10/31/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde email@example.com unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Grambling struggles with $3.7 million deficit - Grambling interim president outlines plan.., by Scott Rogers, Monroe News-Star via thenewsstar.com
[= gambling + grumbling?]
GRAMBLING, La., USA - Grambling State University interim President Cynthia Warrick said GSU faces increased faculty teaching loads and furloughs and possible closure of its laboratory schools to overcome a $3.7 million deficit.
Warrick plans to ask the Legislature and governor's office to come up with a $762,000 shortfall to keep Grambling Laboratory Schools open next fall.
Her deficit plan will be presented to the University of Louisiana System in December for approval.
She said the deficit for this year stems from a decline in fall enrollment. A total of 4,504 students are enrolled for the fall semester, down from 11 percent over last year. The decline in tuition revenue is expected to be $3.7 million.
She said state budget cuts have hurt all higher education institutions.
"They are taking funds away from higher education to balance the budget that's been impacted by the economic downturn. We have this reality across the entire United States. Grambling has had budget deficits in the past, but this year is different because of the overall enrollment. With fewer students, we have fewer fees that go toward a lot of the student services and activities," Warrick said.
Most disturbing is the decrease in freshman enrollment, she said.
Grambling has 300 fewer freshman compared to last fall.
"That's a problem we can't overcome over four years. We can't make that up. We'll have 300 less sophomores, 300 less juniors, 300 less seniors. That will carry over four more years," Warrick said.
"Enrollment has been steadily declining. This is not the first time enrollment has declined, but this is the first time enrollment has declined significantly in the freshman class, and that's why it is more of a serious situation than we've ever had in the past," Warrick said.
To make up for the decline, next fall GSU will need 1,860 new students.
"That's what we will need to sustain this institution without a deficit," Warrick said.
GSU has implemented a hiring freeze on vacant positions while university officials look at methods to generate additional revenue with fewer students.
Furloughs would include four days per month for higher salary employees and two days per month for lower wage employees.
[Better furloughs than firings, timesizings than downsizings.]
Her deficit plan would provide a total of $1.9 million in savings for the 2014-15 fiscal year and an annual cost savings of $4 million annually.
She also has asked faculty and staff eligible for retirement to opt to retire early.
Beginning January undergraduate faculty will go to a five-course, 15-hour workload.
Faculty will be evaluated in March. She expects some could be terminated in May, Warrick said.
"Somebody has to go. We just can't afford it and there's no knight in shining armor bringing me $3 million," Warrick said.
Follow Scott Rogers on Twitter @lscottrogers.
- Pickaway County Sheriff Announces Layoffs, Furloughs, by Andy Long, WBTW-TV via wbtw.com
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio - The Pickaway County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday that 10 part time employees will be let go due to a budget stalemate.
According to Sheriff Robert B. Radcliff, the affected employees are assigned to the corrections, court services, and administrative divisions within his office.
Radcliff said that the duties of the part time employees will be taken on by full time employees from other departments.
Non-union full time employees are also being forced to take three, non-paid furlough days.
[More furloughs, less firings; more timesizing, less downsizing!]
According to Radcliff, a meeting to discuss the budget situation with the County Commissioners was scheduled on October 28 to discuss the budget situation, but the meeting was canceled at the request of the commissioners.
The two unions within the sheriff's office will meet to negotiate terms in cuts to avoid further layoffs.
A pod within the county jail will close and prisoners will be moved to other facilities in the state, with the cost being billed to the County Commissioners.
10/30/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Work sharing and Social Insurance Contributions, Public Service Executive Union via PSEU.ie
DUBLIN, Ireland - Ref: BC 052/14
29 October 2014
[Re:] Work sharing and Social Insurance Contributions
Dear Branch Secretary,
I am writing to you about an issue of concern to work
sharers and would appreciate if
you could ensure that the matter raised in this
letter is brought to the attention of any
such members in your Branch.
The rules governing PRSI contributions [Pay-Related-Social Insurance] require a person for whom a contribution is made
to work for at least one day in a PRSI contribution week. If a person does not work in a
contribution week, then no PRSI contribution may be made in respect of that week. As
an individual’s attendance pattern may affect a person’s social welfare contribution
record (i.e. not all attendance patterns may reckon as 52 contributions in any or every
year), it is important that members are aware that their attendance pattern may affect
their social welfare entitlements.
Under existing legislation a contribution week for PRSI purposes commences at the start
of the tax year on whatever day the 1st January falls. In 2015
this will start on
As a consequence
run from Thursday to Wednesday for
2015. To qualify for a PRSI contribution a person
must work at least one day
PRSI contribution week.
means that any
work sharers who work week on/week off
on the basis of a
Thursday to Wednesday
will only be awarded 26
contributions for 2015 (instead of a possible 52).
If members are working this or
any other similar attendance pattern, they
at risk their Social Welfare entitlements in 2015
unless they change to a pattern which
would qualify for 52 contributions.
Please notify the relevant members in your Branch about this. Your employer should
already have notified affected members.
Deputy General Secretary.
To: Each Branch Secretary
Each Member of the Executive Committee
Each Member of the SOC
- Job Stats Fail to Uncover Underemployed College Grads, by Victoria Stilwell, Businessweek.com
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Federal Reserve policymakers are missing important information as they assess the health of the labor market: data that might answer whether those employed full-time are overqualified for their jobs or would like to work more hours. As a result, the slack in the labor market that Fed officials on Oct. 29 said is “gradually diminishing” is probably still greater than estimated.
The information gap about slack—the number of workers who aren’t realizing their full potential in the labor market—means the central bank may have more difficulty gauging the right moment to raise rates. “Because it’s difficult to measure underutilization, there’s still a lot of uncertainty as to how much slack remains,” says Michelle Meyer, a Bank of America (BAC) economist, “which means there’s uncertainty as to the appropriate stance of monetary policy.” If the Federal Reserve raises borrowing costs too soon, it risks slowing growth before it has wrung all the labor market slack out of the system. Already the Fed has ended its program of quantitative easing.
The U.S. Department of Labor can put its finger on how many people are working part-time because full-time jobs aren’t available, and how many Americans of working age are so discouraged that they’re not even looking for a job. Other forms of underemployment—the college graduate with an English degree who’s working as a barista, for example—are harder to pinpoint, though they’re just as important in trying to measure whether the labor market has improved.
The data shortfall sparked a discussion at a Peterson Institute for International Economics conference on Sept. 24 in Washington. Erica Groshen, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, asked what additional data would be needed to measure labor market slack more accurately. Betsey Stevenson, a member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, pointed out that it was possible with current data to determine whether people working fewer than 35 hours a week are underused: The Census Bureau survey simply asks if the worker would prefer to be working full-time. Those putting in a longer workweek fall off the radar. The BLS considers anyone working at least 35 hours a week to be full-time.
[Oh noonoonooo, if 35 hours is full time how can we (or buffleheaded Brit PM Cameron) continue to ridicule the French as radical and lazy cuzzov their 35-heure workweek?!]
The Census Bureau, which surveys households to get the information the Labor Department needs to crunch the monthly jobs data, doesn’t ask full-timers whether they’d prefer a different job or more hours. As far as anyone knows, those workers are fully employed and content. “If you’re a college graduate working at Starbucks, and you work 32 hours, we know you’re in the wrong job,” Stevenson said at the conference. “If you work 35 hours, we don’t know.”
In a survey of 1,000 workers who graduated from college in 2012 or 2013, released in May by Accenture, 46 percent said they were in a job that didn’t require their degree. That’s a 5 percentage point increase from the 2013 survey, the management consultant reported. Earlier this year the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that 44 percent of working recent grads were underemployed in 2012. The bank defined underemployed for these workers as holding a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. That was up from 34 percent in 2001 and near levels last seen during the 1990-91 recession.
Mario Mendoza says he works as many as 70 hours a week driving a taxi in Miami. The 34-year-old has a bachelor’s in sociology and anthropology and a master’s in global sociocultural studies from Florida International University. He says finding an entry-level job where he could do social or market research would put his driving days behind him. “I’ve applied for many of those jobs. I just haven’t been called up for the position,” Mendoza says. “If you spend so many years in school preparing yourself and studying, you want to use those skills to work, not do something like be a waiter or drive a cab or work at Starbucks.”
Another sign of slack may be the number of full-time workers who want more hours, says David Blanchflower, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College and a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. The U.K.’s Labour Force Survey asks those who aren’t seeking different or additional jobs whether they’d like to work longer hours at their current wage if given the chance. In the U.K., 6.3 percent of full-time workers said they’d like more hours, Blanchflower and David Bell, an economics professor at the University of Stirling in Britain, wrote in a paper published last year.
The bottom line: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimates that in 2012, 44 percent of working recent grads were underemployed.
Stilwell is a reporter for Bloomberg News in Washington.
10/29/2014 – 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 email@example.com unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Library director asks board to review operating hours - 'The loss of money is really a big concern', by Jeff Gill firstname.lastname@example.org, (10/28 late pickup) GainesvilleTimes.com
GAINESVILLE, Hall Cnty., Fla., USA - The Hall County Library System may begin a review of operating hours based on worries about future finances going sour.
Library Director Adrian Mixson pushed the library board Tuesday night to form a group to study the issue and bring back recommendations by the next board meeting Feb. 24.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with funding from the county next year, nor do I know what’s going to happen with state funding,” he said.
“The loss of money is really a big concern,” Mixson added. “I think this is the time now to prepare. You can’t wait until the last minute.”
Money troubles have plagued the system for several years, since the economic downturn.
The system decided in 2012 to reduce hours at each of its five branches.
Currently, all branches are open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, according to the system’s website.
The Gainesville branch is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, the Spout Springs branch is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first and third Saturday of the month, and the North Hall Community and Technology Center is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second and fourth Saturday of the month.
“We may not be getting our best bang for the buck with our current Saturday hours,” he said in an email before the meeting.
The budget increased less than 1 percent this year to about $2.669 million from $2.645 million.
Furlough days for employees and the use of reserve money to cover operational expenses are among the budget constraints the system faced entering the current fiscal year.
“We’re surviving, but this next fiscal year coming up is a critical one for us,” Mixson told the board.
“Next year, if we lose money from the state, we could have to lay off some people.”
[Meanwhile, furloughs, not firings = timesizing, not downsizing.]
The fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
Andy Henderson, the library board chairman, asked Hall County Commissioner Billy Powell to find out why the Board of Commissioners “will not fund us at a level where we can eliminate furlough days.”
“There’s a reason, I know there’s a reason. I’ve talked individually to (the commissioners) and none of them has given me a reason.”
Henderson went on to say, “If there’s something we’re doing as a library or as a staff or community that’s preventing us from receiving that funding, I’d like to know what it is so we can correct it, so that we can get our funding.”
Powell represents the Board of Commissioners on the library board.
“I’m asking you, respectfully, to bring us that information when we meet in February. Is that fair?” Henderson asked Powell.
“Sure,” Powell said.
Board member Nancy Sulhoff asked Mixson whether the system could address the idea of a Christmas bonus for employees.
“I wouldn’t recommend it,” he said.
“Can we discuss why?” Sulhoff asked.
Henderson said he sympathized with Sulhoff.
“I feel like we’ve asked so much and given not in return what is proportionate to what we’ve asked,” he said.
- Obamacare: More than 120 colleges slash and cap student and faculty work hours, (10/28 late pickup) TheCollegeFix.com
ANN ARBOR, Mich., USA - Since the launch of Obamacare, at least 122 colleges and universities across the nation have cut student and faculty work hours to skirt the federal law’s mandate requiring employers to provide healthcare for people who work 30 hours or more per week.
["The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed...for the wrong reason."
(in T.S.Eliott's 'Murder in the Cathedral')
This hours cutting is happening across all industries, not just academe. And the irony is, if it happens enough to create a labor shortage, wages and consumer spending and monetary circulation and a positive multiplier effect will go up and we will have a real, not just rhetorical, recovery. We will have a 74-year interruption in the secular (non cyclical) hours reduction of 1840-1940 as mechanization, automation and now robotization have been introduced into the economy but for 74 years been responded to by growth-reversing downsizing instead of by The Promise of Technology, growth-friendly timesizing, the bringer of the most fundamental (but apparently to the power elite, the scariest) freedom of all, financially secure Free Time aka leisure. But doesn't "the Devil find work for idle hands to do"? Nope, the leisure industries do.]
Those who have seen their paychecks shrink as a result of the Affordable Care Act include students who work on campus at restaurants, bookstores or gyms, teaching assistants, Residence Advisers, officer workers, student journalists, and a variety of other workers, such as part-time maintenance crews and groundskeepers. Educators’ work hours have also been cut due to the mandate, including part-time instructors and adjunct professors.
A long and growing list of 450 companies, school districts, colleges and institutions that have slashed and capped work hours to comply with the employer mandate – which goes into effect next year – has been compiled by Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily, whose tally chronicles employers both public and private.
“Critics say the Affordable Care Act gives businesses an incentive to cut workers’ hours below the 30-hour-per-week threshold at which the employer mandate to provide health insurance kicks in,” Graham notes. “White House economists dismiss such evidence as anecdotal. … In the interest of an informed debate, we’ve compiled a list of job actions with strong proof that Obamacare’s employer mandate is behind cuts to work hours or staffing levels.”
The list, which Graham started in August 2013, is nowhere near being comprehensive, as many employers have not been clear about how they’re adhering to the mandate, he said in an email to The College Fix.
“I do not think this list is close to being comprehensive,” Graham said. “While colleges and universities are far more transparent about workforce policies than the private sector, even many public sector employers have been less than crystal clear about how they are responding to the employer mandate.”
Obamacare has essentially created a greater financial burden for students, according to Graham.
“College and graduate school already leave students with a large financial burden and anything that restricts the ability to earn money risks adding to that burden,” Graham said.
With permission from Graham, The College Fix extracted the colleges and universities cited on the list to create a unique tally that shows the impact of Obamacare on campuses nationwide.
Among the dozens of universities and colleges that have cut hours are North Carolina State University, Kansas University, Penn State University, Clemson University, Arizona State University, University of Alabama, Indiana University, University of Arizona, Ohio State University, and Virginia Tech. As of Oct. 27, there are 122 on the list, and The College Fix will add to it as more campuses slash and cap hours as a result of the federal law.
Students, scholars pan law
Samantha Watkins, a student at Point Loma University and a regular contributor to The College Fix, recently wrote about her experiences as a student employed by her university.
“Hour caps for students working on campus make it a challenge for those who financially need it,” she said in an email to The College Fix. “And off campus jobs mean a commute, if students are able to find ample transportation.”
Among others critical of the Obamacare employer mandate are professors and medical doctors.
“Reduced hours will do net harm to students,” D. Eric Schansberg, a professor of economics at Indiana University Southeast who recently co-wrote an op-ed critical of the effects Obamacare would have on students, told The College Fix in an email. “If they preferred fewer hours, the market– between employers and employees– would have reached that outcome. Some students will find other jobs; others will have tighter budgets; and so on.”
Professor Schansberg also gave an example comparing the effects of the government mandate to increasing workers’ wages, having both positive and negative outcomes, depending on the worker’s situation.
“The government’s actions are always contingent,” he said. “For example, the simplest model (a labor demand curve) would say that a higher minimum wage will help those who keep their jobs and harm those who lose their jobs. On the one hand, you’re increasing wages for those who have jobs– but you’re also making them more expensive to hire.”
[And creating a gap at the bottom of the wage ladder against new entrants to the job market.]
“The ACA is similar,” Schansberg argued. “You can mandate X– or connect X to a tax/penalty– under certain circumstances. But then you make those circumstances less likely.”
“Employers will look to avoid those conditions when possible. And when employers are particularly flexible– as in this case– one would expect them to often avoid those conditions,” he said.
Graham also explained the problems with the employee mandate, which he says have caused a plunge in workweek hours for low-wage industries, shrinking to an average of 27.3 hours.
“There had been – and still is – a lot of denial from supposed experts that the employer mandate was having an impact. This effort, I think, helps to show that the anecdotal evidence is pretty weighty,” Graham explained, referencing his list of businesses that have cut hours. “But I haven’t relied only on anecdotes. I have used government data to show that the work week among low-wage private sector industries has shrunk to a record low and the share of workers clocking just above 30 hours per week has plunged relative to those with hours just below Obamacare’s 30-hour full-time threshold.”
Dr. Rob Steele, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School who is running for University Regent also had critical words of the employee mandate and subsequent cut hours.
“The government view of the solution for students needing insurance is to go on their parents plan if you are under 26,” he said in an email to The College Fix. “Usually the students are more worried about a decrease in pay rather than the insurance.”
“The reduction in hours will increase because the costs of insurance will continue to rise.”
College Fix reporter Derek Draplin is a student at the University of Michigan.
10/28/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde email@example.com unless otherwise initialed ) -
- The 35-hour week and football sirens, by herringandcrispbread, WordPress.com
PARIS(?), France - In France, as in many other western European “developed” countries, unemployment is pretty high and employee benefits are pretty vast, at least in big groups and corporations. Yet, people who work there seem to never think that their work benefits are good enough.
[It's called rising expectations. And it's universal, based on getting used to and taking for granted your current living standards. If you can't get used to it, move back to the U.S.]
They (or we, as I am included [what a waste] ) have five weeks of paid holidays, plus another week or so for seniority, plus a couple of weeks additional days off because once upon a time someone thought a 35 hour week would generate more jobs, as the workload would be spread out on more people. It didn’t though [yes it did: unemployment went from 12.6% in 1997 when 35 hrs was voted in, to 8.6 in 2001 before the US recession hit France]. At least, not in office jobs [Sarkozy spent his whole term weakening overtime enforcement, without which no workweek level however low is meaningful]. (The 35 hour work week is not for everyone, it depends on the collective agreement between the unions and the employer.) Since you are supposed to work only for 35 hours, but office workers often work more, this is compensated by additional days off.
[So you're complaining about getting "comp time" which many American employees don't get?]
So, here we are with 9 weeks of paid holidays, and when the employer suggests that two of these be placed at a particular time of the year for everyone, to allow for better planning of the overall work, what do people do? Well, much to my surprise when I was new in town, the unions rally people and run around the offices sounding sirens (the ones that are used at football matches and look like hairspray bottles) and claim it is a scandal.
[Funny how guilty Americans feel about sticking up for themselves, and how much they bash the French for having a higher sense of self-esteem,]
It left me speechless, and still does.
[Sounds like you are still new in town, which by the way is unidentified so we'll assume Paris. Sounds like this town is wasted on you and it's time you moved back.]
I can understand that for those who do not enjoy the 9 weeks off, but “only” have 5, a few of these are used to make sure people don’t come into a closed office. This may be complicated if for example your spouse has the same issue, during other weeks, and you can’t have holidays together. I give you that. I don’t say people should not have rights as workers [yes you do]. They should [but not just yet?]. And they DO, in France [and you can't forgive them for it]. It’s just that at the moment, and it’s not really new by the way, France’s economy is in the red, unemployment is super high, and people who HAVE a job, complain that part of their holidays are forcibly positioned.
[What if the answer is the opposite to the Work Harder = more hours and less vacation that you seem to assume. Why is your mindset still back in the pre-industrial 18th century with U.S. employers or the 16th century with the Puritans and their sacred long-hours Work Ethic? Have you not noted the spread of lights-out manufacturing = whole factory systems with NO people so they don't' even have to turn the lights on? Who do you suppose is going to have any earnings to BUY all that output when all the market-demanded employment is concentrating, as it is now, on fewer and fewer people? The solution to France's economy being in the red (and so is America's by the way, but more craftily concealed) and super high unemployment is more work spreading via shorter hours. Thirty-five hours was common in some of America's most conservative industries (insurance, academe...) 50 years ago; the US Senate passed a 30-hour workweek in 1933, and we're supposed to believe that 35 hours in 2014 is too short though we're deep into the age of robotics? Wake up and tour some factories - and read some history! And if you still don't get it, move back in time 20 years back to the USA - you are clearly unfit for the future.]
For a lot of people in France, what I am saying here is scandalous. It is a comment from someone who doesn’t understand, who has a good life and no issues with minding children, or even is a etc, etc. Sure, I give you that. For a lot of people in the rest of Europe, these people come across as unhappy whining French in a country with a sinking economy, which is helping to pull down the overall economy of the EU.
[What planet..? The overall economy of the EU sucks. Only the economy of Germany is strong and only because they practice shorter workweeks in the form of temporary worksharing aka Kurzarbeit, which is the halfway step to fully sustainable Timesizing. But even the Germans don't know what they're doing right ("Lutheran work ethic"?) so they think it's austerity, especially for the rest of Europe - which means that the main country pulling down the overall economy of the EU right now is ironically, Deutschland. You all need to do more, not less, of what you are already doing right = further downward adjustment of the workweek and all along the way, more energetic conversion of chronic overtime into training and hiring. This is not rocket science though for many people it would seem to require brain surgery. Come back to America and join your fellow sado-masochists. See if you have any time left for your "herring and crisp bread."]
For people in countries outside of the EU, it is probably just totally incomprehensible that the fact that a company needs to plan its activity to try to optimise the use of its resources (we are not yet in the debate of closing factories, layoffs, or outsourcing to less expensive countries, that may come in a later post…) is not even being considered, and that it becomes an opportunity to bring out football sirens in the corridors of the office.
- Understanding K-Drama: Office Life, by Julie Jones, KDramaStars.com
SEOUL, South Korea - Plenty of k-dramas take place in an office setting. "Misaeng" is the latest office k-drama and perhaps the most brutal in its dramatic portrayal of office bullying and abuse. But other k-dramas also exaggerate different aspects of office life.
For example, what are the odds of working in an office with two attractive men such as Ji Sung and Kim Jaejoong, Choi Kang Hee's bosses in "Protect The Boss?" And having both of them want to date you? It's not likely anywhere. If that were an accurate indicator of Korean office personnel, international recruitment would rise dramatically.
One thing that is not exaggerated in office k-dramas is the long working hours. Remember Kim Young Kwang and Kyung Soo Jin working together in a darkened office in "Nine Plus Boys? Or Im Si Wan sleeping at his desk in "Misaeng?"
Working late is a real feature of office life, as Koreans are famous for their strong work ethic. Korea has one of the highest annual average number of work hours per week and also the highest number of overtime hours. The law now limits the workweek to five days and 40 hours, but many employees will still work into the evening hours. The average actual workweek may actually be closer to 50 hours.
[S. Korea went to all the trouble of lowering its workweek in seven stages by company size largest companies first from 44 hours to 40 between 2004 and 2011 to lower unemployment. We welcomed them to the 20th century. But now they're demonstrating that without a good jobs-out-of-overtime design and enforcement thereof, it don't mattah how short you say your workweek is.]
What else should you know about office life in Korea? Many dramas feature temporary workers, who do not yet have a real job at a company. Good examples are the "post-it girl" Jang Nara in "Fated To Love You," fledgling designer Moon Geun Young in "Cheomdamdong Alice" and conscientious worker Lee Ha Na in "High School King of Manners." These workers often put in extra effort in the hope of landing a permanent job.
Their extra effort also reflects a reality of Korean office life. In the past most women working in office were temporary workers but in recent years many temps, both women and men, graduate to full time jobs.
Many Koreans work as temps for two years before receiving a permanent position. And the number of temporary and contract workers is growing. According to a recent article in Yonhap News, the number of temporary and contract workers grew to an all-time high during the summer of 2014.
Contracts are a feature in many k-dramas, whether they concern personal debt, romantic relationships or business. In Korea contracts may be viewed differently than they are in other countries. They are seen as more of a starting point rather than the final goal of an ongoing negotiation. That flexibility can benefit the worker or work against him.
10/26-27/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- More firms using morning work hours to up efficiency, by Shinichi Ikeda & Takuya Ono, The Yomiuri Shimbun via 10/27 The Japan News via the-japan-news.com
Hiroshi Ichinose selects his breakfast at about 6:35 a.m. earlier this month at Itochu Corp.’s head office. (photo caption)
TOKYO, Japan - An increasing number of companies are encouraging employees to start work earlier in the day in an effort to reduce overtime and improve their lifestyle.
Besides improving the private lives of employees, implementing early morning work hours also is aimed at increasing job efficiency and cutting down on the expense of paying overtime.
This strategy may help Japanese companies resolve the persistent problem of long working hours.
[Hey, wriggle on the hook if you like. Try anything and everything. But if you keep introducing automation and robotics, then sooner or later you're going to have resolve the prob of long working hours by redefining "full time" downwards and convert chronic overtime into training&hiring just to have markets for all the stuff the automata and robots are producing. As unionist Walter Reuther retorted to industrialist Henry Ford's "Let's see you unionize these robots!" - "Let's see you sell them cars." Work&wage spreading is now an Urgent System Requirement.]
Overtime pay down 7%
Hiroshi Ichinose’s day starts before dawn at 4 a.m.
The 44-year-old Ichinose, who develops businesses related to raw metals at Itochu Corp., takes the first train from his home in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, arriving at his office in Kita-Aoyama of Minato Ward, Tokyo, at 6:11 a.m.
After checking the overseas markets and sorting e-mails, he heads to the basement for breakfast.
Ichinose’s meal, which includes bananas and onigiri rice balls, is paid for by the company.
“Coming in early in the morning works for me. I can make trades in time with North America,” Ichinose said.
His subordinates start arriving a little after 7 a.m.
Itochu decided to institute early morning working hours in May for its 2,600 domestic employees.
The company banned overtime after 10 p.m., but introduced increased pay rates for working from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Since the new system started, overtime per employee has dropped by about four hours per month, reducing overall overtime expenditures by about 7 percent.
“People are more likely to drag out overtime work at night. It’s easier for workers to concentrate in the morning,” an Itochu spokesperson said.
Ichinose finishes work at 5:15 p.m. After work, he sometimes has a drink with his colleagues, but never goes on to a second bar.
Instead, he heads home to spend the evening with his children. “Not having to bring overtime work home is great,” he said.
The ‘free breakfast’ effect
Instead of making official changes, some companies have encouraged workers to make their own decision on whether to come into work early.
OPT Inc., a firm based in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, that deals in Internet advertising, began offering free breakfasts twice a week in January, with the aim of changing the perception at the company that employees should work late into the night.
“Overtime pay tends to pile up at night and it’s not healthy for our workers,” said Megumi Tomikawa of the company’s human resources department.
A nearby bakery supplies bread for the breakfasts, which have proved popular, and the ranks of early morning workers have increased.
The government’s new growth strategy, released in June, also calls on companies to adopt morning work hours to help improve people’s work-life balance.
But different departments have different tasks, making it difficult to uniformly require morning work hours.
Megumu Murakami, of the Japan Research Institute said, “It’s easy for general affairs and other departments [that work mainly inside the company], but departments that frequently have to meet with clients outside will probably find it difficult to adopt morning work hours."
- Overtime in an Indian owned casino - Indian tribes enjoy sovereign immunity from many state and federal laws, including the FLSA, 12 News The Arizona Republic via 10/26 azcentral.com
PHOENIX, Ariz., USA - Q: Can I be forced to work overtime in an Indian owned and operated casino? I was told yes, and that if I left after my eight-hour shift when told I was needed to stay this would be considered job abandonment. Is this accurate? Legal?.
A: Darrel Scott Jackson is an attorney with Matheson & Matheson and comments for Ask-The-Experts Column. (photo caption)
The answer to your question depends on a lot of information that is not included in your question. However, as a general rule, an employer may require employees to work overtime and may terminate employees who refuse to comply.
Like most general rules, there are many exceptions. For example, some federal and state laws regulate the number of work hours for employees in certain jobs, e.g., truck drivers and commercial airline pilots, but I am not aware of any such limitation for casino employees. Thus, your employer probably can legally assign overtime work to you and terminate or discipline you if you refuse.
A separate question is whether you are entitled to overtime pay. A federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), entitles most employees to overtime pay for work hours over 40 in a workweek. Overtime pay is equal to 1½-times the regular rate of pay. For example, if an employee is making $10 per hour, he may be entitled to $15 per hour for overtime hours.
However, Indian tribes enjoy sovereign immunity from many state and federal laws, including the FLSA. A tribe may waive its sovereign immunity. In other words, a tribe may voluntarily agree to abide by the FLSA. If the tribe that employs you has agreed to abide by the FLSA, then you may be entitled to overtime pay. If not, then you would be entitled to overtime pay only if the tribe had enacted its own overtime law.
A: Rose McCaffrey of Kelly McCoy PLC (formerly of Sherman & Howard) is an expert in employment law. She is featured in Ask-The-Expert Columns. (photo caption)
The answer to your question is yes, your employer could terminate you for refusing to work overtime. However, the analysis to your question depends somewhat upon whether the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to your employer.
The FLSA is a federal statute that governs hours and overtime. Under the FLSA, an employee is entitled to overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. There is no requirement that an employee be paid overtime for hours worked in excess of eight hours in a shift. If the FLSA applies in your situation, your employer is not required to pay overtime for hours worked over eight hours in a shift.
Your situation is more complicated because sovereign immunity may apply. Tribes have sovereign immunity unless the tribe expressly waives sovereign immunity. Tribes often have their own Tribal employment laws that would govern an employment relationship and overtime provisions under sovereign immunity.
