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Timesizing News, September 2-30, 2014
[Commentary] ©2014 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Harvard Sq PO Box 117, Cambridge MA 02238 USA 617-623-8080

9/30/2014 – 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. Part-time jobs to be expanded, by Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldcorp.com), (9/29 late pickup) KoreaHerald.com
    SEOUL, South Korea - The Korean government plans to allow more workers to reduce their working hours from next year, as part of efforts to improve working conditions, increase employment and add flexibility to the nation’s labor market.
    Currently under the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, only workers with children are entitled to reduce their working hours to better balance work and family life. But the government plans to give not only working parents but others who wish to study or take care of their families to transfer their working status from full-time to part-time. Those who choose to cut their working hours can return to full-time work later if they wish.
    To encourage businesses to expand the part-time system, the government will offer financial subsidies to help them hire different types of workers. The government has allocated 32.6 billion won ($31 million), a nearly 44 percent increase from 22.7 billion won from this year to promote the part-time shift program next year.
    The plan is currently under discussion with related ministries,” an official said. “We are mulling measures to guarantee job stability and offer more benefits to part-timers, and to expand grants to businesses.”
    Under the plan, businesses are required to pay more than 130 percent of minimum wage to those who choose to work as part-timers and to allow them to work between 15 and 30 hours a week. They will be entitled to four major insurance benefits, including health insurance and the national pension service. The part-time system will stipulate that workers who reduce their hours must not be discriminated against in relation to full-time workers.
    The Park Geun-hye administration has been promoting the creation of good quality part-time jobs to increase the nation’s employment rate to 70 percent. The rate averaged 65.2 percent between January and August.
    In November, the Ministry of Labor unveiled comprehensive measures aimed at creating 2.38 million new jobs. Of the 2.38 million jobs, nearly 40 percent or 930,000 jobs were expected to be created through the part-time system.
    The measure drew concerns from labor groups that it could result in increasing part-time jobs and lowering work quality. Observers say that despite the government’s efforts, businesses have been hesitant to encourage part-time work due to the financial burden of hiring new workers to take up the shortfall, and the work culture that values long working hours.
    Experts say that the government needs to create more attractive conditions for female workers so that they will return to the work while raising children.
    “To increase the employment rate, the government should offer flexible working hours to attract women back to work,” Kim Yong-seong, senior researcher at the state-run Korea Development Institute, told Yonhap.
    “Promoting the part-time system is one good example, but the government should offer more diverse working systems to help them better balance work and home,” he added.
    According to OECD reports, the economic participation rate of Korean women was 55.2 percent, which is far lower than that of Japan and the United States with 63.4 percent and 67.6 percent, respectively.

  2. Ukraine crisis leaves Fenner Dunlop Hull staff facing short-time working again, HullDailyMail.co.uk
    HULL, U.K. - About 135 staff at manufacturing firm Fenner Dunlop are facing shorter working hours for the second time in months.
    The company, which makes conveyor belts for the mining industry, put half its employees on a three-day week in December.
    They were able to return to full hours earlier this summer but have now been told they could be cut again.

    Political instability in Eastern Europe because of the Ukraine crisis has led to a market downturn, bosses said.
    Manufacturing manager David Wood said: "We've announced there's a possibility of short-time working.
    "We have issues with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the impact on exchange rates.
    "Medium to long-term, we still see everything being OK. We're not looking at any redundancies."
    The last slowdown was caused by a reduction in demand from coal and potash mines across the world.
    It meant Canadian customers built up a surplus of machinery made at the factory in Marfleet Lane, east Hull.
    However, staff came back to full hours after the stockpile ran out and more equipment was needed.
    Demand is rising again from companies producing potash, which is used to make fertilisers.
    But with many of Fenner's key coal customers affected by the Ukraine crisis, that market continues to lag behind.
    Mr Wood said: "We've seen a small return to normality on the potash side but the coal market still seems a concern, especially with Russia and Ukraine.
    "We have a few customers over there.
    "We see a slow return to normality with potash.
    "That market is returning to normality, not as quickly as we would like, but we see some signs of improvement."
    Staff were told of the possibility of short-term working at a 10am meeting on Friday.
    They were given four weeks' notice, meaning it will not be introduced before mid-October at the earliest.
    Mr Wood said it was too soon to know how many staff would be asked to come in and stressed nothing was set in stone.
    He said: "We're not definitely going into a short-time period – we just have to give notice there's a possibility.
    "We're not in one yet. Hopefully we won't have to go into one."
    The company was confident things were improving only a fortnight ago.
    At the time, human resources manager Diane Quigley was optimistic about the future.
    She said: There are some difficulties because we do supply into the Ukraine, specifically into the area where the troubles are currently taking place, but other markets are holding up.
    "We do still have some issues and we're keeping the situation under review.
    "Longer-term, we see the outlook as good."
    The factory's parent business Fenner is listed on the stock exchange and is one of Hull's most successful companies
    It released a mixed trading statement in July, saying the Advanced Engineered Products division was performing well.
    However, Fenner said the Engineered Conveyor Solutions arm, which includes the Hull factory, was suffering due to decreased interest from the US coal and Australian mining markets.
    'At this stage, the warning is precautionary'
    Many Fenner Dunlop employees are represented by GMB.
    There has been no official contact on the possible reduced hours between the groups as yet, but full-time union officer Dave Oglesby is looking to find out more as soon as possible.
    He said: "They've not formally written to me."There's a four-week lead-in to reduced hours.
    "Anything could happen in four weeks – at this stage, the warning is precautionary.
    "I'm looking to meet them within the next week or so. I had a conversation with our rep and we're looking to have a meeting with them as soon as possible."

9/28-29/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Plum Creek sawmill cuts hours - Cutback tied to recent court ruling, by Chris Peterson, 9/28 (9/27 late pickup) Hungry Horse News via DailyInterLake.com
    COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont., USA - Employees at Plum Creek Timber Co.’s Columbia Falls sawmill learned last week that their hours will be cut from 40 to 36 hours per week starting Oct. 6.
    Tom Ray, Plum Creek’s vice president of northwest resources and manufacturing, blamed the cutback on a shortage of raw logs after a federal court ruling blocked several timber sales on state forest lands.

    Ray said Plum Creek had planned to buy logs from several contractors who had agreed to purchase logs from timber sales on the Stillwater State Forest, north of Whitefish.
    About 36,000 tons of logs now won’t be coming to the mill this fall, Ray said. The cutback will impact two shifts at the sawmill, which employs 103 workers.
    Plum Creek had been purchasing logs from four different sales, Ray said. The company is optimistic the logs can be harvested this winter because the court ruling doesn’t stop winter logging.
    The cutback comes on the heels of F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co.’s announcement last month that it would cut hours at its Half Moon sawmill, and that nine to 10 workers would be laid off.
    The timber sales were stopped after an Aug. 21 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy [who] blocked plans to build new logging roads in the Stillwater State Forest.
    The ruling came in a case filed in March 2013 by Earthjustice on behalf of the Friends of the Wild Swan, Montana Environmental Information Center and Natural Resources Defense Council.
    The conservation groups challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s approval of a 50-year “take” permit and an associated habitat conservation plan that authorized increased road building and logging across 550,000 acres of state lands.
    The state’s conservation plan included elimination of the only unroaded grizzly bear habitat area remaining on state lands — a 39,600-acre “core” area composed of several blocks within the Stillwater State Forest. The largest contiguous block is more than 14,000 acres in the center of the forest.
    To minimize impacts to grizzly bears, state land managers had proposed imposing seasonal restrictions on road use and logging, particularly in the spring — to create what it called “seasonally secure” conditions.
    Molloy, however, concluded that the Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act because the agency didn’t provide a rational scientific basis for allowing new road-building in the Stillwater Core based on the state’s plan.
    “The Service has not rationally justified its finding that the approach under the plan constitutes a complete offset — much less a net benefit — such that additional mitigation measures did not even need to be considered,” Molloy said in his ruling. “Absent independent investigation into the impracticability of greater mitigation measures, the Service’s finding that the plan mitigates take of grizzly bears to the maximum extent practicable is arbitrary and capricious.”
    Ray said he recently spoke with state land officials, and the company plans to assist them with possible solutions and advice. Plum Creek owns millions of acres in Montana, much of it grizzly bear habitat.
    State land officials meanwhile might take more information back to court to seek a remedy. One misnomer is that the area isn’t roaded — it is, said Sonya Germann, forest management bureau chief for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Those roads are bermed, however. The state’s original plan would have built 19 miles of new road, however, some of which would have been in the grizzly core regions.
    The conservation groups also challenged the state’s plan to protect streams for threatened bull trout, but Molloy ruled the state’s bull trout plan was adequate.

  2. Richard Branson: Unlimited Vacation Time Makes Sense in a Post Clock-Punch Economy, 9/29 Esquire.com (blog)
    LONDON, U.K. - British Virgin Group billionaire Richard Branson started a new vacation rule for all of his salaried staff: the “policy-that-isn’t.” From now on, if you work for Branson's personal staff of 170, don’t come to work whenever you [don't] feel like it, as often as you [don't] feel like it, any day of the year, with no warning required—as long as your work gets done.
    If it works out well, Branson will consider extending the no-policy policy to his over 400 companies internationally. According to his blog post, he learned of the innovative concept from Netflix.

    Branson explains:
    The Netflix initiative had been driven by a growing groundswell of employees asking about how their new technology-controlled time on the job (working at all kinds of hours at home and/or everywhere they receive a business text or email) could be reconciled with the company’s old-fashioned time-off policy. That is to say, if Netflix was no longer able to accurately track employees’ total time on the job, why should it apply a different and outmoded standard to their time away from it? The company agreed, and as its ‘Reference Guide on our Freedom and Responsibility Culture’ explains, ‘We should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days worked. Just as we don’t have a nine-to-five policy, we don’t need a vacation policy.’
    The no-policy policy operates under the assumption that employees are responsible enough to do their work without being monitored. The hope is that a little trust will inspire morale and productivity while providing the home life we all deserve.
    This could change the working world, which hasn’t altered hours since the five-day workweek was instituted in 1938. The United States is the most overworked developed nation in the world. We could use a little trust in our big-boy competence.
    If a worker doesn’t accomplish his work, he doesn’t deserve the job; nothing new there. Outside of the service industry, most jobs necessitate hours of operation according to how much work must get done, not the other way around.
    There’s already evidence that the policy-that-isn’t is likely to recieve a mature response. The recent Oxford Economics “Assessment of Paid Time Off in the U.S.” revealed that 42% of the workforce with paid time off ended the year with 8.1 unused vacay days. Those were workers similar to Branson’s – salaried adults who accomplished what the job demanded regardless of paid vacation.
    Modern innovators across the globe are trying new ways to solve the anxiety, overconsumption, and general low wellbeing that coincide with overwork. This is a great movement.
    Studies have shown that workers with hourly breaks are more productive than those who try to keep focus all day. This is why countless modern companies like Twitter, Red Bull, Zynga, and Inventionland have fun offices complete with slides, bowling alleys, and whacky scenery that encourages employees to relax and love life.
    As Esquire noted in the past, Telecom’s Carlos Slim and Google’s Vinod Khosla think we should all have a shorter workweek nationwide, and Slim already offers his employees four-day workweeks.
    However, it remains to be seen if the “whatever” vacation policy will result poorly.
    Branson’s workers could simply stop working, cash paychecks, and just wait for the boss to figure it out while they sip mojito's on the big man's wallet. The new policy could also have the opposite intended effect. Workers' unannounced, spontaneous vacations may result in the perception of no vacation time whatsoever, where everyone is on call 24/7 because work hours are meaningless.
    Only time through the eyes of billionaire visionaries will tell. Godspeed, blond man, Godspeed.

9/27/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. 5 Reasons to Change to a 4-Day Work Week, Payscale Career News via payscale.com
    SEATTLE, Wash., USA - As a worker, you'd probably be overjoyed to move to a four-day work week. After all, it'd be like having a three-day weekend every week. Plus, as Philip Sopher recently pointed out at The Atlantic, working fewer hours per week boosts both morale and productivity among workers. So why haven't all companies made the switch?
    In part, it's because change is hard. The seven-day week isn't based on a natural phenomenon, like the year or the month. It does, however date back to ancient Babylon, and is 4,000 years old. By contrast, having even two days off per week is only around 100 years old, and owes its existence to the labor movement of the late 19th century.
    But if we could change the structure of the work week back then, we can change it again today. There are certainly enough reasons to do so:
    1. Productivity: With less time to accomplish the work, workers "focus on what's important," according to Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp. Citing evidence from The American Journal of Epidemiology and The Harvard Review in his article in The Atlantic, Sopher says that "with the right scheduling of bursts and rests, workers could get a similar amount of work done over a shorter period of time."
    2. Health: That four-day work week would help combat high blood pressure and mental health problems, according to a Daily Mail interview with John Ashton, president of the U.K. Faculty of Public Health.
    3. Retention: Workers love the idea of a four-day work week. Based on his implementation of a four-day work week at Slingshot, CEO Jay Love claims: "employee retention literally sours." He further says: "Who would ever want to give up three days at home, only commuting four days a week -- and the cerebral exercise of weekly research?"
    4. Personal and professional enrichment: Employees could use their longer weekends to read more, take a class, and expand their personal and professional potential. A four-day work week (with research and learning opportunities) could positively impact workplace performance, contributing to greater worker happiness and sense of accomplishment. It could also support career advancement.
    5. Fewer unemployed workers: With a four-day work week, companies could adjust schedules to cover the "normal" operating hours. That could mean even more job openings in an economic climate that is already moving in the right direction (with 142,000 jobs just added and unemployment at 6.1 percent).
    [She's put this reason last, but it should be first. Not adjusting the workweek lower as we introduce higher technology, such as automation and robotization, allows employers to cut jobs - and their own customers' customers. We wind up with exponentiating productive capacity and weakening consumption capacity - it's a New Malthusianism.]
    If shortening the work week really translates to such significant returns on the investment in terms of output, worker retention, and the personal and professional happiness that so many Americans say they want, it's a win-win for employees and companies. Everyone would be happier and healthier -- and more productive.

  2. Palace studying CSC memo on 4-day work week - The Office of the President is studying whether to adopt the shorter work week that the Civil Service Commission now allows for government offices in Metro Manila, [9/26 late pickup] Rappler.com
    MANILA, Philippines – A 4-day work week for the Office of the President?
    After the Civil Service Commission (CSC) approved a 4-day work week for government agencies in Metro Manila, Malacañang said on Friday, September 26, it is studying CSC’s memo.
    “It is now submitted to one of the deputy executive secretaries for study right now.... But being the Office of the President, where there are a number of meetings that the President on a daily basis engages in, that will be part of the factor,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
    According to the memo, only certain government offices are eligible for the shorter work week. Individual agencies may voluntarily implement it only if they are a one-stop shop in that its services may be accessed online. Another requirement is that a hotline be set in place to allow customers to reach someone on duty.
    Offices can choose to have work between Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday, from 8am to 7pm, for a year.
    [The good news= fewer days. The bad news= longer hours each day and therefore no fewer unemployed workers.]
    The scheme was implemented to ease traffic congestion that is expected to worsen due to ongoing infrastructure projects.
    Lacierda said like the Office of the President, other agencies are also studying the circular before making a decision. The lDepartment of Budget and Management, for instance, wants to see the impact the adjusted schedule would have, based on the queries coming from the DBM provincial offices.
    “Each agency would have to address this circular based on their peculiar needs and concerns,” he said.
    The CSC, an independent constitutional commission, did not consult Malacañang before releasing the circular.
    [Another "take" -]
    MMDA's Tolentino welcomes prospective 4-day work week, by Clara Masinag, (9/26 dateline issue) News5 Everywhere video via InterAksyon.com
    MANILA, Philippines – Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Friday welcomed the decision of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) approving the prospective four-day work week scheme, saying it is timely, especially in light of the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila.
    The traffic bottlenecks are caused largely by the simultaneous construction of major infrastructure projects in the metropolis.
    The CSC, in a resolution dated Sept. 8 but disseminated Friday, said it was endorsing the 4-day work week as an option for government agencies in Metro Manila after a survey it did showed a "strong preference" among State workers for such an arrangement.
    Under the scheme, work shall be scheduled from Tuesday to Friday, or from Monday to Thursday, depending on the specific agencies' discretion, with work hours extended by two hours - from 5pm to 7pm - in order to cover the 40-hour work week.
    The survey on the shorter work week was done "in response to the worsening traffic situation" in the National Capital Region caused by simultaneous infrastructure projects, among others.
    The resolution was signed by CSC Chairman Francisco Duque, and Commissioners Nieves Osorio and Robert Martinez.
    Government agencies in the NCR that meet certain requirements may opt to adopt the 4-day work week. These requirements are:
    • The agency's frontline services may be accessed by the public online;
    • The agency has a one-stop shop;
    • The agency has a funcitonal call center/PABX telephone system that allows calls to be diverted to the Officers of the Day or alerts the callers that the office is closed on that day;
    • The agency has baseline data on its overall performance, employee absenteeism, employee tardiness rate, state of employees' health and wellness, employee satisfaction level, employee turnover rate, electrical consumption, and client satisfaction level/rating.
    MMDA throws full support
    Tolentino said MMDA is throwing its full support for the CSC-approved new work schedule because it buttresses the collaborative efforts of the public and private sector to exhaust all possible means not only to ease traffic congestion but to also achieve more savings on energy consumption as well.
    “The scheme will be beneficial to the public, as it will redound to reduced volume of commuters, pedestrians and the volume of vehicles on our road networks,” Tolentino said, adding that the flexible schedule can help decongest traffic as long as productivity is not affected.
    Under the new scheme, government offices in Metro Manila can voluntarily implement a Tuesday-to-Friday or Monday-to-Thursday work week. Employees covered by the scheme will be required to work from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., taking an hour off for their lunch break.
    Following the approval of the four-day work scheme, the MMDA will now buckle down to study thoroughly how it can implement the scheme to ensure compliance with the CSC rules and regulations.
    Tolentino stressed that he had advocated for the same scheme last year in anticipation of the heavy traffic jams that may result due to the simultaneous road work, he said.
    In summer of last year, the MMDA chief, in one of his pronouncements after the Traffic Management Summit II, proposed the implementation of a four-day work week in government in the National Capital Region, in the light of the simultaneous major infrastructure projects being implemented in Metro Manila, even as he stressed that only non-frontline employees will be covered by the scheme.

