles with full-time hours was not statistically significant between Q4 2007 and Q4 2013.[3]
    Not so for workers in the bottom income quintile. The proportion of full-time employees in the bottom quintile dropped 5.8 percentage points between the end of 2007 and the end of 2009, falling from 60.0 percent to 54.2 percent. Since then, it has not recovered, remaining at 54.2 percent in Q4 2013. In the top quintile, by contrast, full-time employment grew slightly (0.9 percentage point).
    Chart 1 - Low-Income Workers "Hit Hardest" by Recession
    [our quotes: "hit hardest" is defined in subtitle as a drop in the proportion of workers with "full time jobs" defined at least a 35-hour workweek, and no acknowledgement that "full time" is a historical accident and entirely arbitrary and under-used as an economic control variable and consequently over-regulated in the sense of upwardly ratcheted and consequently dysfunctionally outdated at current levels.]
    The decline in full-time jobs among low-income workers is large enough that it affects the economy-wide averages. In Q4 2007, the proportion of employees who worked full-time (at least 35 hours a week) stood at 82.6 percent. Two years later, that figure dropped 2.5 percentage points to 80.1 percent and increased only slightly afterward. By Q4 2013, the proportion of full-time workers still stood at 80.9 percent, down 1.7 percentage points from pre-recession levels. Conversely, the proportion of employees who worked fewer than 35 hours per week increased, with nearly equal increases in the proportion working fewer than 25 hours, between 25 hours and 29 hours, and between 30 hours and 34 hours a week.
    Chart 2 - Little Recovery for Full-Time Workers; Part-Time Jobs Increase
    Declining Hours
    Another way of examining the data involves examining changes in the length of the average workweek. A shift from full-time employees to part-time employees obviously reduces average work hours, as does a decrease in the length of full-time schedules (such as from 40 hours to 35 hours a week), reduced overtime, and changes in part-time schedules. Examining the average workweek shows how hours have changed for workers of all workweek lengths.
    Table 1 shows the average workweek across income quintiles in Q4 2007 and Q4 2013. Workers in the top quintile worked more hours than those in lower quintiles, while those in the bottom quintile worked the fewest hours.
    The length of the average workweek did not change in a statistically significant way for the middle three quintiles of the income distribution between Q4 2007 and Q4 2013. In the top quintile, the average workweek expanded by one-third of an hour, but for workers in the bottom quintile, average hours worked per week declined by 3.4 percent over this period—1.1 fewer hours a week. This segment of the labor market has yet to recover from the 2008–2009 recession.
    Table 1 - Average Hours Worked per Week, by Wage Quintiles
    These reduced hours impose an additional financial burden on low-income Americans. With a decline of a little more than one hour per week, the average low-skill (therefore, low-wage) worker forgoes roughly $9.22 per week of pre-tax income. Yearly, that reduces his or her earnings by $470.[4]
    Chart 3 - Low-Income Workers Have Lost the Most Work Hours
    In making these comparisons, it is important to compare the same quarter year-over-year. The average workweek of employees in the bottom quintile fluctuates wildly in the summer as high school and college students enter the labor force and take relatively low-paying jobs. However, even in the summer, the average workweek for employees in the bottom quintile remains shorter than it was in Q4 2007.
    Workweek Changes by Industry and Occupation
    The decline in the average workweek in the bottom quintile has not occurred uniformly among occupations or industries. Five industries recorded statistically significant reductions in average hours for workers in the bottom quintile between Q4 2007 and Q4 2013: (1) retail trade; (2) manufacturing; (3) construction; (4) public administration; and (5) arts, entertainment, and recreation. These industries collectively employ 37 percent of workers in the bottom quintile.[5] Only in two industries—educational services and information—did the average workweek for employees in the bottom quintile rise, and only by a statistically insignificant amount.
    Table 2 and Table 3 show the change in hours by industry and occupational group, respectively. The tables are ranked by the statistical significance of the total change in average weekly hours between Q4 2007 and Q4 2013. The p-value shows the probability that this measured change reflects random chance.[6]
    The largest significant decline occurred in arts, entertainment, and recreation, where the average workweek was shortened by 10.1 percent. The average worker in this industry in the bottom quintile today works the equivalent of five fewer weeks a year than before the recession. The most statistically significant decline in hours occurred in retail jobs. Despite the fact that retail sales have risen 2.6 percent above pre-recession levels, the average workweek for persons employed in the retail industry and in the bottom quintile dropped by 5.7 percent—nearly two hours per week.[7] That amounts to roughly three fewer workweeks per year. The 6.8 percent drop in workweeks in the construction sector probably reflects the burst of the housing bubble.
    Table 2 - Change in the Average Workweek for Employees in the Bottom Quintile, by Industry
    While only five industries experienced a statistically significant decline in working hours of employees in the bottom quintile, 18 of the 20 industrial sectors experienced a decrease in average hours. The collective decrease in the 13 sectors with individually insignificant decreases was statistically significant.[8]
    Changes in work hours varied across occupations as well. Of the 22 different occupations used in this analysis, 18 had decreases in average workweeks for workers in the bottom quintile. Among these, six experienced statistically significant drops: (1) office and administrative support, (2) sales, (3) transportation and material moving, (4) production, (5) construction, and (6) protective service occupations. These six occupations collectively account for half of all jobs held by workers in the bottom quintile.
    The changes in hours of the remaining 12 occupations with individually insignificant differences became significant when evaluated collectively.[9] Four occupations experienced higher average hours, but only one with statistical significance.[10]
    Table 3 - Change in the Average Workweek for Employees in the Bottom Quintile, by Occupation
    Protective service occupations experienced the largest drop (11.8 percent), a decline of more than four hours per week. That translates into six fewer weeks of work a year.
    Entry-level jobs play a significant role in helping low-wage workers to build their personal human capital by gaining experience. Most Americans started out earning within a dollar of the minimum wage. Most of these workers also quickly earned promotions to higher-paying jobs.[11]
    Workers with full-time schedules earn raises and promotions significantly faster than do part-time employees. Full-time minimum-wage workers are 10 percentage points more likely to be promoted to a higher-paying position within a year than are part-time minimum-wage employees who work between 10 and 19 hours a week.[12] Thus, reduced work hours not only reduce take-home pay through shorter workweeks, but also slow the process of accumulating skills that would allow low-wage workers to command higher pay in the future.
    Differences by Education Level
    Individual human capital plays a significant role in wage mobility, and education remains one of the primary means of accumulating human capital. Between 2007 and 2013, the proportion of workers who had earned at least a college degree increased by 2.7 percentage points. However, a college degree did not necessarily protect workers from reduced work hours. The average workweek fell for employees of all educational levels, with the greatest proportionate decrease occurring among workers who had some college education (–1.8 percent) and the smallest drop occurring among high school dropouts (–0.8 percent). College graduates still work about 1 percent less than they did prior to the recession.
    Chart 4 - Fewer Work Hours, Regardless of Education
    Table 4 - Overall Average Hours Worked per Week, by Level of Education
    This picture shifts when focusing on workers in the bottom quintile—the only group of workers to experience statistically significant reductions in hours. Workers with a college degree or more who are in the bottom quintile had the largest decrease in hours of any educational category: a 9.9 percent reduction amounting to 3.6 fewer hours a week. Workers with some college education or at most a high school or GED diploma saw their work hours fall roughly 4 percent. The average workweek of high school dropouts did not change significantly.
    Chart 5 - Fewer Hours for Most Low-Income Workers, Regardless of Education
    Table 5 - Average Hours Worked per Week by the Bottom Quintile of the Wage Distribution, by Level of Education
    In 2007, before the recession, college-educated workers put in the longest workweek of all education groups in the bottom quintile. By 2013, the average workweek of high school graduates exceeded the workweek of college graduates.
    Differences by Age
    Breaking down the data by age can illuminate which demographic segments of the labor market bore the largest burden of the recession. The hours for workers ages 55 and older saw the smallest decline during the recession and subsequently recovered. This happened in addition to the increase in labor force participation among older workers during this period.[13] Younger workers still struggle with declining work hours.
    Chart 6 - Younger Workers Lost the Most Work Hours
    Table 6 - Overall Average Hours Worked per Week by Age Group
    Younger workers, many still enrolled in school, unsurprisingly have highly seasonal workweeks, which rise during school breaks. This explains the spikes in the third quarter (July–September) each year for 16- to-24-year-olds. The workweek among the young dropped significantly, a decrease that comes in addition to sharply lower labor force participation and higher unemployment.[14] For the middle group—prime-age workers between 25 and 54—the overall workweek declined by 1.3 percent.
    Focusing on the bottom quintile, the workweek for 16- to-24-year-olds barely shifted throughout the recession, except for seasonal effects. However, the average hours for those older than age 25 dropped by more than 4 percent. Those in the bottom quintile of 25- to-54-year-olds lost 1.8 hours per week on average, while employees 55 and older now work 1.4 hours less per week than they did prior the recession.
    Chart 7 - Low-Income Workers Lost Hours, Regardless of Age Group
    Table 7 - Average Hours Worked per Week for[?] the Bottom Quintile of the Wage Distribution, by Age Group
    Future Trends
    Average working hours dropped for workers in the bottom quintile during the recession, and government policy will probably accentuate this trend. Obamacare creates strong incentives for employers to create and employees to prefer part-time jobs.
    Starting in 2015, Obamacare will impose a $2,000 penalty tax on employers who hire full-time workers without offering them qualifying health benefits. Unlike wages and benefits, employers cannot deduct this penalty from their taxes, so the penalty costs businesses as much as raising a worker’s compensation by $3,279 would cost them.[15] Few employers of low-wage workers provide the expensive benefits necessary to comply with this mandate. Consequently, the law will soon raise the cost of hiring full-time workers in the bottom quintile by an average of 18 percent.[16] No penalty applies to hiring part-time employees.