In your case, if tribal laws state that you would receive overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours, that provision is likely legal and would most likely govern the employment relationship.
Regardless of whether the FLSA or tribal laws apply, your refusal to work more than eight hours in a shift could be deemed insubordination and job abandonment. Your employer could terminate the employment relationship for insubordination or job abandonment under the FLSA or Tribal law.
— Compiled by Georgann Yara
Send your questions to email@example.com.
10/25/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- County park rental hours cut, by Ty Johnson email@example.com, BrownsvilleHerald.com
BROWNSVILLE, Tex., USA - Park hours at Andy Bowie and Isla Blanca parks will remain unchanged, but Cameron County is dialing back its seasonal hours at the registration office.
The office handles recreational vehicle site and cabana rentals, annual passes and acts as an information center for park visitors, but Interim Park Director Joe Vega said there is little need for the facility to remain open past 6 p.m. during the off-season.
“We’ve noticed that during the slow season that you don’t get too much traffic at the registration office,” he said. “After 6 o’clock, it just completely dies down.”
Vega said it wasn’t long ago that the office hours were 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., but the county extended its hours two years ago to keep it open until 8 p.m.
During peak season, there was a need for it, Vega said, explaining that the decision was made during the summer to capitalize on longer evenings.
Vega, who has run the parks department since mid-June, said cutting the hours from September to March would save the county money. The county often has to pay overtime to staff the facility 12 hours a day.
Javier Mendez, who led the county parks department for years, left the county this summer to take a position with the City of Harlingen as director of the parks department.
- Is it possible to work a 35 hour week? (10/26 early pickup) DC Urban Moms & Dads via dcurbanmom.com
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Anonymous [OP] wrote:
I work for a large private company, working 9-5. I know how lucky I am. But if I could leave an hour earlier every day, I would be so happy and would cheerfully take a pay cut, which would be helpful to our division. I mentioned this to my manager and she said, "Your health benefits will be affected." Which was a deal-killer for me (single mom with two kids), and she knew it. Worse, it implied that I could do my job in only 35 hours rather than 40, which, um, is true.
I discussed this with a colleague who said, "That's not true--I'm not even sure it's legal" to threaten health benefits if someone cuts back (is 35 hours considered part-time?) I know someone who has been freelancing/contracting with our company for a long time who would love 5 more hours a week and who does not need health benefits (her husband ensures the family). I mentioned all this to my union rep who said, "I don't know how to deal with that. No one has ever done that kind of job-sharing before."
Really, in this huge company is what I'm suggesting so outlandish?
Help, help. Thanks.
10/26/2014 12:27 Anonymous
Not outlandish but consider the ramifications: if you are allowed to do so, what would the rationale be for denying others the same sort of flexibility?
[There's no rationale for such denial anyway. In fact, it would help the economy by necessitating hiring - and funding more confident consumer-spenders cum money-circulators and multiplier-powered market growth.]
Companies and managers do have to consider the implications of these sort of exceptions on employees overall - and the effect on morale of offering selective flexibility.
[Responding ad hoc to an employee request does not imply a company policy of selective flexibility. And better companies and managers start considering the implications of decreasing markets and their own myopic role in decreasing them via following repeated injections of worksaving technology with downsizing instead of 'timesizing.']
Besides there are not too many professional positions that offer 9-5 schedules today.
10/26/2014 12:29 Anonymous
At my employer, anyone that goes below 40 hours a week is considered part-time, with an accompanying reduction in benefits.
Have you considered looking at flex-hours? For example, you could work 9 work days and get the 10th day off.
10/26/2014 12:34 Anonymous
Anonymous wrote: "Besides there are not too many professional positions that offer 9-5 schedules today."
There are many in government. The private sector abuses exempt employees.
10/26/2014 12:43 Anonymous
Isn't 9-5 already a 35-hour week? Or do you only get a 30 min lunch, which makes it 37.5?
And you can't do 8-4 instead?
10/26/2014 12:43 Anonymous
Contact HR to see if your health insurance will indeed be cut. At my job, 30 hours a week is full time and under that, you aren't offered benefits like health insurance, as you will be considered part time. However, even if the health insurance will remain for you, if your boss needs you there until 5, then you must work that.
10/26/2014 12:46 Anonymous
I doubt there is a clear-cut law which covers this, and suspect it is employer-dependent.
I work in healthcare and for nurses 36 hours is considered FT for all benefits purposes, at least where I work. (This is because nurses work 12-hour shifts, and it really wouldn't make sense to have anyone come in for one 4-hour shift just to make 40 hours.) But I don't think applies to other positions, even in my workplace.
10/26/2014 12:47 Anonymous
I work at a job where you can pay a higher rate to work 30 hours part time. So I think it was an 80/20 split of insurance cost (employee paid 20%) when you worked full time. But then if we dropped to 30 hours salaried, it was a 0/40 split.
The thing is, its so easy to work an additional 10 hours -- would yu really respect the 40? Maybe instead of asking to drop hours you could ask to go to a compressed schedule.
Work four, 10 hour days maybe? or work 9 hours, eight days in a row, then take off the next 8 hour day? E.g. Work 8-5PM on Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu,Fri,Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu, and take off Friday? Every other week.
10/26/2014 13:08 Anonymous
Anonymous wrote: "There are many [professional positions that offer 9-5 schedules today] in government. The private sector abuses exempt employees."
Some private sector employers take advantage of their employee [sic] but presenting government as being the standard to follow is bizarre [and this degree of demonizing the public sector isn't bizarre (and implicitly whitewashing the private sector)?]. I associate government employees as being ineffective and inefficient - though there obviously are exceptions.
As a general rule, I would never hire a government employee who as [sic] worked in government for an extended period for a position in the private sector. There is just too much of a challenge in adapting to the demands of the private sector.
[And many employers would never hire such a typo-prone employee from either sector.]
10/26/2014 13:15 Anonymous
Anonymous wrote: "...But if I could leave an hour earlier every day, I would be so happy and would cheerfully take a pay cut, which would be helpful to our division. I mentioned this to my manager..."
You will likely get one of two things out of this request:
a. an increase in workload, as you've just told your manager you essentially work only 4 days a week
b. your projects will be siphoned off to other folks to other folks [sic] and you'll be made redundant
[which is only a problem when there's a labor surplus and an employment shortage - hence the mechanism of sinking wages and spending and markets and solid investments and "slow" or non-existent "recovery"]
If neither happens, keep quiet and be thankful.
[In other words, as long as we perpetuate a pre-automation pre-robotics 1940 workweek, we're as common as dirt and as cheap as dirt and we should just shaddap!]
10/26/2014 13:17 Anonymous
Anonymous wrote: "b. your projects will be siphoned off to other folks to other folks and you'll be made redundant"
Have to laugh at my own mistake here, funny (laughing emoticon)
[=redundancy of "to other folks to other folks"]
10/26/2014 13:33 Anonymous
I am a paralegal in the private sector and my firm works 35 hours a week. Because of DOL laws regarding paralegals and legal assistants, I have a salary that is converted into an hourly rate that I am paid based on, so if I work anything between 35-40 hours a week, I get paid on top of my base salary and if I work 40+ hours, I get time and a half.
10/26/2014 15:54 Anonymous
Anonymous wrote: "Some private sector employers take advantage of their employee but presenting government as being the standard to follow is bizarre."
Never said that the government was a standard to be followed. Just that there are a lot of professional positions that are 9-5 in government. Based on your reading comprehension [& typo producing] skills, I wouldn't hire you to be an admin in my agency. And thousands apply every day to escape the private sector and come in out of the rain into government.
I doesn't matter to me that you wouldn't hire me with my extensive experience in government. I field calls weekly from the private sector trying to entice me back to the private sector without you. No thanks.
Anonymous [also] wrote: "There is just too much of a challenge in adapting to the demands of the private sector."
Based on two anecdotal instances on the Internet, that ["adapting to the demands of the private sector"?] and a dollar may get you a cup of coffee.
10/26/2014 18:10 Anonymous
OP[=original person?] here. Yes, only 30 minutes for lunch (and they CLOCK it) so it's 9-5, 40 hours.
[Uh, 9-5= 8hrday -30minsforlunch= 7.5hrday x5= 37.5hrweek?!]
They increased my workload. I handled it. I wish I were indispensable, but of course--no one is. Or as Charles de Gaulle said, "The graveyards are full of indispensable people."
I dream of working in government. I know very talented, hard-working people who do, and who are rewarded with more flexibility than my company allows or has ever allowed. They work very, very hard and get abused (by the media, etc.) all the time. Of course, there are slackers, as there are anywhere, but if you want to see hard workers: check out the national park service, the social security administration, the federal trade commission, the national endowment for the arts, etc. I would love to join their ranks. Sigh.
There might soon be a change in management --everyone is on edge. I'm hoping it might be someone who understands what it's like to be a working mom of a young child.
Why does the workplace in this country make it so difficult to be a good mother and a good worker?
[Because there are far too many people (and robots) for a frozen 40-hour workweek to provide jobs for, so making even more people a la parenthood is devalued?]
It's HARD here. It used to be more balanced, I think--but now it's "lean in" or go home.
10/26/2014 18:15 Anonymous
I did 37.5 in my last private sector job but couldn't live off it.
10/24/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- 5 office policies that would benefit American workers - [One or two] Businesses around the world follow these practices that make employees happier and more productive, by Chanie Kirschner
, Mother Nature Network via mnn.com
["Mother Nature Network" has Walmart as a sponsor? Something smells funny here.]
In other countries, workers are seeing shorter workweeks and regular daily coffee breaks. (photo caption)
ATLANTA, Ga., USA - Many Americans tend to dislike their jobs, especially if they work long hours or feel underappreciated. In the Gallup 2013 State of the American Workforce poll, just 30 percent of Americans reported being engaged and inspired at work.
But did you know there are some places in the world where going to work is a pleasant experience? Here are five policies that make international workforces much happier than their American counterparts.
More reasonable working hours
In Denmark, Danish workers take their 9 to 5 very seriously — meaning they don’t start their work till 9 a.m. and they clock out at 5 p.m. There is no office burnout because they leave the office before they have a chance to get burnt out. American workers tend to get to work early and leave much later, leaving little time for play. They aren’t necessarily working harder during all those hours; they’re just working longer. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that productivity decreases the longer hours you work.
“It’s ideal to clearly divide your time into work time and play time,” says Amy Hakim, principal owner and management consultant at the Cooper Strategic Group. “People are more productive, for instance, if they work for 55 minutes and then give themselves a five-minute break than they are if they just work for one straight hour.
“Just like a dieter needs to eat ‘cheat’ foods, in order to see long-term results, an employee needs to have the opportunity to take short breaks in order to stay on task and be most productive,” she says.
When my oldest was born, my husband and I were shocked to find out that his company didn’t offer even one day of paternity leave. Strange, especially when a quick review of the same company’s European policies showed a generous offering of paternity leave for dads. Turns out that the U.S. is one of a small number of developed countries that do not mandate paid parental leave, forcing many parents back into the workforce a mere six weeks after childbirth. Yuck.
The afternoon siesta
In Spain, Italy and Greece, work stops in the middle of the day for a rest period. Some countries have a three-hour break while others have two or even just one. The concept comes from a time when most work was done outdoors and the middle of the day was simply too hot to be productive. But midday naps might not only help you be more productive, they might help you live longer as well. The concept is famously taking hold in progressive work environments like Google, where nap pods encourage workers to take a little snooze on the job. For most of us though, napping at our desk is still largely frowned upon.
This is my favorite one on the list. Did you know that in Sweden, fika is a regular part of the workday? Fika, which translates loosely to “coffee break,” is a chance for colleagues to chat informally about their work or personal lives over a cup of coffee and a pastry. I like to think of it as “the pause that refreshes” (thanks, Coca-Cola).
A shorter workweek
You thought working just 9 to 5 was a dream? Listen to this: At the start of the new year, [the city of Gothenburg] Sweden will embark on an experiment, testing workers’ efficiency with a shorter overall work week — 30 hours as opposed to 40 [see 6/25/2014 #1]. They are set to start the experiment with workers at a retirement home (lucky ducks!) using employees at another retirement home nearby as the control group. (I’m sure they’re thrilled about that.) Swedish researchers believe that a shorter workweek will help increase worker productivity, cut down on sick time and ultimately save the country money.
[Nevermind it will save the country's consumer base and maybe increase it...and grow their economy without worrying about unpredictable exports.]
If instituting these policies at your office seems out of reach (unless you happen to set the policies at work), why not print out a copy of this article and “accidentally” leave it at the communal printer or drop it on your boss’ desk? You never know what a little push in the right direction can do.
[Here are some more ideas -]
5 Ways to End Your Workweek on a High Note, by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt, PayScale.com
What do you do at work on Friday afternoons? Mobile devices and online access to the tools we use to do our jobs have made it harder to hide out under our desks and wait for the factory whistle to blow. Still, after a long, hard week, it's easy to let burnout overwhelm you. Don't just coast through the last minutes and hours of your workweek. Use your time wisely, and you'll have a more pleasant weekend, and start next week off fresh and ready to work.
1. Reflect on the high (and low) points.
"Successful people not only think about the projects they've handled that day; they try to analyze when and why things went right and wrong," writes Jacquelyn Smith in her Business Insider article 13 Things Successful People Do in the Last 10 Minutes of the Workday [http://www.businessinsider.com/what-successful-people-do-at-the-end-of-the-workday-2014-10].
Doing a quick postmortem of the most and least successful moments of your week will help you maximize future wins and avoid future losses.
2. Work like you're getting ready to get on a plane.
If you were going on vacation -- or a weekend-long business trip -- you wouldn't plan to take a bunch of work with you. Put yourself in that mindset, and you can achieve a similar distraction-free weekend, and use it to rest and take care of the business of living a more reasonable life.
Failing that, tackling your top priorities will enable you to set aside at least a little non-work time in which to regroup. Which brings us to our next point...
3. Decide when you're going to unplug.
Many of us can't entirely step away from work for a whole 48 hours, whether because of corporate cultural expectations or workload reasons. Regardless, you need some time away from your phone, laptop, tablet, and other electronic leashes, or you won't be able to sit down at your desk on Monday morning with a clear head.
4. Choose an adventure.
If you're prone to the Sunday Night Blues, you might hate your job -- or you might not be using your weekends as well as you can. Sure, you have things you have to do, and after that, your Netflix queue isn't going to watch itself. But if you don't do anything for you the whole weekend, it'll be hard to get excited about embarking on a brand new workweek.
Bonus points if your activity gets you outside and exercising. Despite our best efforts, many of us do not get enough physical activity during the week, and although you can't make up for five days of sedentary behavior with one day hike, you can burn off some of the fog in your head. Listen to Monty Python: get some walking in.
5. Clear off your desk.
Ever come back from a trip to find your house looking like burglars just left, but the responsible parties were the ones whose names were on the mailbox? Don't leave your desk looking like a disaster area. Even if you're an avid proponent of the Messy Desk Theory of Creativity, getting things tidy enough to work with when you return on Monday will help you start off on the right foot -- or at the very least, without dumping a stack of essential papers in the trash and then pouring coffee on your new shirt.
Tell Us What You Think
What do you do at work on Friday afternoons? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter [https://twitter.com/payscale].
Jen Hubley Luckwaldt writes about work-life balance, stress management, and other topics relating to what makes us happy at work. A full-time freelancer, she deals with stress by blurring the lines between life and work to the point where the two spheres are barely separate. The happiest day of her career was when scientists proved that looking at pictures of cute animals makes us more productive.
- Fair Labor Standards Act governs overtime, 12 News The Arizona Central via azcentral.com
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - I've learned there is no limit to the amount of unpaid overtime that bosses can force exempt employees to work. Does that include days off? Some exempt employees at my job are expected to work 12 or 14-hour days and come in on their days off. The job description states the workweek is "40 to 50 hours per week; overtime as needed." Doesn't this mean that, on average, workweek shouldn't exceed 50 hours? Also, they don't let us keep copies of our job descriptions. Is that legal? Thanks for any insight.
Ty Frankel of Bonnett Fairbourn Friedman & Balint
In Arizona, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act governs overtime pay to employees. If an employee is properly categorized as exempt from overtime under this law, the employee can be required to work more than 40 hours a week and on days off without receiving overtime.
I am unaware of a law that requires an employer to provide employees with job descriptions. However, whether an employee is entitled to overtime depends on the actual job duties the employee performs, not just what is written in a job description. Many employers incorrectly classify employees as exempt from overtime when they should actually be paid time-and-a-half their regular rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
In fact, even many salaried employees are entitled to overtime. If an employee is not being paid overtime, it would be wise to consult with an attorney to determine whether the job position has been properly categorized.
Amy Lieberman, Insight Employment Mediation
It is true that under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), there is no limit to the number of hours an exempt employee can be asked to work in a week. That includes weekends and holidays. There is no extra pay due to an exempt employee who works during that time. Even for non-exempt, or hourly, employees, no extra pay is due for weekend work, unless the work is over 40 hours so that it would qualify as overtime.
A general description of the estimated hours of work per week will not establish a legally binding promise that an exempt employee will not work more than that number of hours.
However, one of the hallmarks of an exempt employee is that he is primarily responsible for determining how and when work is done, to accomplish his duties. If an employer mandates set weekend or holiday hours too frequently, there is a risk that the "exempt" status job could be lost.
With respect to job descriptions, employees should be entitled to review them – but the employer has the right to change the description to meet organizational needs, and so is not legally obligated to always have accurate job descriptions.
Of course, you would want to retain a copy if it will be used to assess your performance. If you find the description is not updated to reflect your actual job duties, let your employer know what the inaccuracies are so that both you and your manager can be on the same page when it comes time for performance reviews.
— Compiled by Georgann Yara
Send your questions to email@example.com
10/23/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- It takes more than economic growth alone to reach the middle class: evidence from abroad, by Jared Bernstein, (10/24 early pickup) WashingtonPost.com
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - There’s a pressing political economy question that comes up a lot these days: why aren’t the president or the Democrats getting more credit for the improving economy?
["Pressing" perhaps for preciously privileged politicians & their pet economists. The answer is beyond their ken - the economy is not improving, except for the cushioned topmost brackets, where all these pols congregate, and their thickly padded GDP measure, which gives all kinds of positive marks for negative events.]
Th[is set of figures] is my standard response. If GDP, corporate profits and the stock market [improvement] more directly reached the middle class, things might be different.
Real GDP [etc. Improvement] So Far..This 'Recovery' [our quotes]
Corporate Profits 46%
S&P 500 [reflecting Stock Market] 92%
Median HH [Household] Income -3%
Sources: BEA, BLS, Standard & Poors, Sentier Research.
International comparisons also shine some light on the issue. Basically, what you find when you dig into three bins of numbers — macro trends, such as GDP; micro trends, such as wages; and polling results — is that it’s not just growth, it’s how that growth is distributed that matters most to people.
Let me clarify: without macroeconomic growth — expanding GDP — there’s nothing to distribute, so obviously growth is a necessary prerequisite.
[Sooo naive. Sooo gullible. Even with "expanding GDP" there may be nothing to distribute. Why? What if the GDP, even though it's slightly less padded than its predecessor GNP, is still not only padded with negatives counted as positives like cleanup from hurricanes and breaches of OSHA and now all this greaaat 'productivity' from Ebola ineptitude but also grossly inflated with the fundamentals-unsupported inflation of the financial markets? People have been complaining about the GDP for decades and suggesting alternatives like Daly's & Cobb's Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) in their 1989 For the Common Good. Simpler and better than that whole palette of controversial proposals was the official unemployment rate till they started diluting it, e.g., by counting the shortest part-time employment the same as full-time instead of attempting to correct for it. Now we could use an overall dependency rate counting everyone not self- or privately-supported, including all the attention-diffusing categories of unemployment, welfare, disability, homelessness, prison...]
But it can’t help lower and middle income families if it doesn’t reach them — an obvious point, I know, but still an important one.
Germany presents an instructive example. The German economy is slowing down in part because its export-led growth model is hard to sustain when neighboring countries are doing poorly. According to the IMF, real GDP in Germany was up only 0.5 percent last year compared to 2.2 percent in the United States and 1.7 percent in Britain.
Yet, while German real wage trends were flat for years in the 2000s, they’ve been rising lately at a decent clip. Between 2009 and 2012, real German wages are up 3.5 percent, U.S. wages are flat, and British wages are down sharply, by 4.5 percent. (These statistics can all be *found here.)
Meanwhile, international Pew polling data shown below reveal that while people’s feelings about these economies have all improved as the Great Recession fades, they’ve improved twice as much in Germany as in the United States or Britain.
Percent who describe their country's economic situation as "somewhat or very good" [in 2010, '11, '12, '13, '14, Germany & US estimated from graph points]
Germany 44 68 74 77 84
US 24 18 31 34 40
UK 20 15 15 15 43
Pew Global: Changes in Economic Sentiment, 2010 – 2014
Note also that the German trend starts from a higher level. That’s likely because Germany labor market policy proactively sacrificed productivity growth [as measured by the lethally flawed GDP index] to protect employment in the downturn. That is, their GDP initially fell as much as ours in the downturn, but they implemented “work-sharing” policies that reduced workers’ hours in lieu of layoffs (and offset part of their lost pay with public benefits; we actually have such a program here as well, but it’s not used enough).
As I alluded to above (and Harold Meyerson provides *important details), Germany’s recent macro problems are partly of their own making — both their way too austere fiscal policy and their trade surpluses have contributed to weak demand throughout the euro zone — so I’m not saying they’ve got this all figured out. But through labor market policies, such as work-sharing and high rates of collective bargaining, they’ve done a much better job reflecting the needs of working people in their national policy agenda.
Again, it’s a simple and obvious point, but if you want to know why people here — despite our better macro-growth and improving job market — are less sanguine about the economy and not that politically engaged, it may well be that the indicators that are doing the best are not the ones that they care about most.
If we want people to engage in the policy debate, then we need to debate the policies that will reconnect their economic fortunes to the expanding macroeconomy. And what are those policies? That’s the subject of my next post, so stay tuned!
Jared Bernstein, a former chief economist to Vice President Biden, is a senior fellow at the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities [CBPP] and author of “Crunch: Why Do I Feel So Squeezed?” among other books.
- Who's four changing our working hours? by Finn Scott-Delany, (10/21 late pickup) Business Matters via TheArgus.co.uk
LONDON, U.K. - Virgin [Airlines] boss Richard Branson’s decision to allow staff to choose when they take time off has kickstarted a debate around working hours.
[Not to mention billionaire Larry Page's criticism of the 40-hour workweek as too long, and billionaire Carlos (Mexico) Slim's proposed 33-hour workweek.]
Supporters of the radical measure say it would not only advance workers’ wellbeing but is also a serious economic proposal, saving money on the running of public services and improving productivity.
According to a YouGov poll, 57% support introducing a four-day working week and 71% say it would make the country happier.
Even Prime Minister David Cameron has said it is “high time” to recognise that GDP was an “incomplete way” of measuring a country’s progress, and told the Office for National Statistics to launch a wellbeing report.
But how would the radical idea work on a practical level?
Alex Jones, Employment Law specialist at Howlett Clarke, reckons a “plethora of legal issues” would arise.
He said: “Everything from pensions, holiday entitlement, benefits, bonuses and any subsequent redundancy package would be subject to wholesale change.”
[There are challenges but they are the right challenges, since without further work spreading via workweek reduction we are going to have weaker and weaker consumer markets for the stronger and stronger production capacity of robotization. America's three thousand super-rich can't buy all that stuff! As Reuther back at Ford's "Let's see you unionize these robots!" - "Let's see you sell them cars."]
While it may be true that condensing the week makes people more productive, management is key.
Mr Jones added: “One size doesn’t fit all and in customer facing industries it’s difficult to see how a four-day week will enhance the service being offered.”
Fiona Martin, director and head of employment law at Martin Searle Solicitors, agreed happy, motivated staff were more productive, while those with limited hours tended to work more efficiently.
But a change to a four-day week could have unforeseen circumstances, she warned.
Ms Martin said: “What might be a healthy option for fortunate employees, able to live on a salary based on four days work a week could adversely affect already over-stretched employees who have to work full time for economic reasons.”
She added: “In order to be workable and sustainable, our individual goals would need to change to embrace increased ‘me’ and family time over material gain. Only then would our UK working culture shift from long working hours to one where we could all partake in a four day working week.”
Gina Citroni, chief executive of Amplican, said employers had a legal obligation to ensure stress levels are kept in check and employees were supported.
But completing full-time hours in four days could create more stress, she said.
[How simpletonian. She seems to assume that "full-time hours" are hard-wired at the 40-hour level, as if God ordained 40 full-time hours in the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. I seem to recall that it was then "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work...", not five. And a work-"day" was from sunrise to sunset. So 6x12= 72 hours a week. Want that back, Gina?]
Ms Citroni said: “It has been clearly demonstrated that well trained, motivated and rewarded teams who enjoy a degree of autonomy are the most productive – not those who work less.
[Note she makes no mention of WHERE "it has been clearly demonstrated." So, no it hasn't.]
“It should also be borne in mind that the largest up-turn in divorce rates occurs over the Christmas break when couples are forced to spend more time with each other.
“Businesses are not charitable organisations, we have to service our customers, reward our staff, drive profit and hopefully make a small something for people like me who own the place.”
[Upstream from employers' "small something" now amounts to over half the money supply and the coagulation is responsible for the deepening depression dba "slow recovery."]
Joshua French, co-founder of work consultants Bailey and French, said prioritising strengths over weaknesses could be the answer.
He said: “The idea of a four-day working week is lovely, and I'm sure if it happened many of us would spend our extra day off productively.
“However, the debate raises some important questions. Is going to work really that stressful? And if it is, does it have to be? Couldn't we evolve the culture of the workplace, so that employees find it energising rather than draining?
“Rather than making a drastic change to the working week, it would be wiser to learn from the huge amount of research into other ways to improve performance and lower stress."
10/22/2014 – 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 email@example.com unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Libraries to cut hours as cuts bite, by Dominic Robertson, (10/20 late pickup) NewsNorthWales.co.uk
POWYS, Wales, U.K. - Libraries across the county will be cutting opening hours although none will close if a council report is given the go-ahead.
Powys County Council is looking to cut library service costs by £350,000 in the next financial year as part of moves to reduce overall council spending.
Earlier this year the council considered the future of libraries and offered the public three options over how to manage them.
One option, which has now been rejected following the consultation, was to close 11 out of 18 of Powys’ libraries and another would have seen five close.
The option now put forward by the cabinet is to reduce opening hours by 20 per cent and move the mobile library from fortnightly to monthly.
Councillor Graham Brown, Cabinet member for library services, said the changes would be introduced from April 1, 2015, if agreed by the cabinet at its meeting next week.
He said: “Nearly 2,000 people responded to our consultation and 71 per cent supported the option of reducing opening hours by 20 per cent.
[Better hours reductions than job reductions, timesizing than downsizing!]
“The opening hours changes will not deliver sufficient savings on its own and the council will have to change the mobile library service from a fortnightly operation to every four weeks. We will also investigate the possibility of co-locating some branch libraries with other council services or community operations.
“The 20 per cent reduction in opening hours and mobile library changes will be introduced from April 1 next year if the recommendations are approved by the cabinet when it meets on Tuesday, October 21.
“We will look at existing usage patterns within our libraries so that the reduction in hours can be implemented with as little impact as possible.”
[Now a couple of contradictions - lengthening hours that are still shorter hours and shortening hours that are bad -]
- Briggs resigns as rec director, hours for replacement in question, by Phyllis Booth
HOLDEN, Mass., USA - At the selectmen’s Oct. 14 meeting, selectman Leroy “Skip” Clark was reluctant to accept the resignation of Kelly Briggs as recreation director until the board had a chance to find out why she was leaving.
Selectman Joe Becker balked at that suggestion, stating that he had mixed feelings and it was a little awkward, “We’ve never done an exit interview before,” he said.
“Why is she leaving?” asked Clark. “It seems to be very sudden. I’d like to talk with her.”
Susan Novak, recreation committee chairman, said Briggs would be happy to meet with the board to discuss her resignation.
Novak was at the meeting to ask for 30 hours for the rec director’s job when the position is advertised. “It’s definitely more than a 19-hour-a-week job,” she said.
[Lengthening hours and still a shorter workweek!}
“Kelly wasn’t taking benefits, so that throws things off. To make more money we have to run more programs, but we need someone in the office to set them up.’’
In addition to requesting more hours, Novak noted that it would take a new person a while to get up to speed. Novak said the committee has worked hard to separate the rec director’s salary from the before/after school program 53E account and they’d hate to see that hard work go backward.
In answer to a question posed by Becker, Novak said the salary and benefits of the 30-hour-a-week position could not be supported by revenues from the programs.
“While you’d like to have a 30-hour position, if your revenue can’t support it, you can’t do it,” said Becker. “I don’t see the town coming up with the additional funds to supplement your account. I tend to think we have to go back to 19 hours. That’s what we can afford.’’
“We can’t post for 30 hours and not offer benefits,” said selectman Sheila Dibb.
[So just duck Obamacare premiums by posting for 29 hours. Everyone's doin' it.]
Select board chairman Michael Pantos suggested the committee regroup and come back to the board with other ideas. “The numbers speak for themselves,” he added.