  3. Standard Working Hours Committee holds ninth meeting, [9/26 late pickup] 7thSpace.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - The following is issued on behalf of the Standard Working Hours Committee:
    The Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC) held its ninth meeting today (September 26). The SWHC considered the progress reports of its two working groups (WGs) on Working Hours Consultation and Working Hours Study.
    The Chairperson of the SWHC, Dr Leong Che-hung, said after the meeting, "During the public engagement and consultation on working hours held between January 28 and July 31, the SWHC has organised and taken part in 40 consultation activities of various forms, and received some 4 800 written submissions. The opinion survey on sampled members of employers' associations and trade unions will also be completed by end-September.
    "On working hours study, the large-scale household survey to collect working hours statistics from over 10 000 employed persons through face-to-face interviews was completed at the end of August, while the collection of self-administered questionnaires from employees of professions or occupations with relatively long working hours or distinctive working hours patterns to supplement the findings of the household survey will be completed by end-September."
    Dr Leong added, "The meeting today has endorsed the frameworks of the two WGs' reports.
    In collaboration with the consultants responsible for the public consultation and working hours surveys, the two WGs are pressing ahead with their work at full steam and aim to submit their reports to the SWHC by the end of this year. Based on the findings of the reports, the SWHC will deliberate on and formulate its further work."
    The SWHC comprises a Chairperson and 23 members, including 12 serving members (employer and employee representatives) of the Labour Advisory Board. The remaining 11 members come from the labour and business sectors, academia, the community at large and the Government.
    Source: HKSAR Government

9/26/2014 – 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. Shared Work program presentation at the Blaine Chamber of Commerce meeting Oct. 1, posted by Dave Gallagher, BellinghamHerald.com
    BELLINGHAM, Wash., USA - Officials from the Washington State Employment Security Department will give a presentation about the Shared Work program at an upcoming Blaine Chamber of Commerce meeting.
    The event starts at noon on Wed., Oct. 1 in the Pizza Factory at 738 Peace Portal Drive. The public is welcome to attend, but an RSVP is requested. To RSVP, email Carroll Solomon at cjsolomon07@comcast.net.
    The Shared Work Program offers businesses an alternative to laying off workers. Instead, employers can reduce the work hours for permanent employees and the workers can collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages.

  2. Cartier reduces working hours at watch factory as demand slows, Reuters.com
    ZURICH, Switzerland - Luxury group Richemont's flagship brand Cartier said on Friday it will reduce working hours for 230 employees at one of its watchmaking factories in Switzerland in November due to slowing demand.
    Cartier, which is best known for its jewellery, has been grappling with weak demand for its watches for some time, particularly in China where an anti-corruption campaign has dented demand for luxury timepieces.
    From November, 230 employees at Cartier's watch factory in Villars-sur-Glane in western Switzerland will have to stay at home for three days a week, Cartier spokeswoman Aurelie Ohayon-Bastide said.
    "This has become necessary in the current economic environment. The aim is to preserve employment," she said, adding the duration had not yet been determined.
    Cartier, which employs about 1,600 people in Switzerland, reduced working hours for several months in 2009 as the financial crisis took hold.

    "At the time, all employees were able to return to full-time work after some time," Ohayon-Bastide said.
    Last week, Richemont posted a weaker-than-expected 4 percent rise in sales for the five months to August, notably blaming weakness at Cartier watches.
    (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; editing by Susan Thomas)

9/25/2014 – 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. MAN to cut working hours and production, by Dave Leggett, just-auto.com
    GERMANY & AUSTRIA, Europe - Due to falling heavy truck demand in the European region, MAN plans to reduce the working hours of 4,000 workers at its Austria and Germany plants, Bloomberg reported.
    Starting October, the company will bring down the production levels at these plants, as it expects deliveries in the European region to fall by 15% in 2014.
    MAN's commercial-vehicle unit head Anders Nielsen said, "We're fighting for our business and are keeping market share in Europe".
    MAN's announcement underlines concerns over the strength of economic recovery in the eurozone area.
    The company expects the reduced shift pattern to continue for six months and then there will be a review.

  2. 4-day work week for gov’t offices OK’d - Metro traffic woes prompt CSC to approve new schedule, Inquirer.net via newsinfo.inquirer.net
    MANILA, Philippines — Three-day weekends may soon be the norm for some government employees in Metro Manila after the Civil Service Commission (CSC) approved the four-day work week scheme as a response to the worsening traffic situation.
    Under the arrangement, government offices in the metropolis can voluntarily implement the new work schedule from Tuesday to Friday or Monday to Thursday.
    Employees covered by the scheme will be required to work from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., taking an hour off for their lunch break.
    [The good news here is, it's a four-day workweek. The bad news is, it's still a 40-hour workweek so there's no additional overtime to convert into training and jobs.]
    The new work schedule was outlined by the CSC in a two-page resolution promulgated on Sept. 8 where it gave “blanket approval” for government agencies which want to implement it as long as they meet the requirements.
    The resolution was signed by CSC Chair Francisco Duque III and Commissioners Robert Martinez and Nieves Osorio.
    To qualify for the new schedule, a government office must have a one-stop shop and its frontline services accessible through the Internet. It must also have a functioning call center or hotline system which diverts calls to the officers of the day should the person concerned be off duty.
    Government agencies that meet the criteria and are granted blanket approval by the CSC may implement the four-day work week scheme initially for one year, starting this month.
    But they will be required to monitor and evaluate their employees’ performance, frequency of absenteeism and tardiness, health and wellness, satisfaction, turnover rate in addition to their agency’s electrical consumption and client satisfaction.
    The new office hours of the participating agencies will be posted on the CSC website and on www.gov.ph.
    The CSC earlier conducted a survey on alternative work schemes “in response to the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila brought about by major infrastructure projects.”
    The new work schedule, the agency said, was also aimed at “promoting work-life balance among employees” and boosting their engagement, morale and productivity.
    [And here's a similar situation -]
    Officials propose four-day work week for some in Brandon, posted by Cheryl Lasseter, Mississippi News Now via MSnewsNow.com
    BRANDON, Miss., USA - James Spann is one-half of a two-man crew working on a neighborhood street in Brandon.
    "We're patching some bad places in the street," Spann told us.
    It's Thursday, and beginning next week, Thursday will be the end of Spann's work week.
    The City of Brandon is implementing a four-day, ten-hour work week for 14 public works employees in the areas of streets, sanitation, and drainage.
    "That's an excellent idea. They're doing real well to accommodate us," Spann says.
    Mayor Butch Lee says morale has picked up as employees look forward to the extra day off. The shift change will be piloted for three months first. He says Public Works jobs will get done quicker with this system.
    "Going to a job site and leaving a job site is sometimes half the work, so we're able to accomplish those jobs where we don't have to go back the next day and finish something," said Mayor Lee. "It's long overdue, and I've had many conversations with other governments, state governments. There are state employees that work ten-hour days for four days.
    Mayor Lee also says the City's cash flow crunch that led to serious budget trimming last year is getting better. Last fiscal year closed out with $1.6 million in the bank. This year it's more than $4 million.

9/24/2014 – 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. Reduced working hours for staff - “Chômage partiel” rises for second month running, by CS?, Luxemburger Wort via wort.lu
    LUXEMBURG - Applications to place workers under reduced working hours – known as “chômage partiel” [French for "partial unemployment" but usually called worksharing in English] - have increased for the second month in a row, showing that companies are struggling following the summer break.
    Between June and July, there was a short drop in applications for “chômage partiel”, which companies can use as a cost-cutting measure. Part of the labour retention plan scheme, it sees workers put in fewer hours, while the state compensates them for lost wages.
    [Again, little Luxemburg leads the way with timesizing, not downsizing while many larger economies try to get macroeconomic growth = UPsizing by microeconomic DOWNsizing regardless of constant injections of worksaving technology and the little problem of who's going to have the jobs and wages to buy all the output of the automation and robotization. As Reuther retorted to Ford's "Let's see you unionize these robots!" - "Let's see YOU sell them cars."]
    Different levels of state funding apply, depending on the financial circumstances of the company; however, businesses need to reapply on a monthly basis.
    While in July, over 1,400 employees were affected, this number dropped sharply to just 844 in August - usually the quietest month in the Luxembourg summer, which also coincides with the construction sector's collective annual leave.
    In September, the number was up to 1,023. The latest round of approved applications will see 1,123 workers doing reduced hours in October, with the “comité de conjoncture” - an economic committee – meeting towards the end of each month to reach a decision for the coming month.
    Some 19 companies requested “chômage partiel”, or partial unemployment, during September, with 17 applications granted, an increase of three companies compared to last month.
    The total number of staff employed by affected companies amounts to 4,127, with roughly a third of staff receiving payment from the state.
    The next “comité de conjoncture” meeting is scheduled for October 21.

  2. Last chance to save France: loosen 35-hour week and cut public holidays, say bosses, London Telegraph via telegraph.co.uk
    [This should read, "Another chance to ruin France: relengthen 35-hour week instead of further shortening it & clueless bosses will further condense workforce, cut consumer spending, decirculate money supply, deactivate multiplier effect & deepen economic crisis"]
    LONDON, UK - Scrap two public holidays and loosen the 35-hour week: that was the controversial advice from French business Wednesday, as France labours through a deep economic crisis.
    In a blueprint to create one million jobs that has already been attacked as a "provocation" by labour unions, the MEDEF business group called for a "debate without taboos" over France's "outdated" social model.
    "Getting rid of two public holidays per year (out of 11) would extend the average annual working year by 1.2 days, which represents 0.9 percent of gross domestic product and 100,000 extra jobs," MEDEF said.
    [Exactly how would increasing the GDP by 0.9% using the SAME employees CREATE 100,000 extra jobs?! MEDEF's Pierre Gattaz is flagrantly fatuous.]
    The group also called for a "revision of the principle that the 35 hours had to be applied to all companies," saying sectoral-wide agreements could be reached for parts of the economy that wanted to opt out.
    MEDEF boss Pierre Gattaz insisted he was not calling into question the 35-hour wage or the minimum wage but called for an urgent shake-up of the French economy that even its own economy minister has described as "sick".
    [Hollande was foolish to appoint such a myopic economy minister.]
    French unemployment stands at record highs and the economy has been stuck on zero growth for the past two quarters.
    [Zero growth? That's steady-state economics - nothing wrong with that! UK ain't growing so fast itself so their self-styled "experts" love bashing France. It's time for London's Lombard&Fleet Streets and Wall Street to shaddap until they get their own affairs in order, and so far they're in denial about their ongoing plunge into the Third World. Subtract the military component from the GDPs of UK and US and you get not just zero growth but negative growth. France could solve its current unemployment by cutting further to 32 (4daysX8) or 30 (5daysX6) hours - for ALL companies that wish to take advantage of France's shorter-workweek-enhanced consumer base - and focusing on converting chronic overtime into training (Fr: formation) and hiring (Fr: embauche). In fact, this is the ONLY way any high-tech economy today, with ever more automation and robotization, is ever going to get any real economic recovery. And CEOs' economy-killing game of who's got more billion$ ahoarded this week has got to stop before they impoverish us all.]
    "Given the economic and social condition of our country, given the period of economic crisis we are suffering, given the dangers we have to overcome, the time for hesitation, procrastination and half-measures is over," said Gattaz.
    [C'est correcte. Il faut baisser la semaine de travail PLUS = it's necessary to cut the workweek further and spread the work by more intensely convert chronic overtime into training and jobs. More people in the workforce and consumer base, and less of the national income diverted to the moronic top brackets, is the only way out of this. As money is redistributed upward it becomes investment power and circulates slow & clunky. As money is redistributed downward it becomes spending power and circulates fluidly at warpspeed. And the only way to quit imposing on taxpayers to prop spending is cutting the workweek, absorbing the floods of mutually underbidding jobseekers, and centrifuge the money supply.]
    France's social model is outdated, he charged, adding that the country was now competing with "150 countries" rather than five.
    [These nitwits are intent on plunging their fellow French into a race to the bottom, instead of thinking whole-system and very long-term.]
    Business leaders in the country were already familiar with a "fear of change" in France, he said.
    Unions hit back immediately, with the leader of the FO union, Jean-Claude Mailly, describing the proposals as "unacceptable."
    [He's being polite.]
    In a bid to pep up the eurozone's second-largest economy, the deeply unpopular President Francois Hollande has proposed a "Responsibility Pact" between government and business.
    The proposal, also unpopular with the political left, would see business winning €40bn (£32bn) in tax breaks in return for a pledge to create jobs over three years.
    [More pushing of taxpayers' money to the richest with absolutely no accountability (or market motivation) for creating jobs = more inflation in the financial sector = more illusion of recovery (Gates & Buffett: "Hey, WE're doin' GRRREAT!"). As Republican Pres. Herbert Hoover said in 1932, "Shorter hours are the fastest way to create jobs." (Ben Hunnicutt, "Work Without End"). If only today's low-ceiling, low-forehead "conservative" CEOs had any clue of the progressive history of America's Republican Party (not to mention today's braindead GOP itself!) we'd all be a lot more prosperous and lower-taxed and less harrassed by beggars.]
    With France's public deficit ballooning, Hollande plans to finance this with €50bn in public spending cuts.
    [The French have the same problem with Hollande as the US has with Obama. Neither have any ideas of their own and they're totally caving to business leaders whose only ideas, More For MEEE and I Just Want My Share= ALL OF IT, amounts to Suicide, Everyone Else First. Things will have to get a lot worse before people "get" timesizing the workforce to maintain and strengthen the consumer base, not downsizing the workforce, and not upsizing government and taxes, or government debt. This CANNOT be done on debt with the money supply staying coagulated and getting worse.]
    Report from AFP

9/23/2014 – 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. 40-Hours Means Full-Time … or Does It? Coalition launches More Time for Full-Time campaign to change the Affordable Care Act’s definition of ‘full-time’ as 30 hours, The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing via NACSonline.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA – Last week, NACS joined with a coalition of organizations representing hundreds of thousands of employers and tens of millions of employees in launching the More Time for Full-Time initiative.
    The initiative, which includes organizations such as the International Franchise Association, the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the National Retail Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Rental Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the National Grocers Association and the National Association of Theatre Owners, will highlight the negative impact the 30-hour work week definition in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has on employees and employers.
    Through its outreach — including a website, moretimeforfulltime.org — the coalition is urging Congress to restore the traditional definition of a full-time employee to 40 hours per week through bipartisan reform. Returning to a traditional 40-hour definition would benefit employees through more hours and income, and employers would gain the ability to focus on growth and expansion instead of restructuring their workforce.
    “This new definition of ‘full-time’ as 30 hours compared to the standard 40-hour work week that we are long familiar with is creating a negative effect on retailers and, in turn, their employees,” said Jon Taets, director of government relations for NACS. “This effort is meant to bring renewed attention to the impact of this regulation, and gain support for needed reform to provide retailers with the flexibility to staff their businesses based on the long-standard definition of a 40-hour full-time schedule.”
    ["Flexibility" meaning the ability to squeeze their employees from 40 to 39 hours a week to avoid paying full-time benefits and any further hiring, instead of having to cut employees all the way down to 29 hours a week and do more hiring to get the other 10 hours covered. More hiring runs the risk of absorbing the flood of anxious jobseekers they rely on to pay bottom wages.]
    The launch of the moretimeforfulltime.org website includes a video highlighting the challenges workers and employers face as a result of the 30-hour work week definition.