    Few businesses can absorb an 18 percent increase in their labor costs easily without a corresponding increase in productivity. When the Obamacare penalty takes effect, it will strongly encourage low-wage employers to cut their employees’ hours below 30 a week to avoid the penalty. Hundreds of employers, including nonprofits and local governments, have already announced their plans to do so;[17] when they do, the average workweek of low-wage employees will shrink further.
    Obamacare also reduces the financial incentives for many Americans to work full-time. Employees generally work full-time for two reasons: to make more money than they would make at a part-time job and to receive health benefits. The ACA greatly diminishes these incentives. The law provides expensive health subsidies for workers with incomes between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, but only if their employers do not offer health benefits. These subsidies mean that many employees would make as much money working part-time, taking all of their compensation as cash wages, and collecting ACA subsidies as they would working full-time and taking part of their compensation as health benefits.
    Dr. Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago calculates that a parent with a total compensation of $28 an hour would make as much money working 30 hours a week and collecting exchange subsidies as he or she would make working 40 hours a week with employer-provided health benefits.[18] The law effectively removes the financial incentives for many Americans to work full-time. This will cause millions of Americans to prefer part-time jobs that provide them the same effective income as full-time positions. This will further shrink average workweeks.
    The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that from 2017 to 2024, the total number of hours worked will decline by up to 2 percent because of provisions in the Affordable Care Act that will reduce both the demand for and the supply of labor—particularly the labor of less-skilled workers. The reduction in hours would amount to a decline of 2.5 million full-time equivalent jobs by 2024.[19] In the long run, these shorter workweeks will reduce experience and human capital growth and slow wage growth for millions of workers.
    Implications
    Average working hours fell during the Great Recession for most Americans—far more than during the previous two recessions.[20] Since then, work hours have recovered for most of the population, but not for workers in the bottom quintile. The average workweek remains 3.4 percent below its pre-recession average for these employees. For low-income workers in the retail and entertainment and recreation industries, the reduced hours amount to almost an entire month less work a year. The poor economy has most hurt the very workers who need longer workweeks in order to gain both income and skills.
    In the United States, workers in the lowest quintile of the wage distribution also work the fewest hours. In part, this is causal: Workers with less experience earn lower wages. Conversely, the most highly paid 20 percent of Americans work the most hours. The further decline of working hours at the bottom will make it harder for low-income workers to acquire the skills and experience necessary to get ahead. Inequality dominates the current political discussion, but the prospect of boosting income mobility through experience and longer hours deserves attention.
    Obamacare will make this situation worse. The law raises employers’ cost of hiring low-wage workers full-time by an average of 18 percent. This will discourage employers from creating full-time jobs for these employees. The law also diminishes the financial benefits of full-time work for many low-income and moderate-income Americans. Under the ACA, many Americans will make as much working part-time and collecting exchange subsidies as they can make by working full-time with employer-provided health insurance. Both factors will push average workweeks down. This in turn will reduce employees’ human capital accumulation and compensation growth.
    —Filip Jolevski is a Research Assistant and James Sherk is Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics in the Center for Data Analysis, of the Institute for Economic Prosperity and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation.
    Appendix
    Methodology
    This Backgrounder uses the Merged Outgoing Rotation Group (MORG) data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) from October 2007 to December 2013. We used the files maintained by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which the NBER makes available publicly online.[21]
    We constructed hourly wages by dividing usual weekly earnings (earnwke) by usual hours worked (uhourse). This takes into account salaried workers as well as workers paid by the hour.
    We used this hourly wage variable to construct quintiles of the wage distribution for each month. The ranges for the quintiles vary over time as the nominal wage distribution shifts. In the last month of the analysis, December 2013, quintiles broke down as indicated in Appendix Table 1.
    Appendix Table 1 - Ranges for Age Quintiles for December 2013
    When we refer to average workweek or weekly hours, those numbers represent the “usual hours worked” variable from the CPS MORG: uhourse.
    For the industry breakdown, we constructed an industry variable to replicate the North American Industry Classification System at the two-digit level. This was done by aggregating the industry variable (dind00) of the CPS MORG to the two-digit level. For occupations, the analysis is based on the occupational variable labeled docc00 in the NBER data files.
    The category for different levels of education was derived from the grade92 variable that measures which grade the respondent has completed. The variable for age groups was created similarly using the age variable from the MORG files.
    A spreadsheet with the detailed outputs of the calculations and a Stata do-file with the commands necessary to replicate these results are available upon request from The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis.
    [Endnotes]
    [1] This trend of increasing hours in a recovery appears in Current Population Survey data. Data from the establishment survey show a downward secular trend in the average workweek since the 1960s.
    [2] Quintiles are defined as hourly wages, with salaried workers’ earnings converted to an equivalent hourly rate. See Appendix for details.
    [3] These changes were not significant at the 10 percent level.
    [4] Based on average earnings in the bottom quintile of $8.23 an hour and hours falling by 1.1 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.
    [5] In Q4 2013, these industries employed 36.7 percent of workers in the bottom quintile.
    [6] We considered changes statistically significant if the p-value was less than or equal to 0.05.
    [7] Federal Reserve Economic Data, “Real Retail and Food Services Sales, Millions of Dollars, Quarterly, Seasonally Adjusted,” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Economic Research Division, October 2007 to December 2013.
    [8] Smaller sample sizes increase a survey’s margin of error. Statistically insignificant changes in a smaller sample—such as workers in a particular industry—may become statistically significant when aggregated into a larger sample. In this case, these 13 sectors collectively experienced a 1.85 percent decrease in average work hours, a change significant at the 3.6 percent level.
    [9] In these 12 occupations, average hours fell 2.3 percent, a change significant at the 3.1 percent level.
    [10] The exception occurred in life, physical, and social sciences occupations. However, this occupation group has an extremely small sample size of fewer than 30 workers a quarter: Very few workers in these occupations earn wages in the bottom quintile. The change between Q4 2007 and Q4 2013 is very large and statistically significant at the 5 percent level. However, on average in a table of 20 numbers, one of the 20 will be statistically significant at the 5 percent level by random chance—which probably applies here. We examined the average workweek in this occupation group, and the workweek changed sharply across quarters and years for workers in the bottom quintile.
    [11] William Carrington and Bruce Fallick, “Do Some Workers Have Minimum Wage Careers?” Monthly Labor Review, May 2001, pp. 17–27, Table 2, http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2001/05/art2full.pdf (accessed May 27, 2014).
    [12] William E. Even and David A. Macpherson, “Wage Growth Among Minimum Wage Workers,” Employment Policies Institute, June 2004, p. 8, Table 4, http://www.epionline.org/studies/macpherson_06-2004.pdf (accessed May 27, 2014).
    [13] Older workers have a lower overall labor force participation rate than 25-to-54-year-olds. James Sherk, “Not Looking for Work: Why Labor Force Participation Has Fallen in the Recession,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2722, September 5, 2013, Table 2, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/09/not-looking-for-work-why-labor-force-participation-has-fallen-during-the-recession.
    [14] Ibid.
    [15] The average combined state and federal corporate tax rate in the United States is 39 percent. Payroll costs, such as wages and benefits, are deductible from these taxes. Consequently, increasing payroll costs by $3,279 reduces tax obligations by $1,279 (0.39 x $3,279). Such an increase in payroll costs reduces after-tax earnings by $2,000 ($3,279 – $1,279)—the same amount as the ACA penalty.
    [16] The law will initially raise the cost of hiring workers in other quintiles as well. However, employers will compensate for that cost by reducing workers’ pay by an offsetting amount, as happens with the employer share of payroll taxes. Since employers cannot cut the pay of employees in the bottom quintile below the minimum wage, they will bear the cost of the mandate penalty tax on these workers. This will raise the cost of hiring full-time workers in the bottom quintile relative to part-time employees. In Q4 2013, the average worker in the bottom quintile who worked at least 30 hours a week made $8.35 an hour. Multiplied by 2,000 hours a year and the mandatory employer 7.65 percent share of payroll taxes, this provides total compensation of $17,978 a year. In pre-tax terms, the non-deductible penalty tax of $2,000 equates to increasing payroll costs by $3,279 a year—18.2 percent of this total compensation.
    [17] Jed Graham, “ObamaCare Employer Mandate: A List of Cuts to Work Hours, Jobs,” Investor’s Business Daily, February 3, 2014, http://news.investors.com/politics-obamacare/020314-669013-obamacare-employer-mandate-a-list-of-cuts-to-work-hours-jobs.htm (accessed May 27, 2014).
    [18] Casey B. Mulligan, “The New Economics of Part-Time Employment,” The New York Times Economix blog, July 3, 2013, http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/03/the-new-economics-of-part-time-employment/ (accessed May 27, 2014).
    [19] Congressional Budget Office, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024, February 2014, Appendix C, pp. 117–127, http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/45010-Outlook2014_Feb.pdf (accessed May 21, 2014).
    [20] Steven Kroll, “The Decline in Work Hours During the 2007–09 Recession,” Monthly Labor Review, April 2011, pp. 53–59, http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2011/04/art10full.pdf (accessed May 12, 2014).
    [21] National Bureau of Economic Research, “Current Population Survey (CPS) Data at the NBER,” October 2007 to December 2013, http://www.nber.org/cps/ (accessed May 21, 2014).
    [Mainstream economists of both right and left continue to spin shorter hours as bad, when it is a natural and logical part of worksaving technology, and is actually a good and unavoidable thing that is not necessarily happening today in the best available way.]