Novak suggested they could start with the 19 hours, then hire someone for 10 hours a week to do data entry work.
“That’s why you need to regroup,” said Pantos.
Selectmen agreed to accept Briggs’ resignation and also agreed that Pantos and Dibb, liaisons to the recreation department, should meet with her to discuss her resignation.
- Local Goodwill stores forced to restructure, NBC 5 via kobi5.com
MEDFORD, Ore., USA --- Some 100 intellectually and developmentally disabled workers in Southern Oregon are having their hours cut at Goodwill, as the company restructures its policies as mandated by the state.
It caught Sharon Halfhill and her husband Clyde by surprise. They say it came as a shock to them, the couple’s 48-year-old daughter Teressa, who lives with a learning disability, is currently offered paid vocational training by Southern Oregon Goodwill at a segregated or sheltered workshop.
That’s where a group of intellectual or developmentally disabled adults work together, but that vital training and experience is being phased out by the organization, in fact they'll lose the funding entirely next July.
The reason is the Governor's executive order and the employment first policy, which aims to integrate these workers [=cover for budget&tax cuts].
Shae Johns/VP, Mission services at Goodwill, "The state is saying that paid work experiences in sheltered workshops are no longer acceptable for people to get training."
Goodwill says workers won't be cut hours but instead will see a decrease in the amount of paid work experience they have.
Kardine Holt says her son lost his position at the Ashland Goodwill, an environment he worked well in, when they closed their sheltered workshop. "I don’t think they realize the snowball that they have created”.
Those concerns also echoed by Halfhill, who's worried about her daughter. "She needs to have the privilege of working with people and being a productive part of society."
Southern Oregon Goodwill says they help 3,000 workers in 5 Southern Oregon counties and in Siskiyou County, but as they revamp their service model, the families of those affected aren't blaming them.
"I think our only recourse is through our senators and congressman, it's not gonna do any good to call the Governor, it’s a done deal”.
10/21/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Work Sharing: A Socialist Alternative to Layoffs? by Michelle Chen, The Nation via (10/20 late pickup) RealClearMarkets.com
[No, not socialist. Smart capitalists have always done this: Lever Bros., Kellogg, Lincoln Electric... This qualifies as real Third Way. Socialism is many controls. Worksharing is one control: cut workhours as much as it takes to spread the vanishing work enough to achieve full employment & maximum markets.]
NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - One of the major overlooked problems driving our country’s jobs crisis isn’t unemployment, it’s just not having enough work. The shadow figure that stalks behind the unemployment rate issued every few weeks by the Labor Department is underemployment: people who wish for, and need, full-time work, but are only able to get part-time hours, or have gotten “discouraged” from job seeking. Including those factors, the broad measure of underemployment hovers around 12 percent.
Workers lacking full-time employment are often full-time struggling: juggling multiple part-time gigs, suffering from loss of healthcare and other social protections, and living amidst long-term joblessness across the community.
This paradox of the marginalized worker arguably makes Americans both the most overworked and underemployed people in the industrialized world. But it’s not that the underemployed just want to work more; they actually want to earn more, at a fair rate, for the work that they can get. One way to help fix this imbalance is through work-sharing. Work-sharing allows companies to distribute hours so that people work somewhat less, while ensuring that there’s still enough work to go around to prevent layoffs. There even exists an obscure federal work-sharing program that provides funding for states to put these programs in place, but many states have left the money on the table so far.
Work-sharing is a simple concept: When employers try to cut costs, shrinking the payroll is a quick way to cut back not only on wages but on fringe benefits and related taxes. Employers often make the cruel calculation to replace current workers with cheaper ones, or to reduce their hours. Work-sharing tries to reconfigure the distribution of work and employment by subsidizing employment costs in exchange for reduced work time. So people work less, but get an income supplement to help offset the impact.
With work-sharing, a worker might agree to work one less day per week and “share” the labor with co-workers so that no one is made “redundant.” A federal program launched in 2012 helps employers draw down unemployment insurance (UI) funds to compensate for the lost hours. For example, as explained in a new study by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), if a factory wants to cut its workforce by the equivalent of five employees, “Under work-sharing, the employer could instead reduce the hours of 25 employees by 20 percent, and those workers would receive a pro-rated UI payment for their one day per week of unemployment, while maintaining any existing health and retirement benefits.”
Cutting back hours typically harms workers, but what makes work-share a less painful solution is that the government subsidizes the balance. About half of states have implemented some form of this work-sharing, but now state lawmakers are approaching a year-end federal deadline to apply for funds. A bill to renew the legislation, the Layoff Prevention Act, is pending.
If, instead of losing their jobs, workers share work and simultaneously buffer against lost earnings, they don’t have to start from zero in a hostile job market and risk long-term unemployment (still a massive problem in low-wage, precarious job sectors like retail). And some will see an added benefit in a shorter workweek—a considerable boon in a workforce facing relentless pressure to work longer and harder just to cover basic needs. For the bosses, who are simply reallocating existing unemployment funds, work-sharing saves the trouble of investing in a new hiring process or retraining an inexperienced worker, and the risk of more employee turnover.
(A caveat is that bosses often just try to “downsize” with specific designs to reduce their labor force. The work-sharing formula doesn’t account for insidiously terminating workers out of greed. However, for a small boutique manufacturing firm facing the choice between letting a few veteran machinists go or shutting down, a work-share program can spare everyone the pain of that dilemma.)
The central premise of work-sharing is that forcing someone out of the job should be the last resort, and the state has a responsibility to intervene by supporting the restructuring of labor to protect workers.
Meanwhile, states gain from staving off further job losses. NELP argues that “work-sharing can be a key component of an economic policy that…encourages the retention of employees through the ebb and flow of business cycles,” citing an estimate by the Center for Economic and Policy Research that “from 2008 to 2013, more than half a million jobs were saved by employers using work-sharing as an alternative to layoffs.”
Work-sharing is not a new invention. The practice is more widespread in European countries, particularly Belgium, Germany and Italy. California introduced a statewide worksharing program in the late 1970s. In the wake of the Great Recession, Washington passed legislation to allow states to use federally approved work-share programs to cope with epidemic levels of long-term joblessness.
Now twenty-four states have until year’s end to apply for the federal work-sharing support program. According to NELP, although state legislatures are currently out of session, legislation has been introduced and garnered considerable support in West Virginia, Indiana, South Dakota and Tennessee. Going forward, NELP attorney George Wentworth says, “there are a number of states where advocates were unable to get momentum in short budget-focused sessions this year but have expressed interest in 2015 campaigns, with or without the availability of federal grants.”
To incentivize and help regulate the program, NELP points out that states and companies can take advantage of provisions that allow work-sharing to be paired with targeted training. So a factory that plans to upgrade its assembly-line production process, for instance, can avoid the traditional route of shedding older workers and bringing in automation and instead use UI subsidies to offer existing workers “the requisite training (compensated by work-sharing benefits) to bridge the transition to the more technologically advanced workplace needed to support the new product line.”
Lest you fear this is simply a back-door method of slashing hours at workers’ expense, NELP’s model legislation provides a worksharing framework with built-in labor protections: schedule reductions are limited to 10 to 60 percent; it must comply with basic wage and hour regulations; workers must “receive a pro-rated share of the unemployment benefits they would have received if totally unemployed”; unionized workers must have a collective-bargaining agreement; and to guard against the potential exploitation of the program to squeeze healthcare and retirement costs, “employers must certify that those benefits will not be reduced due to participation.”
Politicians try to spin the economic crisis by talking about the need for “shared sacrifice”—but that’s coded language for coddling capital on the backs of struggling workers. Now that Washington is offering a small way to redistribute workers’ time without sacrificing all their money, states have a chance to really put their money where their mouth is.
- They Studied Keynes and They're Doing This. Why Can't the Fed See It? by Victoria Stilwell, (10/20 late pickup) Businessweek.com
Private surveys have attempted to fill in the gaps. Some 46percent of workers who graduated from college in 2012 or 2013said that they were in a job that did not require their degree. (photo caption)
NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Federal Reserve policy makers are missing a key element as they assess the health of the labor market: data that includes whether those who are employed are overqualified for their job or would like to work more hours.
[Nevermind subjective "overqualifications" and hours preferences - the age of robotics demands, as a system requirement, that we maintain consumer spending, which means we have to keep the workforce instead of downsizing it, and the only way we can do that sustainably is, switch from cutting from cutting jobs to cutting hours and keeping everyone employed. And if we're serious about wanting growth, we must then cut hours deeper, spread the work and get more people employed. Wages will hold or rise because the current crowd of anxious jobseekers will be absorbed and employers will have to start bidding up wages to get good help.]
As a result, the “significant underutilization of labor resources” that Fed officials highlighted last month as they renewed a pledge to keep interest rates low for a “considerable period” is probably even more severe than currently estimated. And the information gap means policy makers may have more difficulty gauging the right moment to raise rates off zero.
“We have more slack than the official statistics suggest,” said Michelle Meyer, a senior U.S. economist at Bank of America Corp. in New York. “Because it’s difficult to measure underutilization, there’s still a lot of uncertainty as to how much slack remains, which means there’s uncertainty as to the appropriate stance of monetary policy.”
The Labor Department can put its finger on how many people are working part-time because full-time jobs aren’t available, or how many are so discouraged that they’re not even looking for employment. Other forms of underemployment -- for example the graduate with an English degree who’s working as a barista --are harder to pinpoint though just as important in trying to measure whether the labor market has improved.
The data shortfall sparked a discussion at a Peterson Institute for International Economics conference last month in Washington. Erica Groshen, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS], asked what additional data would be needed to help quantify labor-market slack.
Betsey Stevenson, a member of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, pointed out that while it was possible with current data to determine whether people working less than 35 hours a week are underutilized, those putting in a longer workweek fall off the radar.
The BLS considers anyone working at least 35 hours a week to be full-time.
[So why are American & British economists & politicians trying to spin France's 35-hour workweek as so radical or lazy or whatever?]
The Census Bureau, which surveys households to get the information needed for the Labor Department to crunch the monthly jobs data, doesn’t ask full-timers whether they’d prefer a different job or additional hours. As far as anyone knows, those workers are fully employed and content.
“If you’re a college graduate working at Starbucks and you work 32 hours, we know you’re in the wrong job,” Stevenson said at the conference. “If you work 35 hours, we don’t know.”
Private surveys have attempted to fill in the gaps. Some 46 percent of workers who graduated from college in 2012 or 2013 said that they were in a job that did not require their degree, according to a study released in May by Accenture Plc. That’s a five percentage point increase from last year, the New York-based management-consulting company’s report showed.
Meanwhile, a report earlier this year from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that 44 percent of working recent grads were underemployed in 2012, defined as holding a job that doesn’t usually require a bachelor’s degree at all. That was up from 34 percent in 2001 and approaching levels last seen during the 1990-91 recession, when concern about underemployment heightened, the central bank said.
Mario Mendoza said he works as many as 70 hours a week driving a taxicab in Miami. The 34-year-old has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology and a master’s in global sociocultural studies from Florida International University. He said finding an entry-level job where he could do social or market research would put his driving days behind him.
“I’ve applied for many of those jobs, I just haven’t been called up for the position,” Mendoza said. “If you spend so many years in school preparing yourself and studying, you want to use those skills to work, not to do something like be a waiter or drive a cab or work at Starbucks.”
The existence of workers like Mendoza suggests there’s even more room for labor-market improvement than official measures let on, further complicating the debate on when the Fed should start shifting away from its accommodative stance. Policy makers are already grappling with whether to delay any pullback in stimulus as a slowdown in global growth causes turmoil in financial markets and inflation decelerates with the plunge in commodity prices.
Payroll gains that are shaping up to be the strongest since 1999, combined with a jobless rate that fell to a six-year low of 5.9 percent in September, add to the confusing job-market signals. Joblessness is approaching the 5.2 percent to 5.5 percent range that Fed officials consider full employment even as the share of people unemployed for 27 weeks or more remains higher than at any point prior to the recession that began in December 2007.
10/19-20/2014 – 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 email@example.com unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Roundup/DIHK Chief: Short-time work [worksharing] possible due to economic weakness, by jap/DP/he, 10/20 (10/19 late pickup) dpa-AFX via finanzen.net
BERLIN, Germany - The dimmer outlook for the economy could force some companies into short-time working according to estimates by the Association of German Chambers of Industry & Commerce (Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag = DIHK). "Individual companies will probably be able to get through that only with short-time working," DIHK CEO Martin Wansleben said to the "Euro am Sonntag" newspaper. There is however no cause for all too much pessimism: In the case of the cooling of the economy being only temporary, employment in industry will probably remain stable.
The Federal Association of German industry (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie = BDI) issued its export expectations.
The Federal Government had shortly before made a drastic downward correction of its forecast for German economic growth. For 2014, it comes only from an increase in gross domestic product of 1.2%. 1.8% had been expected early in the year. 2015 should achieve economic performance of only 1.3% instead of 2.0%.
Meanwhile, the BDI also restrains its outlook. For the current year, the Association still only counts on a growth of exports of "up to 4%" - till now it had accepted higher exports of 5%. "The global economy truly finds itself on a moderate growth course; but the instability remains wide as before," BDI President Ulrich Grillo announced on Sunday for the launch of the new BDI-foreign trade reports in Berlin.
As main cause, Grillo named the geopolitical tensions around the Ukraine, as well as the conflict in the Middle East - as well as the stagnant economic development in the eurozone. In the last quarter of the year, exports ought to improve.
The carmaker Ford (Ford Motor) had cut back production of its little Fiesta car last Monday at the Cologne plant. Since then there's been Kurzarbeit at the Ford factory in the cathedral city (Cologne). By mid-November production will always stop on Mondays and Fridays up to a total of eleven days, a spokeswoman said. The reason this time is identified above all as weak export demand in several European markets.
In view of damped domestic demand, Wansleben called for better conditions for new investments. The recently decreased new orders and exports would have to be seen as a "Shot across the bow". On Southwest Radio, the Deputy Chief on the left side of the Bundestag, Dietmar Bartsch, called for more public investment.
- Management Wrong On Icelanders' Working Hours, by Paul Fontaine
@pauldfontaine, 10/20 Reykjavík Grapevine via grapevine.is
REYKJAVIK, Iceland - A representative of management who contended that Icelanders do not need to work fewer hours has been corrected by the director of the Association for Sustainability and Democracy (ALDA).
As reported, Þorsteinn Víglundsson, the director of Business Iceland (SA), recently dismissed a bill that was recently submitted to parliament on the subject of the definition of “full time work”. The bill proposes that the definition be changed from 40 hours per week to 35.
Þorsteinn, in an interview with Stöð 2, told reporters that the concerns raised in the bill were unrealistic, saying that Icelanders work on average about 37 hours per week as it is. He further maintained that, when days off and vacations are accounted for, Icelanders work fewer hours than most European people.
This has been met with some harsh criticism from Guðmundur D. Haraldsson, the director of ALDA. In a blog post he wrote for DV, Guðmundur points to actual data which contradicts Þorsteinn’s claims.
Guðmundur argues that, according to OECD data, Icelanders actually work seven more hours per week than the Dutch; six more hours per week than the Norwegians, Danes and Germans; and five more hours per week than the French.
Furthermore, Iceland has lower productivity than Denmark, Spain, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Norway – all of which have shorter work weeks.
The bill on shortening the work week has yet to be given a final vote.
[Iceland should note that it's not necessary or advisable to impose an absolute maximum at any specific workweek level. Relative to corporations, you only need to stop chronic overtime by converting it into training & hiring one way or another. And relative to (multijob) individuals, you only need to stop chronic overwork (overtime based on total hrs/wk per person from all sources) by getting it converted, one way or another, into training & hiring. In other words, you need only stop individuals delaying satisfaction by overworking just for the money and who therefore never get enough and always push for more, driving wage-push inflation with their "inflationary incentive." You don't want to stop people who enjoy their jobs regardless of the pay = deflationary incentive. You separate these two incentive types simply by requiring 100% reinvestment of overwork earnings, one way or another, in skill sharing and job creation OR quit at the weekly max - and bonus: this approach provides an organic and growth-friendly runaway-inflation control, in contrast to our current ridiculous growth-blocking inflation control consisting of raising interest rates.]
- Overtime by Employees Working in Indonesia, 10/19 Indonesia Investments via indonesia-investments.com
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Overtime by employees in Indonesia is allowed under certain conditions. Indonesian Law Number 13 of 2003 regarding Manpower (Labor Law) and its implementing regulation in Decree of Manpower and Transmigration Minister Number 102/MEN/VI/2004 regarding Overtime and Overtime Wages (Overtime Regulation) set these conditions. Based on the foregoing, legislation employees are working overtime if the work time exceeds the seven hours per day in a six day work week, or the eight hours per day in a five day work week, or on weekly rest days, or on Indonesian public holidays.
Maximum Overtime Amount for Employees in Indonesia
Article 77 of the Labor Law regulates the amount of working hours for an employee working for an Indonesian company. In general an employee can have either:
1. a work week of six working days, seven hours per day and maximum 40 hours per week (Six Day Work Week); or
2. a work week of five working days, eight hours per day and maximum 40 hours per week (Five Day Work Week).
Any extra hours in a day/week are considered overtime hours. Overtime work can be performed by an employee for maximum three hours per day and 14 hours per week. This restriction is not applicable to overtime performed on public holidays or weekly rest days.
Overtime Rights and Obligations for Employer and Employee?
The Labor Law and Overtime Regulation set certain requirements to overtime work:
1. There must be a written order from the employer and the written consent of the employee for the performance of overtime
2. The employer must pay overtime wages to the employee
3. The employer must provide an opportunity for adequate rest
4. The employer must provide food and drinks (minimum 1400 Kcal), in case overtime is performed by the employee for three hours or more.
Amount of Overtime Wages for Employees in Indonesia
The calculation of overtime wage is based on the monthly wage (basic wage + fixed allowances) of the employee. The calculation of overtime wage is as follows:
1. For overtime performed in weekdays, for the first overtime hour, wages must be paid at one and a half times the hourly wage and for every subsequent overtime hour, wages must be paid at two times the hourly wage.
2. For overtime performed on a weekly rest day and/or a public holiday which falls on a weekly rest day for a Six Day Work Week:
a. the first seven hours: two times the hourly wage
b. the eight hour: three times the hourly wage;
c. the ninth and tenth hour: four times the hourly wage.
3. For overtime performed on a weekly rest day which falls on a week day for a Six Day Work Week:
a. the first five hours: two times the hourly wage;
b. the sixth hour: three times the hourly wage;
c. the seventh and eighth hour: four times the hourly wage.
4. For overtime performed on a weekly rest day and/or a public holiday for a Five Day Work Week:
a. the first eight hours: two times the hourly wage;
b. the ninth hour: three times the hourly wage;
c. the tenth and eleven hour: four times the hourly wage.
Employees which are not Entitled to Overtime Compensation
Employees that hold a certain higher level position, who can be considered as thinkers, planners, implementers and are able to control the course of the company and whose time cannot be restricted by working hours as set by the company are not entitle to overtime payment.
10/18/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Business Alliance SA Opposes Shorter Workweek - Pirates and Coalition propose reduction from 40 to 35 hours, by Haukur Már Helgason @haukurmar, Grapevine.is
REYKJAVIK, Iceland - Alþingi members from the Pirate party and the Social-democratic Alliance, have proposed a change to the Law on working hours, reducing the standard workweek from 40 to 35 working hours. This would shorten each standard workday by one hour.
In the exposition attached to the proposal, the MPs argue cite OECD reports showing that workers in Iceland work relatively long days but somewhat erratically: Iceland, with an average 40-hour workweek, measures low on balancing work and leisure, and compares as the 27th of 36 countries listed. At the same time, total working hours in a year are below the OECD average. This is ascribed to comparatively extensive summer vacations. Last but not least, the exposition cites productivity statistics. Productivity measures low in Iceland, lower than in Denmark, Spain, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Norway, all of which have a shorter workweek. The exposition concludes that shorter working hours would both lead to a higher quality of life and increased productivity.
The confederacy of Icelandic corporations, known as SA, has expressed its opposition to these ideas. Interviewed by Stöð 2, SA Manager Þorsteinn Víglundsson claims that currently, the Icelandic workforce serves only 37 “active working-hours” in a week. He says that lowering taxes on businesses would be a much more important measure to increase productivity.
- Furlough Fridays - do they still exist? Hawaii's #1 Forums via ForumsHawaii.com
HONOLULU, Hawaii, USA - Discussion in 'FH Lounge' started by SPL Tech, Thursday [10/16] at 11:22 PM.
#1 SPL Tech SPL
In Honolulu county? I am not talking about the schools, I am talking about government offices. I read furlough Fridays got the can back in 2011, but I still see some government websites say they are closed on furlough Fridays. So which is it?
#2 Love2Live Well-Known Member, Friday at 12:05 AM
Furlough Friday was the BEST idea at the time. Every single state worker loved it regardless of what they say. Except for the parents of kids who had to find an extra day of babysitter time.
[Better furloughs than firings, timesizing than downsizing!]
exit9 likes this.
#3 DEEVIL Ghetto Tech 4 Life! Staff Member, Friday at 7:30 AM
As a Fed we haven't had furlough fridays during my years of service, but the two weeks we were furloughed, I loved the hell out of it even though we weren't getting paid. When we came back to work and found out we were going to get paid, that made it even better. ...
- Could the U.S. Really Get Away With a 4-Day Workweek? by Sam Becker, (10/17 late pickup) Wall St. Cheat Sheet via wallstcheatsheet.com
NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - The idea of shortening the traditional five-day workweek to four or even three days has been thrown around in the media and on message boards for a while now, but there’s been little in the way of real-world manifestation. Well, it appears that more people are throwing their weight behind the idea, and some even have a considerable amount of influence.
We’ve covered the idea of shortening the workweek before,
and there’s a rather clear case that there are economic benefits — including happier workers, increased production, and the evidence showing that there is little or no harm in actually reducing work days. It can be complicated, but essentially, by simply restructuring the time tables and schedules of employees, some real benefits can be attained. Not only that, but there are societal benefits as well, including less traffic, less strain on public resources and an overall improvement in happiness among a given area’s residents.
But until now, the shortened workweek has mostly been thought of as a good idea in theory, with few people or organizations — with a significant amount of influence, anyway — who have been willing to take it seriously. That’s changed in recent months, however. Recently, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim, who many consider to be the world’s wealthiest man with a fortune topping $80 billion, has gone on the record saying he believes we’re headed for a three-day workweek.
During an interview with CNN, Slim says that he is “sure it will happen,” referring to a downsized workweek. “Machines should work 24 hours and services should work as much as possible.” The reason, Slim says, is that people simply deserve more time away from work to spend with their families, go on vacations, and to get educated and learn new skills.
In fact, this isn’t the first time Slim has taken to the media to voice is views on the subject. Earlier this summer, Slim addressed shorter workweeks during a conference in Paraguay, saying that the whole system is ready for a “radical overhaul”, as The Financial Times reported.
Carlos Slim isn’t the only high-profile business figure who is taking the idea of a compressed workweek seriously.
[At 3x11= 33 hours, Slim's idea is actual workweek reduction, not just workweek compression, as in 4x10= 40.]
Google’s head man Larry Page also addressed the idea, saying that he thinks the concept of a five-day workweek is antiquated, in this day and age. “The idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is just not true,” Page told tech investor Vinod Khosla, according to a report by CNBC.
“Most people like working [backup data?], but they’d also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests,” Page added, going on to say that there needs to be a “coordinated way to reduce the workweek.”
Of course, Page has the luxury to say things like this, as both he and Carlos Slim have a bit of financial bandwidth to work with as they do not live paycheck to paycheck, as do a huge number of Americans. Even Slim’s plan comes with some caveats to make up for the fact that people would be working less days per week, including 11-hour days and pushing back the retirement age. Page, however, works in an industry that is rife with high salaries and the ability for automation, allowing his workers to be a bit more flexible in terms of both scheduling and income.
But it looks as though many members of the general public agree with both Slim and Page. A survey conducted by CNBC indicates that 83% of respondents, of which there are more than 9,400, agree that we should switch to a four-day workweek. But other data indicates that the majority of wealthy respondents are still not sold on the idea, and business owners aren’t particularly supportive either.
But the endorsement from two business heavyweights like Slim and Page does lend the movement towards a shorter workweek even more momentum. It’s likely only a matter of time before a big business actually institutes a change, and the rest of the world can see what happens. If the results are shown to be positive, watch for the idea to become even more commonplace.
For now, the idea is still in incubation. But there are definite signs that it’s being adopted by those with significant levels of influence.
- Chiquita's departure means less work hours at port, by Christina Garcia, (10/17 late pickup) WLOX.com
GULFPORT, Miss., USA - The last Chiquita vessel sailed away two days ago. The company has been with the Port of Gulfport since the 1970s and has provided many jobs, but now that it's gone what happens to the longshoremen at the port? We caught up with The Mississippi Port of Gulfport Executive Director Jonathan Daniels to find out.
The Chiquita vessels are heading to Louisiana, and with that longshoremen are seeing a reduction in thousands of work hours.
According to Port of Gulfport Executive Director Jonathan Daniels, the produce company moved to New Orleans.
While right now, it's impacting workers at the Port of Gulfport, he says it won't be that way for long.
"We are seeing increased vessel utilization; there is a need to bring additional gangs on additional people and we certainly hope that that begins to makeup for some of the hours that will be lost," said Mississippi Port of Gulfport Executive Director Jonathan Daniels.
For the month of October, port tenant Dupont has three vessels coming in that will bring in work.
[Better than traumatic firing&hiring is simply accordioning the workweek.]
But Daniels says longshoremen will really be pleased with the port's new tenant McDermott International--a Pipe fabrication facility.
The company is expected to begin construction next Spring and early Summer. It could be in full production as early as 2016.
"It will more than make up for the jobs we're loosing [sic] with Chiquita, just in the production jobs. They indicated to us that we will see in excess of 100 individuals that will be working. We're loosing 58 fulltime equivalents with Chiquita and while we're sad to see that go, having this new type of operation come in is going to have significant benefits," Daniels said.
In addition to McDermott, talks are underway with interested port customers and Daniels says that could mean even more jobs.
The Gulf Coast Shipyard Group and McDermott are the port's newest tenants since 1999.
- Opening hours cut further at Wolverhampton rubbish tips [US: dumps], Express & Star via expressandstar.com
WOLVERHAMPTON, U.K. - Rubbish tips in Wolverhampton are having their opening hours slashed yet again.
The Lanesfield and Bushbury sites are already operating at reduced hours and closed two days a week due to massive budget cuts.
And, from November 1, they will only be open between 10am and 4pm, when most people are at work.
At the moment, the tips are open 10am to 6pm on weekdays and 8am until 4.30pm on weekends. The Lanesfield site, in Anchor Lane, is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Bushbury, in Shaw Road, shut on Thursdays and Fridays.
(Will cuts to opening hours encourage littering and fly-tipping? ...)
The council, which has to make £123 million of savings, said it will return to the 10am-6pm opening hours in the spring but for now, two-hour daily cuts were needed.
Council spokesman Tim Clark said: “Unfortunately we are being forced to make decisions like this to be able to cope with Government cuts.
"We are closing our two household waste and recycling sites earlier over the winter months, but there will still be a tip open seven days a week and both sites are open on Saturday, Sunday and Monday."
The two-day-a-week closures and continuous winter opening hours were part of changes to opening hours made earlier this year.
Mr Clark added: "Those hours have been in place from last winter, there was no winter/summer differential. Now, over the winter period we have to reduce them further."
The council is still finalising how much money these cuts will actually save.
In March, the council scrapped 31 recycling bins outside pubs, supermarkets, shops and other premises in the city.
Bosses said the move would help save £110,000, and the recycling bins, many of which had been in place since the 1990s, were underused and had become ‘redundant’ thanks to kerbside recycling.
Mr Clark said households will receive a calendar over the next few days with information about the new opening hours, as well as collection dates for their household bins for the year ahead.
Information on recycling centre hours is available at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk
10/17/2014 – 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 email@example.com unless otherwise initialed ) -
- MPs [Icelandic] Want To Shorten Work Week, by Paul Fontaine @pauldfontaine, Grapevine.is
REYKJAVIK, Iceland - A new bill has been submitted to parliament [dba the "Thing"?!] which would, if passed, legally define working full time to 35 hours per week instead of 40.
[Better the "Thing [parliament] from Reykjavik" in Iceland/Island, than the Creature from Jeckyll Island* = the Federal Reserve. (*=name of a book by ... somebody google this for me!) ]
According to the bill, which has been submitted by Pirate Party MPs Björn Leví Gunnarsson and Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson and Social Democrat MP Sigríður Ingibjörg Ingadóttir, changing the definition of full time would be a matter of changing two numbers: a full work week would be defined as 35 hours instead of 40, and a full work day would be defined as 7 hours instead of 8.
The bill points out that other countries which have shorter full time work weeks, such as Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Holland and Norway, actually experience higher levels of productivity. At the same time, Iceland ranked poorly in a recent OECD report on the balance between work and rest, with Iceland coming out in 27th place out of 36 countries.
The bill also points out that a recent Swedish initiative to shorten the full time work day to six hours has been going well, with some Icelanders calling for the idea to be taken up here. In addition, the bill also cites gender studies expert Thomas Brorsen Smidt’s proposal to shorten it even further, to four hours.
