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Timesizing News, October, 2015
[Commentary] ©2015 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Harvard Sq PO Box 117, Cambridge MA 02238 USA 617-623-8080

10/31/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Two-day weekend for private sector: New study underway. (11/01 early pickup) ArabNews.com
    JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - The Labor Ministry has announced that it would conduct a study to determine the viability of having a 2-day weekend and a 40-hour work week for the private sector.
    [Here's hoping this doesn't turn into the same kind of infinite loop as it has in Hong Kong.]
    In a post on its Twitter account recently, the ministry stated that it would take into account the input of business owners, and look at the advantages and disadvantages of introducing the measures, including whether it would attract Saudi youth to the private sector.
    Sources quoted in the media have suggested that most private companies would introduce the 2-day weekend only if the ministry removes the SR2,400 levy and institutes a 48-hour working week.
    According to reports, the authorities face a dilemma as they try to boost private sector employment in a period of low oil prices, which are straining state finances and threatening to slow the economy.
    Most Saudi workers are in the public sector, which offers generous conditions such as a 35-hour work week plus big pensions and health benefits.
    Most private sector jobs are held by 10 million foreign workers
    To reduce the burden on the public sector and curb the number of foreign workers, the government has been considering a proposal to lure more Saudi nationals into private companies by limiting the working week to 40 hours, down from 48 in many firms, including a two-day weekend.
    But much of the business community has argued that the move would hurt the economy by raising companies’ costs, deterring investment and possibly forcing companies to make up for the shorter work week by hiring more foreigners.

  2. Number doubled in working hours probe, by Kenneth Lau, (10/29 late pickup) Hong Kong Standard via thestandard.com.hk
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Working hours for people earning up to HK$25,000 will be assessed by a government-appointed committee to cover half of the 2.97 million employees in the SAR [Special Administrative Region], double that of its previous evaluation.
    [This idea presumably came from the current US buzz about raising the dollar limit below which employees are entitled to (and by law must be paid) extra overtime pay even if employers have classified them as "management" to avoid and "exempt them from" (in the wording that strains to make it sound prestigious) extra overtime pay. Notice how many gaps there are in the wording - you have to fill in a lot of gaps. Presumably China is as loathe to ever be accused of such a thing as copying the US as the know-it-all US is of ever seeming to be copying China - or anyone else.]
    This was decided at yesterday's [10/28's?] meeting of the Standard Working Hours Committee after six employee representatives threatened to quit over its pro-business stance.
    [This is no pro business stance. It's only a pro short-term stance. Hong Kong business would be a lot stronger with the long-term stance of lower dependency on unpredictable exports possible by making constant and reliable domestic consumer spending a lot stronger with more time to shop and more earnings to shop with = a natural outcome of full employment, which in the age of robotics, can only come from wider spread of the natural market-demanded employment, meaning shorter workweeks for more people and vigorous conversion of chronic overtime into jobs - and training whenever needed. By doing this experiment, Hong Kong could show the rest of China a shift from quantity to quality and a sustainable, repeatably upgradable economic future with over a billion happy people instead of nerve-wracking resentment festering all over the place - or rather under the surface everywhere. And once China was on its way, it would lead the world.]
    After a 2-hour meeting, chairman Edward Leong Che-hung said: "We have decided to increase the discussion on the number of workers.
    [And increasing the discussion is not the same as increasing the earnings level or the number of workers (and domestic consumers) benefiting. Technical term for Ed Leong: he's an "eternal BB" = big bullshitter and now he's found a whole new numbers game on which to waste time and hopefully hoodwink the employee reps on the committee into thinking there's substantial progress going on.]
    "If we put HK$15,000 as the upper limit, the workforce being studied will only be about 25 percent. Therefore we are going to raise it to discuss people earning under HK$25,000, so increasing the working force to 50 percent."
    [But here's the catch - there's still no standard definition of how long the workweek is and therefore exactly when overtime begins (and of course, this is still only a "study" that they are eternally "going to discuss"). The length of the workweek in each company is still infinitely variable because it's still a matter of "free" negotiation between labor-surplus weakened employees and employment-shortage strengthened employers on a company-by-company basis. And with employers having a blizzard of slightly or extremely different workweeks, any legislation about who gets extra overtime pay is virtually unenforceable.]
    The committee has analyzed all 27 combinations possible using three different salary levels (HK$10,000, HK$12,000, HK$15,000), three working hours per week (44, 48, 52) and three overtime pay ratios (1:1, 1.3, 1.5). This covered 770,000 employees.
    An impact assessment study by the committee's secretariat released in August estimated that an increase in annual wage bills for businesses under the 27 combinations would vary considerably, ranging from HK$103 million to HK$10.38 billion.
    A 28th combination covers 1.4 million employees with monthly wages not exceeding HK$25,000, weekly working hours exceeding 44 hours and overtime pay rate of 1:1.5. [All terribly impressive but...where's the beef?]
    Employee representative Stanley Ng Chau-pei, who is also the Federation of Trade Unions chairman, said only one more combination was added because the committee had not much time left for analysis.
    A report will be submitted to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in March.
    [- thus dragging out the whole snail's-pace process another five months.]
    Ng said employees welcomed the latest study, but their representatives would not rule out quitting the committee if they are dissatisfied with discussion results.

10/30/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Dakota Provisions returns to a five-day work week: Suppliers have repopulated from Avian flu outbreak, by Roger Larsen, Plainsman.com
    HURON, S.D., USA - Avian influenza that struck 11 of the 43 growers supplying turkeys to Dakota Provisions in Huron caused a significant loss in revenue, but plant employees are now back to a five-day work week, and a full recovery should come by spring.
    With the southern migration approaching, there are fears of another outbreak.
    “We’re concerned that on the return trip, with the southerly flyway, that we could see the virus come through again,” said Ken Rutledge, president and chief executive officer of Dakota Provisions.
    Ducks are in northern North Dakota, but geese haven’t arrived yet.
    In the months since avian influenza struck, a lot of work has been done to prevent more problems.
    “But no one really knows to this day how it really happened,” Rutledge said.
    “We can only prevent people from going into the buildings, we can sanitize vehicles that are coming on the farms, no unauthorized personnel. But if it’s carried by the wind, the turkeys have to have fresh air.”
    Two colonies in North Dakota, eight in South Dakota and one in Minnesota were impacted by the bird flu this year.
    “It’s about 12 percent of our total production for the year, but for the period of time when we lost the turkeys it was about 25 percent,” Rutledge said.
    Since May, the plant has been running three- to four-day work weeks. He said the board of directors was very gracious in guaranteeing the employees a 36-hour week, but also knew if that wasn’t done the workers would leave town.
    [Value your skillset? Trim your workweek, not your workforce!]
    In the end, a few did.
    “Last week our first repopulated flock was processed at the plant,” Rutledge said Wednesday. “This week we have a five-day week and next week we have a five-day week.”
    Also impacted were a couple breeder operations, particularly in Minnesota, that provide the baby turkeys, or poults. They made cutbacks as well.
    The breeder operations produce the eggs that go to commercial hatcheries. The colonies buy from the hatcheries.
    Rutledge said Dakota Provisions buys tom turkeys, but not hens. Typically it doesn’t produce whole birds, although this year it did fully cook some whole birds for specific customers.
    When he started in the industry in 1973, a 36-pound tom turkey was considered heavy.
    Today, with changing genetics and improved feed conversion rates on the birds, the breeder companies are getting larger breast meat and turkeys that weigh 45 pounds.
    Dakota Provisions is actually two plants under one roof – the raw side and the fully cooked, ready-to-eat side.
    “The ready-to-eat side has been absolutely busting the walls all year long,” Rutledge said. “That side of the plant actually wasn’t impacted.”
    The company stopped selling raw material into the market because it didn’t have the tonnage and wanted to take care of its ready-to-eat customers. Those buying Dakota Provisions raw materials put it into further processing.
    Before the flu situation shut down many of the export markets, most of the meat from here was going to Mexico.
    That export market will come back.
    “We’ve got some really good customers down there who really understood the situation,” Rutledge said.
    Despite the financial hit, Dakota Provisions is profitable.
    “We’ve stayed profitable,” he said. “We’ve not had an unprofitable month even with the AI situation. We’ve been able to keep it together.
    “We’re going to make money, but we would have made substantially more,” he said.
    The Huron plant is the only one of its kind in South Dakota.
    And Rutledge said he is proud of the employees who hung in with the shorter work weeks.
    “We’ve trained a great group of employees here,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting past this avian influenza situation and getting back to normal business operations.
    “It’s probably going to be through the first quarter of next year before we really get through this completely,” he said.

  2. Budget for reduced income together before cutting hours [of one of your breadwinners], by Dave Ramsey, KnoxNews.com
    KNOXVILLE, Tenn., USA - Q: My wife and I just started your class, and we're determined to get out of debt. At the same time, I'd like to do something to reduce the stress in her life. She's a nurse, and she works three 12-hour night shifts a week [= 36-hour workweek]. I'm a teacher, and I think we possibly could get by if she cut down to just two nights a week and worked part time [= 24-hour workweek] - Randy. [Note he apparently regards 36 hours as full time.]
    Would this be a good idea?
    A: The truth is there's no "possibly" involved. Even without knowing your income and other numbers, it all boils down to one simple question — can you live on that?
    It's a simple math thing. You need to look at your income and her income at 24 hours. Then, go over all of your bills and make a budget. If you can live on that, and it's what she wants to do, you have the answer.
    There's no reason to do this immediately, either. I mean, we're only talking about one day a week.
    [Hey, that's 14% of the full seven-day week, 20% of a standard five-day workweek, a whopping 33% of a three-day workweek.]
    Chances are it won't change your lives that much. It probably won't hurt anything if she works her regular hours through the end of the year.
    That way, you guys can keep looking at the numbers and decide on what's best.
    You obviously love your wife, Randy. But remember, this is up to her, too. Continue, with her, walking through the idea and the numbers. Make this decision together, so that you'll both be happy and it will be a blessing in your lives!
    Q: I'll be moving out to finish college next year, and I'm not sure how to find a good roommate. I know this isn't a money question exactly, but I listen to your show and value your opinion. Do you have any suggestions?
    A: I'm always happy to try to help someone who wants to make good decisions in life. I say that what I do is about life and money, so this question definitely qualifies.
    Finding a good roommate can be tough. You need to choose someone you like and get along with, but someone who is responsible and has a little maturity, too. Sometimes you'll have different schedules, and this may lead to people working, studying or playing at all different times. You also have to be respectful of each other's needs and values, and remember, too, that certain things about another person will eventually get on your nerves a little.
    Spend a lot of time talking to people and try to find someone with whom you have a lot in common. You won't always be on the same page with another person, but, if you take some time and try to choose wisely, it can be a fun and rewarding experience!
    Dave Ramsey is an author and talk show host focused on money and business. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

10/29/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. How to achieve a four-day working week, by Cristian Rennella, News.com.au
    SYDNEY, Australia - The dream of working a four-day week can be achieved and one company has developed a four-step process that involves banning emails, managers and meetings.
    [Ohoh, if we're tying a 4-day workweek to publicity-sucking extreme strategies, this may not be the goodnews story we were looking for.]
    Computer programmer Cristian Rennella has shared with news.com.au how he managed to grow his tech start-up’s revenue by 204 per cent while introducing a four-day week.
    Rennella is the co-founder of Argentinian price comparison website elMejorTrato.com, which employs 34 people around the world including in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil. After starting the company in 2008, he started experimenting with a new system of working in 2011. Within two years the company officially introduced four-day working weeks for all employees.