6/12/2014 – 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. Shorter work weeks: the new normal? by James Sherk, The Heritage Foundation via FresnoBee.com
    [We certainly hope so! It is, after all, an age of pervasive "worksaving" technology, and Free Time is the most basic freedom, the one without which all the other freedoms are either meaningless or inaccessible.]
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Marsadeise Barginere, a food service worker in Cleveland, has had her hours cut from full-time to part-time. She's not alone. Luke Perfect "barely scrape(s) by" at his job in a Subway in Maine. Nonetheless his employer will also put him on part-time status once Obamacare takes effect.
    [Great names! He's found an extremely French name (in Cleveland!) and a very Biblical (Luke) and very good (Perfect) name (in Maine!). But the not-so-hidden agenda here is yet another attack on Obamacare - which unfortunately for its critics, is turning out rather well and gets America out of the embarrassing position of being the only advanced economy with absolutely no universal health insurance, even though its critics' resistance have prevented it from being the most efficient kind, single-payer.]
    Workers all across America have seen their hours cut. Just search for "work hours cut" on Twitter to see them sharing their frustration. Shorter workweeks and part-time jobs have become the new normal for millions of low-income Americans.
    [And it's time they got organized, took control of this process and made it happen in a way that absorbed the flood of desperate jobseekers and harnessed market forces to get employers bidding against one another for jobseekers instead of jobseekers bidding against one another for employers.]
    Of course, employers usually reduce work hours in times of economic distress, then increase them once the crisis passes. That's exactly what happened in the most recent recession ... for workers in the middle three income quintiles. But the recovery never happened for workers in the bottom fifth of the wage distribution. Their hours fell and did not come back.
    [Better just their hours should fall and not their whole job!]
    Congress and the media have paid much less attention to this phenomenon than to other labor-market problems. Along with high unemployment and deteriorating labor force participation, shorter workweeks show the recovery has bypassed large segments of the labor market.
    [No, they show the "recovery" is totally bogus.]
    For employees in the bottom quintile, the average workweek has shrunk by more than an hour since the recession began. The proportion of workers in the bottom quintile with full-time jobs also dropped significantly. In some industries and occupations, the decline amounts to losing five weeks of work a year.
    [So shorter hours is happening anyway, but not in the best way.]
    Hours have dropped even in industries that have financially recovered from the downturn.
    [Didn't he just imply that all industries had financially recovered from the downturn by speaking of "the recovery"?]
    Retail sales have now risen above pre-recession levels, for example.
    [Thanks only to the luxury markets.]
    Yet the average workweek for lower wage retail workers has not increased since 2009.
    These shrinking workweeks have particularly hurt the most vulnerable by cutting their home pay. Shorter hours mean the average worker in the bottom quintile takes home almost $500 a year less. In discussing income inequality, pundits often overlook hours inequality [amen!]: those in the top quintile make more in part because they work much longer hours than those in the bottom.
    [meaning that THEY are the problem and that much longer hours are the problem, because they monopolize and over-concentrate a vanishing national resource in the age of automation and robotization, namely natural, market-demanded working hours. No one should be able to derive freely spendable earning power out of working hours over and above 40 hours a week in the age of robotics, because the overall pool of market-demanded working hours is being constantly shrunk by the kneejerk downsizing reaction to worksaving technology. It's constantly introduced on the promise of making life easier for everyone but that only happens when it's following by hourscuts or "timesizing" for all instead of downsizing for some, then some more, then some more... And as for that idiocy known as the Lump of Labor Fallacy sneer, sure the amount of work that could be done is infinite but the willingness to pay for it is certainly NOT infinite and without pay, it isn't and doesn't work. Quit parroting this sophistry if you want to stop blocking substantial human progress for all and not just medical and cosmetic progress for the rich.]
    Unfortunately federal policy will make this problem worse. The Affordable Care Act [ACA], aka Obamacare, penalizes low-wage employers for hiring full-time workers [whoa, "low-wage employERS"? he's trying to wring sympathy for low-wage employERS?] while encouraging workers to prefer part-time jobs.
    [Whoa, what's the matter with workers prefering part-time jobs? If non-low-wage workers prefer part-time jobs, wouldn't there be more market-demanded working hours left for low-wage workers. Sherk has apparently not quite thought this through.]
    The ACA penalties will raise the average cost of hiring workers in the bottom quintile by one-sixth - if they work full time.
    [Well, that's better than raising the minimum wage, which raises the average cost of hiring workers in the bottom quintile without guaranteeing full time of providing health coverage. How about attacking the minimum wage, Herr Sherk, and we would agree with you, far preferring a maximum workweek instead?!]
    However, businesses can avoid these costs by cutting workers' hours to part-time, just as happened to Marsadeise and Luke [great names!]. Polling shows a third of franchised businesses (such as fast food restaurants) have responded to Obamacare by cutting hours. That figure will only rise when the penalties kick in next year.
    Obamacare also encourages many low and moderate income workers to prefer part-time jobs.
    [So what's not to like?! This is a good thing, not bad, because it reduces the flood of anxious, mutually underbidding jobseekers and harnesses market forces in flexibly forcing low and moderate wage employers to become moderate and high wage employers.]
    Employees generally work full-time for two reasons: to make more money and to get health benefits. Under the ACA, the government now subsidizes health benefits, but only for workers whose employers do not offer them it [ooo, whither hath went our silver-tongued Sherk?]. Many workers can now make as much working part-time without health benefits, taking all their compensation in cash, and collecting exchange subsidies as they would by working full-time and taking part of their compensation as employer-provided health coverage.
    Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago has shown this applies even to middle-class parents making $28 an hour. Many more Americans will choose part-time jobs if they make as much in them as in full-time work.
    [Excellent! Sherk seems to think that "full time" has been the same God-given number of hours (forty?) ever since Moses came down from Mount Sinai, but no, Jimmy, it was over 80 hours in 1840 and haphazardly reduced till systematically cut from 44 to 40 in 1938-40. With the amount of mechanization, automation and robotization that's going on today and has been happening ever since 1940, we should certainly be making "part" time the new full-time work today, instead of continuing to freeze the 40-hour "full time" forever. Isn't that a kind of perverse Regulation and aren't you, as a "conservative", sworn to oppose such rigid and market-distorting Regulation??! Get with it! and stop shirking (couldn't resist) ].
    Consequently Obamacare will put downward pressure on both the supply of and demand for full-time jobs [in the outdated pre-automation definition of 1940 - and that's all to the good!]. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the ACA will appreciably shrink total hours worked in the economy over the next decade, finding the largest declines "will probably occur among lower-wage workers."
    [You mean the quintile whose extreme oversupply is most clobbering their wages by market forces? And this will reduce their oversupply and therefore RAISE their wages despite their having more of the most basic kind of freedom, Free Time? Aren't you, James Shirk, as a card-carrying "conservative", supposed to be in favor of more Freedom for all Americans? or is that just another one of your confused and hypocritical poses because you're actually terrified of more freedom for all - and you're not really any kind of conservative at all...just another snobbish I-just-want-my-share=ALL-of-it plutocrat in "conservative" clothing.]
    Even [typo for "Ever"?] shorter workweeks will make it harder for low-income Americans to get ahead.
    [No they won't, not if done systemically in a way that reduces the wage-depressing surplus of jobseekers. In fact, shorter workweeks and a tighter jobseeker market are the ONLY way low-income Americans are ever going to get ahead. Sherk wants longer workweeks in the age of robotics? He's shirking common sense.]
    Workers with full-time schedules earn raises and promotions more rapidly than part-time workers.
    [Then continue the 1840-1940 downward redefinition of "full-time schedules", duh.]
    Reduced hours mean workers take longer to gain experience [oh there's a new one, nevermind it won't matter because everything's relative and when everyone's doing it, so what?] - and the higher pay that comes with it [the higher pay is NOT coming with it when workers are still working the "full time" that was defined 74 years ago before robotics and has been preserved ever since by cutting jobs instead of it!]. Policies that depress working hours are hurting workers such as Marsadeise and Luke.
    [Not if it's done systemically and not if it's extended up the income brackets so that work gets passed down.]
    And the damage will continue to hurt them for years to come.
    [Or at least for the few months it takes for enough low-wage workers to stop working long hours and reduce the gross SURPLUS of low-wage-job seekers that is holding their wages down, and possibly get organized enough to stop the constant import of totally desperate "temporary" foreign workers by economy-corroding employers. Shorter hours in the age of automation and robotics is in the right direction because the market-demanded working hours are being reduced by the downsizing response. Sherk's inadequate "solution" is repeal Obamacare, but all the problems he mentioned were present before Obamacare and he apparently in bankrupt of solution ideas for them. Or maybe he would then say, just tough it out, Marsie and Luke - get some training - it's your fault for "choosing" the low-wage lifestyle you chose. Sherk has really nothing to offer except his article's title.]
    About the writer - James Sherk is the senior analyst in labor economics in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis. [And is doing his utmost to hold back human freedom and progress under "conservative" cover.] Readers may write to the author in care of The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; Web site: www.heritage.org. Information about Heritage's funding may be found at http://www.heritage.org/about/reports.cfm.
    This essay is available to McClatchy-Tribune News Service subscribers. McClatchy-Tribune did not subsidize the writing of this column; the opinions are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of McClatchy-Tribune or its editors
    .