Tomas’ talk on why a full-time work day must be shortened to four hours can be seen
- Report Calls for Expansion of Work-Sharing Program to Avert Layoffs and Save Jobs, by Jane Furigay(?), (10/16 late pickup) Targeted News Service via insurancenewsnet.com
NEW YORK, N.Y., USA -- The National Employment Law Project issued the following news release:
Time is running out for two-dozen states to tap into federal money for expanding a widely praised employer program that has proven to save jobs, and it's up to Congress to extend the deadline.
In a report issued today, the National Employment Law Project noted that 24 states will have failed to pass legislation by the December 31st deadline that would qualify them for millions in federal grants to strengthen an unemployment insurance program that helps businesses avoid layoffs. The program, known as work-sharing, gives employers the flexibility of reducing employee hours instead of cutting staff during a business downturn, while compensating workers with prorated unemployment benefits.
"One lesson we learned from the Great Recession is that it's much smarter policy to avoid a layoff and save a job than to deal with long-term unemployment's effects on workers, on consumer demand, and on local economies," said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project. "Congress recognized the value of work-sharing for both business and workers when Republicans and Democrats came together to pass the Layoff Prevention Act of 2012. Work-sharing is a program that should be available in every state so that all employers can have the option to consider reducing hours as an alternative to
The NELP report, Lessons Learned: Maximizing the Potential of Work-Sharing in the United States, comes less than three months before the December 31st deadline for states to apply for grants from the U.S. Department of Labor. Legislation recently introduced by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)--the Layoff Prevention Extension Act of 2014--would extend federal financing of the work-sharing program an additional year and would also extend the deadline for states to pass work-sharing laws and qualify for federal grants until December 31, 2015.
Of the 28 states with work-sharing programs, 26 have passed conforming legislation that should qualify them to apply for approximately $70 million in federal grants to improve and expand their work-sharing programs.
States may use these grants to implement operational improvements to the program and to promote program enrollment through increased outreach and marketing. These grants were authorized as part of the Layoff Prevention Act of 2012, sponsored by Senator Reed and Representative DeLauro.
The qualifying states with the largest grant amounts available are California ($11.6 million), Texas ($8.3 million), New York ($6.1 million), Florida ($5.9 million) and Pennsylvania ($4.0 million). Of the 24 states that have not enacted work-sharing laws that would qualify them for federal grants, the largest are Illinois ($4.3 million), Georgia ($3.1 million), North Carolina ($2.9 million), Indiana ($2.1 million) and Tennessee ($2.0 million). The 24 states will be leaving roughly $29 million in federal grants unclaimed (for more information, see Figure 1 in the report).
Work-sharing was a little-known program in the United States until the Great Recession, when thousands of companies were forced to consider layoffs for the first time. In the 17 states that had active programs at that time, work-sharing claims activity increased ten-fold between 2007 and 2009. Relying on data from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Center for Economic and Policy Research has estimated that work-sharing saved over half a million jobs between 2008 and 2013.
There is broad support for work-sharing among economists of all political stripes. The program garners strong support from economist Kevin Hassett of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, who notes that "work-sharing should be at the top of the list" of policies to deal with unemployment.
"The work-sharing deadline extension bill would give those legislatures that have not yet acted one more year to better equip companies in their states with the tools they need to navigate temporary business downturns with minimal financial harm to workers and minimal disruptions to businesses," said Owens. "We urge members of Congress to act in the best interests of their states' employers and workers and pass the Layoff Prevention Extension Act of 2014."
Lessons Learned documents the story of work-sharing usage in the United States, which is low relative to countries like Germany that relied heavily on the program to keep unemployment rates down during the recession. The report highlights the practices of states like Rhode Island that have been most successful in promoting employer use of work-sharing, and makes recommendations for how qualifying states can use grant dollars to implement policies and program improvements that promote work-sharing as an alternative to layoffs.
In addition, the report features the perspectives of an Oregon company that used the program as a means of avoiding layoffs when federal sequestration created temporary business uncertainty, as well a Connecticut business association that credits work-sharing with helping member companies retain valued employees during the depths of the recession.
10/16/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Bay District Substitute Teachers Limited to 30 Hours, wjhg.com
BAY COUNTY, Fla., USA -- The Bay District School Board is now limiting substitute teachers to working 30 hours a week.
District officials say it's a result of the Affordable Care Act.
The legislation requires employers to provide health care for part-time employees who work more than 30 hours each week.
That would cost the district $6,000 to $7,000 per substitute, which district officials say they just can't afford.
"The very frustrating part is we have some really, really good subs that do a fantastic job in the individual schools that they work in. Now their hours are going to be limited because we simply can't have them working more than 30 hours. It would cost the district a fortune," School Board Member Steve Moss said.
[Again, this is the right deed for the wrong reason (right reason would be to create eg. four 30-hour jobs out of three 40-hour jobs) and in the wrong way = presumably prorating pay instead of maintaining or raising pay by market forces responding to the absorption of surplus jobseekers and an employer-considered labor "shortage"). The right way would be some version of timesizing - and possibly the accounting of benefits in with wage or salary.]
The decision passed unanimously at this week's school board meeting.
- Safety groups, congressmen say new poll proves public doesn’t want truckers’ hours increased; ‘misleading’ says ATA [American Trucking (Employers) Assoc.], by Dorothy Cox, TheTrucker.com
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Safety advocacy groups, The Teamsters Union, a couple of Democratic congressmen and a research group today disclosed a new public opinion poll they said shows “dramatically” and overwhelmingly that the general public would be opposed to truckers being able to increase their work week from 70 to 82 hours.
In a news conference call open to the media the groups contended that a “rider” amendment by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in a Transportation, Housing and Urban Development or THUD appropriations bill (S. 2438) which would nullify the 34-hour restart provision in the current Hours of Service law until a comprehensive study on it is completed, would allow truckers to essentially be able to drive 82 hours in a work week.
The 34-hour restart provisions that were in effect on June 30, 2013, would be the law of the land until the study and its findings were done.
The groups holding the conference are behind another amendment, this one by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and co-sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., that would “strike” Collins’ amendment and leave the 34-hour restart as it is now.
In the poll, women and men of varying ages and on both sides of the political aisle were asked, among other questions: “Do you favor or oppose Congress changing the law and raising the number of hours a semi-truck driver is allowed to work in a week from 70 to 82 hours?”
Joshua Ulibarri, a partner in Lake Research Partners, which did the poll and has partnered with the Truck Safety Coalition “for years” on research, said that the poll found six in 10 adults “strongly opposed” an increase in the number of truckers’ working hours and that overall, 80 percent of adults polled were opposed to more hours across the board regardless of their race, age, gender, political party or geography.
What the poll did not explain to its respondents was that most truckers now don’t use the 70-hour driving limit and that under the previous 34-hour restart it was rare for a driver to approach 82 hours, even if it were possible.
[But it's the rarities that cause the accidents. The American Trucking (Employers) Assoc. (ATA) rivals the American Medical Assoc. (AMA) for its safety-dissing campaign to perpetuate 19th-century workweeks.]
“The biased approach and wording of the poll questions make the validity of its findings at best questionable,” said Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) spokesperson Norita Taylor.
“Claims based upon such leading questions are certainly not helpful to highway safety. The notion of drivers being able to do an 82-hour work week is easily debunked. A driver would have to do nothing but drive and sleep and encounter no delays whatsoever for that many days straight, which never happens.
“As far as a normal work week being 40 hours, that may be true for a Monday through Friday work week, but not for seven days, which is what is covered in regulations.”
Former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and chair for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways Joan Claybrook claimed 15-20 percent of drivers do stretch their hours beyond the legal limits and are “a danger on the highway.”
The American Trucking Associations called the poll a “push poll” in that questions were leading respondents to answer a certain way.
“The results of a misleading ‘push poll’ should not be taken into consideration when crafting public policy — good data and research should be. Unfortunately, FMCSA did not have such information — such as the impact the rules would have on increased daytime truck traffic and the corresponding elevated crash risk — when they drafted them,” the ATA stated in response.
ATA also pointed out that Collins’ amendment would not institute a “law,” but suspend the current 34-hour restart until the study is done.
“The Collins amendment simply suspends these rules so the agency can evaluate the true risks and the net impact on highway safety. We doubt any poll respondent would support restrictions that discourage drivers from taking lengthy rest periods, and that increase daytime truck traffic and raise crash risk.”
And, ATA noted “a recent, legitimate poll by Public Opinion Strategies” that found “800 registered voters were asked ‘Would you prefer that trucks generally operate at night between midnight and 5 am, or during late morning and mid-day hours?’ By a 67-24 margin, they said they’d prefer trucks to operate during the times foreclosed by FMCSA’s Hours of Service changes.”
“Further,” ATA added, “in prior rulemakings FMCSA has said that the excessive hours that some claim can be worked under the rules can only be accomplished in an ‘imaginary world’ of nearly perfect logistics.”
When asked about a poll from Public Opinion Strategies presented at ATA’s management conference earlier this month showing 80 percent of respondents believe truck drivers are safer drivers than four-wheel motorists, there was some back-tracking among those at today’s conference, with Sen. Blumenthal declaring that “pound for pound,” truckers are safer drivers than other motorists. But he added that “the great enemy, fatigue” must still be dealt with.
The Trucking Alliance issued a statement saying it is “futile” to debate the HOS until the mandate to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) goes into effect.
“The stark reality is that without a way to verify industry compliance it doesn't matter what the federal government's HOS rules are for truck drivers,” the Alliance stated.
The Washington-based group said it supports acceleration of the mandate to require ELDs “in all commercial trucks” to assure HOS compliance.
To see the poll click *here.
The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at email@example.com.
10/15/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Wrestling with the workweek - Creative scheduling options help dealerships attract and retain employees, by Amy Wilson, Automotive News via autonews.com
...The [Schumacher European] dealership limits overtime; sales staff turnover is less than 10 percent. (photo 1 caption)
Planet Subaru co-owner Jeff Morrill..says head count is a key to manageable schedules: "We figured we could have a few more salespeople, and everyone could work a little less, and it works." (photo 2 caption)
Friendship owner Mitch Walters'..philosophy: "work hard, play hard." (photo 3 caption)
Deb Brewster is Planet Subaru’s top-selling sales consultant, and she does it working fewer than 50 hours a week. (photo 4 caption)
HANOVER, Mass., USA - At Planet Subaru in Hanover, Mass., everyone works fewer than 50 hours a week.
At Friendship Family of Dealerships in Bristol, Tenn., employees who sell 15 or more vehicles a month set their own schedules.
At Schumacher European, a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Phoenix, sales staffers regularly get two days off in a row.
Those kinds of scheduling practices are the exception in the tough world of automotive retailing, where customers want stores open on weekends and some dealers expect employees to routinely work 60 hours or more a week.
And that's the problem.
Long hours and frequent nights and weekends on the job take their toll on workers trying to find balance with their lives away from the dealership. That leads to high turnover rates and the constant need to hire and train new employees.
Those are problems the stores on the Best Dealerships To Work For list want to avoid.
"Some of those other dealerships work people to the bone," said Michael Schumacher, sales manager at Schumacher European. "That is kind of the industry standard, and we don't want to be standard."
While scheduled work hours are creeping down in the industry, dealerships largely have forgone creative scheduling options that better attract women and younger workers, said Ted Kraybill, president of ESI Trends, a research and consulting company that manages the National Automobile Dealers Association's annual dealership work force study. He counts split shifts or working from home as examples.
"It's appealing to younger generations, and you just don't see a lot of it," Kraybill said. "It's an industry that's slow to embrace change."
But there are promising signs on the horizon.
The percentage of dealerships requiring salespeople to work bell to bell -- or from when the store opens until it closes, however late at night -- has declined for the past 10 to 15 years, Kraybill estimated. During the past three years, the NADA work force study shows a solid trend toward shorter scheduled weeks for salespeople. Less than 5 percent of dealerships in the 2014 study required salespeople to work 60 hours or more.
"As the old-school people cycle through the dealership, people are being a little bit more flexible," he said.
Kathryn Carlson, vice president of human resources management products for KPA, which provides HR consulting and software to 1,200 dealerships, said she's seeing increased commitment from her dealership clients to improving schedules. They are seeking advice on policies to limit hours or reduce overtime.
"Don't make people work six days a week and not have consecutive days off," Carlson said. "A lot of studies show they're not really that effective after 50 hours anyway."
And younger employees are much more likely to quit if they're scheduled for more than 45 hours a week, Kraybill said, adding, "They value their free time." Turnover for salespeople who are members of Generation Y -- defined in the 2013 NADA Dealership Workforce Study as those born in 1982 or later -- jumped from 90 percent for those working 40 to 45 hours to 110 percent for those working 46 to 50 hours, the study found.
Longer hours also have diminishing returns. Working extra hours doesn't boost productivity for the store, Kraybill said. And the additional pay for salespeople putting in 60 scheduled hours vs. 45 hours works out to a paltry $4.50 an hour, the study found.
Many of the stores on Automotive News' Best Dealerships To Work For list differ from the norm. Half give employees the option to work flexible hours or a compressed workweek, vs. 21 percent for the dealerships that applied but didn't make this year's list. Nearly a third of the dealerships on the list offer telecommuting options. Three-fourths say they have a policy of "no overtime or overtime kept at a minimum."
Schumacher European, for example, limits overtime. It closes its sales department at 7 p.m. Until September, it opened one Sunday a month for sales. Now it's open every Sunday for a short workday with just half the salespeople, but that decision came only after the staff OK'd it, Michael Schumacher said.
When they work a Sunday, employees get two days off in a row, usually the next Sunday and Monday, he said.
"In our business, to have two days back to back, that's golden," Schumacher said. "The family's goal is to allow everyone to have a life in the car business."
Schumacher estimated that the store's turnover is less than 20 percent, while the sales staff turnover is less than 10 percent.
At Friendship, which landed three stores on this year's list, owner Mitch Walters has allowed top salespeople to set their own schedules since he started the company in 1993.
"If people take care of the company, then the company should take care of them," Walters said. "I can't expect it to be all about the company -- I'm not going to attract anybody."
Walters' philosophy is "work hard, play hard." His stores are closed on Sundays. Salespeople typically are scheduled for 50 hours a week with two days off. Service staffers are scheduled for 45 hours and support staff members are scheduled for 40 hours. Some staffers, such as Internet salespeople, even can do some telecommuting. The flexible options help contribute to low turnover at the dealerships, Walters said. In 2013, overall dealership staff turnover was 26 percent, while sales staff turnover was 31 percent.
"I don't like people to leave us," he said. "That hurts me."
From doula to top seller
In her prior career as a doula, assisting women with childbirth, Deb Brewster sometimes found herself on the job for as long as 72 straight hours. She was already considering a career change when she bought a Subaru at Planet Subaru. Twelve years later, she's the dealership's top-selling sales consultant.
And she does it working fewer than 50 hours a week, typically taking Wednesdays and Sundays off. Brewster never thought she'd want to sell cars for a living, but the predictable hours were a welcome change.
"Anything where I didn't have to stay up all night was wonderful," said Brewster, 58. "You may have a long day, but you're going home and going to bed."
Now she can make up for a long day with a shorter day later in the week.
Planet Subaru co-owner Jeff Morrill says scheduling is vital to the store's success and its low 11 percent turnover rate. Sales department turnover was even lower last year at 8 percent.
He also credits this strategy: Hire only auto industry outsiders. It's tough because people in other businesses usually shy away from dealership jobs because of the industry's reputation for long hours and a tough environment.
So making schedules manageable was key. Morrill does it with head count.
"We figured we could have a few more salespeople, and everyone could work a little less, and it works," Morrill said.
Other salespeople came from finance, human resources, electronics and film jobs. One is a former lawyer.
A quarter of the salespeople are women -- and that's down from a third because of a recent health-related departure, he said.
Morrill himself even sticks to the fewer-than-50-hours rule -- but it wasn't always that way.
"My wife has made me cut back over the years," he said. "We used to do seven days a week, my brother and I. We didn't want the business to not succeed. That's a very powerful motivator. But it's not good on your family."
You can reach Amy Wilson at email@example.com.
- Cameron ridicules France's 'nonsense' 35 hour working week in latest swipe at socialist president Francois Hollande, by Tom McTague, (10/14 late pickup) MailOnline via dailymail.co.uk
[The Brits have had several really stupid PMs lately - but haven't we all! I guess it really grates when France beats you even in flawed GDP when they've got shorter workweeks and longer vacations. Eat your heart out, Cameron!]
LONDON, U.K. - David Cameron has taken a fresh swipe at the French government – ridiculing its 'nonsense' rule stopping people working more than 35 hours a week.
- PM said French 'obsession' with policy to blame for unemployment crisis
- He has made a series of jibes at France since Francois Hollande's election
- Mr Cameron said he would 'roll out red carpet' to firms fleeing French taxes
- Comes after IMF predicted UK economy would overtake France next year
[That's correct for two reasons. No fixed level can be permanently sustainable when you're still doing more automation and robotization, AND downsizing in response - because you're deactivating employee-consumerspenders who provide the markets for all the amplified output of those automata and robots. Also, systemically, you don't need to stop the people who have deflationary incentive - who love their jobs for whatever non-monetary reason and would do them for less, or nothing, and might not mind, indeed might enjoy, sharing them. So you allow people who are willing to reinvest their overtime earnings in jobs for others, you allow those people to work all 168 hours a week if they wish. Up to 40 hours a week (or whatever it comes down-to to restore full employment) they can "consume" this vanishing resource of the robotics age, market-demanded human employment. But over 40 they must "give back" - no overtime alone - hire their unemployed brother-in-law or whatever. This harnesses volunteerism and changes it from its present-day unemployment-worsening role to an employment-bettering role.]
The Prime Minister said the French 'obsession' with the policy was to blame for the country's unemployment crisis – with more than 10 per cent of the population out of work, while the UK's jobless rate has plummeted to just 6.2 per cent.
Mr Cameron's jibe, which will spark fury in Paris [not really, they're still ahead], comes after the International Monetary Fund predicted Britain would overtake France to become the second-biggest economy in Europe next year.
[We'll believe it when we see it.]
The UK economy is expected to grow by 3.2 per cent this year and 2.7 per cent in 2015, compared with just 0.4 per cent and 1 per cent in France.
Mr Cameron has made a habit of criticising France following Francois Hollande's election as President in 2012.
Just weeks after Mr Hollande's election victory the Prime Minister said he would 'roll out the red carpet' for French companies fleeing his proposed 75 per cent tax on millionaires.
And earlier this year Mr Cameron Mr Cameron made a thinly-veiled dig at Mr Hollande's economic record – criticising governments pursuing policies which would lead to 'more borrowing, more spending and more debt'.
He said countries following this approach were seeing 'increasing unemployment, industrial stagnation and enterprise in free fall'.
Mr Cameron's latest swipe comes after the chief John Lewis told a group of young entrepreneurs last Thursday that 'France is finished' and was 'sclerotic, hopeless and downbeat'.
In the Prime Minister's latest assault on France today, he said the 35 hour week had resulted in lower investment and an unemployment rate far in excess of the UK's.
Mr Cameron said France was in danger of falling for the 'nonsense' idea that there were a fixed number of jobs in the economy and that a 35-hour week would help share the work around.
He acknowledged it was 'very dangerous' to point a finger at a fellow European country, but launched an attack on the policy which has remained in place under socialist president Francois Hollande - despite calls for reform from within his own administration.
Mr Cameron launched his attack on the French employment model while responding to questions from pensioners and older workers at Age UK's London head office.
He was asked about prejudice against over-50s in the workplace and how some older workers felt pressured to retire to make way for a new generation.
But Mr Cameron said: 'People feeling guilty that they are somehow hogging a job that could otherwise be available to a young person? I just think we should have no truck with that argument at all.
'The idea - economists would call it the lump of labour fallacy
[more accurate in the robotize&downsize age would be the shrinking lump of employment truism]
- the idea that there is just a fixed number of jobs and all you have got to do is try and divide them up between young people, old people, males, females - I think it's nonsense.
[Sure, that put-up Aunt Sally To Knock Down version is nonsense. Not nonsense is that there is just a shrinking number of market-demanded human employment hours in the present age of robotizing and downsizing, and what you have got to do is convert chronic overtime into OT-targeted training and jobs - age and gender are irrelevant.]
'What we have demonstrated in the last four years, and of course it's been a difficult time economically for many, we have demonstrated that you can create millions more jobs. There are 1.8 million more people in work today than when I became Prime Minister.
[But as in the once-great USA, they pay crap, and you're counting a lot of part-time jobs along with full-time jobs and conveniently for you, making no distinction. Shorter hours are happening anyway, but not in the best way.]
'If we had sat there in 2010 and said 'it's going to be tough, we are not going to get any more jobs, let's just carve them up and tell some people to retire early' I think that would have been a terrible mistake.'
He then set his sights on the economy across the channel, telling the audience: 'Very dangerous to ever point a finger at another European country but I sometimes think the French, with their obsession with the 35-hour working week, they are falling into the danger of a lump of labour fallacy, where 'if only everyone just worked 35 hours there would be more work to go round'.
'I think what you have seen is that results in higher unemployment, less competitive industry, fewer people wanting to invest in your economy.
'That's why the rates of unemployment in France and in Britain are so different. Ours is way, way below theirs.'
Mr Cameron said there should not be a stigma about employing older people, saying some companies such as DIY chain B&Q were 'doing amazing work' .
He added: 'The truth is fewer and fewer of us are going to start a job aged 21 and work through that job for the rest of our lives. Training and on the job training and continuous training is going to be part of people's lives, and that should be the case for people in their 50s and 60s as well.'
10/14/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Ford will restrain production: short-time working [alias worksharing] in Cologne, dpa via Die Zeit Online via zeit.de
COLOGNE, Germany - As announced, carmaker Ford at its plant in Cologne has throttled back production of its smallcar the Fiesta.
From Monday on, there will be short-time working in the Ford works in the cathedral city, a Ford spokeswoman confirmed on Tuesday. Until mid-November, Mondays and Fridays will see a production standstill for a total of eleven days. The reason is weak demand in several European markets. About 80 percent of the vehicles produced in Cologne are exported.
About 4,000 of the 17,300 total Ford employees in Cologne are affected by short-time working. Besides the short-time working money, they will receive a compensatory bonus to minimize the financial impact, according to the company spokeswoman.
The company had already applied for short-time working in September at the federal employment agency. Basically, it was understood in Cologne that the company does not want to produce a stockpile and push the vehicles into the market with significant discounts.
- Working hours: Get a life—or get fat, by C.W., The Economist Magazine via economist.com/blogs
LONDON, U.K. - In the last year we have written a series of articles on working hours, many of which were rather popular. We have tried to explain why the rich now work longer than the poor, and why working shorter hours is good for your productivity.
What about the effect of working hours on your weight? A new paper, written by Joelle Abramowitz, an economist at the US Census Bureau, has some startling results. She starts out by showing a simple graph. Those who work longer tend to be bigger (see *chart).
That graph is interesting, but doesn’t quite cut the mustard. After all, there may be other factors at play that mean that hardworking people tend to be overweight—one may not cause the other. Workaholic bankers who can afford to entertain clients in Michelin-starred restaurants are prone to pile on the pounds.
So Ms Abramowitz uses regressions, which allows her to control for a variety of other factors, like income. Her results have a few surprises: those with a college degree are likely to be slimmer. Rather depressingly, marriage results in women getting thinner, but men fatter.
She shows that for workers in "non-strenuous" jobs—things like secretarial work and accountancy—ten additional hours spent working per week are associated with an increase in body-mass index of 0.4 for women and 0.2 for men. That translates, on average, into an increase of 2.5 pounds and 1.4 pounds respectively. Unsurprisingly, for those whose jobs require a bit of physical exertion, the effect no longer holds.
So why do long hours result in weight gain? Only 20% of American jobs are even mildly strenuous, compared to 50% in 1960. In 1960 a tenth of the American workforce was involved in agriculture, but today it's more like 1%. More time at the desk means less movement. Busy people may have less time to prepare good meals, instead choosing a take-away. (Management consultants, in my experience at least, tend to be rather knowledgeable about fancy restaurants near them that also deliver). They exercise less. And workaholics sleep less: inadequate shut-eye is associated with weight gain.
Women gain more weight than men, Ms Abramowitz reasons, because they tend to substitute work for health-improving activities like exercise. Men are pretty sedentary, whether or not they work long hours.
So maybe desk-jobbers should include a bit of physicality in the daily grind. Standing up while working—as we talked about last year—is one option.
- NRI [Non resident Indians] alert: There's a jobs boom in India, and these professions are in hot demand - Opportunities in India are increasing not just in number, but also in terms of the packages on offer, by Shuchita Kapur, Emirates 24/7 via emirates247.com
ABU DHABI, U.A.E. - Most Indian expats in the UAE are happily working here and remitting an ever increasing amount of money home. But even if a relocation is not on their mind, they may be pleased to know that opportunities back home are increasing not just in number, but also in terms of the packages on offer.
According to a new report by RecruiteX, a jobs index by TimesJobs.com, the Indian job market is scaling new highs with the IT/Telecom industry writing its strongest growth story ever.
The index recorded a 14 per cent increase in September 2014 over August 2014. For the nine-month period from January to September 2014, there has been a 21 per cent increase in demand for IT/Telecom professionals.
The survey highlights that demand for senior IT professionals has witnessed a remarkable surge. “The hiring pattern is strong across all levels in the IT/Telecom industry,” the survey states, adding that this is the best time for senior IT professionals to look for a job.
“Job opportunities have doubled for senior IT professionals with over 20 year experience, with a 67 per cent increase from January 2014 to September 2014 period. IT professionals with 10-15 year experience reported a 20 per cent increase during the same period,” the survey maintains.
As per the data, software engineers, application programmers, database administrators (DBA), graphic designers/animators/web designers and project leaders/project managers are the hottest jobs in the IT industry.
Besides IT and telecom, the strongest growth sector, the spillover can be seen in other industries as well.
For example, IT-enabled services (ITeS) and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry reported an 18 per cent increase in job postings in September 2014.
Sectors such as banking & financial services, retail, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology are also witnessing an increase in demand for professionals and thus new jobs are being advertised and vacancies filled up.
Manufacturing-driven sectors such as manufacturing, engineering, automobiles, auto components, consumer durables, FMCG and projects/infrastructure are also showing promising growth year-over-year.
Demand for research and development professionals is also on the rise. This particular area has seen a 27 per cent growth in jobs in September 2014. The demand ripples can be felt in HR/training and administrative areas as well. Customer-centric profiles such as customer service and marketing & advertising are also in demand.
Another survey by the same company released in summer (July 2014) stated that 50 per cent of employees in India are dissatisfied with their jobs.
As per this July study by TimesJobs.com, half of Indian employees in various cities across the country are not satisfied with their jobs. These employees are satisfied with their current pay packages but are unhappy with other job-related factors that can take a toll on any professional, such as work hours, work-life balance, etc.
Long working hours seems high on their list of grievances. The study reveals that nearly 52 per cent employees are not satisfied with their current working hours. Employees polled say they are working over 40 hours a week and it’s not something they like.
- Demanding work schedules mean children can be neglected, and marriages strained by absence, by Jin Myeong-seon and Kim Hyo-jin, (10/13 late pickup) english.hani.co.kr
SEOUL, S.Korea - The husbands and fathers on the reality show “Dad! Where Are We Going?” and the variety show “Superman Is Back” are “supermen.” They come home from work and pitch in their fair share of the housework and child-raising.
It’s a very different story for the husband of 39-year-old Kim Hye-yeon, a working mother employed at a public enterprise. In his family’s eyes, he‘s simply never home.
The term “weekend couples” has come to refer to husbands and wives who live apart. This is not the case for Kim and her husband, who works at a corporation, but in reality they see each other only on weekends. Both of them often have to work nights, leaving little time during the week to sit down face to face for a simple conversation. To their seven-year-old daughter, Dad is a guest who visits on weekends. For all the talk about the importance of “kitchen table education,” Kim’s family usually eats together just once a week.
The first crisis for the couple came when their child care leave time ended.
“Our leave was used up, but the baby was still just a year old,” Kim recalled. “My husband and I never got to leave work on time, and we ended up taking the stress out on each other. It reached the point where I was drawing up divorce papers.”
“I’ve also had a number of friends and acquaintances who had their own divorce crises when their babies were young,” she added.
Kim has been trying to work things out with her husband recently, but six years of resentment doesn’t fade away overnight.
“I don‘t think we’ll ever be 100% again,” she admitted.
Collaborating with the Working Hours Center of the Korea Institute of Labor Safety and Health, the Hankyoreh analyzed the weekly working hours of wage earners in South Korea‘s 16 cities and provinces, using 2013 data from Statistics Korea’s regional employment survey. Out of 17,430,000 working people, some 4.7 million, or 27%, were found to be unable to leave work by eight in the evening. 2.6 million, or 15%, remained in the office until 9 pm. Over one in ten - 2.02 million, or 11.6% - worked until 10 pm, leaving them no time to do anything after work but sleep. Another 610,000, or 3.5%, reported working until midnight or later.