    Rennella believes getting rid of emails, managers and introducing a four-day working week can make businesses function better.
    He shares with news.com.au how he did it:
    “I invite you to try the following experiment: when you are in the middle of a day full of work, take a 5 minute pause, get away from your computer or just stop working and think about all the things that you still have to get done.
    What would you do if I told you that at no time during the day would you have to go to a meeting or answer an email? The only thing you have to do is just dedicate yourself to getting the pending work done.
    This is exactly what we do every day in our company, which has allowed us to achieve a revenue increase of 204 per cent between 2013 and 2014.
    In the following I would like to share with you the four steps we took in order to achieve this:
    1. Ban emails
    As a first step, choose one of the following applications: Basecamp, Asana, or Trello. Or even the new tool Slack, which is very useful with this in mind.
    Once you have selected the one you like the most, tell everyone that email can no longer be used for internal communications in the company.
    The unfortunate problem with email is that it destroys group interaction. When you send an email to a co-worker, the valuable contents are kept exclusively between you and the other behind closed doors.
    On the other hand, if you use a project management platform, such as those mentioned above, all communication will remain open and even if a new member wants to join in a project, you will not have to re-send them hundreds of unorganised emails so they can get up to speed; he or she can simply take in this information on their own and begin working, without interrupting others.
    2. Get rid of meetings
    Yes, that is correct, eliminate meetings, don’t just reduce them or minimise their length (such as cutting them to 15 or 30 minutes), as they will sooner or later be a waste of precious company time.
    As shown in a study done by Steven Rogelberg, professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte: “37 billion dollars are lost every year in unproductive meetings.”
    In order to achieve this goal, I suggest that you implement two annual retreats with the entire staff. These retreats will establish goals for the next six months. With common agreement, the path to be followed will be laid out and then the responsibilities of each particular task will be assigned.
    By not having to attend meetings, you will be able to achieve your maximum potential for productivity. The fact that you will be able to work four continuous hours in the morning, stop for a one-hour lunch break, and then work four more uninterrupted hours in the afternoon will mean a profound change in your productivity.
    Additionally, by not having meetings (including one-on-one phone calls with your boss, for example), each time that someone wants to interact with you, they will be required to write it on the project management platform, which gives you the opportunity to continue working with your highest level of concentration and answer when it is most convenient for you.
    This means you will not lose focus by having to attend to that person and then return to your work only to realise that the concentration you had before was now lost!
    As Professor Aidan P. Moran of Dublin University shared with us: “Don’t expect to be able to concentrate if you didn’t previously get rid of all distractions.”
    3. Eliminate the managers
    If you no longer have meetings or use email because all information containing the day-to-day advances in the company are found on an online platform, which can be accessed freely by all team members, why keep managers?
    One point to keep in mind is that surely the best employees want and deserve a raise, however, the error lies in the fact that they think the only way to achieve this is by becoming bosses.
    This is not just an error, it can also become the worst enemy for your company.
    The characteristics that are required to lead people are not the same as those needed to carry out a technical job with excellence (for example: being a programmer as opposed to being a project manager).
    Not paying extra for managers means that you can invest this money into raising the salaries of your own engineers, and even better, be the most competitive in the search for new talent as well as in retaining your staff.
    As Mark McCaffrey, global software leader in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), explains: “The competition for technical skills and experience has turned into a global war for talent.”
    But who controls the people so that they do their job if there are no bosses?
    You do not have to worry about this. For example, as everyone in our company is an engineer, it is clear when a co-worker is not doing their job or delays more than is required. At the end of the day, as we are all technical, we know when a job is done well and when it isn’t.
    4. Introduce a 4-day work week
    Lastly, thanks to the three adjustments made before (no more emails, meetings, or managers), after two years of working in this way, we decided to take one more step ahead and work only four days a week (from Monday to Thursday).
    There are hundreds of books dedicated to properly balancing personal and work time, but it is pretty much impossible if we only have two days available for doing thousands of tasks (family, recreation, etc.) versus five days for work.
    The problem is that there is always going to be more work to do, but this does not mean that the solution is having to work even more, because more is not always the best option.
    As in software companies like ours, what matters most is not the quantity of work but the quality of it. You cannot achieve quality if you do not have a proper balance in life (work + family + exercise + etc.).
    According to John Ashton, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, this new methodology helps to eliminate stress.
    Another factor you should take into consideration is that when there is a 4-day work week, the amount of missed days is significantly reduced, as people leave things such as doctor’s appointments or home chores for Friday because they know that they won’t be working then.
    In closing, the best recommendation I can give you in order to achieve these four changes in your organisation is that you don’t try to implement them permanently all at once.
    It is best to take one step at a time, with three month trial periods.
    This will allow you to learn and make the proper changes as you go.
    For example, when you communicate that there will be no more meetings, indicate that it will just be for a trial period of three months and if it is successful, the initiative will be renewed for another six months.
    After these time periods, I can assure you that no one will ever want to lose time in a meeting again.”

  2. 2016 Election: Here’s How France Responded to Jeb Bush’s Debate Dig, by Tessa Berenson @tcberenson, Time.com
    "The Senate, what is it, like a French workweek?"
    PARIS, France - Jeb Bush took a swipe at Marco Rubio during Wednesday night’s Republican debate—but he rubbed France the wrong way in the process.
    While criticizing Rubio, the Florida Senator, for missing votes in Congress, Bush said, “The Senate, what is it like a French workweek? You get like three days where you have to show up?” France has a 35-hour workweek policy [=five 7-hour days].
    Rubio parried with Bush onstage, but French ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud responded on Twitter.
    Gérard Araud @GerardAraud - The French work an average of 39,6 hours a week compared to 39,2 for the Germans.
    Gérard Araud @GerardAraud - In any country, electoral campaigns offer the opportuniity for a lot of bombastic nonsense. Let's be indulgent.
    Gérard Araud @GerardAraud - A French workweek of 3 days? No but a pregnancy paid leave of 16 weeks yes! And proud of it.
    The data may support Araud rather than Bush. Data from 2014 shows that “French workers are about as productive as American workers,” Fortune reports. “And when they aren’t on vacation, they work roughly 40 hours per week, just like Americans do.
    [Another version (1) -]
    France Fires Back At Jeb Bush's 'French Work Week' Attack On Marco Rubio At GOP Debate, by Julia Glum @superjulia   j.glum@ibtimes.com, International Business TImes via IBtimes.com
    PARIS, France - When Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called out Sen. Marco Rubio at the third GOP debate Wednesday night, he may have insulted a nation. Bush, attacking Rubio for missing a string of Senate votes, said his rival needed to show up to work -- which he said wasn't that hard, given the Senate's "French work week." But CNBC reported his comment didn't sit well with the French ambassador to the United States, Gérard Araud.
    Araud took to Twitter Wednesday night to defend the idea of a French workweek, a tradition adopted in 2000 that sets the legal maximum of employee hours at 35. He noted that despite the requirement, French people spend an average of 39.6 hours a week -- more than the Germans, who work 39.2.
    ... [The three tweets from here are included in story above.]
    Araud wasn't the only one offended by Bush's statement, which came after Florida newspaper the Sun-Sentinel demanded Rubio resign for skipping 59 votes in the Senate while campaigning for president. Bush, who's polling in fourth place to Rubio's third among GOP primary voters, had said, "The Senate, what is it like a French workweek? You get, like, three days where you have to show up?"
    Several American media outlets said Bush's insult fell flat, and French reporters appeared to agree Thursday. The Local newspaper published an article about the debate with the headline "White House race stoops to French bashing, again." L'Express called Bush's tirade "a classic attack," and the Metro News denounced it as "Republican humor."
    Henri de Raincourt, a senator for Yonne, France, and a minister under former President Nicolas Sarkozy, tweeted an invitation at Bush Thursday to come visit the French Senate and "change your preconceptions about our institution." The senator later retweeted a message noting that "in the Yonne, we defend our institutions beyond the borders."
    [Another version (2) -]
    White House race stoops to French bashing, again, Agence France-Presse via TheLocal.fr
    PARIS, France - Once again the race the race for the White House has descended into French bashing. This time Republican hopeful Jeb Bush mocked a rival for working as little as the French. But at least [the "French-like" rival] doesn't speak the language.
    White House hopeful Jeb Bush mustered the ultimate American put-down as he clashed with a former ally at Wednesday's Republican Presidential debate: he accused him of putting in a French workweek.
    Florida Senator Marco Rubio -- who like Bush hopes to steal a march on current frontrunners Donald Trump and Ben Carson -- has come under fire over perceptions he neglected his duties as he focuses on 2016.
    "Literally, the Senate, is it a French workweek? You turn up for like three days?" Bush hit out in a fiery exchange with his Florida neighbour early in the debate in Boulder, Colorado.
    "Just resign and let somebody else take the job. There are a lot of people who are living paycheck to paycheck in Florida."
    Rubio [Bush] was presumably referring to France's 35-hour workweek, which is regularly the subject of mocking in America.
    The reality is most French people work more than 35 hours each week but the cliché has stubbornly remained on the other side of the Atlantic.
    In reality, numerous exceptions mean the 35-hour week applies to slightly less than half of French workers, and does not include managers.
    A labour ministry report published last year revealed French workers put in an average of 39.5 hours a week in 2011, slightly behind the EU average of 40.3 hours and the 41-hour working week in Germany and 42.4 hours in the UK.
    The same survey showed French middle-management worked an average of 44.1 hours a week.
    But to get around the 35-hour week law most companies simply offer workers extra days holiday, known as RTT (Réduction de Temps Travail), in return for working a 39-hour week.
    France's ambassador to the United States was not impressed with Jeb Bush's rolling out an old cliché to try to score points against his rival.
    Gérard Araud later tweeted out defiantly: "A French workweek of three days? No, but a pregnancy paid leave of 16 weeks yes! And proud of it."
    After which the ambassador was questioned by a tweeter whether he was "proud of France's tax rates "to which he hit back: "Yes proud of the tax rates. For us health care and tax rates are not commodities, but human rights with universal commodities."
    Many consider Rubio to be the most serious establishment challenger beyond Bush to go up against Carson or Trump, neither of whom have held elected office.
    Rubio responded to Bush by saying many White House hopefuls -- including John McCain -- had missed Senate votes as they focused on the presidential race.
    "Jeb, let me tell you, I don't remember you ever complaining about John McCain's vote record," said Rubio. "Someone convinced you attacking me is going to help you."
    Rubio stands third in the RealClearPolitics average of opinion polls, at nine percent, well behind Trump (26.8) and Carson (22.0) but ahead of Bush (7.0).
    French bashing common in fight for White House
    In every race for the White House there always seems to be a moment when candidates attack the French connections of their rivals to try to win votes.
    In January 2012 Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney was targeted in a political ad – for speaking French.
    The highlighting of Romney’s French skills was an attempt to portray him as an elitist as well as a “European-style liberal wimp”. Romney lost his bid for the White House.
    And in 2004 John Kerry, the then Democratic nominee to challenge George W Bush for the White House, was attacked for “looking French”.
    Kerry speaks French and has relatives in the country, which was as good as treason for some Republicans.
    Kerry went on to lose the [rigged] election.
    [Another version (3) -]
    'French workweek': Do they really work less? BBC.com
    [Short answer: No, the uncriticized Germans work less -]
    Despite the stereotypes, German workers actually put in less hours than French ones (photo caption)
    LONDON, U.K. - At the US Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, former Florida governor Jeb Bush used the idea of a "French workweek" to mock fellow contender Marco Rubio's patchy Senate voting record.
    "You get like three days where you have to show up?" he asked.
    By evoking the stereotype of lazy French employees wedded to their 35-hour week, Mr Bush was using a cliche about Gallic work culture.
    The French do tend to work fewer hours than employees in most developed countries, but they put in longer hours than those in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, according to the OECD.
    [Graph "Average annual hours worked per person" here shows order, from longest to shortest: Mexico, Greece, U.S., Japan, Spain, U.K., France, Denmark, Germany.]
    French staff can request to work above the 35-hour limit, while managers are not subject to the restriction [in the first place].
    US workers, meanwhile, work many more hours than their French counterparts - 1,789 hours annually on average, compared with 1,473 for the French.
    France's generous paid-leave entitlements no doubt play a role in creating this gulf - 30 working days off a year in addition to 11 public holidays puts a serious dent in annual hours.
    The US, in comparison, offers no legally mandated annual leave.
    The lower number of hours worked in France reflects in part a relatively high labour productivity - the amount of goods and services produced per hour of work.
    In France, the average [labour productivity] is $64 per hour (£42), slightly more than Germany and well above the OECD average of $49.
    Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States, tweeted about France's workforce productivity [see his tweets included in first of 10/29 #2 stories above].
    The US sits a little higher at $67 [of output] per hour.
    Mexicans work more than any other OECD nation - 2,228 hours per year on average - but only produce $20 per hour worked.
    [Another version (4) -]
    Jeb Bush, French people are tired of US politicians bashing France on the campaign trail - Jeb Bush, they’re looking at you. After the Republican debate’s mention of the ‘French workweek’ to denote a slacker, the French are setting the record straight, by Jana Kasperkevic @kasperka, TheGuardian.com
    Jeb Bush...in the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate, October 28, 2015 at the Coors Event Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado\:\ ‘I mean, literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French workweek? You get like 3 days where you have to show up?’ (photo caption) MANCHESTER, U.K. - Sacré bleu, Jeb Bush is having a bad week! Not only did the presidential candidate have a disappointing showing in Wednesday’s Republican debate, he has also managed to upset people who cannot even vote for him – the French.
    While taking a jab at Florida senator Marco Rubio for missing Senate votes due to being on the campaign trail, Bush made a reference to the “French workweek”.
    “You should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French workweek? You get like three days where you have to show up? You can campaign. Or just resign. Let someone else take the job,” he said.
    Bush said Rubio knew this was a six-year term when he ran for senator and that his constituents, including Bush, are looking for someone who will fight for them.
    The [Bush] campaign also promoted the soundbite on Twitter, sharing a short video footage of the exchange and tweeting: “French Work Week vs Real Accomplishments”.
    — Jeb Bush (@JebBush, October 29, 2015
    The French were not impressed.
    Gérard Araud, French ambassador to the US, pushed back on Twitter. “The French work an average of 39.6 hours a week compared to 39.2 for the Germans,” he said.
    “A French workweek of 3 days? No, but a pregnancy paid leave of 16 weeks yes! And proud of it,” he tweeted later.
    — Gérard Araud (@GerardAraud), October 29, 2015
    Hours after the debate, a French newspaper the Local ran a piece with the headline, “White House race stoops to French bashing, again”. [See version 2 above.]
    “The reality is most French people work more than 35 hours each week but the cliché has stubbornly remained on the other side of the Atlantic,” asserted the paper before pointing out that this is not the first time that linking a candidate to France was used as an attack or an insult. In 2012, an ad called The French Connection produced by the Newt Gingrich campaign attacked Mitt Romney for speaking French.
    Another paper, Libération, pointed out that Eurostat figures show full-time workers in France putting in an average of 40.7 hours per week.
    The confusion about the French workweek stems from the country’s overtime policies. The 35-hour mark is “simply a threshold above which overtime or rest days start to kick in,” French economist Jean-Marie Perbost told BBC last year. He also pointed out that more than half the population work overtime.
    “Not too concerned about attacks from the French media,” Bush’s communications director, Tim Miller, told CNNMoney when asked about the response. “Jeb’s working far more than 40 hours a week.”
    Miller also retweeted the following tweet and vine from Independent Journal reporter Kelsey Rupp.
    A look inside the "French workweek" of the U.S. Senate
    — Kelsey Rupp (@KelseyRupp), October 29, 2015
    [Cartoon is confused but seems to make light of French protests that they work hard.]
    The [Bush] campaign was not the only one [grammar?] to dismiss the remark [about disproven cliché on French laziness remaining stubbornly in US?].