  2. Standard Working Hours Committee meets with construction workers on site, 7thspace.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - The following is issued on behalf of the Standard Working Hours Committee:
    The Chairperson of the Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC), Dr Leong Che-hung, together with the Convenors of the two working groups of the committee on Working Hours Consultation and Working Hours Study, Mr Ng Chau-pei and Mr Stanley Lau, visited a construction site in Tai Po at noon today (June 12) to listen to the views of construction workers on working hours issues.
    The SWHC arranged lunch boxes and its members and more than 10 construction workers in different posts discussed relevant working hours issues over lunch.
    [Oy, lovely lunch boxes now! The problem here in Hong Kong is that the process of simply setting a standard maximum workweek, as every other advanced economy has done years ago, is being complicated and becoming interminable. At some point, the big "Commies" in Beijing are gonna say, OK that's it. Sh*t or get off the pot! JUST DO IT, or drop it.]
    Dr Leong said after the lunch, "We are pleased to have the opportunity to meet with front-line workers of the construction industry today, and listen directly to their views on their daily working hours arrangements and have frank exchanges on various working hours issues. The information gathered has enhanced the SWHC's understanding of the working hours situation of the construction industry."

    Dr Leong also continued to appeal to all sectors of the community to actively participate in the public forums being organised by the SWHC. For details, please browse the Committee website (www.swhc.org.hk) or call 2127 4504.
    Other than 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.
    The remaining 11 members come from the labour and business sectors, academia, the community at large and the Government.


6/11/2014 – 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. Workers with hours cut could get unemployment benefits, by Bob Mercer, RapidCityJournal.com
    PIERRE, S.D., USA - The state Department of Labor and its unemployment insurance advisory council plan to analyze the pros and cons of making partial benefits available for South Dakota workers whose employers reduce their hours rather than have lay-offs.
    Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman and state unemployment insurance director Pauline Heier discussed the topic Monday with members of the UI council.
    They informally agreed that several employer groups would survey members, while the department’s UI staff would look at potential administration expenses and possible effects on the unemployment trust fund.
    The proposal comes in the wake of difficulty for South Dakota’s unemployment trust fund.
    The fund went through severe stress during the 2008-2010 recession and needed a federal loan. South Dakota employers saw higher tax rates and surcharges to get the fund back into solvency.
    The surcharges have been repealed and employers will pay less in taxes starting for 2015.
    The findings about the partial-benefits approach will be presented in October at the council’s next meeting. Heier said approximately two dozen states currently offer the programs. State law would need to be changed for South Dakota to join them.
    State Rep. Ray Ring, D-Vermillion, attempted that during the 2014 legislative session. His measure, HB 1226, had solid support among legislators from both political parties and in both chambers.
    But Ring’s legislation was supported only by organized labor and was opposed by several business groups and the state department. The House Commerce and Energy Committee killed his bill after its first hearing.
    Known as work-share plans, Heier said they are voluntary, meaning a business would need to present its specific plan to the Labor Department. She said work-share would be intended for workers whose hours are cut 10 percent to 60 percent. Businesses would be required to continue to provide the same retirement, insurance and any other benefits.
    Heier described participation in other states that offer the partial UI benefits as “minimal,” based on U.S. Department of Labor data. She said it reached 3 percent during the depth of the national recession but typically was at or below 1 percent.
    The trend is toward expanding the program’s availability. “There might be a couple more states coming on in the next year,” Heier said.
    Shawn Lyons worked against Ring’s legislation in Lyons’ role as executive director for the South Dakota Retailers Association. Lyons also serves on the state UI advisory council.
    “I can only speak for my industry. I’ve had not interest in that whatsoever,” Lyons said Monday.
    But Lyons said he’s willing to survey his members once he receives more factual information.
    The department also will analyze another proposal that would allow related businesses who employ the same worker to reduce their total costs by designating a single pay-master responsible for the unemployment insurance taxes on that employee, rather than multiple businesses continuing to paying for that worker.
    Businesses pay on the first $14,000 of wages to an employee this year. The wage base increases to $15,000 in 2015. Two related businesses, for example, could each pay into the fund on the wage base for the same employee. A single pay-master would eliminate the need for one of them to pay.

  2. Library cutting hours, staff due to budget cuts, by Jenn Rowell, jrowell@greatfallstribune.com, (6/10 late pickup) GreatFallsTribune.com
    GREAT FALLS, Mont., USA - Starting July 1, the Great Falls Public Library will be closed Sundays and Mondays year-round.
    The library will maintain normal hours of operation from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
    Current services will continue, but the bookmobile will only serve stops in Cascade County, as the city stops will be discontinued July 1.
    The changes are cost-cutting measures to make up for limited funding and to make needed capital improvements in the future, said Kathy Mora, library director.
    The library receives funding from the city and county.
    The library will receive $350,000, the same amount it received during fiscal year 2014, from the city for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. But that amount was $100,000 less than fiscal year 2013. The library’s expenditures for the current fiscal year are $1,382,853 in the adopted city budget.
    Mora said they were able to make up that difference using reserve funding during the last year, but “we can’t do that again this year.”
    The reduction in operating hours helped balance the budget, but Mora said they also had to make staff reductions.
    Seven part-time positions are being eliminated and seven positions will have reduced hours. The group with reduced hours includes some full-time and some part-time positions, Mora said.
    [So they have minimized staff reductions by hours reductions = more timesizing, less downsizing.]
    The library also receives county funding, but Mora said they don’t yet know how much the library will receive from the county for the next fiscal year. For the current year, the county contributed about $177,000, Mora said.
    Mora said they’ve also adjusted fees, but “it’s not realistic to have our fees cover all of our expenses.”
    The Library Foundation supports library costs such as equipment and books, but its mission is not to fund operating costs, Mora said.
    “This has been a hard process for all of us, but we have a great staff here and we’ll continue to offer the same services as we have before although it might take a little longer to get some of those processed,” Mora said.