The disparity in working hours was greater for men and women in their 30s and 40s with young or teenaged children. Men between 30 and 39 worked an average of 47.2 hours per week, or 5.5 hours more than the 41.7-hour average for women in the same age group. Men aged 40 to 49 worked 46.6 hours per week, or 4.6 hours more than 42-hour average for women of that age range. For both age groups, men were found to finish work roughly one hour later than women. The numbers are empirical evidence of the threat the “eveningless day” poses to both the working and home lives of dual earner households with children.
According to data released in 2013 by Statistics Korea, South Korea has 5.05 million dual earner households, representing 42.9% of the 11.78 million households with a spouse. But while nearly half of all families have both parents working, the paradigm assigning all the housework and child care duties to just one spouse hasn‘t changed since the days of purely single-income families.
For the single earner, the typical paradigm involves long working hours. The idea is that the worker has to go the extra mile putting in time at the office to earn “recognition,” typically by working nights. The biggest issue for dual income households is when both spouses have to work nights, leaving their young child or children neglected in the evenings.
The situation also explains why the percentage of dual income households among thirty-somethings - an age group at its peak in terms of working activity, but also with more young children - falls below the overall average by a margin of 40.6% to 42.9%.
Please direct questions or comments to [email@example.com
10/12-13/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Udall's Shorter Work Week - Universities dodge the mandate by cutting back student work hours, 10/12 (10/13 early pickup) Wall Street Journal via wsj.com
BOULDER, Colo., USA - Liberals are rebuking businesses for cutting the hours of workers to skirt ObamaCare’s employer mandate. Lo, the people’s republic of Boulder, otherwise known as the University of Colorado, has announced that it too is capping the hours of undergraduate workers to avoid the mandate.
“After the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA),” a recent university memo reported, “the campus took the opportunity to examine the number of hours student employees were working per week and has established a policy which sets the maximum number of hours a student employee can work during a bi-weekly pay period.”
Undergrads will now be limited to 25 hours of university-provided employment per week, though students can work additional hours at off-campus jobs. Under ObamaCare, large employers must provide health benefits—including free contraception—to all employees who work more than 30 hours a week on average. Otherwise, they get whacked with a $2,000 penalty, er, tax per employee.
So Boulder is trying to circumvent the ObamaCare mandate by limiting hours of student workers. Why does Boulder want to take away women’s birth control?
The university says the policy is also intended to support “degree attainment as the student’s primary focus” and to “assist the campus in achieving Chancellor DiStefano’s initiative of increasing the six-year graduation rate.” But how will making it harder for students to finance their education improve the graduation rate? Maybe he wants them to take out more government loans.
Student workers are merely the latest casualties of ObamaCare. Dozens of colleges including Colorado Mountain College are barring adjunct professors from working more than 30 hours a week. Many quick-serve restaurants plan to do likewise. Yet in an interview last week Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, who provided the 60th vote for passage in 2010, hailed ObamaCare “all in all” as “a success.”
[Which it is, even (or especially) with the shorter workweek, because skills and workspreading via shorter workweeks and OT-to-training&hiring conversion are a system necessity in the age of robotics - unless you want waaay too few employee-consumers to buy all the stuff the robots can produce.]
House Republicans earlier this year passed legislation raising the threshold for the employer mandate to 40 hours a week, and GOP Senators have introduced a companion bill. Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t allow a vote. That’s convenient for Democrats running for re-election like Mr. Udall, who doesn’t want to be forced to vote to fix what he hails as a wonderful success—all in all.
- Shorter Workweek Plea Continue[s] – Pros and Cons, 10/13 DubaiChronicle.com
DUBAI, UAE - About two months ago, billionaire and world’s second wealthiest person, Carlos Slim, shared his view that governments should reduce the workweek from five to three days. According to Slim, that would make employees happier and more productive. More recently, the International Labor Organization also urged for a shorter workweek consisting of just four days.
World Labor Organization’s Position
In an article published on its official blog, the World Labor Organization lists five main benefits that the 4-day workweek could give us. The first of them is that a longer weekend would improve the health of employees. Moreover, the WLO goes as far as to state that this work schedule could reduce the global death rate.
The second big advantage mentioned in the material is that a longer weekend [and] a shorter workweek would also increase the employment rate. According to it, instead of reducing their staff, employers could simply reduce work hours. That would allow companies to employ more people on a lower wage.
[No, it would stop the default funneling of the national income into the turgid circulation of the topmost brackets by absorbing the surplus of mutually underbidding jobseekers, and wages would stay the same or rise, as they did from 1840 to 1940 when the workweek was cut in half. This, by the way, should be the first big advantage because it has become a System Requirement for getting beyond our "slow recovery," meaning an unstable recovery for the richest 0.001% only.]
Benefit No. 3 is that people would become more productive and more motivated to do their job. It also adds that four days of work would mean less pollution from commuting.
Last, but not least, the WLO concludes that a four-day workweek would make employees happier and boost their life satisfaction.
Although the World Labor Organization’ s article was published not long ago, some governments have already started to consider the pros and cons of a shorter workweek. For example, the Russian Lower House committee for labor will hold special discussions on the proposal. Still, opinions of politicians and businessmen in the country remain quite polarized. While some agree with the benefits listed on WLO’ s blog, others believe that presently Russia cannot afford a 4-day workweek, reports RT.
The Philippines’ Civil Service Commission, on the other hand, seems to approve of the idea for a longer weekend. Last week, it approved a four-day workweek scheme for Metro Manila government offices. The reason - it wanted to ease traffic congestion. Shortly after that happened, however, labor groups in the country started to protest against the new law, citing various dangers to which a short workweek can lead.
One of the most obvious disadvantages of the 4-day workweek is that it will increase work hours from 8 to 10, 11, or even 12 hours a day.
[Only the 10-hour day has any connection with the 4-day workweek but then it's a "compressed" workweek and not a shorter workweek at all.]
That would not have a positive effect on employees’ productivity and motivation. In addition, employers may see the longer weekend as an opportunity to lower the wages of their workers, despite the longer daily shifts.
[Only if shorter workweeks are used with overtime-to-job conversion are anxious jobseekers absorbed into the job markets and arbitrary employer power restrained.]
The life-work balance benefits of this work schedule are also doubtful. Although employees will get three full free days to be with their family, they will spend the rest of the week at work.
[Well with only a two-day weekend, many employees are spending the WHOLE week at work. This journalist should wake up, smell the coffee, and notice the 24/7 emails from...work.]
With a 10- or 11-hour workday and an average of an hour or an hour and a half spent in commuting, they could be left with barely 10 or even less hours of personal time.
[No "pro" credit given for 20% less commuting time? This journalist is starting to look seriously biassed!]
Given that a good night sleep takes about 8 hours, they will just get a couple of hours to spend some time with their family and friends. That would make it even harder to juggle between work and leisure.
[What planet is this journalist on?]
Kids would also feel the negative effects of this schedule. If your children are spending the time between 9 to 5 at the kindergarten, they would have to be stuck there between 7 to 8 if your workweek is shortened.
[Only if it is not shortened but compressed, with four 10-hour days.]
Employees’ health would also be exposed to more dangers. The [health] cost of long workdays is higher compared to that of long workweeks.
[Can't make this statement without backup data!]
People would be more likely to suffer work overload, since the key to a good rest are regular and not longer breaks.
[= purely a matter of opinion.]
Most importantly, however, not all industries can afford to squeeze the workweek to just four days. Retailers, for instance, will suffer the biggest financial losses.
[Again, speculation lacking backup data is being dressed as certainty. Ever heard of SHIFTS? and for seven-day operations, three-day and four-day shifts are a lot closer to symmetry than five-day and two-day shifts.]
The only thing that is clear about the shorter workweek idea is that it comes with both its pros and cons.
[No, it's also clear that if we don't get moving on workspreading via shorter workweeks and overtime-to-job conversion in the age of robotics, we're going to keep reducing customers and markets for the vast robotic output and exploring deeper and deeper "bottoms" of investment instability. Investments require MARKETABLE productivity, not just productivity, and as long as we're perpetuating a pre-technology workweek of 40 hours into the age of more and more worksaving technology, we're marginalizing more and more employees, deactivating more and more consumer spenders, and weakening our own and others' markets - and investments.]
However, the fact that the World Labor Organization has already taken down its proposal for a 4-day workweek from its blog shows which is the more popular opinion at the moment.
10/11/2014 – 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 email@example.com unless otherwise initialed ) -
- What Socialism does for you, (10/10 late pickup) BloviatingZeppelin.net
PARIS, France - It makes you vote with your feet.
From the UKIndependent.com [see below]:
The land of 400 cheeses, the birthplace of Molière and Coco Chanel, is facing an unprecedented exodus. Up to 2.5 million French people now live abroad, and more are bidding “au revoir” each year.
A French parliamentary commission of inquiry is due to publish its report on emigration on Tuesday, but Le Figaro reported yesterday that because of a political dispute among its members over the reasons for the exodus, a “counter-report” by the opposition right-wing is to be released as an annex.
Centre-right deputies are convinced that the people who are the “lifeblood” of France are leaving because of “the impression that it’s impossible to succeed”, said Luc Chatel, secretary general of the UMP, who chaired the commission.
“Impossible to succeed”? How odd; I thought that Francois Hollande, as an avowed Socialist and a longtime leader of the Socialist Party, was going to solve everything through Socialism?
There is “an anti-work mentality, absurd fiscal pressure, a lack of promotion prospects, and the burden of debt hanging over future generations,” he told Le Figaro.
[So what? That's better than UK and US where there's the burden of debt hanging over future generations, a lack of promotion prospects except to get a blank check on your life with "exempt from overtime" management status, absurd fiscal pressure, absurd 24/7 work mentality despite robotization...]
However, the report’s author Yann Galut, a Socialist deputy, said the UMP was unhappy because it had been unable to prove that a “massive exile” had taken place since the election of President François Hollande in 2012.
Let’s see; what’s the French “work week” again? Oh, that’s right: 35 hours.
[And the US is an unenforced 40, ergo 50-60+ if you can still find a "full time" job. And the USA, alone among the advance economies, has NO vacation policy -]
And what is the [French] vacation policy? That’s right:
5 weeks (30 days with Saturdays, but not Sundays counted as holidays) plus up to 22 days of RTT (Réduction du Temps de Travail, English: Reduction of Working Time) for the employees that choose to work more than 35 hours per week – the “limit” is 39 per week, further additional hours are compensated in almost all the cases by money and not by additional leave hours. Bonus days off are given to people who take a part of their annual leave outside summer (3 days grant 1 bonus day off, 6 days grant 2 bonus days off). Combining all these rules, in a few public offices and in a few companies like Orange, the resulting total, for certain employees, might be of 9.5 paid vacation weeks (5 weeks of vacation + 4 weeks of RTT + 0.5 week of bonus days off). Furthermore, there are 11 public holidays (that, though, in many companies are not paid days off, with the exception of the 1st of May, for which a remuneration is compulsory).
Even with that, Hollande thought it too constrictive.
What is certain is the steady rise in the number of emigrants across all sections of society, from young people looking for jobs to entrepreneurs to pensioners.
According to a French Foreign Ministry report published at the end of last month, the top five destinations are the UK, Switzerland, the US, Belgium and Germany. The French consulate in London has estimated that up to 400,000 French nationals live in the capital, a number equal to the population of France’s sixth largest city.
You mean that persons in France don’t care for nightly hot-and-cold running carbeques?
The Crux of the Biscuit:
“Young people feel stuck, and they want interesting jobs. Businessmen say the labour code is complex and they’re taxed even before they start working. Pensioners can also pay less tax abroad,” she says.
It is also almost impossible to fire an employee in France. But why work when Hollande’s State will take care of you? — at great taxpayer expense, I should care to add.
Further: There are around 1.4 million companies in France without employees. Why is that?
[And don't forget the mounting number of US factories without employees = "lights out manufacturing."]
But again, the French government is throwing the word “patriotic” around like the current Obola government, as in: it’s “patriotic” to pay more taxes and abide by more regulations.
Frankly, Hollande and Obola don’t know the meaning of the word “patriotic.”
[Original version -]
French say au revoir to France: Over two million French people now live abroad, and most are crossing the channel and heading to London - Opposition [is] convinced people are leaving because of 'the impression that it’s impossible to succeed', by Anne Penketh, Independent.co.uk via (10/10 late pickup) BloviatingZeppelin.net
The land of 400 cheeses, the birthplace of Molière and Coco Chanel, is facing an unprecedented exodus. Up to 2.5 million French people now live abroad, and more are bidding “au revoir” each year.
A French parliamentary commission of inquiry is due to publish its report on emigration on Tuesday, but Le Figaro reported yesterday that because of a political dispute among its members over the reasons for the exodus, a “counter-report” by the opposition right-wing is to be released as an annex.
Centre-right deputies are convinced that the people who are the “lifeblood” of France are leaving because of “the impression that it’s impossible to succeed”, said Luc Chatel, secretary general of the UMP, who chaired the commission.
There is “an anti-work mentality, absurd fiscal pressure, a lack of promotion prospects, and the burden of debt hanging over future generations,” he told Le Figaro. However, the report’s author Yann Galut, a Socialist deputy, said the UMP was unhappy because it had been unable to prove that a “massive exile” had taken place since the election of President François Hollande in 2012.
What is certain is the steady rise in the number of emigrants across all sections of society, from young people looking for jobs to entrepreneurs to pensioners.
The world's top 10 most desirable cities to work in
According to a French Foreign Ministry report published at the end of last month, the top five destinations are the UK, Switzerland, the US, Belgium and Germany. The French consulate in London has estimated that up to 400,000 French nationals live in the capital, a number equal to the population of France’s sixth largest city.
The Foreign Ministry recorded 1.6 million expats at the end of last year. But that figure only includes people who had registered at French consulates abroad. “So the real figure is twice as high,” says Hélène Charveriat, the delegate-general of the Union of French Citizens Abroad.
She told The Independent that while the figure of 2.5 million expatriates is “not enormous”, what is more troubling is the increase of about 2 per cent each year.
“Young people feel stuck, and they want interesting jobs. Businessmen say the labour code is complex and they’re taxed even before they start working. Pensioners can also pay less tax abroad,” she says.
France’s unemployment rate is hovering around 10 per cent. As for high-earners, almost 600 people subject to a wealth tax on assets of more than €800,000 (£630,000) left France in 2012, 20 per cent more than the previous year. Manuel Valls, the Prime Minister, announced in London this week that the top income tax rate of 75 per cent would be abolished next January after a number of business tycoons and celebrities moved out.
Mrs Charveriat said the French exiles she had spoken to might agree “a bit” with Andy Street, the managing director of John Lewis who was forced to apologise after saying that France was “finished, sclerotic and downbeat”.
“But people aren’t pessimistic,” she added, stressing that the French who live abroad remain patriotic and that while they engage in “French-bashing” among themselves, they are defensive when foreigners engage in such criticism.
- City offices, library to close Monday for furlough day, JournalTimes.com
RACINE, Wisc., USA — City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., and the Racine Public Library, 75 Seventh St., will be closed Monday, Columbus Day, for a city employee furlough day.
Other city buildings and offices will be closed on Monday as well, but the public counter at the Racine Police Department, 730 Center St., will be open.
There will be no trash or recycling pickup on Monday.
The furlough day is the last of three unpaid days off city employees have been required to take this year in an effort to save the city about $225,000 in labor costs.
[Better furloughs than firings, timesizings than downsizings.]
On-street, non-management police officers will not take the furlough days nor will most firefighters, but other staff in those departments will be required to take the unpaid days off.
City officials first implemented furlough days as a way to cut costs in 2013.
10/10/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Ex-French PM Jospin defends 35-hour week, (10/09 late pickup) TheLocal.fr via News.nom.co
PARIS, France - Former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, whose government introduced France’s infamous 35-hour working week in 1998, launched a staunch defense of the controversial law in the French parliament on Thursday.
Jospin, who was prime minister of France from 1997 to 2002 defended the 35-hour week with pride, describing it as “one of the instruments of a great and effective employment policy”.
“I remain proud to have led the government which drove through the reform,” Jospin said.<BR>
[Good for him. Any sane hominid in the robotics age is also proud of that and of him! Lord God, we had 35-hour workweeks in the most conservative American industries like insurance and academe way back in the 1960s. Wall Street itself had 37.5 hrs/wk for clerks in the '60s. WHAT is the BFD about a 35-hr workweek in the Age of Robotics?! The US Senate passed a THIRTY Hour Work Week back in 1933! And if senior-moment-prone FDR had pushed it through the House, as he later wished he'd done (!935, see Ben Hunnicutt), we would have surged out of the Depression in 1935 instead of 1941!]
“Make more, work less” - that was the argument French leaders famously put forward in support of their flagship 35-hour week, but critics of the law regularly claim it is harming the competitiveness of the French economy.
[These critics are the morons who, with their suicidal overprioritization of international trade, want to win the Race to the Bottom. Their inane policies amount to Suicide, Everyone Else First. We used to criticize Communism for reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator. Now these dummies have perverted capitalism into a downsizing/"leansizing"/"rightsizing" version of Capitalism that's doing it far faster than Communism ever did. As Dahlberg pointed out in 1932, Capitalism always and only works well under an employer-perceived shortage of labor to maintain and raise wages and spending instead of allowing the coagulation of the money supply among a tiny gang of galoots in the topmost brackets who spend, donate and finally job-creatingly invest the smallest percentage of their MASSIVE black hole of money of any bracket. They stupidly foster a growing surplus of labor that funnels evermore money out of circulation in their own dead suffed hands and slows the economy more and more, splitting the population into ever fewer, ever more overworking employees and ever more, ever less working disemployed. But we'll find out about it very slowly because guess who owns the media. And we have to count on the occasional sane billionaire like Warren Buffett who wants more taxes on the rich, ]
The issue of the 35-hour week has regularly flared up over the years, but despite criticism, consecutive French governments have repeatedly refused to scrap it.
Jospin was asked to speak before a parliamentary committee that was set up to examine the impact of the famous legislation, that has been the subject of much ridicule in Anglo countries.
“In 1997, our compatriots were obsessed by unemployment. The aim was to restore confidence to a country, because confidence is a factor in productivity,” said the former Prime Minister.
Jospin estimates that the 35-hour week helped reduce unemployment from 12.6 percent in 1997 to 9 percent in 2002.
[Even more dramatic, the 35-hour week got unemployment down to 8.6% in spring 2001 before the US-led recession hit France in the summer - that's the same 1% less unemployment for every hour cut from the workweek that the USA itself got between 1938 and 1940 when it went 44-42-40 hrs/wk and 19.0-17.2-14.6% unemployment in those three years.]
“Faced with a choice of increasing salaries or helping hundreds of thousands of men and women into work, we chose a return to employment,” Jospin said.
Jospin accepts that the 35-hour week or the “reduction du temps du travail” (RTT) was not a “miracle cure” for unemployment in itself but was part of a wide range of policies aimed at bringing down unemployment and that a return to growth was key.
[Only not a "miracle cure" because he did not have a good overtime design that energetically converted chronic overtime into OT-targeted training and hiring, not to mention a workweek that CONTINUED TO ADJUST DOWNWARD as far as it takes to create enough convertible OT to provide full employment, maximum wages and consumer spending, maximum currency circulation, maximum activation of the Multiplier Effect, maximum marketable productivity to serve up maximum solid investment options. The idea that there is one forever-valid and permanent level of the workweek while you are constantly introducing more and more worksaving technology is just nuts.]
“It was only when growth was reignited that we introduced the first law around the 35-hour week,” said Jospin to highlight the contrast with the current predicament France is in with record unemployment but zero growth.
Jospin, as might have been expected, came under attack from right win MPs, notably Bernard Accoyer, who said the legislation “had the whole world laughing” at France.
France’s new business-friendly economy minister Emmanuel Macron caused a furore recently when he suggested the 35-hour week needed reforming.
However, in a move that highlights just how sensitive the subject is in France, he was quickly hauled back into line by his Prime Minister.
[I doubt that's a remotely accurate description of the situation, although if it is, it's reminiscent of 1956 when Republic VP Presidential candidate Richard Nixon advocated a 32-hour workweek on the campaign trail in Pueblo CO and was gagged by Pres.cand. Ike Eisenhower (see Ben Hunnicutt's history "Work Without End" 1988) and calls to mind Yeats' 1921 lines, "The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of a passionate intensity. Still in power are the nitwits, who can't see the nose in front of their face.]
Ben McPartland (email@example.com)
- CU Boulder becomes latest university to cut student work hours under Obamacare, by Valerie Richardson, (10/09 late pickup) WashingtonTimes.com
DENVER, Colo., USA — College students overwhelmingly swung for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, but they’re now finding their on-campus work hours cut back, thanks to Obamacare.
The latest example comes from the University of Colorado Boulder, where administrators posted an online notice last week informing students that their university-provided employment would be capped at 25 hours per week as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Under Obamacare, employers must provide health insurance coverage to employees working 30 hours or more per week or face fines.
“After the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the campus took the opportunity to examine the number of hours student employees were working per week and has established a policy which sets the maximum number of hours a student employee can work during a bi-weekly pay period,” said the Sept. 30 notice on the university website.
Cutting student work hours is increasingly becoming the standard at universities as they move to comply with the ACA’s rules on insurance coverage, but students aren’t the only ones affected. Adjunct faculty and graduate assistants are also seeing their hours reduced in response, according to Campus Reform.
For example, Campus Reform reported that Middle Tennessee State University has barred both students and part-time employees from taking more than one job on campus.
Investor’s Business Daily maintains a running tally of businesses that have cut their employees’ hours in response to Obamacare, a list that includes more than 100 colleges and universities.
Jonathan Lockwood, Colorado state director for Generation Opportunity, a Koch-affiliated free-market millennial group, released a statement Tuesday blasting the ACA’s employer mandate and taking a swipe at Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, who voted for Obamacare and faces a tough re-election battle.
[Lockwood and the Koch's want a "free" market playing field steeply sloped in favor of short-sighted employers and "black hole economics." Nevermind if we'd completed passage of the Black 30-Hour Workweek Bill through the House and not just the Senate in 1933, we'd have been out of the Great Depression by 1935 instead of needing the labor shortage of World War II to get us out six years later.]
“As if we needed more proof that Obamacare is dunking young people: CU Boulder has announced that it’s cutting hours for student employees on campus,” Mr. Lockwood said. “The ‘Affordable’ Care Act, which has increased the cost of healthcare for my generation, is also killing our chances at future success here in Colorado. This is what Senator Mark Udall calls a ‘success’?”
A study released Tuesday by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University called the 30-hour cut-off “an explicit tax on full-time work” and predicted a 3 percent drop in weekly per-person employment.
Ryan Huff, spokesman for CU Boulder, said only about 10 percent of students employed on campus would be affected by the change, given that most were already working less than 25 hours a week.
He said Obamcare was “a catalyst to look at our student employment data, but not the sole reason we’re making this move.” Another motivation was to ensure that students’ primary focus remains earning their degree.
10/09/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Peoria County Board approves retirement incentive, reduced work week option for employees, by Alex Rusciano, PeoriaPublicRadio.org
PEORIA, Illin., USA - The Peoria County Board overwhelmingly approved a voluntary retirement plan and reduced work week for next year. The plan aims to help tackle a $3.5 million deficit next year.
Peoria County Board member Michael Phelan says the cost cutting measures are needed to reverse a financial trend. “Revenue growth is two-percent, and our expenditures are three-percent. That equates to roughly a million dollars this year, next year, the year after and ongoing if things don’t change.”
The County says the goal is to have 40 employees voluntarily retire, saving about $2 million. Officials have said nothing is off the table, including the possibility of layoffs, if the not enough people sign up.
The County is also planning on having an independent consultant looks for more ways to save money next spring.
In other business, the Board approved re-naming the Peoria County Jail the George P. Shadid Corrections Center.
- Muslims and Jews in Russia believe a four-day work week useful, (10/08 late pickup) Interfax-Religion.com
MOSCOW, Russia - Mufti of Moscow Albir Krganov backs up the idea of four-day work week.
"If we have a four-day work week, Friday will be a day-off, and it is very convenient for Muslims as believers hold compulsory Friday prayer." According to him, we need optimization of work time and efficiency of work: distant work sometimes is more productive than every-day presence in the office," the mufti told Interfax-Religion.
Spokesman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) Andrey Glotser told the agency that if we had a day-off on Friday instead of a short day, there would be a short day on Thursday, as everyone will try to resume their work quicker on Thursday as they now do on Friday, and "it is not clear how Russian economy will react on such a transformation."
"However, I think that Jewish community in Russia is interested in short work day on Friday as Shabbat starts very early in winter. If work day end earlier before 01:00 p.m. on Friday, office stuff [sic] won't have to obtain permission to leave earlier than usual. So such a day-off or short day will be certainly good for us. But I don't know whether it is a positive measure for economy in general. It is better to consult the experts," he said.
Head of the FJCR PR Department Boruh Gorin considers discussion on work week as a reason to think what role professional duties play in people's life. According to him, in modern society "in different countries to different degree, but nevertheless, everywhere the process is boosting, when work replaces general notion of life, life becomes search for earnings."
He believes that life as such, communication with family, children and parents should be a priority for a person. "I am not sure that it is enough just to release a half of time to achieve it. I mean different matters. The most important in this context is not the number of free days, but the attitude to life, to communication, to what can be called a life for living," the FJCR official said.
10/08/2014 – 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 email@example.com unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Billionaire Tycoon Says "Three-day Work Week Will Happen", by Andrew Moran, PFhub.com
MEXICO CITY, Mexico - The world’s richest man reiterated his belief that the world will eventually adopt a three-day work week, though he isn’t sure when this workforce transformation would take place exactly.
Carlos Slim, Mexico’s $83 billion telecommunications tycoon, recently spoke with CNN Money regarding his concept of instituting a three-day work week, which he believes would make life much better for everyone since they would have more time to themselves.
Slim presented the case to the news outlet that you should have time to do whatever you want throughout your entire life and not just when you’re old and retired.
Although employees would only work three days per week, Slim’s plan would consist of workers clocking in 11 hours a day and retiring at the age of 75. This would allow people, Slim argues, to have greater entertainment, more time for family and better training for better jobs.
If implemented, Slim purports that younger workers would have bigger career opportunities to enter the workforce and become a positive contributor to the overall economy and financial markets. “It’s a society of knowledge and experience. You have better experience and knowledge when you are 60, 65 and 70,” Slim said.
This past summer, we reported of Slim’s initial recommendation. His comments made headlines all over the world and drew mixed reactions. At the time, more people had questions than anything else: what kind of schedule would be created? Would there be job sharing programs? Would every workforce transition into a three-day workplace?
“People are going to have to work for more years, until they are 70 or 75, and just work three days a week – perhaps 11 hours a day,” Slim said in a speech. “With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life. Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied.”
Studies have regularly shown that the younger generation of workers want flexibility when it comes to their place of work. Instead of performing the traditional 9 to 5 weekday job, millennials want heightened telecommuting, flexible hours and more time off.
With millennials eventually taking over the workforce, employers will likely have no other choice but to accommodate the wishes of these professional millennials.
A Spectrem Group survey released in June discovered that a vast majority (69 percent) of millionaires believe the proposal of a four-day work week is a “valid idea.” The study participants did say, however, that they would prefer a compressed work week of four 10-hour shifts.
Other surveys suggest corporate executives support this plan as long as it improves workflow.
In today’s workforce, it is far more important to complete your work effectively than it is how, where and when you do it. As long as the same level of productivity is met then there may not be much opposition originating from the business world. Perhaps the three-day work week will arrive sooner than most people think.
[Another version -]
Carlos Slim: The 3-day work week will happen - The richest man in the world thinks you're working too much, by Matt Egan @mattmegan5, (10/09 early pickup) CNNMoney via money.cnn.com
NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecom tycoon worth over $80 billion, believes life would be better with a three-day work week.
"You should have more time for you during all of your life -- not when you're 65 and retired," Slim told CNNMoney's Christine Romans on Tuesday.
But if Slim had his way, people would also work longer days and much later in life. He suggested 11-hour shifts and pushing the retirement age to 75.
Slim raised eyebrows over the summer by calling for a three-day work week, but he doubled down on that proposal on Tuesday.
"I am sure it will happen," the 74-year-old told CNNMoney, though he conceded he's not sure when.
While "machines should work 24 hours and services should work as much as possible," Slim said people deserve more time for entertainment, family and to train for better jobs.
He also believes the radical change would give younger workers more opportunity to enter the workforce and be a positive for the economy and financial markets.
"It's a society of knowledge and experience. You have better experience and knowledge when you are 60, 65 and 70," Slim said.
The $83 billion man: It's an interesting idea considering the source: a self-made billionaire who Forbes estimates is worth about $83 billion. Slim has been alternating the crown for the world's richest man with Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30)founder Bill Gates, whose wealth is valued at nearly $81 billion.
Slim got into investing before he even entered high school, buying his first bond at just 12 years old and stocks a year or two later.
While Slim's family was well off, he eventually built an empire on his own through a series of savvy investments.
One of his biggest holdings is America Movil (AMOV), the Latin American telecom giant. The company's shares spiked earlier this year after Slim unveiled plans to sell off assets in response to new anti-monopoly and media laws in Mexico.