    When Laura Haim, reporter for French TV channel Canal+, asked the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, what the president thought of the comment, Earnest joked: “I hope you didn’t take that personally, Laura. I can vouch for the fact that you certainly work more than most members of Congress.”
    Haim pressed on, pointing to Ambassador Araud’s comments and asking what Obama thought of the French quality of life.
    “Oh, you guys are so sensitive. I’ll bet you that Governor Bush is just jealous,” said Earnest. Later, he added: “It certainly seems to be a quality of life that many French people have warmly embraced, as they should."
    [Another version (5) -]
    France Scoffs at Jeb Bush's Line About Their Workweek, by Emily Greenhouse, Bloomberg.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Last night at the Republican debate, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush turned to his Florida Senator Marco Rubio, his once-protégé, and criticized all the votes he's missed while campaigning.
    “You should be showing up to work,” he said. He turned to Rubio in a mix of frustration and disgust. “I mean, literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French workweek? You get like three days where you have to show up?”
    Rubio responded nimbly and twisted the attack back on Bush—not that it stopped the Bush campaign from proudly tweeting the remark: French Work Week vs. Real Accomplishments. #GOPDebate https://t.co/24yQ2bMGmF — Jeb Bush (@JebBush) October 29, 2015
    For their part, the French, who would have thought the gallic-bashing days of “Freedom Fries” were behind them, took small umbrage. In response, The HuffingtonPost.Fr took a deep dive into data visualization to give Bush a few fresher facts: In 2014, the average French person worked 37.2 hours a week, more than in Denmark (33.5), Germany (35.3), and Italy (36.9 hours). “His attack had a boomerang effect'"–that is, it backfired—noted Le Temps, a Francophone Swiss paper, “because it seemed premeditated.” A headline in the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles reported that Jeb Bush “ironizes” the workweek “à la française.”
    LeRal.net, a site administrated in Senegal offered a pungent, almost Seinfeld-like "eh," in visual form: [a big "hein??" over a pic of Bush]
    It was perhaps Gérard Araud, the French Ambassador to the United States, who replied most forcefully. He retweeted Bush’s own tweet with a condescending zing of his own: In any country, electoral campaigns offer the opportuniity for a lot of bombastic nonsense. Let's be indulgent. — Gérard Araud (@GerardAraud) October 29, 2015
    And further along his Twitter feed, some numbers (a bit higher than those listed by the Huffington Post): The French work an average of 39,6 hours a week compared to 39,2 for the Germans. — Gérard Araud (@GerardAraud) October 29, 2015
    He retweeted: @GerardAraud: France also has higher labor productivity than the United States, from #OECD #frenchbashing #gopdebate — Alexander Hurst (@iamhurst) October 29, 2015
    And finally concluded: A French workweek of 3 days? No but a pregnancy paid leave of 16 weeks yes! And proud of it. — Gérard Araud (@GerardAraud) October 29, 2015
    [Another version (6) -]
    France mocks Jeb Bush over ‘bombastic nonsense’ about the country’s workweek, by Julia Glum, International Business TImes via RawStory.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - When Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called out Sen. Marco Rubio at the third GOP debate Wednesday night, he may have insulted a nation. Bush, attacking Rubio for missing a string of Senate votes, said his rival needed to show up to work -- which he said wasn't that hard, given the Senate's "French workweek." But CNBC reported his comment didn't sit well with the French ambassador to the United States, Gérard Araud.
    Araud took to Twitter Wednesday night to defend the idea of a French workweek, a tradition adopted in 2000 that sets the legal maximum of employee hours at 35. He noted that despite the requirement, French people spend an average of 39.6 hours a week -- less than the Germans, who work 39.2
    Araud wasn't the only one offended by Bush's statement, which came after Florida newspaper the Sun-Sentinel demanded Rubio resign for skipping 59 votes in the Senate while campaigning for president. Bush, who's polling in fourth place to Rubio's third among GOP primary voters, had said, "The Senate, what is it like a French workweek? You get, like, three days where you have to show up?"
    Several American media outlets said Bush's insult fell flat, and French reporters appeared to agree Thursday. The Local newspaper published an article about the debate with the headline "White House race stoops to French bashing, again." L'Express called Bush's tirade "a classic attack," and the Metro News denounced it as "Republican humor."
    Henri de Raincourt, a senator for Yonne, France, and a minister under former President Nicolas Sarkozy, tweeted an invitation at Bush Thursday to come visit the French Senate and "change your preconceptions about our institution." The senator later retweeted a message noting that "in the Yonne, we defend our institutions beyond the borders."

10/28/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Important vote today for Essar Steel Algoma workers, by: Darren Taylor, SooToday.com
    SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont., Canada - Members of United Steelworkers Local 2724, representing salaried workers at Essar Steel Algoma, are voting on a work share proposal today.
    Voting began at 6 a.m. and continues until 5:30 p.m. at the Local 2724 office at 550 Queen Street West, Suite 202, and again at the Marconi Hall (Ballroom C) at 450 Albert Street West beginning at 6 p.m., according to a notice posted on 2724's website.
    A membership meeting will be held at the Marconi beginning at 6 p.m.
    Notices also say information meetings regarding the work share proposal were held Monday for 2724 members at the Marconi at 12 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
    In work sharing scenarios, two employees are kept on a part-time or reduced-time basis to carry out a job typically performed by one employee on a full-time basis.
    That results in a cut in pay for each affected employee.
    However, work sharing is a way to avoid layoffs when business is slow.

    100 workers have already been laid off by Essar Steel Algoma, effective October 2.
    The company said the layoffs were due to low demand for steel, low steel prices and dumped imports.
    Local 2724 union officials were not available for comment on the work share proposal.

  2. Introducing the 20-hour work week, by Kieron Monks, CNN.com
    [And recall that Art Dahlberg was recommending a 20-hour workweek in his 1932 book, "Jobs, Machines and Capitalism!]
    Story highlights:
    • Author and development expert suggests we must drastically reduce working hours
    • Companies are beginning to support the practice and studies show it can improve performance
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - After years on a treadmill of stressful and demanding assignments for high-powered institutions such as the World Bank, development and policy expert William Powers hit a brick wall.
    The self-confessed "work junkie" took a year out living off-grid in a North Carolina cabin, experimenting with a slower lifestyle, and upon returning to his native New York, decided that he could not go back to the grind.
    "I could never work 9-5 again," says Powers. "That kind of work seemed like a form of slavery -- giving up your mental, emotional, and intellectual capacities."
    Powers slashed his working hours from over 50 a week to just 20, limited to Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with a five-day weekend. His time was split between freelance consulting, writing and speaking jobs.
    Two theories were critical to making the new arrangement work. 'Parkinson's Law' - that work expands to fill the time available, and entrepreneur Richard Koch's '80/20 Principle,' which argues that we achieve 80% of productivity in 20% of our time -- and vice versa.

    "I gave myself very short deadlines on everything I needed to do," says Powers. "I thought about what were the most effective things I could be doing and fired other clients. I got rid of superfluous work strands, and though my hours were reduced by 60%, my income went down by only 20%."
    Strictly adhering to the new routine -- observing technology fasts and ignoring out-of-hours emails -- recharged the New Yorker's frazzled psyche as he was able to spend time with his family, get out of the city, and eat well, but also ensured that his reduced working hours were put to good use.
    "I would get to my virtual office Tuesday morning refreshed," says Powers. "I would be focusing on tight deadlines and because of 80/20 I would be doing the work that was most interesting to me."
    Work less, achieve more
    With a new release of his book "New Slow City," Powers wants to convince others of the benefits of changing routine.
    He argues that a new paradigm is needed to replace the eight-hour, five-day week that has endured since Henry Ford introduced it in 1914. The productivity of US workers has almost doubled since the 1970s but Americans are still working some of the longest hours in the world.
    "I realize not everyone can do it because the cost of living is so high in cities that some people are just scraping by with two jobs," says Powers. "But if cultural creatives and opinion leaders make the change it can (eventually) flip to everyone."
    Powers went cold turkey after being a workaholic but recommends that others make more gradual adjustments, such as experimenting with shorter deadlines and taking the saved time off:
    "In the U.S. our identities are shaped around two things; being workers and consumers. It's about opening up little spaces for creativity and free time that will help you to go in a new direction."
    Powers is far from alone in promoting new practices. The "Gothenburg experiment" has seen the Swedish city implement a six-hour day for public workers, with many private firms joining in, on the basis that what is good for staff will improve their work.
    "Today we get more done in six hours than comparable companies do in eight," wrote Maria Brath, CEO of tech start-up Brath. "We believe it comes with the high level of creativity demanded in this line of work. We believe nobody can be creative and productive in eight hours straight."
    Brath points to rising revenue since the shift as evidence of its value. She also notes benefits beyond staff morale, such as offering an advantage in recruitment and retention, and improved profile and reputation for the company.
    Forward-thinking U.S. companies such as 37signals and Treehouse have implemented and maintained four-day weeks, noting an improvement in staff morale, retention and quality of output.
    The global race...to slow down
    Recent studies support the shift, with OECD figures showing that shorter weeks in France and Germany have resulted in higher productivity per hour than British counterparts working longer. The correlation extends further to show that productivity sharply declines from the second hour.
    Excessive hours have also been shown to be counter-productive, with Stanford Professor John Penceval's research concluding that working over 55 hours a week "increases the probability of errors, accidents, and sickness that impose costs on the employer."
    British think tank the New Economic Foundation (NEF) has proposed a 21-hour week as the basis of a new working model with greater emphasis on staff well-being and sustainability.
    "There are social, environmental and economic imperatives to change the normal routine," says Anna Coote, Associate Director of the NEF. "For the economy it's better to spread paid work across the population to reduce unemployment and have less people on benefits (welfare). You would have a stable, committed workforce and there is some evidence that people are more productive in a shorter working week."
    Coote believes cultural changes makes the vision more likely, with modern workers open to changing routine, as well as the possibilities of automation to reduce the workload. The growing threat of climate change could slow the wider imperative for constant economic growth.
    The social policy expert wants to see more incentives for employers to consider a new model and research into what might convince them, such as paying taxes by the hour. She proposes transition steps such as reducing hours at both ends of the age scale.
    One recurrent criticism is that low paid workers would lose out from shorter hours, but Coote feels this can be addressed.
    "(Change) must go hand-in-hand with efforts tackle low pay. The answer is not for lower paid people to keep working long hours to keep a roof over their head -- it's to have better hourly rates."
    This would be fair reward for productivity increases that have not yet benefited the low paid, she argues.
    Coote is under no illusion that employers will flock to a new model -- but believes that within 10 years it could become widespread. Comparing the campaign to those for women's voting rights and against public smoking, she believes that major social change is often imperceptible until a dam breaks and the unthinkable becomes standard practice.
    If so, working life could soon become far more adventurous.

