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


7/31/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Keeping workers employed, by Scott Whipple (7/30 late pickup) BristolPress.com
    BRISTOL, Conn., USA — Theis Precision Steel uses the state’s Shared Work Program to help save jobs and keep its employees gainfully employed.
    The largest high-carbon and stainless specialty strip mill in North America, Theis (“Tice”) does cold rolling and hardening and tempering of high carbon and alloy strip steels, as well as cold rolling of all stainless and nickel alloys.
    Theis Human Resources Manager Tina Pac said the company is grateful for the Shared Work Program.

    As a result of recent changes, eligibility criteria for employers qualified to participate in the unemployment insurance program has expanded. It now offers companies like Theis more opportunities to take part and avoid laying off skilled workers.
    “The program helps subsidize those work days our employees miss,” said Pac. The program, administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor, can provide partial unemployment benefits to employees when a company is experiencing a temporary economic downturn and wants to avoid layoffs. The goal is to retain skilled workers so companies can quickly return to full strength when business picks up.
    As of July 1, employers now qualify for the program when faced with the need to reduce the hours of its permanent full-time and/or part-time workforce by 10 to 60 percent. Prior to the change, companies could only qualify if work hours were reduced between 20 and 40 percent, and eligible employees were required to be full-time workers.
    Pac says Theis has approximately 100 employees on the program. Salaried positions are in production, accounting, sales and shipping; hourly workers: machinists, bull grinders and machine operators.
    According to state Labor Commissioner Sharon Palmer, the program now allows a company to apply if it has at least two employees affected by the change in hours worked.
    Before the July 1 change, the minimum requirement for eligibility was four employees. In addition, the Labor Department will also be able to provide a dependency allowance to those employees taking part in the program that have qualifying dependents on their unemployment insurance claim.
    “For the past 22 years, our state’s Shared Work program — one of the best in the country — has helped to avoid layoffs, preserve jobs and retain skilled workers during financially trying times,” Palmer said. “These recent changes, which allow us to make an excellent program even stronger, will benefit our workforce, employers, and overall economy.”
    First enacted in 1992, the Shared Work program originally was available to “contributing employer” companies. As of last October, the program is now available to all Connecticut employers meeting the program’s eligibility requirements.
    Palmer says the program has allowed employers to avoid the costly expense of retraining new employees which would result if layoffs took place, while valued and skilled employees keep their job security and benefits while receiving partial unemployment benefits to help supplement lost wages.
    Companies cannot eliminate or reduce employee fringe benefits and affected employees must meet all regular unemployment compensation requirements. Currently, 104 companies are participating in the Shared Work program.
    Pac hopes the state will continue the program.
    “It’s important to us here at Theis to retain our skilled workers,” she said.
    Employers interested in participating in the program or obtaining more information can email DOL.sharedwork@ct.gov or call (860) 263-6660.
    Scott Whipple can be reached at (860) 225-4601, ext. 319 or swhipple@centralctcommunications.com.

  2. County [Kern County] spray park hours cut to comply with state, by Theo Douglas tdouglas@bakersfield.com, BakersfieldCalifornian.com
    ["Spray park," a park with a wading pool equipped with sprinklers that spray kids who want to cool off in the summer heat.]
    BAKERSFIELD, Calif., USA - Kern's three spray parks will stay open for the remainder of their season, but hours will be reduced at two to meet emergency state water regulations, the county agency's director said Wednesday.
    Starting Friday, spray parks at Casa Loma Park in Bakersfield and Lost Hills Park in Lost Hills will be open 2-7 p.m. daily, according to Bob Lerude, county parks and recreation director.
    Previously, both parks were open 12-7 p.m. daily. New State Water Resources Control Board emergency regulations prohibit using potable, or drinkable, water in fountains or decorative water features that do not recirculate -- and most spray parks fall into this category.

    [So there's a Casa Loma in Bakersfield, Calif.! Us Torontonians thought our Casa Loma was unique!]
    Water used by Kern County's third spray park, Mojave Park, is collected and used to irrigate landscape, so it meets the state's emergency regulations and will stay open 12-7 p.m. daily.
    Reducing hours at the county's other two spray parks and cutting park irrigation should help achieve the 20 percent reduction in water use called for in January by Gov. Jerry Brown, Lerude said.
    All three parks close for the summer on Sept. 2.

  3. Transcript of remarks by SLW on appointment of USLW and standard working hours consultation, 7thSpace Interactive (press release) via 7thspace.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, on the appointment of the Under Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Stephen Sui, and on standard working hours consultation:
    Reporter: Mr Cheung, how would you comment on your new Under Secretary? Why do you think he is suitable for this position?
    Secretary for Labour and Welfare: Well, on Mr Stephen Sui, we have worked together for the last six years and he is an outstanding officer. In fact, he is very well connected with the welfare sector in particular. He is highly respected by the community.
    I am sure that he will be an outstanding Under Secretary.
    Reporter: It is the end of the standard working hours consultation, but the opinions are still widely divided. How can the Government narrow the gap?
    Secretary for Labour and Welfare: Standard working hours is a very complex and very contentious issue. It is highly complex.
    We need time to build consensus in the community. I think the Standard Working Hours Committee is doing a good job, and is working very hard to stimulate the general understanding of the issue with a view to building consensus. And also, they will be approaching the issue on an evidence-based approach through, for example, a household survey on employees, which is ongoing.
    So we must give a bit of time for them to work out the whole process. I am sure that at the end of the day there will be a consensus on the way forward.
    [The longer it takes, the longer Hong Kongers depend on out-of-their-control export markets instead of maximizing their own domestic consumer spending, monetary circulation, multiplier effect, marketable productivity, and domestic investment solidity...]
    Reporter: So the Government thinks the consultation ... [sic]
    Secretary for Labour and Welfare: Well, the consultation is ongoing. We must allow the consultation to proceed.
    In fact, the Committee is doing very good work in terms of stimulating public, general understanding of the issue.
    Reporter: Are there any next steps for the Government on the standard working hours issue?
    Secretary for Labour and Welfare: Well, the next step is for the Committee to get on with its work. In fact, both the working groups on "Working Hours Consultation" and "Working Hours Study" will each make a full report to the Committee by the end of this year. And then the Committee would take the whole thing forward.
    They would need time to deliberate the way forward. Give them a bit of time.
    (Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
    Source: HKSAR Government


7/30/2014 – 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. Why a global 3-day workweek would be good for innovation, by Domenic Basulto @domenicbasulto, WashingtonPost.com/blogs
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - The world’s second-richest man, Carlos Slim of Mexico, recently proposed the concept of a global three-day workweek at a business conference in Paraguay, arguing that working three days a week for a longer period of our lives — potentially up to age 75 — would better reflect the underlying economic and demographic reality of the modern world.
    He’s got a good point.
    Nobody seriously expects to retire by the age of 50 these days, so working until 70 or 75 no longer sounds as outrageous as it might have sounded a decade or two ago. We’re living longer and, therefore, requiring more savings for retirement. Moreover, there’s a strong argument to be made for the three-day workweek on economic productivity grounds. The OECD has produced a number of very compelling charts showing that worker productivity starts to decrease when you work too many hours a week. This intuitively makes sense: Companies don’t want to hire more workers than they have to, so they try to squeeze more hours out of workers, and that leads to productivity trade-offs.
    But the real argument for the three-day workweek comes when you think of its ability to boost the innovation potential of individuals, companies and even nations. Working fewer hours a week frees up time to take on personal creativity and passion projects. That was the original logic of Google’s 20 percent time, which stipulated loosely that workers should dedicate 20 percent of their workweek to dreaming up new projects and tinkering. Other companies also have experimented with giving workers more time to dream up innovative new products or developing side projects. You can think of corporate hackathons as another way that companies are trying to give workers more time to come up with innovative ideas. Giving workers four days off a week basically eliminates any excuse for not launching that new business or product you’ve been talking about for years.
    And, as Slim pointed out, “Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied.” That almost sounds like a throwaway line – isn’t it obvious that if people are only working three days a week, that they will have to fill their time with other activities? On one hand, you can imagine people heading to the beach for a never-ending series of four-day weekends, or using those four days to binge-watch the latest season of “Game of Thrones.” On the other hand, you can imagine people actually creating those new entertainment activities and ways of being occupied.
    So that’s the real genius of the three-day workweek – it might actually create jobs for humans at the same time as robots and other technologies are taking jobs away from humans. As many economists and technologists have pointed out, there’s been a hollowing out of the middle class as technology begins to do more of the jobs that white-collar workers used to do. So trying to protect a 40-hour workweek is only going to be harder as more jobs disappear. There’s just less work to go around. Eventually the robots will come for your job, so you better be thinking of ways to make yourself useful.
    If people have four days off at a time, wouldn’t that generate a creative stimulus for industries such as the hospitality industry, the travel industry, the fitness industry and the entertainment industry? Well-rested workers would have the opportunity to develop new ways of spending our enhanced leisure time. Budding entrepreneurs would have more time to dream up new concepts in their garages. And we’d all be healthier and happier, due to the improved work-life balance, leading possibly to productivity gains in the office or factory.
    Think globally, too. If you think about population growth around the world, not just in America, then it’s clear that there’s going to be a massive influx of new workers into the global workforce. That’s going to be a vast new talent pool that needs to be put to productive economic use. And jobs that once belonged to 40-hour workweek nations are going to continue to be sent abroad, to places where labor and talent are cheap.
    Of course, the three-day workweek is not perfect. It assumes that you will work hard those three days, putting in 11-hour days. It assumes that you will work until you’re in your mid-seventies. And a shortened workweek could make life more difficult for the working poor – if it’s hard enough to get by on 40 hours a week, what’s going to happen when those 40 hours become 33 hours? Not everyone loves the three-day workweek. When Slim first announced the concept last week, there were plenty of people who said it was unworkable.
    Yet all the trends appear to point to continued changes in the workplace. Think of flextime, part-time and telecommuting – these are changes that all were brought about by changes in the way we use technology as well as underlying demographics trends (such as more women in the workforce). The four-day workweek is no longer an anomaly. France has already cut its workweek from 40 hours to 35 hours. Sweden and Finland have also experimented with a shorter workday, from eight hours a day to six, in the hopes of giving workers a better work-life balance and boosting productivity.
    From that perspective, Slim’s concept of a three-day workweek is original, but not entirely unique. Ever since the start of the modern 40-hour workweek era (which dates to the late 1930s [no, to Oct.24,1940 via the 40/40/40 Plan]), people have dreamed up alternative schemes. John Maynard Keynes once suggested that a 15-hour workweek would be more than sufficient at some point. And, more recently, bestselling author Tim Ferriss has suggested the concept of a four-hour workweek. From that perspective, the concept of a three-day workweek doesn’t sound so radical, making it more of an evolutionary than a revolutionary way we think about work.

  2. Standard Working Hours Committee holds eighth meeting, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government via 7thSpace Interactive (press release)
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - The following is issued on behalf of the Standard Working Hours Committee:
    The Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC) held its eighth meeting today (July 30). SWHC was briefed on the key findings of the Manpower Projection to 2022 and considered the progress reports of its two working groups (WGs) on Working Hours Consultation and Working Hours Study.
    The Chairperson of SWHC, Dr Leong Che-hung, said after the meeting, "Since the commencement of the public engagement and consultation on working hours on January 28 this year, SWHC has organised and taken part in some 40 consultation activities, including consultation forums, symposiums, meetings with individual organisations as well as community and workplace visits.
    [Hong Kong - and all the rest of China - needs to get itself at least into the 20th century with a good overtime-to-training&hiring system and a standard workweek max of 40 hours instead of just "40 consultation activities." China would be smart to use its SARs as alpha tests, prototypes, economic experiments - to "work out the bugs." Without this kind of worksharing and timesizing, Chinese people, from top to bottom, will continue to be the posterchildren of gross labor surplus = "common as dirt and cheap as dirt," but by implementing the timesizing, "escape to the future," China will again lead the world - as, frankly, she has not done, despite foreign CEO razzledazzle in their eagerness to lower their own economies' wage levels (and thus slow consumer spending and monetary circulation = inducing recession and joining a "race to the bottom"), since she closed off foreign trade ca.1425 AD. Now that China has beat Japan in flab-filled GDP, China needs a W. Edwards Deming for its own distinct situation, and we suggest Philip Hyde III of the Canadian Association for the Club of Rome and the Harvard Faculty Club.]
    SWHC is also conducting a questionnaire survey of sampled members of employers' associations and trade unions to collect views of employers and employees on working hours issues.
    As the public consultation will end tomorrow (July 31), we appeal to the public to make good use of this opportunity to give their views in writing by email, fax or letter. For details, please visit the SWHC website (www.swhc.org.hk).
    "On the working hours study, SWHC is conducting a large-scale household survey to collect working hours statistics from at least 10 000 employed persons through face-to-face interviews, and collecting self-administered questionnaires from employees of occupations or professions with relatively long working hours or distinctive working hours patterns to enhance the coverage of the survey. We appeal to the public, if selected, to actively support and take part in the surveys."
    Dr Leong added, "To enhance public understanding of working hours issues, SWHC will continue to step up education and promotional activities through various channels including roving exhibitions and distribution of comic books and DVDs.
    "Pull-up banners of the exhibition materials have been produced for free lending to organisations. Members of the public are also welcome to browse the SWHC website for relevant information."
    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.


7/29/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Do longer work weeks equal greater productivity? by Jennifer Walpole, AGBeat.com
    NORMAN, Okla., USA - Mo hours, mo problems?
    Working longer hours does not necessarily mean working productively, according to a new study, in fact, it can have the opposite effect. The longer a person spends chained to the desk, the less likely they are to remain actively engaged with their tasks.
    Many of us work more than forty hours a week in an effort to keep ahead of deadlines and get a jump start on next week’s project, but this study suggests that a 40-hour work week may appear like you are doing the bare minimum: “employers might view employees who put in 40 hours a week as lazy or unmotivated.” If this is true, this is attitude will certainly not help boost employee’s productivity.
    The U.S. is super average
    According to the study, the United States, is about average in terms of work hours. Korea and France hold the next highest number of hour worked per week, with Japan and Portugal close behind. Korean employees work approximately 2,600 hours per year. That is roughly 50 hours per week. A U.S. employee averages about 1,600 hour per year; or 34 hours per week.
    It should be noted it is not clear whether or not holidays, vacations, and personal leave has been factored in to these figures. The country with the greatest productivity, also has the shortest number of hours worked: Germany. German employees work approximately 1,400 hour per year and retain the highest amount of productivity. France and the United States are the next highest, respectively. South Korea, is next to last even though they work more hours.
    Shorter work hours, higher loyalty and productivity
    Productivity aside, employees with shorter work hours are more loyal, suffer less stress and illness, and are more likely to be productive, according to this survey. If you must work 40 hours a week, there are several things you can do to ensure you retain both your productivity and your sanity. Prioritize your tasks, begin by focusing on items that make or break your business, these should be completed first, and any remaining time dedicated to less important tasks.
    Create a strategy to make completing tasks easier; whether you use an app for this or just pen and paper; the biggest time-waster is redoing tasks, by forging a plan, you will avoid redoing things. If you simply cannot accomplish everything on your list, consider hiring help. Even if it is temporary through a freelancing organization, hiring a qualified professional can keep you from ignoring your priorities, without put additional strain on yourself.
    Which is the last point: schedule personal time to keep your stress reduced and maintain relationships outside of work. Work should not supersede the rest of your life. Try to keep your tasks in mind, without letting them run your mind.
    Jennifer Walpole is a staff writer for AGBeat and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

  2. How average Americans spend their time — and how you can do better, by Laura Stack, Business Journal via bizjournals.com
    DENVER, Colo., USA - The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently analyzed the way Americans balance work, sleep, family time and fun in its American Time Use Survey (ATUS) for 2013. From it, I’ve gleaned several interesting tidbits:
    1. The 40-hour workweek in America is a thing of the past
    When I first looked at the raw data, I was taken aback. On the average day, the average American worked just 3.14 hours.
    In the past, some publications have interpreted this as laziness — however, they fail to keep in mind that an “average” day includes all days of the week, including weekends. Additionally, the ATUS sample population includes everyone aged 15 and older—the employed, the unemployed, part-time workers, the disabled, and the retired alike.
    Fortunately, ATUS breaks down the data into many tables, including tables that display the average hours worked for those who usually work. The average number of people who work on an average day is about 103 million of a total workforce of 151.7 million. So on the days when they worked, the average person worked 7.58 hours. While these statistics are slippery to work with, one can conclude that American workers put in an average of 53 hours per week. In addition, the average full-time worker spent 9.2 hours on work and work-related activities on an average weekday — hardly lazy.
    2. If you work, you get less sleep, spend less time on childcare, and do less housework
    Working constrains other activities and crowds out time to take care of our children, our houses, and ourselves.
    Employed people over 18 — including part-timers — slept an average of 8.33 hours daily, as opposed to 9.63 for the unemployed. The unemployed, however, spent more time caring for other household members, averaging 2 hours, including 1.75 hours for childcare. Workers spent 1.19 hours on caretaking, including 0.98 hours on childcare — probably because their kids were in daycare during work hours. The unemployed also did more housework: 2.64 hours as opposed to 1.56 for workers.
    3. American workers spend less time having fun
    The big difference comes in leisure activity. The unemployed averaged 5.39 hours of leisure, including 3 hours watching television, as opposed to 3.73 hours of leisure and 1.85 hours watching television for workers. Overall, the unemployed spent more time on the other major activities than their employed counterparts. The differences in all other categories were minimal.
    I found the ATUS study data to be compelling but inconsistent, as not all the data tables use the same measures. The comparison of employed to unemployed workers focuses on citizens aged 18 and older, while most tables report on the population aged 15 or older. The data also lacks an entry for an average workweek. Their measure of "average day when they worked" is confusing, leaving us to guess rather than cite specific numbers. The citation of a 9.2-hour workday during the week isn't supported in any of the provided tables, and ATUS fails to provide the length of an average weekend workday. That being true, I fear that some of the statistics presented here can be used in isolation to prove just about anything.
    Action step
    The ATUS study data can leave you depressed: You work all the time, ignore your kids, don’t get any sleep, and have no fun.
    Don’t allow your time to reflect the “typical” American. Be efficient during the day, hone in on your high-value tasks, and protect the time to do them, focus on their execution, and organize around the stuff that really matters. Get out of the office on time and get home to those you love.

    Laura Stack helps leaders turn strategy into performance. For 22 years, her keynotes and seminars have helped leaders, teams and employees execute efficiently, improve output, and build high-performance cultures. Stack is the president of The Productivity Pro, a training company helping professionals achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. She’s the author of six books, most recently, Execution IS the Strategy.


7/27-28/2014 – 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. Six Hour Workday? Sign Me Up! by Martin Rowe, 7/27 EE Times via eetimes.com
    NEW YORK NY USA(?) - When I started in the publishing business in 1992, Cahners Publishing had a 35-hour workweek. Yes, we came in at nine, left at five, and took an hour for lunch. I found it astonishing that people in publishing worked "bankers hours" compared to industry. Working as an engineer, the shortest day was 9 hours (8+1) but we usually worked more.
    [Guess engineers aren't as smart as they think they are.]
    At Cahners, there was even a period of a few years where we worked four-hour days on Fridays between Memorial Day (last Monday in May) and Labor Day (first Monday in September). That vanished around 2002 when the economy hit the skids. The company also had a parental-leave policy where you could take eight weeks off at full pay for the birth or adoption of a child. I took advantage of that policy when my daughter was born. That policy also vanished when the layoffs came a few years later.
    A recent article in The Week, "What Happened to the Six-Hour Workday?" made me laugh to think that in the 1930s people actually thought the workweek would one day get down to 30 hours. That changed in the 1950s. The article, referring to the Kellogg Company, which had instituted a short workweek, states:
    In the '50s, a new management team arrived, one that may have tended to "denigrate and 'feminize' shorter hours."
    As I think back to those days of paper publishing, I realize how good we had it. Today, a six-hour workday is called "Sunday." (Note the date of this article.) I do try to take Saturdays off, usually because I'm so burned out by Friday night that my head is spinning.
    I'm sure many of you work more than 40 hours a week. Did you always do that, or did it start at the last economic downturn? Sure, we always work extra hours when a project is due, but do you work extra hours all the time? Do you work at night from home, perhaps after the kids are asleep?
    I work at home. The great part is that I don't have to commute to work every day and I don't think I could go back to that. But, the downside of working at home is that you never leave work.
    When you consider your productivity compared with even five to ten years ago, you realize that you're producing far more per hour than you once did. But you're still working more hours [if you still have a full-time job]. What happened? It's called global competition, business downturns, business upturns, and so on.
    [More informatively, it's called a race to the bottom.]
    The 35-hour workweek is long gone (if it ever existed for you) as is the 40-, 45-, and perhaps 50-hour workweek. A 35-hour workweek is called "part-time." Get used to it, for we will never Bring Back the 40-Hour Work Week, no matter what the cost.
    [If this guy was a real engineer, instead of just playing cynical one-upmanship, he'd figure out, as engineer Arthur Dahlberg did in 1932 ("Jobs, Machines and Capitalism"), that shorter hours are a system requirement in order to spread around the national income enough to have markets for all the stuff the robots are pumping out.]

  2. Workers step up heat over hours, by Denise Wu, 7/28 TheStandard.com.hk
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Holding panda masks, protesters marched to the Central Government Offices in Tamar to hand over about 2,000 letters to back up their call for a law on standard working hours.
    A five-month consultation on the issue by a government-appointed panel ends Thursday.
    Up to 70 members and leaders of the Alliance for Standard Working Hours marched from Admiralty Centre to the government offices yesterday.
    Alliance spokesman Tam Leung-ying said the letters demanded the government cap working hours at 44 a week.
    Prominent among slogans chanted during the march was "workers are not robots, return my life to me."
    The youngest protester, accompanied by his grandfather, was three-year-old Yip Yick- shun.
    Yick-shun wants "eight-hour workdays standardized. We need a happy and healthy life."