  2. Fair Workweek Campaign Coordinator, Center for Popular Democracy [CPD] via CityLimits.org/jobs
    [Our first pickup of a workweek-related job listing!]
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - [Job Opening]...
    The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) is seeking a Fair Workweek Campaign Coordinator to lead national support and coordination for multiple city and state fair workweek organizing and legislative campaigns. The Fair Workweek Initiative is an effort to achieve equitable hours and schedules through worker-driven campaigns that change employer practices and win new policy protections.\.
    Join the next wave in the movement for economic justice in America. Across the country, workers in growing sectors like retail, restaurants and healthcare struggle with unpredictable schedules with fluctuating part-time hours that wreak havoc on their lives and cause economic insecurity.
    [CPD thinks the problem is unpredictability. We think the problem is employee powerlessness due to a surplus of anxious jobseekers and a shortage of job openings, which hands employers more power than employees and allows employers to be as unpredictable as they like, and if employees don't like it, they can move on because there are a lot of candidates waiting to do their job for less. The remedy indeed concerns the workweek, but not in some fuzzy, arbitrary and subjective "fair" direction, but simply in the direction of shorter hours, as short as it takes to create enough convertible-into-training&hiring chronic overtime to achieve full employment, maximum wages and spending and markets and marketable productivity and solid investments, and whatever employees want, such as predictability, because they are no longer a powerless surplus "commodity."]
    These "just-in-time-scheduling" trends erode earning potential and bargaining power to achieve equal pay, higher wages and advancement - especially for women and workers of color. Restoring a fair workweek is a rising demand in the movement for equity and fairness in the workplace and in our communities...
    We seek an experienced and energetic professional who can overcome obstacles and work in a fast paced environment. A strong candidate need not bring immediate expertise on part-time work and scheduling issues, but must have strong management skills, effective leadership qualities, and experience driving local policy campaigns, scaled worker organizing campaigns and/or coordination of national issue campaigns.
    The Fair Workweek Campaign Coordinator reports directly to CPD’s Fair Workweek Initiative Director and will be responsible for working closely with partner organizations to develop and execute field campaign plans. The Campaign Coordinator will also lead worker-driven corporate accountability campaigns to achieve industry-wide work hours standards. In addition to providing technical assistance and supporting others who are driving local campaigns, the Campaign Coordinator will work closely with communications, research and digital staff, as well as, national policy advocacy organizations to implement a comprehensive strategy to win a fair workweek.\.
    The candidate will report to CPD’s Fair Workweek Initiative Director and will:
    • Oversee and provide leadership for the development of multiple local fair workweek campaigns that include innovations in worker organizing, engagement and mobilization; diverse coalitions (including faith, small businesses, labor, and community); public education and issue elevation within a women’s economic and racial justice framework; and cutting-edge use of technology and digital strategies.
    • Assist partner organizations in the development and implementation of state and local campaigns. Especially seeking candidates with innovative and rigorous approaches to campaigning, and the management expertise and relational nuance to work with state and local organizations in building out such campaigns;
    • Directly engage and develop the leadership of workers connected through digital strategies to drive corporate accountability campaigns;
    • Support partners to build strong, diverse coalitions, including community groups, labor, faith, small businesses, women’s organizations, and others with clear decision- making structures (including executive committees that meet regularly) and systems of communication with coalition members of campaign progress and key decision moments.
    • Help plan and execute national days of action, rallies, marches, and other high- visibility activities.
    • Engage and coordinate with national advocacy organizations and elected officials to ensure campaigns share strategy and information, deploy the most effective tactics, and generate national momentum and attention to the issue.
    • Support national integration and collaboration through all-campaign meetings, regular sub-group calls (communications, field, research, etc.),
    • Build campaigns with an approach that increases the knowledge, expertise, experience and capacity of our state and local partners;
    • Participate in regular meetings of CPD the Staff Team;
    • Minimum 5 years organizing experience (labor or community, or non-candidate electoral);
    • Experience leading winning worker organizing campaigns and or/policy campaigns with national significance or impact;
    • Understanding of issues facing communities of color, women and low-and moderate-income families;
    • Experience building and working with broad-based issue coalitions;
    • Comfort with the implementation of a range of campaign strategies and tactics, ranging from legislative campaigns to corporate campaigns, from electoral work to digital organizing;
    • Excellent communication and organizational skills
    • Self-motivated and dedicated - proven ability to work independently and overcome obstacles;
    • Ability to work well with diverse organizations and communities.
    Applicant will ideally, though not necessarily, be based in New York. Generous salary and benefits package, depending on experience.
    How TO APPLY:
    Please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to fwwcampaign@populardemocracy.org...
    About Organization:
    CPD builds organizing power to transform the local, state, and the national policy landscape through deep, long-term partnerships with leading community organizing groups and progressive labor unions nationwide.\.

  3. Report: 5,000+ jobs saved last year by LAEDC under Layoff Aversion program for City of LA, (9/22 late pickup) Los Angeles Economic Development Organization via laedc.org
    LOS ANGELES, Calif., USA - his report provides analysis of jobs saved and ROI of the Layoff Aversion work performed by LAEDC [Los Angeles Economic Development Organization] for the City of Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board (WIB), for the Fiscal Year 2014. It finds that the work resulted in the retention of over 5,000 direct jobs for at-risk businesses in City of LA, which includes areas of the San Fernando Valley. Manufacturing jobs accounted for 96% of the total, reflecting awareness of the importance of manufacturing for our local economy and our workforce.
    [We're not quite sure what all went into this "layoff aversion" but it may well have taken advantage of California's *Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance program.]
    With the commitment of City of LA and the staff of LAEDC’s Business Assistance Program, 5,000+ people were able to keep their jobs, which made a difference in the lives of their families and in their communities. In addition, the report states that many more “indirect” jobs were positively affected through this work.
    According to the HUD standard, the minimum level of public benefit for this contract amount would be the creation of 17 permanent full-time equivalent jobs. The efforts of the Layoff Aversion Program directly yielded 4,915 jobs or one job for every $124 of the funded contract, a retention rate of more than two hundred and eighty times that of the HUD minimum level required.
    When considering the total efforts of the LAEDC in the L.A. City WIB SDA, through both the Layoff Aversion Program and the Business Assistance Program, a total of 5,054 jobs were saved, one job for every $121 of the funded contract, a re
    tention rate of two hundred and ninety times that of the HUD minimum level required. READ THE REPORT HERE
    LAEDC is a non-profit, public-benefit organization dedicated to economic development and job creation, and depends on funding from our partners, members, and philanthropic organizations. The Institute for Applied Economics at LAEDC provides objective analysis of economic impact for many clients, and to learn more, click here.

9/21-22/2014 – 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. State Shared-Work Program Provides an Alternative to Layoffs, by Josh Mahar, 9/22 MRSC Insight via insight.mrsc.org
    OLYMPIA, Wash., USA - Facing layoffs in this year’s budget? You may want to consider the Employment Security Department’s (ESD) Shared-Work Program.
    Through the program, employers can reduce the hours of permanent employees, who can then collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages.
    Even better, the federal government will cover more than 92 percent of shared-work benefits through June 2015.
    Normally public employers have to pay all benefits back to the state when their laid off employees collect [unemployment] benefits, but this gives you a break. You can retain skilled staff while having a little breathing room to develop a long-term financial strategy.
    Even if you’re not facing layoffs, it may be a helpful program to publicize to businesses in the community, since the shared-work option is available to private businesses as well.

    For full program details, check out the ESD website.

  2. Bill to boost women’s roles in society must lead to review of working styles, editorial, 9/21 The Yomiuri Shimbun via the-japan-news.com
    TOKYO, Japan - Creating a society where women can make full use of their skills and abilities and actively participate in various sectors in society has now become a priority in Japan.
    The government plans to submit a bill to the upcoming extraordinary Diet session aimed at encouraging women to take a greater role in society.
    One of the pillars of the planned legislation is to prompt businesses to draft action plans to promote women to higher positions.
    Specific details to be incorporated into the bill are being discussed by a council of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. The proposed legislation’s effectiveness must be ensured by contriving ways to promote women’s activities, such as throwing government support behind businesses eager to make better use of their female employees.
    According to a report released earlier this month by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), women with college degrees or higher academic achievements who have paid jobs account for no more than 69 percent of such women in Japan, ranking 31st among 34 OECD member countries. In the same category, the ratio of males with paid jobs stands at 92 percent, ranking second on the OECD list.
    It is reasonable for the OECD report to note Japan’s failure to effectively utilize highly educated women with skills and abilities.
    In Japan, about 60 percent of women quit work when they have their first baby. The major contributing factors for this include shortages of day care facilities and the corporate practice of working long hours, which makes balancing work and family life difficult for women.
    After quitting a job, most women seldom have the opportunity to reenter the workforce as regular employees. Of the nation’s entire workforce, women account for a little over 40 percent, but more than half are part-timers and other nonregular employees. Opportunities for promotions and pay raises as well as on-the-job training are limited for women.
    Career or family?
    The lack of jobs that match women’s abilities seems to have discouraged them from seeking employment.
    The ratio of women in managerial positions is about 10 percent, far lower compared to 30 percent to 40 percent in the United States and Europe. Forty percent of women promoted to managerial posts in Japan are unmarried, while 60 percent of women in managerial posts have no children. These figures indicate that women have been forced to choose between a career or family life.
    The fact that highly educated women have not been utilized effectively is a great loss to society. The current situation where women are being deprived of opportunities to work because of such constraints as child-rearing, which limits their working hours, is a problem involving all women, irrespective of their educational backgrounds.
    To improve this situation, it is imperative to change how workplaces operate as a whole, including the working style of men.
    Attention should be paid to what should be done to enable both men and women to take charge of household chores and child-rearing, by reviewing what jobs entail and how they can be more advantageously assigned to reduce long working hours.
    In addition, measures should be taken to allow for flexible working hours and working at home. Steps also are needed to promote the so-called limited regular employee system, or job-based regular employees, whose scope of duties, including working hours, is limited.
    To prevent diversified types of work from becoming detrimental to career development, building effective personnel evaluation methods is key to fairly judge the results of work, by clarifying the scopes and goals of jobs for respective employees.
    Effectively utilizing human resources with a wide variety of job experiences and values is indispensable to enhance the creativity of businesses and expedite the growth of business activities.
    The new government-envisioned legislation should serve to help businesses deepen their understanding of the importance of effectively utilizing female employees.

9/20/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Concord: December furlough days end, city offices to remain open, by Lisa P. White, ContraCostaTimes.com
    CONCORD, Cailf., USA -- City offices will reopen between Christmas and New Year's Day this year under an agreement reached with office and professional employees.
    The City Council is scheduled on Tuesday to consider an amendment to the contract with the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 29, which represents 17 employees, including planners and accountants.
    Beginning in 2009, the civic center complex, the public works department, the engineering department and other city facilities were closed from Dec. 26 to Dec. 31 and employees were required to take unpaid furlough days to help Concord cut expenses.
    [Better furloughs than firings, timesizing than downsizing!]
    "We have done everything in our power to keep our commitment to our employees to restore things they lost during the recession," Mayor Tim Grayson said Friday. "Not only that; even more importantly, we're restoring the services back to our citizens for that week as well."
    Grayson also praised employees for "sacrificing" and agreeing to take a raise that is below the Consumer Price Index increase.
    In addition to restoring the furlough days, the agreement includes a pay raise and a cut in the health waiver benefit. The contract with the union expired June 30, and the new agreement covers the 10-month period from July 1 to April 30.
    Local 29 representative Kelly Gschwend could not be reached for comment. The employees ratified the contract on Sept. 16, according to the city.
    Employees will get a 2.6 percent raise at the end of month. Beginning in January, the payment to employees who decline health coverage will be reduced from $637 to $500 per month for the five staffers who currently receive the benefit and any who elect to take it during the city's health plan open enrollment period that ends in mid-October. Employees who are receiving this benefit as of Jan. 1 also will collect a one-time $750 payment. Employees who decide to take the health waiver benefit after Jan. 1 will receive $200 each month. The compensation changes will cost the city $43,986.
    The council also is scheduled to consider changes in salary and benefits for the 57 city employees, including managers, who aren't represented by a union. These staffers also will receive a 2.6 percent salary increase and the additional time off for bereavement. For employees receiving the in-lieu medical benefit as of Jan. 1, the payment will drop from $632 to $500 per month. Those who enroll after that date will be paid $200 per month. The changes in compensation for the unrepresented employees will cost the city $188,959. The city also has been negotiating with Teamsters Local 856, whose 141 members -- including administrative clerks, police dispatchers, and maintenance staffers -- have been working without a contract since the end of June. The employees are expected to vote soon on the city's latest offer but the outcome of the vote likely won't be revealed until Sept. 29, according to Laura Brunson, human resources director.
    Lisa P. White covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.

  2. China Employment Law - Watching A Bit Of The Sausage Being Made, by Dan Harris, (9/19 late pickup) ChinaLawBlog.com
    BEIJING, China - As the Chinese government starts taking its employment laws more seriously (at least with respect to foreign companies doing business in China), our China employment law work just keeps increasing, as does our blogging on it. The below is an email from one of our China lawyers (who is doing China employment law about half time these days), with all possible identifiers removed or changed. We are sending a version of this email out a lot these days.
    As noted in previous emails, employment law in China has been in a state of transition over the past few years. Though the relevant laws have not changed all that much, the implementation of those laws has changed quite a lot, and it remains inconsistent throughout the country. Many of the granular issues, like overtime and working hours, are handled on a case-by-base basis by the relevant local labor bureau, which is why it’s so important that we contact them and explain the facts of each situation before moving forward.
    Over the past few days we have spoken several times with the [Big China City] labor bureau, and, in particular the _________ District office, which is the office that handles applications and approvals for your WFOE’s employees. We explained your WFOE’s general approach to them, and we got the following clarification from them regarding _______ District’s current practice regarding alternative working hours systems:
    1. Mr. Zhang’s [not real name] job position and salary make him theoretically eligible for the flexible working hours system. Other sales representatives employed by your WFOE (even those in ______) might also be eligible.
    2. We spoke with the supervisor of the _________ District labor bureau about the particulars of Mr. Zhang’s employment, and he indicated that there was a good chance Mr. Zhang would be approved to work under the flexible hours system.
    3. Your WFOE would need to obtain permission from the _________ District labor bureau BEFORE implementing the flexible working hours system.
    4. To implement the flexible working hours system, your WFOE would have to submit the following:
    • copies of the WFOE’s business license and organization code certificate
    • a list of employees working under the flexible working hours system
    • a summary of the work and rest schedule for such employees.
    5. The _______ labor bureau does not have a formal position on whether (or how) travel time would count as “working hours.” Their position is that the WFOE’s rules and regulations determine this issue, but the company must ensure that each employee’s workload is reasonable. The labor bureau declined to elaborate on the definition of “reasonable,” other than to say that “it is what a normal person could finish in a normal amount of time” and that “any application for the flexible working hours system would have to explain how each employee’s workload was reasonable.” This is pretty typical and we have quite a lot of experience with handling this.
    6. Your WFOE can prepare and submit this application itself or you can authorize one of our China lawyers to do it on your behalf.
    7. Upon receiving an application, the labor bureau will render an initial decision within 5 business days. However, the ______ District supervisor indicated that much of the time, the bureau will issue a decision on the spot.
    8. The labor bureau will subsequently issue a formal decision. Any approval for the flexible hours working system will indicate the term of the approval, which can be for up to two years.
    At this point, I suggest that you think about your approach to travel time and working hours for sales representatives and then we should discuss that. Depending on what you decide, we may want to add a line or two to Article _____ of your Rules and Regulations.

9/19/2014 – 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. Coworkers, and employers with a shared work ethic, by "Nurse X," DancingNurse-Ed.Tumblr.com
    LONDON, U.K.? - Coworkers, and employers with a shared work ethic are a sort of life jacket in health care.
    If you’ve got respect and synergy between management, doctors, nurses, techs, nursing assistants, transport, dietary, respiratory, physical therapy, housekeeping, dietary, clerks, and all members of the health care team - you can survive even the most brutal of days, ideally with a little humility, and humor at the finish line.
    A shared work ethic may not mean you’ll always agree, however, the basis of what you stand for ought to be in balance.
    When the mission and vision of an institution radically departs from what’s manifested in actuality - significantly compromising safety, quality of care, and job satisfaction; it is perhaps time to acknowledge the learning opportunity for what it was, wish them well, but recognize not all connections are built to last, and look on with no regrets to a change in journey.