On the other hand, soft gold and copper prices have been a thorn in the side of Minera Frisco (MSNFY), Slim's mining company.
More real investment needed: Still, Slim said it's a great time to be an investor thanks to rock-bottom interest rates from global central banks trying to encourage growth.
"Low interest rates are a big opportunity for investment. But the issue is that this money should go to the real economy, not the financial economy," Slim said.
His comments echo concerns about companies spending too much on financial engineering like stock buybacks rather than capital expenditures that drive growth and hiring.
"It is mainly going to the financial economy. If we take part of it to the real economy and develop infrastructure and other investments, we will have construction, employment and better salaries," he said.
Slim declined to throw his weight behind recent calls for workers to get paid higher wages though.
He conceded prices may have grown faster than wages, but he believes salaries will rise along with stronger growth, increased productivity and technological advances.
- Study: Obamacare incentivizes a massive shift to "part-time" working hours [our quotes], PersonalLiberty.com
[What if "part time" is full time in the age of robots? In 1840 we worked 80 hours a week, mostly in agriculture. Then they mechanized agriculture so by 1865 we were working 60 hours a week in manufacturing. Then they automated manufacturing so by 1940 we were working 40 hours a week in services. Now they're robotizing services and we're not cutting the workweek? And btw, how is it a website called PersonalLiberty.com is unaware that the most fundamental personal liberty is financially secure Free Time, without which the other freedoms are inaccessible or meaningless? And granted Obamacare does the right deed in the wrong way, it's an easy fix to switch to chronic overtime transformation into training and job creation.]
FAIRFAX, Va., USA - Obamacare will erode full-time employment [or redefine full time to where it should be in the age of automation and robotics?] and bolster the ranks of America’s part-time employees, thanks to “implicit” and “explicit” taxes that entice both workers and their employers to follow or avoid the government’s path of least resistance to qualifying for healthcare coverage.
That’s the conclusion of a 47-page study released Tuesday by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a nonprofit that researches and advocates for free-market policy.
[A market that is steeply skewed toward overwhelming employer power by massive underemployment hidden in stats ranging from unemployment through welfare, disability, homelessness, begging, prison, suicide and clientless self-employment is in absolutely no sense of the word "free" - it has been totally captured by a tiny population in the wealthiest brackets - whose policies amount to Suicide, Everyone Else First.]
Titled “The Affordable Care Act and the New Economics of Part-Time Work,” the study identifies several Obamacare features likely to drive a fundamental shift in labor demographics, as more people and businesses begin complying with the law:
“Starting this year, the United States’ working population will face three major employment disincentives resulting from the very benefits the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides: (1) an explicit tax on full-time work, (2) an implicit tax on full-time work for those who are ineligible for the ACA’s health insurance subsidies, and (3) an implicit tax that links the amount of available subsidies to workers’ incomes."
[Far better to just directly tax chronic overtime and give a complete exemption for companies willing to reinvest their overtime advantage (relative to hiring) in OT-targeted training and job creation. With high enough wages, the government would not have to get involved in the provision of any benefits whatsoever.]
“The ACA’s overall impact on employment… will arguably be larger than that of any single piece of legislation since World War II,” the authors assert. Mercatus expects nearly half of the U.S. labor force to experience “significant changes,” under Obamacare’s regressive incentives, to work less.
“The ACA may put millions of Americans in a position in which working part time yields more disposable income than working full time,” the summary states. “This occurs when the ACA’s generous assistance to part-time workers for health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses offsets much of the income they forgo by working fewer hours. The lack of this insurance assistance for full-time workers amounts to a tax on full-time work.”
In addition, the study forecasts a twofold increase over previously reported estimates of how dramatically Obamacare will affect U.S. productivity in terms of total hours worked.
“This analysis, combined with lessons from labor market history, leads to an estimate that the ACA will reduce employment and aggregate hours by slightly more than 3 percent, or about 4 million full-time-equivalent workers,” the authors predict.
“This is nearly double the contraction indicated in prior studies, mainly because some previous work underestimated the size of the ACA’s employer penalty and did not consider the full range of tax effects.” ...
10/07/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Ex-firefighter pleads in Flush-the-Johns case, by William Murphy email@example.com, Newsday.com
LYNBROOK, Long Is., N.Y., USA - A Lynbrook man accused of patronizing a prostitute pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge after objecting that he should not be required to perform 35 hours of community service because he had been a volunteer firefighter in South Hempstead for 21 years.
[Americans are constantly bashing the "lazy" French for their radical, incredibly short, 35-hour workweek, but here we see that 35 hours is sooo looong that they use it as a punishment.]
Vincent Viceconte, 41, was one of 104 men swept up in the Flush the Johns anti-prostitution sting in Nassau County in April and May of 2013. He was living in South Hempstead at the time and was forced out of his position with the hamlet's volunteer fire department when the arrests were announced.
"He was forced to give up the job he loved," his lawyer, Timothy Aldridge of Levittown, told Judge Rhonda Fischer before the trial started in Hempstead. "He objects to community service after giving to the community for 21 years."
Aldridge said that if prosecutors dropped the community service requirement, "then we could conclude this case here and now."
But prosecutors refused and the nonjury trial began with Assistant District Attorney Abigail Wallace telling the judge in her opening statement that Viceconte had answered a sexually suggestive ad on a website and then met a woman he assumed to be a prostitute at a hotel in East Garden City. The woman was an undercover officer and Viceconte was arrested.
Aldridge was scheduled to make his opening statement in the afternoon, but when court resumed, Viceconte told the judge he wanted to plead guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct and would perform the 35 hours of community service and attend a class to "educate" men who patronize prostitutes.
Viceconte declined to comment as he left court.
After insisting for a year that the men plead guilty to the top charge, District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced in June that all the men, even those who had pleaded guilty, would be allowed to plead to the reduced charge if they performed community service and went to the class.
There have been a total of 82 guilty pleas. Four men were acquitted and one was convicted at nonjury trials.
Eleven cases are still pending.
- Anyone got any ideas how I can spend 35 hours a week meaningfully looking for work? by Elvis03/Welshman on Mersey, Reddit.com
LIVERPOOL?, U.K. - I got made redundant last week and because the gods love to drop as much sh*t as possible at once, I'm not on JSA [Job Seekers' Allowance]. I'm on Universal Credit [UC].
The problem is that to qualify for UC you have to spend at least 35 hours a week looking for work.
I'm about 5 hours in and I'm already running out of options. I've logged my CV [curriculum vitae = resume] anywhere that will take it. I've checked the usual job listing websites. I've checked job after job on the government universal job match (which is years behind even the worst other job listing websites).
I honestly don't see how a person can spend 35 hours a week applying for work without basically doing busy work- something I am not going to do. By busy work I mean checking listings you checked only a day ago, or going for a walk and claiming you were looking for advertised vacancies (my adviser told me to do this- I've never known a shop in this day and age just take CVs from people).
[And Brits too are constantly bashing the "lazy" Frenchh for their radical, incredibly short, 35-hour workweek, but here we see that 35 hours is sooo looong that jobless Brits cannot figure out how to spend that long looking for work without bogus busywork.]
It's almost like the set up is designed to reward for you doing the slowest, most inefficient job search possible. Got a typing speed and IT literacy level of a tree? Great- it will take you four hours a day just to go through one website listing and another 2 hours to complete an application. Job done.
On the other hand in the past 5 hours I've applied for three jobs and stand a reasonable chance with at least two of them (the third is a cheeky application that's a little over my skill level, but nothing ventured). Someone with less IT skill would have done far less, and yet wouldn't be facing the same pressures as they have technically complied with the rules of UC.
I just don't know how I can do this when I can get a fully customized application prepared and sent within 20 minutes of locating a suitable job, and checking listings takes maybe three or four hours- at most.
And to cap it off the UC is paid 5 weeks after your initial interview. 5 weeks. Good luck if you need to pay rent or something, I hope you've got some savings. They say that an advance can be arranged, but then why not just do the sane thing and pay the benefit on the month after the application so that the person's bills and debits get honored?
This entire set up has me very, very worried and has not been well thought out.
Christ I nearly forgot. I was the first person the Job Center had dealt with on UC. The process took over 2 hours- most of which was my adviser on the phone to someone else trying to work out how to save. I can't say for certain but it looks like she had no actual training, just a step by step guide printed on low grade paper that was absolutely cryptic. I can appreciate this is a new system but I would expect a higher level of staff capability than hanging off the phone for 2 hours and repeatedly thanking me for my patience.
Anyone at the DWP know what's going on?
Should say the staff at the job center were very nice and understanding, but it was still immensely vexing that they didn't seem to know a thing. I'm sure it's not their fault (given the lack of attention to detail I've seen in UC so far it wouldn't shock me if no one had thought to train staff on the new systems), but if I'm here I might as well vent,
10/05-06/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Section 29D Worksharing plan; approval; modification; revocation, 9/05 The 188th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts via MAlegislature.gov
BOSTON, Mass., USA - General Laws
PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
TITLE XXI LABOR AND INDUSTRIES
CHAPTER 151A UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Section 29D Worksharing plan; approval; modification; revocation; benefits
[ Text of section effective until March 24, 2015. For text effective March 24, 2015, see below.]
Section 29D. (a) As used in this section the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
"Affected unit'', a specified plant, department, shift, or other definable unit consisting of not less than two employees to which an approved worksharing plan applies.
"Approved worksharing plan'', a plan of an employer under which there is a reduction in the number of hours worked by the employees in an affected unit, and the affected employees share the work remaining after the normal weekly hours of work are reduced.
"Employee'', any individual employed full-time or on a permanent part-time basis by any employer subject to this chapter and in employment subject thereto.
"Fringe benefits'', include, but are not limited to, health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation and holidays, sick leave, and similar advantages which are incidents of employment.
"Normal weekly hours of work'', the normal number of hours of work each week for an employee in an affected unit when that unit is operating on a full-time basis, not to exceed forty hours and not including overtime.
"Unemployment benefits'' or "regular benefits'', benefits payable under this chapter other than worksharing benefits, reemployment assistance benefits or health insurance benefits.
"Worksharing benefits'', the benefits payable to employees in an affected unit under an approved worksharing plan.
"Worksharing employer'', an employer with an approved worksharing plan in effect.
(b) An employer wishing to participate in a worksharing program shall submit a written and signed worksharing plan to the commissioner for approval. The commissioner may approve a worksharing plan if the following criteria, and any other factors the commissioner deems relevant, are met:
(1) The plan identifies the affected unit or units to which it applies.
(2) The employees in the affected unit are identified by name, social security number, the normal weekly hours of work, proposed wage and hour reduction and any other information the commissioner deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.
(3) The normal weekly hours of work by employees in the affected unit are reduced by not less than ten per cent and not more than sixty per cent and the reduction in hours in each affected unit is spread equally among employees in the affected unit.
(4) The plan provides that health benefits, as defined in section 3(35) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, will continue to be provided to the employees in the affected units as though their normal weekly hours of work had not been reduced, provided that retirement benefits under a benefit pension plan, as defined in said section 3(35), will continue to be provided to the employees in the affected units on a pro-rated basis, and specifies the effect, if any, the reduction in the normal weekly hours of work will have on other fringe benefits provided by the employer.
(5) The plan certifies that the reduction in the normal weekly hours of work is in lieu of layoffs and states the reason for and expected duration of the work reduction. The plan shall not serve as a subsidy of seasonal employment during the off season, nor as a subsidy of temporary part time or intermittent employment.
(6) The written approval by the collective bargaining agent for each collective bargaining agreement for each affected unit is included in the plan.
(7) The plan specifies a beginning and ending date which shall be not more than twenty-six weeks from the beginning date.
(8) The plan contains an agreement by the employer to furnish all reports and information necessary for the administration of the plan and to permit access by the commissioner to all records necessary to verify and evaluate the plan.
(9) An employee's participation in the plan shall not be precluded or limited by any particular definition of attachment to the employer, such as, length of employment.
(10) The plan applies to only full-time or permanent part-time employees. Seasonal employees may not participate in a worksharing plan.
(11) The plan certifies that the employer has paid all contributions, payments in lieu of contributions, interest or penalty charges due under this chapter.
(12) The plan meets all other criteria prescribed by the commissioner.
(c) The commissioner shall approve or reject a worksharing plan in writing within fifteen working days after its receipt. The commissioner's rejection of the worksharing plan shall be final and shall not be appealable, but rejection shall not prevent an employer from submitting another plan for approval.
(d) An approved worksharing plan may be modified only with the approval of the commissioner. The worksharing employer shall notify the commissioner of any changes in the conditions of an approved plan within two working days. If the proposed changes meet the requirements for approval of a plan, the commissioner may approve the modifications. If the modifications do not meet the requirements for approval, the commissioner shall revoke the plan.
(e) The commissioner may revoke approval of a worksharing plan for good cause. The revocation order shall be in writing and shall specify the date the revocation is effective and the reasons for the revocation. Good cause for revocation shall include, but is not limited to, failure to comply with the assurances given in the plan, unreasonable revision of the productivity standards for the affected unit, conduct or occurrences tending to defeat the intent and effective operation of the plan, and violation of the criteria on which approval of the plan was based. Such action may be initiated at any time by the commissioner on his own motion, or at the request of any of the affected unit's employees, or at the request of the appropriate collective bargaining agent. The revocation order shall be final and not appealable.
(f) At the end of the worksharing period provided in paragraph (7) of subsection (b), the worksharing employer may submit a new worksharing plan to the commissioner for approval.
(g) The provisions of section forty-seven shall apply to any information submitted in connection with an application for approval or modification of a worksharing plan, the implementation of an approved worksharing plan, or the payment of worksharing benefits. An employer shall also be liable for the repayment to the commissioner of any worksharing benefits improperly paid by the commissioner as a result of information the employer submitted to the commissioner in connection with the approval, modification or implementation of a worksharing plan which is substantially misleading or contains a material misrepresentation of fact. In addition thereto, a claimant shall be liable for the repayment to the commissioner of any worksharing benefits which were improperly paid due to the fault of the claimant. The commissioner may utilize any remedies provided by this chapter to recover worksharing benefits.
(h)(1) An individual shall be eligible to receive worksharing benefits, subsequent to serving a waiting period as prescribed by the commissioner, with respect to any week only if, in addition to meeting the other conditions of eligibility for regular benefits under this chapter which are not inconsistent with this section, the commissioner finds that (i) the individual is employed as a member of an affected unit under an approved worksharing plan in effect, and (ii) the individual is able to work and is available for the normal weekly hours of work with the worksharing employer. An otherwise eligible affected individual shall not be denied worksharing benefits for any week by reason of the application of provisions relating to availability for work, active search for work or applying for or accepting suitable work with other than the worksharing employer.
(2) An individual shall be deemed to be unemployed in any week for which remuneration is payable to him as an employee in an affected unit for less than the employee's normal weekly hours of work as specified under the approved worksharing plan in effect for that week.
(3) An individual who is not eligible to receive unemployment benefits by reason of the application of paragraph (6) of subsection (d) of section twenty-nine shall not be eligible to receive worksharing benefits.
(i) The weekly worksharing benefit amount payable to an affected individual shall be the product of the regular weekly benefit amount, as defined in section twenty-nine, plus the allowance set forth in subsection (c) of section twenty-nine, multiplied by the percentage reduction in the individual's normal weekly hours of work, rounded to the next lower full dollar amount. The weekly worksharing benefit amount shall not be reduced by reason of application of the provisions of subsection (b) of section twenty-nine to remuneration received from the worksharing employer.
If in any week an individual performs services for a worksharing employer and an employer other than the worksharing employer, the weekly worksharing benefit amount shall be reduced by the amount by which the aggregate remuneration received from the non-worksharing employer exceeds thirty per cent of the maximum benefit rate in effect.
(j) The total worksharing benefit amount payable to an affected individual during any benefit year shall not exceed the amount of total benefits calculated under subsection (a) of section thirty minus the amount of regular benefits payable to said individual under this chapter.
(k) An individual who has received all the worksharing benefits or the combined regular benefits and worksharing benefits available in a benefit year shall be considered an exhaustee for purposes of extended benefits, as provided under the provisions of section thirty A, and, if otherwise eligible under those provisions, shall be eligible to receive extended benefits.
(l) An individual who performs no services during a week for the worksharing employer and is otherwise eligible shall be paid benefits in accordance with the other provisions of this chapter.
(m) Claims for worksharing benefits shall be filed in the same manner as claims for other benefits under this chapter or as otherwise prescribed by the commissioner.
(n) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter relating to charges, all worksharing benefits shall be charged to the account of the worksharing employer. Benefits paid under this section shall be charged to the employer's account in the same manner as regular benefits are charged, except that, if the employer's account reserve percentage is negative as of the most recent computation date, the employer shall be charged and billed in accordance with the provisions of section fourteen A as if the employer had elected to make payments in lieu of contributions. Benefits paid under this section to employees of employers who have elected to make payments in lieu of contributions shall be charged in accordance with section fourteen A.
(o) Except where inconsistent with the provisions of this section, the provisions of this chapter, including the rules and regulations adopted under this chapter, shall apply to benefits under this section.
Chapter 151A: Section 29D. Worksharing program; application and approval of worksharing plan; benefits
[ Text of section as amended by 2014, 144, Sec. 66 effective March 24, 2015. See 2014, 144, Sec. 81. For text effective until March 24, 2015, see above.]
Section 29D. (a) As used in this section the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:--
"Affected unit'', a specified plant, department, shift or other definable unit that includes 2 or more workers to which an approved worksharing plan applies.
"Director'', the director of the department or the director's authorized representative.
"Health and retirement benefits'', health benefits, and retirement benefits provided by an employer under a defined benefit pension plan as defined in 26 U.S.C. section 414(j), or contributions under a defined contribution plan as defined in section 26 U.S.C. 414(i), which are incidents of employment in addition to the cash remuneration earned.
"Unemployment compensation'', the unemployment benefits payable under this chapter other than worksharing benefits, including any amounts payable pursuant to an agreement under any Federal law providing for compensation, assistance or allowances with respect to unemployment.
"Usual weekly hours of work'', the usual hours of work for full-time or regular part-time employees in the affected unit when that unit is operating on its regular basis, not to exceed 40 hours and not including hours of overtime work.
"Worksharing benefits'', the unemployment benefits payable to employees in an affected unit under an approved worksharing plan, as distinguished from the unemployment benefits otherwise payable under the unemployment compensation provisions of this chapter.
"Worksharing plan'', a plan submitted by an employer, for approval by the director, under which the employer requests the payment of worksharing benefits to workers in an affected unit of the employer to avert layoffs.
(b) An employer wishing to participate in a worksharing program shall submit a signed written worksharing plan and application form to the director for approval; provided, however, that an employer having an account reserve percentage that is negative as of the most recent computation date shall not be eligible to participate. The director shall develop an application form to request approval of a worksharing plan and an approval process. Any application, whether for initial approval, approval following 1 or more disapprovals, for modification or for participation in another worksharing plan after the expiration or termination of an approved plan, shall include: (1) The affected unit or units covered by the plan, including the number of full-time or part-time workers in such unit, the percentage of workers in the affected unit covered by the plan, identification of each individual employee in the affected unit by name, social security number and the employer's unemployment tax account number and any other information required by the director to identify plan participants.
(2) A description of how workers in the affected unit will be notified of the employer's participation in the worksharing program if such application is approved, including how the employer will notify those workers in a collective bargaining unit, as well as any workers in the affected unit who are not in a collective bargaining unit. If the employer will not provide advance notice to workers in the affected unit, the employer shall explain in a statement in the application why it is not feasible to provide such notice.
(3) A requirement that the employer identify the usual weekly hours of work for employees in the affected unit and the specific percentage by which their hours will be reduced during all weeks covered by the plan. An application shall specify the percentage of reduction for which a worksharing application may be approved which shall be not less than 10 per cent and not more than 60 per cent. If the plan includes any week for which the employer regularly provides no work due to a holiday or other plant closing, then such week shall be identified in the application.
(4) Certification by the employer that, if the employer provides health and retirement benefits to any employee whose usual weekly hours of work are reduced under the program, such benefits will continue to be provided to employees participating in the worksharing program under the same terms and conditions as though the usual weekly hours of work of such employee had not been reduced or to the same extent as other employees not participating in the worksharing program.
For defined benefit retirement plans, the hours that are reduced under the worksharing plan shall be credited for purposes of participation, vesting and accrual of benefits as though the usual weekly hours of work had not been reduced. The dollar amount of employer contributions to a defined contribution plan that are based on a percentage of compensation may be less due to the reduction in the employee's compensation.
Notwithstanding the above, an application may contain the required certification when a reduction in health and retirement benefits scheduled to occur during the duration of the plan will be applicable equally to employees who are not participating in the worksharing program and to those employees who are participating.
(5) Certification by the employer that the aggregate reduction in work hours is in lieu of temporary or permanent layoffs, or both. The application shall include an estimate of the number of workers who would have been laid off in the absence of the worksharing plan. The plan shall not serve as a subsidy of seasonal employment during the off season, nor as a subsidy of temporary part-time or intermittent employment.
(6) Agreement by the employer to: (i) furnish reports to the director relating to the proper conduct of the plan; (ii) allow the director or the director's authorized representatives access to all records necessary to approve or disapprove the plan application, and after approval of a plan, to monitor and evaluate the plan; and (iii) follow any other directives the director deems necessary for the agency to implement the plan and that are consistent with the requirements for plan applications.
(7) Certification by the employer that participation in the worksharing plan and its implementation are consistent with the employer's obligations under applicable federal and state laws.
(8) The effective date and duration of the plan, which shall expire not later than the end of the twelfth full calendar month after the effective date.
(9) The written approval by the collective bargaining agent for each collective bargaining agreement for each affected unit included in the plan.
(10) Any other provision added to the application by the director that the United States Secretary of Labor determines to be appropriate for purposes of a worksharing program.
(c) The director shall approve or disapprove a worksharing plan in writing within 15 days of its receipt and promptly communicate the decision to the employer. The disapproval shall be final, but the employer may submit another worksharing plan for approval not earlier than 7 days from the date of the disapproval.
(d) A worksharing plan shall be effective on the date that is mutually agreed upon by the employer and the director, which shall be specified in the notice of approval to the employer. The plan shall expire on the date specified in the notice of approval, which shall be either the date at the end of the twelfth full calendar month after its effective date or an earlier date mutually agreed upon by the employer and the director; provided, however, that if a worksharing plan is revoked by the director pursuant to subsection (e), the plan shall terminate on the date specified in the director's written order of revocation. An employer may terminate a worksharing plan at any time upon written notice to the director. Upon receipt of such notice from the employer, the director shall promptly notify each employee of the affected unit of the termination date. An employer may submit a new application to participate in another worksharing plan at any time after the expiration or termination date.
(e) The director may revoke approval of a worksharing plan for good cause at any time, including upon the request of any of the affected unit's employees. The revocation order shall be in writing and shall specify the reasons for the revocation and the date the revocation is effective.
The director may periodically review the operation of each employer's worksharing plan to assure that no good cause exists for revocation of the approval of the plan. Good cause shall include, but not be limited to, failure to comply with the assurances given in the plan, unreasonable revision of productivity standards for the affected unit, conduct or occurrences tending to defeat the intent and effective operation of the worksharing plan and violation of any criteria on which approval of the plan was based.
(f) An employer may request a modification of an approved plan by filing a written request with the director. The request shall identify the specific provisions proposed to be modified and provide an explanation of why the proposed modification is appropriate for the worksharing plan. The director shall approve or disapprove the proposed modification in writing within 15 days of receipt and promptly communicate the decision to the employer.
The director may approve a request for modification of the plan based on conditions that have changed since the plan was approved; provided that the modification is consistent with and supports the purposes for which the plan was initially approved. A modification shall not extend the expiration date of the original plan, and the director shall promptly notify the employer whether the plan modification has been approved and, if approved, the effective date of the modification.
No employer shall be required to request approval of a plan modification from the director if the change is not substantial, but the employer shall report every change to the plan to the director promptly and in writing. The director may terminate an employer's plan if the employer fails to meet this reporting requirement. If the director determines that the reported change is substantial, the director shall require the employer to request a modification to the plan.
(g) An individual may receive worksharing benefits for any week provided, that the individual is monetarily eligible for unemployment compensation, not otherwise disqualified for unemployment compensation and:
(1) During the week, the individual is employed as a member of an affected unit under an approved worksharing plan, which was approved prior to that week and the plan is in effect during the week for which worksharing benefits are claimed.
(2) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter related to availability for work and actively seeking work, the individual is available for the individual's usual hours of work with the worksharing employer, which may include, for purposes of this section, participating in training to enhance job skills that is approved by the director such as employer-sponsored training or training funded under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Public Law 105-220.
(3) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, an individual covered by a worksharing plan shall be considered unemployed in any week during the duration of such plan if the individual's remuneration as an employee in an affected unit is reduced based on a reduction of the individual's usual weekly hours of work under an approved worksharing plan.
(h)(1) The worksharing weekly benefit amount shall be the product of the regular weekly unemployment compensation amount for a week of total unemployment multiplied by the percentage of reduction in the individual's usual weekly hours of work.
(2) An individual may be eligible for worksharing benefits or unemployment compensation, as appropriate, except that no individual shall be eligible for combined benefits in any benefit year in an amount more than the maximum entitlement established for regular unemployment compensation, nor shall an individual be paid worksharing benefits for more than 52 weeks under a worksharing plan.
(3) The worksharing benefits paid to an individual shall be deducted from the maximum entitlement amount of regular unemployment compensation established for that individual's benefit year.
(4) Provisions applicable to unemployment compensation claimants shall apply to worksharing claimants to the extent that they are not inconsistent with worksharing provisions. An individual who files an initial claim for worksharing benefits shall receive a monetary determination.
(5) This paragraph shall apply to individuals who work for both a worksharing employer and another employer during weeks covered by the approved worksharing plan:
(i) If the combined hours of work in a week for both employers does not result in a reduction of at least 10 per cent or, if higher, the minimum percentage of reduction required to be eligible for a worksharing benefit as provided in this section, of the usual weekly hours of work with the worksharing employer, the individual shall not be entitled to benefits under this section.
(ii) If the combined hours of work for both employers results in a reduction equal to or greater than 10 per cent; or, if higher, the minimum percentage reduction required to be eligible for a worksharing benefit as provided in state law, of the usual weekly hours of work for the worksharing employer, the worksharing benefit amount payable to the individual shall be reduced for that week and shall be determined by multiplying the weekly unemployment benefit amount for a week of total unemployment by the percentage by which the combined hours of work have been reduced by 10 per cent or, if higher, the minimum percentage reduction required to be eligible for a worksharing benefit as provided in this section, or more of the individual's usual weekly hours of work. A week for which benefits are paid under this clause shall be reported as a week of worksharing.
(iii) If an individual worked the reduced percentage of the usual weekly hours of work for the worksharing employer and is available for all of the individual's usual hours of work with the worksharing employer, and the individual did not work any hours for the other employer, either because of the lack of work with that employer or because the individual is excused from work with the other employer, the individual shall be eligible for worksharing benefits for that week. The benefit amount for such week shall be calculated as provided in subsection (i).
(6) An individual who is not provided any work during a week by the worksharing employer, or any other employer, and who is otherwise eligible for unemployment compensation shall be eligible for the amount of regular unemployment compensation to which the individual would otherwise be eligible.
(7) An individual who is not provided any work by the worksharing employer during a week, but who works for another employer and is otherwise eligible may be paid unemployment compensation for that week subject to the disqualifying income and other provisions applicable to claims for regular compensation.
(i) Worksharing benefits shall be charged to employers' experience rating accounts in the same manner as unemployment compensation is charged pursuant to this chapter. Employers liable for payments in lieu of contributions shall have worksharing benefits attributed to service in their employ in the same manner as unemployment compensation is attributed.
(j) An individual who has received all of the worksharing benefits or combined unemployment compensation and worksharing benefits available in a benefit year shall be considered an exhaustee for purposes of extended benefits, as provided in section 30A, and if otherwise eligible pursuant to those provisions, shall be eligible to receive extended benefits.
(k) The director may utilize any remedies provided by this chapter to recover worksharing benefits that were improperly paid as a result of information that was substantially misleading or that contained a material misrepresentation of fact and was submitted to the director in connection with the approval, modification or implementation of a worksharing plan.
- We can learn a lot about public policy from the Nordic nations, by Prof. Andrew Scott of Deakin U. Poltx&Polcy, 9/06 Academic Rigour with Journalistic Flair via TheConversation.com
Nordic nations enjoy regulated working hours, substantial welfare provision and strong economies. (photo caption)
BURWOOD, Vic., Australia - t the end of this month Australia’s Productivity Commission will issue the final report of its inquiry into Early Childhood Education and Care.
The inquiry was limited from the outset by the requirement that changes must be within existing funding parameters. Although asked to review alternative approaches that are used overseas, it was directed towards New Zealand’s precedent of subsidising at-home carers or nannies. The inquiry failed to consider the far more successful and comprehensive policy approach taken by Sweden and other Nordic nations.
The OECD has identified Australia as one of a small number of countries in which long working hours are common. In comparison, parents in Sweden and the other main Nordic countries have working weeks shorter than the OECD average. This is in addition to their substantial paid parental leave and publicly provided child care.