7/26/2014 – 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. Swelling revenues end port furloughs early, Bradenton Herald via bradenton.com
    PORT MANATEE, Fla., USA -- Having made up almost $1 million in revenue lost when its largest fertilizer shipping client pulled its business late last year, Port Manatee will end mandatory monthly furloughs of its 54 employees before the last week in August.
    The port started the furloughs in January as a cost- saving measure to make up for losing The Mosaic Co.'s bulk fertilizer shipments. Mosaic shifted 635,000 tons shipping it had done through Port Manatee for years to other ports in the Tampa Bay area. The port previously earned about $940,000 a year from the shipments and storage operations.
    As of the end of May, the port had earned $898,761, up by about $113,000 for the same period in 2014. Dave Sanford, the port's deputy executive director, said the port is notching its best July revenue in several years.
    Starting in January, employees were furloughed one day a month. The furloughs were supposed to last through the Sept. 30 end of the port's fiscal year.
    Last month, the port marked revenues that seemed good enough to end the furloughs early. As it turns out, employees will be back to a full work schedule five weeks ahead of time.
    Port Executive Director Carlos Buqueras, said business at the port has picked up over the same time last year. Over the weekend, five ships were berthed at the port. It required port officials to take the rare step of actually allocating ships to specific berths. Typically, ship captains can choose from several empty berths when they arrive.
    Buqueras said the port has seen an uptick in shipments of steel plates, steel coils, lumber and raw materials this year.
    He said he is grateful port personnel were able to give Port Manatee the breathing room it needed to grow its business in 2014.
    "We appreciate the support given that a mutual contribution to this situation prevented the port from having some unwanted layoffs,"
    he said.
    [Timesizing, not downsizing!]
    The port did lay off two of its rail yard personnel this year. Those vacancies will not be filled.
    Carol Whitmore, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority, said she is pleased to see the port make financial strides in a year that started with bad news.
    "We're really pushing the business," she said.
    The port has calculated how much money it saved from the furloughs, however, the figures were not released Thursday.
    Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton

  2. Billionaires Carlos Slim And Richard Branson Want A 3-Day Workweek — Here's Why It Isn't Practical, by Aaron Taube, (7/25 late pickup) BusinessInsider.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Earlier this week, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim got the attention of working people everywhere by suggesting a move to a 3-day workweek.
    In his plan, people would work three 11-hour days in a row before taking off the next four days.
    Today, British billionaire Richard Branson wrote a blog post proclaiming that Slim's proposal "could work" and that people should be encouraged to work "when, where and how they like, in order to get the best results possible."
    But as tantalizing as a 3-day workweek sounds, it's just not all that practical.
    Dr. Kenneth Matos, director of research at Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit thinktank, spoke to us earlier this week about why Slim's plan is more likely a pipe dream than a possibility.
    [With friends like this, shorter hours doesn't need enemies!]
    For starters, Matos notes, even 11-hour days would mean that a 3-day workweek would total just 33 hours of work. As such, full-time workers would likely be putting in fewer hours than they are now.
    [In standard English, this should probably read: Even workdays as long as 11 hours, if there were only 3 per week, would mean a total workweek 7 hours short of today's standard 40. As such, full-time workers would definitely be putting in fewer hours than they are now.]
    This would be a major issue for workers who are paid by the hour. Many of those workers — the ones who had previously been working 40 hours a week — would need to take on a second job to make up the lost income they'd need to pay rent, buy groceries, and afford other vital expenses.
    [And Matos doesn't "get" that fewer hours on a whole-region basis would absorb the wage-depressing flood of jobseekers, create an employer-perceived shortage, and raise hourly wages, as shorter hours did from 1840 to 1940 when the workweek was cut in half down to the 40-hour week. Again, if this is the best The Families & Work Institute can do, the shorter-hours movement would do better without them.]
    Salaried employees could conceivably get as much done in 33 hours as they would in 40, but they, too, would have significant issues with the 3-day workweek — especially if they tried to make up the additional two days off by working 13-hour days for a 39-hour workweek.
    [What on earth is he talking about? "39-hour workweek"? "13-hour days"? Where the heck is all this coming from? And what, exactly, would employees be "making up" when they're on salary and not paid by the hour? Matos don't know what he talkin' about. Is he sniping cuz someone is moving onto his turf and getting a lot more publicity?]
    Such a schedule would allow for virtually zero free time during the 3-day week, which would be a major issue for people with additional responsibilities outside of their jobs, especially parents.
    [Or there may well be millions of single parents who would kill for a 33-hour workweek with full-time pay and benefits. which is the whole implication of Carlos Slim's concept = to redefine standard "full time" down to 33 hours. The "suffering" from the greater length of each workday could well function as vital guilt relief for the fact that there are only three of them, and induce more of our remarkably common masochists to accept the whole package.]
    "A lot of life can’t be scheduled so conveniently to say, ‘It’s got to wait three days,'" Matos said. "Saying, ‘Today, I work and do nothing else’ is not always a viable option for a great many people."
    [Another piece of major Matos ignorance: there are millions of American workaholics and pre-burnouts today who say "It's got to wait SIX or SEVEN days" and prior to the Civil War, virtually all Americans were working 6-7 over-ten-hour days per week.]
    Matos noted that both an 11-hour day and a 13-hour day sounded unpleasant to him, and added that the longer work day could be additionally difficult for people whose jobs require creative thinking.
    [Matos has no concept of the diversity of taste and ability that's out there. He should be supporting shorter hours in all its blinding diversity of forms, not to mention the fact that this may be a real breakout from the last half-century of totally tabooed talk about worktime reduction, which just never made it to major discussion cuz branded Socialism (or worse) and dismissed with ridicule.]
    "One of the things that research has shown is that people can exhaust their mental resources, and they don’t recover within a couple of minutes," he said. "You might need to step away for a few hours. If you’re just pushing through, that might not work for your creative process."
    Still, Matos stressed that there was a lot of value in Slim getting people to reconsider our work schedules, adding that he himself doesn't necessarily think the the five-day workweek should remain static.
    ["Damned by faint praise."]
    "Could the 3-day work be done?" Matos asked. "Yeah, but I don’t think many people would sign up for it.
    [Except millions of single parents for starters.]



7/25/2014 – 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. Considering a reduced work-week: Shorter workweek would boost economy, Letter to editor by Stan Walser, Grapeview via KitsapSun.com
    BREMERTON, Wash., USA - With the unemployment rate still hovering near 6 percent it becomes clear that the number of workers far exceeds the jobs available in this country. This situation is exacerbated by older and retired folks seeking work or staying on the job because their IRA and 401(k) savings accounts have diminished to a point where it will not sustain them in retirement. As more troops are brought home the situation will only worsen.
    Therefore it seems to me that the time has come to reduce the workweek in this country from 40 hours to 36 hours by going to a nine-hour, four-day workweek, with no reduction in pay.
    The last time there was any substantial reduction in the workweek hours was in the 1940s and 1950s. Other countries have reduced their work hours and it is time for us to do the same.
    Reducing the workweek to four days would reduce commute time, save energy and stimulate the economy. I realize this idea will take some selling to those who truly love going to work on Monday morning and love pouring $3 or $4 gas into their cars but perhaps the rest of us can persuade them that this is a good idea whose time has come.

  2. Would we even know what to do with a shorter work week? by Elizabeth Renzetti, The Toronto Globe & Mail via theglobeandmail.com (finder's credit to Bill Pugsley of Ottawa)
    [Even if "we" are so uncreative and such "slaves that love their chains" and such hypocrites about "loving freedom" while scared of the most basic freedom, free time, we don't have to "know what to do with a shorter work week" - the leisure industries are quite capable of taking care of it. That's why Hilton Hotels is sponsoring efforts to get minimum vacation legislation is the only developed economy that doesn't already have it, the USA. And in 1997-2001 when France cut from 39 to 35 hours a week, they got a boom in ... all their l**s*r* industries: travel, health spas, bookstores ... you name it.]
    TORONTO, Ont., Canada - It’s hard not to love a jolly Mexican billionaire who thinks we should all be working less. Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, could hardly be called a slacker (he taught at university while he was studying for his degree), but slacking is the banner he’s marching under.
    [If shorter hours, higher productivity is "slacking" we're waaay "slacking" compared to the 1830s' summer workweeks of 72-84 hours.]
    Semi-slacking, anyway: At a recent business conference in Paraguay, Mr. Slim suggested that we reconfigure our thinking about work. A 40-hour, five-day week and a retirement age in the mid-sixties stops making sense when we’re no longer chained to the same job for 40 years and seldom succumb to tuberculosis at age 35. Instead, he suggests that people may want to work three days a week, for 11 hours a day, until the age of 70 or 75.
    As someone who plans to never retire, but instead drop dead in the traces like that poor old nag Ginger in Black Beauty, I see the wisdom in Mr. Slim’s plan (he is himself 74, and still the head of his telecom company Telmex.) “With three workdays a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life,” he said.
    “Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied.”
    It’s a beautiful dream, isn’t it? And he’s not the only one. Mr. Slim belongs to a group of what I think of as the chillocrats, high-earning, high-achievers who have flown close to the sun and come back with a message: It burns. Arianna Huffington, the media mogul who seems to have more appendages for writing and organizing than your average octopus, has written a book called Thrive in which she rails against “our current notion of success … in which working to the point of exhaustion and burnout is considered a badge of success.”
    This month, Google’s CEO Larry Page also spoke out in favour of shorter working hours as a way to alleviate unemployment, and to provide a broader sense of life satisfaction: “Most people, if I ask them, ‘Would you like an extra week of vacation?’ They raise their hands, 100 per cent of the people. ‘Two weeks [of vacation], or a four-day work week?’ Everyone will raise their hand. Most people like working, but they’d also like to have more time with their family or to do their own interests.”
    These are lovely utopian ideas, but they also seem quaintly out of place in an age where work has expanded, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, to invade every hour of waking life. “Work” is not something that is performed in 35 or 40 hours at a desk between nine and five, but now overflows in the morning, with a barrage of e-mails over orange juice, and into the late evening, when any number of dinners are interrupted with a brusque, “Sorry, I’ve got to take this.” It used to be that only doctors were on call all the time; now everyone is.
    Take, for example, the vacations that Mr. Page rightly believes we should all be enjoying. Recent studies have shown that in Canada, where mandated holiday is already parsimonious, half of workers typically fail to take their full, paid vacation time. Having too much work to complete is cited as the major reason for not going away. In the U.S., when they finally do escape, 61 per cent of Americans take work with them. And just to make the transition from office to tent more seamless, you can now get WiFi at many national parks and campgrounds.
    If you look at the OECD numbers of hours worked per year, Canada actually falls in mid-range, with far fewer than Mexico or Korea, but more than Germany or France. According to Statistics Canada, Canadians work on average 36.6 hours a week, one-and-a-half hours fewer than 40 years ago.
    At the same time, studies of work-life balance reveal that we are harried to the point of distraction. In a 2012 study, one-third of Canadians said they felt they have more work than they could complete in a day. What accounts for this discrepancy? Is it the fact that we’re always at work, even when we’re not? The office door shuts, but the electronic leash tugs, and we answer the pull.
    It’s fine to talk about taking more vacation or working fewer hours, but attitudes would need to be adjusted alongside punch clocks. As the Washington Post reporter Brigid Schulte writes in her enlightening new book Overwhelmed, we have become addicted to busyness. Psychologists, she writes, talk of “treating burned-out clients who can’t shake the notion that the busier you are, the more you are thought of as competent, smart, successful, admired and even envied.” To be on the brink of collapse, perversely, is the height of success.
    Do we even deserve shorter workweeks?
    [Omg, a guilt-laden&dishing commentator! Fear not, dearie, shorter hours are a system requirement in the robotics age cuzzof the Ford-Reuther Paradox: Henry Ford, "Let's see you unionize these robots [and get them better conditions]! Walter Reuther (union leader), "Let's see you sell them cars."]
    Would we treat the extra time as the precious gift that it is? I’ll think about this over the next three weeks, when I’m on vacation. And no, not a “workation,” that modern abomination, but a proper holiday composed of equal parts rum and sand. See you on the other side.


7/24/2014 – 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. New Shared Work Changes, Shoreline Chamber via Guilford Chamber of Commerce via guilfordct.com
    GUILDFORD, Conn., USA - As a result of recent changes to the state’s Shared Work Program, eligibility criteria for employers qualified to participate in this unemployment insurance program has expanded and now offers companies more opportunities to take part in the program and thus avoid laying off skilled workers. The program provices partical unemployment benefits when a company is expericing a temporary downturn.
    As of July 1, employers now qualify for the program when faced with the need to reduce the hours of its permanent full-time and/or part-time workforce by 10 to 60 percent and has at least two employees affected. Prior to the change, companies could only qualify if work hours were reduced between 20 and 40 percent, and eligible employees were required to be full-time workers with a threshhold of 4 affected employees. In addition, the Labor Department will also be able to provide a dependency allowance to those employees taking part in the program that have qualifying dependents on their unemployment insurance claim.
    Employers interested in participating in the Shared Work program or obtaining more information can email DOL.sharedwork@ct.gov or call 860-263-6660.

  2. Marshall Post Office hours cut, by David Briggs, The Point Reyes Light via ptreyeslight.com
    MARSHALL, Calif., USA - Hours will be slashed in half at the Marshall Post Office in January 2015 as part of a nationwide downsizing, U.S. Postal Service employees told a frustrated crowd on Tuesday.
    The reduced hours are “self-defeating” since limiting retail service will drive revenue even further into the ground, locals said.
    Some said their business will be hurt without an afternoon pickup.
    Postmaster Chris Knowles, who’s manned the branch since 2005, says the cut in hours may force him to transfer elsewhere.
    “I hope we aren’t dismantling the best post office system in the world,” one woman said.
    [Well, yes we are, just as we dismantled the best rail system in the world and dismantled the best workforce and dismantled the best country in the world, but on the local level here, with the choice between hours cuts or complete closure, they made the right decision for the moment. The right decision for real recovery and sustainability would be...converting chronic overtime into training and hiring and creating enough chronic overtime by repeated workweek reduction to restore full wartime levels of employment and rising wages and consumer spending, and markets, marketable productivity and profitable investment.]


7/23/2014 – 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. A brief history of the shrunken workweek fantasy, by Catherine Rampell, WashingtonPost.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecommunications magnate, has proposed that workers all transition to three-day workweeks and distribute their careers over a much larger number of years. As quoted in the Financial Times:
    “With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life. Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied.”
    The 74-year-old self-made magnate believes that such a move would generate a healthier and more productive labour force, while tackling financial challenges linked to longevity.
    This is actually not such a revolutionary idea. Economists and futurists have been thinking about shrinking the workweek for a long time. The most famous predictions, though, were predicated on the idea that the workweek would contract because productivity gains would dramatically reduce the need for human labor. It’s the more optimistic version of the “robots are stealing our jobs” narrative.
    As John Maynard Keynes argued back in 1930, once wages were high enough that people could make enough money in a few hours to meet their basic human needs, they would stop working so much. Workers might end up in jobs lasting “three-hour shifts or a fifteen-hour week,” he wrote.
    He even goes on to imagine the agony later generations would endure as they struggled to fill their abundant free time. “To those who sweat for their daily bread leisure is a longed-for sweet — until they get it,” he writes. Later he says:
    [T]here is no country and no people, I think, who can look forward to the age of leisure and of abundance without a dread. For we have been trained too long to strive and not to enjoy. It is a fearful problem for the ordinary person, with no special talents, to occupy himself, especially if he no longer has roots in the soil or in custom or in the beloved conventions of a traditional society. To judge from the behaviour and the achievements of the wealthy classes to-day in any quarter of the world, the outlook is very depressing! For these are, so to speak, our advance guard-those who are spying out the promised land for the rest of us and pitching their camp there. For they have most of them failed disastrously, so it seems to me–those who have an independent income but no associations or duties or ties–to solve the problem which has been set them.
    This futuristic short workweek also took hold in pop culture a few decades later. You may recall that George Jetson — created in 1962, but imagined to be living in the year 2062 – grumbled about his two- or three-hour workdays. His wife compared such grueling hours to sweatshop work.
    The number of working hours has indeed contracted over time, though not close to George Jetson levels. And the decline is probably at least partly driven by the changing composition of the workforce (i.e., more women, who are more likely to work part-time).
    So why did Keynes’s predictions prove so wrong? There are many possible explanations. For one, the vast improvements in living standards Keynes foresaw have not been equally distributed. Many people also derive pleasure from working. And Keynes didn’t anticipate all the cool, highly coveted things (and services) that would be invented in the decades after his passing that would keep people wanting to earn income beyond that which enabled them to meet their basic needs.
    Lots of jobs are also not easily divisible, meaning it’s hard to break them into three-day-a-week increments even if workers did find that three days of labor provided sufficient income to meet all their needs and wants. Which is probably the strongest argument against Slim’s somewhat utopian, work-sharing vision. It would be great, though, if we could find more ways to make jobs divisible and shareable, since that would probably draw more people (especially parents and others with substantial family responsibilities that don’t allow them to work full-time) into the labor force.
    Catherine Rampell is an opinion columnist at The Washington Post.

  2. Doctors say shorter work week could have several benefits, by Rachel Rooney, CBS Eyewitness News 3 via WFSB.com
    HARTFORD, Conn., USA - In the quest for work-life balance, many of us think work is tipping the scale.
    People work all the time especially now that we're connected all the time with our Blackberry or iPhone keeping us on call at all times.
    And some say it's time for a change to the work week.
    "We work five days a week and have a two day break. I think we'd work more efficiently if it was a four day work week and 3 day weekend."
    One of Britain's leading doctors said a four day work week would be helpful in combating stress, but more recently the idea of a three day work week is being pitched.

    Many seemed to like the idea of working three 12 hour days in turn for four days off. "We do 12 hours days a lot of us in our jobs, even though we leave the office the work never ends."
    Experts agree a three day work week might not work for all industries but could actually improve productivity.
    "It give people more time they're feel, taking care of their personal matters, 3-4 day work weeks allows people to regenerate themselves feel productive."
    A shortened work week though would also mean a longer work life, no retirement in your 60s, instead you'd be working through to your later years. However, for some that could be a benefit.
    "When working especially in a job you don't hate, it gives a sense of productivity value and you're making money pay for things you need living into your 80s and 90s."


7/22/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Flexi workweek will support family time - labour minister, by Christopher Thomas, Jamaica-Gleaner.com
    KINGSTON, Jamaica - Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier has declared that the impending flexible workweek arrangement will help to stabilise family life, the breakdown of which he believes to be the cause of several problems in Jamaica today.
    "Right now, we have a problem with family life in this country because parents do not get enough time to spend with their children ... (but) they can now work out a system with their employers to spend more time with their children,"
    Kellier said in his keynote address at the 55th national conference of the Association of Methodist Men's Fellowship, held at the St John's Methodist Church, in Montego Bay, St James, on Sunday.
    "The breakdown of the family is at the root of what is wrong in Jamaica. The flexi workweek will give the opportunity to members of the working society to spend more time with their children," he added.
    Rights protection
    Kellier also gave an assurance that the flexible workweek bill, which is expected to be debated in Parliament by September, will protect employees from abuse of their rights by employers, including the workers' right to choose their day of worship.
    "Flexible work arrangements should not contravene a worker's right to worship, as workers will be afforded the opportunity to negotiate their work hours, workdays and rest days," said Kellier. "Workers could negotiate for their rest day to be on their day of worship, and the law would protect workers who are denied the right to worship."
    According to the proposed law, the flexi- workweek will consist of 40 hours, and overtime becomes applicable after the stipulated 40-hour workweek. This arrangement will also increase the maximum number of hours in a workday from eight or 10 hours, as it now exists, to a maximum of 12 hours.
    The bill also indicates that all seven days of the week should be considered as possible workdays. However, this provision of the bill had triggered much debate among church leaders, who have argued that special days of worship should be preserved for workers.
    [But here's another headline today that indicates the dangers of "flexibility" alone, in contrast to "adjustability against underemployment" or outright "reduction" -]
    Executives Value Flexible Work Schedules as They Adjust to 24/7 Work Week, According to the AESC’s BlueSteps Survey, Business Wire via DigitalJournal.com

  2. 5 Reasons It's Time for the 4-Day Work Week - Wouldn't you be happier and more productive?, by Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Want to make employees happier and more productive? Give them a four-day work week. The concept was introduced in the 1950s by American labor union leader Walter Reuther, but it’s taken a long time for the country to come around to his way of thinking. There are signs that things are changing. Treehouse, an online education company, has a four-day work-week policy, and CEO Ryan Carlson has never looked back, saying it increases both output and morale. Other forward-thinking companies, like Slingshot SEO, are jumping on board.
    Several states have been experimenting with having public employees come in four days a week, a trend which made headlines in the Washington Post when the Virginia legislature let state employees take Fridays off in 2010.
    The corporate world is warming up to the idea. Google co-founder Larry Page advocates flexibility and says the idea that everyone needs to work frantically is "just not true." Interestingly, polls show that 70 per cent of millionaires think the four-day work-week is a “valid idea.” Recently, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim actually called for a three-day work-week.
    Let’s take a look at why a shorter work-week is a good idea whose time has come.
    1. Makes workers more productive.
    A lot of people automatically think that reducing the work-week to four days will crash productivity. But there’s evidence that this is far from true. American Online and Salary.com found in a survey that the average worker wastes about two hours every eight-hour workday, doing stuff like making personal calls or surfing the web. If given the choice, most of these employees would gladly drop those behaviors in exchange for a four-day work-week.
    Experiments with shortening the work-week have yielded positive results on the productivity front. When the state of Utah put public workers on a four-day schedule in the wake of the recession, worker productivity increased, along with customer satisfaction. In an op-ed for the New York Times, Jason Fried, who runs the software company 37signals, reports that his employees do better work during their four-day weeks. As he puts it,
    “When there’s less time to work, you waste less time. When you have a compressed workweek, you tend to focus on what’s important. Constraining time encourages quality time.”
    2. Good for the environment.
    One day less at work means reduced electricity use and less time spent driving. Fewer commuters during the traditional rush hours makes travel quicker for everybody, which means less time spent idling in traffic and churning out less greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
    According to a report from the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, a global shift to shorter working hours could reduce carbon emissions enough to halve additional expected global warming between now and 2100.
    3. Makes employees happier.
    Let’s be honest. Being on a treadmill where all you do is work, eat and sleep, is a crappy way to live. That’s why the four-day work-week is good for morale and worker happiness. Spending more time with family and friends, pursuing hobbies and interests outside of work, and engaging with the community are all things that boost well-being and keep employees, sane, focused and committed to their jobs.
    Ryan Carlson of Treehouse says he finds his workers “invigorated and excited” when they come in after a three-day weekend. He also finds that it’s easier both to recruit and retain workers with a four-day work-week policy, because their lives are more balanced and they feel much happier.
    4. Creates a healthier workforce.
    For many Americans, going to see a doctor involves sneaking off in the middle of the workday, because there's no time outside of work to do it. Ironically, they probably need the doctor more because they spend so much time in the office.
    John Ashton, a prominent physician in the U.K., has called for a switch to the four-day work-week to reduce stress. Citing what he calls a “maldistribution of work” that is damaging people’s health, Ashton notes that problems like high-blood pressure and addiction could be improved by going to the four-day work-week.
    Many of the health problems Americans face, like obesity, joint pain, sleep problems, and heart-related illnesses, are linked to too many hours spent sitting in chairs. Healthier workers means fewer sick days and a workforce that feels better and more energized.
    5. Brings America into the 21st century.
    The U.S. is out of step with the rest of the world when it comes to work. Our culture promotes overwork, which is why we rank 11th out of 33 developed countries in how many hours we work each week.

    We work longer hours than the Germans, Canadians, Dutch and Swedes, and yet somehow those countries manage to be highly productive. In the Netherlands, four-day work-weeks are pretty much the rule. Even the tiny African country of Gambia has public workers clocking in Monday through Thursday.
    It’s high time Americans figured out what much of the world already knows: the shorter work-week is the wave of the future.
    Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet senior editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. She is the director of AlterNet's New Economic Dialogue Project. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.
    [A 4-day workweek is good, especially when a 3-day one is supported by the 2nd or 1st richest person in the world (countdown!), albeit with 11-hour days -]
    Mexican billionaire [named Carlos Slim Helu] wants to slim [LOL] down the workweek, (7/21 late pickup) Fortune.com
    [See story yesterday on 7/20-21/2014 #1 below. Of course, there's also an opposite trend, as shown in this story today -]

  3. 40-hour week a distant memory, survey finds, by Christopher Seward, GreenBayPressGazette.com
    ATLANTA, Ga., USA - When was the last time you worked a 40-hour week? Thought so.
    The time-honored 40-hour, 9-to-5 workweek is a thing of the past, according to a survey conducted for Atlanta-based Premiere Global Services Inc. [PGi].
    The “Take Back 60” study found that 88 percent of the 617 respondents who took the online survey last month said they work more than 40 hours a week.
    Seventy-one percent said they take work home at least one day a week.
    Among the other findings:
    • 71 percent said they work more than they prefer.
    • 63 percent eat lunch at their desks.
    • 61 percent commute more than 30 minutes each day, with nearly 25 percent clocking in at over an hour.
    A majority of the respondents (64 percent) said they would spend more time with family or exercise if they could reclaim 60 minutes (hence the title of the survey) from their overworked week. A third would pursue a hobby and about a quarter would catch up on household chores or learn or improve a skill.
    [And another neadline today, from Canada, on the same U.S. survey -]
    RIP [Rest In Peace, meaning, it's dead] 40-hour workweek, BenefitsCanada.com
    [which is why we see something more complicated than a simple two-way population split between workers and drones as in bee society. We see a four-way population split, into overworkers, "part" timers, unemployed and super-rich. There are both willing and unwilling among the overworkers (workaholics and burnouts) and "part" timers (balanced lives and wanting more hours).]