10/27/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Short-time work for Benteler employees - Employees of Benteler in Dinslaken are affected by kurzarbeit, (10/26 late pickup) DerWesten.de
    DINSLAKEN, Germany - The difficult order situation for pipe manufacturers is impacting the plant in Dinslaken.
    While motorists are pleased about low gas prices, this development has a negative impact on the producers of pipes that are used in oil production. Such pipes are produced, for example, in the Benteler plant on Luisen St. The difficult order situation has led to the implementation of kurzarbeit, there since April.
    This was confirmed at the request of a representative of the NRZ union IG Metall. Kurzarbeit has been logged for the entire operation. "That's no secret," reads the response from council chairman Sezgen Oezen, as the editors ask him about this development. He adds that this is a consequence of the strained order situation. And that the kurzarbeit is only temporary, it's a case of one week per month. "Our competitors have similar problems," says Oezen. That means a cut in earnings for the employees, tied in with a loss of money for them. One continues in close contact with the Employment Agency, somewhat controlled by the employees' worktime accounts.
    This development hits the company after a fairly successful year. In March, management announced that the Benteler Group had "grown successfully" over the past year. The foreword to the annual report states that the decline in drilling activity due to the oilprice collapse and associated reduced pipe demand for oil and gas exploration in 2014 had little effect on the steel-tube field. "
    Now the price decline is affecting petroleum, which is accompanied by a decline in drilling activity, but right in production equipment. The Benteler Group employs more than 27,500 employees in 2014 on average in 38 countries.

  2. Agreement on 35 hours within AP-HP - New recruits will all be on the 7-hour-30-minute plan, more economical because generates less [banked] SWT, by Cécile Crouzel, lefigaro.fr
    A victory for Martin Hirsch, the Director General of AP-HP, whose project to revise worktime had evoked a general rejection by the unions, triggering strike days.
    PARIS, France - It's a small step in easing the 35-hour landmark that will see the light. Tuesday, the management of the Public Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP) signed an agreement with the CFDT on the organization of work in this juggernaut that includes 38 hospitals and 75,000 employees. A victory for Martin Hirsch, the executive director of the institution, whose project to review worktime, launched in the spring, evoked a general rejection by the unions, triggering strike days.
    In September, the CFDT returned, alone, to the negotiating table. To finally sign. The management did not need a compromise with unions to reorganize work. "The agreement reached has no legal value, but it has moral value, as a sign of our commitment to a renewed social dialogue," explains Gerard Cotellon, the DRH of AP-HP. The fact that it is signed only by the CFDT (18.2% of votes) - the third organization behind the CGT (38.1%) and the South (29.2%) - poses no problem legally.
    According to this agreement, which would apply from the 1st of January, the staff of AP-HP will not be obliged to give up shorter-worktime (SWT) days: they can choose between staying in the regime of 7 hours and 36 minutes of work per day with 18 SWT minutes [banked?] or pass to the new regime of 7 hours 30 minutes per day with 15 SWT minutes. In return, new recruits will all be in the 7:30 regime, more economical because less generating of SWT. The days of "protocol forfeit" will be suppressed, which amounts to withdrawing two days of vacation. The day shifts will no longer be separated into morning and afternoon shifts. The more easily to build schedules with less recourse to substitutes. In exchange, the meal break will still be considered as worktime. Martin Hirsch's initial project was to save 20 million a year for AP-HP. The agreement reached Tuesday, which is a little less ambitious, "will permit efficiencies," says Gérard Cotellon. It remains to know how the CGT and South will accept this agreement ... the "minority" that brings us up to the whole of the employees of the institution.

10/25-26/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Bernie Sanders Wants 40-Hour Workweek For American Workers - Bernie Sanders said he would like American workers to work a maximum of 40 hours a week, by Peter de Jesus, 10/26 HNGN.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has stated that he wants the American workforce to implement the 40-hour workweek again. According to the senator, recent trends in the work processes in the United States has resulted in a high number of people who are working longer hours while getting lower wages, reports The Huffington Post.
    "A hundred years ago workers took to the streets to fight for 40 hours, and a hundred years have come and gone, we've seen an explosion in technology, we've seen an explosion in productivity, we have a great global economy, and what do you have? The vast majority of people are working longer hours for lower wages," Sanders said.
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average full-time American worker works about 42.7 hours a week. If part-time workers are included, the average drops, but only down to 39 hours.

    Sanders introduced a bill last week that would require employers to give at least 10 paid vacation days a year to employees who have been working at the company for a year. The senator is also a supporter of a proposed rule change that would expand the number of American workers who qualify for overtime pay, according to Yahoo! Finance.
    "What our legislation says - and we think this is absolutely a family value - is that a mom and a dad should have the right to at least a couple of weeks off of paid vacation so they can spend quality time with their kids," he said.
    The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, still the legislation in place, only protects workers who earn less than $23,660 per year. With the new legislation, workers who are earning $50,440 and below would still qualify for paid overtime.

  2. Is Paul Ryan the new poster child for the work-life balance debate? by Kelly Wallace, 10/25 (10/22 late pickup) CNN.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - At an education conference I attended, the conversation quickly turned to Rep. Paul Ryan, and how he made time with his family one of his pre-conditions for running for House speaker.
    "I cannot and will not give up my family time," Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, said Tuesday.
    A high-profile man asserting that time with his three children, ages 10, 12, and 13, was just as important, if not more so, than becoming the most powerful person in the United States Congress? Could this be a watershed moment in the work-life balance debate?

    In conversations with women at that conference Wednesday and over email with women and men around the country, it's clear there are dramatically different opinions about just whether Ryan's work-life balance stance will shift the debate and do anything to bring about real change for working parents.
    Ryan's position "influences the work life conversation greatly," said Jennifer Owens, editorial director of Working Mother Media. "He is reaching for the third most powerful job in the federal government while acknowledging the importance of his role as a parent. That is a message that will be heard loud and clear."
    Owens said Ryan is setting a good example by making work-life balance a "condition of employment so to speak." While he is, no doubt, in a "powerful position to leverage" his work-life demands, he is sending a "powerful message" about the importance fathers are putting on their commitment to their families, she said.
    Janis Brett Elspas, a mother of four and founder of Mommy Blog Expert, believes Ryan could not only be blazing the trail for fathers to get more quality time with their children, but for working mothers too.
    "It's about time for family to come first before work, just the way it used to be before the Industrial Revolution started," she said.
    For family time but against paid parental leave?
    Almost immediately after Ryan made clear he would not give up weekend time with his children to become speaker, it was revealed he has not supported paid parental leave. In 2009, he voted against a proposal that would have given federal workers four weeks of paid parental leave. Currently, the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not require at least some paid leave for new parents.
    John Furjanic, a single father of one, believes Ryan's comments will make it much harder for him to vote against issues concerning parental leave in the future.
    "I think this is a watershed moment because he is a man and he is conservative," said Furjanic. "He would be a hypocrite to give himself family time off and not grant it to the rest of the USA." CNN moms talk work-life balance
    But, on the other side, many parents slammed Ryan for denying to others what he wants for himself and his family.
    "When Rep. Ryan had the opportunity to vote for paid time for federal employees to bond with a new child, he voted no," said Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work, an organization with coalitions in 21 states working on passing paid sick days and paid family leave policies. "Across the country, voters are demonstrating strong support for policies that help all families have time to spend with their loved ones. We urge Rep. Ryan to expand his gaze from his own family to those of the entire nation."
    Katharine Zaleski, co-founder and president of PowerToFly, which matches businesses with women who can work from anywhere, went even further.
    "The irony is that he now appears to be a hero to working parents for saying he wants family time because often heroes speak out against the status quo, but he is one of the people who created such a harsh status quo toward working parents," said Zaleski, a mother of one. "The irony is amazing but I applaud him because he's opened up this debate and revealed his own hypocrisy."
    The work-life balance gender gap
    Lori Day, author of "Her Next Chapter," a book about bringing up girls to be leaders, raised the gender gap when it comes to acceptance about work-life balance.
    If a woman politician had said she wanted time with her family, that most likely would have hurt her career and stereotyped her as someone who can't balance the demands of work and family, and devote enough of her time to her job, she said. "But when dads ask for the same work-life balance women have been requesting for decades, suddenly it's news, and it doesn't hurt them, it humanizes them.
    "Awww! Paul Ryan wants to be with his kids! What a great dad! It doesn't work this way for women," she said.
    Children's television host Miss Lori agrees 100%, and says that is why Ryan's push for family time won't have any trickle down effect for women.
    "Women trying to spend time with their kids are still going to be seen as unpromotable, lacking in professionalism, a bad bet," said the social media strategist and Babble.com contributor. "And if you think I'm wrong, I've got a bag of magic beans to sell you ... while depositing my paycheck, which is 78 cents on the dollar of my male coworkers' take home pay."
    Lela Davidson is author of "Faking Balance: Adventures in Work and Life," a book that tackles the choices working parents face. She doesn't believe Ryan's call for his own family time will dramatically shift the work-life debate, mainly because of where he works.
    "I'm not sure many Americans believe that any politician works too many hours for too little pay," said Davidson, a mother of two who speaks nationally on the issues of women in leadership and work-life satisfaction. She said the stance by a high-powered man would have made more impact if it came from someone working in the private sector.
    "Let's face it. Congress doesn't play by the same rules as the rest of us," said Kelli Arena, a mother of three and executive director of the Global Center for Journalism and Democracy at Sam Houston State University.
    "Businesses won't look toward its work rules for guidance," said Arena, an award-winning journalist. "I think we need a significant number of men from the business world to make similar requests and to support the notion of family ties. Then maybe we will see improvement."
    Do you believe Paul Ryan's comments about family time could impact the work-life debate? Share your thoughts with Kelly Wallace on Twitter @kellywallacetv or CNN Parents on Facebook.