  2. Employer Community Launches Initiative to Restore Traditional Work Week in Affordable Care Act, by Stephen E Schatz, National Retail Federation (press release) via https://nrf.com
    "Returning to the industry standard of 40 hours would benefit employers and employees alike and lessen the burden Obamacare places on businesses and the economy." Neil Trautwein (blowout quote)
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Organizations representing hundreds of thousands of employers and tens of millions of employees are launching the More Time for Full-Time initiative.
    The initiative, which includes the International Franchise Association, the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the National Retail Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Rental Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Grocers Association, and the National Association of Theatre Owners, will highlight the negative impact the 30-hour work week definition in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has on employees and employers, and urges Congress to restore the traditional definition of a full-time employee to 40 hours per week through bipartisan reform. Returning to a traditional 40-hour definition would benefit employees through more hours and income, and employers would gain the ability to focus on growth and expansion instead of restructuring their workforce.
    [They've been restructuring their workforce downward ("downsizing") for decades anyway, long before the Affordable Care Act, and asking us to believe that reconcentrating the shrinking amount of human-employee hours in the context of robotization is going to stop that restructuring is to take us for fools. And thinking that more hours means more income on a systemic basis, regardless of the resulting concentration of employee hours on fewer people, is to ask us to believe that the Market raises the wages for surplus workers and lowers the wages of scarce workers. And holding back the conferral of full-time benefits till a 40-hour level is reached each week means that employers could work employees up to 39 hours a week with no full-time benefits. But even that would be an improvement if we could count on employers' conversion of chronic overtime above 40 into training and hiring, but what's the likelihood of that, since they'd rather pay overtime or just treat the 40-hour level as a minimum workweek instead of a maximum? And note that several of these initiative supporters are in the leisure industry, contradictorily supporting less leisure and weaker markets...for themselves. Dumba dumb dumb.]
    The launch includes a video, which will be featured on the new website moretimeforfulltime.org that highlights the challenges workers and employers face as a result of the 30-hour work week definition.
    “As all Americans have known for decades, 40 hours represents the widely-accepted definition of a full-time work week.
    [Yes, and it was given to Moses by God Himself on Mount Sinai. Therefore, no matter how much worksaving technology we get, we must keep downsizing in response in order to maintain the Sacred Forty Hour Work Week forever, regardless of how small a number of full-time employees the technology requires us to cut down to - nevermind the downward spiral as we pauperize the consumer base and accelerate the weakening of markets for the products and services of the ever-smaller population of 40hr/wk employee-consumers.]
    Unless there is a statutory change to the definition of a full-time employee in the ACA, there will be fewer full-time jobs, more part-time workers and fewer overall hours available for Americans to work,” said International Franchise Association President & CEO Steve Caldeira. “This initiative will bring greater focus to the negative impact this law is having for workers and employers and hopefully move us closer to the bipartisan reform we need.”
    “As the nation’s second largest private sector employer, restaurants provide opportunity to a workforce of over 13.5 million employees,” said National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney. “The restaurant and foodservice industries are attractive to millions of Americans looking for flexible work schedules. As the current health care law stands, the artificially low bright line of 30 hours as full time, forces employers to limit that flexibility, stifling opportunity for expansion and job creation to the detriment of our workforce. Raising the law’s definition of full-time employee status to more traditional standard operating practices will alleviate the burden placed on restaurant operators. They can then continue to provide flexibility to their employees, grow their businesses and continue to be job creators.”
    “The More Time for Full-Time initiative provides an honest look at how the new definition of a full-time employee under Obamacare is affecting men and women who work hard every day to care for themselves and their families,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. “This short-sighted change greatly limits workers’ ability to maintain the flexible work schedule they seek in the hotel industry. Returning to the traditional 40-hour work week would restore opportunities for hard-working Americans, and allow hoteliers to better meet their employees’ needs.”
    “The retail industry is committed to the smooth implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” National Retail Federation Vice President for Health Policy Neil Trautwein said. “However for the health care law to work effectively, practical and necessary modifications need to occur - including readjusting the law’s definition of what constitutes a full-time worker back to 40 hours a week. Returning to the industry standard of 40 hours would benefit employers and employees alike and lessen the burden Obamacare places on businesses and the economy. The retail community supports the bipartisan work of the ‘More Time for Full-Time’ initiative and looks forward to working with the administration and Congress to make this change a reality.”
    “Employees and employers alike are starting to feel the painful effects of the 30-hour work week definition,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten. “Nobody benefits when employees lose the flexibility they value or the work and income they rely upon and employers face yet another obstacle to managing their workforce in a challenging economic climate. Restoring the traditional 40-hour work week is a small but needed change that benefits everyone. A majority in the House understands this. Now we need the Senate and President Obama to understand this as well.”
    “The 30-hour work week definition complicates and confounds the employees and employers of businesses.
    [Better learn to deal with it, because a frozen workweek at any level, when the amount of worksaving technology being introduced is not frozen, requires a growing contradiction between the economy's production capacity and its consumption capacity - unless you want taxpayers to continue their mounting liability for funding your markets regardless of how few you employ, which eventually means mounting taxes on you, or a collapse of your markets.]
    A 40-hour week provides opportunity for employment [if so, where are the jobs?!] that drives a business and builds our communities through the resulting economic benefit. Businesses want to employ a capable and dependable workforce and provide them a 40-hour work week they can depend on.
    [Wanting and doing are two different things, and businesses have not been doing this, else where are the jobs?!]
    The definition of full time needs to be increased to 40 hours,” said American Rental Association Vice President of Government Affairs John McClellan.
    [Thus increasing un- and under-employment for increasing numbers of marginalized employees, and further weakening the markets for these shortsighted employers, who clearly can't think two moves ahead in chess.]
    About the Author: Stephen E Schatz, 202-626-8119, press@nrf.com, (855) NRF-Press.
    About Us: Associations representing millions of employers from across the country – across a variety of industries from retail and restaurants to grocery and hotels – are behind the More Time for Full Time coalition. This initiative has come together because employees in these industries are being squeezed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA or Obamacare) 30-hours-per-week definition of full-time employee.

    [Just claw back some of the wasted millions currently being funneled to your top executives.]

9/18/2014 – 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. Library trustees to cut hours, reduce OT under new city budget, by Christopher Hong, Jacksonville Times-Union via members.jacksonville.com
    JACKSONVILLE, Fla., USA - The Highlands branch library in North Jacksonville will no longer open on Sundays if City Council approves across-the-board budget cuts next week.
    To deal with a possible 2 percent reduction to its overall budget and cuts to part-time and overtime hours — included in a budget City Council that could pass Tuesday — the Jacksonville Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously voted Thursday to terminate the branch’s Sunday hours.
    [Just to deal with a possible reduction in a budget that could pass? What if "We have nothing to fear but fear itself"?]
    To meet those cuts, the board also accepted the recommendation of library Director Barbara Gubbin to reduce part-time hours at every branch. That could result in longer waits in library lines and delays returning books to shelves, Gubbin said.
    [Still, this is better than layoffs, but still not sustainable without active overtime-to-jobs conversion.]
    Those cuts would be made if City Council passes a budget that includes spending cuts.
    The board also indefinitely suspended service at the Willowbranch branch library in Riverside until the city can repair damage caused by recent flooding. The branch has been closed since Sept. 11.
    While that decision was made because the building is mold-ridden and inhabitable, the temporary closure will also help the library fill the estimated $349,600 gap created by a 2 percent budget cut.
    The city’s Public Works department, which is handling the repairs, doesn’t know how long it will take to repair the building, said Eric Lawrence, assistant library director.
    In addition to the overall budget cut, the library also faces a reduction in overtime hours by $30,800 and part-time hours by 10 percent.
    Most of the library’s overtime hours are used to keep five regional library branches open on Sundays for 48 weeks of the year, Gubbin said.
    The board chose the Highlands branch, located on 1826 Dunn Ave., because it had the lowest average number of visitors.
    Part-time employee hours were reduced by five percent. Gubbin said she hoped the remaining necessary reduction would be reached through attrition, but that board could be forced to make more part-time reductions to avoid going over budget.
    To help achieve the necessary savings through a 2 percent overall budget cut, the board transferred the six employees at the temporarily closed Willowbranch library to fill current vacancies. The yearly savings of that move is about $354,200.
    Gubbin said the board will need to monitor the library’s finances to see if the temporary closure is enough to meet the budget cut.
    In addition to the spending cuts, the tentative budget also calls for the closure of the Maxville branch library.
    City Council will meet Tuesday and could pass a budget.
    Some council members have said they’d like to restore some of the cuts with the city’s reserve cash, although other council members have staunchly opposed spending that money. Christopher Hong: (904) 359-4272

  2. Senate avoids "full" workweek [our quotes], by Ramsey Cox, TheHill.com/blogs
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - The Senate hasn’t worked a "full" week all year.
    [Meaning presumably 40 hours, the full week of 1940, frozen since then despite waves of worksaving technology?]
    The upper chamber adjourned Thursday night, and lawmakers won’t return until Nov. 12, a week after the midterm elections.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had threatened weekend work during the two-week September session, but those threats were empty. The Senate didn’t even work on either Friday.
    [And if "what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," then what applies to the government should apply to the people.]
    “There will be no weekends off,” Reid said last month.
    Lawmakers were able to complete work on a stopgap funding measure that will keep the government operating into December. On Thursday, the Senate passed the bill on a 78-22 vote.
    There have been several Friday pro forma sessions, but no legislative business has been conducted on a Friday this year.
    Both parties were motivated to leave town early to campaign for reelection.
    [This is what happens when your Supreme Court, unclear on the concept of democracy, confuses free speech with money, natural persons with artificial persons (corporations), and fails to nationalize elections.]
    Several vulnerable Democrats are up for reelection, and Republicans need only six seats to gain control of the chamber.
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is also facing a tough reelection race. He was able to get his party to agree to fast-track legislation, so he could return to Kentucky to campaign.

9/17/2014 – 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. Tech reducing work hours for students' on-campus jobs, by Dani Copeland, DailyToreador.com (registration)
    LUBBOCK , Tex., USA - Texas Tech made a new rule that went into effect at the beginning of September that no longer allows any student employees to work over 20 hours a week.
    [Good practice for one's later life in the completely robotized future?]
    Brooke Hurley, a junior communication design major from San Antonio, said she feels this new rule needs to be addressed for students who may have to pay their way through college.
    “I personally pay for everything, except for tuition, which comes to about $1,000 per month for food, gas and rent, and then about $1,000 for books and art supplies each semester,” Hurley said.
    Hurley is worried she might have to quit one of her jobs because she works more than 20 hours a week, she said.
    “(La Ventana) is good experience for me to have on my resume, so I don’t want to quit it,” she said. “But I need the job at the School of Art in order to pay my rent and living expenses every month.”
    Hurley is still with her campus jobs, she said, but is looking for an off-campus job to make up for the hours she is losing at the School of Art. She said her hours at the School of Art will now be 15 hours a week.
    She said on-campus jobs are best for students because the supervisors understand the students’ workload and school schedule. She said working on campus makes it easier for students to get work easily since most students live right by campus.
    “I have worked off campus since I came to Tech and on-campus jobs are much better because they are more understanding of your workload as a student and they know that school comes first,” Hurley said.
    Allison Rasch, a graduate student from Spring, said she started her job this semester for Tech as a teaching assistant.
    She also has a second job on weekends, she said, and she works both jobs to avoid debt after she graduates.
    “I have worked off campus mainly, and luckily my boss I work for works with all the students’ school schedules,” Rasch said. “I have friends who aren’t so lucky in that, since I know some of them have to make sure they request time off or have weird hours they can work on projects.”
    Rasch said finding a job as a college student can be easy if you find the job you need for your future career. She said it’s good to talk to other students who have jobs on and off campus and see what works for them.
    “Figure out what day to day stuff is like in that position,” she said. “Every job has its ups and downs, but you need to find what will give you what you want and need."

  2. Hours cut at walk-in GP practice in Grimsby due to 'funding constraints', GrimsbyTelegraph.co.uk
    GRIMSBY, Lincs., U.K. - The weekday walk-in service at Grimsby's Quayside Medical Centre has been cut for borough residents after its funding came to an end.
    One Medical, which operates the site, has confirmed the service which was provided for non-registered patients will now only be available on weekends and bank holidays.
    It will still be available on weekdays for people registered outside of North East Lincolnshire who are visiting the area.

    The site, in Cleethorpe Road, became a permanent local GP practice under a contract with NHS England in January 2012, and a temporary agreement was reached to maintain the full walk-in service until June this year.
    The service was not commissioned by North East Lincolnshire's Clinical Commissioning Group, but was provided using transitional support funding from NHS England, which ended three months ago.
    Richard Ellis, operations manager for the centre, said: "Unfortunately, due to funding constraints, the number of hours the walk-in service operates has had to be reduced.
    "For any care needs through the week patients who are registered with another local doctor will need to contact their own GP in the first instance.
    "Alternatively, a health advice line is available on 01472 256256 where assistance can be obtained in accessing the most appropriate service.
    "This is available to both local residents and visitors to the area 24 hours a day.
    "Visitors can also enquire at any local GP practice about registering, as a temporary resident, for any short term medical care."
    Patients who are registered with GPs at the Quayside Medical Centre are assured that no changes will be made to their services.
    Additional appointments have been made available and the morning drop-in clinic which runs on Mondays and Tuesdays from 8.30am until 10am will continue.
    Walk-in services for non-registered patients will now be available from 10am till 3pm on weekends and bank holidays only.
    A statement from the CCG said: "The practice is still commissioned by the NHS England contract to see out-of-area patients (people not living within North East Lincolnshire) in normal working hours. Other patients requiring access to primary care at these times should continue to contact their registered practice."
    The CCG added: "The weekend walk-in service which is commissioned from Quayside by the CCG is still in place.
    "Therefore everyone can continue to access the weekend and bank holiday walk-in centre without changing their practice, or use the GP out of hours service provided at the Diana, Princess Of Wales site as these services form part of the primary care out-of-hours provision that is a responsibility of the CCG."

9/16/2014 – 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. French PM seeks worker rights reform, but no change to 35 hours, Reuters.com
    PARIS, France - French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Tuesday that he would seek a reform of worker representation rules criticized as a brake on hiring by year-end, but that the 35-hour working week would not be put in doubt nor the minimum wage reduced.
    "A new negotiation, you know, has started on what we call the thresholds," he said in a speech to members of parliament ahead of a confidence vote, referring to rules that require companies with more than 50 employees to have works councils.
    "By the end of this year, there is a path to find that will allow us to have real social dialogue in companies depending on their size, without hurting their growth."
    He said the government would not change its 35-hour work week or lower the minimum wage, as the Medef employers' association had suggested.
    "And, as I have already said, neither the 35-hour work week nor the rules on working hours will be put into doubt," he added.
    (Reporting By Mark John; Writing by Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Leigh Thomas)

  2. New Zealanders Cut Friday Working Hours To Get Ready For An Early Weekend: Study, by Kalyan Kumar, International Business Times via au.ibtimes.com
    AUKLAND, New Zealand - A majority of New Zealanders believe in a "Friday feeling" and snatch away the last two hours of the Friday working day to get ready to start the weekend, a survey has revealed. The NZ Herald reported that the survey was conducted by research firm Colmar Brunton.
    According to the survey, the average working Kiwi gets into a low gear mode by 3.29 pm on Friday afternoon, finish up the work at 4.04 pm and "switch off" for the weekend. The research was conducted in August and was commissioned by Mitre 10. It studied New Zealanders' habits towards in the build-up to the weekend. It found people in the Bay of Plenty start working earlier than anyone else in the country, and wind up around 3 pm. But people from the Manawatu and Hawkes Bay treat will treat Friday like any other day.
    University of Auckland senior lecturer Dr Helena Cooper-Thomas sees nothing wrong in it. She says the recovery from the working week will allow people to re-activate and bounce back with high motivation and vitality. Thomas suggested that employees should be helped by their bosses in becoming more productive. At the end of the week, employees can think about tasks they want to accomplish. Then identify the tasks that are more motivating or useful and require less cognitive or physical effort.
    However, a BBC report highlighted the flipside of Friday feeling. It said many British businesses are losing more than £50m a year because of employees skipping the work place on Friday afternoons. They make excuses for starting the weekend such as long lunch, or an out-of-office meeting.
    A software firm even hired the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) to calculate the cost of such employee absence. According to the CIPD, the average level of employee absence in the UK increased the first time in two years. It found that more and more workers are taking Friday afternoon as an unofficial holiday. Some experts have tips to avoid that Friday feeling or the slowdown. They say if the trend is pervasive in the work place, the professionals must seek a new approach to their job.
    To contact the editor, e-mail: editor@ibtimes.com

9/14-15/2014 – 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. Montgomery library system to begin cutting hours, 9/14 AP via FOX6 WBRC via MyFoxAL.com
    MONTGOMERY, Ala., USA - Funding cuts and an increased access to digital materials have prompted the Montgomery City-County Public Library system to begin cutting back operating hours.
    The Montgomery Advertiser reports (http://on.mgmadv.com/1uCbsjY ) most library branches will be closed on weekends beginning in October and all of them will start closing earlier on some weekdays. Library Board President Thomas McPherson says the system's Pine Level branch will be closed for fiscal year 2015.
    Head librarian at the Juliette Hampton Morgan branch Tim Berry says the value of libraries' physical locations will likely decrease in the future as digital content offerings become more prevalent.
    Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com.