6/10/2014 – 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. Additional Expansion of Shared Work Program Approved - Change enables more small employers to participate, CBIA via www5.cbia.com
    HARTFORD, Conn., USA - Last year, CBIA’s HR News reported on an expansion of the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Shared Work program. The expansion permitted nonprofit, reimbursing employers to participate, giving these employers the option of temporarily reducing hours and corresponding wages of all or some employees in order to avoid layoffs, retain skilled workers, remain prepared for business upswings, minimize training costs, and increase employee morale.
    A further expansion of the program was predicted last month, and on May 27 the state legislature’s regulation review committee signed off on the change that will open up this valuable option for more smaller employers to remain flexible with their workforce and ride through temporary downturns in business while preserving employment of key employees.
    Until this most recent change, employers had to reduce the hours of four or more employees in order to participate. The approved regulatory change, effective July 1, 2014, lowers the threshold to just two or more employees—meaning more small employers would be able to participate.

  2. Life in Cleveland less stressful than other major cities, by Christina Sturgis, Gateway News via thegatewaynews.com
    CLEVELAND, Ohio, USA - A new report shows that C-Town is less stressful since it is safer and more affordable than other major cities.
    Movoto looked at average commuter time, number of weekly work hours, and rate of unemployment, cost of living and crime per 100,000 people in major cities. The report found that these cities were the most stressed as a result of that criteria: Washington, D.C., New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Jersey City, N.J.; Oakland, Calif., Chicago, Newark, N.J., Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
    Movoto analyzed the cities according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s statistics on “usual work hours.” Work hours fell in 46 out of 50 of the largest metropolitan areas and none of them reported an increase. The longest work hours were reported in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown; with 40.3 hours. The shortest work hours were in Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y., with 36.9 hours. Cleveland reported a drop from 38.5 hours to 37.6 over the course of the study.
    Lack of work can be very stressful, which is why unemployment rate was also factored. Cleveland’s rate is 6.7 percent on a scale that ranges from 2.7 percent in Midland, Texas, to 22.5 percent in Yuma, Ariz. The unemployment rate in the nation’s capital is 5 percent. About 6.7 percent unemployment is contributing to the stress in Philadelphia.
    Fighting traffic is bad for the blood pressure, so Movoto factored in commuting. The national average is 25.4 minutes. Washington, D.C. – notorious for Beltway traffic – clocked in at 29.6 minutes, while the Cleveland residents arrived home in an average of 24.2 minutes. Ohio’s average is 23.
    The cost of living is lower in Cleveland, too. Sperling’s Best Places says it would cost $85,100 to live in Washington, D.C., as well as one could on $50,000 in Cleveland.
    Crime is lower Cleveland than Washington, according to Best Places. On a scale where 4 is average for the United States, Cleveland is a 9 on violent crime and an 8 on property crime. Washington is a 9 on violent crime and a 6 on property crime. Streetsboro’s crime rate is 4 for both types.
    Cleveland ranked 46th on Movoto’s list, followed by Bakersfield, Calif., Irving, Texas, and Tampa, Fla. Looking to find a new home in the least-stressful major city? Consider Charlotte, N.C.

  3. Work hours to be slashed for disabled Bahrainis, Gulf Daily News via gulf-daily-news.com
    BAHRAIN - Disabled Bahrainis will get their working hours slashed under an amendment approved by parliament yesterday.
    It will grant disabled people and those taking care of them two hours off work each day.

    MPs voted in favour of a Shura Council amendment to the Care, Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons Law of 2006, despite opposition from the Education, Health and Labour Ministries as well as the Civil Service Bureau.
    The government bodies were concerned that it could make disabled people unemployable, although the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry backed the amendment - saying it needed clear by-laws to avoid misuse.
    It will be now ratified by His Majesty King Hamad.
    Health Ministry medical commission head Ali Abdulsaleh suggested that not all of the 9,000 people registered as disabled in Bahrain actually qualified as such.
    "We have 9,000 registered as disabled in Bahrain," he said.
    "Are they all disabled? I don't think so.
    "For that, we have asked the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help us set criteria and assess cases. We need a year and then we will suggest if it should go ahead or not."
    Meanwhile, parliament approved Shura Council amendments to a new cybercrime law and political societies law, referring them to His Majesty for ratification.
    MPs also approved a law to clamp down on fake products.
    It had been referred again by His Majesty due to concerns that article 10 breached the Constitution, but amendments have been made that give courts the right to confiscate or destroy fake products.
    Following bills were referred to the Shura Council for revision:
    l One allowing lecturers at Bahrain University to work until 65 or even 70 if needed, rather than the standard retirement age of 60;
    l Another to help HIV-positive patients that obliges the government to provide free medical and psychological care.


6/08-09/2014 – 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. Lawmakers split on what to do with salary windfall, by Doug Finke, 6/08 (6/07 late pickup) The State Journal-Register via sj-r.com
    SPRINGFIELD, Illin., USA - Springfield-area lawmakers are split on what they plan to do with a windfall pay raise they'll see in the new budget year.
    Some said they'll donate the money to charity, one said he'll keep it, and another said he hadn't made up his mind.
    At stake is the extra $3,100 minimum that lawmakers will see during the fiscal year that starts July 1. Some will see more than that amount.
    The reason is that, after five years, the General Assembly did not vote to continue taking 12 unpaid furlough days during the fiscal year.
    The issue has already reared its head in a Springfield-area election campaign. Republican House candidate Mike Bell of Edinburg issued a statement criticizing his opponent, Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, for voting in favor of a budget bill that did not continue the furloughs.
    Scherer said she will not keep the money.
    All Republicans voted against the bill that did not provide for continued furloughs.
    Poe keeping it
    State lawmakers have not had a raise since 2008, when their base salaries were set at the current $67,836. Most earn additional money — ranging from $10,327 to $27,477 — for serving in top committee posts or leadership positions.
    For the past several years, though, lawmakers have voted to take 12 unpaid furlough days a year as a gesture showing they understand how serious the state's financial problems have been. Those unpaid days took $3,119 off the base salary, according to comptroller's office records.
    The furlough days also cut the amount of the stipends. Committee chairs and the ranking minority party member on each committee each get a stipend of $10,327. The unpaid furlough days cut that to $9,852.
    Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, earns both the base salary and a committee stipend. He said he plans to keep the additional money.
    “I'll probably keep it. As you're well aware, I donate all of my per diem, $5,000 or $6,000 a year, to charity,” Poe said. “It's actually money we earned the last few years. We donated it back to the state.”
    Poe said the idea of furlough days for lawmakers began at a time when senior state agency staff was required to take furlough days.
    “Everybody was given their furlough days, and I thought that was appropriate we did that,” Poe said. The furloughs were “a small token of a way we could lead by example,” he said.

    [Furloughs, not firings...timesizing, not downsizing.]
    “I don't think that's happening anymore.”
    Gov. Pat Quinn spokesman Dave Blanchette said furlough days weren't imposed this year, and there is no plan at this time to impose them next year.
    ‘Lead by example'
    Scherer, who as a freshman legislator earns just the base salary, said she will donate the extra money to charity.

  2. Business briefs for June 9, 2014, Lynchburg News and Advance via newsadvance.com
    LYNCHBURG, Va., USA - ... Virginia establishes work-sharing program
    Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently signed legislation making Virginia the 28th state to establish a work-sharing unemployment insurance program.
    Work-sharing is a form of unemployment insurance that businesses can use to avert layoffs during difficult economic times.
    Under work-sharing, employers can reduce employees’ time without laying them off, but because they’ve paid a work-sharing insurance premium, that employee will still receive that day’s pay.
    Since 2010, 11 states and the District of Columbia have passed work-sharing legislation, according to a news release from the McAuliffe Administration.
    An estimated 2.5 million jobs have been saved through the program, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

    For more information about work-sharing, visit NELP’s resource page at www.nelp.org/work-sharing. ...