10/24/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Today in History: The 40-hour work week, AP via SantaCruzSentinel.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Today is Saturday, October 24, the 297th day of 2015. There are 68 days left in the year.
    On October 24, 1945, the United Nations officially came into existence as its charter took effect.
    In 1537, Jane Seymour, the third wife of England’s King Henry VIII, died 12 days after giving birth to Prince Edward, later King Edward VI.
    In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War and effectively destroyed the Holy Roman Empire.
    In 1861, the first transcontinental telegraph message was sent by Chief Justice Stephen J. Field of California from San Francisco to President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C., over a line built by the Western Union Telegraph Co.
    In 1936, the short story “The Devil and Daniel Webster” by Stephen Vincent Benet was published in The Saturday Evening Post.
    In 1939, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra recorded their signature theme, “Let’s Dance,” for Columbia Records in New York. DuPont began publicly selling its nylon stockings in Wilmington, Delaware.
    In 1940, the 40-hour work week went into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
    In 1952, Republican presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower declared in Detroit, “I shall go to Korea” as he promised to end the conflict. (He made the visit over a month later.)
    In 1962, a naval quarantine of Cuba ordered by President John F. Kennedy went into effect during the missile crisis.
    In 1972, Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who’d broken Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947, died in Stamford, Connecticut, at age 53.
    In 1980, the merchant freighter SS Poet departed Philadelphia, bound for Port Said (sah-EED’), Egypt, with a crew of 34 and a cargo of grain; it disappeared en route and has not been heard from since.
    In 1992, the Toronto Blue Jays became the first non-U.S. team to win the World Series as they defeated the Atlanta Braves, 4-3, in Game 6.
    In 2002, authorities apprehended Army veteran John Allen Muhammad and teenager Lee Boyd Malvo near Myersville, Maryland, in the Washington-area sniper attacks. (Malvo was later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole; Muhammad was sentenced to death and executed in 2009.)
    Ten years ago: Hurricane Wilma knifed through Florida with winds up to 125 mph. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks died in Detroit at age 92. President George W. Bush nominated economic adviser Ben Bernanke to succeed Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve chairman. Bombs went off near the Palestine and Sheraton hotels in Baghdad, killing as many as 17 Iraqi pedestrians and security guards.
    Five years ago: Following the latest release of secret U.S. military documents by WikiLeaks, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told BBC television that allegations of prisoner abuse and civilian killings in Iraq were extremely serious and needed to be investigated. Playwright Joseph Stein, who wrote the book for the classic Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” died in New York at age 98.
    One year ago: A shooting rampage in Northern California claimed the lives of Sacramento County Deputy Danny Oliver, then Placer County sheriff’s detective Michael Davis Jr. (a suspect, Luis Enrique Monroy Bracamontes, faces charges of murder and attempted murder). Jaylen Fryberg, a student at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington state, fatally shot four friends he had invited to lunch and wounded a fifth teen before killing himself. A coordinated militant assault on an army checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula killed 31 Egyptian troops. Actress Marcia Strassman, who’d played Gabe Kaplan’s wife, Julie, on the 1970s sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter,” died in Sherman Oaks, California, at age 66. Ted Bishop was ousted as president of the PGA of America over a sexist tweet and Facebook post directed at Ian Poulter.
    Today’s Birthdays: Football Hall-of-Famer Y.A. Tittle is 89. Rock musician Bill Wyman is 79. Actor F. Murray Abraham is 76. Movie director-screenwriter David S. Ward is 70. Actor Kevin Kline is 68. Former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume (kwah-EE’-see oom-FOO’-may) is 67. Country musician Billy Thomas (Terry McBride and the Ride) is 62. Actor Doug Davidson is 61. Actor B.D. Wong is 55. Singer Michael Trent (Americana duo Shovels & Rope) is 38. Rock musician Ben Gillies (Silverchair) is 36. Singer-actress Monica Arnold is 35. Actress-comedian Casey Wilson is 35. Rhythm-and-blues singer Adrienne Bailon (3lw) is 32. Actor Tim Pocock is 30. R&B singer-rapper-actor Drake is 29. Actress Shenae Grimes is 26. Actress Eliza Taylor is 26. Olympic gold medal gymnast Kyla Ross is 19. Actor Hudson Yang (TV: “Fresh Off the Boat”) is 12.
    Thought for Today: “Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of the few; and number not voices, but weigh them.” — Immanuel Kant, German philosopher (1724-1804).

  2. The dramatic history of how the 40-hour workweek became the standard in America, by Shana Lebowitz, BusinessInsider.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - In 1890, the US government began tracking workers' hours. The average workweek for full-time manufacturing employees was a whopping 100 hours.
    Seventy-five years ago, on October 24, 1940, the eight-hour day and 40-hour workweek became standard practice in a range of industries. It was a long, drawn-out battle between workers and government officials.
    We take a look back at the history of the 40-hour workweek, as well as how it's evolved in the last few years.
    The history of the 40-hour workweek
    August 20, 1866: A new organization named the National Labor Union asked Congress to pass a law mandating the eight-hour workday. Their efforts technically failed, but they inspired Americans across the country to support labor reform over the next few decades.
    May 1, 1867: The Illinois Legislature passed a law mandating an eight-hour workday. Many employers refused to cooperate, and a massive strike erupted in Chicago. That day became known as "May Day."
    May 19, 1869: President Ulysses S. Grant issued a proclamation that guaranteed a stable wage and an eight-hour workday — but only for government workers. Grant's decision encouraged private-sector workers to push for the same rights.
    1870s and 1880s: While the National Labor Union had dissolved, other organizations including the Knights of Labor and the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions continued to demand an eight-hour workday. Every year on May Day, strikes and demonstrations were organized to bring awareness to the issue.
    May 1, 1886: Labor organizations called for a national strike in support of a shorter workday. More than 300,000 workers turned out across the country. In Chicago, demonstrators fought with police over the next few days. Many on both sides were wounded or killed in an event that's now known as the "Haymarket Affair."
    1906: The eight-hour workday was instituted at two major firms in the printing industry.
    September 3, 1916: Congress passed the Adamson Act, a federal law that established an eight-hour workday for interstate railroad workers. The Supreme Court constitutionalized the act in 1917.
    September 25, 1926: Ford Motor Companies adopted a five-day, 40-hour workweek.
    June 25, 1938: Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which limited the workweek to 44 hours [to be reduced 2 hours a year for the next 2 years].
    June 26, 1940: Congress amended the Fair Labor Standards Act, limiting the workweek to 40 hours. The act went into effect on October 24, 1940 [as the 40-40-40 Plan: 40 hours maximum workweek, 40 cents minimum wage, in 1940].

    [and if we'd lowered the workweek more, we'd have created enough of a wage-boosting jobseeker shortage in employers' eyes to avoid the mixed blessing of the minimum workweek, which opens a gap at the bottom of the wage ladder against newcomers.]
    How the 40-hour workweek has evolved
    Recent research suggests that the 40-hour workweek may be on its way out — at least among professionals and executives.
    In a survey by tax and professional services firm EY, half of managers around the world reported logging more than 40 hours a week. In the US, a whopping 58% of managers said they worked over 40 hours a week. Presumably, some of that time is spent at home answering emails, instead of at the office.
    Meanwhile, there's evidence that some Americans see working around the clock as a kind of status symbol. While many people claim to be working 60- or 80-hour workweeks, much of that time isn't very productive. In fields like finance and consulting, some workers may only be pretending to work 80-hour weeks, a recent study suggests.
    Yet for lower-income Americans, who may not view overwork the same way, there are some signs of progress.
    In June 2015, Congress proposed a rule change that would expand the number of Americans who qualify for overtime pay. Workers who earn up to $50,440 a year would be eligible for time-and-a-half overtime wages when they work more than 40 hours per week. Currently, the threshold below which workers can earn overtime wages is just $23,660.
    No matter your profession, the truth is that working longer hours can be counterproductive because you start putting out lower-quality work as time goes on.
    In general, research suggests that we can handle working 60-hour weeks for three weeks — after that, we become less productive.

10/23/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Four out of five GPs to quit, take career break or cut hours in next five years, by Nick Bostock, GPonline.com
    LONDON, UK - More than 80% of GPs [general practitioners = medical doctors] plan to quit the profession, take a career break or reduce the hours they work in the next five years, according to researchers.
    Just 6% of respondents to a poll of more than 1,000 GPs by researchers from the Warwick Medical School said they planned to increase their hours over the next five years.
    The researchers called for 'urgent action' to prevent a deepening workforce crisis in general practice.
    Of 1,192 GPs who took part, 978 planned to leave general practice, take a career break or reduce their working hours in the next five years. Of these, 488 planned to quit practice altogether, while 279 planned a career break.
    Seven-day GP service
    Key factors influencing GPs to quit or cut back hours were plans for a seven-day GP service, intensity of workload, volume of workload, job satisfaction and time spent on unimportant tasks.
    Some GPs in the study, published in the journal BMC Family Practice also highlighted age and changes to pension rules.
    The findings highlight the growing crisis in the profession. GPonline reported last week that pressure on GPs has sparked an exodus from partnership roles to locum work.
    BMA leaders have called for an end to the 'scandalous' waste of 14m GP appointments a year through unnecessary demands for practices to re-refer patients who miss hospital appointments.
    GP workforce
    The government has pledged to deliver an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020 to bolster the primary care workforce. A DH spokeswoman said last week: 'We will deliver an estimated 5,000 more doctors in general practice by 2020 as part of a 10,000-strong boost to primary and community care staff.
    'GPs tell us these other health care workers are invaluable; reducing pressure and freeing them up to spend more time with patients.'

  2. Shorter working hours help more than just productivity, by Edmund Sum Siew Kee, (10/24 ove dateline) TodayOnline.com
    SINGAPORE - I refer to the letter “Too hasty to say going slow would improve productivity” (Oct 16). Instead of relying on aggregate statistics, the writer cites the isolated examples of France and Germany, and ignores the greater trend when we compare all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
    Research elsewhere (Pencavel 2014, Stanford University), not just the OECD’s, has shown that excessively long working weeks reduce productivity. The research goes as far back as the 1910s: The Ford Motor Company cut working hours to 40 per week while doubling pay, and productivity and profits improved.
    The problem comes when workers want to work longer because they are paid by the hour. But it is necessary to restrict working hours, to keep productivity and profits high, and turnover and burnout low.
    [And ultimately, the practice of working longer to get more hourly pay depresses hourly pay because it concentrates more work on fewer people and leaves more un(der)employed jobseekers' willing to work for lower hourly pay. Longer-hour workers create systemic downward pressures on their wages, especially in the age of robotics.]
    This is the insight behind the provisions in the Employment Act. Generations of managers would shake their heads in disappointment if such historical insights are ignored.
    Finally, there are benefits beyond money. Shorter working hours give couples more time to develop feelings and bonds, as well as the confidence that they will have the time to care for their children. It gives us more time to exercise or attend self-development courses after work. All these would help improve our mood, overall health, happiness, career and birth rate, without regard to productivity.

10/22/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Unionists on all sides take aim, by Kenneth Lau, (10/23 over dateline) TheStandard.com.hk
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Worker representatives on both sides of the political spectrum demanded that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying cancel the offsetting scheme of the Mandatory Provident Fund and legislate standard working hours, as promised in his 2012 election platform.
    Leung called for patience, denying he is dragging his feet over the promised labor policies in the hope of getting re-elected for a second term.
    Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan said Leung had done nothing to help workers in the past three years.
    "You have promised two things in your platform. Firstly, canceling the offsetting scheme in the MPF. Secondly, the standard working hours legislation is also included in your platform," Lee reminded Leung in the Legislative Council.
    Lee said time is running out, with only one Legco year left before the 2016 elections, and 1 years in Leung's term.
    "Are you going to tell [people] that you need more time and it means you are planning for a second term?"
    Lee added it was unlikely Leung would be able to legislate for standard working hours before his first term ends.
    Meanwhile, Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing asked if the government will cancel the offsetting mechanism to lead the private sector.
    His federation colleague, Wong Kwok-kin, accused Leung of shirking the government's responsibility by not trying to get involved in the issue.
    Leung told lawmakers it will take time to solve these controversial issues, and denied he was using delaying tactics so he could be re-elected. He said a full report will be submitted to the government by the Standard Working Hours Committee in the first quarter next year.
    Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said he did not believe there was a delay in implementing the standard working hours, adding it was a critical time and called on the public to be patient.
    He also called on the six employee representatives not to resign from the Labour Advisory Board.
    The six said they would quit if the government does not come up with concrete policies on standard working hours at the next committee meeting on Wednesday.