  2. Extra hours - Morgan McKinley survey measures working hours around the world, 9/15 TheGlobalRecruiter.com
    HONG KONG, H.K.S.A.R., China - Hong Kong’s professionals in the financial services, technology and retail sectors are putting in longer hours at the office than that they are contracted to do. According to the Morgan McKinley Working Hours Survey 2014, while employees not only feel obligated to do so but they are feeling the impact on their work/life balance.
    According to the survey, 84 per cent of Hong Kong’s professionals are working longer hours than stipulated in their contracts which is on par with Japan (84 per cent) but more than Singapore (82 per cent) and China (65 per cent). The research also revealed that Hong Kong’s professionals feel the most obligated to put in the extra hours when compared with their counterparts in Asia. Close to three quarters (70 per cent) of respondents say they feel obligated, or very obligated, to work these extra hours, followed by Singapore (65 per cent), China (54 per cent) and Japan (30 per cent).
    Despite the onus and obligation to work longer hours, only 37 per cent say they are more productive during this time. The survey also shows that those in Hong Kong feel the impact of these extra hours on their work-life balance most acutely with almost all of the respondents (95 per cent) say there is some impact, or a considerable impact, on their personal lives. Work does not stop for Hong Kong professionals even once they have left the office. The majority (76 per cent) of respondents say they continue to work from home or on a mobile device.
    “Hong Kong is recognised for its fast paced and dynamic lifestyle, and it is well known that the average Hong Kong professional works long hours,” comments Nick Lambe, managing director, Morgan McKinley Hong Kong. “Leaving the office late is part of this lifestyle and in some instances employees feel that they can’t leave the office before their managers as this is culturally frown upon.”

9/13/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. California Club: A Triple-Decker 56% Labor Cost Jump, by Jed Graham, Investor's Business Daily via news.investors.com
    SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Diners don't want sandwich-makers sneezing on their turkey, so there's an obvious logic to California's new law mandating three paid days of sick leave [IF an employee is sick].
    But as California piles up the costs of employing low-wage workers with paid sick leave and a higher minimum wage, employers also face another large cost spike via ObamaCare.
    [The higher minimum wage is a mistake. Wages should be left to market forces in response to a reduced labor surplus engineered via a lower maximum workweek and mandatory conversion of chronic overtime into OT-targeted training and hiring.]
    From June 2014 — just before California bumped up the minimum wage from $8 to $9 an hour — to January 2016 (when the minimum wage hits $10), the cost of employing a 40-hour-per-week minimum-wage worker could rise as much as $4.82, or 56%, to $13.43 an hour, an IBD analysis finds.
    That includes $2.15 in more wages and Social Security and Medicare taxes; an additional 13 cents for sick leave; and a potential ObamaCare penalty equivalent to $2.54 an hour in wages.
    Fewer Jobs, Hours
    One big risk is that industries employing a primarily low-wage workforce will hire less. That's the prediction of the Congressional Budget Office, which has said the combination of ObamaCare's employer mandate penalties and a hike in the minimum wage to the $10 range would cause more job loss than [a shorter maximum workweek by itself or] a higher mandated wage by itself as employers find it more cost-effective to replace workers with technology.
    [Again, a higher mandated wage is a mistake. Of the two traditional goals of labor, higher pay and shorter hours, whenever they have just got one and it's higher pay, they've wound up with neither because they're just tacking an artificially high price on a surplus commodity, themselves, but whenever it's been shorter hours, they've wound up with both because that cuts the surplus of themselves and induces higher pay by market forces in response to that reduced surplus.]
    The other risk is that employers will keep workers' hours below 30 per week — full time under ObamaCare — to dodge a big part of these new costs.
    [This is not a risk but an opportunity - it's the only one of the three changes (higher wage, shorter hours, more sick days) that also "risks" forcing more hiring and more, sustainable consumer spending.]
    Restricting workers to 29 hours per work would avoid ObamaCare employer penalties and limit the compensation increase to a still-hefty $2.32 an hour, or 27%.
    Interestingly, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that big minimum-wage hikes have been passed in four of the five states seeing the biggest year-over-year drop in the average workweek among leisure and hospitality workers.
    [This is what we call, doing the right thing but not in the best way.]
    Inhospitable Wage
    Those states are Vermont, where average work hours in the sector fell 4.7% from a year ago in July; Connecticut (-4.1%); Delaware (-3%) and Maryland (-3%).
    Evidence of an ObamaCare impact in depressing the workweek is piling up.
    [The workweek in the age of robotics urgently needs to be "depressed" - we cut it in half from 80 to 40 between 1840 and 1940 in response to mechanization, but we haven't adjusted it one nanosecond since then despite automation and robotics. Market-demanded employment is coagulating on fewer overworked "full time" employees and more and more people are being marginalized into unemployment, welfare, disability, homelessness, and prison - and as they leave the workforce, consumer spending falls and taxes rise.]
    In private industries paying up to $14.50 an hour, rank-and-file workers are clocking the shortest workweek on record, just 27.3 hours.
    [This should be an undiluted good thing, but by trying to do too many things at once and not implementing a good overtime-to-jobs conversion program, we're turning it into a very mixed blessing.]
    Further, the number of workers clocking hours just above the 30-hour-per-week mark has plunged relative to those with workweeks just below it.
    [- which weakens consumer spending and induces a downward spiral cum negative Multiplier Effect.]
    The employer penalty for each full-time worker who receives ObamaCare exchange subsidies in 2015 will be $3,120. Penalties are assessed based on the work hours during a measurement period in 2014, so employers have had an incentive to act in advance to limit liability by reducing work hours.
    Because the fine is nondeductible, it is the equivalent of $5,132 in deductible wages for a company facing a combined 39.2% state and federal tax rate.
    That breaks down to $2.47 per hour for a 40-hour-per-week, year-round worker, and the penalty is on track to rise at least an additional 3.2% in 2016.
    Large firms are penalized if they don't offer coverage to the vast majority of full-time workers (that fine is $2,080 per full-timer in 2015). But to limit penalties, firms can offer skimpy or unaffordable coverage and pay a larger fine ($3,120) only for each full-time worker who opts for ObamaCare subsidies. Depending on household size and income, some full-time minimum wage workers — even a higher minimum wage — could qualify for Medicaid, in which case employers would be spared a fine.
    California's new sick leave law requires 24 hours, or three days, of paid time for employees who work enough hours. But the legislation was revised to exclude home health care workers from the mandate because it would have reportedly cost the state $80 million per year.

  2. Changing down to 30-35 hours instead of 40, (9/12 late pickup) Medical Transcriptionists' Company Board via forum.MTstars.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Posted: Sep 12th, 2014 - 7:54 am
    So, progressive part time anyone?
    [All part time is progressive, relative to our perpetuated 40-hour workweek from 1940!]
    Obviously, the PTO [paid time off] accrual (which is pretty pitiful even at full strength) is way less, but when you have to keep using all your PTO anyway to make up the paycheck and your lph [income per hour?] goes down because of that, what's the point of that?
    I am considering going down to 30-35 hours so I don't have to scratch all the time to make up to 40 hours, even if my PTO accrual goes down, mainly because I am sick of having to "flex" every morning, noon, and night to get those 40 hours in or close to it.
    I do have a second job but it only pays once a month, so kind of scary, yet I do wonder if I would make just as much working 30-35 hours per week for Nuance as 40 hours, and what's the point of accruing PTO if you always have to use it all for lack of hours?
    I never seem to get any bonus anyway for the last year or so, so not too concerned about that. Mainly my motivation would be just to not get so stressed out about making up the hours and to be able to focus better with less hours and hopefully get the lph up a bit.
    I am not using their benefits now, not sure if I would use them, so that is not part of my consideration at the moment.
    Just wondering if anyone has made this change and if they felt it was a good move or not.
    I can only look at the latest version of the employee manual in ENRICH, cannot download it - anyone do this? I hate having to log into anything, would rather have the PDF file on my desktop.
    Something interesting I just found in the employee handbook in the description of the different types of employment, part-time, progressive part-time, were that the scheduled work week is Saturday-Friday (how come I am working Sunday then?) and that employment is for no definite term - which I am guessing is At Will Employment? No surprise there, but seems weird reading that.
    If anyone has any personal experiences, positive or negative, of progressive part time to offer, I would much appreciate. Thanks.
    Posted: Sep 12th, 2014 - 6:28 pm In Reply to: Changing down to 30-35 hours instead of 40 - pros and cons?
    Absolutely, this can be a great choice depending on your circumstances. True, the PTO is not so great, but if you only work 4 days a week, or 32 hours, you have 3 days to get away on a short trip. I did that for 2 years, then recently moved to a schedule where I work 2 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 2 days off, which I really love because it gives me a physical and emotional break from the job. Also, you have some time to make up hours if need be and you also have time to do OT if called for and you want to do it. Won't work for everybody, but when my hospital that I worked for dropped the bomb on us that they were outsourcing and we had our meeting with Nuance and I glanced over their handouts my eye went right to the statement that you could work 30 hours and still get benefits. That was 3 years ago and I still needed health insurance. I also realized that with the hospital I was making too much to collect my late husband's Social Security, but with this offer, if I dropped back to 32 hours with the decreased pay I could collect his SS and only work 4 days a week. It worked for me. May not work for everybody, but it made the outsourcing tolerable.

9/12/2014 – 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. After army creches [huh?] and cosy barracks, Germany has new idea for troops: shorter working hours - German defence minister Ms von der Leyen unveils plans to reduce the working week for soldiers in Germany from 46 hours to just 41, by Justin Huggler, Telegraph.co.uk
    BERLIN, Germany - At a time of heightened tension in Europe, with Nato strengthening its forces and Ukraine building land defences against a possible Russian invasion, it appears Germany has come up with a rather different tactic to make its military more formidable – shorter working hours.
    It may come as a surprise to other Nato leaders, but at the defence ministry in Berlin, they have been hard at work on plans to shorten the military working week, according to government proposals leaked to a German newspaper.
    It is the latest brainchild of the colourful defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, who earlier this year introduced army creches [definition?? - like are we talkin' about Mary-Joseph-babyJesus at Xmas? or some kind of hammocks], flexible working hours and flatscreen televisions in barracks in a bid to make the military more attractive as a career choice.
    Under the latest scheme, Ms von der Leyen wants to reduce the working week for soldiers from 46 hours to just 41, according to Süddeustche Zeitung newspaper.
    Widely seen as Angela Merkel’s personally anointed successor, Mrs von der Leyen is one of the highest profile politicians in Germany. She argues the new measures are necessary to stave off a recruitment crisis in the armed forces since Germany gave up conscription in 2011.
    But her previous changes to make military life more appealing were derided as polices for “sissies and wimps” and the ideas of a “good housewife taking care of her children” by senior generals, who argued the minister should be more concerned at the army’s badly outdated equipment.
    [Evidently the senior generals thinks they can still force people into the military by conscription = army brass not known for smarts.]
    Although the latest plans have not yet been approved by Mrs Merkel’s cabinet, they will cause some consternation among Germany’s Nato allies, coming just days after the alliance agreed to form a new rapid reaction force in response to the Ukraine crisis.
    [Nato allies even less smart, still think productivity in the age of robots and drones still varies directly with workhours.]
    Germany is thought unlikely to contribute to that force because troop deployments abroad must be approved by the Bundestag. But it has already sent four Eurofighter jets to patrol the skies over the Baltic states against any Russian incursion, and agreed to increase troops at a multinational command shared with Poland and Denmark.
    In fact, as defence minister Ms von der Leyen has been outspoken in calling for the German military to take on a bigger international role. Germany recently agreed to arm Kurdish forces fighting in Iraq against Islamic State, and to fly Kurdish troops to Germany for training in the use of sophisticated weapons.
    But despite being Europe’s largest economy, Germany still lags far behind its allies in defence spending. Under a Nato agreement, members are supposed to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence, but Germany spends just 1.3 per cent, and further cuts are planned.
    With the rise in international tensons in recent months, the long-standing taboo on the defence budget has been broken, with prominent politicians calling for an increase.
    Ms von der Leyen is believed to favour higher defence spending, but with Mrs Merkel determined to present a balanced budget next year, she is thought unlikely to get it.
    Instead, her department seems fixated on its other major problem, recruitment. Under the new proposals, as well as shorter hours, soldiers would get considerable rises in hardship allowances for difficult postings, of 20 to 40 per cent, and increased government contributions to their pensions.

  2. Four-day work week pushed - To ease traffic, save money, by Joel E. Zurbano, Manila Standard Today
    MANILA, Philippines - Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal on Friday pressed for a four-day work week to ease Metro Manila’s traffic, which according to a study has cost the economy P2.4 billion [Pesos] a day in productivity losses.
    He said the government may declare a Monday day-off in Quezon City; Tuesday in cities of Pasig, Paranaque and Makati; Wednesday in Caloocan, Taguig and Las Pinas, and any rest day in other cities of the National Capital Region.
    “Our daily experiences is that the traffic gridlock is terrible,” said Macalintal who claims traveling two hours daily from Las Pinas City to Quezon City.
    He said the four-day work week would also curb the daily expenses of workers and help other wage-earners make ends meet.
    According to Macalintal, the Senate already enjoys Friday off after four days of sessions and hearings.
    Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metro Manila Development Authority said a four-day scheme is being weighed against civil service rules for non-frontline services, citing savings in electricity and other office expenses.
    But the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines opposes the idea because it will lessen the daily pay of workers.
    [More suicidal unions who can't think two moves ahead in chess! - if hours are cut and the work spread around, thus absorbing the flood of anxious, mutually underbidding jobseekers, the daily pay of workers will go UP by market forces in response to a shortage = more money for less worktime and less of the nation's currency supply trapped into the relatively torpid, recession-inducing circulation of the financial sector!]
    In a recent study of Japan International Cooprtation Agency, Metro Manila gridlock cost can reach P6 billion a day by 2030 in productivity losses, or 2.5 times the the present P2.4 billion estimate.
    “The study shows possible ideas, technologies and strategies that can help the Philippines address traffic congestion and air pollution in Metro Manila. JICA hopes to work with the government in implementing some of these ideas to help improve mobility, and the quality of life of people in Metro Manila, and its surrounding areas,” Jica Philippines Senior Representative Eigo Azukizawa said.
    The study was made in partnership with MMDA, Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of Public Works and Highways, and other government agencies.
    Among the measures recommended in the “Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Its Surrounding Areas” are urban expansion to adjoining provinces, affordable housing for low income groups, multi-modal public transport network and traffic management systems.

9/11/2014 – 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. Reaching the Future, AreaWideNews.com
    SALEM, Ark., USA - Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past are certain to prolong reaching the future.
    I remember my fourth grade teacher giving us a glimpse of the future. We were told that things would be so modernized when we grew up that we would have much more free time on our hands than our parents.
    My father, like almost everyone else in the 1950's, was working 40 hours a week. My mother was being a 1950's mother, staying at home to take care of the family. I was relieved to learn that I wouldn't have to put in that many hours when I was my parent's age.
    But it never came true.
    More than a half century later, Americans are still stuck in the rut of a 40-hour workweek. In fact, Americans now average more hours per week than they did fifty years ago and have less vacation time than any other industrial nation in the world. And in many cases, both parents are forced to work just to stay even.
    The average American family pays more in taxes than food, clothing, shelter and transportation combined. Either we are incapable of being personally responsible for our own welfare or government has gotten vastly out of control.
    Nearly 50 percent of our income goes to government. This includes federal & state income tax, social security tax, Medicare tax, real estate property tax, personal property tax, state & county & city sales tax, self-employment tax, gasoline tax, liquor tax, cigarette tax, federal excise tax, import tax, luxury tax, gift tax, inheritance tax, hotel tax, transportation tax, federal & state & county telephone tax, etc., etc.
    [Most of it to support the mounting number of people for whom we've made it harder to find a full-time job at our perpetuated 1940 level and easier to sink into unemployment, welfare, disability, homelessness, prison, suicide, homeland security or the military.]
    We're stuck at 40 hours per week of labor with nearly 20 of those hours going to government coffers.
    This is insane.
    Instead of finding a rational solution to this tedious work load, the federal government keeps churning away trying to find new ways to fit everyone into a 40-hour per week job to keep the giant economic engine going. They are stuck with a 1950s model of the way things ought to be, rather than figuring out ways to lesson the tax burden on the people and lower government spending.