7/20-21/2014 – 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. World's richest man calls for 3-day work week, 7/20 TheRakyatPost.com
    The world's wealthiest man, Carlos Slim, 74, is advocating for a shorter work week, claiming that the extra time will give workers an opportunity to pursue hobbies and other activities beneficial to their quality of life.
    ASUNCION, Paraguay - Do you wish that your weekend was longer than just Saturday and Sunday? According to the world’s richest man, it should be.
    Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecommunications mogul worth approximately US$79.6 billion (RM255 billion), told attendees to a business conference in Paraguay on Friday that it was time for “a radical overhaul” in people’s working lives.
    As of July 15, 2014, Forbes announced that Slim was the richest man in the world, edging out Bill Gates’ $79.1 billion (RMRM253 billion) fortune, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
    The Daily Mail, quoting Slim, 74, said people should take more time off in the course of their professional lives, working only three days a week instead of the standard full-time five days per week.
    “People are going to have to work for more years, until they are 70 or 75, and just work three days a week — perhaps 11 hours a day,” Slim told the conference.

    [He's on the right track = spreading retirement across people's lives instead of waiting till some arbitrary mandatory age when the economy has to write more and more blank checks with people living longer, or gets cheated of perspective and experience when some people die right after retirement. But he needs to add further downward adjustability to his new workweek and tie it to overtime conversion (into jobs).]
    However, the catch will be that not only will workers have to work longer days (11 hours instead of the usual eight), but also will have to continue to work well into their 70s, before calling it a day.
    [Mandatory retirement at any arbitrary age is agist, and while longevity is increasing, unsustainable. And under our current frozen or lengthening 40-hour workweek, increasing numbers of people cannot afford to retire or stay retired anyway.]
    However, according to Slim, the benefits for such a short work week are plentiful.
    “With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax, for quality of life. Having four days off would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied,” he told the conference.
    To a certain degree, Slim has been applying this train of thought to his own businesses.
    According to the Financial Times, Slim’s phone company Telmex has implemented a system where workers on a collective labour contract, who joined the company in their late teens, can retire before they reach 50, and can continue to work for full pay four days per week.
    Slim also applies this philosophy to his own work life. He is still active as a businessman at his age, 74.
    He also maintains a life full of hobbies, such as art collecting. He opened the Museo Soumaya, an art museum dedicated to both his love for art and religious relics as well as the memory of his late wife, Soumaya Domit, the Daily Mail report added.
    At the same meeting, Slim commented on the state of education, saying that education should “not be boring, but should be fun” and that students should learn “not to memorise, but to reason, not to domesticate, but to train".
    [Another version -]
    Billionaire Carlos Slim argues for a 3-day work week, by Jonathan Berr, MoneyWatch via CBS Interactive via cbsnews.com
    Carlos Slim, the world's second-wealthiest person according to Forbes, thinks he's stumbled upon the solution to enable people to balance their work and home lives: A three-day work week.
    Speaking at a conference in Paraguay last week, the Mexican billionaire advocated what he described as a "radical overhaul" in the way people work that would allow people to work past the age of 70, 9 years longer then the typical retirement age of a U.S. worker, according to the Financial Times. The only catch to Slim's plan is that people would have to work 11-hour days, a trade-off that he says will generate huge benefits for both workers and employers.
    "Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied," the Financial Times quotes him as saying.
    Other business leaders, such as Google (GOOG) CEO Larry Page, have backed a shorter work week, noting: "Most people like working, but they'd also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests."
    Some are suspicious of the motivations of Slim and Page to change the work week. AFL-CIO policy director Damon Silvers told CBS Moneywatch that keeping people in the labor force longer will help keep wages depressed.
    "It's simple supply and demand," he said. " What's really going is is a concerted effort to make people who are exhausted ... work into their 70s ... Billionaires have fun and tend to like working into their 70s."
    There are other, more practical reasons why many workers might find a shorter work week more appealing. For one thing, it might might make it easier for them to find a job. Unemployment, though on the decline, still remains stubbornly high at 6.1 percent while the joblessness rate among young people remains in the double digits. The figures are particularly worrisome for young African-Americans (28.2 percent) and Latinos (18.1 percent).
    Sadly, many people can't afford to retire even if they wanted to since their nest eggs have depleted by the gyrations of the stock market in recent years.
    Data released last year by mutual fund company Fidelity Investments found that 55 percent of workers it surveyed were in "fair" or "poor" shape to be able to completely cover their expenses during their golden years.

  2. Is a condensed, 3-day work week a good idea for work life balance? by Carmen Chai carmen.chai@globalnews.ca, 7/21 Globalnews.ca
    TORONTO, Canada - Three days of work, 10 to 12 hours a day [he said nothing about 12], then take a four day weekend. It’s a proposal made by a Mexican billionaire tycoon, but Canadian experts studying work life balance say they aren’t sold on this idea.
    Mexican telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim – who’s reportedly among the richest people in the world – told reporters Monday that he’s in favour of introducing a three-day work week. Employees would work longer days, and they’d take a late retirement, but they’d have a better life, he suggested.
    “With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life,” Slim said at a business conference in Paraguay, the Financial Times reported.
    “Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied,” Slim said.
    Striking the right balance between work and personal life has been a hot button issue in recent years, according to Dr. Scott Schieman, a University of Toronto sociologist and Canada Research Chair in the social contexts of health.
    “It’s a huge issue. There’s only so much time and energy everyone has and people juggle their work-related demands and family demands daily,” he told Global News.
    “My suspicion is this [three-day work week] comes with a lot of downsides. It’s kind of like cramming for a test – if you’re under a lot of pressure, some people might thrive under those conditions but others might have more stress,” Schieman warned.
    Nurses, doctors, pilots, cops and long-haul truck drivers, along with other professions, work long shifts on a regular basis, though.
    Dr. Donna Lero, a University of Guelph professor and Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work, said that in 2008, the U.S. state of Utah implemented a four-day work week for its government employees.
    It was meant to cut down on transportation costs and heating, cooling and running the office space. But for those who had to commute a long way to work, the longer days weren’t pleasant.
    “They found it more difficult to travel a long day and travel the next day. There was no time for recuperation,” Lero explained. Employees with young kids or parents who needed elderly care had trouble finding arrangements that accommodated their extended shifts.
    “In a nutshell, for some it works extremely well but for others it doesn’t at all,” she said.
    Research has even suggested that employees lose their focus within seven hours of work.
    “It’s a struggle to work over a long period of time. We’re not meant to work those kinds of hours. We get tired, lose focus and attention and there are more accidents and injuries on the job,” Lero explained.
    [Nevermind that everyone worked 12-hour days prior to the 1840s when the labor movement started campaigning for the 10-hour day, not generally achieved until the mid-1860s - see Our Own Time by Roediger & Foner. This kind of history-ignorant subjectivity is another reason to argue for workweek reduction on the basis of rock-hard system requirements (for multiplier-triggering highspeed money-supply circulation based on domestic consumer spending) rather than on squishy lifestyle preferences.]
    Ultimately, Schieman suggests that Canadian employers and their workers zero in on “work life fit” more so than “balance.”
    “There’s a greater awareness of different kinds of ‘flexible arrangements’ that involves allowing people to have more control over when they start and finish work, the timing and the location,” he said.
    “The idea is that as long as you’re able to be committed and successfully completing work responsibilities, workplaces will be comfortable with allowing and even promoting flexible arrangements that enhance your life,” he said.
    And these days, with employees toting their cell phones and laptops home with them, it’s an important discussion workplaces need to have, Schieman said.
    Recently, Slim even offered his employees access to early retirement if they began working at Telmex in their teens, according to The Guardian in the U.K. Those who want to work beyond retirement can even do so at full pay but with a reduced workload.

  3. We’re heading into a jobless future, no matter what the government does, by Vivek Wadhwa, 7/21 WashingtonPost.com/blogs
    DURHAM, N.C., USA - In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal [see 7/06-07/2014 #4 below], former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers revived a debate I’d had with futurist Ray Kurzweil in 2012 about the jobless future.
    He echoed the words of Peter Diamandis, who says that we are moving from a history of scarcity to an era of abundance. Then he noted that the technologies that make such abundance possible are allowing production of far more output using far fewer people.
    On all this, Summers is right. Within two decades, we will have almost unlimited energy, food, and clean water; advances in medicine will allow us to live longer and healthier lives; robots will drive our cars, manufacture our goods, and do our chores.
    There won’t be much work for human beings. Self-driving cars will be commercially available by the end of this decade and will eventually displace human drivers—just as automobiles displaced the horse and buggy—and will eliminate the jobs of taxi, bus, and truck drivers. Drones will take the jobs of postmen and delivery people.
    The debates of the next decade will be about whether we should allow human beings to drive at all on public roads. The pesky humans crash into each other, suffer from road rage, rush headlong into traffic jams, and need to be monitored by traffic police. Yes, we won’t need traffic cops either.
    Robots are already replacing manufacturing workers. Industrial robots have advanced to the point at which they can do the same physical work as human beings. The operating cost of some robots is now less than the salary of an average Chinese worker. And, unlike human beings, robots don’t complain, join labor unions, or get distracted. They readily work 24 hours a day and require minimal maintenance. Robots will also take the jobs of farmers, pharmacists, and grocery clerks.
    Medical sensors in our smartphones, clothing, and bathrooms will soon be monitoring our health on a minute-to-minute basis. Combined with electronic medical records and genetic and lifestyle data, these will provide enough information for physicians to focus on preventing disease rather than on curing it.
    If medications are needed, they can be prescribed based on a person’s genome rather than a one-size-fits-all basis as they are today. The problem is that there is now so much information that humans cannot effectively analyze it. But artificial intelligence–based physicians such as IBM Watson can. The role of the doctor becomes to provide comfort and compassion—not to diagnose disease or to prescribe medications. In other words, computers will be also taking over some of the jobs of our doctors, and we won’t need as many human doctors as we have today.
    It will be like the future that Autodesk CEO Carl Bass once described to me: “The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.”
    Summers is wrong, however, in his belief that governments can do as they did in the industrial age: create “enough work for all who need work for income, purchasing power and dignity.” They can barely keep up with the advances that are happening in technology, let alone develop economic policies for employment. Even the courts are struggling to understand the legal and ethical issues of advancing technologies.
    Neither they nor our policy makers have come to grips with how to protect our data and personal information, control cable and Internet monopolies, regulate advances in genetics and medicine, and tax the sharing economy that companies such as Uber and AirBnb inhabit. How are policy makers going to grapple with entire industries’ disruptions in periods that are shorter than election cycles? The industrial age lasted a century, and its consequent changes have happened over generations. Now we have startups in Silicon Valley shaking up bedrock industries such as cable and broadcasting, hotels, and transportation.
    The writing is clearly on the wall about what lies ahead. Yet even the most brilliant economists—and futurists—don’t know what to do about it.
    In his debate with me, Kurzweil said: “Automation always eliminates more jobs than it creates if you only look at the circumstances narrowly surrounding the automation. That’s what the Luddites saw in the early 19th century in the textile industry in England. The new jobs came from increased prosperity and new industries that were not seen.” Kurzweil’s key argument was that just as we could not predict that types of jobs that were created, we can’t predict what is to come.
    Kurzweil is right, but the problem is that no matter what the jobs of the future are, they will surely require greater skill and education—robots can do all the grunt work. Manufacturers who want to bring production back already complain that they can’t find enough skilled workers in the U.S. for their automated factories. Technology companies that write the software also complain about shortages of workers with the skills that they need. We won’t be able to retrain the majority of the workforce fast enough to take the new jobs in emerging industries. During the industrial revolution, it was the younger generations who were trained—not the older workers.
    [So shortage of training is THE problem and integrating training into the workforce and the worksite and triggering and funding it from the market-incidence of overtime is THE solution, as in Phase 2 and Phase 3 (relative to the overwork = total overtime per person from all jobs) of the Timesizing Program.]
    The only solution that I see is a shrinking work week.
    [And that would be Timesizing Phase 4, which makes sure we have enough chronic overtime converting into training&hiring to restore and maintain full employment and maximum markets, marketable productivity and solid investment. And btw, Wadha has just come to a conclusion that numerous other CEOs and academics before him have come to over the past 200 years including Filene, Dahlberg, Kellogg, Leverhulme, Chapman, Sismondi... most mentioned on our bibliography page. And of course, we DID it for two thirds of American history, and chiefly 1840-1940.]
    We may perhaps be working for 10 to 20 hours a week instead of the 40 for which we do today. And with the prices of necessities and of what we today consider luxury goods dropping exponentially, we may not need the entire population to be working. There is surely a possibility for social unrest because of this; but we could also create the utopian future we have long dreamed of, with a large part of humanity focused on creativity and enlightenment.
    Regardless, at best we have another 10 to 15 years in which there is a role for humans. The number of available jobs will actually increase in the U.S. and Europe before it decreases. China is out of time because it has a manufacturing-based economy, and those jobs are already disappearing. Ironically, China is accelerating this demise by embracing robotics and 3D printing. As manufacturing comes back to the U.S., new factories need to be built, robots need to be programmed, and new infrastructure needs to be developed. To install new hardware and software on existing cars to make them self-driving, we will need many new auto mechanics. We need to manufacture the new medical sensors, install increasingly efficient solar panels, and write new automation software.
    So the future is very bright for some countries in the short term, and in the long term is uncertain for all. The only certainty is that much change lies ahead that no one really knows how to prepare for.
    Vivek Wadhwa is a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, and distinguished fellow at Singularity University. His past appointments include Harvard Law School, University of California Berkeley, and Emory University.


7/19/2014 – 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. Troy post office branch cuts hours - Residents told the U.S. Postal Service they prefer shorter hours to going to another town or having services move to a local store, by Kaitlin Schroeder, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel via centralmaine.com
    [Timesizing, not downsizing!]
    Troy residents will keep their post office on Bangor Road, but the branch will be open only four hours per day by January. (Photo caption)
    TROY, Maine, USA - The Troy post office will trim its weekday hours as part of service reductions at smaller post offices nationwide.
    Residents in the town, which has a population of about 1,000, were surveyed before a meeting with U.S. Postal Service executives to see if they would prefer to reduce the local post office’s hours, transfer it from its free-standing building to a service within an existing store, or close the local office and use a neighboring town’s services.
    Troy residents will keep their post office on Bangor Road, but the branch will be open only four hours per day by January.
    The Troy branch’s change in hours is part of a broader review process called Post Plan, in which communities are asked to participate in evaluating alternatives — primarily reduced hours — to outright closing. Thirteen other Maine towns had similar meetings about their post office branches this week, and about 13,000 nationwide are expected to be part of the USPS Postal Plan.
    At the meeting Thursday night, postal workers told Troy residents gathered at the office that the survey indicated residents would rather reduce the local post office’s hours rather than see it moved.
    The new hours will go into effect by January, and residents said they anticipate a split schedule, with a couple of early morning hours and a reopening in the late afternoon.
    Troy resident Greg Rossel, who attended the meeting, said while he wished the hours weren’t reduced, he is glad the postal service didn’t go with the alternative and close the office.
    “I’m a big believer in the post office. Post offices are a little like schools or churches are to maintaining community character and infrastructure,” he said.
    Rossel said having a local post office is key to shipping for his boat building business. Without a local office, he said, he and other rural residents would need to travel to find an alternative for buying stamps, shipping packages and using the post office’s other services.
    “If you live in a rural area and you have a business, you would have to travel miles to go to someplace,” Rossel said. “The post office is right there and it’s reliable.”
    Michelle Neal, who went to the Troy post office Friday morning, said she stops by regularly to use the service for her small business, which sells weighted products for children with autism.
    Neal said having the local post office open for fewer hours will make using the Troy office less convenient, but said she was glad it did not close.

    “I have to physically go to the post office for my business,” she said.
    Down the road from the post office at the Troy General Store, Delton and Becky Curtis said they also count on having a local post office for their local business.
    Becky Curtis said the two were headed to the post office, and for their tree and nursery business in Thorndike, customers like to get paper bills in the mail and they use also use the post office for shipping.
    “And they go above and beyond in customer service,” Delton Curtis said.
    He said that while they are residents of Thorndike, the Troy office is closer to their home; but a cutback on hours could make using the Troy office less convenient.
    Kaitlin Schroeder — 207-861-9252 kschroeder@centralmaine.com @K_Schroeder

  2. How The Average American Work Week Compares To The Rest Of The World - Hate to break it to you, but more hours doesn't mean more productivity, by Samantha Cole, (7/18 late pickup) Fast Company via HuffingtonPost.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Americans stay chained to their desks and smartphones for long hours, and many view a 40-hour workweek as "slacking." But are we really getting more quality work done? Not necessarily, according to research from PGi [Premiere Global Services, Inc.].
    Korea clocked the most hours--nearly 2,700 annually--while Denmark worked the least at less than 1,500, followed by Sweden, which only logged around 1,550. Sweden's experiments with shorter workdays, set to begin earlier this month, defy the overworking standard we experience in the U.S. They support of the notion that more work doesn't always equal more productivity.
    [- especially in the age of automation and robotics!]
    Germans are the real masters of productivity, based on hours worked in relation to GDP. South Korea and Mexico fare the worst, with the U.S. coming in a not-too-shabby third.
    Want to work a shorter week--and be healthier and happier for it? You'll have to move to the Netherlands, Denmark or Norway, where they’re working a leisurely 29-33 hours per week.
    You might not be able to change your boss’s philosophy on hard work (or move to Demark), but you can make the work week more productive, here's how:
    Have a plan.
    One of the surest way to avoid redoing what you’ve built is to plan ahead. Says PGi: "Creating a strategy at the forefront will make execution more efficient, thus boosting productivity and, ultimately, the overall success of the project." Starting the week with a plan keeps the rest of your tasks in focus. Prioritize and streamline your time.
    We've all looked at the clock at 4 p.m. and thought, "Where did the day go?" Do the hardest work first, before unexpected tasks trip them up.
    Make fewer decisions.
    Time's flying by faster and faster, as we're working longer hours and getting less done. Make as many decisions as possible into automatic habits--freeing up valuable time and mind-space for creative work and flow-state.
    Hustle.
    Forty-hour weeks might be a matter of unavoidable policy, but you have options for working a rewarding side-hustle in, after-hours. Turn your commute into cash, become a tutor, or freelance your abilities--see more suggestions from Lolly Daskal, *here.


7/18/2014 – 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. Learn How Businesses Can Avoid Layoffs with Shared Work Program, by Chad Pearson, (7/16 late pickup) Washington State Employment Security Department via Newcastle Chamber of Commerce via newcastle-chamber.org
    NEWCASTLE, Wash., USA - It can happen to any business. Demand for your product or service slips. Maybe the market goes in the tank. All you know is your business is in a fix, and you’ve got hard decisions to make. You don’t want to lay off your skilled employees, but what else can you do to cut costs?
    The Employment Security Department provides an alternative. It’s called Shared Work. Under the program, businesses can reduce the hours of permanent employees, who can then collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. This translates into immediate payroll savings and prevents the loss of skilled employees. Plus, to make the program more affordable, the federal government will cover more than 92 percent of Shared-Work benefits through June 2015. That means you can participate virtually for free and there will be practically no effect on your unemployment-insurance tax rate.
    “We invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in our employees’ training and couldn’t afford to lose them. Shared Work helped us avoid that,” said Sterling Ramberg, co-owner of The Gear Works in Seattle.
    The flexibility of the program also makes it attractive. Your business can enroll some or all of your employees. You use it only when needed, and you can vary each employee’s reduction anywhere from 10 to 50 percent per week.
    Recent surveys show that Shared Work helps keep skilled workers, reduces payroll costs and improves employee morale. Employers who have used the program consistently recommend it to others.
    Participation requirements For businesses
    Must be legally registered in Washington for at least six months prior to applying for the program.
    • Must be current on unemployment taxes or be current on a payment contract.
    • You must have a minimum of two permanent employees enrolled in the Shared Work Plan.
    • Must be in compliance with IRS, state, county and municipal laws, rules and ordinances.
    • May reduce work hours of participating employees by at least 10 percent, but no more than 50 percent. (A 40-hour employee can be reduced by at least 4 hours, but not more than 20 hours.)
    *short video to see how it works.
    To learn more, watch our Shared-Work video, visit www.esd.wa.gov/shared-work or call 800-752-2500.

  2. Unemployment compensation; shared work, The Pennsylvania Bulletin via pabulletin.com
    HARRISBURG, Pa., USA - Notices - Unemployment Compensation; Shared Work - [44 Pa.B. 4608]
    Section 3304(a)(4)(E) of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) (26 U.S.C.A. § 3304(a)(4)(E)) and section 303(a)(5) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.A. § 503(a)(5)) allow states to include a ''short-time compensation'' component in their unemployment compensation (UC) statutes. Short-time compensation is also known as ''shared work.'' The Commonwealth's shared-work provisions are in Article XIII of the Unemployment Compensation Law (law) (43 P. S. §§ 916.1—916.12), titled Shared-Work Program.
    Section 3306(v)(1)—(9) of FUTA (26 U.S.C.A. § 3306(v)(1)—(9)) requires a shared-work program to have certain enumerated characteristics. Under section 3306(v)(10) of FUTA, state law may not provide for additional features of a shared-work program unless they are ''determined to be appropriate for purposes of a short-time compensation program'' by the United States Department of Labor.
    Section 1307(b) of the law (43 P. S. § 916.7(b)) provides that UC paid to employees participating in a shared-work program is charged to the employer that requested the shared-work program. Charging shared-work benefits to the employer implementing the program is not one of the shared-work characteristics specified by FUTA. In the absence of section 1307(b) of the law, shared-work UC would be charged in the same way that regular UC is charged, that is, to each participating employee's base year employers.
    An employer requesting a shared-work program designates a percentage, called the ''reduction percentage,'' by which participating employees' normal hours of work are reduced under the program. The reduction percentage is a minimum of 20% and a maximum of 40%. Pursuant to section 1306(c)(1) and (2) of the law (43 P. S. § 916.6(c)(1) and (2)), if a participating employee's hours for a given week are reduced by more or less than the reduction percentage, his eligibility for benefits is determined by the eligibility criteria applicable to regular UC instead of the criteria applicable to shared work. This is another feature of a Pennsylvania shared-work program that is not among the shared-work characteristics enumerated in FUTA. In the absence of section 1306(c)(1) and (2) of the law, if a participating employee's hours are reduced by more or less than the reduction percentage his eligibility would continue to be determined under shared-work eligibility criteria, as long as the employee worked between 20% and 40% less than their normal work hours.
    The United States Department of Labor has advised the Department of Labor and Industry (Department) that the provisions in sections 1306(c)(1) and (2) and 1307(b) of the law are not appropriate for a short-time compensation program and disapproved those provisions under section 3306(v)(10) of FUTA.
    Section 1312 of the law (43 P. S. § 916.12) authorizes the Department to permanently suspend any provisions of Article XIII of the law that are disapproved by the United States Department of Labor. Pursuant to section 1312 of the law, notice is hereby given that sections 1306(c)(1) and (2) and 1307(b) of the law are permanently suspended. Section 1303(b)(3) of the law (43 P. S. § 916.3(b)(3)), which provides that the reduction percentage shall not change during the course of a shared-work program, is also permanently suspended to the extent necessary to give effect to the suspension of section 1306(c)(1) and (2) of the law. The suspended provisions shall not apply to shared-work plans approved by the Department on or after the date of publication of this notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
    JULIA K. HEARTHWAY, Secretary
    [Pa.B. Doc. No. 14-1515. Filed for public inspection July 18, 2014, 9:00 a.m.]
    No part of the information on this site may be reproduced for profit or sold for profit.
    This material has been drawn directly from the official Pennsylvania Bulletin full text database. Due to the limitations of HTML or differences in display capabilities of different browsers, this version may differ slightly from the official printed version.