  2. Obsessed with climbing the career ladder, I finally decided to burn it down, by Christy Hemmingway, TheGlobeAndMail.com
    Down the up ladder: Huddled on the couch with my dog and laptop I realized I'd been so 'busy' building a financial career that I'd forgotten to build a life, TG, L6 hardcopy headline.
    CALGARY, Alta., Canada - Nine months ago
    It’s 5 a.m. and my alarm goes off. I don’t recognize the song, probably because a few months ago I accidentally hit the dial on my clock radio, altering my usual alt-rock station to one that plays Bollywood music. It would make sense to change it back, but the idea of turning the dial feels like an expenditure of energy I’m not prepared to make. This is the start of my every day.
    The thought of working out crosses my mind fleetingly and is quickly shoved aside. “Tomorrow,” I say, as much to my dog, Sophie, as to myself. I am grateful that the chances of her holding me accountable are low.
    I don’t NEED to get up this early; I don’t NEED to go to work this early. So, then, what is it that I want to?
    The piles of paper I shoved into my credenza drawer last night are calling to me. I can almost see the flashing of the red light on my smartphone, which I’ve deliberately left in the kitchen overnight so I won’t check for e-mails in the middle of the night (as if I’m saving lives or something). I am not saving lives, but this simple act of defying my smartphone feels as if it might be saving mine.
    By 6 a.m. I have showered, dressed, checked my phone three times and responded to a number of e-mails. Instead of eating breakfast at home I’ve talked myself into a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks, en route to drop Sophie at doggy daycare. My life has been so “busy” with building a career in the financial industry that I forgot to build a life. I have replaced children with a dog and relationships with my love of Netflix.
    “It’s just for now,” I tell myself. “Once I become a [fill in the blank], I’ll …” I’ve been saying that through each rung on the career ladder.
    I arrive at the office to discover I’m not the first one in: It’s not yet 7 a.m. and at least three other people have already arrived. Keeners. The day ebbs and flows between “under control” and “alert status red.” Usually, I leave my office for about 20 minutes midday to grab fast food, which I down at my desk; that is, on days when I don’t have someone else grab lunch for me and I don’t have a lunch meeting. If I don’t have a work-related event to attend, I leave at 6.30 p.m. to ensure I pick up Sophie before the daycare closes. I’m thankful that she’ll be tired from a day of playing and won’t need a walk.
    I hit the almost-empty downtown streets (most commuters have left far earlier) and on the way home I grab something for supper. I’m not interested in cooking. God forbid anyone knocks on my door: I stripped out of my business suit and stepped into my pyjamas the minute I crossed the threshold. I take my meal, smartphone, laptop and dog to the living room and turn on the TV. Most nights I fall asleep playing Candy Crush and binge-watching TV, between e-mail responses and project updates.
    Some relevant facts
    • No one asked me to be at work that early. But if the boss is there, shouldn’t I be?
    • No one expected me to put parts of my life on hold. But if I wanted to continue to be noticed and move up the ladder, where was the time or energy for anything else?
    • No one told me that I needed to continue to climb the ladder. But constant questions from leaders across the organization about what jobs I was chasing and where I would be in 18 months, five years, 10 years made it feel that way.
    Isn’t it funny, how we sometimes tell ourselves we need to do all of these things and then lose ourselves in the process? So I stopped. I burned the ladder down, and created my own ladder.
    My alarm clock is back on my alt-rock station. There are still many mornings when I don’t get on the treadmill like I tell myself to – but I do walk Sophie a minimum of once a day and farther than ever before. She still goes to doggy daycare a couple days a week just to socialize with her pals. I still watch Netflix – it ebbs and flows.
    I don’t regret the career I had – it was amazing. I worked for an organization that helped me grow, challenged me, mostly supported me and gave me hope. In my 15-year career, I gained friends, business acumen, flexibility to move (seven times in 15 years), the courage to complete an MBA and the vision to seek a path for myself. This allowed me to take everything I’d learned and start my own company coaching and consulting on personal and professional growth.
    Now, I always have enough air in my lungs. I see my family more and I feel inspired every day. I had allowed myself to become consumed with my career and the company I would have bled for.
    In order to be consumed with life, I had to step away from the need for status, role, title and the acceptance of those around me. I’ve realized it is far more important to find that acceptance from within.
    Christy Hemmingway lives in Calgary.

10/21/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Labor reform crucial for long-term growth: finance minister, Yonhap News via english.yonhapnews.co.kr
    Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan speaks at a job fair to promote hiring young people in Gwangju on Oct. 21, 2015. (photo caption)
    GWANGJU/SEJONG, S.Korea -- The reform of South Korea's labor market is critical for long-term economic growth and can expand employment opportunities that benefit all sectors of society, the top economic policymaker said Wednesday.
    Speaking at a job fair in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan expressed concern that despite an agreement reached at the tripartite talks in September, conflicts of interest and divergent political agendas have prevented follow-up legislation from gaining speed.
    Under the agreement reached by representatives from labor, management and government, employers will be permitted to fire underperforming workers and alter the rules of employment that may place employees at a disadvantage. Companies, in exchange, will be obliged to hire more full-time workers.
    "South Korea's labor market is utterly outdated, resulting in a 'dual market' structure that has to be corrected," Choi said.
    A dual labor market refers to the gap between full-time regular employees with stable jobs and non-regular workers who have far less job security and are paid less. The system has been cited for fueling unemployment among young people, who are hard pressed to find good paying jobs.
    In September, the unemployment rate among people between the age of 15 through 29 reached 7.9 percent, which is 2.5 times higher than the national average of 3.2 percent.
    Choi, who doubles as deputy prime minister in charge of economic affairs, said that while some people may object to reforms, they must realize change is essential if Asia's fourth-largest economy is to boost its growth potential that can allow companies to hire more workers.
    "This can lead to benefits for all people," he claimed.
    He urged politicians, labor leaders and businesses to look upon labor reform in a broad light and exercise their leadership to push forward change.
    In a separate meeting with owners of small and medium enterprises, Choi that there are many benefits to reducing the country's workweek, which can enhance quality of life and even lead to more hiring.
    Last month, the ruling Saenuri Party announced a new labor reform bill, which calls for fewer working hours aimed at prodding both companies and workers to focus and get more work done quickly.
    "Despite working longer hours compared to most other countries, South Korea's labor productivity remains low," the finance minister pointed out.
    He, however, cautioned that trying to implement change too quickly can lead to serious fallout.
    "The proposed bill calls for companies with more than 1,000 employees to reduce their work weeks starting in 2017, with companies that have between five to 99 workers implementing the change in 2020," the official said.
    In response, entrepreneurs called on the government to include a special clause that will open up more flexibility in working hours, saying companies may find it hard to hire new employees even if the workweek is cut.

  2. Will America ever catch up on vacation? BenefitsPro.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - The 75th anniversary of the 40 hour workweek [Oct.24] is not a time for celebration, but for action. Specifically, it's time for Americans to fight for more time off.
    That's according to Take Back Your Time, a national advocacy group that focuses on expanding workers' rights to leisure time. The group points out that while productivity has skyrocketed in the seven decades since the 40 hour workweek was enshrined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), there has been no corresponding decrease in workload for workers.
    While most other industrialized countries shortened their standard workweeks in the decades following World War II and mandated several weeks of paid vacation, Americans are puzzlingly resistant to taking time off, the group says.
    “After 75 years, it’s time to add paid vacation to the FLSA and catch up with every other wealthy country in the world,” said group president John de Graaf. “It might also be time to consider a shorter workweek as well.”
    According to the group, about a quarter of American workers receive no paid vacation. But even those who do receive far less than their counterparts elsewhere in the western world. In the United Kingdom, for instance, full-time employees are entitled to a minimum of 28 paid vacation days a year.
    There is little hope of getting any big labor reforms through the Republican-controlled Congress in the near future. Republicans and allied business groups vehemently oppose such requirements, arguing that they would overburden businesses and slow down the economy.
    In fact, vacation has not traditionally been a major focus of worker advocacy groups on Capitol Hill. If anything, it is typically a lack of work, either by unemployment or employers cutting hours to deny workers benefits, that unions and other groups on the left have set their sights on.
    But whether or not mandatory vacation ever becomes a reality in the U.S., the notion of generous vacation is picking up steam in the private sector. Big companies, particularly tech firms, have been falling over themselves trying to outdo their competitors on vacation, parental leave and scheduling flexibility.
    However, what is taking place in Silicon Valley may not be emblematic of the future of the U.S. economy. Generous vacation policies are often aimed at luring and retaining highly-skilled workers with significant negotiating leverage. Workers who are lower on the economic ladder are less likely to benefit from the same level of employer generosity.
    The idea of reducing the workweek — a staple of left-of-center politics in Europe — is almost entirely absent from the American political debate. But Take Back Your Time says it's time for that to change.
    “The 40-hour week is not eternal,” said Cecile Andrews, chair of the group's board. “It did not begin in the Garden of Eden. It is a law, appropriate to a period of time and a level of economic development."
    The challenge that the group faces is as cultural as legal or economic, however. Studies show that many employees don't even take the vacation they're entitled to.

10/20/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. These 5 employers are rescuing the 40-hour workweek, by Erik Sherman @eriksherman, Fortune.com
    TROY, Mich., USA - No emailing on weekends or after hours.
    Rafat Ali wanted a different way of running his three-year-old travel intelligence startup Skift. Instead of the usual manic charge and a staff that might as well be living at the office, this year he instituted a new policy of no working weekends and strict 8am to 6pm hours.
    By startup standards, that’s positively slacking, but it’s not so far off the national norm. The 40-hour week has become something honored more in name than in action. If you’re a full-time worker in the U.S., chances are that you’re working more. The average hours worked by full-time employees is actually 47 hours, according to a Gallup poll. (Take it with a little salt as studies show that people often overestimate the hours they work.)
    Although figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that workers in Mexico, Greece, Korea and Chile log more hours, Americans still put in more hours than their counterparts in Germany, Australia, Great Britain, Switzerland and even Japan.
    Sweden is moving to the six-hour work day, or 30-hour work week. In France, a labor agreement signed last year requires companies to make sure that workers in high tech and consulting “disconnect” after working hours; for the estimated 250,000 employees covered by the agreement, that means not no emails and phone calls after 6pm. Amsterdam-based design studio Heldergroen actually enforces the end of the work day by cranking desks up into the ceiling, along with computers, paper, and that cup of coffee you were going to finish.
    There are some good reasons to curb work hours. Stress, burnout and substance abuse have always been linked to overwork. And research suggests that employee productivity starts sinking after 50 hours. So a few American employers set an actual 40-hour work week, as the Wall Street Journal reported. “You give us 40,” Laura Lawson, United Shore Financial Services’ chief people officer, told the Journal. “Everything else is yours.”
    But these adherents form a small group. “Companies that have the long-term view of things will want to get the results but also have the good work-life balance,” says Jay Starkman, CEO of HR outsourcing company Engage PEO. “It’s just not that common when companies have that view.”
    Here are a few U.S. companies that actively discourage working more than 40 hours a week.
    Business: human resource software
    Number of employees:150
    Location: Lindon, Utah
    When BambooHR started, the founders had the idea of a company where people might get a good work-life balance while still occasionally putting in extra time when a new release of the software is about to hit. But otherwise, “we want to build something that is going to be around for a long time,” CEO Ben Peterson told Fortune. “I’ve personally had interviews with individuals who are so gung ho to conquer the world: ‘I’m willing to work as much as necessary and be there all hours.’ They want to prove to the world what they’re willing to sacrifice and they’re not going to get that here.” Co-founder Ryan Sanders has written that the company has an “anti-workaholic” policy.
    United Shore Financial Services
    Business: wholesale mortgage lender
    Number of employees: 1,350
    Location: Troy, Michigan
    “A couple of years ago is when we made a stance,” CEO Mat Ishbia told Fortune. “Sometimes people think that it looks good to my leader if I stay until 6:30 instead of 6:00 because it looks like I’m a hard worker. A lot of people think I have to get there before the boss and I have to stay here after the boss.” Instead, the company generally suggests the people leave at 6:00 and skip working weekends. To make this happen, Ishbia says that he “over-staffs” to handle business peaks, which in another view might be called adequate staffing. The mortgage industry can by cyclical and there are times things get really busy even with the staffing. “If things are short, there are plenty of people who volunteer to work late to help,” he said.
    Menlo Innovations
    Business: software design firm
    Number of employees: 50
    Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Long hours may sound like extra value for the money to employers, but the results can be painful when services or products suffer. “Tired programmers start putting in lots of bugs,” CEO Rich Sheridan told Bloomberg. The office closes up at 6pm and employees aren’t even allowed to work from home. To help ensure that clients won’t ask for round-the-clock efforts, the company offers 25% project discounts in return for flexible deadlines. Menlo’s approaches to management have become so widely recognized that 5% of its revenue comes from teaching them to other businesses.
    myHR Partner
    Business: HR service outsourcing
    Number of employees: 14
    Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
    “I started my company with the 40 hour work week,” company president Tina Hamilton told Fortune. “I had owned another business where I personally, along with my employees, worked 70, 80, 90 hours. It’s how I grew up. When I sold that business and had some time to come down, I started to think about what kind of life I wanted. I was in the 30s, I had some money in the bank, and that’s what I decided: I would always hire enough people and to do that I had to pay for 40 hours, not 70 hours. I had no idea that people would want to flock toward us and want to work here.”
    Because of a big jump in her business, she’s paid some people to work 45 hours instead of 40, but only until she can hire more help. She sees a danger. “If I see they’re working 45 hours and I’m making more money because I don’t have more overhead, that’s greed,” she says. “I have to keep my promise.”
    Never Settle
    Business: custom software development
    Number of employees: 11
    Location: Lakewood, Colorado
    Tech start-ups are notorious for long and late hours. Never Settle makes a point of saying, “We only work 40 hours per week, seriously.” The company has been doing this for two years so far after founder Kenn Kelly, who worked “an average of 60 hours a week over the last 7 years,” wondered “if this really was the right thing to do.” So far, the benefits of the experiment “have been monumental in the sanity and productivity of the team.”