    [This commentator is reading my mind.]
    The government assumes the solution to unemployment is to create more jobs into a full-time 40-hour week paradigm. Instead, it would make much more sense to be flexible with the 40-hour per week system. If the work week was shorter, more people would have jobs, creating the same amount of output.
    For example, if you have 80 people working and 20 people on unemployment at a 40-hour week, you have an output of 3,200 man-hours of production. But if you reduced the work week to 32 hours, all 100 people would still create 3,200 man-hours of production per week. Flexibility of hours allows everyone to work and shortens the hours, without any loss of productivity.
    [AND deconcentrates the hoard trapped in the financial sector and spreads it around to the people who actually spend most of it. This speeds up circulation, activates the Multiplier Effect, creates more marketable productivity for solid investments for the financial sector instead of more groundless inflation in the the stock markets and bogus investments like hedge funds, swaps, single-stock futures, and all the other blood-bucket look-alikes from the 1920s.]
    An even more radical solution is a 3-day work week of 9-hour days. This would allow half of the work force to work 27 hours for 3 days and the other half to work 27 hours the next 3 days. This would increase overall output from a 40-hour week of productivity to a 54-hour per week productivity, whereby we would actually produce more while working less individual hours, plus there would be "jobs" for twice as many people as before.
    Nobody, with the possible exception of Hugh Hefner, goes to their grave wishing they had spent more time working at their job. Recent surveys show that most Americans don't really like their jobs. They're working jobs they hate in order to buy things they don't need, and half of what they earn is confiscated from them for various dubious government adventures that are overly costly and almost always include unintended adverse consequences.
    A prime example of the wastefulness and sheer ignorance of consequences of the federal government was the Cash for Clunkers program in the early days of the Obama administration, which they naturally claim was a smashing success.
    A clunker that travels 12,000 miles a year at 15 mpg uses 800 gallons of gas a year. A vehicle that travels 12,000 miles a year at 25 mpg uses 480 gallons a year. Thus, the average Cash for Clunkers transaction will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year. They claim 700,000 vehicles were involved so that's 224 million gallons saved per year, which equals about 5 million barrels of oil. And 5 million barrels of oil at $70 per barrel costs about $350 million dollars. Therefore, the government used $3 billion of our tax dollars to save $350 million, which amounts to costing $8.57 for every dollar saved.
    This is the same government that creates a penny at a cost of 1.7 cents per penny.
    And everyone keeps grinding away, 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, pouring money down a rat hole, while their inefficient central government is having endless meetings trying to think of ways to create more 40-hour per week jobs.
    If we reduce the workweek, more people will have jobs. Plus, everyone will have more free time, which in turn will create more job opportunities in various travel, recreational, vacation, entertainment, hobby, crafts, art, and environmental sectors.
    Instead of trying to maintain a 1950s model of existence, we should endeavor to improve our quality of life. We need to work less and enjoy life more. As predicted, everything has been modernized. My fourth grade teacher would be amazed -- electronics, robotics, improved vehicles, computers, Internet, satellite communications, i-pods, e-mail, cell phones, laser technology, medical advances, etc.
    A rigid 40-hour workweek contributes to the "unemployment" problem, not the lack of jobs. A shorter workweek is the solution, not creating more tasks for people to do. Flexibility and adaptability is the key, not trying to fit the modern world into the distant past.
    The wasteful, ever-growing federal government intrusion in the economy is beyond the scope of their function and will only make matters worse. Their task is to ensure a level playing field, protect individual rights, maintain a common infrastructure and allow the freedom of the marketplace to flourish on its own. It is not within their purview to define or maintain or manipulate or manage the private jobs of private citizens.
    An administration that attempts to solve the over-spending of the past by excessively over-spending even more in the present and the future is not to be trusted with the economy, or anything else.
    Plunging the nation into unprecedented debt may be the governmental prescription for keeping its citizens enslaved into working full-time forever, but it's not much fun for the slaves.
    The USA is based on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have a long history of sacrificing lives to maintain our individual freedom. Yet, we are being treated like cogs within a monolithic, socialistic central government machine.
    Planet Earth is slowly becoming a prison planet. And if we stay the course, it will culminate in a monolithic, socialistic one-world government.
    The struggle for freedom never ends.
    Instead to rallying for more jobs, we should be rallying for less work and more freedom.
    Quote for the Day -- "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Thomas Jefferson
    Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a couple of dogs and where modernization includes such luxuries as electricity and indoor plumbing.

  2. Unemployment and reduced working hours forcing more into payday loan debt trap, by Joanne Fleming, BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
    BELFAST, N.Ireland, UK – Payday loans are trapping increasing numbers of people here in a spiral of debt, according to a report.
    Statistics from the StepChange debt charity reveal a sevenfold increase in people with payday loans contacting them for help.
    In the first six months of the year, 23% of the people the charity works with had payday loan debt, compared to 4% in the same period in 2010.
    The group owed an average of £1,689, exceeding their average monthly income of £1,440.
    StepChange also said people here owed, on average, 20% more than people in the rest of the UK.
    The average amount of unsecured debt per person was £18,360. Mortgage arrears accounted for £3,249 of that – an increase of £974 from last year.
    Unemployment and reduced working hours were the main reasons people got into debt, with those aged between 40 and 59 the worst affected.
    [Then why not get smart and use reduced working hours to eliminate unemployment? Step one: cut hours to avert layoffs and maintain employment and spending. Step two: cut hours deeper, convert overtime into jobs, and restore full employment and maximum spending and markets and marketable productivity and solid investment targets.]
    StepChange chief executive Mike O'Connor said the figures were a stark reminder of the tough financial landscape.
    "Far from feeling the benefits of recovery, many people here struggle to meet even the basic cost of living," he added.
    "They are increasingly turning to payday loans and other high-cost credit in an attempt to bridge the gap.
    "What looks like a lifeline can become a debt trap for people and their families, and high-cost credit is an increasing problem here.
    "Access to mainstream credit has tightened during the recession, and overstretched consumers have turned to things like payday loans to plug the gap.
    "Excessive interest and charges can build up quickly, often leading consumers to take on more and more credit.
    "With debt levels reaching a worrying height in the province – our Northern Irish clients now owe an average of 13 times their monthly income – it is crucial that people seek free advice and guidance on how to tackle their debts.
    "The Financial Conduct Authority's intention to cap the total cost of credit at 100% of the amount borrowed, and to limit the amount of times a loan can be rolled over, is a step forward, but we need to see further action from the regulator to fix deep-rooted problems."
    Anyone struggling with debt [in N.Ireland] can seek free advice from the StepChange Debt Charity helpline on 0800 138 1111 or at www.stepchange.org.

9/10/2014 – 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. Avoiding redundancies: changing working hours, by Ben Dudley, Seyfarth Shaw via Linex Legal (press release) (registration) [if this is really a press release, why does it require reader to register?] via WorkplaceLawAndStrategy.com.au
    CHICAGO, Illin., USA - In our ‘5 ways in 5 days’ series, we are looking at options to control labour costs which don’t involve implementing redundancies. Today, we are looking at:
    1. Changing employees’ working hours;
    2. Reducing overtime; and
    3. Putting employees on sabbaticals and secondments.
    1. Changing an employee's hours
    Hours of work are a fundamental aspect of the working arrangements referred to in contracts of employment or enterprise agreements. Indeed, it is common for enterprise agreements to specify the number of working hours per week, and sometimes the particular roster arrangements under which hours will be worked.
    In tough economic times, one way to manage labour costs is to reduce or modify employees’ working hours in order to:
    • reduce the total number of hours worked, and/or
    • have employees work their hours at times which are subject to lower penalty/overtime rates.
    During the GFC, many businesses, especially in Europe, adopted temporarily reduced working weeks or temporary plant closures in order to deal with reduced demand for products and services (often because government subsidies made such options attractive). For example, British Airways, Ford, Honda and JCB offered reduced hours of work, and KPMG offered a four-day week to staff, with more than 3 in 4 workers signing up.
    While it is possible for an employer to request that an employee change or reduce working hours, the employer may need to go through a process to achieve that result. For example:
    • if an employee is engaged to work ‘full time’, the employer may need to obtain the employees consent to reduce those hours (with the consequent reduction in pay)
    • awards or enterprise agreements may impose processes (including the giving of a period of notice) for changes to the number of hours worked or the roster arrangements on which the hours are worked
    • awards or enterprise agreements may enable individual employees and the employer to agree on an individual flexibility arrangement that involves the employee working fewer or different hours – provided it leaves the employee ‘better off overall’
    • awards and new enterprise agreements must now include a clause that requires an employer to consult with employees about changes to an employee’s regular roster or ordinary hours of work, including by:
      • providing information to employees about the change;
      • inviting employees to give their views about the impact of the change; and
      • considering any views given by the employees about the impact.
    Communicating the nature of, and need for the changes, is important to ensure that employees come ‘along for the ride’ in relation to this option – especially as it may substantially reduce their income. For example, working ‘flexibly’ in this way may enable the organisation to retain staff while cutting costs.
    2. Reducing overtime
    Many businesses ‘run on overtime’. That is, they rely on employees regularly working overtime hours above and beyond their ordinary hours. This can be an expensive manner of operation, due to the higher rates of pay that apply to the overtime hours. It may be possible for employers to reduce overtime work or cease it entirely with significant cost advantages, for instance by rearranging work schedules so that production normally completed during overtime hours is instead done during ‘ordinary hours’.
    There are a number of issues that have to be borne in mind when considering this alternative:
    • enterprise agreements may include particular arrangements in relation to overtime. For instance, some awards and agreements have overtime ‘built into’ an employee’s roster arrangements. That may mean that it is necessary to either vary the agreement itself or, at least, to consult with employees about the impacts that the change will have on them;
    • where overtime is worked purely at the request of the employer, but has nevertheless been worked ‘regularly’ by employees, reducing the volume of that work can have significant impacts on employees’ take-home pay; and
    • employees may have contractual entitlements to be offered a particular volume of overtime work – changing this would require the employee’s consent.
    Of course, where such an alternative is adopted, there are some practical issues to deal with, including that ceasing overtime arrangements may make it more difficult for an employer to service particular customer needs and might reduce the ‘nimbleness’ of the organisation.
    3. Sabbaticals and secondments
    Gathering a wide range of experience is often a goal of employees in their first few years in the workforce. One of the ways in which employers can offer this to employees while retaining their skills is via ‘secondments’ to other organisations (often clients). This is particularly prevalent in the professional services industry. Equally, after a number of years in the workforce, many employees look forward to a ‘well-earned rest’, or opportunity to explore a passion that is not possible while their ‘nose is to the grindstone’ at work. An example of this took place during the GFC when BT offered staff up to a year’s holiday if they agreed to take a 75 per cent pay cut.
    Both of these methods can be brought to bear by an employer in tough economic conditions in order to help manage costs, while not losing the employee’s skills and talents. Nevertheless, there are some points to remember when considering these options:
    • an employer may not have the ‘right’ to place an employee on sabbatical or secondment to another organisation. Typically, both options would require an employee’s consent although some contracts of employment may allow the employer to direct the employee to undertake either of these activities;
    • depending on the relevant contractual provision, an employee may still be entitled to some payment during the period of a sabbatical; and
    • secondments will reduce the number of staff available to work on short notice (for example, if demand picks up) so employers should factor this into decision-making.
    Tomorrow, we look at retraining and redeploying employees, and reducing the labour hire workforce.
    [Reduce the "labour hire workforce" and you reduce your own best customers, your customers' customers, and the whole economy = "Suicide, everyone else first." Alternative? Timesizing, not downsizing.]

  2. Working hours - A plea for more data, by C.W., The Economist (blog) via economist.com
    LONDON, U.K. - In America, one in three workers does some work on the weekend. Europeans are more likely to treat Saturday and Sunday as sacred: only one in five workers in France, Germany and the Netherlands buck the trend. American workers are rather nocturnal, too. One in four works between 10pm and 6am. In France and the Netherlands, one in every fourteen does so.
    Why? The obvious explanation is longer working hours. Average hours are higher in Anglo-Saxon countries than in other advanced economies (see chart). A goodly chunk of Americans and Brits works over 65 hours a week. If you are working longer, the argument goes, it is inevitable that working time will spill over into evenings and weekends.
    A new paper, though, argues that long working hours have little to do with it. In a series of regressions, they show that only a small part of the high incidence of work during unsociable hours is due to Americans’ long workweeks.
    So what explains Americans’ tendency to work at weird times? The authors offer the unhelpful suggestion that it’s to do with “differences in the way that work is structured in America.” Or possibly it’s because of “some unique characteristics of American and European culture.” In other words, no one knows.
    [Utter nonsense, and sociable or unsociable hours are beside the point! Let's quit playing dumb. The point is that a rigid and frozen concept of "full time" in the age of constantly increasing worksaving technology, standardly responded-to with downsizing in the USA, has created a mounting, employee-disempowering surplus of labor, involving floods of mutually underbidding resumes, and that means no one wants to be first to leave the workplace at night and if the boss makes a suggestion, you take it as an absolute command. Bossman say jump, you JUMP.]
    This paper exemplifies the problem facing economists who research time-use. Beyond some highly aggregated OECD numbers, there is a pathetic amount of data available. In this paper, the economists were forced to use French data from 1999 and British data from 2001. The Economist faced similar data problems when researching a Free exchange column on working hours, published in April. Making comparisons between countries—which economists love doing—is sometimes impossible. According to OECD data, the only country that gives information about the hours of the self-employed is the Czech Republic.
    Some countries have bucked the trend. American time-use data is a model for the rest of the world. The "American Time Use Survey", began in 2003. Data are released annually and offer some lovely little nuggets of information. (Did you know that each day in 2013 the average American spent 17% longer on the phone than they had done in 2003?). The Harmonised European Time Use Survey (HETUS) has some advantages over the American. For instance, it measures the time use of individual members of a household, not the household as a whole (as the American survey does). But HETUS is released once a decade.
    Hard-nosed economists complain that measuring time is basically impossible: if I am reading while eating, is my primary activity eating or reading? But many important economic statistics suffer from measurement problems (see, for example, Buttonwood's excellent discussion of productivity measurement).
    A minority of economists, notably Gary Becker, have for a long time been interested in time-use. But now the mainstream is gradually coming round to the idea that time-use is important, says Oriel Sullivan of Oxford University. In recent years some of the big-hitting economics journals have published papers that look at time allocation. That belated recognition should be welcomed. Time-use allocation influences quality of life. It also exerts strong effects on health. More data would help us answer some of the big economic questions. Why did Keynes' prediction of a 15-hour working week not come true? Do college graduates work longer than high-school dropouts across the world, as they do in America?

9/09/2014 – 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. Vote yes on Measure Q: Work, pollute less, op ed by Charles Siegel, Daily Californian via dailycal.org
    BERKELEY, Calif., USA - The Daily Californian’s Back To School issue had an article about the most controversial initiatives on Berkeley’s November ballot. Another initiative on the ballot is not as controversial but could be very important in the long run: Measure Q, the Flexible Work-Time Initiative.
    Measure Q is an advisory initiative calling on the city, state and federal government to pass what is called a “right-to-request” law.
    This sort of law gives employees the right to request part-time work and other flexible working arrangements, such as telecommuting and compressed work weeks. Employers must respond to the request and can refuse the request by giving a business reason showing that the arrangement is not feasible. If an employer refuses the request, there is no appeal. Small businesses are exempt.
    A similar law has been successful in the United Kingdom for over a decade, and the overwhelming majority of requests are granted.
    Now, this sort of law is moving to the United States.
    • In 2007, a similar law was introduced in Congress as the “Working Families Flexibility Act.” Its co-sponsors included then-senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, and then-senator from New York, Hillary Clinton.
    • In 2013, Vermont and San Francisco passed similar laws.
    • In June 2014, President Obama issued an executive order adopting this policy for federal employees.
    The existing laws emphasize their benefits to families. The standard 40-hour work week was adopted in 1938, when families were expected to have stay-at-home mothers. Now, most American families with children do not have a stay-at-home caregiver, and 90 percent of these parents say they have trouble balancing work and family obligations. Today’s working families need more flexibility than they needed 75 years ago.
    We are also emphasizing the environmental benefit. These laws give employees the option of downshifting economically. As we say in the shorter-work-time movement, they have the option of choosing “more time instead of more stuff.”
    Common sense tells us that if people choose to work less and consume less, they will also pollute less.
    Research confirms this fact. For example, a study named “Hours of Work and the Ecological Footprint of Nations” compared work time and ecological footprint internationally, corrected statistically for other variables and found that if a nation’s work time is 10 percent shorter, its ecological footprint is more than 10 percent smaller.
    People with shorter work hours not only produce and consume less — they also consume in less environmentally destructive ways. For example, they have the time to cook for themselves instead of eating frozen food.
    The ecological benefits would be small initially, but they could be large in the long term. American work hours declined from 70 hours per week in 1840 to 40 hours per week in 1938, but they have not declined since. Despite the huge changes in the American family and economy, we still have the same 40-hour week that we had in the 1930s.
    If work hours had continued to decline at their historic rate, our ecological footprint would be more than 25 percent smaller than it is.
    Work hours continue to decline in Europe. If Americans worked the same hours as Germans, Norwegians or the Dutch, America’s ecological footprint would be about 20 percent smaller than it is.
    If the United States could get back on the track of gradually reducing average work hours, as we did during most of our history, it would be much more feasible to build a sustainable economy during the coming century.
    When we project current trends 100 years into the future, it becomes clear that we must moderate our consumerism a bit to deal with global warming and other ecological challenges. This doesn’t mean consuming less than we do now. It does mean taking part of the benefit of future growth in the form of more free time and partly in the form of more consumption, as Americans did historically and as Europeans still do.
    Because of its social and ecological benefits, Measure Q has been endorsed by Boston College professor Juliet Schor, one of the nation’s leading authorities on work time, who says, “The Berkeley Flexible Work Time Initiative is a pioneering step in the direction of an economy that gives people more choice and enhances family and community life. And perhaps most surprisingly, it is also a vital step for constructing a pathway to a low-carbon economy that can protect our climate. My research shows that shorter hours of work have a strong impact in reducing carbon footprints and carbon emissions.”
    Because of its ecological benefits, Measure Q has been endorsed by Bill McKibben, one of the nation’s leading climate activists, who calls it a “valuable initiative,” adding that “academic research demonstrates shorter work hours cut carbon.”
    There has been little opposition to this initiative, and because of the lack of controversy, it has not gotten as much news coverage as other initiatives on this year’s ballot. But it may ultimately prove to be the most important measure on the ballot.
    There is no predicting the future, but we do know that Measure Q is the only measure on this year’s Berkeley ballot that has been endorsed by Bill McKibben as well as by many others who are thinking about how to make our economy sustainable in the long run.
    Charles Siegel is a proponent of the Berkeley Flexible Work Time Initiative www.flexibleworktime.com and is the author of The Politics of Simple Living http://www.preservenet.com/simpleliving/.
    Contact the opinion desk at opinion@dailycal.org or follow us on Twitter: @dailycalopinion.