  3. Lay-off and short time working - do you know where you stand? by Orla Bingham obingham@nockolds.co.uk, Nockolds.co.uk
    LONDON, United Kingdom - Lay-off and short-time working is common in industries where work tends to fluctuate such as the construction industry. Short-time working is a temporary reduction in hours or days worked during a given week, and lay-off involves giving an employee no work at all although you would remain an employee.
    Employers do not automatically have the right to lay staff off or reduce their hours just because there is less work. If you have a fixed salary or weekly wage your employer will remain liable to pay you unless there is a contractual right permitting lay-off or short-time working.
    If you are laid off or are placed on short time working you are likely to be entitled to be paid a small statutory guarantee payment (SGP) from your employer for five days in any period of three months for a full-time employee. The rest of the time is unpaid.
    [So the U.K. is still without a real worksharing alias short time working program, except for *Wales.]
    In some circumstances, employees who are laid off or put on short-time working have a right to terminate their employment and claim a statutory redundancy payment
    About the author - Orla Bingham..joined Nockolds in 2010 and is a Solicitor in our Employment Law Team. Previous to joining the firm Orla studied law at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and completed her Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the College of Law in Manchester.

  4. Center for Popular Democracy Launches National Campaign to Demand Full Employment and Equitable Schedules for Millions of Workers, PRWEB.COM Newswire
    [The good news is, they're focused on full employment. The bad news is that they're still trying to get it by straining for enough ecobashing bogus busywork to fill a frozen 40-hour workweek forever, instead of really realizing that a "21st century workweek" (paragraph below) MUST be shorter for people because its output is sooo multiplied by robots. And as Reuther retorted to Henry Ford's taunt, "Let's see you unionize these robots!" - "Let's see you sell them cars."]
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Today the Center for Popular Democracy announced the launch of the Fair Workweek Initiative, a new national campaign to achieve a 21st century workweek with predictable, stable schedules that provide worker-driven flexibility.
    The campaign is a forceful response to the fact that the recovery from the recent recession has been built on the dramatic expansion of low-wage, no-benefit jobs in industries like retail, restaurants, and healthcare, which rely on large, part-time workforces. These fast growing low-wage industries are shifting to just-in-time scheduling practices, which in turn fuel massive under-employment, gender and racial inequities and attendant economic insecurity for workers. Aligned also with the national push for women's economic security and escalating actions by low-wage workers, the Fair Workweek Initiative seeks to establish new baseline standards for work hours and access to a social safety for today's flexible workforce.
    Steven Greenhouse writes in The New York Times today:
    "As more workers find their lives upended and their paychecks reduced by ever-changing, on-call schedules, government officials are trying to put limits on the harshest of those scheduling practices. The actions reflect a growing national movement -- fueled by women's and labor groups -- to curb practices that affect millions of families, like assigning just one or two days of work a week or requiring employees to work unpredictable hours that wreak havoc with everyday routines like college and child care."
    Emerging Policy Agenda
    Later this month groundbreaking federal legislation will be introduced by U.S. Representative George Miller of California, the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, that will ensure workers predictable schedules and workplace flexibility. Local legislation in San Francisco and New York is also imminent.
    "As we raise the minimum wage in cities and states across the country, hourly workers also need to be scheduled for enough hours with predictable and stable schedules for their fundamental job security. And for women to advance in the workplace, we need to not be penalized for having a family. It's higher wages and decent hours that add up to a fair paycheck," says Carrie Gleason, Director of the Fair Workweek Initiative at the Center for Popular Democracy.
    Breakthrough Research
    For the first time, a national survey of early-career adults has confirmed what millions of workers already knew from experience: workers across the labor market are at high risk of unpredictable, last-minute, fluctuating work hours over which they have no control. This new research by Susan J. Lambert, Peter Fugiel, and Julia R. Henly, professors of the University of Chicago has found fully 41 percent of young adult workers in hourly jobs – 47 percent who work part-time – report that they know "when they will need to work" one week or less in advance of the upcoming workweek. Half of young adult workers in hourly jobs say that their employer decides the timing of their work hours. Three-quarters of early-career adults in hourly jobs report at least some fluctuations in the number of hours they worked.
    About the Fair Workweek Initiative:
    The Fair Workweek Initiative (FWI), a collaborative effort anchored by the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), is bringing together leading worker-organizing and community-based organizations across the country and allied research and policy groups to shift employer practices and win policy solutions that achieve new work hours standards for low wage workers, and low-wage women and women of color workers.
    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/07/prweb12024027.htm


7/17/2014 – 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. State cuts hours at Corvallis employment office, by Bennett Hall, Corvallis Gazette Times via gazettetimes.com
    William Rasdal recently moved to Corvallis from Klamath Falls. Rasdal was at WorkSource Oregon on Thursday looking for a job (photo caption)
    CORVALLIS, Ore., USA - Benton County’s 2,100 unemployed residents will get a little less help finding work starting Monday, when the Corvallis office of the Oregon Employment Department cuts back to two days a week.
    The WorkSource Oregon Center, as it’s officially known, is currently open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Beginning next week, the office at 545 S.W. Second St. will be open from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays only.
    During the rest of the week, Benton County job seekers will need to travel to WorkSource centers in Albany or Lebanon to access services in person.
    The cutbacks are the result of a gradual decline in federal funding over the past several years, according to Employment Department spokesman Craig Spivey.
    “What it essentially comes down to is unemployment rate,” he said. “Benton County typically has the second-lowest (if not the lowest) rate every month. Where there is high unemployment, we’re trying to keep as many resources as possible.”
    Spivey said the cutbacks will save the agency about $280,000 a year through lower compensation and office rent payments. Three full-time positions in Corvallis have been eliminated, all through attrition.
    With unemployment down to 33,000 statewide from a Great Recession peak of 150,000, Spivey said, cutbacks of some sort at the department were inevitable.
    “Our agency, we’re actually counter-cyclical,” he said. “As unemployment goes up, that’s when we get the most funding. As the economy gets better, our funding goes down.”
    Spivey added that the service reductions in Corvallis are part of a larger streamlining process the agency is going through.
    “Right now the entire system is being looked at so we can make sure there is no duplication of services,” he said.
    He noted that the WorkSource center in Enterprise has been closed, hours have been slashed at the Lincoln City location and there could be additional cutbacks “down the road” at some of the department’s other 43 service centers.
    Besides applying for unemployment benefits, out-of-work Oregonians can access a wide range of assistance at the Corvallis WorkSource center, from job listings and referrals to hiring events, help with writing resumes and workshops in job-search skills such as interviewing. There are 16 computers available with free Internet access, as well as a photocopier, fax machine, scanner and phones.
    On Thursday afternoon, William Rasdal was using one of the public computers to set up his job search profile and apply for unemployment benefits. Rasdal relocated to Corvallis this week from Klamath Falls, where he had been working in the restaurant industry.
    “I’m doing the new life kind of thing,” he said.
    Rasdal, 41, added that it’s been a long time since he’s needed assistance with finding work, but he was hoping the local Employment Department office could help him land a job — and he’s not too particular about the work.
    “Anything that’ll get me started, I guess,” he said.
    Part of the intake and assistance process for people receiving unemployment benefits has to be conducted in person, and Corvallis-area workers will need to come to the Albany office to do that, said Tracy Moreno, the department’s assistant manager for Linn and Benton counties.
    People in outlying parts of the county, however, may be able to take care of that by calling the Albany office.
    “If they live more than 25 miles from the center, like if they live out in Blodgett or somewhere, they can do it by phone,” Moreno said.
    Even with the reduced hours in Corvallis, many of the department’s services still are available online or by phone, and people without computers of their own can access the Internet for free at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.
    In addition to staffing the Corvallis office two days a week, the department will continue to conduct monthly workshops in the Corvallis area for people who want to apply for state government jobs. Biweekly testing sessions for career readiness certificates will continue as well, Moreno said.
    “We don’t want to take services away from people,” Moreno said. “We’re doing what we can.”
    Reporter Bennett Hall can be contacted at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@gazettetimes.com.

  2. Border Agents' Hours Cut Despite Border Crisis - Border patrol agents frustrated by cuts to overtime, by Ryan Lovelace, National Review Online via nationalreview.com
    LAREDO, Tex., Rio Grande Valley, USA - Some Border Patrol agents have been told to work fewer [ovoertime] hours since the influx of Central American children at the border began a few months ago, sources tell National Review Online.
    While agents in the Rio Grande Valley are working six days per week, Shawn Moran, vice president at-large of the AFL-CIO-affiliated National Border Patrol Council, tells NRO some Border Patrol stations have had reductions since the border crisis began. Moran says he does not know which stations have seen reductions, but he does not think any of the reductions came as a result of the crisis.
    Spokespeople from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency referred NRO to the Department of Homeland Security. DHS officials did not immediately return requests for comment.
    Former National Deputy Chief of Border Patrol Ronald Colburn tells NRO the Obama administration is systematically implementing a liberal approach to illegal immigration that is “starving” Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol officials’ operations.
    “It’s ironic that over the past decade we’ve doubled the staffing levels of sworn uniformed armed officer personnel, yet we now find them with their sleeves rolled up repairing vehicles, processing paperwork, answering phones, changing diapers, mixing formulas, playing badminton with children—they’re doing anything except patrolling the border,” says Colburn, who has just returned from a trip to the processing center at the Nogales Border Patrol Station in Tucson, Arizona.
    [Doubling staffing levels is good, but only when it's a converson of chronic market-demanded overtime into hiring (which this doubling may? may not? be) - "market-demanded" or as close as government can get.] “And [it’s] contrary to their own mission, but it’s out of their hands.”
    Colburn is a veteran with more than 30 years’ experience working in U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He has served as the director of law enforcement on the White House Homeland Security Council. Colburn tells National Review Online one Border Patrol agent working in CBP’s intelligence division at the agency’s Washington, D.C., headquarters called him to complain about a letter informing the agent, “We’re cutting 20 percent of your pay, don’t work over eight hours a day, and don’t work holidays, don’t work nights, and don’t work weekends.”
    [Cuts to chronic overtime are good, but not nearly as good as cuts plus compensatory hiring.]
    Colburn says this agent was called into work in Washington the previous Saturday because the computers went down and someone was needed to oversee the people fixing the “very sensitive” intelligence program. Colburn says the agent then asked him, “Now that I’ve gotten the letter, does that mean next week when it [the computers] goes down and they call me I should sit there on my cellphone and negotiate whether or not they’re going to compensate me for it since I’ve already worked my 40 hour work week?” In the past the agent would just go in, Colburn says, but now he’s been told not to come in on weekends.
    It’s not just agents in Washington who are disgruntled, Colburn says. While federal law enforcement jobs are fun, exciting, and well paid, he says, agent’s attitudes change when they are told their services are being limited. One Border Patrol agent from Laredo, Texas, told Fox News that Border Patrol’s “morale is at a very low level” and said the federal government is naïve to think the nation’s border is secure.
    Regarding the influx of Central Americans, Colburn says, “We’ve been through this before.” He points out that in 1989, the United States experienced a flood of immigrants from Central and Southern America. “We dealt with it by increasing resources down there [at the border], but also by bringing consequences to it, in other words, putting people in jail,” he says.
    [People still don't get it. Once you get into detention centers and jails, you've lost. This is essentially a tennis game. You've got to send that ball back over the net AS SOON AS it comes in, or there's NO BORDER.]
    When he learned of President Obama’s request to Congress for approximately $3.8 billion to address the border crisis, Colburn says he thought of what Border Patrol could have done if it had received that much money in the first place. Now he says it’s “almost too late” because “the barn door is open, cows are in the garden.” Colburn says he’d give this administration an F grade for its handling of the border crisis. “I think the administration has not just failed the American people, but failed the people that serve them and risk their lives daily and nightly on the line,” he says. “It’s a sad situation to see knowing how hard we’ve worked all these years to make such gains, only to see reversals.”
    — Ryan Lovelace is a William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow at the National Review Institute.<P>


7/16/2014 – 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. Will a 4-Day Workweek Work for Your Company? by Brian O'Connell, TheStreet.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA -- The idea of a four-day workweek has been bandied about for years, but few companies have taken the plunge, fearful of reduced worker productivity.
    But a Brigham Young study on the topic shows staffers who work four-day weeks boasting of better home lives, more satisfaction with their jobs and less incentive to seek work at another firm. Additionally, 60% said they were more productive.
    Yet only 7% of companies give employees the option of a four-day week, even as personal errands and trips away from the job during business hours have increased 31% since 2011.
    Google Chief Executive Larry Page also made news on the topic, calling recently for a shorter workweek for global companies.
    One way to get the attention of company executives is through its investors, and it's investors who are coming around on the idea and letting companies know about it.
    According to a study from Spectrem's Millionaire's Corner, 70% of corporate investors (who are also millionaires) say the four-day week is a "valid idea." Women investors are especially bullish, with 82% of those surveyed liking the idea compared with 62% of male investors.
    To both groups the best approach is to schedule four 10-hour days. A minority says four eight-hour days would work -- although that would lead to a 20% cut in compensation with less hours of work.
    [Why cut compensation when 60% of staffers say they're more productive and the probability is that productivity is the same or higher due, e.g., to prioritization?]
    More from Millionaire's Corner:
    • A four-day workweek appeals more to the unmarried; 82% of unmarried investors think a four-day workweek is a valid idea, compared with 66% of married investors.
    • 21% of investors under the age of 40 do not think checking work email at home should be allowed, compared with 8% of investors between the ages of 51 and 60.
    The message from the millionaire investing class to corporate decision-makers is simple: A four-day workweek will not only help develop happier workers, it might even make them more productive.
    Career professionals who want three days off every week will hope that message gets through to corporate America and that four-day workweeks become as commonplace as telecommuting, a workplace change considered out of the question 20 years ago.

  2. St. Louis carriage horses get 40-hour workweek, 5-week vacation, AP via Kansas City Star via kansascity.com
    ST. LOUIS, Mo., USA - The St. Louis health director is calling for better working conditions for city carriage horses.
    City Health Director Pam Walker on Tuesday ordered the animals to be sidelined on days when the heat index reaches 100.
    She also set standards for ventilation and cleanliness for stables. Carriage companies are not allowed to work a horse more than eight hours a day, five days per week. Each animal is now entitled to a five-week vacation every year.
    [America treats its animals better than its people. It's still the only developed economy with NO MINIMUM VACATION LAWS.]
    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that at least one carriage company owner says he will ignore Walker’s requirements.
    Walker previously said she wanted to ban the companies but has softened her position. She says she doesn’t have the authority to ban the companies outright.

  3. Workweek Needn't Maximize Overtime Pay To Comply With FLSA, Fifth Circuit Decides, by Jay-Anne B. Casuga , (7/15 late pickup) Bloomberg BNA via bna.com
    NEW ORLEANS, La., USA — A Texas environmental solutions company didn't violate the Fair Labor Standards Act by using a Monday through Sunday workweek that didn't maximize overtime wages for two hourly employees, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled July 14.
    Affirming summary judgment for Heckmann Water Resources Inc., the Fifth Circuit found that the FLSA, as interpreted by Labor Department regulations, requires employers to establish a workweek that is a “fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours” or “seven consecutive 24-hour periods.”
    The court said Heckmann complied with that requirement by setting a work schedule for hourly employees Kevin Johnson and Brad Smith that involved 12-hour shifts over seven consecutive days beginning every other Thursday—even though that schedule spanned two Monday-through-Sunday workweeks and reduced their potential overtime hours from roughly 44 hours to between four and eight hours.
    “The mere fact that an established workweek does not maximize an employee's overtime compensation does not, standing alone, violate the FLSA,” the court said.
    Judge Edward C. Prado wrote the opinion, joined by Judges Patrick E. Higginbotham and Edith Jones. Workers Sought Thursday-to-Wednesday Workweek
    Heckmann established two-week pay periods for employees based on a Monday through Sunday workweek.
    Smith and Johnson were assigned to work 12-hour shifts over seven consecutive days beginning every other Thursday, with Smith starting at 6 a.m. and Johnson at 6 p.m.
    The employees argued that Heckmann should have established a Thursday-to-Wednesday workweek to align their pay periods with their actual work schedules, instead of using a Monday-to-Sunday workweek.
    Under a Thursday-to-Wednesday workweek, Smith and Johnson contended that they each would have earned roughly 44 hours of overtime pay per two-week pay period. However, under the Monday-to-Sunday workweek, they received only four to eight hours each of overtime pay.
    In October 2011, they sued Heckmann, alleging that the company violated the FLSA by calculating their overtime pay based on the Monday through Sunday workweek.
    The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granted summary judgment to Heckmann, and the workers appealed.
    FLSA Workweek Needn't Reflect Actual Schedule
    The Fifth Circuit affirmed and ruled that Smith and Johnson failed to point to any authority requiring Heckmann to ensure that its established FLSA workweek coincided with the employees' actual Thursday through Wednesday schedules.
    The FLSA's implementing regulations at 29 C.F.R. § 778.105 state that a workweek “may begin on any day and at any hour of day” and “need not coincide with the calendar week,” so long as it is a “fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours—seven consecutive 24-hour periods.”
    Heckmann's Monday through Sunday workweek complied with that requirement, and nothing in the plain text of the FLSA's rules required the company to use Smith and Johnson's proposed Thursday through Wednesday workweek, the court found.
    “The mere fact that an established workweek does not maximize an employee's overtime compensation does not, standing alone, violate the FLSA,” Judge Prado wrote.
    The appeals court added that a January 2009 DOL opinion letter, as well as the Eighth Circuit's factually similar and persuasive ruling in Abshire v. Redland Energy Services, LLC, 695 F.3d 792, 19 WH Cases2d 1217 (8th Cir. 2012), supported its conclusion.
    “[N]umerous federal and state courts have concluded that an employer does not violate the FLSA merely because, under a consistently-designated workweek, its employees earn fewer hours of overtime than they would if the workweek was more favorably aligned with their work schedules,” the court said, quoting Abshire. “Thus, a schedule whereby an employee's actual work schedule is split between two workweeks does not violate the [FLSA].”
    Charles R. Dendy of Lufkin, Texas, represented Johnson. Hermes Sargent Bates LLP represented Heckmann.
    To contact the reporter on this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga in Washington at jcasuga@bna.com
    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at smcgolrick@bna.com
    Text of the opinion is available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Kevin_Johnson_et_al_v_Heckmann_Water_Resrc_CVR_Inc_et_al_Docket_N
    .

  4. New working hours regulation under German law, by Eckehard Volz, TheLawyer.com
    HAMBURG, Germany - In Germany, new rules specifically designed to regulate the limits of working hours in the offshore industry came into effect on 1 August 2013. The “Regulation on Working Time in relation to Offshore Work” (Offshore-Arbeitszeitverordnung, “OAZV”) grants extensive exceptions to the German Working Time Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz) and also to the new German Maritime Labour Act (Seearbeitsgesetz) in order to accommodate the particular circumstances associated with the construction, operation and maintenance of wind turbines at sea. These distinctive circumstances are, inter alia, a distance to the coast line of up to 100 kilometres, a long journey of several hours on board the ships to the offshore site, and extreme weather conditions due to stronger winds and high waves.
    The OAZV permits a more flexible regime with regard to working time schedules and simultaneously provides corresponding labour protection measures for the employees. Prior to the OAZV, operators had to obtain special licences on a case-by-case basis to extend the general limits of working hours.
    The OAZV applies in German territorial waters and in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (“EEZ”), but is limited to (i) crew members of German flagged vessels, and (ii) any other employee not being part of the vessel’s crew who is performing "offshore work”, which according to the German Working Time Act is defined as “special activities to erect, modify or operate buildings, artificial islands or any other installation at sea”. Crew members of foreign flagged vessels remain subject to the relevant flag state regime under the general maritime rules, even if laying in a German port.
    In general, the OAZV provides for two different regimes in relation to the maximum admissible working hours: (i) one in relation to crew members of vessels which perform offshore activities; and (ii) the other in relation to any other kind of employee, who performs offshore work as defined above.
    In comparison to the general (onshore) regime the OAZV allows the extension of the daily maximum of working hours for employees from 10 to 12 hours per day in order to allow the common 12-hour-shift system. However, this requires a total rest period of a minimum of 60 minutes during working hours. Working offshore on weekends and holidays is generally allowed.
    These extensions of working time are accompanied by a limit to the time the employee spends offshore, i.e. at sea. This limit amounts to 21 consecutive days, provided the employee’s daily working hours do not exceed 10 hours on average. In this scenario, 12 hour shifts are only allowed on seven of these 21 days, and on two consecutive days only. Alternatively, if employees work longer shifts, up to a maximum of 12 hours (including the minimum rest period), the allowed offshore time is limited to 14 consecutive days.
    The OAZV also contains a specific mechanism for the calculation of transfer time. Cumulated transport and working time must not exceed 14 hours per day, unless either the employee has access to a sleeping cabin on board or the transport returning employees to land is delayed due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the employer’s control.
    The OAZV also provides a sophisticated compensation scheme for the employee’s offshore time by way of time-off in lieu. The basic rule is that employees are granted one free day for every eight hours of overtime (i.e. daily working time exceeding eight hours), which should generally be granted on a continuous basis directly following the time spent at sea.
    Where the employer wilfully or negligently, inter alia, fails to ensure that the maximum working hours or offshore periods at sea are not exceeded, or does not grant the appropriate time-off in lieu, or does not record the working time properly, the employer can be fined up to EUR 15,000.
    Article contributors: Christian Reinert


7/15/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Technology Could Enable the Four-Day Work Week, by Jon Packer, Huffington Post Canada via huffingtonpost.ca
    [Isn't that its whole purpose, more of the most basic freedom, free time - or at least the purpose they sold it to us on = "to make life easier for everybody!"]
    TORONTO, Ont., Canada - Well not exactly. But Larry Page, co-founder of Google, does tell us that working a 40-hour week is an out-moded employment model. He believes that through smart design and technology we could work a four-day week or less. Now, with over $32 billion in the bank it is easy for Page to make such lofty assertions, but he might have a point.
    Working less is nothing new. Today, Canadians work an average of 36.6 hours a week. A century ago it was an exhausting 105 hours of toil, seven days per week.
    This transformation had its origins in the industrial revolution where new manufacturing processes vastly increased the production output of a single person. However, it was also a time of child labour and 16 hour workdays, and not until the late 1900's were early unionized movements successful in lobbying for an 8-hour day
    The industrial revolution was an engineering revolution, but also one where design played a critical role in increasing our efficiency over the past 100 years or so. Today, we are bombarded daily with the latest tech innovations from Seoul, Seattle and Cupertino CA, but consider the time-saving design and engineering marvels of the past century that we now take for granted -- the modern shower (1899), vacuum cleaner (1901), massed produced automobile (1908), washing machine (1908), highway (1911), refrigerator (1913), electric razor (1932), personal computer (1957), jet airplane (1958), cell phone (1973) and the internet (1983).
    These time-saving devices, combined with a shorter work week, are creating the next great revolution opportunity -- what should we do with all the free time?
    We're already seeing volunteerism at a 30-year high, up more than 32 per cent in the US. Businesses such as insurance giant Manulife Financial are even embedding this ethos into the workplace through their Community Spirit program, which offers employees a paid day off to volunteer for a charity. Personal fitness has become a priority for many, with physical activity rates up in Canada by 11 per cent in the past 20 years, and wellness tourism has quickly become a huge, $400 billion global market.
    Here too, design and technology have been important, launching the age of the entrepreneur, where interests become careers and the beach is the new office. Working less frees us to think more, which is where creativity and innovation begin. We are seeing this already with solar technology that can reduce greenhouse emissions, electric vehicles that reduce our reliance on oil and clean water systems that are vastly increasing access to a healthy water supply, helping reduce the global prevalence of diarrhea by 26 per cent.
    By almost any measure, a reduced work week has been good for society. Reducing it further should not be cause for panic. In fact, while the average hours worked has dropped by almost two-thirds over the past century, employment has stayed remarkably constant. The UK unemployment rate was 5.1 per cent in 1907 and 5.3 per cent in 2007. Rather, we should recognize this as a continuum that will allow us to be productive in other ways, improving our own well-being as well as that of our community and beyond.
    These may be seen as the hippy ideals of another generation, but 47 years after the Summer of Love when Timothy Leary urged us to turn on, tune in, drop out, it might just be that design and technology are combining to make a hippy of us all.