  2. Working Hours in Hong Kong – Consultation That’s Taking its Time…, (9/19 late pickup) Eversheds.com
    This article has first been published in the September 2015 issue of the Hong Kong Lawyer.
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Working hours hit the news recently following the tragic death of a 21-year-old intern who had allegedly worked 72 hours straight. One bank’s response was to announce a “no work” rule for interns between 12–7 am [still yielding a 17-hour workday times seven = a 119-hour workweek]. Whilst the description of this as “benevolent” seems tongue in cheek, it raises a pertinent topic for Hong Kong employers. The Government here announced a review of standard working hours (“SWH”) as far back as 2011. In May 2015, the SWH Committee announced its recommendation for legislation on SWH. But, what exactly has happened since 2011 and is Hong Kong any closer to legislation?
    SWH in Context
    Regulation on SWH would impact business operations in all sectors. Currently, SWH in Hong Kong are unregulated. The only exceptions relate to children, young persons in industrial undertakings, statutory holidays and rest days.
    Regulation could be in the form of daily or weekly limits. Some regimes also have exceptions, such as averaging hours over a “reference period” and in the case of the UK, an employee may “opt out” of the maximum working week limit [of the EU standard 48-hour max]. For a region with a mature and developed economy – Hong Kong’s lack of regulation is unusual (see below).
    Country   Maximum Weekly Hours*
    Japan 40
    PRC 40
    Singapore 44
    UK 48
    France 48
    Malaysia 48
    UAE 48

    * exceptions/flexibility may exist
    The Road to Regulation
    In 2012, the Labour Department published its “Report of the Policy Study on Standard Working Hours” (“Report”). The Report assessed SWH regimes globally, reviewed SWH in Hong Kong and the potential socio-economic impact of SWH regulation. The Report posed more questions than it answered, and outlined six areas for further consideration:
    • Objectives of a SHW policy;
    • Labour flexibility/competitiveness;
    • Proliferation of part-time/casual workers;
    • Impact on business including SMEs;
    • Modus operandi of different industries; and
    • Whether legislation is the best way forward.
    In April 2013, the SWH Committee was formed for a three-year term, chaired by Dr.Leong Che-hung, GBM, GBS, JP. The SWH Committee has the aims of enhancing public understanding, collecting information, conducting an evidenced-based assessment and engaging with the community.
    The SWH Committee established a website (http://www.swhc.org.hk), created TV advertisements (broadcast in 2014) and set up two working groups.
    A consultation commenced in January 2014 and a survey of 10,000+ employees and employers was commissioned. The survey confirmed:
    • median weekly hours ranged from 40-54;
    • 7 percent of employees had undertaken paid overtime with 18 percent undertaking unpaid overtime (median being 5 hours each);
    • 61 percent of employees’ contracts were silent on overtime compensation;
    • the most common overtime pay rate was 1:1 (75 percent);
    • 92 percent of employees “agreed” working hours should be agreed between the employer and employee;
    • 67 percent of employees “agreed” SWH should be set; and
    • < 45 percent of employers “agreed” that maximum working hours limits were appropriate.
    The SWH Committee’s Recommendation
    In May 2015, Dr. Leong Che-hung confirmed that a legislative approach was recommended, to include a requirement for written employment contracts to specify working hours arrangements (the “big-frame” approach). Consideration is still being given to other suitable measure(s) to protect grassroots employees (“small frame”). A final report is likely in Q1 2016.
    Unfortunately, there is currently no further information on what the “big-frame” or “small-frame” approaches might look like or how they will be applied in practice. Legislation is likely to be “light touch” compared with other jurisdictions; given the working culture in Hong Kong, it would be a brave move to regulate too heavily. Most employers in professional/financial services will be in no hurry for legislation; but if you are an employer waiting for clarity, patience is a virtue.
    For more information contact
    • Jennifer Van Dale, Partner +852 2186 4945
    • Hannah Swift, Registered Foreign Lawyer +852 2186 3228
    Disclaimer - This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice...
    [More on same subject -]
    Hong Kong labour groups and lawmakers urge progress on standard working hours laws, by Elizabeth Cheung elizabeth.cheung@scmp.com, (10/19 late pickup) South China Morning Post via scmp.com
    The Alliance for Standard Working Hours is calling on the government to provide concrete details on legislation. (Photo caption)
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Labour concern groups have joined together to urge the government to set a clear direction on legislation for standard working hours.
    The Alliance for Standard Working Hours, which represents 14 labour groups, joined nine pro-democratic parties in calling on the government to provide concrete details on legislation at a meeting of its Standard Working Hours Committee set for October 28.
    The move comes amid divisions among the members of the committee, with six of them representing workers threatening to withdraw from the body last week if no further consensus is reached.
    Leung Yiu-chung, a lawmaker from the Neighbourhood and Worker’s Service Centre, said the members should stand firm in their defence of workers and break any relationship with the government.
    Poon Man-hon, a spokesperson for the alliance, said more than 100 countries had implemented standard working hours. “Exemptions or appropriate arrangements have been made for different sectors [in other countries], but the [Hong Kong] government has still not considered any concrete plans,” Poon said.
    Democratic Party lawmaker Sin Chung-kai said legislation might not be possible before the end of this Legislative Council term, which ends on September 30 next year.
    “There might be lots of technical exemptions or individual arrangements involved. I think we should start the core discussion as soon as possible,” Sin said.
    Lawmakers have also asked the government to be clearer on where it stands on the issue, and have called for greater progress since the committee was set up in 2013.
    “The government can’t just come up with [regulations for] contract working hours ... The government should state clearly its stance and let the committee work according to the official direction,” said Leung.
    Yang Hiu-to, a cook, described his current working conditions as “horrendous”.
    “I once worked for 15 to 16 hours a day ... After I went back home, my children and my parents were all sleeping. Now I am just surviving, not living,” said Yang, who said laws on standard working hours were badly needed, along with regulations on overtime pay.
    Poon said if no progress is made at the meeting next Wednesday, the group might stage protests against committee chairman Dr Leong Che-hung and other representatives of employers. Strikes have not been considered, however.

10/18-19/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Steel workers press Scottish Government for 'short-time working programme', 10/18 The Extra via GlasgowSouthAndEastwoodExtra.co.uk
    Steel workers have called on the Scottish Government to help secure the future of the industry by supporting a "short-time working programme" if plant closures go ahead.
    GLASGOW, Scotland - An announcement from Steel firm Tata is expected on Tuesday on the future of its plants at Dalzell in Motherwell, Clydebridge in Cambuslang and Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire.
    It is believed about 1,200 jobs are affected, including up to 400 in Scotland.
    Steelmaking will effectively end in Scotland if cuts go ahead at Dalzell and Clydebridge.
    Although Tata is yet to publicly confirm its plans, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already pledged to set up a task force to seek a viable future for the plants and the industry.
    Trade union Community, which represents steel workers, wants the Government's task force to support a "short-time working programme" which would keep the plants open while a long-term solution was sought.
    Community's assistant general secretary John Park said: "Scottish steel is facing its biggest test in a generation. These developments are hugely worrying - not only for Scottish industry - but for the communities around Motherwell and Cambuslang.
    "Workers in the Scottish steel industry have done everything asked of them to ensure they can compete in a global marketplace. We are in the middle of the worst slump in steel prices in living memory and it is essential we maintain our capacity to produce steel in Scotland.
    "We welcome Nicola Sturgeon's announcement of a steel task force, but it cannot simply be an exercise in managing decline. If the Scottish steel industry is to have a future, then Nicola Sturgeon must ensure the strategic assets at Dalzell and Clydebridge are maintained."
    Mr Park also called for a "proper industrial strategy" for the sector to be developed.
    "We believe these Scottish sites can be successful and we are ready to work with the Scottish Government and potential investors to secure the future of steel in Scotland," he said.
    "For steel to have that future we must secure the skills of the men and women who work in the industry. That is why we are calling on the Scottish Government to support short-time working programme should that be necessary over the coming weeks."

    Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland programme, Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "The First Minister made it clear that if that news is confirmed ... then we will leave no stone unturned.
    "We will work with the UK Government, we will work with the unions, with the staff, to look at what can be done. A task force will be established and we will look at what all of the options are.
    "It is probably too early to rule anything in or out at this stage."
    Labour MSP John Pentland said: "When Grangemouth, Fergusons and Prestwick Airport were at risk, the Scottish Government stepped in to provide support and to secure jobs.
    "They need to do the same now - anything less will not be acceptable.["]