  2. You can probably get just as much done in a 32-hour work week as you do in 40, produced by Kara Miller, (9/08 late pickup) Public Radio International via pri.org
    CHICAGO, Illin., USA - Jason Fried is about as far as you an get from a typical CEO.
    He gives employees Fridays off during the summer. Most days, he doesn't care if they come into the office.
    "There's at least eight hours worth of fat in a work week, probably more so" he says he discovered. "By squeezing one day out, what you're left with is really productive time. If you have a scarce resource, you conserve the resource; if you have an abundant resource, you waste it."
    [We've long suspected that a big factor in the small hourscut bump in producitivity is...prioritization.]
    And he thinks most too many peoples' lives are now overrun by meetings and managers (though, to be fair, Fried admits he is a manager).
    "If you really want to be creative about something and work on some ideas, you can't do that in 15-minute increments," Fried argues, "which is what happens in a lot of workplaces because people's days are chunked up by a manager asking them what they're working on or being pulled into a meeting."
    So, what's behind these heretical views? Fried wants to create a culture that attracts and retains the best talent. Even if that means turning the traditional office on its head. He encourages his team to work a 32-hour week — but to make them count.
    Indeed, when Basecamp started, Fried was in Chicago and his partner, David Heinemeier Hansson, was in Copenhagen. But the seven-hour time difference didn't slow them down. "So we had a few hours where we were both working. And then the majority of the day, when I was sleeping, he was working. And he was sleeping, I was working. Which allowed us to really get a lot done."
    When Hansson ultimately moved to Chicago, the two thought their productivity would be turbo-charged. But the opposite happened. "When you're together all day, it's really easy to interrupt each other."
    Out of that experience came a resolution. "We've always decided that we want to have the best people in the world working at Basecamp," Fried says. "It's unlikely that every best person in the world in their job happens to be within a 20-mile radius of our office. That's just not the way things work."
    So people aren't required to be in the office, unless they need to be in the office.
    This story first aired as an interview on PRI's Innovation Hub.

  3. Tests for “psychological resistance to work” to determine who goes to 35 Hours Prison, by Andrew Coates, Ipswich Unemployed Action via intensiveactivity.wordpress.com
    IPSWICH, U.K. - Having had time to look into this one it certainly trumps previous hare-brained DWP schemes.
    In fact I’ve known many March hares, very cautious and reliable spring hares, with wit and intelligence, who have had more sense than the people who came up with this “nudge” (or kick in the bollocks),
    [Never thought of it before, but "bollocks" is in paradigm with "buttocks" - though in North American dialects we have gone from "bollocks" to "bolls" to "balls." But maybe the word "bull" branched off from the "bolls" or "balls" in all dialects.]
    People claiming benefits will be expected to undergo attitude tests to assess if they have a psychological resistance to work under new plans revealed by the employment minister.
    Esther McVey said benefit claimants will be profiled to see if they feel "determined", "bewildered" or "despondent" at the prospect of employment.

    [Esther McVey, Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament, is a British politician who has represented Wirral West since 2010, and who currently serves as Minister of State for Employment.]
    Those who are deemed less mentally prepared for life at work will undergo intensive coaching at the job centre, The Telegraph reports, while people who are judged to be more positive about work will be placed on less rigorous schemes.
    [For the really tough cases, we suggest extending child adoption to adult adoption - de-agglomerate and de-institutionalize the problem, and definitely do not let it proliferate into American-style 4th and 5th generation welfare parenting. Let the adoptive parents "infect" the tough cases with the healthy "virus" of financial independence (however short a workweek that may only require in the future). The "Miscellany" photo at the end of every issue of the old Life Magazine had interesting shots and ideas. One in the late 1950s pictured a tiny gold tap that could be surgically implanted in everyone's reproductive system before puberty, so that now sex has become more of a pleasurable hobby than a species-continuing necessity, the defaut would be No-Reproduction instead of Reproduction, and with programs such as Ken Arrow's and Herman Daly's Marketable or Exchangeable Birth Licences, described in Daly's "Steady State Economics," under the right conditions two people could have their gold taps surgically turned ON until "they" reproduced. I think we will come to this.]
    It will be scales of eager, despondent, maybe apprehensive. There are factors within that: “Somebody who is apprehensive but willing is different from someone who is reticent but disengaged,” said Ms McVey.

    [The London] Independent
    The Telegraph adds,
    Ms McVey’s 'segmentation' programme has been inspired by the work of Therese Rein, the wife of the former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, whose firm has used attitude profiling in back-to-work schemes since the 1990s.
    Back-to-Work, that is workfare schemes, for which Australia is notorious.
    Segmentation or “selection” as we might call it.
    This is the most relevant bit,
    "It is likely to be used to select candidates for the work programme, under which claimants have to work in order to receive benefits. It will also be used to recruit to a new scheme obliging the long-term unemployed to spend 35 hours a week at the Jobcentre as they learn to write cover letters and sit interviews."
    [Funny how some nitwit Brits are always trying to spin France as radical for their 35-hour workweek yet that's all they require of their long-term unemployed.]
    So ‘tests’ with about as much scientific validity as astrology, crystal therapy and homoeopathy, will be used to decide who gets sent to Jobsearch prison for 35 hours a week.

9/07-08/2014 – 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. MAN proposes worksharing for plants in Salzgitter and Austria, 9/08 Austria Press Agency (APA) via https://produkte.erstegroup.com
    [Google Translate with lotsa cleanup by Phil Hyde.]
    MUNICH, Germany - Truck manufacturer MAN wants to propose worksharing for approximately 4,000 employees in plants in Salzgitter and Steyr (Austria). The company is in corresponding discussions with the employee representatives, said a MAN spokesman in Munich on Monday. He thus confirmed a report of the Upper Austrian News. The reason for the worksharing he described as weak orders and correspondingly weaker purchase rates. The worksharing should begin in October and run through January. In Salzgitter as in Steyr, 2,000 employees will be affected.
    The European commercial-vehicle market was dominated in the past and even this year by the introduction of more stringent Euro 6 annual emission standards. Especially up to yearsend there had been strong anticipatory effects. But then still at yearstart there were increasing new vehicle-registrations in Europe. However, this also applied to vehicles produced and sold in the fourth quarter of 2013, MAN announced at the end of July. In the second quarter, this effect had notably weakened.
    Collectively truckmakers had already predicted a hard year, because the result of the anticipatory effects was a weakening. According to MAN the call is, that for the full 2014 year, the concern expects a significant downturn in market level.
    At the end of July after a weak second quarter, MAN had adjusted its outlook for 2014 downwards. Instead of a slight decline, MAN now expects a significant downturn in business. As difficult markets right now, CEO Georg Pachta-Reyhofen had identified Brazil and Russia.
    In two weeks, the industry holds the leading IAA trade fair for commercial vehicles in Hannover, which begins on the 23rd of September.
    Hoe / DP / jha

  2. A Senate Bill Ends Air Traffic Controller Furloughs, 9/07 Personal Finance via capitola-real-estate.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - The U.S. Senate has passed a bill to end the furloughs of air traffic controllers. This should halt a long series of flight delays that have threatened to gridlock the ability of airlines to have on-time flights. In some cases, carriers have had to cancel service.
    Fox News reported on the Senate bill to end the furloughs:
    The bill passed late Thursday without even a roll call vote, and House officials indicated it likely would be brought up for quick approval there.
    Under the legislation, the Federal Aviation Administration would gain authority to transfer up to $253 million from accounts that are flush into other programs, to prevent reduced operations and staffing through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.
    In addition to restoring full staffing by controllers, Senate officials said the available funds should be ample enough to prevent the closure of small airport towers around the country. The FAA has said it will shut the facilities as it makes its share of $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts — known as the sequester — that took effect last month at numerous government agencies.

  3. Why We Still Don't Have A Four-Day Workweek - Where did our five-day workweek come from anyway? And when will three-day weekends become the norm? by Lisa Evans, 9/08 FastCompany.com
    TORONTO, Ont., Canada - After Labor Day weekend last week, many of us are wishing four-day workweeks were the norm year round.
    The 40-hour, five-day workweek has been the topic of much debate dating back to the last century. In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by 2030 technological advances would allow people to work as few as 15 hours a week.
    With nearly 15 years to go, Keynes prediction may seem light years away from reality, but in recent years a number of arguments have surfaced in favor of a shorter workweek.
    This past July, the president of the U.K.’s leading public health industry group argued Britain should switch to a four-day workweek, attributing stress and rising health concerns including high blood pressure and work-related mental health issues to the fact that most of us work five days a week.
    Mexican telecom billionaire entrepreneur Carlos Slim recently argued in favor of a three-day workweek stating the shorter workweek would improve the quality of life of employees, making them healthier and more productive. His three-day workweek proposal comes with a couple of caveats, however: employees would work 10 or 11 hours a day in those three days, and would continue to work into their seventies.
    Some countries are already experimenting with a shorter workweek. The Netherlands has had four-day workweeks for years, and some North American companies are toying with the concept. In 2012, 37Signals cofounder Jason Fried wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times citing his company’s 32-hour work week from May through October helps improve workers’ focus. 'When you have a compressed workweek, you tend to focus on what’s important,” he wrote. In a post earlier this year, I cited a tech company, Treehouse, who has implemented a year-round four-day workweek, noting higher employee morale, greater focus, and a greater ability to attract and retain top talent among the benefits.
    The five-day workweek was the focus of a recent article in the Atlantic. Author Philip Sopher says we can thank the Great Depression for our two-day weekend as prior to that time American workers were obligated to work half days on Saturdays and only received Sundays off. The shorter hours were considered a remedy to the country’s unemployment problem. Yet despite economic stability and advances in technology, the five-day workweek remains the dominant concept in workplace organization.
    Sopher says there’s reason to believe the two-day weekend is inefficient. He cites a growing body of research pointing to evidence that a shorter workweek would lead to increased productivity, improved health, and higher employee retention rates and says the five-day workweek may actually be hindering productivity.
    He cites a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology that found individuals who worked 55 hours per week performed worse on some mental tests than those who only worked 40 hours per week.
    The question is: Is the five day workweek so ingrained in our culture that it can’t be changed? Some companies already offer the option of Fridays off, but in many cases, employees still put in a 40-hour workweek; they simply work longer hours Monday through Thursday in order to reap the benefits of a three-day weekend.
    Although the benefits of a shorter workweek are clear--improved morale and employee health not to mention attracting talent--Sopher says it’s unlikely companies will jump on the shorter workweek bandwagon simply because they would feel it would put their company at a competitive disadvantage against others who still operate on a five-day work schedule.
    While it’s unlikely Keynes’s prediction will become reality by 2030, perhaps a different way of looking at how we organize our workweek is in order.
    Lisa Evans is a freelance writer from Toronto who covers topics related to mental and physical health. She strives to help readers make small changes to their daily habits that have a profound and lasting impact on their productivity and overall job satisfaction. She’s a coffee snob, magazine hoarder and amateur photographer who strikes a work-life balance through yoga and cycling. Visit her at www.lisaevans.ca.

9/06/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. German train drivers strike over pay and working hours, euronews.com
    BERLIN, Germany - German train drivers are set to strike for the second time in a week on Saturday as part of demands for higher wages and shorter working hours.
    The three-hour walk-out by workers from the GBL union will affect passengers travelling on Saturday morning between 6 and 9 CET.
    The union, which represents about 37,000 drivers, conductors and shunters, wants a pay rise of 5 percent and the working week reduced from the current 39 hours to 37.
    State-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn upped its offer this week and demanded the strike be called off.

  2. The case for a shorter work-week, by Shanthakumar Murugesan, TheHindu.com
    BANGALORE, India - Most working Indians have a weekly Sunday holiday, whereas in most European and other developed countries people have two holidays a week. It may appear that the extra working day adds to national productivity, but that is not the reality.
    In this mechanical world, individuals get drained physically and mentally at work every single day. One day a week is not enough to recharge the natural batteries for the following week.
    Any sundry tasks such as paying bills or fees, or servicing a vehicle, cannot normally be done on a Sunday. Consequently, individuals invariably get their personal work done during working hours. This causes sub-optimal outcomes for both employers and employees. Such situations also pave the way for bribes being paid to get tasks done quickly.
    People often don’t have the time or the energy to visit relatives and friends in a single day that is available to them. This affects familial bonds, the social structure and our very culture. Even parents are unable to take their children for an outing. This affects children. Without enough time to spare, many individuals neglect religious, historic, patriotic and social activities.
    Many corporate firms and software sectors now have a five-day week and their employees are happy both in office and at home. During weekends, bachelors get to go home from their workplace. They work effectively through the five days as they are refreshed during the two-day break.
    The single-day-holiday pattern affects the physical, mental, spiritual and social state of an individual. Though some government offices and most schools follow a five-day week, this is not the case in a large number of workplaces.
    The government ought to address this issue.