  2. Make 5-day work week compulsory, says MTUC – , Bernama via MSN Malaysia News via news.malaysia.msn.com
    PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - Putrajaya should make it compulsory for the private sector to implement a five-day work week to increase productivity, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said today.
    Its deputy secretary-general, A.Balasubramaniam, said this would also help to streamline the working days with government agencies, departments and financial institutions.
    He said MTUC had been receiving complaints that many companies in the shipping, forwarding, logistic and ancillary service sectors were still practising a six-day work week with Saturdays as half-day.
    [So, Malaysia is still struggling to get into the 20th century.]
    An MTUC survey revealed that these companies dealt mainly with businesses that closed on Saturdays.
    "What use is it to open for business when your counterparts are closed?"
    He added that it was a waste of time and money, besides lowering employee morale.
    He said the Human Resources Ministry should take the initiative to educate these businesses on the benefits of a five-day work week, which, among others, provided leisure and quality time for employees to be with their families and friends, and improve the overall job satisfaction and quality of life.


7/13-14/2014 – 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. Kurzarbeit, the German way to avoid layoffs, gets traction in the US, by Cecilio Morales, 7/14 The Washington Socialist via Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America via dsadc.org
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Nebraska became the 29th state in the United States in past weeks to establish a layoff avoidance work-sharing unemployment insurance program. Unfortunately, time runs out next month for amending laws to meet federal requirements and in other respects, including funding, the U.S. program will begin to wind down through 2015.
    Known in Germany as kurzarbeit (literally “short work”), the strategy goes back to German union initiatives in 1985 to increase employment. Back then it was an outgrowth of earlier measures by socialist governments in France and Belgium to increase employment by simply reducing the work week to 35 hours.
    In Germany, the initiative came from major companies seeking to avoid the mass U.S.-style layoffs of the 1980s and ever since. German firms have had, by law, union representatives on their boards of directors since the early postwar era. Kurzarbeit has been credited with avoiding in Germany the full slump that hit its neighbors as the 2008 crisis spread through Europe, and with speeding that nation’s economic recovery, now in full swing.
    The original conception is simple. Instead of letting go of 20 workers in a facility of 100, all 100 get a 20 percent cut in their work hours and pay; moreover, the German state deems the workers partially unemployed, thus compensates them accordingly on a pro-rata basis. This spares the worker the dislocation, psychological drawbacks and family disruption of job loss; it also assures that the worker’s skills keep up with the latest in his or her occupation.
    Some economists, notably Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Microeconomic Analysis Jennifer Hunt, have questioned the value of work sharing. In a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Hunt found that in the 1980s work sharing increased employment and benefited workers as wages rose; however, she said the growth rate was smaller than in the United States and there was some loss of output. In The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Hunt speculated that it might lead employers to seek other “inputs” rather than labor.
    However, in the broader policy arena observers ranging from the likes of Kevin Hassett, from the conservative American Enterprise Institute, to economist Dean Baker, of the progressive-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research, have publicly given high marks to U.S. work sharing.
    As a result, the American policy of short-time compensation (STC) is federal law. In 2012, Congress passed legislation pushed by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) to help launch STC programs. Also, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, signed Feb. 22, 2012 by President Obama, includes the Layoff Prevention Act of 2012, which offers subsidies to states starting STC programs, including $100 million in grants.
    In the states that amend their unemployment insurance laws as required for STC, employers may voluntarily arrange to reduce work hours between 10 and 60 percent and allow workers to claim partial unemployment insurance. The workers, like any UI claimants, must be available for other work during those compensated hours and submit to all the other requirements of unemployment compensation.
    The District of Columbia is a participating jurisdiction. Maryland has an STC program; Virginia as of 2013 does not. Otherwise, the states that currently have STC programs include the predictable ones: the Northeast and New England, the Great Lakes states and the entire West Coast. In the South, only Arkansas and Florida have an STC program. The Southwest states include Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma. The Central states with STC are Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

  2. Labour hoarding in Germany - Employment effects of short-time work during the crises, 7/13 (7/02 late pickup) Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung = (federal) Institute for Employmentmarket- & Job-research via iab.de via FinancialReview.biz
    [We would call it, not "hoarding" labour, which has a negative connotation, but maintaining employment and consumer spending AND a positive Multiplier Effect.]
    BERLIN, Germany - During the crisis (2008-09) Germany experienced a huge decrease in GDP. Employment, however, remained surprisingly stable.
    A whole strand of literature has aimed at quantifying the contribution of short-time work to the German labour market miracle.
    In the course of this literature we estimate the treatment effect of short-time work on employment at establishment level [standard economese?] using a dynamic propensity score matching approach.
    The analysis is based on data from the IAB Establishment Panel combined with administrative data on short-time work establishments from the Federal Employment Agency.
    Our results do not indicate any treatment effect of short-time work on employment.
    *AB-Discussion Paper 17/2014


7/12/2014 – 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. For local government workers, it's TGIT, by Conor Shine (7/13 early pickup) LasVegasSun.com
    LAS VEGAS, Nev., USA - Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin hears the complaint frequently: Why isn’t City Hall open Fridays?
    “That’s a gripe everybody has,” Coffin said. “It’s unfortunate. I’d like us to be open on Fridays.”
    But the fact is, shuttering municipal buildings in Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas one day a week saves millions in salaries and utilities. And with local governments still feeling the economic pinch after the Great Recession, residents are unlikely to see cities change their business hours soon.
    Although it’s an inconvenience for residents and business interests, it’s a perk that most local government workers have come to expect. In the valley, only the Clark County Government Center is open five days a week.
    Four-day government workweeks went mostly unnoticed for years, as employees worked staggered shifts that kept city halls open Monday through Friday.
    But shrinking budgets have prompted several government offices to close Fridays, meaning residents with business to conduct need to go online or wait until Monday.

    Las Vegas
    City Hall hours: 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday
    Typical employee schedule: Four 9.5-hour shifts — 38 hours per week
    Departments open Fridays: Fire, animal control, traffic enforcement, jail, municipal court, sewage plant, parks and recreation, code enforcement, building inspections, phone bank
    Las Vegas City Hall began closing Fridays in 2011 after the city’s largest union, the Las Vegas City Employees’ Association, shifted workers to 38-hour workweeks.
    City officials say the dark day saves $6 million a year in salary costs and $170,000 a year in heating and electric charges. The schedule change was one of several cost-saving measures the city enacted to help close a budget gap.
    Some developers have griped about city officials’ unavailability on Fridays. To ease their concerns, most departments started opening an hour earlier, at 7 a.m.
    The city also offers business licensing and planning submission tools online.
    •The reasoning: “We used to allow some employees to decide whether they wanted to take off every other Monday or every other Friday. From an operations standpoint, it’s difficult for managers and supervisors if half of those folks are off on Mondays and half are off on Fridays. ... Alternating the days was a bit problematic for us, so it’s more efficient to have everybody off on the same day.” — Mark Vincent, chief financial officer
    North Las Vegas
    City Hall hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday
    Typical employee schedule: Four nine-hour shifts — 36 hours per week

    [But those French are sooo radical and lazy for their 35-hour workweek since 2001, right? right? Us Americans would never do anything remotely like that! We're going to work hard to get ahead no matter how many worksaving robots we have! (cuz we're scared of real freedom and actually getting a life?)]
    Departments open Fridays: Code enforcement, building inspection, utility customer service, police, fire, libraries, parks and recreation, public works, golf courses
    North Las Vegas was the first local government in Southern Nevada to make the switch. City Hall began closing Fridays in 1977 as a cost-saving measure.
    In 1997, city officials reopened government offices on Fridays to better serve residents and encourage development, but officials kept workers on the four-day, 36-hour schedule union members negotiated in 1977. Some employees worked Monday through Thursday, others Tuesday through Friday.
    But City Hall struggled with staff shortages. Two years later, on a consultant’s recommendation, the city began closing the government building again on Fridays, saving about $3 million a year.
    • The reasoning: “The four-day work week has meant significant savings. ... Employees are paid for a 36-hour workweek, instead of the usual 40. Additionally, the city realizes important energy savings. Residents also have an extra hour to conduct business at city hall and have gotten used to the building being closed on Fridays.” — Mitch Fox, spokesman
    Henderson
    City Hall hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday
    Typical employee schedule: Four 9.5-hour shifts — 38 hours per week
    Departments open Fridays: Police, fire, utilities, parks and recreation, convention center, detention center, building and fire inspections, code enforcement, quality control inspections, facilities maintenance
    Four-day workweeks began in 1983 as part of a collective bargaining agreement, but shifts were staggered to keep Henderson City Hall open Fridays.
    That changed in 2009 when officials began shuttering government operations on Fridays to save money. They also laid off employees.
    The closure cut heating and electric costs by $140,000 and salaries by $6.4 million, city officials said. The city shifted to earlier opening times Monday through Thursday.
    • The reasoning: “We’re paying our employees two less hours a week, so there’s some savings in salaries and benefits, as well as some energy savings from closing city hall on Fridays.” — Kathy Blaha, spokeswoman
    The Exception: Clark County
    County Government Center hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
    Typical employee schedule: Five eight-hour shifts — 40 hours per week.
    Switching Clark County to a four-day-a-week operation has been casually discussed for years but never seriously considered. Staying open on Fridays in some cases is required by law and in others is simply practical, County Manager Don Burnette said.
    State law requires the county assessor, recorder, treasurer, clerk and sheriff’s offices to be open five days a week.
    McCarran International Airport, University Medical Center and the Department of Family Services operate around the clock.
    Departments such as social services and the court system benefit from being open weekdays, county officials said.
    “Based on what we do, we should have office hours across the entire workweek,” Burnette said. “I don’t want to reduce the number of days our offices are open to public.”
    With the lights on for many of the county’s largest departments, any energy savings realized by closing some departments would be negligible, Burnette said.
    “I don’t have the luxury of powering down the building,” he said.
    Still, about a third of county employees work atypical schedules because of union agreements. Some work four 10-hour shifts; others work 80 hours in nine days over two weeks.
    • The reasoning: “We leave a lot of decision-making in the hands of department heads. If at any time the department head determines that a four-day, 10-hour shift isn’t working — that we’re not as productive — the department head has the ability to change the schedule.” — Don Burnette, county manager.

  2. Latest Pa. OT Ruling Dooms Fluctuating Workweek Policies, by Dan Packel, (7/11 late pickup) Law360.com (subscription)
    PHILADELPHIA, Pa., USA -- National employers operating in Pennsylvania would be wise to avoid the fluctuating workweek policy of calculating overtime [OT] wages, attorneys told Law360, in the wake of a federal court decision Thursday that reiterated earlier findings that the practice violates state law.
    [Not of direct relevance to Timesizing's "fluctuating adjustment of the workweek against unemployment" in Phase 4 (in conjunction with energetic conversion of chronic OT into jobs in Phase 2 and Phase 3, but close enough to keep an eye on.]
    When he concluded in a class action that RadioShack Corp.’s overtime policy violated the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg — the first judge in the state’s Eastern District to address the matter — likely closed the door on the strategy. ...


7/11/2014 – 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. Rhodhiss Post Office to Remain Open; Cut Hours, WHKY.com
    RHODHISS, N.C., USA - According to published reports, the Town of Rhodhiss is cutting hours at its Post Office. The Rhodhiss Post Office will remain open, but hours for the front counter will be cut from 44 to 26 hours a week.
    There is no door-to-door mail delivery in Rhodhiss, which has no mailboxes at homes in the town. Citizens have post office boxes in the town’s Post Office.
    Had the Post Office been closed, citizens would have picked up their mail in a neighboring town. Rhodhiss straddles southern Caldwell County and eastern Burke County.
    Reduced hours will make it more difficult for citizens to pick up and mail packages and buy stamps, but the cutback is seen as a better alternative to closing the Post Office.

  2. Change of working hours in Ramadan suggested, by Nadim al-Hamid, ArabNews.com
    JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Public and private sector workers have called on the government to review working hours for Muslims in Ramadan to improve productivity, including looking at evening shifts. They told Arab News that the review should take into account changes to routines and sleeping hours during the month of fasting.
    They said there are poor services at many government offices during Ramadan, particularly during the first week when staff members are either absent or not doing their work.
    Ali Hazaa, who works for a private company, said he finds it difficult to get used to the different work schedule in Ramadan and is unable to get to bed early. He said lack of sleep results in lethargy at work.
    “It would be better for Ramadan to be a holiday for all employees so they can have enough time to fulfill religious obligations, or to have an evening shift so they can coordinate their work and prevent delays,” he said.
    Saleh Al-Hamadi, a worker, said: “I think it would be better for working hours to change to the evening during Ramadan so that staff are not lazy and can do their work properly.”
    Other workers, however, say that Ramadan does not affect their productivity. “I support the need for employees to work during Ramadan,” said Hassan Alqani. “But I think the work period should be reduced to two weeks during the month to allow individuals enough time to attend to their social and religious obligations, particularly during the last 10 days of Ramadan.”
    He said workers are tired and absent from work mainly because they have to adjust to new routines, especially at the beginning of the month.
    For Ahmed Eid, working in Ramadan is special because of the balance required for worship and working. “Undoubtedly, the productivity of employees declines during Ramadan for a number of health and biological reasons, but I think this is exacerbated by the later working hours in Ramadan, which starts at 10:00 a.m.,” he said. “Making working hours from 7:00 a.m. to 12 noon in my opinion would be much better in terms of regulating employees' time and productivity levels.”
    Khaled Al-Zahrani said he prefers working during Ramadan and does not find it difficult. “I prefer working during the day in Ramadan because it is easier. There are fewer people at government departments during this time.”
    Ahmed Asiri said something must be done to improve productivity at government departments. “We have a hard time at government departments in Ramadan because there are fewer employees. This results in paperwork and procedures taking longer,” he said.


7/10/2014 – 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. Summer Sends Students Looking For Jobs, O.J. Early, GreenevilleSun.com
    GREENEVILLE, Tenn., USA - East Tennessee State University [ETSU] student Javan Wilhoit isn't finding much time to relax over her summer break.
    The South Greene High School graduate is working two part-time jobs -- 30 hours a week as a lifeguard with the Greeneville Department of Parks and Recreation and 30 hours a week in the nursery at Greene County Christian School.
    [How sure are we that she's not taking twice her share and depriving some other student of ANY hours a week? Shortening the workweek does not open up more jobs if people double up or moonlight. That's why we have Phase 3 of the Timesizing Program - to ensure that individual overwork, in terms of a total overtime per individual from all sources, gets converted into hiring - and training whenever needed.]
    Plus, she's taking four summer courses at ETSU.
    She plans to use some of the cash she makes this summer to pay for student loans. A chunk of the rest will help fuel up her vehicle for commutes to Johnson City for her ETSU courses.
    "I think it's more rewarding if you pay for school yourself so that when you get your diploma, it will really mean something," she said. "And it's always nice to have a little extra money."
    'Positive outlook' for summer jobs
    School is out, and for many high school and college students, that means it's time to find a summer job.
    Snagajob, an employment marketplace for hourly job-seekers and employers, announced earlier this year a "positive employment outlook" for some summer job sectors.
    [But that's their business - what would we expect them to say? And anyway, they're qualifying it suspiciously to "some summer job sectors."]
    The organization's 2014 Summer Hiring Survey took responses from 250 employers in charge of hiring hourly employees in retail, hospitality and food industries.
    Most employers want to hire, according to Snagajob.
    [Oh yeah? What about the statement below: "The job picture isn't completely glossy, though"?]
    Nearly 75 percent of businesses anticipate hiring summer employees, with most of the employers surveyed expecting to add 25 summer workers.
    How much will these job-holders make? That depends on where they live.
    The average hourly wage in the West is $11.10, $10.43 in the Midwest, $10.19 in the East and $9.60 here in the South.
    Butch Patterson, director of the Greeneville Department of Parks and Recreation, has already hired about 50 high school-aged and college-aged students for the summer season.
    "We are probably one of the places that hire the majority [of young adults]," Patterson said.
    So far, his department has added 18 lifeguards, along with 12-15 score-keepers and 12-15 umpires for summer little league games.
    Students must be 16 years of age or older to apply.
    "All my lifeguards are college-aged kids or high school," he said.
    Manufacturing jobs, too
    The job picture isn't completely glossy, though.
    [So again we ask: How sure are we that Javan's not snagging twice her share and depriving some other student of ANY hours a week? How sure are we that the summer students aren't depriving unemployed adults of jobs? -]
    Greene County currently has more than 2,000 people unemployed, according to state figures. Teen unemployment has remained high in the Volunteer State, according to the Kids Count Data Center.
    [So if "Teen unemployment has remained high in the Volunteer State," Snagajob must be spoofin' about that "positive employment outlook."]
    The youth unemployment has remained above the national rate since the beginning of the Great Recession in late 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics.
    Temporary jobs are available in Greene County, though, according to a manager at a Greeneville employment service.
    [Haven't all jobs become "temporary"?]
    Many of those jobs exist in the manufacturing sector, according to Randstad senior staffing manager Phillip Waddell.
    "If they are on time for the interview, and have a good attitude, I'll put them to work," he said. "We definitely have positions available if people are looking for work."
    [But again, this is an employment service talking, not an actual employer.]

  2. Freson Bros. forced to cut hours, by Richard Froese, SouthPeaceNews.com
    HIGH PRAIRIE, Alta., Canada - Normally open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Freson Bros. [supermarket] has cut its business hours because of a shortage of [desperate, low-wage] staff.
    Freson has closed its doors from midnight to 5 a.m. since the first week of June, right in the heart of the busy summer tourism season.

    “This is the longest we have shortened our hours since we opened 24 hours a day in 1999,” says Matt Lovsin, store manager.
    Since he has been manager for the past seven years, the store has reduced hours, for a shorter time period.
    Even closing during early-morning hours, has hampered sales and demand for shoppers.
    “Surprising, it does cut into business,” Lovsin says.
    “We’ve had people phoning to ask us when we are opening, so there is an obvious need.”
    Freson has 80 part-time employees, but Lovsin would like to add 10 to help relieve other staff.
    “We just don't have a lot of people who want to work here,” Lovsin says.
    [...at how little he wants to pay them?...]
    “It’s also hard to find someone qualified to do the job.”
    He adds the federal government’s decision to suspend the temporary foreign workers program has hurt other businesses in town, it doesn’t affect him as much [oh no, 'course not!], with about 10 [what a coincidence!] on his staff under the program.
    As vice-president of the High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce, he says the suspension of the TFW program has already cut into the workforce in local businesses, including 45 per cent of staff at Subway and eight of 21 workers at A&W, with small businesses such as convenience stores and gas stations also affected.
    During the chamber’s May monthly meeting, members passed a motion to write a letter to the federal government to oppose the suspension under Employment Minister Jason Kenney.
    The temporary foreign workers program was also a prime issue in the federal byelection on June 30 in the riding of Fort McMurray - Athabasca as David Yurdiga retained the seat for the Conservative party.
    Specifically, the chamber sent letters to provincial Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pearl Calahasen, Town of High Prairie, Municipal District of Big Lakes, and Alberta Premier Dave Hancock.
    Several other local businesses have also sent letters opposing changes to the TFW program.


7/09/2014 – 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. Millionaires Support Four-Day Workweek, NBCNews.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Wealth, we hear constantly, comes from hard work.
    But Google chief Larry Page — no slouch in the wealth department — says the workweek should be shorter.
    So do most millionaires who commented in a recent survey.
    In a discussion with tech investor Vinod Khosla, Page said "the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people's needs is just not true." We spend too much time working for things we don't need, he said. One answer he suggested would be a "coordinated way to reduce the workweek.”
    [Like the Timesizing Program, say?]
    Easy for a billionaire workaholic to say.
    But even everyday millionaires think our workweek should be shorter. A survey by Spectrem Group found that more than 69 percent of [all or male-only?] millionaires surveyed (those with investible assets of $1 million or more) said they believed the four-day workweek is a "valid idea."
    Women were even more supportive — 82 percent of female millionaires backed the idea.

    A shorter week, though, doesn’t mean fewer hours. Most millionaires support four 10-hour days, so the standard workweek would still be 40 hourS.

  2. Agencies React to New 35-Hour Work Week Law for Child Entertainers, Soompi.com
    SEOUL, South Korea - Entertainment agencies, especially those whose talents are still minors, are baffled at some of the clauses included in the recently passed Culture and Arts Industry Development Law that will take effect starting July 29. The agencies expressed concern especially on the “legal working hours” that are said to not be in accordance with the current conditions that they are in.
    According to the law, child entertainers under the age of 15 can only render 35 hours of work in a week and should observe proper working hours which prohibits them from taking on projects from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. in the morning the following day. Observing the same working hours as those aged 15 and below, the young entertainers aged 15 and above will be allowed to work not exceeding 40 hours in one week and will be allowed to work an extra hour totaling to six hours a week with parental consent.
    But currently, considering the schedule that idols have, it would be hard to follow this kind of “working hours” set by the new law.
    In order to appear in music shows that are broadcasted during evenings, Idols have to prepare from the morning and have two to three rehearsals before the live show. It takes about 10 hours for one appearance on the broadcast shows. With this, the 35-40 hour work week will already be completed only with three to four appearances on television and there won’t be anymore time for other activities.
    Aside from music programs, the idols would have to be selective with their promotional appearances including variety programs and interviews. There would also be restrictions in performances, CF filming, and the earning potential of the idols.
    Thus, there is great concern and confusion about the scope and limits of the bill when it is implemented. According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, in the case of singers, the hours they spend on moving from one location to another and the hours spent resting and waiting will not be counted in the total work hours for the week. Only the relevant hours spent ‘providing the service’ including rehearsal and the actual live performance will be considered.
    The limitation on the actual scope of “service” isn’t stipulated in the article and hence, there could be a conflict between the singer and the agency.
    According to Jung Wook, the head of JYP Entertainment, “We have to adhere to the law but we can feel that there would be some difficulties.”
    Jung Tae Sung, the team leader of the Content Agency under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said, “This bill was passed to protect the interests of the child entertainers. We will continuously hear out the different opinions and make amendments in the process.