6/06-07/2014 – 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. Maxton returns to Friday work - Town had 4-day work week to cut costs, by Bob Shiles bshiles@civitasmedia.com, 6/6 The Robesonian via robesonian.com
    MAXTON, N.C., USA — The town Board of Commissioners agreed Thursday to bring full-time town employees back to a 40-hour work week, but not before some questions were raised about how the 40-hour work week should be scheduled.
    Employees have been working 36 hours the past three years, working nine hours each day Monday through Thursday with town offices being closed on Friday. The employee furloughs were put into effect as a cost-saving measure.
    But beginning July 1, town workers will work nine-hour days Monday through Thursday, with town offices being opened four hours, from 8 a.m. to noon, on Fridays.
    Some employees in some departments had worked Fridays, but the offices at the Town Hall were closed.
    According to Myra Tyndall, the town’s finance director, the money to support lifting the furlough is coming from $150,000 the town is saving by no longer providing employees health insurance. The town has been paying about 80 percent of employee health insurance, she said.
    Tyndall said that if the town continued to offer health insurance the cost would be going up 38 percent.
    “A majority of the employees are finding they can buy health insurance at less cost on the exchange,” Tyndall said, referring to individual health plans that can be purchased through the Affordable Care Act.
    Commissioner Emmett “Chip” Morton questioned if it might not be more efficient for the town to go to a five-day, eight-hour-a-day work week.
    “For efficiency out of the dollar, I don’t see getting the amount of work done in half a day,” Morton said. “I question if the taxpayers of Maxton are getting their money’s worth.”
    Angela Pitchford, the town’s interim manger, said that many town employees and department heads favor the four-hour Friday. Residents also have expressed an interest in seeing town offices open again for business, at least for a half day on Fridays, Pitchford said.
    The board decided that it will lift the furlough on July 1 and implement the four-hour work day on Friday for all employees. The board will evaluate the plan in October.
    During Thursday’s meeting, the commissioners finalized their proposed budget for the new fiscal year that begins on July 1. A public hearing on the budget, followed by the board’s consideration of adopting the budget, will be held on June 17, according to Tyndall.
    Tyndall said after the meeting that the proposed General Fund is $1.59 million, up from the current year’s $1.45 million.
    Tyndall said that the property tax rate will remain at 80 cents for each $100 of property value; there will be no increase in any fees, such as water and sewer; and no new positions are being created or eliminated.
    Tyndall also said there are no major capital construction projects proposed in the budget “at this time.” “But we are trying to get a grant for a wastewater project,” she said.
    The Water and Sewer Funds together total about $710,000, she said.
    For the first time, all three funds have contingencies to cover emergency expenses, Tyndall said. The contingency for the General Fund is $25,000, the Water Fund contingency is $12,000, and the contingency for the Sewer Fund is $10,000.

  2. Dystopian 35 Hours a Week Supervised Jobsearch for Jobseeker's Allowance Pilot - The Supervised Jobsearch Pilot Scheme, 6/07 Refuted: Securing Your Rights via refuted.org.uk
    LONDON, U.K. - ...3. (1) The Supervised Jobsearch Pilot Scheme is prescribed for the purposes of section 17A(1) (schemes for assisting persons to obtain employment: “work for your benefit” schemes etc) of the Jobseekers Act 1995.
    (2) The Supervised Jobsearch Pilot Scheme (“the Scheme”) is a scheme—
    (a) that is designed to provide support and assistance to a claimant in their search to find employment, in a supervised environment, for up to 35 hours per week over a period of up to 13 weeks;

    [The question here: is the 35 hrs/wk a maximum or a minimum? "Up to 35" sounds like facilities are available for five 7-hour workdays to help you job-search, implying that only a maximum jobsearch of 35 hours a week are expected of jobseekers in Britain, but is there also a minimum implied here? For our purposes, we ask if the fact that jobseeking in Britain is focused on a 35-hour workweek indicate that Britain has unofficially come down to a 35-hour national workweek similar to France's official 35-hour workweek, and ifso, can we look forward to British commentators giving the world a break from their relentless (and possibly envious) spinning of the French as lazy? This is not a matter of national character but of economic survival: nevermind that it's a trifle luddite to keep worshipping long hours in the age of worksaving technology such as robotization, if we keep downsizing, not timesizing, in response to work savings, we'll keep bunching up the natural market-demanded working hours on ever-fewer ever-tired people and creating an ever larger dependent population with ever fewer people with money to spend. Ergo a sharpening contradition between how much we can produce and how little we can consume. As Reuther retorted to Ford when the latter said, "Let's see you unionize these robots!" - "Let's see you sell them cars."]
    (b) and which involves an initial interview with the Scheme provider to discuss what the claimant is required to do by way of participation in the Scheme and may also involve training or other activity to help improve a claimant’s job search skills, help preparing for job interviews and assistance with job applications and preparing a curriculum vitae.http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2014/9780111115367
    Pilot to operate until 30th April 2015 within:
    a) East Anglia; – (b) Black Country; – (c) Mercia;- (d) Surrey & Sussex; – (e) West Yorkshire...
    [Presumably "refuting" 3:38 PM 4 Jun 2014 Twitter comment -]
    BoycottWorkfare @boycottworkfare - Coming soon to a dystopian future near you. Supervised jobsearch for up to 35 hours a week... http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2014/9780111115367 …


6/05/2014 – 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. Frerichs will donate pay raise, Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette via news-gazette.com
    CHAMPAIGN, Illin., USA — State Sen. Mike Frerichs of Champaign, the Democratic candidate for state treasurer, today became at least the second lawmaker to say that he would not accept a de facto legislative pay raise contained in the state budget approved last week.
    The 2014-15 spending plan approved by the General Assembly last week did not contain the 12 furlough days per year, essentially a pay cut, that had been approved by lawmakers in the five prior budget years.
    [Better 12 furlough days for all and the rest of the year employed, than several firings and the rest of the year jobless and payless.]
    Frerichs said the raise would amount to about $3,100 a year.
    He said lawmakers are paid monthly and that for the first month he would donate his pay increase to the Gifford Tornado Relief Fund.
    "I voted last week for a state budget for the 2015 budget year that preserves vital funding for schools, health care, social services and the right priorities for Illinois. Unfortunately, that budget also ended furlough days for legislators that we have taken for a number of years now," Frerichs said in a statement.
    "That is absolutely the wrong message to send Illinoisans right now. I will not accept this pay increase and will donate those funds to charity, including the ongoing recovery efforts for tornado victims in my hometown of Gifford. Skipping this pay increase is a small, but important gesture that I understand we must do better for the people of Illinois and I hope my colleagues in Springfield will follow my lead."
    State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, Wednesday became the first state lawmaker to turn down the raise.

  2. America/Mexico - Children forced to work 35 hours per week in dangerous conditions, News.va
    MEXICO CITY, Mexico - Of the more than three million children who carry out any type of work and in poor conditions in Mexico, 1 million 200 thousand, or 39%, do not go to school.
    According to data collected by the Módulo de Trabajo Infantil INEGI - Secretaría del Trabajo, 5.5 % of children work in unsuitable places, 28 % do risky jobs and work for more than 15 hours, and 31.5 % for periods longer than 35 hours per week.
    [At least the standard reference here is the 35-hour workweek, not the sacrosanct and frozen US-standard 40-hour workweek.]
    Despite the total failure of the few regulations provided against this type of abuse, there are no fines.
    Child labor represents a social problem linked among other things to poverty, inequality, lack of opportunity, unemployment, family disintegration.
    The areas with the largest number of working children between 5 and 17 years of age are found in the states of Mexico, Chiapas, Jalisco, Puebla, Guerrero, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Oaxaca, Veracruz and the Federal District.


6/04/2014 – 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. Indian schools cut working hours, Peninsula On-line via thepeninsulaqatar.com
    DOHA, Qatar - Indian schools have announced a cut in their working hours by about one hour effective from this week or early next week in view of the soaring temperature.
    The announcement follows a decision of the Supreme Education Council (SEC) reducing working hours of all Independent schools from the beginning of this month.

    [While mainstream economists ignore the fact that worktime per person (like, the workweek) is not only a variable, not only an economic variable, not only an economic control variable but THE economic control variable of our lifetimes, situations all over the world, for all kinds of reasons, are using worktime as a vital control variable.]
    Indian schools took the decision in a recent meeting of their principals, it has been learnt.
    Most schools have issued circulars to parents in this regard.
    The Birla Public School and the Ideal Indian School will implement their new timings from today.
    The schools will open at 6.45am and close one hour earlier at 12.30pm, instead of 1.30pm.
    The MES Indian School will also have a similar timing which will come into force from tomorrow while Shantiniketan Indian School will start the reduced timings from Sunday. Other Indian schools are expected to follow suit though their new timings could not be independently confirmed yesterday.