9/05/2014 – 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. The Worst [or Best!] Job Stat Continues To Get Even Worse [or Better!!], by Jed Graham, Investor's Business Daily via news.investors.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Amid all the focus on boosting the minimum wage and legislating living wages, virtually no one seems to have noticed what is happening to the workweek in low-wage industries.
    Since December 2012, private industries paying up to about $14.50 an hour have added, on net, 972,000 nonsupervisory jobs with an average workweek of a mere 17.7 hours, an IBD analysis finds.
    That doesn't mean new employees are being hired for such few hours. Rather, it reflects a combination of reduced hours in existing jobs and short workweeks for newly created jobs.
    Overall, in these low-wage industries which employ 30 million rank-and-file workers, the average workweek shrank to 27.3 hours per week in July, an IBD analysis shows. That's the shortest workweek on record,
    except for this past February, when mid-month blizzards wreaked havoc during the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey week.
    [- which is EXACTLY the purpose of technology and innovation (to FREE us from work, from turning over control of as much of our lives to the collective(!) in the form of The Market!!!), but by responding to them with economy-fragging downsizing instead of commonsense timesizing, we have clung to the pre-tech workweek of 1940 instead of adjusting our concept of "full time" with times.]
    The conventional wisdom among economists is that there's been no apparent shift to part-time work and that ObamaCare's employer mandate hasn't led to shorter workweeks.
    But shorter hours clocked by nonmanagers in low-wage industries are being obscured because the rest of the workforce is now clocking a longer average workweek than even before the recession started.
    For low-wage industry workers, on the other hand, the recovery in the workweek from a then-record low 27.5 hours in mid-2009 began to reverse in the latter half of 2012, and it's been pretty much all downhill since then.
    Evidence points to ObamaCare as an important factor in the shrinking workweek.
    Last fall, White House economists offered up a simple gauge of ObamaCare's impact on the workweek: the number of workers clocking just above the 30-hour-per-week threshold at which the employer mandate hits vs. the number with workweeks just shy of that mark.
    If that ratio derived from the Current Population Survey of households were flat or rising, it would show that employers, as a whole, weren't restructuring work hours to avoid ObamaCare's costs. In fact, the ratio of regular 31- to 34-hour workers vs. 25- to 29-hour workers has been plunging — from 0.71 in December 2012 to a record low 0.55 in June.
    That shift isn't apparent in the BLS part-time work data because the agency considers 35 hours or more to be full time.
    While economists warn not to put too much stock in anecdotes, IBD has compiled 400-plus documented examples of employers cutting work hours in response to ObamaCare. Most of the examples are in the public sector because of its relative transparency about workforce policies, but the private industry examples include a number of department stores, supermarket chains and homecare providers.
    Not surprisingly, these are among the industries seeing shorter workweeks. Since the end of 2012, average work hours are down 5.8% (from 30.9 to 29.1 hours) at general merchandise stores, 4.6% at providers of social assistance to the elderly and disabled, and 1.7% at food and beverage stores.
    [But note contradictory article today - presumably stats on all-wage, not just low-wage, industries -]
    The Average U.S. Work Week Is Nearly 6 Days - Recent Gallup Poll Reveals Numbers That May Startle You, by Andrew Ward, AOL Jobs via jobs.aol.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - For many full-time employed adults, the weekly grind is feeling more like six days, rather than five. They aren't wrong. That's because a recent Gallup poll* indicated half of America's full-time staffers are working more than 40 hours per week, with four in ten stating they work 50 hours or more. Only 8 percent polled reported to work less than the supposed national average of 40 hours.
    [Reported in The "40-Hour" Workweek Is Actually Longer...by Seven Hours - Full-time U.S. workers, on average, report working 47 hours weekly, by Lydia Saad, 8/29 Gallup.com]
    When International Business Times suggested the work week seems like it's dragging on longer than usual, they weren't kidding. The average American is now working an average of 47 hours per week, essentially working six days per week.
    In comparison, the nation with the shortest work week, the Netherlands, averages 29 hours per week with an average income of $47,000, notes CNN Money. Full-time Americans roughly averaged $40,000 in 2013 according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics breakout.
    Several factors shape the American schedule. Hourly workers only earn when they are on the clock, so they have obvious intentions to stay longer. What makes this puzzling is that hourly employees average 44 hours worked per week.
    Yet, salaried employees tend to average five hours longer. What has become the norm for many salaried employees, 25 percent of the Gallup poll claimed to work more than 60 hours in the week. This may come from companies knowing they don't have to pay overtime to their salaried workforce. From the perspective of the employee, America's hard-working image could almost be seen as a badge of honor to some of the marathon workers out there.
    When looking at countries with the least hours worked in a week, factors like four-day work weeks, extended paternity leaves and government mandated work-life balance measures stand out.
    The Dutch also put an emphasis on working mothers. The importance of family is evident when 86 percent of working mothers in the Netherlands put in 34 hours or less a week at their vocations. Another factor changing in some countries like Ireland (34 hours per week, a 10-hour decline in the past 30 years), is the sharp drop off in full-time farmers, an industry notorious for one of the longest work days. Other countries rounding out the top five were Denmark, Norway and Germany with 33-35 hours each.
    In most of these countries you will find other benefits like paid vacations and work-sharing programs, a concept that soared in popularity during Germany's recession. In America, companies are beginning to pay employees to take vacations so they will leave the office. It's hard to tell if this is a growing American problem or if it is too far engrained into American psyches that this is the work-life balance we mostly accept. Even though there are less employed full-time than in 2007, the non-stop work mentality has not wavered much in the United States.

  2. Church group calls for protection clause in flexi-work week law, The Gleaner Western Bureau via jamaica-gleaner.com
    KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches (JUGC) is calling on the Government to ensure that the flexi-work week legislation includes a clause protecting the right of the worshipper in the workplace from discrimination.
    This call comes against the background of the submission of a seven-point proposal by the group to Labour Minister Derrick Kellier, asking that the matter to be taken to Cabinet.
    Chairman of the umbrella group, the Reverend Conrad Pitkin, made the call while addressing the installation service of the executive of the St James Minister Fraternal at the Montego Bay New Testament Church of God earlier this week.
    "We want something in the legislation, and we have been assured by the (labour) minister that efforts would be made to have it there to protect the rights of the worshipper from discrimination at the workplace. We want some assurance where the decision on the worker rest day is concerned - it cannot be left to the employer to decide, and it cannot be left either to the signing of a contract," Pitkin indicated.
    He said the position of the group is not adversarial, but that they are desirous of having dialogue with the Government on behalf of the Jamaican people, meaning not worshippers alone, but Jamaican workers on a whole who would be at a disadvantage.
    "We know the Jamaican culture. We know how the Jamaica society operates. The average worker has 'no say' and so that must be taken into consideration," said Reverend Pitkin.
    He said the group is also advocating for the recognition of a rest day as being a full 24-hour period and nothing less.
    "We also want that 24-hour rest day to be a full 24-hour day, taking into consideration that Seventh-day Adventists do worship on a Saturday, and for them, 24 hours is crucial to their worship. That must be preserved. That must be recognised and respected by government and by employers," Reverend Pitkin told the gathering.
    The proposed law, which was tabled in April, will do away with the two-day weekend, and will allow for all seven days of the week to be potential workdays. Under the new law, employees would still be entitled to two days off per week.

    Reverend Pitkin also presided over the installation of the executives of the ministers fraternal, which will serve a two-year term between 2014 and 2016.

9/04/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed ) -

  1. Library cuts hours, staff after commissioners slice request by 40%, suggest using reserves, by Trevor Andersen, Glenrock Independent via douglas-budget.com
    GLENROCK, Wyo., USA - The Glenrock Branch of the Converse County Library cut five hours and one part-time position starting this week to keep up with county-imposed budget constraints. The Converse County Commission, bristling at the library’s $1 million in cash carryover, slashed the library’s 2014-15 tax request by 40 percent and encouraged the library board to fall back on its reserves to make up the difference.
    While the library board did dip into its reserves to make up some of the difference, it also cut the library budget by trimming hours in Glenrock and cutting jobs at both branches.
    On Tuesdays and Thursdays, hours at the Glenrock Branch will change from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The doors will not open at all on Saturdays.
    The Douglas Branch cut one full-time position. The part-time position cut at the Glenrock branch was a 30-hour-per-week circulation clerk.

    [Presumably with less hourscut, they'd have had more positions cut, so, more timesizing, less downsizing!]
    The Converse County Library Board, which is appointed by the county commissioners, operates somewhat autonomously once its budget is approved by county commissioners each June. The commissioners have final say on how much money will be granted to the library from taxes for general operating, but the library can use its own reserves as it sees fit.
    Commission Chairman Jim Willox said the commissioners granted $515,900 less in tax money than the originally requested $1,315,900 on the grounds that the county library has $1,015,961 in its cash available fund.
    “There were no cuts in their budget from our vantage point,” Willox said.
    The cash available fund is accumulated over the years in which actual spending does not reach the amount originally budgeted.
    Following the decision from the commissioners telling the library to use money from their cash available fund, the library chose to restructure its general operating budget rather than pulling the full difference from their cash available balance.
    The largest cuts were in to personnel ($102,400), administration ($30,100) and supplies & operations ($30,000). In all, the board thinned out its budget from $1,315,900 to $1,113,700, a $202,200 drop. The only account to take no cuts was for library materials,which stayed at $139,800.
    Library Board Chairman Jeremy Matter said they dipped into reserves by $313,700 to even reach the trimmed budget numbers.
    Matter said the staff was supposed to receive a 3-percent cost of living raise, but with a few exceptions, that raise also went away. Matter said the library was about $240,000 short of being able to make those raises happen.
    In defense of the cash carryover fund, Matter said that the money left over each year has to be used to keep the libraries in operation until the first check from the county comes through in December.
    The cash carry-over fund this year has $215,961 more than the total library budget, Willox pointed out.
    He also noted that the library’s proposed budget was more this year than last year, with a total of $1.815 million being requested this year. Last year’s total budget was $1.6 million, which had enough money left over to contribute to the cash reserve account at the end of the 2014 fiscal year.
    Both the library board and commissioners expect money left over from original budgets at the end of the year, but the commissioners would like to see that money be used eventually rather than just stockpiled, Willox said.
    Matter said that some events, such as the 75th anniversary celebration of the Glenrock Branch, had to be dropped as a result of the budget constraints.
    The Douglas Branch now has only eight full-time employees. The Glenrock Branch still has three full-time employees.
    Matter said, “It was a really tough decision (to make the cuts) because we have such great, wonderful people working for us,” Matter said, “and we are planning on going to the commissioners to ask for some money to get this reversed, but we don’t know quite yet.”
    While the operating budgets took a big hit this year, that does not affect the construction. Money for the building of new libraries in both Glenrock and Douglas comes from sixth-cent sales taxes, as opposed to the operating budget which comes from property taxes.

  2. New takeaway’s* opening hours cut over disorder fears, by Jenny Barwise, NewsAndStar.co.uk
    The La’al Persian will open in empty unit on Tangier Street. (photo caption)
    [* Brit. "takeaway" = US. "takeout"]
    WHITEHAVEN, England, UK - A takeaway boss has been ordered to close his business an hour earlier than others to help tackle late night trouble on Whitehaven’s streets.
    Arya Mehrmanesh wanted to shut his new takeaway, La’al Persian, at 2.30am on Thursdays, Fridays andSaturdays.
    But at Copeland’s Licensing Committee, Mr Mehrmanesh’s request was turned down and instead he will have to close at 1.30am on those days and midnight on other nights.

    [An hour earlier might save him some trouble, vandalism, cost, sleeplessness and make his employees' (if any) jobs more secure.]
    The News & Star revealed last week how a police chief had slammed Mr Mehrmanesh’s plans, saying he feared a 16th outlet opening in an area of town which is already saturated with takeaways would be the tipping point in efforts to control nuisance behaviour.
    And at the committee meeting, Sergeant John Farrar repeated his concerns.
    He said: “People want food and hang around in drunken groups making noise and nuisance. There is disorder inside and outside the shops, fights breaking out – it just adds fuel to the fire.”
    He added the situation was being contained rather than effectively managed, and some outlets were not complying with their agreed hours.
    But Mr Mehrmanesh, who hit back at the claims, said: “People are more aggressive if they are hungry.” He also asked where the consistency was if he had to shut up shop an hour earlier than other outlets.
    The 52-year-old, who has been in Whitehaven for 32 years and previously ran town centre businesses, said he now feels he is being treated unfairly and that there is a campaign against him.
    "I have lived here longer than I have in Iran,” he said. “I consider myself local and I have always had good co-operation with the police. I have a good name and reputation.”
    He also pointed out that two new takeaways had recently opened in the town – one on Tangier Street and the other in Market Place.
    The police had previously asked for the council to consider ordering takeaway owners to employ security staff to help fight the ever increasing problem of late-night crime, however, this was not discussed during the committee hearing.
    Sgt Farrar said there are too many takeaways trading in a small area and the opening of the La’al Persian at Tangier Buildings, would only make matters worse.
    The committee said its decision was to help reduce crime and disorder in the town centre and is in line with planning permission already granted to Mr Mehrmanesh, who hopes to open his business at the end of the month.
    Councillor John Kane said the prolonged late-night disturbance impacted on town centre residents who were having their sleep disturbed.

9/03/2014 – 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. Is a 4-day workweek in our nation's future? by Mac & Gaydos, KTAR News via kktar.com
    This is the story that YOU wanted to hear us talk about! It received 90 percent of the vote in our Radioactive poll!
    PHOENIX, Ariz., USA - A new study reveals that five-day weeks may actually make us less productive.
    According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), most countries work less than five days a week, with a general increase in productivity.
    [W]orkplace productivity doesn't increase with hours worked, the OECD concluded. Workers in Greece clock 2,034 hours a year versus 1,397 in Germany, for example, but the latter's productivity is 70 percent higher.
    Not only can a five-day workweek decrease productivity, it can actually harm assignments, projects -- and even the workers themselves.
    A 2004 report by the Centers for Disease Control "linked overtime to poorer overall health, and other research has suggested that working long hours can lead to depression."
    A 2005 study from the nonprofit Family and Work Institute said 20 percent of employees polled said they felt overworked and made mistakes while doing their job.
    Working one less day a week would also help the environment, as people would commute less and reduce their electricity usage.

  2. Teachers in Lviv go on unpaid furlough because of the lack of money in the budget, (9/02 late pickup) Voices from Russia via 02varvara.wordpress.com
    [Comparison adjusted by comparison with original and shift from Russian to Ukrainian spelling.]
    LVIV, Ukraine - Lviv teachers are prepared to delay salary and ask to take a holiday at their own expense. The reason - inflation and the consequent rapid growth in wage indexation. This according to Ukrainian news source Vesti.ua.
    To meet Lviv teachers' payroll before year-end, there was a shortage of 12 million hryvnia (34.2m rubles, 5.7m renminbi, 55.4m Indian rupees, US$915,000, C$997,000, Aussie$$985,000, e698,000, 553,000 GBP), revealed cityschools head Galina Slichnaya on 9/01.
    [Note currencies here ranked in order of importance by Russian source.]
    “We calculated the budget in January; at that time, we didn’t know what would happen to the economic, social, political and financial situation in the country,” she explained to Vesti.ua.
    The Education Dept. [or Teachers' Union? original= "gorupravleniya obrazovaniya"] is asking teachers to take the unpaid furlough.
    This furlough doesn’t affect teachers who are raising children of their own.
    “Until the end of the year, we won’t have additional money from the state, and we need to ensure payment of wages,” admitted Slichnaya.
    [Better furlough than firing, timesizing than downsizing.]

9/02/2014 – 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. Policy Spotlight: House File 2199 – Voluntary Shared Work Program, IowaHouseRepublicans.com
    DES MOINES, Iowa, USA - During the 2014 legislative session House Republicans unanimously passed House File 2199 bringing Iowa into compliance with federal law for the Voluntary Shared Work (VSW) Program. The bill effectively re-authorizes the program which gives employers an alternative to laying off workers during difficult times.
    Specifically the bill made several technical changes to the way the program operates.
    VSW allows laid off workers to continue working and retain their employer-provided health insurance and benefits, while being paid a percentage of unemployment compensation. This ensures that workers will not lose skills that they’ve learned at work, and also allows businesses to continue operating at full potential. Once the economy improves, businesses can then hire back these employees easily and won’t have to worry about re-training them. Additionally, workers hours are reduced so that they can easily participate in workforce training programs that help them improve upon their existing skills.
    This bill ensured that Iowa businesses would continue to receive federal unemployment insurance tax credits totaling over half a billion dollars.
    House Republican Staff Analysis
    Bill: House File 2199 (formerly HSB 601)
    Committee: Labor
    Floor Manager: Rep. Forristall
    Date: February 17, 2014
    Staff: Colin Tadlock (1-3440)
    House Committee: Passed on Feb. 10 (16-0)
    House Floor: Passed on Feb. 18 (98-0)
    Senate Floor: Passed on Mar. 17 (46-0)
    Governor: Signed on Mar. 26
    Federal Conformity - Voluntary Shared Work
    • Conforms Iowa Code to the requirements of federal law in regards to the Voluntary Shared Work program
    Section by Section Analysis
    Section 1 - Affected Employees & Benefits
    VSW would apply to all layoffs, including temporary and permanent layoffs, and would apply to part-time and full-time employees. This section also states that the employer must provide an estimate for the number of employees that would be laid off. The employer must also provide notification of participation in the VSW plan to employees.
    This section also defines ¡§fringe benefits¡¨ as employer-provided health benefits and pension plans per IRS Code.
    Section 2 - Consistent with State & Federal Law
    Participation must be consistent with state and federal law.
    Section 3 - Shared Work Programs
    A VSW program is available for an employer with an approved plan if an employee¡¦s work schedule is reduced between 20-50% (reducing a 40 hour workweek into a 20-32 hour workweek).
    This section also states that VSW benefits are to be paid the same way as regular unemployment insurance benefits. Workforce Investment Act training is included as an approved training program that an employer may provide.
    Section 4 - Applicability
    This law applies to all Voluntary Shared Work programs approved by IWD [Iowa Workforce Development?] on or after July 1, 2014.

  2. Meeting to discuss shared work program, (9/01 late pickup) BellevueReporter.com
    BELLEVUE, Wash., USA - Speakers from the Employment Security Department’s Shared Work program will join members of the Washington Association of Accountants on Wednesday in Bellevue to present information about how the program can prevent layoffs and how employers can take advantage of a special enrollment period to save money over the next year.
    The meeting of the Washington Association of Accountants Greater Seattle Chapter will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Coast Hotel Bellevue, 625 116th Ave. N.E.
    The meeting is open to the public. Cost is $25, which includes lunch.
    The Shared Work Program offers businesses an alternative to laying off workers. Instead, employers may reduce the work hours for permanent employees, and the workers can collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages.
    This allows businesses to weather downturns without losing skilled employees. It also gives workers an opportunity to keep their jobs part-time while collecting unemployment benefits for time they are not working.
    A 2014 customer survey showed that the program is helping businesses stay afloat, and nearly 97 percent of participating employers would recommend Shared Work to other struggling businesses.

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For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing on Amazon.com.

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