Shorter working hours allow parents from Sweden to pick up their children after work without the time pressures Australian parents face.
Australia will probably move to make child-care centre hours more flexible to suit our long working hours. However, the government should encourage shorter working hours, which are more compatible with family life.
Crumbling boundaries between work and home in Australia are leading to considerable and increasing unpaid work and causing social harm. More than three million workers in Australia are now losing sleep because of work stress.
According to the Australia Institute,
"The current labour environment is contributing to high levels of stress and anxiety; sleep loss and depression for many Australians. This has adverse effects on their health, family life and relationships."
This is also an impediment to greater economic productivity.
Policies for the people
Sweden acts as a good point of comparison for Australia – and not just in terms of child care. Its social policies have proved to be very successful in terms of economic outcomes and at the polls.
The Social Democratic Party and allied parties were returned to office in the Swedish election on September 18 this year. No party other than the Social Democrats has governed for more than two consecutive terms in Sweden since 1932.
Led by Stefan Loefven in Sweden’s September 18 elections, the Social Democrats are the world’s most electorally successful party.
If, as is likely, the new government goes on to serve its full four-year term, by 2018 the Social Democrats will have led the government for 69 of the 86 years since 1932 – or more than 80% of that time.
This unparalleled electoral and policy success over a very long period makes the Swedish Social Democrats the most successful political party in the world. Much of this can be attributed to the party’s policies of regulated working hours and substantial welfare provision.
Even when the Social Democratic Party did suffer serious setbacks to its primary vote in recent years (it was out of office for two terms from 2006 to 2014), its opponents had to concede much policy ground to beat the party and its allies.
Voters did not reject the fundamentals of the welfare state. Nor did the Swedish people vote in favour of more economic inequality on the scale that it exists in the English-speaking world.
The Feminist Initiative party is one of several left-of-centre parties whose vote increased in the 2014 election. The new party fell short of parliamentary representation this time, but is likely to continue to grow. It will contribute to a more varied left-of-centre electoral coalition, which can be expected to further strengthen Sweden’s accomplishments in gender equality.
Other similar political parties within the Nordic nations have been repeatedly popular in the polls. This includes the Danish Social Democrats and Norwegian Labour Party.
In Finland, the Social Democratic Party has not been as electorally dominant but has also had considerable influence, particularly in education policy.
These Nordic social democratic parties have managed to avoid thoroughly following neoliberal economic policies, unlike many English-speaking countries, yet have run some of the most successful of the developed economies. They are proof of how left-of-centre parties can, with clear objectives, set the policy agenda in developed nations. Studying their lasting policy achievements is therefore of immense value for social democrats across the world and for the Labor Party in Australia.
The Nordic success story
Sweden and the other main Nordic nations continue to provide living proof that economic prosperity can be combined with social equality and environmental responsibility.
In terms of income distribution these countries have much more equality than Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Canada – and nearly twice as much as the United States.
Workforce participation rates are high in the Nordic nations but working hours remain within reasonable limits, enabling genuine work-life balance.
Sweden has played a leading role in lowering poverty and improving well-being among children, including through the provision of extensive paid parental leave.
Finland has achieved stunning success in schools since the 1990s.
Denmark, like Sweden, invests in comprehensive skills training as part of providing security and flexibility in employment. This includes quality skills retraining programs of the kind which Australia’s car industry workers will need. Investment in these programs has kept unemployment in Denmark lower than Australia in all but one of the years between the early 1990s recession and the 2008 global financial crisis.
Meanwhile, Norway’s approach to taxation has ensured that natural resources are used sustainably for the nation’s long-term wealth.
All these achievements support the argument that Australia should look to the approach adopted by these Nordic countries when developing our own policies.
Andrew Scott is the author of the book "Northern Lights: The Positive Policy Example of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway," to be published in November.
- Career Tips from the French, by Aimee Dyamond, 9/05 TheMangeTout.com
CAPETOWN, Republiek of South Afrika(?) - I came across this article recently, which offers an entertaining, albeit stereotype-prone view on the endearing traits of the French woman’s psyche. As I perused it with amused consensus, I realised something sweet: when it comes to your career, the French quintessence (or ‘Je ne sais quoi‘ [= 'I don't know what'] ) may prove to a shining source of inspiration.
Here’s how you can weave the best of the French into your career, no matter what you do and how long you’ve been doing it.
The Gallic Shrug
Ah, the mystique of the Gallic Shrug. Europeans are a demonstrative bunch, and the French are no exception. While they may not be as prolific as the Italians in their use of hands (and feet) when expressing themselves, the French have their own tone of body language. In various contexts, the Gallic Shrug may carry different meanings. Try using it on Monday morning when there’s a crisis and people are expecting you to clean up their mess. Simply cock your head to one, maneuver your lips into something of a pout (but not quite so luscious), raise your eyebrows and throw your hands up into the air. You may wiggle your fingers a bit, too, for a theatrical effect. This is the French way of saying ‘You got yourself into this mess, and I ain’t fixing it for you’, or simply dramatising the mantra ‘C’est la vie’.
The French champion the art of being polite. Children are taught from a young age to exchange kisses and handshakes (gender-dependent) without a hint of hesitation or embarrassment. Walk into any supermarket or boutique in France and you’ll be greeted with a simple ‘Bonjour, Mademoiselle’, no matter if you can afford a Givenchy purse or not. It’s a sign of nationwide good breeding. I like it.
Politeness is a simple art to master, and while it seems like a no-brainer, it is something at which so many of us humans fail spectacularly. Remember, etiquette is a French word, and it contributes to career success. Practising good manners at work is vital to making a good first impression and maintaining healthy relationships in the long-term, both with the people you work with, and the people who pay you for what you do.
It’s no coincidence that the linguistic root of the English word ‘frank’ is the Latin ‘francus’, which means ‘free’. Enter the French word ‘franche‘, and it’s not too far off to conclude that the entire national identity of La France appears to be grounded in the freedom (and, by association, the frankness) of its people.’ Basically, to be free and honest and frank is to be French, both etymologically and culturally. Or at least, that’s what the author of this article suggests. Take a few pointers from the French. Be forthcoming at work and in your career as a whole. Stand up for what you believe in, elegantly; but, don’t confuse assertiveness with rudeness.
As I mentioned earlier, politeness is the lifeblood of daily life in France, and this golden rule most definitely applies in the workplace. The ability to communicate honestly and constructively will put you miles ahead of the pettiness that so often inhibits creativity and efficiency in modern companies. A confident, yet inherently humble demeanour puts others at ease. You’ll be respected for your balanced and constructive outlook – after all, diplomacy is something the French do particularly well, given their colourful socio-political history. At work, you can become a diplomat in your own right, and you’ll become well-respected for your conflict-resolution skills.
Finding a Balance
“France is the only country in the world where you can find a tennis partner on a Friday afternoon,” wrote francophile and essayist Ted Stanger, author of Sacrés Français!
The French work less, technically, than the rest of Europe, but enjoy one of the highest hourly productivity rates in the world. The 35-hour-work-week, the envy of the rest of the post-industrial world, may be a highly-debated topic, but it is a measure that demonstrates a fundamental governmental interest in French citizens’ well-being and helps them in the pursuit of a better quality of life. How socialist of them, right?
[Not really. Socialism is Many Controls. Capitalism is No Controls (unless they're in MY interest - shhh!). And France has made step 1 toward...Temporalism(?), or Worktime Economics, or Timesizing, which is One Control, so well-designed and centrally positioned that you can safely dismantle all other controls. And since most modern governments are 70-80% bureaucratic controls to offset and hide technological disemployment (think unemployment insurance, welfare, disability, homelessness, prison, prolonged credentialling, fallback military jobs, industrial policy, bridges to nowhere...). One Control that provided full employment could supercede nearly all other governmental controls, regulations, bureaucracies. It is the Holy Grail of economic designers, the inconspicuous, incognito, unrecognized knights of the equally inconspic-incog-unrecogged all-points top-priority problem of the Robotics Age = the Single All-Sufficient Control (SASC - watch for it!). Our best candidate? Conversion of chronic overtime and overwork into training and hiring, and adjust of the workweek downward as much as it takes (to create enough convertible OT and OW) to restore full employment and homeostatically up-or-down-ward to maintain full employment ever after.]
Perhaps, but the fact remains: France boasts a high quality of life by international standards. It seems the French know a thing or two about work-play balance.
The Sacredness of Lunch Hour
In keeping with the genteel honesty of the French, this unfortunate soul dared respond to an advertisement selling the services of an art restorer. He was answered with a polite but hilariously frank response: “Sir, I am now having tea with a girlfriend and you are bothering me.” The French are said to take long, lazy lunches, and be proud of it. This is perhaps an exaggeration on the part of the rest of Continent, but the truth remains in France, lunch time is sacred, and nothing – especially not business – should come between the luncheoner, his newspaper and his plat du jour. The same goes for annual leave. When you’re on holiday, you’re bloody well on holiday. That means no emails.
‘Impossible n’est pas français.’
There’s a proverb in French. Directly translated, it reads “Impossible isn’t French.” The French don’t believe in ‘can’t. If they did, they wouldn’t have made the world’s first science fiction film with time-lapse technology, or discovered radium, or the invented the guillotine (never mind capital punishment, what would office logistics be like without it?). The French are thinkers and doers. Put this into practice for your next big meeting.
10/04/2014 – 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 email@example.com unless otherwise initialed ) -
- 71% of survey respondents favor 4-day work week, letter to editor by Chairman Francisco T. Duque III of the Civil Service Commission, Philippine Daily Inquirer via inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines - This letter pertains to Neal Cruz’s Oct. 1 column titled “Ejercito: Will the 4-day work week work?” With due respect, allow us to clarify some matters on the proposed work scheme.
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) promulgated CSC Resolution No. 1401286 dated Sept. 8, 2014, re: Adoption of the Four-Day Workweek Scheme in Government Agencies in Metro Manila. The scheme is an alternative arrangement whereby the normal work week is reduced to four days but the number of work hours per day is increased from eight hours to 10 hours, still totaling to 40 hours per week.
The four-day work scheme is not mandatory but voluntary. Agency heads are granted the blanket authority to opt to implement the alternative work scheme, given that the agencies meet the pre-requirements of the policy.
Also, the work scheme is aimed at addressing concerns of employees who are experiencing the effects of the heavy traffic caused by the Skyway Project. It is the CSC’s mandate to ensure employee welfare. Easing heavy traffic in Metro Manila, on the other hand, is not a function of the CSC.
The CSC conducted a survey from February to May this year to find out the preferred alternative work arrangement of employees in light of the traffic situation [the "traffic tsunami"] in Metro Manila. The survey results showed that 71 percent of the 1,644 respondents from more than 62 agencies in the National Capital Region and Region 4 preferred the four-day work week.
We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to any problem. The policy is intended to provide an alternative work scheme for government agencies, yet still ensuring that the government provides uninterrupted service in light of technological and infrastructure disruptions.
We hope this clarifies the matter.
[Another "take" -]
How 4-day work week helps workers escape traffic 'tsunami', by David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines - Government employees whose agencies implement the 4-day work week can escape the traffic "tsunami" in Metro Manila by going home later than employees in the private sector, the head of the Civil Service Commission said Saturday.
Speaking to ABS-CBNnews.com, CSC Chairman Francisco Duque said state workers who go home at 7 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. will have greater chances of escaping the worsening traffic in Metro Manila.
"The 4-day work week addresses the stress experienced by our government workers. Imbes na 5 p.m. when you join the rush hour tsunami, you leave at 7 p.m. when the first wave of traffic is already gone. That means shorter travel time going home," he said.
Duque also pointed out that three-day weekends for government workers will lead to happier employees.
The CSC Chairman said the four-day work week proposal is not just meant to ease the traffic situation in Metro Manila.
He said he does not know how many government agencies in Metro Manila will adopt the shorter work week and whether or not it will affect the traffic situation.
Under the new scheme, government offices in Metro Manila can implement a Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday work schedule, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with an hour off for lunch break.
Agencies that offer critical services to maintain public order and health, like the Philippine National Police, Department of Health and Bureau of Fire Prevention, will be exempted from the new scheme.
A CSC survey earlier showed that 71 percent of 1,644 respondents from more than 62 agencies in the National Capital Region and Region 4 preferred the four-day work week.
The survey respondents chose the four-day work scheme over other options such as adjustment of office hours (Monday to Friday, from 10am to 7pm - 9%), Flexi-Place/Telecommuting for Eligible Employees (8%), and Provision of Shuttle Service to Employees (12%).
Duque said none of the 62 agencies that participated in the survey have implemented the shorter work week because of the requirements. These include: a functional call center, a one-stop ship, a working website that allows access to front line services; and baseline data on the performance of employees.
He also defended the proposal from critics who say the shorter work week will lead to poor quality of service.
He said the agencies are required to evaluate and assess the effectiveness of the four-day work scheme, and to monitor whether the program helps employees in increasing productivity.
- Is an 80-hour workweek too short to learn brain surgery? by Dan Browning, Minneapolis Star Tribune via startribune.com
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., USA - High stakes, coffee-fueled, emotionally draining, painstakingly precise, highly stressful, and largely sleepless: this is the life of a neurosurgeon in training. Rules to avoid fatigue-driven errors mean that neurosurgery residents, who used to work 120 hours a week, now are limited to an 80-hour workweek. Now, a U study ["U"??] finds that shorter hours for residents don’t mean better outcomes for patients. Now a U study finds that rules limiting residents to 80-hour workweeks yields no benefit for neurosurgery patients, and may leave surgeons underprepared.
[The supermen/stupormen of the American medical establishment will do anything to bottleneck access to their skills and hype their pay, including claiming invulnerability to sleeplessness. Personally, I don't care what their "U study finds." I don't want a surgeon anywhere close to even the 41st hour of his or her workweek anywhere near any part of my body, however dangerously deluded s/he is about her super status or how clever about setting up "studies" to contradict common sense. The American medical establishment has gotta be the sickest in the world.]
Dr. Dino Terzic got lucky the other day. In his seventh and final year as a neurosurgery resident at the University of Minnesota, the 32-year-old Bosnian got to operate on a rare type of brain aneurysm that required a special approach through the patient’s forehead.
As Terzic prepared to slice into the patient’s scalp, he was asked if he’d ever seen this type of flaw in an artery, which occurs in just 2 to 3 percent of aneurysm cases.
“On a video,” Terzic replied with a chuckle.
Terzic’s hands-on experience shows why the nation’s medical schools are beset by a nagging controversy over rules that limit the number of hours residents can work. The rules were adopted a decade ago to avoid the sort of fatigue and medication errors that contributed to the death of 18-year-old Libby Zion in New York in 1984. But now, some medical educators say the rules may be undercutting the training of some U.S. doctors by reducing the number of procedures they perform.
“While we’re in residency our goal is to do as many cases as possible,” Terzic said.
“It has been a very controversial thing from the beginning, particularly among surgical specialties, because it was unclear to us what the impact would be,” said Dr. Stephen J. Haines, director of the U’s neurosurgery department. “Would it really have a benefit to training? Or would the … decrease in experience of the residents overcome any value of just having a less intense time and sleeping more?”
Haines directed a study, published in August in the Journal of Neurosurgery, which found that regulations barring residents from working more than 80 hours a week made no measurable improvement in major outcomes. He and his colleagues focused on neurosurgery residents because they had among the longest hours before the rules took effect — often more than 120 hours a week — and because they routinely deal with high-risk procedures in which a mistake may kill the patient or cause lasting damage.
“Interestingly, the [duty hour] regulations appear to be associated with an increase in the frequency of postoperative complications and discharge to long-term care facilities,” the study says. It’s unclear why.
Even so, the accreditation council that oversees physician training in the United States has considered reducing resident duty hours even more, prompting pushback from training departments.
An analysis of 135 studies published in June in the Annals of Surgery concluded that “one-size-fits-all” duty hour restrictions may not fit all specialties. While the restrictions have improved the lives of surgery residents, the authors wrote, their scores on board exams have declined. Worse, the analysts found that limits on duty hours appear to be harming more seriously ill patients, possibly by increasing the number of “handoffs” that take place.
“As soon as you start introducing more people into your care team … you’re not only handing off the patient to someone else to care for, you’re handing off the responsibility,” said Dr. Andrew Grande, a vascular neurosurgeon and assistant professor at the U. “So that drive to really dig down deep and go that extra mile for that patient — I don’t think it’s the same.’’
The U, like nearly all neurosurgery training programs, accepts just two new interns a year for its grueling, seven-year program.
“They are the hardest-working people in the hospital,” said Dr. Matthew Hunt, director of the U’s neurosurgery residency program.
Rounds usually begin around 5:30 a.m., after a thorough review of what the interns call “The List.” It’s a digest of the demographics, conditions, medications, lab results, images and strategies for individual patients.
Second-year residents Coridon Quinn, 36, and David Darrow, 28, spend much of their time updating The List. One recent morning, it covered 20 patients, though Quinn said he’s seen as many as 40. It must remain perfectly accurate as the other physicians — and their patients’ lives — depend on it.
At the U, first-year residents, known as interns, spend five months on neurosurgery, seven months on neurology, general surgery, trauma and ICU training. They spend much of their time in the clinic, learning to make diagnoses and to interact with patients and their loved ones facing dire health problems.
Interns can work no more than 16 hours straight, while other residents must stop at 24. Those restrictions can be tricky in a field in which some operations last 20 hours or more.
The second year of training is particularly difficult: Residents alternate, one month at a time, working the 12-hour overnight shift alone. Although the shift technically starts at 7 p.m., they often start an hour early, sign out at 8 a.m., and continue working a while longer. They visit patients and field often urgent questions from nurses and physicians. When in doubt, they phone the chief resident for advice.
“The first several months we bug the heck out of him,” Quinn said.
The residents also conduct research, prepare and attend presentations on current cases, and attend mandatory weekly, three-hour classes on topics such as neuropathology and neuroradiology.
Darrow said nothing can prepare new residents for the heavy responsibilities and long hours.
“Not even close,” he said between gulps of coffee. “You’re just running all the time.”
Nationally, 10 to 20 percent of neurosurgery residents quit in their first two years.
“You can’t really tell if this is your thing until you’re into it,” Terzic said.
Neurosurgery residents ride an emotional roller coaster. One recent patient, a student close to finishing his degree at the U, had hit his head in a fall and came in with a few spots of blood in his brain. The residents were initially optimistic, but the bleeding and swelling increased rapidly.
“The surgery we do for this is to remove the entire top part of the skull for six months,” Darrow said. He said the patient faces a year or more of rehabilitation and may never work in his field of study.
Darrow said although neurologists can keep patients alive despite severe brain damage, “at the end of the day if it doesn’t make a difference, you’re just prolonging the pain. Then you have to have the discussion with the family — and that’s hard.”
Dr. Ciro Vasquez, a sixth-year senior resident, spent more than an hour on a recent day adjusting a surgical table and myriad instruments he would use to remove a “vascular abnormality” from the side of a patient’s brain.
“Sixty percent of brain surgery happens before the operation,” Vasquez said.
Dr. Cornelius Lam, a neurosurgery professor, supervised the operation and quietly suggested how to cut through the muscle over the bone in one pass to minimize damage.
“Beautiful,” Lam said as Ciro worked. “We’ve got a pretty good resident here.”
Once you open the brain, Lam explained, it’s easy to get lost. So neurosurgeons rely heavily on live imaging technology to establish landmarks that guide their work. Vasquez and Lam sat side by side, peering into the patient’s brain with a dual microscope. Vasquez used tiny, electrified tongs to simultaneously cut and cauterize tissue until he found the damaged clump of blood vessels causing the patient’s seizures.
“Buzz, buzz, buzz, go all the way round it,” Lam said. “Cut the brain,” he said. “Keep going. You’re on it!”
In an adjoining operating room, Terzic finished removing a group of blood tumors known as lymphoma from a woman’s spine, then took a quick lunch break before launching into a “straightforward case” — the removal of a tumor causing another patient’s splitting headaches.
Terzic peeled back the patient’s scalp, then carefully cut a window in the frontal bones revealing an egg-sized mass the color of grape jelly. A couple of days later, Terzic was back in the operating room with surgeon Grande to work on a woman with trigeminal neuralgia, a nerve condition so painful it’s nicknamed the “suicide disease” because patients sometimes kill themselves seeking relief. This operation would be relatively simple. It involved threading a slender metal probe through a patient’s cheek into the base of the skull, then inflating a balloon at its tip to crush the nerve that enervates the face. More than 9 out of 10 patients emerge pain-free, Grande said.
But things can go seriously wrong. The probe must pass by the carotid artery. Pierce it, and you can kill the patient. In one such procedure, Quinn said, blood started spewing out as he withdrew the probe. He feared the worst, but he had just nicked a small branch of the artery.
“I was terrified,” Quinn said. He said Haines, an expert in the procedure, told him he needed to get back to work.
“He said, ‘Tell me what you’re going to do different,’ ” Quinn recalled. He determined that the way he had draped the patient had concealed some important landmarks. He did two similar cases that day, shaken but better for the experience.
“Now, every time I do that procedure, I see red,” Quinn said.
As Grande, Terzic and Vasquez went to work on the patient with the rare aneurysm, several visitors stopped by to watch the lengthy procedure. Terzic painstakingly cut through the arachnoid, a weblike membrane that holds the brain tissue together.
“Just enjoy it,” Grande said. “Before you know it, it just falls open and you’re there.”
Terzic continued making tiny cuts, probing with his electrified tongs and a suction device, but he couldn’t find the aneurysm. The room fell silent as everyone watched his progress on an HDTV monitor. Then Terzic nicked a vessel, filling the cavern with blood. He tried unsuccessfully for a few moments to repair it, and Grande stepped in to seal it up and continue the operation.
The residents watched Grande closely as he cut and prodded his way deeper into the patient’s brain.
“There it is!” Terzic called out.
Grande clamped off the aneurysm and returned the patient to Terzic.
“This case went well. Now I’ve got to got talk to a family about lab tests on a malignant brain tumor in a woman 26 years old,” Grande said. “So, the highs and the lows of neurosurgery.”
Dan Browning • 612-673-4493
10/03/2014 – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- The 15-hour workweek: Canada’s part-time problem, by Tavia Grant, Toronto Globe via TheGlobeAndMail.com
TORONTO, Ont., Canada - For years, Eileen Hasselhoff enjoyed her steady job as a cashier at a Toronto fast-food restaurant. She didn’t earn a lot, typically minimum wage, but at least she had regular hours that let her plan her life and save a little for retirement.
That all changed a few years ago. Suddenly her hours were cut, her schedule thrown into turmoil and her income slashed. Now sometimes, she gets 15 hours a week. Other times, 12. Often she’ll get a last-minute call from her manager asking her to come in earlier, or stay later. She has no guaranteed minimum hours, her savings have evaporated and she’s lucky if she can pay her bills.
“I know I should be happy I have a job. But I’ve done a lot of inner thinking, and I keep asking myself why?” she says.
Ms. Hasselhoff is one of nearly a million Canadians who work part-time when they’d prefer full-time hours. Many have seen opportunities for traditional, full-time jobs with benefits fade, to be replaced by part-time or temp positions without health benefits or pension plans.
This type of unsteady or precarious work is a quieter or less visible trend in Canada’s labour market, where muted job creation tends to grab most of the attention. But the growing number of reduced-hours and part-time positions, defined as less than 30 hours a week, as well as contract jobs, have widespread effects, not just for personal finances but for consumer demand and economic growth as a whole.
For employers, more flexible staffing allows them to keep a lid on labour costs, improving their margins at a time of heightened competition and changing business models. It lets them be nimble in an era of fluctuating demand.
But for workers, the shift to a just-in-time labour market creates a host of difficulties for long-term planning, eligibility for jobless benefits, and often results in a diminished ability to save. Erratic hours create challenges in pursuing an education, arranging child care and qualifying for a mortgage.
Part-time work accounted for 80 per cent of net job creation in the past year and the share of people in part-time positions stands at 19.3 per cent, a percentage point higher than pre-recession levels. Back in 1976, that figure stood at 12.5 per cent.
Plenty of part-time positions are great, regular jobs. And many people, especially older Canadians, choose part-time work by choice, not necessity.
But not all. The share of involuntary part-timers rose in the recession and remains elevated.
Rubeni, 41, has worked on call for several years at a daycare. Kevin Van Paassen for The Globe and Mail
The greatest portion of involuntary part-timers are those between the ages of 25 and 54, men and women in their prime working years, according to data compiled by Statistics Canada. Temp work, defined as jobs with a fixed end date, has grown to 13.4 per cent of the work force from 11.3 per cent in 1997, those figures show. And within the temp category, contract positions have increased the most, up 83 per cent to 1.1 million people since 1997. Statscan has noted that temp workers tend to see lower pay, fewer benefits and less on-the-job training than permanent staff.
The tilt to unstable work – temp jobs, shift work or erratic part-time positions – shows “these are not the 1970s jobs any more. There’s no sense of permanence to them. That’s the area that’s really changing – the lack of commitment by employers to employees in the long term,” says Wayne Lewchuk, professor at McMaster University’s economics and labour studies departments.
In prior decades, workers were seen as investments for companies, an asset to be developed over the long term. Now, he says, they’re often viewed as a liability or a cost to be minimized whenever possible.
“The reality is, our economy is much more competitive now than it was 40 or 50 years ago. It’s a brutal world out there if you’re a firm, and so they are looking for ways to cut costs. … So we’ve seen a movement of firms to protect a core [of employees] and surrounding that with a periphery of less permanent employees or tasks that are contracted out,” Prof. Lewchuk says.
He has surveyed 4,000 people in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area and found that nearly half now work in jobs with some degree of insecurity – from short-term contracts to self-employed, working for temp agencies or without benefits.
That has clear consequences for finances, his research has found, but the impact also spills into family, health and community involvement.
The trend also has implications for demand in the broader economy. A worker on irregular hours, or on a six-month contract, is less likely to make major purchases and shore up savings, and more likely to delay forming relationships, buying homes or starting families. “It’s logical that people put the brakes on those aspirations,” Prof. Lewchuk says.
It’s not just low-wage workers who are being affected. He has found “it’s creeping into middle-income occupations too,” with insecure work growing in the arts, education, health care and information technology sectors, in both the private and public sectors.
Rubeni, 41, a single mother in Toronto who asked that her last name not be used to avoid jeopardizing employment chances, worked on call for several years at a daycare and an after-school program. Her hours varied between six and 35 hours a week. The variability created havoc at home, where sometimes she’d have to wake her seven-year-old son up at 6 a.m. to get him to daycare before starting her own shift at a daycare, 45 minutes away. In months when hours are thin, she’s been late paying rent and incurs a $45 penalty. “It’s a stressful life,” she says.
The rise of non-standard work isn’t unique to Canada. It’s growing in many developed nations, sparking much public debate. In the United Kingdom, the growth of “zero-hour contracts” means there’s no obligation for companies to offer even minimum working hours. In the United States, fast-food protests have sprung up across the country to demand better pay, while retail workers have launched campaigns against “just-in-time” work scheduling. Many Group of 20 countries are seeing deteriorating job quality and stagnating real wages, which in turn is constraining economic growth, according to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development study released last month.
Some countries, such as Australia, have adjusted policies to fit the new reality, and to protect workers from the harshest effects of an on-call labour market – which may offer lessons for Canada.
‘Labour when they need it’
For employers, a work force that expands and contracts with the ebbs and flows of demand is a way to keep labour costs down, especially in the services side of the economy, where a majority of Canadians work.
Temp jobs have become more prevalent at employers that have finite projects, such as in engineering, and for junior positions, says Rowan O’Grady, president of Hays Canada, a recruitment firm. The other area is in unpredictable environments, where it’s hard to gauge demand. “They don’t know how many people they’ll need or how busy they’ll be, and they can respond quickly, without carrying the cost of having a bench of people sitting there, waiting for work to come along.”
Other countries' solutions
Several countries have introduced policies that aim to balance the need for a flexible labour market with better security for workers. Here are some measures:
New technology is also making it easier to adjust staffing, with laser-like precision, to fit demand. Scheduling software can detect when to staff up as the coffee shop gets busier, or when to reduce hours as the grocery store empties.
Denmark is known for both high productivity and a flexible labour market, meaning it is relatively easy to hire and fire people. But under its “flexicurity” approach, workers who lose their jobs have a stronger safety net – workers receive more generous jobless benefits and have better access to job training and skills upgrading.
Australia has a higher minimum wage of $16.52 (Canadian) an hour. Casual workers are entitled to extra pay of about 25 per cent to make up for a lack of sick leave and other benefits. The country also has a federally-funded Fair Work Commission, an independent workplace relations tribunal that sets a safety net of minimum wages and work conditions and helps resolve disputes.
Part-time work is prevalent in the Netherlands, especially among women, but even most part-time workers are eligible for benefits. This means they are covered for jobless benefits, pensions and leaves, similar to full-time workers, at rates that are proportionate to the hours they work.
Kronos, a U.S. work force management company, offers one such service. Its Workforce Ready solution, available in Canada, lets businesses “control labour costs, minimize compliance risk, and improve work force productivity” using real-time employee data.