7/08/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. "Radical" labour move [our quotes], Financial Times, p.1 pointer to p.3.
    Lawmakers in South Korea are seeking to shorten the maximum working hours from 68 a week to 52 amid the president's pledge to boost employment rate to 70% by 2017.
    South Korea: Business fears a cut to working hours, by Song Jung-a, Financial Times, p.3 target article.
    Pending bill sparks output concerns [in the age of robotics? get serious!] but unions worry over members' pay, writes in Seoul.
    SEOUL, South Korea - With the world's governments grappling for ways to add jobs and improve living standards, South Korea has made a novel [not really] proposal - cutting employees' working hours.
    [which is exactly what the whole developed world DID for two thirds of the Industrial Revolution, and only stopped when employees got unstrategic and employers got shortsighted.]
    South Koreans are among the world’s biggest workaholics [= a pretty stupid thing to be in the age of robotics if & when you think about it], having put in an average of 2,092 work hours in 2012 – the third-longest in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.
    [In short, the third stupidest, for whom the Industrical Revolution might as well not have happened. And here's the answer to how the S.Koreans can have cut from 44 to 40 hours a week between 2004 and 2011 by company size, yet still be talking about reducing a 62-hour workweek -]
    Korea has a statutory working week of 40 hours, but allows 12 hours of paid overtime on weekdays and 16 hours on weekends, as Koreans, dogged by spiralling household debt, chase bonuses and the chance of promotion.
    [KJ: they fell into the trap = (PH:) the longer they work, the more they concentrate the market-demanded working hours on fewer people and shutout evermore anxious, mutually underbidding, general-wage-level-depressing jobseekers. And even if they do this 68 to 52 cut, they have an unnecessary absolute ceiling at 52 which should be porous to those who love their jobs and can prove it by reinvesting all overtime earnings in targeted job creation - and training wherever necessary - in short, they will still not have an adequate overtime design that {A} directly and smoothly converts chronic overtime into training and jobs, {B} totally disincentivates chronic overtime for both employers and employees, and {C} achieves full employment with a built-in runaway-inflation control that does not put the brakes on growth, as today's pathetic rate-increase inflation-control "tool" does.]
    Graph: *Average hours per worker per year 2011 (scan down)
    Lawmakers are now seeking to shorten the country’s working hours from the current maximum of 68 a week to 52, as part of President Park Geun-hye’s pledge to boost the employment rate from 65 per cent to 70 per cent by 2017.
    However, the move to wheel back on working hours has pitted trade unions against the country’s business leaders, especially those in Korea’s vital export sector where pressure on employees to put in extra hours is immense.
    A pending bill, submitted by the ruling party last year, has become a political hot potato. Business leaders – worried about reduced output and higher labour costs – oppose the idea, while labour unions welcome it, but on the condition that pay is not cut.
    “The proposed changes will no doubt result in disrupted production and added financial burden, not just for companies but for the whole economy,” says Lee Hyung-joon, director at the Korea Employers Federation. He estimates that the higher rates of pay for holiday work would force companies to shoulder an extra Won7.6tn ($7.5bn) immediately and an additional Won1.9tn a year.
    The supreme court is soon expected to rule on whether holiday work should be considered as overtime, in which case companies would need to double their pay for weekend work.
    Mr Lee stresses that Korean workers should boost their poor productivity in order to justify being paid the same wage for fewer hours worked.
    In 2012, Korea’s labour productivity per hour worked was just 66 per cent of the OECD average and less than half that of the US, prompting some large businesses to take action.
    Hyundai Motor has sharply reduced its working hours since introducing a new shift arrangement last year, but its productivity has increased thanks to investment in new facilities. Its labour union is now in talks with the company to cut working hours further as part of their annual collective wage negotiations.
    But this is not feasible for many cash-strapped small and medium enterprises, which suffer from labour shortages and have no financial room for investment. “Many SMEs will be pushed to the limit if holiday work is not allowed,” says Chun Hyun-ho, director at the Korea Federation of SMEs.
    Mr Chun is demanding a grace period and a phased introduction of the new bill, while unions insist that the labour act, if amended, should be implemented immediately without lowering wages.
    For Mr Baek, a South Korean employee of an online storage service provider, a 12-hour workday is normal and weekend work is not unusual for little overtime pay. Once, at 10pm, his boss jokingly asked why he was leaving so early.
    " “It is tough, but what can you do about it?” he says. “You have no choice to make a living.”
    The gulf heralds tough collective wage negotiations for Korean companies this summer, at a time when they already face a handful of thorny labour issues including raising the retirement age, increasing minimum wages and adding regular bonuses as base salary for calculating overtime and severance pay, which could sharply increase wage bills.
    “It won’t be so difficult to reach a wage deal for this year but all the other contentious policy issues will complicate the negotiations,” says Park Sung-shik, spokesman for the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions, adding that the umbrella labour group is considering a collective strike to put pressure on companies.
    Lee Ji-man, an economics professor at Yonsei University, is sceptical about the idea of creating jobs by reducing working hours, citing the country’s lack of labour market flexibility.
    [Mainstream economists are sooo often the stupidest and most backward about this, supposing their job to be...opposing common sense in all its forms. And sooo ignorant of economic history, yet often pulling the big 'bucks' - and for WHAT - holding humanity back in these dark ages of jerry-built economic core design?]
    “Companies are unlikely to hire more people because it is so hard to lay them off when work volume falls,” he says.
    [When you have full employment and lots of job options for employees, you can safely dismantle layoff restrictions - why isn't that obvious to these self-styled "professionals" (let alone "scientists")?!]

  2. Work Sharing Plans – Requirement Changes [Effective On or After July 6, 2014], HR Solutions Partners via hrspi.com
    SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - The California Employment Development Department (EDD) uses a special work sharing program to help companies avoid mass layoffs by sharing the available work among employees.
    AB 1392 changes the requirements for work sharing plans that take effect on or after July 1, 2014.
    Visit the California EDD’s *work sharing webpage for more information.

  3. Iowa amends its UI law regarding its voluntary shared work program, Wolters Kluwer via CCH® Unemployment Insurance via hr.CCH.com
    DES MOINES, Iowa, USA - Iowa has amended its Employment Security Law as follows:
    Voluntary shared work program. There is no longer a requirement that the layoffs for the shared work plan be temporary. Instead, the employer now will provide an estimate of the number of layoffs that would occur absent participation in the program.
    In addition, the shared work program is now open to everyone, not just full-time employees who normally work between 35-40 hours per week.
    The reduction in hours and the corresponding reduction in wages must be applied equally to all employees in the affected unit, not just to full-time employees. Also, fringe benefits must be provided to employees in affected units as though their workweeks had not been reduced or to the same extent as other employees not participating in the program.
    An individual will be eligible for shared work benefits for any week in which he or she performs paid work for the participating employer for a number of hours equal to not less than 20% and not more than 50% of the normal weekly hours of work for the employee, not in excess of the reduced hours established under the shared work plan as previously required.
    All benefits paid under a shared work plan will be charged in the manner provided for the charging of regular benefits.
    An employer may provide a training program as part of a shared work plan, which employees may attend during the hours that have been reduced, including a training program funded under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.

  4. Comments in response to Google's Larry Page (see 7/06-07/2014 #2 below), Hacker News via news.ycombinator.com
    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., USA - 2pasc 2 days ago
    France did that (the infamous "35-hour work week") in 2000.
    This has proven to be a disaster on multiple counts: - it created a mess in public hospitals where it completely screwed up the organization of shifts for nurses and doctors and lead to French hospitals decline - it benefitted profesionals and middle managers who got more vacation with maintained good wages - it ended up being horrendous to people with lower paid jobs as it became an opportunity for their wages to compress. It lead to a significant stagnation of wages among lower class workers, and eventually their impoverishment.
    I am actually surprised and disappointed that some of the smartest minds of our generation think that the best way to solve long term unemployment is to reduce the work week hours...
    1 point by mrtimesizingcom
    Sooo many errors in this sneering and ahistorical post.
    France voted-in that famous and world-leading 35-hour workweek as a 4-hour jumpdown from a 39-hour workweek in 1997 when unemployment was 12.6%. It took complete hold in early 2001 after several delays but with many companies anticipating. And before the US-led recession hit France in summer 2001, unemployment had come down to 8.6%. That's 1% less unemployment per hourcut, same result as the USA got in 1938-40 when the overtime section of the Fair Labor Standards Act set the maximum workweek at 44-42-40 in 1938-39-40 and unemployment went 19.0%-17.2%-14.6%.
    The "disaster" claimed is indeed just a dramatization of a cluster of tactical problems as mentioned in Clavalle's comment below.
    The "infamous" "radical" "disastrous" 35-hour workweek was adopted by some of the most conservative industries in the USA as early as the 1950s, such as insurance and academe. The workweek for clerks in that radical! industry on Wall Street was 37.5 hours in the 1960s. "2pasc" seems to be very easily "surprised and disappointed" indeed, possibly assumes that Moses brought down the frozen Forty Hour Work Week from Mt. Sinai along with the Ten Commandments, when in fact, between 1840 and 1940 the American workweek was cut in half, from over 80 to 40, via the fight for the 10-hour day generally achieved by 1865, and then the fight for the 8-hour day.
    The 35-hr wkwk's problem is the same as the 40. No level is permanently freezable when we are not frozen at the same level of worksaving technology. And when productive innovation is constantly injected against a workweek frozen at any level, however low-sounding to current ears, it gets responded-to by downsizing, leaving us with the folly of trying to get growth=UPsizing by downsizing. So yes, it should have been further lowered.
    In fact, as outlined in timesizingdotcom, chronic overtime needs to be energetically converted into training&hiring and the workweek needs to be regularly and repeatedly adjusted downward, as far as it takes, to create enough convertible overtime to achieve full employment and maximum consumer spending.
    The USA nationally hasn't nicked the workweek one nanosecond since 1940 and the resulting overt and covert downsizing has resulted in mind-boggling welfare, 'disability,' homelessness, begging, crime, a world-record prison population, suicide, longer&longer hours due to job insecurity, lots of quiet featherbedding, employee pilferage and sabotage, and clientless self-'employment', all of which people who talk the talk of freedom but are leary of the real thing, like "2pasc", seem to overlook or be OK with. But many "smartest minds" would prefer a world-leading low workweek to a world-leading prison population.
    The real freedom? the most basic freedom? Free Time, without which the other freedoms are meaningless or inaccessible.
    The promise of technology is to make life easier for everyone. That promise is betrayed when technology is responded-to by downsizing. That promise is only kept and delivered-upon when technology is responded-to by what might be called timesizing, as much as it takes to maintain or raise employment and economy-anchoring domestic consumer spending. Otherwise you get the Ford-Reuther Paradox: Henry Ford, "Let's see you unionize these robots!" Walter Reuther, "Let's see you sell'em cars."
    clavalle
    Sounds more like a cluster of tactical problems that can be solved individually than an overall strategic failure.
    I don't think it is a matter of the smartest minds of our generation trying to solve long term unemployment, but rather solving the problem of human effectiveness and happiness.
    The idea is that we don't have to waste peoples lives on everlasting drudge work.
    We've created this economic system collectively. We can change it... ...
    [Agreed. Interesting that design smarts are applied to every field except economics, and we so seldom see the phrase "economic design." A collective covert taboo like this invites investigation...and violation...and discard.]


7/06-07/2014 – 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. Full Employment and the Path to Shared Prosperity, by Dean Baker & Jared Bernstein, 7/06 (7/01 late pickup) https://portside.org
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - There are many policies that can reduce inequality, but there is none as straightforward conceptually and as difficult politically as full employment. The basic point is simple: at low rates of unemployment, the demand for labor allows workers at the middle and bottom of the wage distribution to achieve gains in hourly wages, annual hours of work, and thus income.
    Levels of unemployment are not the gift or curse of the gods; they are the result of conscious economic policy. The decision to tolerate high rates of unemployment is a choice. It is one that has enormous implications not just for the millions of people who are needlessly unemployed or underemployed but also for tens of millions of workers in the bottom half of the wage distribution whose bargaining power is undermined by high unemployment.
    Unemployment and Wage Growth
    In discussions of inequality and low wages, many on both the left and the right claim that what we need is a better educated workforce. Their argument is that because educated workers are more productive and workers’ pay reflects their productivity, they will earn more if we can persuade them to get more education. However, while more education is generally associated with higher wages, this is just part of the story. In most jobs, the value of workers’ labor depends on the demand for their labor. A retail clerk in a store or a waiter in a restaurant is far more productive, meaning they are generating far more revenue, when business is strong than when it is weak. This means that, in a strong economy, employers can afford to pay a worker with the same level of education and training a higher wage.
    Furthermore, when unemployment is low, workers are in a position to demand pay increases in accordance with their productivity. This is especially the case in parts of the private sector where unions are rare. A low rate of unemployment gives workers the bargaining power to demand a pay increase from their boss and to leave for new jobs if they don’t receive it. We saw this in the boom of the late nineties. The unemployment rate fell to its lowest levels since the early 1970s, bottoming out at 4.0 percent in 2000. From 1996 to 2000, workers up and down the income ladder saw substantial wage gains, as employers had to compete—to bid up their compensation offers—to get and keep the workers they needed.
    We found a consistent pattern between wage growth and unemployment. Low rates of unemployment are associated with faster rates of real wage growth, with the benefits concentrated among those at the middle and bottom of the wage distribution. Figure 1 shows the basic story.
    *Figure 1: Response of real wages to 1% drop in unemployment - by wage level and gender (scan down)
    In a world where the unemployment rate is permanently 1 percent lower, wages for male workers at the twentieth percentile of the wage distribution would be 12.4 percent higher. Wages for women workers at the twentieth percentile would be 8.9 percent higher. Wages for male workers at the fiftieth percentile would be 3.8 percent higher and for women workers 4.2 percent higher. The impact at the ninetieth percentile is limited and not statistically significant in the case of women. These implied wage increases can be compared to an actual path where the wages of men at the twentieth percentile fell by 14.9 percent between 1979 and 2011 and wages of women at the twentieth percentile rose by 4.8 percent (about 0.1 percent per year).
    Lower unemployment is not just associated with higher hourly wages for middle- and low-wage workers; it is also associated with more hours of work. A 10 percent reduction in the unemployment rate (for example, a reduction from 7.0 percent to 6.3 percent) is associated with a 2.5 percent increase in annual hours worked for households in the bottom fifth of the income distribution. House-holds in the middle fifth of the income distribution increase their hours by 1.2 percent on average. By contrast, a 10 percent drop in the unemployment rate is associated with an increase in annual hours of just 0.5 percent for households in the top fifth of the income distribution. In an economy where most workers at the top of the income distribution are working as much as they want, they don’t increase their hours much when the economy becomes stronger. On the other hand, workers at the middle and bottom of the income distribution often like to work more hours when they have the opportunity. A low rate of unemployment gives them this opportunity.
    Because unemployment affects wages and hours for the middle class and the poor, the rate of unemployment is important in determining the distribution of income. High rates of unemployment are likely to be associated with an upward redistribution of income, whereas when unemployment rates are low, most workers share in the gains from economic growth. It is not surprising that we have seen considerably higher unemployment rates in the period of upward redistribution since 1979. Figure 2 shows the relationship between the actual rate of unemployment and the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) estimate of the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU).*
    *Figure 2: Unemployment and the NAIRU (non-accelerating-inflation rate of unemployment (scan down)
    The unemployment rate was generally below the CBO’s estimate of the NAIRU for most of the pe-riod prior to 1979. The unemployment rate has been above the estimated NAIRU for most of the years since 1979. From 1949 to 1979 the unemployment rate was a cumulative 15 percentage points below the NAIRU. From 1980 to 2012 it has been a cumulative total of 31 percentage points above the NAIRU. Even if we exclude the years following the Great Recession, the economy would still have been a total of 16 percentage points above the NAIRU. Clearly, the period of rising inequality has been associated with an economy that has high unemployment. While unemployment certainly is not the only factor leading to increased inequality, it is a large part of the story.
    Getting Back to Full Employment
    If high unemployment is one of the obstacles to more equitable growth, then the question is: how do we achieve full employment? There are four main ways. Each route faces substantial political opposition, both because of powerful interests that would be hurt by paying higher wages and because of popular prejudices that are persistently promoted in the media.
    1. The Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Reserve has already pushed the overnight interest rate that it directly controls to zero, the lowest nominal rate it can set. However, if the Federal Reserve lowered the real interest rate (the nominal rate minus the inflation rate)—by raising the inflation rate—this could lead to increased investment and consumption. Paul Krugman and others support the idea that the Federal Reserve Board should commit itself to raising the inflation rate to 3 or 4 percent, thereby lowering the real interest rate. If businesses believe that the inflation rate will be 3 or 4 per-cent, then they will adjust their plans accordingly. For example, if they expect a 4 percent inflation rate over the next four years, this means that they expect they will be able to sell their products for 16 percent more four years from now than they do today. This will give them more incentive to invest and a willingness to pay higher wages if that is necessary to get qualified workers. The result would then be both more hiring and an inflation rate that is closer to the Fed’s target.
    It is questionable whether this inflation-targeting strategy could work. Japan’s central bank has re-cently tried this and seems to have been somewhat successful. Prices have stopped falling there (Ja-pan had been experiencing deflation) and have recently been rising at more than a 1 percent annual rate. This inflation rate is still less than the bank’s 2 percent target, but it is promising nonetheless.
    Levels of unemployment are not the gift or curse of the gods; they are the result of conscious economic policy. (blowout quote)
    There seems little downside risk to this policy, but those who own debt are not anxious to see its real value eroded through inflation. In addition, there is a persistent myth that raising the inflation rate from very low levels (0 percent to 1.5 percent) to low levels (2 percent to 4 percent) is just a short step away from Weimar-style hyperinflation. The persistence of this myth makes it difficult to muster sup-port for a more aggressive Fed policy and could make it difficult to sustain even the degree of stimulus we have seen to date from the Fed.
    2. Government Spending. The story of how the government can boost demand and create jobs through stimulus should be well-known. In an economy where there is not enough demand from the private sector, the government can create demand directly by spending money. It can also create de-mand indirectly by cutting taxes. The impact of the latter depends on people’s willingness to spend any tax cut they receive from the government. Low- and moderate-income households are likely to spend a large share of any tax cut, because they need the money. More affluent households will save much of any tax cut. For this reason, direct spending is a better route to boost demand than tax cuts.
    Any spending will create demand in the short term. Keynes famously joked about paying people to dig holes and fill them up again. Ideally, money spent to boost demand in the short term will also have beneficial effects in the long term. This was the goal of the portions of the 2009 stimulus package that were dedicated to upgrading infrastructure, modernizing the electricity grid, and supporting research in clean energies. The expectation was that spending in these areas would have longer-term benefits in the form of increased productivity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions on top of the immediate benefit of creating jobs.
    The stimulus worked as intended, creating 2 to 3 million jobs. The problem was that the collapse of the housing bubble left a much deeper hole than the stimulus was designed to fill. We actually needed somewhere in the range of 10 to 12 million jobs. And the economy continues to suffer from inadequate demand.
    The economy needs more stimulus. There is no shortage of areas—such as investment in our public goods, including both physical (infrastructure) and human capital—where government spending could help lay the basis for greater future prosperity. However, as a political matter, the prospect of any substantial new stimulus is at best remote.
    For many years now, Washington policymakers have become obsessed with budget deficits. Re-publicans have consistently opposed more stimulus spending, and among Democrats who supported it, many remain reluctant to sign on to any additional spending without some offsetting budget cuts and/or increases in taxes. It is possible to write bills that frontload stimulus spending and backload offsets for that spending (to pay for the stimulus spending numerous years after it occurs), but even this has been beyond Washington’s capacity.
    The decision not to have a stimulus and instead to reduce the deficit is a policy choice, not the natural order of things. The decision not to run deficits at a time of high unemployment is a government policy to keep the unemployment rate high. That may not be how proponents of low deficits view the policies they advocate, but it is the effect of these policies.
    Here, interests that prefer higher rates of unemployment can readily appeal to widespread public confusion about debts and deficits. The metaphor comparing the U.S. budget to a family budget continues to be powerful. With few politicians of either party willing to challenge it, the idea that we would deliberately run larger deficits to boost the economy and create jobs is a very difficult agenda to sell.
    3. The Trade Deficit. The current U.S. trade deficit is in the neighborhood of $500 billion a year (about 3 percent of GDP). This is money that is being spent but is not creating demand in the United States. It is the macroeconomic equivalent of increasing taxes on ordinary workers by $500 billion and doing nothing with the money. Needless to say, that would be a serious drag on the economy.
    Getting the trade deficit down means lowering the value of the dollar. There have been many proposals for reducing the trade deficit through other mechanisms such as trade agreements or industrial policy. The history of the former has been mostly negative. Our trade deals have tended to be associated with larger trade deficits. Well-executed industrial policy can have a positive impact on the trade deficit, but even in a best-case scenario it would take a very long time.
    By contrast, a lower-valued dollar makes our goods and services more competitive immediately. The run-up in the dollar following the East Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s is the cause of the large trade deficits of the last fifteen years. Figure 3 shows the non-oil trade deficit against the value of the dollar shown with a two-year lag.
    * Figure 3: Real value of the dollar and non-oil trade deficit (scan down) (scan down)
    To get these deficits down, we will need to lower the value of the dollar against the currencies of our trading partners. We don’t have to catch China or other countries “manipulating” their currencies. China and other countries openly peg their currencies against the dollar. They buy up large amounts of dollars to keep their currencies down and the dollar up. We just have to get them to stop buying dollars. (Contrary to what the budget deficit fanatics tell us, we should want China to stop buying our debt. That is how they “manipulate” their currency.)
    If we want other countries to raise the value of their currency against the dollar, we have to negotiate with them. This means giving up other demands, like enforcing Microsoft’s copyrights or Pfizer’s patents. Or it means not pressing for greater access for J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs to overseas financial markets. There is undoubtedly a set of concessions that we can make to China and other countries that will persuade them to raise the value of their currencies against the dollar.
    The reason that this has not been done to date is that the Obama administration places a greater priority on the demands of U.S. businesses than on bringing the economy to full employment. That may not be easy to change given the power of business, but it is important to understand. We have a large trade deficit, and therefore high unemployment, because it would be inconvenient for powerful business interests to have a smaller one.
    There is some bipartisan support for reducing the value of the dollar as a tool to get the trade deficit down. However, this support runs up against the many powerful interests that benefit from an overvalued dollar both directly and indirectly. The group that benefits directly includes large retailers like Walmart that have invested large amounts of money in setting up low-cost supply chains. Most major manufacturers have also outsourced a substantial portion of their capacity. Neither will be anxious to see the price of the items they import rise by 20 to 30 percent.
    In the indirect category, companies like Microsoft and Pfizer demand that the government work to increase enforcement of their copyrights and patents in China and elsewhere. The financial industry demands more access to foreign markets. If the United States were to win concessions on currency values, it would likely mean making concessions on enforcement of copyrights and patents or market access for the financial industry. This is a trade that top political figures in both parties are not anxious to make.
    It also doesn’t help that the media almost never discuss the trade deficit and even more rarely point out the simple accounting identity that demand going overseas is demand lost to the United States. As a result, the public is generally kept in the dark regarding the fact that the trade deficit is one of the largest obstacles to full employment at this moment.
    4. Sharing the Work. The final route for getting to full employment is reducing the average number of hours per job. This can be done through a variety of mechanisms. The most obvious is work sharing. This involves getting employers to cut back workers’ hours rather than lay them off. Twenty-six states [28 now?], including California and New York, already have work-sharing programs in place that operate through their unemployment systems. Instead of paying a worker half pay to be completely unemployed, the work-sharing system makes up half of the pay for the hours that a worker loses. If, for example, a worker’s hours are cut by 20 percent, then the unemployment insurance system makes up half of the lost wages. This would mean that the worker only sees a 10 percent reduction in wages. If this goes along with a four-day workweek, saving the worker the expense of commuting and other work-related expenses, the net loss in income might be relatively modest.
    We have a large trade deficit, and therefore high unemployment, because it would be inconvenient for powerful business interests to have a smaller one. (blowout quote)
    Germany has used work sharing with great success. Its unemployment rate has fallen to 5.2 per-cent from 7.8 percent at the start of the downturn even though its growth rate has actually been slightly lower than that of the United States. The program enjoys support from across the political spectrum as both business and labor see the value of keeping workers attached to the firm, building up skills, rather than a prolonged period of unemployment where they risk becoming permanently detached from the labor market.
    Work sharing also has had bipartisan support in the United States. Republicans in the House supported an amendment to a bill in 2012 that requires the federal government to pick up the tab for state work-sharing programs through 2014. The federal government will also cover the cost of setting up programs in the states that don’t currently have work sharing and modernizing the systems in the states that do.
    There are other steps that can be taken to reduce average work hours. Paid sick days and family leave are both important sources of flexibility that allow workers to balance the demands of their job and their family. They also have the effect of reducing the average number of hours worked in a year. Paid vacation is another way of reducing work hours. The United States is an outlier in not mandating that workers have some number of paid vacation days or holidays in a year. In many countries the standard is five or even six weeks a year. The average work year in most of Western Europe has 15 to 20 percent fewer hours than in the United States. While shortening hours may not lead to a proportional increase in jobs, there can be little doubt that fewer hours per worker means more demand for workers.
    This is also a policy that can be pursued at the state and even local level. For example, if people in California and Washington state want to ensure that their workers enjoy two to three weeks of paid vacation or paid family leave after the birth of a child, they can vote to do so, as they have in fact done in the case of family leave in California. This is a policy that can directly improve people’s work lives and lead to more people being employed.
    The route of reducing work hours to increase employment must overcome the general lack of inter-est in promoting full employment in our political system. In addition, it seems to tax the imagination of many people involved in the debate over economic policy. For example, early in President Obama’s first term in office, some senior officials worried that work sharing was simply a way of “spreading around the pain” of weak labor demand, as opposed to creating more jobs.
    High unemployment is an incredible waste of resources; people who have skills that are needed and want to work are being denied the opportunity. And it has a devastating impact on the lives of the people affected. Workers experiencing prolonged periods of unemployment often suffer from alcohol-ism, depression, and a wide range of physical ailments. Long-term unemployment increases the prob-ability of divorce and is destructive to children in the household. For these reasons we should do everything we can to reduce the rate of unemployment.
    High unemployment also affects the employed. The bottom half of the workforce only has the bar-gaining power needed to ensure that it gets its share of the gains from economic growth if there is low unemployment creating a tight labor market. We saw this in the late 1990s, but we have not seen it since.
    A tight labor market may prove especially important if we see the surge in productivity that some economists predict as robots displace larger numbers of workers. We doubt that robots will do all the work (we have heard it before), but there is no reason that this should be a bad thing in a properly functioning labor market. There are many examples of industries in which a rapid rate of automation has been associated with sharp reductions in work hours and increases in pay. This is what we should want to see. Robots could give us all more time and a better standard of living. Unfortunately, that is not the world that we are looking at today.
    Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Jared Bernstein is a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