  2. Orange County Register owner Freedom Communications orders worker furloughs, other changes, Canada News via canadianbusiness.com
    SANTA ANA, Calif., USA – Freedom Communications Inc., which owns the Orange County Register, announced Tuesday it is imposing furloughs, cutting staff and ending daily publication of the Long Beach newspaper it started last year.
    The Long Reach Register, which had published six days a week, will be a stand-alone publication on Sundays only with delivery going to 61,000 households. The rest of the week Long Beach coverage will be featured as a section within the Los Angeles Register, which debuted less than two months ago.
    Freedom, which earlier this year cut about 70 newsroom positions at the Orange County Register and the recently purchased Press-Enterprise of Riverside, said it is seeking voluntary buyouts from employees and ordering that all staff take two weeks of unpaid leave before the end of July.
    [Better involuntary 2-week furloughs than involuntary permanent firings, timesizing than downsizing. This human employment hours-loss is happening anyway. Why not grab ahold of it, cut hours to maintain current employment and consumer-spending levels, and cut hours deeper to restore full employment and maximum markets. Why hasn't this been tried before? It has, successfully, haphazardly from 1840 to 1938 and systematically from 1938 to 1940. How could it work better? By energetically converting chronic overtime into OT-targeted training and jobs, and chronic overwork (overtime from all sources per person) into OW-targeted training and jobs. Let's quit talkin' growth (UPsizing) while walkin' downsizing and MAKE IT HAPPEN. We are "the masters of our fate...the captains of our soul."]
    The details of the buyout package and the deadline for accepting it were not disclosed. Company spokesman Eric Morgan said layoffs are possible if not enough people volunteer.
    “To continue to invest and grow over the long term, we have to align our cost structure with what we now know we can achieve in revenue growth,” Freedom CEO Aaron Kushner and President Eric Spitz said in a memo sent to employees.
    Kushner purchased Freedom two years ago and bucked the industry’s trend toward digitalization by betting heavily on printed publications. He limited free access to the Orange County Register’s website and added pages to the print publication, nearly doubled the editorial staff to about 370, and purchased and launched smaller newspapers in the area to spread the company’s ad-sales reach and dilute the cost of reporting over a wider geographic area.
    The Los Angeles and Long Beach Registers were part of Freedom’s aggressive efforts to enter the huge newspaper market of neighbouring Los Angeles County, currently dominated by the Los Angeles Times and a number of daily local papers owned by the Los Angeles News Group.
    In the memo, Kushner and Spitz thanked employees for their “commitment to pour everything we have into proving that newspapers have a vibrant and healthy future.”
    “We are resilient and committed to winning,” they wrote.
    As a private company, Freedom doesn’t disclose its revenue but Morgan said it has grown in three “core” areas of circulation/subscription revenue, print advertising and commercial print revenue.


6/03/2014 – 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. 35-hour-week as ceiling, CDU-politician provides more free time for scholars, ViralNewsChart.com via N24.de
    According to CDU deputies, school takes too much time to complete. (photo caption)
    "Students study longer than many adults work": CDU members want to introduce a 35-hour week as an upper limit for students. The goal is to protect young people from stress and burnout. (blowout quote)
    BERLIN, Germany - To take pressure off students, members of the CDU (Christian-Democratic Union) now request fewer lesson hours. So the family policy spokesman of the CDU/CSU (Christian-Social Union) parliamentary party, Marcus Weinberg, in the "Bild" newspaper, advocated the introduction of the 35-hour week as an upper limit. "Students work up to 45 hours a week, more than many adults work. I want to see a maximum 35-hour week", said Weinberg.
    With that, young people should be protected from burnout and stress. Also the CDU family politician (minister?) himself, Martin Patzelt, spoke out for this study ceiling. "Students dare not work longer than adults, because their work capacity is also tied to the possibility of freedom for play and for social contacts", the Bundestag member said.
    [= Bing translation and Phil's cleanup of -]
    35-Stunden-Woche als Obergrenze, CDU-Politiker fordern mehr Freizeit für Schüler, ViralNewsChart.com via N24.de
    CDU-Abgeordneten zufolge nimmt die Schule zu viel Zeit in Anspruch. (photo caption)
    "Schüler lernen mehr, als viele Erwachsene arbeiten": CDU-Abgeordnete wollen eine 35-Stunden-Woche als Obergrenze für Schüler einführen. Ziel sei es, Jugendliche vor Stress und Burnout zu bewahren. (blowout quote)
    BERLIN, Germany - Um den Leistungsdruck von Schülern zu nehmen, fordern Abgeordnete der CDU (Christlich-Demokratische Union) jetzt weniger Unterrichtsstunden. So befürwortete der familienpolitische Sprecher der CDU-/CSU(Christlich-Soziale Union)-Bundestagsfraktion, Marcus Weinberg, in der "Bild"-Zeitung die Einführung der 35-Stunden-Woche als Obergrenze. "Schüler lernen bis zu 45 Stunden in der Woche, mehr als viele Erwachsene arbeiten. Ich trete für eine maximale 35-Stunden-Woche ein", sagte Weinberg.
    Damit sollten die Jugendlichen vor Burnout und Stress geschützt werden. Auch der CDU-Familienpolitiker Martin Patzelt sprach sich für diesen diese Deckelung aus. "Schüler dürften nicht mehr arbeiten als Erwachsene, weil ihre Leistungsfähigkeit auch an die Möglichkeit zu freiem Spiel und zu sozialen Kontakten gebunden ist", sagte der Abgeordnete.

  2. Local business owners rank crucial tools for retention, hiring, by James Dornbrook, Kansas City Business Journal (blog) via bizjournals.com
    KANSAS CITY, Mo., USA - Business owners and executives in Kansas and Missouri said offering flexible work hours was the most important retention tool in their arsenal, according to a new study by BMO Harris Bank.
    In Missouri, 40 percent said flexible work hours were the most important strategy for retaining talented employees, while it was at 39 percent in Kansas. Flexible work hours were also the top concern nationally, with 53 percent responding as such.
    After flexible work hours, the next highest concerns for business owners in the two states differed.
    In Missouri, 35 percent cited education, training and development opportunities as the second most important. In Kansas that was at 25 percent.
    The second highest retention tool in Kansas was health and dental benefits at 39 percent. Health and dental benefits finished third in Missouri with 34 percent.
    Other answers included:
    • Increased paid vacation time: 29 percent in Missouri; 28 percent in Kansas
    • Tuition Assistance: 13 percent in Missouri; 18 percent in Kansas
    • Summer hours: 8 percent in Missouri; 14 percent in Kansas
    • Telecommuting: 6 percent in Missouri; 11 percent in Kansas
    The study also explored what business owners seek when hiring college graduates. Here's a few of those results:
    • Skill set: 32 percent in Missouri; 43 percent in Kansas
    • Work experience or internship: 29 percent in Missouri; 32 percent in Kansas
    • References and recommendations: 24 percent in Missouri; 18 percent in Kansas
    James Dornbrook reports about banking, financial services, manufacturing and sports business.


6/02/2014 – 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. Working for the right balance - Long hours and limited options for employees can hit productivity and increase companies’ costs, by Kristine Yang, (6/03 early pickup) China Daily via The Korea Herald via nwww.koreaherald.com
    SEOUL, South Korea - The death of Pradnya Paramita in Jakarta last December kicked off a debate about work hours in Asia. The 27-year-old copywriter collapsed and died after allegedly working for 30 consecutive hours.
    In a report last August, job-listing website eFinancialCareers found more than two-thirds of 1,738 of Singapore’s finance and banking professionals surveyed worked weekends, and about 43 percent remained contactable for work day and night.
    In the 2014 Human Capital Survey released by accounting body CPA Australia, staff members in Hong Kong said they endured long work days and this was a key reason for changing jobs. White-collar workers in Hong Kong may feel their options are cramped. Residents of large Asian cities spend more time at work than just about anyone else globally. (Parker Zheng/China Daily)
    In reaching out to 350 accounting professionals at multinational corporations, accounting firms, listed and private companies and nonprofit organizations for the survey, CPA Australia found 45 percent of respondents hoped to change jobs in the next six months, and a third said they were looking for a better work-life balance. Salaries and career development came second and third.
    This may have a direct bearing on Hong Kong’s economic prospects, analysts said.
    “Hong Kong’s competitiveness and productiveness are two different things,” said Peter Lee, managing director at Veco Invest (Asia) and former divisional president at CPA Australia.
    “If employees have a better work-life balance, their (productivity) will improve, thereby maintaining Hong Kong’s competitiveness.”
    The issue extends to most countries in the region, to varying degrees.
    Workers in the largest Asian cities spend more time at work than just about anyone else globally. However, this may actually be costing companies money and pushing workers away from some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
    According to the International Labor Organization, most countries in Asia have a 48-hour working week, but almost a third of the countries in the region do not have a regulated maximum of hours of work. Another third put the weekly limit at 60.
    Japan introduced standard working hours of eight hours per day and 40 hours per week, as early as 1994.
    South Korea also introduced a 40-hour workweek in 2003, but that has rarely been followed. Also, the law did not count weekends, which meant employees could put in more hours during those two days and on holidays.
    [Omigod!]
    Last September, South Korea cut the maximum number of hours that can be worked per week to 52, down from 68.