Kronos didn’t respond to requests for an interview, but its website has video testimonials from several Canadian employers who say this software made scheduling easier, more automated and helped trim labour costs.
But these lean staffing strategies might not pay off for companies in the long run, says Zeynep Ton, adjunct associate professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management who has studied retail operations. “It hurts them a lot more than what companies may realize.”
Unpredictable scheduling “is just one part of the bad jobs umbrella,” which together mean “employee morale is lower, turnover is higher, workers are not engaged, they make more errors and they’re not as productive.”
All this reduces sales and profits, she has found – so companies reduce their labour budgets, and then they can’t invest.
The growth of a “just-in-time work force” as labour economist Jim Stanford puts it, reflects the view that labour is a flexible input to production – used and disposed of when not needed. Technology, he says, is tipping the balance of power in the employers’ favour, “opening up more opportunities for them to hire labour when they need it with no responsibilities or guarantees.”
[AND with weaker and weaker markets.]
This may work in a labour market with an excess supply of job seekers who are hungry and desperate for work. “But there are constraints in this strategy – retention is one, and if you’re treating people like a disposable input, you’re not going to elicit a lot of loyalty and creativity,” says Mr. Stanford, an economist at Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union.
Both Target Canada and Loblaw have come under fire from workers for cutting hours. Neither company responded to a request for comment Friday.
So has IKEA, where workers in Richmond, B.C., have been off the job for more than a year in a dispute partly over hours and scheduling. Several hundred part-time workers are facing either the prospect of scaled-back hours or no guaranteed minimum hours per week.
Keifer Winkelmans, 22, who worked in the restaurant, says it was impossible to juggle fluctuating hours, often on call, with going to school, where he was trying to upgrade his skills to enter the trades.
“At IKEA, both full-time and part-time roles are necessary to both address the cyclical nature of our business and to provide flexibility to employees through their various stages in life,” says Madeleine Lowenborg-Frick, a spokeswoman for IKEA Canada. “Part-time employees are an important part of our business and we pay them wages that recognize their contribution to the business.” As for the labour dispute; “IKEA has remained committed to reaching a collective agreement that provides wages and benefits that exceed industry standards and supports the long term success of the IKEA Richmond store.”
‘A 24/7 economy’
The overall labour market took a hit in the recession, but by 2011 it had recovered all of the jobs lost during the downturn.
But it’s an altered world. Long-term unemployment has stayed high and the job market for young people hasn’t improved. About 15 per cent of the work force calls themselves self-employed, many of whom face below-average or unsteady pay.
The Bank of Canada has highlighted several areas of weakness in recent months, from ebbing participation rates by young and prime-aged workers to the prevalence of involuntary part-time work, long-term joblessness and wage gains that are below historic averages. Taken together, there is more labour market slack, or underutilized human capital, than the unemployment rate suggests, Timothy Lane, the central bank’s deputy governor, said in a Sept. 24 speech.
A host of factors are eroding job quality. Globalization and competition has heated up. The labour market has become more polarized, with rich rewards for those with desired skills and diminished returns for workers elsewhere. And a larger pool of labour is hunting for scarcer opportunities.
“From one perspective – from those who think liberal labour markets are a strength – this is a dynamic economy,” says Dr. Cameron Mustard, president and senior scientist at the Toronto-based Institute for Work and Health. “But from the perspective of a 30-year-old, who is trying to maintain a household, has a young child and a partner who’s not in the labour force … and the person can’t find work that pays more than $15 an hour, that’s a problem,” particularly when there are no guaranteed minimum working hours.
We’ve moved to a “24/7 economy,” especially in the services industries, he says.
Evidence shows that unsteady work and economic insecurity hurts health. Lower wages make it more difficult for families to maintain good nutrition and afford decent housing. Rotating or irregular shifts are associated with more illnesses and fatigue. Temp work spells heightened risk of on-the-job injuries. Studies have shown people who are in their first 30 days of work, especially in places like warehousing, are at a higher risk of incurring a work injury.
Monica Mckenzie has worked irregular shifts for 11 years. The single mother works as a dishwasher at the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel. Sometimes, she has had 40 hours of work, other times just 15. She’s used temp agencies to plug the gaps, at times cleaning hotels for up to 17 hours a day.
Helping her son through homework, or attending parent-teacher meetings, was often impossible. The worry over hours caused sleep loss, stress and migraines. “I cannot sleep at night,” she says. Her situation has taken a brighter turn – her hours have since stabilized, which she says has helped her health, and her son is now in his last year of college.
Union density, meantime, has dwindled. Canada’s coverage rate ebbed to 31.2 per cent last year, Statscan data show, down from 33.7 per cent in 1997. Wages also reflect how the balance of power has shifted. Pay hikes from major settlements between unionized staff and employers fell to the lowest level since 1997 last year, averaging 1.4 per cent. Average hourly wages for all workers are barely keeping up with inflation.
At the same time, wage trends are splintering, with those in top occupations, such as managers or finance professionals, seeing above-average gains and those in low-wage occupations, such as cashiers, seeing little improvement in real terms.
A disproportionate number of low-wage earners are immigrants. As of last year, recent immigrants were three times as likely to be minimum wage earners as Canadian-born workers, according to Statscan.
Yaa Nimako has worked part-time and on-call work for months. It’s not due to a lack of qualifications: She has two masters degrees and 20 years of teaching experience in the U.S. and in Ghana, her home country. One job teaching English as a second language gives her 3.5 hours a day, another is on call. But she needs more hours.
“Of course, the salary is not enough for me and my family,” says Ms. Nimako, a single mother who wonders whether employers aren’t recognizing her experience outside of Canada.
Overall wages in Canada have risen by $12.59 a week since 2010. But for restaurant workers – the lowest-paid in the country – wages have fallen by $13.55 a week, according to Statscan payrolls data compiled by the Canadian Labour Congress.
Jonethan Brigley, 27, is one such worker. He works full-time at an A&W restaurant in Dartmouth, N.S., prepping, making fries, working the grill. His boss makes the schedule on the weekends, and his hours and days change, often ending at 11 pm. He can’t afford transport, so he bikes home – and worries about the danger – late at night. If he gets two days off in a week, they are not consecutive.
He’s one of the working poor – despite his full-time status, he lives on a minimum wage of $10.40 an hour and occasionally has to visit the food bank. He would vastly prefer more regular hours. He, too, can’t save. “After paying for rent, basic food and all the other bills, I don’t really get anything for myself,” Mr. Brigley says.
‘If you invest in your people …’
One way to bring back good jobs would be a sustained pickup in demand. As the pool of available workers shrinks, employers will have little choice but to compete for workers, which – in the past – has meant stronger benefits, better pay hikes and more steady hours.
Even now, not all employers take the same approach. Costco guarantees its part-time staff a minimum of 25 hours a week (with some exceptions depending on provincial regulations) and also posts its work schedules two weeks out from the workweek. About half of its near-30,000 Canadian staff are part-time, and they’re eligible for partial benefits, sick pay and pensions. It also pays its Canadian workers wages that are above the average for the sector.
Costco and several other retailers including Trader Joe’s in the U.S. show the business benefits of treating staff well, says Prof. Ton of MIT, who has compiled case studies of companies that see workers as “strategic assets” rather than liabilities. “If you invest in your people, and complement that with a great work design so that people are productive and can do work without making errors … the result is better jobs, higher customer service, lower prices and great returns to shareholders.”
Several provinces, such as Ontario and Nova Scotia, have raised minimum wages this year, to between $10 and $11. Some campaigns are calling for further hikes, to $15, a level that the NDP has proposed for federal workers. Some economists say minimum wage hikes do little to alleviate poverty and may discourage hiring, while other studies have shown little impact on jobs and benefits for the working poor.
A system of proportional benefits, so that even part-time workers have better protection, would help workers, Mr. Stanford says. And employment insurance should be adjusted to fit the new reality, making it easier for workers to qualify for jobless benefits, he says.
In fact, Canada ranks below its peers in terms of jobless benefits, according to OECD senior economist Alexander Hijzen, who has studied job quality across countries.
Many minimum-wage workers, such as Mr. Brigley, simply say they need better pay so life isn’t such a struggle. But even higher wages won’t do much good if people don’t get more hours, preferably steady ones.
“I would like full-time hours,” Ms. Nimako says. “And the chance to get a paycheque at the end of the week and know that I earn so much … rather than wait and hope to be called, with all the hope and stress involved.
- 30-hour standard is hurting workers, editorial, Columbus Dispatch via dispatch.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio, USA - The redefinition of “full-time” work from the traditional 40 hours to 30 hours was an early example of the unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act.
[Yes, the right deed for the wrong reason and in the wrong way. Here's the right reason and the right way.]
Though it hasn’t made headlines as much recently, its ill effects — namely, people seeing their hours cut as employers try to avoid the costly new mandate to provide health insurance for anyone working 30 hours or more — continue. Many people are struggling or now working two jobs as a result.
A powerhouse group of business organizations has launched a campaign to restore 40 hours as the standard for full-time work under the health-care law. The More Time for Full Time initiative and website (www.moretimeforfulltime.org) is led by groups including the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the National Retail Federation and the National Association of Theater Owners. They are urging Americans to contact their representatives about changing the mandate.
These organizations represent industries that have been particularly hard hit by the law: Many of their employees previously were working between 30 and 39 hours, and now have seen those hours cut. Some employers also have reported laying off or hiring fewer employees overall.
And it’s not a partisan issue: Even labor unions, traditional supporters of President Barack Obama and his administration, have protested against the change and its harmful effects. This is just one of many flaws in this ill-conceived and poorly executed law.
10/02/2014 – 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 email@example.com unless otherwise initialed ) -
- Platteville city budget, first draft: 2.9% increase - 1.5% pay increases proposed; trail projects also in budget, by Steve Prestegard, firstname.lastname@example.org, Platteville Journal via SWnews4U.com
PLATTEVILLE, Wisc., USA - The City of Platteville’s 2012, 2013 and 2014 budgets were created in an arduous and occasionally testy process.
There are early signs that the city’s 2015 budget may not include as much conflict as the previous three budgets.
City Manager Larry Bierke introduced the first draft of the 2015 budget at the Common Council’s Sept. 23 meeting.
A special Common Council meeting with city department heads will be held Monday at 5 p.m. A public hearing on the budget will be held Nov. 25.
The 2015 budget includes 2.7 percent more spending than the 2014 budget, including a 1.5 percent pay increase for city employees of 20 or more hours per week, two new staff positions — a part-time Senior Center attendant and a part-time building inspector — and increased spending of about 22 percent in information technology. The budget also includes paying off $1.5 million in debt, leaving the city at 59.15 percent of legal borrowing capacity and 84.5 percent of city-policy borrowing capacity.
One reason for the city’s rosier financial picture is growth in city property values, which increased an estimated $67 million this year. That gives the city another $181,000 of property tax revenue over last year.
One issue that was contentious in the 2012 and 2013 budgets, but less so in 2014, was the 37½-hour work week for full-time hourly employees, which remains in the 2015 budget. So does the Municipal Building’s being closed to the public on Fridays.
The budget includes a $3.5 million incentive payment through borrowing to the developer of the proposed Library Block project in Tax Incremental Financing District 7. It also includes $105,000 for the bike trail that will end in TIF District 5, paid for by TIF 5 revenues. It also includes spending an $800,000 grant for street, utilities and stormwater management for 39 acres of land in TIF 6.
The budget includes the 2015 portion of the city’s 2015–19 capital improvement plan, totaling almost $3.9 million. That includes almost $1.29 million for the Platteville Community Arboretum Moving Platteville Outdoors project, paid for in part by the $643,000 state Department of Natural Resources grant and almost $493,000 in PCA project donations. The capital budget also includes almost $985,000 in street construction, including paving 0.7 miles of Fourth Street from Main Street to Camp Street.
The initial version of the 2014 budget proposed to restore the 40-hour work week, but with furlough days, and no pay increases. Health insurance increases that were less than anticipated eliminated an initial estimated shortfall of $80,714. With that and other cuts, the council kept the 37½-hour work week, but gave city employees a raise of 2 percent Jan. 1 and 1 percent July 1.
- 4-day work week not a new idea, by Rudy L. Coronel, email@example.com, Inquirer.net
[True. Riva Poor had a book out in 1970 called *4 Days, 40 Hours: Reporting a Revolution in Work and Leisure with a foreword by Paul Samuelson. But the real revolution is 4 days, 32 hours. as advocated in the 1980s by Anders Hayden of Toronto in his NGO, "32 Hours - Action for Full Employment."]
MANILA, Philippines - Even as the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has promulgated a resolution giving government agencies in Metro Manila “blanket approval” to implement, on a voluntary basis, a four-day work week scheme in response to the worsening traffic situation (“4-day work week for gov’t offices OK’d,” Metro, (9/26/14), I believe there is still a need for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to issue the necessary implementing guidelines. That is for the simple reason that the four-day workweek, also referred to as CWW (compressed work week), entails a waiver by the employee of his right to overtime pay as provided in the Labor Code. And that discretion solely belongs to DOLE!
Strictly speaking, an employee is entitled to overtime pay under both, not either, of two circumstances: for work in excess of eight hours per day, and for work in excess of 40 hours per week. This applies to both public and private employees; and while the CSC has jurisdiction only over the first, DOLE certainly has jurisdiction over both.
The plain truth is, the CWW concept is nothing new in these parts. As far back as I can recall, the present proposal is at least the third of its kind, although the first two were essentially intended for private sector employees. Department Order No. 021, titled “Guidelines on the Implementation of the CWW” dated Aug. 31, 1990, was issued by DOLE for the specific purpose of averting further damage to the economy as brought about by the oil crisis at that time.
Then came DOLE Advisory No. 22 on Dec. 2, 2004, this time implementing a CWW scheme whose specific rationale, among other things, was to ensure the safety and health of employees and encourage their competitiveness and productivity, after taking into account the emergence of new technology and the modernization of the working processes in various business establishments. Whether or not many, or only a few, companies availed themselves of these two CWW schemes is beside the point.
What matters more are two considerations: First, both schemes allow employers to ignore, and employees to waive, the overtime pay for work beyond eight hours per day, provided the total number of work hours per week does not exceed 40; and second, there is a need for a separate DOLE advisory or guideline every time a CWW is needed to be pursued for an entirely different objective. In other words, this waiver of overtime pay for work beyond eight hours per day can be allowed only by DOLE, specifically and strictly on case-by-case basis.
Well, the four-day workweek scheme now at hand is for an entirely different objective: to minimize traffic congestion in the metropolis. Why doesn’t DOLE appear involved? Ah, maybe, just maybe, DOLE—like this writer and unlike the CSC and the Metro Manila Development Authority—is not convinced that the scheme would really cure our worsening traffic woes.
- Why do Americans work long and antisocial hours? by Daniel S. Hamermesh & Elena Stancanelli, The World Economic Forum (blog) via ForumBlog.org
LONDON, U.K. - The average US workweek is 41 hours, 3 hours longer than Britain’s and even longer than in Germany, France, Spain, or the Netherlands (see the table below).
Over a year, the average American employee puts in 1,800 hours, which is more than any other wealthy country, even Japan. What is remarkable is the change during the past three decades. In 1979, Americans looked little different from workers in these other countries, working about the same number of hours per year as the French or the British, and many fewer hours than Japanese. Since then, employees in other countries have begun to take it easier, to enjoy their riches, but Americans have not.
- 32% of American employees work 45 or more hours, compared with 18% in Germany, and 4% in France.
- Only in the UK does the percentage of employees putting in these long hours approach the US one.
[What a "coincidence"! The two countries most influenced by Puritanism and the Puritan Work Ethic = "Work hard to get ahead!" and Busyness Is Importance! (= if you're busy or moving faster, you're important and have higher priority than anyone less busy around you).]
The picture is even bleaker than these numbers suggest. Not only do Americans work longer hours than their European counterparts, but they are much more likely to work at night and on weekends.
Work on weekends is also more common in the US than in other rich countries, with 29% of American workers doing some work on weekends, far above Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands; and even in the UK only 25% of employees do some work on weekends. But despite their greater likelihood of working at these strange times, those Americans who work then put in no more hours per day than the smaller numbers of European workers who are on the job at nights and weekends.
- 27% of US employees perform some work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- In France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany the comparable fractions are much lower. Even in the UK, only 19 % of workers are on the job at night.
Table 1. Characteristics of work hours in the US [2003-11] and elsewhere [5 other countries]: Amounts and timing
["Characteristics" listed start with % Distribution of Hours worked in six different hours-ranges, unevenly defined (1-19, 20-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, over 65hrs) and during non-corresponding time periods in each of the 5 other countries (France 1998-99, Germany 2001-02, Netherlands 2001&2005, Spain 2003-04, UK 2000-01) - why these "researchers" would think such bizarrely non-parallel data would be convincing is baffling! The next "characteristic" is Average Weekly Hours of Work across all six countries presumably during these six totally uncomparable time periods:]
US 41.0, France 35.7, Germany 36.9, Netherlands 32.7, Spain 34.6, UK 38.4
[The other four "characteristics" are % Working Weekend Work, Average Hours/Day on Weekends, % Working Night Work (10pm-6pm), Average Hours/Day at Night - we think this is what they're referrring to - their labels for these four categories are nearly incoherent - are they native English-speakers?? Click here for full table, located about 3/10 of the way through the *original article.]
Why these facts matter
Weekend and night work is not attractive to most workers. Unsurprisingly, therefore, it generates, on average, higher pay per hour than work at ‘normal’ times—wage differentials that compensate for the undesirability of working at unattractive hours (Kostiuk 1990). Also unsurprisingly, it attracts workers with the least human capital. In the US and Germany, young workers, those with less education and immigrants are more likely than other employees to work at these times. In the US, minorities are also more likely to perform weekend and night work (Hamermesh 1996). The burden of working at unpleasant times falls disproportionately on those who have the least earning power.
Are the phenomena related?
If Americans’ workweeks were shortened to European levels, would their likelihood of working at these strange times drop to European levels? Do the American labour market, institutions and culture make night and weekend work more prevalent independent of the length of the workweek?
To answer the titular question of this section, we examine the determinants of the probability of night work using data from [all too-]various time-diary surveys for the US and France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. For the US, we relate these probabilities to workers’ weekly work-hours and a large number of their demographic characteristics—age, immigrant and urban status, educational attainment, and others.
If we simulate what would happen to the probabilities of weekend and night work if the US had the same distributions of weekly work-hours as each of the five European countries, not surprisingly, those probabilities would drop — but not very much. Even with France’s short workweeks, 25% of American employees would still be working on weekends, as high as the highest percentage in any of these five countries; and 22% would still be working at night, well above even the highest percentage in Europe. Even if no American worked more than 45 hours per week, the percentage performing weekend work would fall only to 24, and the percentage doing night work would fall only to 25.
- Compared to those working 40 hours, American employees putting in 65+ hours per week are 44% more likely also to work on weekends, and 37% more likely to work at night. The phenomena of long hours and strange hours are related.
[A bulletted "list" with only one bullet? Have these researchers become 'strange' by working 'long hours'?]
Even with a reduction in American workweeks that lowered American work-hours down to European hours, Americans would be doing more night and weekend work than Europeans.
[This is pure unscientific speculation - and less important than the general loss of employee power at the bargaining table relative to employer power, due to the mounting surplus of jobseekers and the shortage of 40-hr/wk or "full time" job openings, due in turn to the greater frequency of employers' downsizing-instead-of- timesizing response to injections of worksaving technology.]
Looking at time-diary data from the mid-1970s, this result should not be surprising. For example, at that time 26% of American employees worked on weekends, whereas only 14% of Dutch employees did so, both about the same as today, even though the Dutch and American workweeks were then much closer in length than they are today.
Why, and what to do (if anything)?
Why are Americans so much more likely to work at strange times than Europeans? The results [or rather, speculations] here show that it is not because Americans work more than Europeans.
Many European countries impose penalties on work at nights and on weekends, with some of the penalties being quite severe (Cardoso et al. 2012). The evidence in Cardoso et al. (2012) suggests that imposing penalties on night and/or weekend work will reduce its incidence. Work at different times of the week is substitutable, and employers are responsive to changing incentives to alter the timing of work. But that evidence also shows that even substantial incentives do not produce huge changes in work timing. If we really want to reduce the amount of work that occurs at times that are viewed as unpleasant, the solution may be to revert to the shop-closing laws (Blue Laws) that prevailed in the US years ago. No free-marketer would like this, but it may well be worth reviving these laws in order to get the US out of what might be a low-level, rat-race equilibrium.
- One cause might be the greater inequality of earnings in the US that induces low-skilled workers — earning relatively less than low-skilled Europeans — to desire more work at times that pays [sic] a wage premium.
[They've missed the central feature of the inequality, the hyperconcentration of the money supply within the tiny population in the topmost brackets. And therefore they've got the cause&effect backwards, and missed asking why money supplies all over the world, especially in the USA, are coagulating (because the deepening labor surplus due to the standard downsizing-not-timesizing response to waves of worksaving technology has depressed wages and allowed national incomes to funnel to the richest, who have set up the most default moneyflow-directers since their teams of lawyers compose most of the contracts.]
- Another possibility is cultural, so that Americans just tolerate working at these times more than their European counterparts. But citing cultural differences is an easy way to avoid thinking or doing anything about an issue.
[Cultural, yes, but also semantic. The cultural cause was mentioned above; to wit, the USA is one of "The two countries most influenced by Puritanism and the Puritan Work Ethic = "Work hard to get ahead!" and Busyness Is Importance! (= if you're busy or moving faster, you're important and have higher priority than anyone less busy around you). The semantic cause is the prevailing confusion, even superstition, about time, expressed in Augustine's admission: "I know what time is but if someone asks me, I cannot tell him." Einstein compounded our confusion here by speaking of the "space-time" continuum though he did not clarify the continuous link between them and therefore, although lengthXwidthXheight= volume or "space," time was left as a disconnected and all-too-arbitrarily-manipulable variable which he, purely "for convenience," spoke of as the 4th dimension. Certainly the diversity of ways humans viewed the Sun and the Moon throughout prehistory and history set a messy stage for this confusion, and since the invention of writing around 3200BC, were paced by the diversity of time-keeping devices: one's standing shadow, moonphases, tides, sundials, waterclocks, weight-driven single-hand dayANDnight clocks (eg: 24-hr) inspired by Sun's apparent motion, single-hand dayORnight clocks (eg: 12-hr), shift from geo- to helio-centrism, two- or three-hand clocks for hours & minutes +/-seconds, departure from analog to digital, misleading claims of priority for atomic clocks... - see also our 2004 backgrounder, Defining Time.]
Published in collaboration with VoxEU.
Authors: Daniel S. Hamermesh is Professor of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London. Elena Stancanelli is an Associate Professor, Paris School of Economics.
All opinions expressed are those of the author[s]. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.
- One in five employees has seen work hours rise in last year: Study, by Namrata Singh, Times News Network via Economic Times via economictimes.indiatimes.com
MUMBAI, India - It's a truth universally known but rarely acknowledged that technology and better business prospects — instead of enabling a better work-life balance — are actually making people work longer hours. For at least one-fifth of India Inc's employees, the average number of working hours increased in key functions across sectors over the last year.
[In the English-language discussion in USA and UK, we have to avoid being frogmarched out of the discussion as "luddites" for blaming technology directly, and instead, we must carefully blame the standard response to technology of downsizing (or "leansizing" = workforce cuts & associated consumer-spending cuts) as a substitute for the timesizing (= workweek cuts & associated employment and spending maintenance) that is always promised when the tech injection is first proposed, to "make life easier for everyone."]
Growth in business, a smaller headcount, promotions and non-replacement of people who may have quit are some of the reasons why people are working more hours, according to findings from research undertaken by specialist recruitment firm Michael Page India.
In the financial services (banking, private equity, insurance, financial institutions) sector, 23% of the employees put in more hours (up to 15% or more) weekly, while in finance (chartered accountants, risk operations, etc) the figure stood at 24%. Employees in sales and marketing functions were hit the hardest: 31% had to log in extra hours. The figures for the human resource employees were a tad better at 22%.
Across these functions, a majority of employees maintained their weekly working hours during the period, while a small minority reduced the number of hours put in at work.
Technology, which has brought in a round-the-clock work culture among people working out-of-office, seems to have added to the steep rise in overall work hours over the last 12 months. "As organizations are becoming leaner with their back offices, and expectations are growing from the business (for the level of service delivered), there has been a considerable increase in the number of work hours," said Alf Harris, regional director, Michael Page (India).
Harris said companies are under increased pressure to deliver more for less. Organizations agree that working hours have gone up in sync with the growth opportunities, but cautioned that a balance needs to be maintained.
Companies, however, are loathe to admit that they are making their employees work longer hours on a continual basis. They reason that such bursts are evened out by less intense work periods. Most companies claimed they do not clock work hours; instead they track productivity and quality of work.
"The recent upbeat economic sentiment is creating higher growth opportunities. Businesses are, however, cautious in suddenly increasing headcount," said Prabir Jha, president and group chief human resources officer, Reliance Industries.
This is due to two main reasons, said Jha. One, to let the economic momentum translate into actual growth; and two, companies could be looking at automation of operations as an alternative. "There will be times when employees may clock in more hours, but that is just a means to an end. There are phases of intense timelines and crashed delivery cycles. Some stretch may thus become unavoidable in such times. But one cannot sustain this indefinitely," said Jha, while adding that a positive work environment may not make the spells of extended work hours seem as onerous.
Reliance does not necessarily track work hours but outcomes and productivity of employees, which, Jha said, is on the upswing. At Marico too, the focus is on productivity and quality of work and the company does not track the hours at work. "We believe that our members are responsible individuals and can exercise the choice of when, where and how to deliver on their work commitments," said Ashutosh Telang, chief HR officer, Marico.
Companies are unanimous in stating that they would rather measure quality of work and productivity than scrutinize the hours employees clock. "In the interest of delivering the best in class service to the client, there will be situations where employees need to put in more hours at work. What we can do is give them opportunities to balance their professional and personal life. The policies of work-life flexibility go a long way in these situations," said Mark Driscoll, leader—human capital, PwC India.
"I also believe that employees are extremely mature and sensitive to the demands of the clients and hence are periodically willing to go the extra mile in order to deliver world class services within the assigned timelines. In any professional services organization, we all need to make adjustments so that we are able to stay ahead and be the best service provider," said Driscoll.
PwC, which has increased its headcount by 20% in the last one year with increase in business so that existing staff are not stretched, also has a "flexibleFriday" policy where employees may clock 10 hours for four days continuously and then take the Friday off which gives them a longer weekend. Progressive work practices, said Jha, are necessary to ensure employees do not face burnout.
10/01/2014 – News and opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid- and small-size companies, but still today an afterthought, though any economy that's still around 50 years from now will long since have made it first and foremost - ( [commentary] by Phil Hyde firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed ) -
- New law to limit ICU nurses working hours - The law establishes a one-to-one patient/nurse ratio in ICUs, by Tiffany Chan, 22News via WWLP.com
BOSTON, Mass., USA – Better quality of care is expected at your community hospitals. A new Massachusetts law, meant to enhance patient safety, went into effect Wednesday.
The law, signed by the Governor in June, establishes a one-to-one patient/nurse ratio in intensive care units [ICUs]. It comes at a critical time as the U.S. confirmed its first case of the deadly Ebola virus in Dallas.
“National Nurses United” surveyed more than 400 RN’s from two dozen states. Preliminary study results found more than 60% of nurses believe their hospitals are not prepared to treat the Ebola virus, stressing the importance of limiting one patient to every nurse in the ICU.
State Rep. Paul Mark of Peru told 22News, “The intention of this is to make sure that the most intensive cases are getting the attention that they need and there’s going to be a mechanism to determine at the hospital-level what is the appropriate care on a case-by-case basis.”
The Massachusetts Hospital Association insists hospitals in the state “stand ready” to treat any contagious diseases.
- District cuts hours amid insurance cost concerns, Twin Falls Times-News via AP via IdahoOnYourSide.com via jrn.com
TWIN FALLS, Idaho, USA -- A south-central Idaho school district has cut hours for more than 150 workers to avoid having to provide health insurance mandated under the Affordable Care Act.
The Times-News reported in a story on Wednesday that the Twin Falls School District made the move after administrators concluded maintaining work hours would cost the district $1 million.
The board cut weekly hours for teaching aids, food service employees and other non-professionals down to 27.5 hours from previous workweeks of 30 to 34 hours.
Under the Affordable Care Act, employees working 30 or more hours in 2015 will be eligible for full insurance benefits in 2016.
Other school districts in the region tell the newspaper they have no plans to reduce hours for workers.
Click here for spontaneous cases of primitive timesizing in -
July 2-31, 2013
July/2011 + 8/01
February 2-28/2011 +3/01
January 2-31 +2/01/2011
December/2010 + 1/1/11
June 2-30/2010 +Jul.1
May 2-31/2010 +Jun.1
April 2-30/2010 +May 1
March 3-31/2010 +Apr.1
February 2-28/2010 +Mar.1-2
Nov.27-30 (& Dec.)/2004
Oct.27-31/2004 + Nov.1
(July 31+) Aug.1-10/2004
Feb.21-29/2004 + Mar.1
Jan.31 + Feb.1-10/2004
1998 and previous years.
For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing on Amazon.com.
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