  2. The 40 Hour Work Week; JM Keynes Got There First, by Larry Page of Google, 7/07 (7/08 early pickup) Forbes.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Google's Larry Page has been talking about the 40 hour work week and how it might be about time that we abandoned it as the standard that we live by. His co-founder at Google, Sergey Brin, doesn’t think we’re quite there yet. And it’s certainly an attractive vision that we shouldn’t need to labour so many hours in order to make ends meet.
    [Certainly not with current unpredented levels of worksharing technology: mechanization, automation, robotization.]
    But there’s a little secret about this that economists, with their secret decoder rings, already know and that they rarely tell the rest of us. Which is that working hours have been reducing for near two centuries now and it’s extremely likely that this is going to continue. Simply because as we get richer we generally decide to take some of that extra wealth as more leisure rather than the consumption of more goods or services.
    [But it's important not to phrase this passively, as employers would like us to, so we think it happens all by itself with no effort on our part. History shows a lot of focus, organization and effort went into it and even so, battles were usually lost - but the war was won because it made more sense than working harder in the context of miraculously productive technology and the culture was changed. It has unfortunately changed back, because nationwide working-hour reductions stopped in 1940 and the Fair Labor Standards Act has not lowered the start of overtime below 40 hours since that time. And maybe it's true that "as we get richer we generally decide to take some of that extra wealth as more leisure rather than..consumption" but since 1970 we have not been getting richer, only the top 1% has - so naturally Larry Page would not have noticed. The only thing that gets us, the 99%, richer is an employer-perceived shortage of jobseekers, as during the workweek reductions of 1938-40 and the War, 1941-45. This was constantly relieved by a promise-breaking response of downsizing after continuous waves of technological innovation promising "to make life easier for everyone" but the coup de grace for rising wages and growth-assuring consumer spending was the entry of the babyboomers into the job market around 1970. Wages and spending plateaued and started down, and we got poorer, not richer. It began to take two breadwinners, not one, to support the family, and job insecurity led millions to work longer, not shorter, as reported in Juliet Schor's "Overworked American" in 1992. The process was indeed intensified by housewives entering the workforce, CEOs downsizing after mergers&acquistions (multiplied to get market share SOMEhow!), and repeated jumps in the influx of migrants legal and illegal, spurred by repeated "amnesties."]
    Here’s the report about what Page actually said:
    “If you really think about the things that you need to make yourself happy—housing, security, opportunities for your kids—anthropologists have been identifying these things. It’s not that hard for us to provide those things,” he said. “The amount of resources we need to do that, the amount of work that actually needs to go into that is pretty small. I’m guessing less than 1% at the moment. So the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is just not true.”
    This [is] absolutely true although "1%" is probably rather undercooking it. We most certainly all don’t need to be working as hard as we are in order to meet everyones’ needs. But there’s a lot of weight upon *needs* there rather than desires which is what drives most of the modern economy. Still:
    “You just reduce work time,” Page said. “Most people, if I ask them, ‘Would you like an extra week of vacation?’ They raise their hands, 100% of the people. ‘Two weeks vacation, or a four-day work week?’ Everyone will raise their hand. Most people like working, but they’d also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests. So that would be one way to deal with the problem, is if you had a coordinated way to just reduce the workweek. And then, if you add slightly less employment, you can adjust and people will still have jobs.”
    This is a subject that [John Maynard] JM Keynes visited in his famous essay Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren. And while all sensible people have their doubts about “Keynesian Economics” there’s no doubt he was a most perspicacious economist. The essay looks at exactly this point: when will we actually be able to supply everyone’s needs with not all that much work? He [1930s] thought it would be some 15 years or so from now [2030s] and we’d all be working 15 hour weeks. Simply because productivity would have advanced so much that that’s all we would need to work.
    And this usually brings out the people shouting about why it hasn’t happened yet. But the thing is that [it] has happened, just not in quite the manner that everyone thought it would.
    Economists like to point out that there are not two types of time: paid work out in the market, and leisure. Actually, there are four: we have to add two more. The first is personal time: we cannot get someone else to sleep for us nor take our shower. So, some minimum amount of time is necessary just to continue to be human. And it’s the fourth part of time that causes so much confusion, that is unpaid working time in the household. Yes, cooking, cleaning, caring for the children, doing the washing: these are all things that households need to have done (assuming children for one of them [huh?]) and they’re generally things that are done without pay (direct pay that is) within the household. And the hours spent on these things have declined precipitately since Keynes wrote in the 1930s. I think these numbers are slightly exaggerated in both ways but one I’ve seen..said that to run a household in the 1930s took 65 hours a week of labour and that now it can be done on 5 (10 might be closer to the truth...).
    What has changed all of this is domestic technology. The vacuum cleaner, the electric or gas oven, the microwave, takeaway food joints, famously both Hans Roslin and Ha Joon Chang describe all of this as “the washing machine”. We have actually killed off at least one person’s full time work in that household, unpaid, labour. Our working hours in the market, paid, economy have declined for men and they have increased for women over those decades but the net effect for both sexes has been a significant expansion in leisure hours.
    [Not when job insecurity leads no one to want to leave the office first at night, and employers so much more in the driver's seat with current numbers of jobseekers looking for each job opening or part-timers looking for full time!]
    We have, already, been doing exactly what Page is suggesting we should be doing. We’ve been reducing the hours we “work” in response to changes in technology.
    [But in the worst possible slow way that keeps a surplus of anxious jobseekers willing to work for less and never provides plentiful job options for underpaid or mistreated employees to switch to.]
    We already do take more of our increased wealth in greater leisure.
    [Again, "we" the 99% do not have increased wealth, and we're not getting greater financially secure leisure, we're getting greater financially insecure un(der)employment. That's why we're also turning to welfare, 'disability,' homelessness, begging, crime, prison (world record!), suicide and clientless self-employment.]
    And it’s interesting to note how this plays out internationally as well. The average German woman, adding domestic and paid hours together, actually works half an hour a week longer than her American cousin. That American woman is likely to be doing many more market hours but many fewer domestic. One of the reasons why it’s so important to add both types of working hours together before pronouncing because that’s not a result, that Germans work longer hours than Americans, that you would generally expect.
    [What a tortuous - and successful only for The Onepercent - attempt to spin America as better.]
    I will admit that there’s one thing that terribly amuses me about it being Larry Page who actually says this. For we’ve all heard the stories about Google’s perks for employees. The free food (and good food too!), the free onsite dry cleaning, all those sorts of things. And they’re exactly the same thing as I’m talking about above: they’re the replacement of domestic, or household, unpaid working hours with leisure. Because you don’t need to spend that time cooking dinner if you already ate at the office, you don’t have to run to the dry cleaner if that’s taken care of for you. Exactly the things that Google offers its employees (over and above interesting work and good pay) are the things that increase their leisure time by reducing their unpaid working hours.
    It’s actually feasible that someone working for Google could put in 45 or 50 hours a week and still have more leisure than someone working for a company that doesn’t provide those perks but only works 40 hours. Odd but true that is.
    So Page is right in his basic idea (as is Brin, in that it’s desires that determine things, not needs) that working hours don’t need to be as long as they were. But they’re not as long as they were so it’s already happening.
    [All-in-all, more insulated and isolated self-congratulation by American one-percenters in happyhappy innocence of the accelerating deterioration for everyone else.]

  3. Why the Google Guys (and All Leftists) Want More Part-Time Workers, 7/7 RushLimbaugh.com (subscription)
    PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla., USA - RUSH: I checked the e-mail during the break, and I'm getting a little bit of ahead of myself, but I'm gonna answer this. "Rush, why would the Google guys be all in favor of more part-time jobs?" Ladies and gentlemen, part-time work has been the goal of socialists for years.
    [Here we learn that Rush Limbaugh makes the same mistake as most Americans ignorant of their own history, by believing that the concept of part-time work, and therefore full-time work presumably at the 40-hour workweek level, are changeless universal constants, and not the much-changed concepts they have been. AND those leading the charge for their first 75 years were those radical socialist pinko commies in ... The Republican Party!]
    I mean, the French have tried to reduce the workweek to 30 hours for years, and there's a reason for it from their perspective.
    [And so have the Americans, Rush.]
    Larry Page even addresses this, as you will hear when I get to this. It's done to disguise the fact that there are fewer jobs. Look, we've got 95 to a hundred million Americans not working, right? Well, that's even an embarrassment to the socialists [as well as the capitalists?]. So if you convert a significant number of full-time jobs to part-time jobs, you can end up hiring people.
    [And why wouldn't concepts of "full-time" and "part-time" be entirely relative to different levels of worksaving technology in the first place?]
    You don't have to create any new jobs whatsoever

    [It's not a matter of "having" to create any new jobs whatsoever - it's a matter of not being able to create any new jobs on anything like the scale we need them and with anything like the non-impact on the environment that we need them. Btw, I thought rightwingers like Limbaugh opposed job creation - at least under its other name, makework?!]
    You just divvy 'em up. Each job is now done by two or three people. So you put more people to work, and you have your welfare state to provide for them what their jobs do not.
    [No you don't, because when the flood of anxious mutually underbidding resumes is absorbed by the tsunami of hiring from the shortening workweek, wages are maintained and raised, as they were 1840-1940 when the 80-hour workweek was cut in two. The shorter workweek removes from government and taxpayers the need to make up for private sector downsizing and un(der)employment. ALL those programs can be safely dismantled.]
    You have a shorter workweek. You have shorter work hours. You've got happier people thanking the government for this new lifestyle change, voting for Democrats left and right, and you get to hire more people.
    [The Republican Party pushed this approach for the first half of its history 1861-1956, Pres. Lincoln to VP Nixon, who suggested a 32-hour workweek on the stump in Pueblo, Colo., in 1956. See historian Ben Hunnicutt's "Our Own Time."]
    You don't have to pay them health care because there's a 30-hour minimum per week, so you off-load that to the government. This is the way the socialists "spread the wealth around." They don't create any new jobs. [Capitalists aren't doing this either or we wouldn't have "hundred million Americans not working, right?"] The one thing they know is socialism is not about creating jobs, folks. It never has been. Socialism is about government providing for people -- and there's no such thing as debt or too much debt.
    [Don't tell me Rush has already forgotten that Clinton left the country with a surplus, but Dubya mushroomed the national debt beyond all precedent. I'm gonna quit reading and commenting here - not a worthy opponent.]
    That's not in the equation, particularly here in the United States. "Debt? We spend whatever we want to spend! This is how we spread the wealth around. You don’t have to create a single new job. We just divvy every job up into two or three jobs, make everybody a part-timer, and they're working. Then you say, 'Look what we've done!
    'We expanded the number of people working. We bring down unemployment. We bring down that number.'" But it's for part-time work, and it's all about the illusion of there being more jobs -- and, in fact, we are seeing that in our own jobs reports. It's sort of a form of featherbedding, if you want to look at it that way. But the point of it is that the whole idea of full-time work not possible in America anymore. Those days are gone.
    That's the mind-set that's problematic.
    RUSH: This is Liz in Salt Lake City. Hi, Liz. Glad you called. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
    CALLER: Hi. Thank you for taking my call.
    RUSH: Yeah.
    CALLER: I'm calling in regard to the insurance and Obamacare. My daughter has a 20-year-old boyfriend and he had his hours cut. He just works at a restaurant trying to make his way and he got his hours cut because of Obamacare. They can't afford to pay for the insurance.
    RUSH: Right, by design.
    CALLER: He's covered under his parents' insurance so he doesn't even need the insurance, but yet now he has to go look for another job to try to help pay his way through college.
    RUSH: No, no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. See, that's what we have learned. No, no, no. No, no, no. Part-time is it.
    CALLER: Right.
    RUSH: Larry Page, the Google cofounder, this is exactly what we want. We want his job done by an additional two or three people. That's how we actually get more people working without creating any new jobs. Because socialism doesn't create jobs. It creates government bloat. So what we need is people like your daughter's boyfriend being converted to part-time and then staying there so he can spend more time with you and your daughter and have a more well-rounded, enjoyable life. And then get subsidized for Obamacare, and then two other people can share the hours that he did have. They won't have health insurance, either, but Obamacare will take care of that. And we got happiness all over America with people spending family time together, well-rounded lives, not dominated by work. It's happening exactly as the left wants it to happen, Liz.
    RUSH: Back to one of the things I teased at the beginning of the program. I got into some of it, so it's not a full-fledged tease. Larry Page, who is the CEO of Google and one of the cofounders appeared in an interview recently with Sergey Brin, his buddy, another cofounder.
    The interviewer was Vinod Khosla, who is a longtime technology investor. He tried to buy Google when it first started. He's Silicon Valley. He's in tight, highly respected. He was able to get these two guys to come on his whatever it is, Internet show, and Larry Page said that the future of the American workforce is gonna be part time. He thinks most people want to work, but that they would be happy working less.
    This is Larry Page now, Google CEO, and he said in this interview: We have enough resources to provide for humanity. "The idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is just not true."
    Now, stop and think of that. You talk about a transformation. Think of the fundamental philosophical change that represents. I don't know about you, I was raised to believe that whatever I wanted and whatever I needed, I was gonna have to provide. And I did that by getting a job. And if there were something I wanted but couldn't afford, I waited until I could. And I kept working hard, and I kept following my passion, and eventually if I got good, I would be similarly rewarded and so forth.
    I was raised that you get out what you put in. The harder you work, the more your award, and it may not be instant. It may take a long time for the payoff, but that there was value in that. There was value in following a passion. There was value in gaining experience. There was value in work. It was self-defining. It was work that provided self-esteem, not a teacher in kindergarten. It was your work. It was what you did. It was what you accomplished. That's what spoke for you, in addition to other things. I mean, it wasn't just your work, but work was how you provided.
    I was also raised to believe that it was not nice to have other people pay for those things for you. That it was not fair. I was raised that it was selfish and greedy to assume that other people should provide for my wants, and certainly my needs. So much so that I couldn't wait to leave home. I couldn't wait to leave home and get out and get involved and get in the mix, make my mark or whatever. I couldn't wait to strike out on my own.
    I've always -- and to this day I still think this way. The less work I do, the less I'm gonna get paid. And the less I get paid, the less, fewer options I'm gonna have. I do not associate -- well, as you get older these things change, but somebody in their twenties or thirties, we were not programmed to think of sacrificing work, hard work, in exchange for the good life. The good life is what came. Now, there were things wrong with that. Don't misunderstand. Every life needs a balance. In my case, my work is what I've always loved. I didn't need a break from it, other than to recharge. And that was always the challenge, to come up with a well-balanced life.
    Work can't be everything, but it makes many things possible. It makes children possible. It makes a home possible. It makes marriage or a relationship possible. Unless, of course, you inherit it. But now look. Ever since Obama has assumed office unemployment is called funemployment, and whenever unemployment rises, we're told, "Well, you know, there are opportunities here. You don't have to spend all day at work. You can stay at home and you can rediscover your family and get in touch with yourself and nature and commune with other people doing the same thing." That just doesn't compute with me.
    Here we have the cofounder of Google suggesting that we have enough resources to provide for humanity. "The idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is just not true." In fact, he said today humanity does dumb things like destroy the environment, in part because people work when they don’t have to. The answer isn't to just cut jobs en masse. The answer is to cut the amount of hours individuals work. See, the thing is, socialists in France have always believed this. They've always thought the 30-hour workweek was it, and the reason for this is socialists know that socialism doesn't create jobs. It can't.
    Socialism creates Big Government. Government gets big by absorbing little bits and pieces of the private sector, which is where jobs are. So in exchange for that the government will provide for people. So the socialist view here is, okay, we've got a hundred million people not working. Okay, we don't have to add any new jobs. We can just convert a lot of those full-time jobs to part time and we can have three people doing every job and we're putting two people back to work. We're not creating any jobs and we're giving people much more free time. We've got plenty of resources over here in government to give them what they need. They don't have to work to provide everything they need anymore.
    That's what he's saying. Because we have enough resources and we've got a big enough government and we got a benevolent enough president to redistribute all this wealth so that nobody has to work anymore, really, to provide what they need. They need to work to get things done, but not too much, because working too much is why we're destroying the planet. Is essentially what he said. This is a CEO of Google.
    Now, I don't know how many full-time jobs he's converting to part time. I don't know how much of this he's actually putting into play at his own company, but it's not the point. Again, the point is not what these people do, not entirely. Oftentimes that's what you do have to look at. But in this case, people are responding only to PR and buzz. Substance and reality escapes people.
    So there comes a massive push to recharacterize work as something that people are doing way too much of and you can have a much more happy and well-rounded life by working half the time and then let us take care of what you need after that. We're gonna have many happier people, and we're gonna have just as much productivity, but we're gonna spread the productivity around. We're not gonna be creating any new jobs but that's because we can't, as socialists, en masse. And so you justify this by saying this is how you save the planet from global warming and people believe all that is happening.
    I don't know how widespread it's gonna get. Again, I'm just interested in alerting you as often as I can, which is what I've always done, to who liberals are, what they believe, and what will happen if they succeed in implementing those beliefs. Now, I don't know how many of you in this audience raising children find it attractive to say to them, "You know what? You don't need to work full time. You don't need 40 hours, that's crazy. You know, find a job you can work 20 hours and then get health care and get food stamps, whatever. And if you have a daughter go over there to get your contraception pills and enjoy life. That's something your mother and I were never able to do because we bought this silly notion that we had to work ourselves to the bone in order to get things, and we don't want that for you."
    And then if your kids say, "But wait, Dad, if we don't work, we're not gonna have -- like, Dad, if you'd done what you're telling me to do then you might not have a house I could live in when I can't afford my own."
    "Son, don't look at it that way. The way to look at it, your mom and I were wrong, believing in all this hard work and achievement and accomplishment and economic growth, that's for suckers. And, Son, your mom and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. But you have a chance now to have a new kind of life that we Americans have never seen before, where you can work 20, 30 hours a week and then play the rest of the time."
    "But, Dad, how am I gonna afford --"
    "Don't worry about it, 'cause, see, Larry Page says that the government, we've got plenty of resources to handle what you need. We've done that."
    How many of you are raising your kids that way? How many of you have kids in med school? How many of you have kids in law school? How many of you have kids that want to go to both or whatever it is they want to do? How many of you are raising them to believe that they're working too hard, that they're falling prey to a trick, it's not necessary to enjoy life. In fact, you'll enjoy life a lot more if you have more free time.
    There was also a discussion of robotics and how robotics are gonna end up replacing people. But that's okay, too, because any job that a machine can do, we don't need a human being to do. We need human beings to do other things like protect the planet and vote Democrat and enjoy their lives and become dependents of the giant state so that the state continues to have support.
    RUSH: Since we are talking about the Google guys, there's one more. Sergey Brin, cofounder of Google, in the same interview with Larry Page was talking about how we got people working too hard. We don't need this much full-time work. We can spread the wealth around and not work as hard anymore. People would rather do that.
    Remember one of the things he said: People are destroying the planet doing this hard work. Global warming, climate change! That's one of the things he said. So here comes Sergey Brin who says that individual car ownership has to go, just has to go. They see a world... Brin and Page see a world in which there's a lot broken and a lot needs to be fixed, and one of the things that they're pushing is self-driving cars.
    They're safer, they think. They're less polluting and so forth and so on. Sergey Brin believes that ownership of cars is inefficient. It just is a waste of time. It costs people a lot of money that they don't need to spend. There are other ways to get people around. There's mass transit, there's Uber, there's any number of cabs. But individuals owning cars is a waste of resources. It's a waste of money.
    There's also a reason why the American people have had a love affair with the automobile. There's a reason why we invented mass production, the assembly line. Henry Ford, he didn't invent the car. He invented the assembly line to mass produce them, and the reason why is there was a phenomenal demand, because the automobile in America is inseparable from our freedom. It's inseparable.
    So if you take the ownership of automobiles away from people, you are taking away a lot of mobility, a lot of freedom, and you are forcing people into other systems of transportation -- and in so doing, folks, it is much easier for governments to control people. Now, I can imagine... You know, one of the things that I have in abundance -- a characteristic I think that is required for success in doing what I do -- is empathy.
    Not sympathy. Empathy. Meaning: I have to be able to feel, sense, understand how people react to things that happen on this program. I can imagine that with a certain segment of this audience what I just said is some of the wackiest stuff they've ever heard. "Americans' freedom is related to the car? What do you mean? Have you ever heard of civil rights movement, Limbaugh?"
    Taking cars away from us would limit our mobility and make it more easy for governments to control us? I can imagine that people that don't look at government as anything but benevolent are probably having reactions like they can't believe they're hearing this. But I am willing to run the risk of sounding extreme wacko or whatever. Because at some point, all of this is leading to one inescapable location.
    That is government and more government and bigger government and more and bigger control over everybody's life, and that is the antithesis of our founding. We are not a superpower, and were aren't the greatest nation ever in the history of earth because of what government's done! It's because of what we as a people collectively have done, using our freedom, our initiative, our passion, our desires, our values, or morality. This is what made us greatest nation on the face of the earth!
    It is not government controlling things, not government assigning things, not governments providing things. But if there is one instance of suffering or un-comfort, discomfort, or misery, then that is intolerable -- and we must do something about it, and the only place we can turn to have something done about it is government. And then the conclusion is, "Well, the only reason there is suffering and misery is because the person suffering and in misery doesn't have as much as somebody else.
    "We can fix that by taking away from who we think has more than they should." It's said with more nuance than that, but, I mean, why do you think Obama has so much support? There are people that know exactly what he's about. There are people that know exactly what he's doing -- and notice the people who support all this already have theirs. They've already got more than they could possibly need, and nobody's making a move to take it away from them.
    So it's easy for them.
    They've made it.
    They've done whatever they had to do to get where they are, and now they're smarter and brighter, and they care more, and they are far more capable of managing massive systems of human beings in order to engineer and program the correct outcome. "We can't trust it to individual liberty or freedom 'cause people won't do 'the right thing,' as we see it. People will spend their money in wasteful ways!
    "They'll destroy the planet or they'll buy a car that they don't need, or they'll live in a house that's too big or whatever," and don't doubt for a minute that people who support Obama are the same people that think that way. They're superiorists. They think they're smarter, and they view average people down their noses. There's a little contempt. All of this just really rubs me the wrong way.
    Like this story today with the woman who thinks the Declaration of Independence shouldn't have a period in there, and if it didn't, it would have meant that the Founders really knew we needed a giant government to run things, and that that's what they really intended but somebody snuck a secret period in there.
    It's just an all-out assault on the whole concept of individual liberty. There's an assault on the idea that people are gonna end up in different places. People are different, and some "compassionate" people just can't deal with that reality.