    In Singapore, the working hours should not exceed eight per day, or 44 per week.
    Hours in Europe
    That’s much longer than in countries like France, which has a 35-hour workweek, and a labor law introduced this year discourages workers in the digital and communications industries from accessing work-related emails or notifications after office hours, and also discourages employers from pressuring them to do so.
    Germany has a similar law and Sweden is considering a 30-hour workweek.
    Average workweeks in most developed economies have generally been dropping.
    Across the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries (which includes Japan, South Korea and Australia), the average worker put in 1,765 hours of work in 2012, compared to 1,844 hours in 2000.
    Still, the average employee in Asia works 2,154 hours per year, 13 percent higher than the global average of 1,915 hours, according to the UBS Prices and Earnings report from 2012 that the investment bank publishes every three years.
    But despite the long hours, Asian workers are not necessarily more productive.
    In terms of GDP per hours of work, the most productive workers in the world are in the United States [wrong, we cheat with output per employee regardless of hours], the Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden and Australia, according to The Conference Board, a global business membership and research association.
    Among the five cities in the world with the longest working hours, three are in Asia. Hong Kong ranked third among the 72 cities surveyed, with the average worker spending 2,296 hours per year at her or his job.
    In Bangkok, workers spend 2,312 hours at work every year and in Seoul 2,308. In Shanghai, the average work year is 1,967 hours and in Tokyo it is 2,012 hours.
    In New York, the average employee works 2,062 hours in any given year and 2,375 in Mexico City, which gives it the honor of having the longest work hours in the world. In Paris, the average worker spends just 1,558 hours at work.
    On the one hand, the long work hours have been a key driver of economic growth. On the other, employees get burned out quickly and are more likely to change jobs faster. This creates a problem for companies, which have difficulty retaining staff. Higher turnover translates into higher costs.
    In general, companies are not ready to deal with the challenges of retaining staff, according to another survey by Deloitte, an accounting and consulting firm.
    In its Global Human Capital Trends 2014, the firm found that leadership, retention and engagement are key priorities for companies around the world, but few are prepared to ensure workers benefit from them.
    And in the Asia-Pacific region, where the hours are the longest and retention the biggest problem, dealing with the issue was a priority for 12 percent fewer respondents. Across the region, companies said they needed to improve the capabilities of their workforce.
    “Different regions may have different modules for setting out the standard working hours,” says Loretta Shuen, chairman of the taxation committee of CPA Australia.
    “Standard working hours do not mean you cannot work overtime. You just have to have compensation for the overtime work. As industries and individuals may have different requirements, we don’t agree with issuing a policy without careful consideration.”
    [As automation and robotization is introduced, intelligent lifeforms eventually realize that standard working hours must fluctuate against un(der)employment to maintain full employment and maximum markets, and that if you work overtime, you must actively repackage it into working hours for someone else, whom you must train if you find no one with qualifying skills upfront.]
    Although Hong Kong has been considering standard working hours since 2010 and the Labor Department completed a policy study in mid-2012, nothing has happened since.
    CPA Australia’s survey showed half of the respondents work 41 to 50 hours per week and 40 percent work more than 51 hours per week. One in five people work more than 61 hours per week.
    Compensation issue
    What’s more, nearly half of employees work overtime without compensation.
    The department’s study showed 23.4 percent of all employees did overtime in 2011. Of these, 51.8 percent were compensated through extra pay or time off in lieu, but 48.2 percent received no compensation at all.

  2. Local overshoots station again, staff blame hectic work hours, by Manthan K Mehta, TNN via TimesOfIndia.indiatimes.com
    MUMBAI, India - A Churchgate-bound train overshot the platform by 10 coaches at Jogeshwari station on Monday afternoon, causing panic among commuters who had planned to alight at the station. This is the third such incident that Western Railway [WR] has seen in the past three weeks. Motormen have blamed hectic working hours for rising number of cases of train overshooting platform
    The incident on Monday happened around 12.30pm on the platform number 5. A senior WR official said, "The incident happened with a Borivli-Churchgate local. The train was scheduled to halt at all the stations between Borivli and Andheri. Thereafter, it was to run as fast local with halts only at Bandra and Dadar up to Mumbai Central."
    The motorman took a halt at Kandivli, Malad and Goregaon stations. The official added, "He forget to halt at Jogeshwari and by the time he and the guard realized, nearly 10-coaches of the 12-car train had overshot the platform."
    WR officials have taken a serious view of the incident. "The guard, V P Deshpande, and the motorman, Tanvir Ahmed, were taken off duty. Generally, such type of action is taken only in cases where train in involved in case known as signal passing at danger (SPAD)."
    SPAD involves a situation in which a train jumps the red signal. The official further said, "The case is serious as the train took scheduled halt at all the stations preceding Jogeshwari. "
    Meanwhile, a motorman said, "We are under too much stress as the number of services has increased considerably with no simultaneous increase in recruitment of motormen. We have demanded an assistant motorman in each train to ensure safety." The administration is not keen to accept this logic. A WR official said, "In such cases, the guard is also at fault as he has to alert the motorman or apply emergency brakes."
    [But of course, management is absolutely innocent and not at fault and bears no responsibility whatsoever - in such cases, you might say bears only...irresponsibility.]


6/01/2014 – 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. Shorten working hours of security officers to attract retirees, by Philip Lim, 6/01 TODAYonline.com
    SINGAPORE - One way in which we can help seniors age successfully is providing them with work that does not overtax their physical strength.
    As the duties of a security officer are light and simple, it is one of the more ideal jobs for senior citizens, provided that the working hours are not too long. However, as a security officer for more than five years, my job involves a 12-hour stint every day, over a six-day week. I am 74 years old.
    These long working hours were introduced by incorporating four hours of compulsory overtime work so employers can hike up the low pay to attract more workers.
    [Overtime should NEVER be compulsory, else it merges with chronic overtime and concentrates shrinking market-demanded working hours on fewer and fewer consumers, with predictable effects on any economy's most predictable, reliable and controllable anchor of sustainability, namely domestic consumption.]
    However, this has become a double-edged sword, as the long hours discourage many people from joining the security line. The job is very tiring and gives them little or no time to rest or socialise.
    The Government, the union and employers should look into the possibility of reducing the working hours to eight hours per day, as they had been in the past, in order to attract the large pool of retirees, especially those who had been professionals, managers or executives.
    [Why the assumption that any particular pool of potential employees is of any particular interest to government, unions or employers?]
    Although this means lower salaries, it may not be a deterrent as most seniors have fewer financial commitments and do not expect a high pay.
    [Sounds like Singapore's unions are just as self-defeating as everywhere else, preferring higher pay over shorter hours. And if you can only get one of those two goals and it's higher pay, you wind up with neither because you're just tacking an artificially higher price on a surplus commodity, YOU. But if you can only get one and it's shorter hours, you wind up with both, because shorter hours reduces the surplus of employable time on offer in the job market and maintains or even raises wages by market forces responding to a perceived scarcity.]
    The Government’s Workfare Income Supplement scheme also helps shore up low wages to a certain extent.
    Doing so will provide seniors with jobs that enable them to be financially independent in their twilight years as well as solve the labour crunch in the security industry.

  2. UAE nationals shunning careers in airlines and tourism, say officials, 6/01 TheNational.ae
    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Emiratisation in the airline and tourism industries is progressing at too slow a rate because of the working hours and pay.
    Officials said that although perceptions were beginning to change, more initiatives were needed to make careers in these fields more attractive to Emiratis, reported Al Ittihad, The National’s Arabic sister newspaper.
    Mona Waleed, deputy chief of recruitment at Etihad Airways said: “The main reasons behind Emiratis’ reluctance to work in the airline industry are the long working hours and the numerous requirements, as opposed to the public sector that offers short working hours. The salaries are also lower in comparison with the public sector.
    “The problem is that many people are looking for high salaries and high positions at the beginning of their careers, rather than aiming to learn and acquire a rich practical experience and building a career, regardless of the value of the offered salary. This highlights the need for intensified campaigns to raise awareness on the importance of the quest for experience at the beginning of any professional career.”
    Etihad Airways offers many opportunities for UAE nationals who wish to progress their career and gain experience, she said.
    Nasser Al Reyami, head of tourism standards at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, said wages were the most important challenge that Emiratisation faces in the tourism sector. He said university graduates expected high salaries that matched the public sector.
    The company hoped to recruit 200 Emirati nationals in its overseas offices by the end of this year.
    newsdesk@thenational.ae




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