  4. The Economic Challenge of the Future: Jobs - ..The Problem Will Not Be Producing Enough, It Will Be Providing Enough Work, by Lawrence H. Summers, 7/7 Wall Street Journal via online.wsj.com
    CAMBRIDGE, Mass., USA - The great economic problem for millennia has been scarcity. People want much more than can be produced.
    [Wrong at the start! People want much more than they have money to purchase. We can and do produce more than the people with money can purchase.]
    The challenge has been to produce as much as possible and to ensure that everybody gets their fair share.
    [No, the challenge has been to find markets for all the excess production and production capacity.]
    In important respects, the problem has changed. There are many more Americans who are obese than who are undernourished, for example. But that is only a harbinger of things to come. The economic challenge of the future will not be producing enough. It will be providing enough good jobs.
    [No, the problem has not changed. The challenge has always been providing enough funding for enough consumer spending by enough people with jobs providing high enough wages; in other words, the challenge of getting enough consumers with money to purchase anywhere near current production capacity at any time after the start of the Industrial Revolution except during world wars, when it was never a problem. In simpler terms that Arthur Dahlberg pointed out in his Jobs, Machines and Capitalism of 1932, capitalism always and only runs smoothly under a labor shortage - as perceived by employers who then maintain and raise wages by market forces. It runs worse and worse under a labor surplus, which employers are constantly trying to intensify so they can have the upper hand at the bargaining table, even though it weakens wages and markets for their own production. So the challenge is really to get employers to stop with the short-sighted downsizing and wage reductions, because that comes back to bite them with weaker and weaker markets.]
    What has happened in agriculture over the past century is remarkable. The share of American workers employed in agriculture has declined from over a third a century ago to between 1% and 2% today. Why? Because agricultural productivity has risen spectacularly, with mechanization reducing the demand for agricultural workers even as food is more abundant than ever.
    All of this has had far-reaching implications. Tens of millions of people have moved from rural to urban areas to take jobs in manufacturing and services. Supporting those left behind has led the federal government to spend well over $100 billion in the past decade. Though global issues surely remain, the problems in American agriculture today no longer involve ensuring that food is available, but ensuring livelihoods for those who once worked in agriculture.
    'Software Is Eating the World'
    What has happened in agriculture is happening to much of the rest of the economy. In Marc Andreessen's phrase, "Software is eating the world." Already the number of Americans doing production work in manufacturing and the number on disability are comparable. There are good reasons to expect an uptick in the next few years in manufacturing employment. But the long-term trend is inexorable and nearly universal. As in agriculture, technology is allowing the production of far more output with far fewer people. No country can aspire to more of an increase in competitiveness than China, yet even it has suffered a decline in manufacturing employment over the past two decades. And the robotics and 3-D printing revolutions are still in their second innings.
    What about services? A generation from now, taxis will not have drivers; checkout from any kind of retail establishment will be automatic; call centers will have been automated with voice-recognition technology; routine news stories will be written by bots; counseling will be delivered by expert systems; financial analysis will be done by software; single teachers will reach hundreds of thousands of students, and software will provide them with homework assignments customized to their strengths and weaknesses; and on and on.
    Those losing jobs due to increased productivity will be freed up to do things in other sectors. But there are many reasons to think the software revolution will be even more profound than the agricultural revolution. This time around, change will come faster and affect a much larger share of the economy. Workers leaving agriculture could move into a wide range of jobs in manufacturing or services. Today, however, there are more sectors losing jobs than creating jobs. And the general-purpose aspect of software technology means that even the industries and jobs that it creates are not forever. Not so long ago it was explained that the VCR might be bad for the movie-theater industry but Blockbuster was a major job creator.
    Troubling Trends in Labor Market
    Job availability is already a chronic problem in the U.S. Consider what has happened to 25- to 54-year-old men, a group that is instructive to consider because there is a strong prevailing expectation of universal work. Some 50 years ago, 1 in 20 men between those ages was out of work. Since that time the workforce has gotten substantially healthier and better educated. Indeed, the improvements in education have been far greater than anything we can expect to take place over the next two generations. Yet it is a reasonable estimate that 1 in 6 men between 25 and 54 will not be working if and when the economy returns to normal cyclical conditions.
    If current trends continue, it could well be that a generation from now a quarter of middle-aged men will be out of work at any given moment. In such a world, more than half of men would have an out-of-work spell of more than a year at some point during their prime years. We do not yet fully know what the capacity to come back to work after such an experience will be, but the experience of men out of work for a long time because of the Great Recession is surely troubling.
    So the challenge for economic policy will increasingly be generating enough work for all who need work for income, purchasing power and dignity. What will this require? The role of government was transformed to meet the needs of an industrial age by Gladstone, Bismarck and the two Roosevelts. We will need their equivalent if we are to meet the needs of the information age.
    Mr. Summers is the Charles W. Eliot professor at Harvard University and a former U.S. Treasury secretary.


7/04-05/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Lawyers Seek change in High Court Working Hours, 7/04 8:26am Express News Service via NewIndianExpress.com
    KOCHI, India - The lawyer fraternity in the High Court of Kerala has raised its voice for a revolutionary change in the judicial tradition. The Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association on Thursday demanded revamping of the working hours of the Kerala High Court from 8 am to 2 pm. Presently the court functions from 10.15 am to 4.30 pm.
    [So a small reduction from 1h45m+4h30m= 6h15m to 4+2= 6 hours. But opposed by women advocates (below).]
    The decision was raised at an extra ordinary general body meeting of of the association. Association secretary M R Nanda Kumar said the request of the association will be placed before Chief Justice Manjula Chellur for sanction. A majority of the advocates supported the view to change the court timings, he said.
    On the basis of requests made by various members due to peak hour traffic snarls with the Metro work progressing in various parts of Kochi, the issue was deliberated at an executive meeting held on June 25 following which it was placed before the general body . The advocates pointed out that they were finding it difficult to be present at the court on time because of the ever-increasing traffic congestion in the city. Traffic regulations in the wake of construction work on Kochi Metro have multiplied the travelling woes, they said.
    Association president S P Chaly said the demand of the advocates will be submitted before the judicial committees or will be referred for a full court decision. The final decision will be taken by the Chief Justice, he said.
    However, a few women advocates and members of the High Court staff have reportedly raised their voice against the change in timing.
    [And here's the voice of the ""few women advocates" -]
    Advocates Divided over Plan to Change HC Working Hours, 7/04 8:44am Express News Service via NewIndianExpress.com
    KOCHI, India - The proposal of the Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association to reschedule working hours of the court has sparked off a row among the advocates, though the association office-bearers claim that most of its members are in favour of the proposal.
    It is the woman advocates who raised stiff protest against the proposal of the association. “A change in the court timing is not practical at all. Woman advocates and women staff of the court will be the worst affected. The association is working for the interest of only a section of advocates.
    The association’s claim that it has the support of majority members is false; the fact is that only those who support the proposal were present at the meeting convened on Thursday. We, the woman advocates, have expressed our dissent at the meeting,” said Advocate V P Seemanthini, president of Kerala Federation of Women Lawyers. She also said that woman advocates will move a resolution against the proposal at this year’s general body meeting of the association, scheduled to be held soon.
    Advocate K N Rajani, a former office-bearer of the association also shares the same view.
    “The proposal cannot be accepted as woman advocates are going to bear the brunt of it. The association should have considered that there are women advocates who come to the court from neighbouring district. It will not be possible for them to attend the court at 8 am. The day of an advocate is not like that of a teacher or nurse who can come for morning shift. They can start work soon after they reach their workplace. But an advocate has to spend time to prepare before appearing at the court,” Advocate Rajani pointed out.
    The proposal may not be acceptable to the High Court staff also, said a representative of the court staff organisation, who does not want to be named. “The proposal appears to be impressive. But in reality, it will not be. Though the office time ends at 2 pm, the staff, especially those attending to the judge may not be able to go before the judge leaves. In reality, he or she will have to spend time after office hours to help the judge in some work such as judgment preparation and composing etc. It may also be noted that a majority of High Court staff are women and many of them come from other districts or from remote areas of Ernakulam district,” he said.
    Advocate Kaleeswaram Raj said that he had reservations about the feasibility of the proposal. It is doubtful whether the proposal could be implemented. The court and advocate offices function with the help of the supporting staff. Their convenience also has to be considered. The proposal is not feasible at all. But being a member of the association, I respect the decision of the majority,” Advocate Raj said.

  2. Sample-collection centre in Vernon cuts hours, 7/05 KelownaDailyCourier.ca (subscription)
    VERNON, B.C., Canada - A staff shortage will mean longer waits for people using the sample-collection centre in Vernon.
    The shortage also means the outpatient laboratory service at Polson Tower in Vernon Jubilee Hospital will be closed every Sunday in July starting tomorrow.

    [This is kinda backwards - usually it's hourscuts that create a service shortage and require hiring rather than a staff shortage - why don't they get hiring? - that creates a staff shortage.]
    The equivalent of 20 full-time staff usually work as medical lab assistants in Vernon. Interior Health just hired four people and has six vacancies, said Terry Brent, a director of lab operations for IH.
    “We’ve had some people go off on leave. We’ve recruited to fill positions but haven’t been able to hire them and get them in place in time.”
    The testing itself is not affected, Brent said. The sample-collection centre at VJH, where people have their blood or urine collected, is cutting back its hours but should return to regular outpatient service in August.

  3. Expats moonlight as Ramadan working hours cut, 7/05 ThePeninsulaQatar.com
    DOHA, Qatar - With the reduction in working hours during Ramadan, some expatriates use their spare time moonlighting to augment their daily income, it has been learnt.
    [This working-hour reduction is for religious reasons but it illustrates that there will always be people who want more than their share, and often have heart-rending reasons for grabbing more ("NEED to Work Hard," "For the Family," "For the Children" - see next paragraphs), nevermind whole-system requirements and the system-collapse-inducing implications of extending those grabs indefinitely throughout the system. That's why we have Phase Three of the Timesizing Program - to explicitly include multijob persons and moonlighters in the work-sharing and skill-spreading required by the overall economic system in the age of robotics. Can't handle it? You're fined or deported. "Time police"? Yep. The economies that have them will be sustainable and will survive. Those that don't, won't.]
    They use social media to advertise services they offer, ranging from computer and household to transport and therapeutic services.
    “I don’t want to waste my time during Ramadan, every minute counts. I want to earn additional income because my family is in dire need now,” said Kosi, an African expat.
    [Cue the sobbing gypsy violins. Our italics throughout.]
    He works as document controller in a contracting company and part-times as an air conditioning repairman.
    “I’m thankful I took a vocational course in air conditioning maintenance and repair back home and can use it here to earn extra bucks, especially this summer when there is big demand because of frequent breakdowns,” he said. Unlike many expats who have problems doing part-time jobs because of the sponsorship law, Kosi said he encounters no problems because he has his own visa.
    For most expats doing an extra job could be a challenge because of the law.
    [But just like illegal migrants, who cares about law?!]
    “But as long as you don’t flaunt it and don’t work during your duty hours, no problem,” said Sri Lankan Akram.
    He hoped amendments to the sponsorship law would take effect soon to benefit expats in search for better jobs. His salary as an electrician is not enough to support his family [and it never will be when he and others like him flood the market for electricians with his own Desperate Need - and dismissal of system requirements], so he is compelled to do a part-time job, he said.
    [Just as many species evolve themselves into dead-end econiches.]
    “I have two sons in school and my wife does not have a job so I have to work hard to send enough money every month,” he said.
    [How much is "enough"? When is enough enough? For some people, there's never enough.]
    Danny, a Filipino merchandiser who moonlights as private transport, however, is not happy despite the extra two hours he gets to engage in his part-time job.
    [Some people are never happy. Danny not happy? Return to Philippines.]
    “There are very few customers on the road because most stay home as shops are mostly closed and people are fasting,” he said, adding people only come out of homes during and after Iftar. “Roads are always empty most of the time during Ramadan. The rush is only from Iftar to about 10pm. After that, people are back home."


7/03/2014 – 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. A Four-Day Work Week Could Cure What Ails Us, Says U.K. Study, The Huffington Post Canada via huffingtonpost.ca
    TORONTO, Ont., Canada - Raise your hand if you've done one of these things in the past month: sat for longer than four hours in a row, had lunch at your desk, or worked once you got home from the office. Hand up? You could be at risk for serious health issues — and more importantly, getting increasingly unhappy with your life.
    In a proposal made this week by Dr. John Ashton, president of the U.K. Faculty of Public Health, changing the work week from five days to four could be the best way to reduce stress and develop a healthier population, reported The Guardian. The doctor emphasized the need for improved mental health among workers, as well as physical fitness.
    [Health, shmealth - this is now a system requirement for a functioning economy. If we keep downsizing the workforce instead of just the workweek, we're not going to have ANYbody to buy all the stuff the robots are pumping out. Growth alias UPsizing by Downsizing? Get serious! Every mainstream economist who's been keeping this disintegrating excuse for an economy going needs a good gobsmack to get him to see the obvious.]
    "We need a four-day week so that people can enjoy their lives, have more time with their families, and maybe reduce high blood pressure because people might start exercising on that extra day," he told the paper.
    These statements echo experiments currently being conducted around the world, as with Sweden's six-hour workday that is attempting to increase efficiency by paying some people their full salary for fewer hours worked. In the Netherlands, approximately 75 per cent of working mothers have part-time jobs as a matter of choice, reported Maclean's, in order to spend time with their families and focus on leisure activities.
    Of course, it's not simply a matter of working less and becoming automatically happier, as a South Korean study that looked at the country's decrease from six work days to five found — people need to actually have less work to do as well, and fulfilling things to do on their days off.
    In a recent survey, 69 per cent of people said that work was a significant source of stress in their lives, with workload taking the largest chunk of that load.
    According to Statistics Canada, the most recent numbers have employees working 36.6 hours per week, on average, a number that has actually gone down since the 1970s (but up since 2009).
    *[Graph shows Average hours worked per week, Canada, 1976-2012, zigzagging down from 38 in 1976 to 35.5 in 2012.)
    What do you think? Could a four-day work week change your happiness levels? ...

  2. Low-Wage Workweek Sliding Ahead Of ObamaCare Fines, by Jed Graham, Investor's Business Daily via news.investors.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Low-wage workers clocked the shortest workweek on record in May, excluding a few stormy months of the past winter when weather-related absences spiked.
    In industries where pay averages up to $14.50 an hour, nonsupervisors clocked 27.4 hours, on average, less even than at the depths of the recession in mid-2009, an IBD analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data finds.

    [So shorter hours are happening anyway but not the best way.]
    For the rest of the private sector (managers and higher paying industries), by contrast, the workweek has fully recovered from the recession and tacked on an extra 15 minutes or so.
    Amid a strengthening job market, the BLS hours worked data show that the rising tide isn't lifting low-wage workers to the same extent. While there may be a host of contributing factors, all of the evidence points to ObamaCare as an important one.
    The law's employer insurance mandate penalties apply when workers who average at least 30 hours per week aren't offered coverage that meets ObamaCare standards.
    Last July, the Obama administration delayed employer fines for a year until 2015 and subsequently kicked the can until 2016 for companies with fewer than 100 full-time-equivalent employees.
    Because the fines are based on employee schedules during a measurement period in the year before they apply, employers have had cause to act in advance. That may help explain why an initial rebound in the low-wage workweek that started in 2009 lost steam and began to reverse in 2012.
    Since December 2012, low-pay private industries have added, on net, 900,000 rank-and-file workers averaging just 19 hours per week.
    The rest of the private sector, by comparison, has added, on net, 2.5 million workers clocking an average of 44.5 hours per week.
    Over this period, the average workweek among nonmanagers has shrunk 6.1% (nearly two hours) at general merchandise stores, 3.5% at home-center stores, 2.9% at home care providers to the elderly and disabled, 2.7% at retail bakeries and 1.4% at supermarkets.
    There is some reason to suspect, or at least hope, that as the job market continues to tighten, employers having a harder time finding workers will reassess policies limiting work hours to avoid liability under ObamaCare.
    Yet other factors may work in the opposite direction. For example, the nondeductible penalty that an employer will face for each "full time" worker who gets ObamaCare exchange subsidies is set to rise to $3,120 in 2015, from $3,000, and will keep pace with the rate of health insurance premium growth.


7/01-02/2014 – 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. Resident doctors in Maharashtra demand 8-hour shifts, by Santosh Andhale, 7/02 dnaindia.com
    MAHARASHTRA, India - Resident doctors in corporation and state-run medical colleges in Maharashtra are demanding eight-hour shifts. This, they say, will improve doctor-patient relations.
    According to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), the (present) 24×7 working hours is causing a lot of stress, and as a result there are clashes with patients at times. The round-the-clock working hours is also making doctors prone to diseases like tuberculosis.

    The association will soon meet the medical education minister to press this demand as it believes it will offer patients quality treatment. Around 4,000 resident doctors are there in this sector in the state, which has 17 medical colleges.
    Now it's mandatory for aspiring doctors to work the entire day once they join the PG course.
    "It is about time our demand is met. The medical education minister is student-friendly, and so we expect the govt to accept our demand. Most central-run medical colleges have eight-hour shifts for doctors. We have enough doctors in medical colleges to manage the shifts," said Dr Harshullhas Panshivdekar, general secretary, Central MARD.
    "If they work in 8-hour shifts, resident doctors will be fresh while on duty and will be able to offer quality treatment. Sometimes, after working the whole day, doctors tend to get irritated and this leads to clashes with patients or their relatives," he said.
    Dr Santosh Wackchoure, president, Central MARD, agrees. "Stress is increasing and it's affecting their work and health. Doctor-students will also get time to study if working hours are reduced. The govt should also increase seats in medical colleges as then there would be more hands to help out."
    According to MARD, the state has not implemented the Central Residency Scheme (CRS) in Maharashtra. "Ünder CRS, a doctor will have only eight-hour duty. Here we work 24×7 and get paid less. There is a difference of about Rs25,000 in ours and CRS' stipend amount. Also, long working hours, no sleep/rest have led to drop in our immunity levels, making us prone to diseases like tuberculosis. And the govt is aware of the rising number of tuberculosis cases among doctors," said Dr Wackchoure.
    Dr Anil Panchnekar, dean, Indian Medical Association, said MARD's was a genuine demand. "The govt should implement 8-hour shifts at the earliest. The 24×7 duty is affecting the mental and physical health of doctors. This affects patient care too. Doctors need to relax," said Dr Panchnekar.
    Dr Avinash Supe, dean, LTMG Sion Hospital, one of the three tertiary care hospitals run by BMC, said: "In the West, working hours are fixed. Having an eight-hour shift is good in terms of doctors' health, study time, etc. However, it's difficult to say if that would improve doctor-patient relationship as continuity of care could be affected. The eight-hour shift is a policy decision that the govt has to take."
    Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD)
    [Not to be confused with French Merde!]

  2. Does four-day week + three-day weekend = less stress? We’ve done the maths [sic]…, 7/02 metro.co.uk
    LONDON, U.K. - It sounds like a winner: employees get a long weekend and save money on commuting costs while businesses get to reduce their energy bills.
    And with one of Britain’s leading doctors proposing a four-day working week to tackle stress, the case seems to be pretty strong.
    But would a four-day work week really be a good thing?
    We’ve weighed up some of the pros and cons.
    PRO: You get an extra day off
    Thank God it’s Thursday, they’ll say. You get more time to do what you enjoy. What’s not to like about that?
    CON: You’ll have to work 10 hours a day to compensate

    [Funny how totally unimaginable to these "futurists" is four 9-hour or four 8-hour days, despite robotization, whose whole advertized point was and is "to make life easier."]
    Working 10 hours a day could lead to more fatigue, which might mean less energy to socialise in the evenings and Friday being written off as a recovery day. Not ideal.
    PRO: You’ll save on costs
    The cost of commuting to and from work add up. Over time you’ll have more money to spend on things you enjoy.
    CON: You’ll spend more
    You might use the extra day to take holidays you wouldn’t normally have taken, or travel to run errands you could otherwise do while at work.
    PRO: More time with the family
    You get an extra day to spend with your loved ones.
    CON: Less time with the family
    If you have school-age children, you won’t get to see them for most of your day off and not only will you have less time to see them in the evenings, you’ll have to find someone to look after them while you work late.
    PRO: You’ll be more productive
    Nearly two-thirds of employees reported increased productivity after Utah instituted a four-day workweek for state employees in 2008.
    CON: You might have to work on your off day anyway
    Not everyone has a job that can afford them a day off, and even those that do would still have to fit the same amount of work into less time.

  3. Unstable working hours ‘can lead to money issues’, 7/02 ClearDebt.co.uk
    [No kidding, duuuh.]
    LONDON, U.K. - Households up and down the country run the risk of building significant debts as a result of unstable working hours, new figures from the Debt Advisory Centre (DAC) have revealed.
    According to the organisation's research, two-thirds (64 per cent) of individuals with fluctuating income levels from week to week have admitted that sometimes they face difficulties in meeting their essential commitments, such as household bills.
    The DAC's figures show that across the UK, approximately one in 20 people (3.7 per cent) are now working on zero hours contracts or other similar flexible temporary terms.
    [Huh? One in 20 people is 5%, not 3.7! "3.7 per cent" would be one in 27 people.]
    In addition, 5.6 per cent of the population are in this position as a result of being self-employed, while bonuses and overtime payments were shown to have an impact on take-home pay for 9.6 per cent of people.
    Each of these groups were shown to have a higher risk than the general population when it came to their ability to meet their essential financial obligations, with more than one in ten (14 per cent) revealing they often find themselves in this situation.
    [Huh, one in ten is 10%, not 14. "14 per cent" would be one in seven. ClearDebt or DAC probably clears debt just by writing any figures they want!]
    Spokesman for DAC Ian Williams commented: "More people are self-employed or on zero hours contracts than ever before and our research shows that many are struggling to cope with the financial implications of an income that varies from month to month.
    "Wages that go up and down each payday make budgeting incredibly difficult and in some cases could even lead to debt problems."
    However, Mr Williams argued that whatever the reason for people facing concerns over their finances, the best thing they can often do is to seek help.
    Indeed, anyone facing mounting debt problems should consider contacting a professional financial adviser, who could highlight the best course of action to help them to get their finances back on track.
    Here, the pros and cons of measures ranging from the use of individual voluntary arrangements to debt consolidation and, in extreme cases, bankruptcy can all be discussed.
    Posted by James Francis




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