  2. Will Americans ever embrace the 30-hour workweek? by Jeff Spross, 10/19 The Week Magazine via theweek.com
    NEW YORK?, N.Y., USA - One tidbit of news that flew under the radar recently is that employers in Sweden are experimenting with a 30-hour workweek. It's far from a universal practice. But it's also the bleeding[haha but what's the msg? = too clever to communicate] edge of a trend that's been prevalent in the Western world for a while now. Since 1950, Sweden, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, and all four Nordic countries have cut the time their average person spends working by at least 20 percent.
    The United States is an outlier here. We've only cut our hours 5 percent since 1950, and now work considerably more than just about any other advanced country.
    And since we're debating whether the U.S. should be more like Denmark and the other Nordics, it's worth pointing out something else: that America's failure to cut its work hours is deeply interwoven with its failure to reduce its inequality.
    [because the other ingredients besides long 1940 workweeks in the age of 2015 robotics are downsizing and labor surplus, so the national income, unspread to spenders by non-existent labor shortage, funnels up to the topmost brackets who spend and donate, and therefore circulate, the smallest percentages of the mountain$ they have, and gradually gangrene sets in throughout the economy while the wealthy-owned media are still claiming "slow recovery." Easiest solution? Artificial labor shortage by converting chronic overtime into training and jobs and trimming the workweek as much as it takes to get enough convertible overtime to provide full employment ... and maximum sustainable spending and $circulation and prosperity in its train.]
    The Western world has slowly been ratcheting down the time we spend at work for a while now. (Keep in mind that by "work," I mean "labor for a wage," not just any activity.) And this makes sense. One thing market economies are pretty good at is increasing their productivity over time — i.e. getting the same amount of wealth creation for less effort. A society can take that new productivity as additional income and work the same, or it can work less and take more time doing something other than earning a wage. And most human beings do in fact have lots of other worthwhile stuff to do.
    But while this ratcheting down of the time we spend on the job is allowed for in the logic of markets and productivity, it doesn't happen naturally. It's a social choice, one that has to be made proactively by a country and its government.
    For instance, if everyone works fewer hours but makes the same income, that means wages earned per hour have to rise. To get that, we'd have to be running the economy as hot as possible, keeping ourselves at full employment, over long periods of time. This requires continuous active management of fiscal policy and monetary policy, and it's hard to pull off even when everyone's on board with it. But companies and business owners obviously don't like paying higher wages per hour, because that cuts into profits and shareholder payouts. Furthermore, elites tend to not like the way full employment redistributes social and economic power, and deploy their considerable political clout to prevent it.
    The other option is to just have the government distribute incomes directly. Even when people aren't working for pay — when they're raising their kids, volunteering at their church, or just grilling out back with friends — they need money to pay the bills. So most other countries bypass market incomes with large welfare states, and with things like paid vacation time and family leave. America, much less so. The same people who dislike high wages and full employment also dislike big welfare states. That's partially because they dislike higher taxes, but also because government aid makes workers less desperate for income, and thus increases their social and economic power.
    In short, offering people more time away from paid work intrinsically requires reducing inequality. It's no accident the Nordics and other countries have much more egalitarian distributions of income than America. They've done this through a mishmash of full employment, high unionization, and large welfare states. Moreover, the collective social choice to make time away from work more widely available inevitably requires a fight. It pits everyday workers against the people who have an interest in getting as much work out of workers as possible for as little cost as possible.
    Another twist is that the distribution of time at work is bizarrely off-kilter in America. People in the upper class actually work more hours than people in the lower class. At this point it should be clear why: Maintaining a large "reserve army" of unemployed Americans is necessary to keep worker power and wages down. If there's always someone even more desperate waiting to take their job, workers aren't going to bargain for anything better. The excess "leisure time" of many low-education and low-income Americans is actually leisure time that's been forced on them by poor job creation.
    As for the upper class, one thing you tend to get with inequality is rapid inflation in certain necessities of life — particularly health care, housing, and education. If some small portion of the population has crazy-high purchasing power, that drives up the cost of the stuff they purchase. As a result, the lower class often gets entirely priced out of decent housing and decent health care, or living in areas with good jobs. The upper class doesn't quite get priced out, but they have to keep increasing their incomes just to tread water. And without full employment or a generous welfare state, the only way to do that is to work more hours.
    This all leads into the final gag, which is that the same countries with more egalitarianism and fewer work hours are also more economically productive and do a better job keeping their citizens employed.
    Take Denmark and the Nordic countries again: They produce almost as much or more economic growth per person as the U.S. does, and they all produce more per hour worked. Their economies are more productive despite — or rather, because — they take it easier on their workers. "The eight-hour work day is not as effective as one would think," the CEO of an app developer in Stockholm told Fast Company. "To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge."
    As for attachment to the labor force, the portion of the Nordics' population age 25 to 54 that's employed is 4 to 7 percentage points higher, and has been for over a decade. (Same goes for other advanced countries.) In other words, distributing incomes more evenly, and distributing time away from work more evenly, is all the flip side of distributing access to work more evenly. Individuals work less, but more individuals work overall.
    There's been a lot of hand-wringing over how having work and being involved in the labor market is crucial to human happiness and well-being. If that's your thing, then it's the Nordics, not the United States, that are delivering the kind of society you want.

10/17/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Furlough rate edges [Furloughs edge] up to 1,239, a new high this year, by Enru Lin, ChinaPost.com/tw
    TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The latest Ministry of Labor (MOL) statistics show that the number of furloughed employees in Taiwan has edged up to 1,239 to reach a new high for the year.
    According to Labor Ministry records released yesterday, 1,239 employees across Taiwan have been placed on furlough, up six from Oct. 1 to hit the highest figure since April, 2014.
    As of Oct. 16, a total of 29 employers were implementing furloughs, up three from Oct. 1 and the most since January, 2014.
    The Labor Ministry releases its latest data on the use of involuntary unpaid leave on the 1st and 16th of each month.

    50% in Electronics
    In the Oct. 16 report, roughly half of the 29 companies using furloughs are in the electronics sector, according to the MOL.
    "The rest are in manufacturing, mainly in traditional industries, and a few are in the service sector," said Huang Wei-shen, deputy section chief of the MOL's department of labor conditions and equal opportunity employment.
    Companies that are using furloughs include one firm in the Hsinchu Science Park and two in the Southern Taiwan Science Park that have furloughed 60 and 45 employees, respectively, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.
    Huang said that the majority of employers using the measure were small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 100 staff.
    At many of the businesses, employers were placing their personnel on no more than one day of unpaid leave per week, he said.
    The ministry said that employers who wish to implement furloughs should contact local labor authorities to confirm that they meet legal requirements.
    Still Stable: MOL
    The Labor Ministry has said that furlough use tends to peak from the fourth quarter to the first quarter.
    Huang yesterday reiterated that the furlough count in recent months has seen a small rise but is in line with past patterns.
    Though the increase is modest, the ministry has requested that the Workforce Development Agency (???) and other bureaus monitor furlough use through the fourth quarter and provide employment assistance, Huang said.
    Labor Minister Chen Hsiung-wen has said that a NT$20-billion fund would be used to subsidize vocational training and other support once the furlough count reached 1,000.
    In the report on furloughs published on Oct. 1, the number of employees placed on furlough had broken 1,000 for the first time in 2015.

  2. Germany Studies Programme to Save Temporary Jobs at Volkswagen: Reports - Kurzarbeit short-time work programme, by NDTV, Thomson Reuters via WikiNewsIndia.com
    BERLIN, Germany - German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office is looking into whether 6,000 temporary workers at Volkswagen could be moved onto the government’s “Kurzarbeit” short-time work programme, daily Bild reported on Saturday, citing unnamed government sources.
    The scheme allows companies to preserve jobs by reducing employees’ hours when plant usage is low, with the government compensating workers for part of their lost wages.

    The Federal Labour Office has ruled out the idea, already floated by Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, of including temporary workers in the plan, from which they would normally be excluded. But Berlin wants to be prepared for cost cuts at Volkswagen.
    A government spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
    Reeling from the scandal over its rigging of diesel emissions, Volkswagen said on Tuesday it will cut investment plans at its biggest division by 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) a year.
    Some analysts have said the scandal could cost Volkswagen as much as 35 billion euros ($40 billion) to cover vehicle refits, regulatory fines and lawsuits.

10/16/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Milacron moves ahead as an integrated group, (10/15 late pickup) PlasticsNews.com
    FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany — For the first time at a Fakuma fair, Milacron LLC has brought together all its businesses on one stand.
    At Fakuma 2015 in Friedrichshafen, Ferromatik, Mold-Masters, Uniloy, DME, Tirad and CIMCOOL are being presented together under the slogan One Milacron.
    “We still have these very good brands, but we’re saying they are all part of the Milacron company,” said John Gallagher, Milacron’s chief operating officer for melt delivery, control systems and fluid technologies, during an Oct. 14 news conference.
    Milacron has accumulated many of these brands in recent years during a hectic period that also saw the group go public on the New York Stock Exchange in June. It has launched new group branding that aims to emphasize Milacron’s broad portfolio for the injection molding and mold-making market, which Gallagher summed up as one company that can offer “infinite possibilities for the customer.”
    The company has been integrating the businesses to create a unified global group. One of the goals is for Milacron to be able to produce any injection molding machine to the same high specification at any of its plants in North America, Europe and Asia. So, for example, it would develop a machine at its site in Malterdingen, Germany, get CE certification for the machine, and then enable all its plants around the world to also manufacture the machine to the same specification.
    Ferromatik restructuring
    During the Q&A session, Milacron executives were asked about restructuring of the Ferromatik business based at Malterdingen in the early part of 2015.
    Denis Poelman, managing director of Milacron Injection Molding Europe, replied: “The Malterdingen business has been struggling for more than 10 years. The basics of what was wrong was in the marketing and product mix.”
    He said the restructuring involved short-time working “to align capacity with business requirements. By doing that, we have stabilized the business.” Short-time working is a cost-saving measure where employees work fewer hours for reduced pay, but are not laid off.
    The Malterdingen business passed the break-even mark in May and is now on track to making a profit. Poelman illustrated the turnaround by saying Malterdingen has already almost filled its order book for the second quarter of 2016.
    Milacron has been making investments in Czech Republic, where the Uniloy, DME and Tirad businesses have operations.
    At Šašovice, Tirad has expanded its facility by 1,000 square meters and has built a new 3,000-square-meter distribution center. At Policka, Uniloy is constructing a new facility for its blow molding machine systems.
    Highlights among Milacron’s new products at Fakuma include its Magna Toggle Servo injection molding machine. The multi-purpose machine’s toggle mechanism is optimized for fast cycling and reduced platen deflection, and its servo motor design has increased reliability and lower maintenance costs, said Milacron.
    A Magna T Servo 200 is producing a high-end storage container made out of PP at Fakuma.
    Milacron is launching the Elektron Evolution all-electric injection molding machine at Fakuma. The advanced Ferromatik-Series control system called Mosaic is installed on the Elektron Evolution, which uses 60 percent less energy and 90 percent less water than hydraulic injection molding machines.
    At Fakuma, an Elektron Evolution 75 is producing a two-component part made of PA 6 GF 30 and TPE.
    New from Mold-Masters is the Summit-Series premium hot runner line. The new hot runner nozzle has four times less thermal variation from set point, compared to the typical thermal variation seen in a nozzle with a heater band, said Milacron.
    The company is also showcasing Klear Can, the coinjection multilayer plastic can that it launched at NPE in April.
    Milacron announced an online shop will be made available to customers in the fourth quarter of 2015 and offered in multiple languages. The e-commerce site has all Milacron products, including individual parts and assemblies. Deliveries can be made within 24 hours.

  2. Keynes' 15 Hour Work Week Is Here Right Now, by Tim Worstall, Forbes.com
    [Here's another arch but beside-the-point entry in the "It's all in your head so don't-worry be-happy" series by stats-straining above-it-all talking heads. This title is only slightly less unrepresentative of current prevailing circumstances than Tim Ferris's "Four Hour Workweek" and dysfunctionally gagging for the surviving "full" timers who are daily pressured, by lack of job options, to work longer and longer workweeks, as documented by Juliet Schor in The Overworked American.]
    LONDON, UK - Keynes [Francis Scott Keynes??] wrote a lovely little essay, Economic Prospects for our Grandchildren, in which he airily[?] forecast that in a century’s time (he wrote in 1930) we would all be working 15 hour weeks. For we would have, essentially, conquered the economic problem of scarcity [or deeper and more camouflaged, the source problem of the hoarding of unlimited excess, to which economists turn a blind eye]. Every month or two someone new pops up to complain about this.
    [And every month or two Someone of Superior Mind & Breeding such as Tim Worstall rises in majestic sarcasm to pop them back down for another game of Whac-A-Mole.]
    Well, Keynes said we’d only be working 15 hours soon enough so why are we all still working 40 hours a week? Are we being oppressed by capitalism or something [oh haha, ofcoursenot - only complete fools could even think that!], gouged by the plutocrats [oops, careful Tim, you'll lose your funding!]? Why don’t we all just take the pedal off the metal and enjoy ourselves more?
    The problem with this complaint is that Keynes’ 15 hour work week is in fact here already [sure it is, Tim, as long as you forget that unpaid "work" isn't work]. He was absolutely spot-on in general but inaccurate in detail. It is this [below] wonderful chart [actually two connected charts] (drawing on this [jeremygreenwood.net/papers/engines.pdf] data) from Max Roser [ourworldindata.org] which tells us both why Keynes was right and wrong: and also what people [including Tim] aren’t noting today.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/10/16/keynes-15-hour-work-week-is-here-right-now/ [and scan down after second paragraph]
    It is the bottom part [=the second of the two connected charts, the first titled "Share of US households with basic electrical appliances"] that is important there, the decline in household working hours.
    [Oops, here we are again talking about a Politically Correct and popular (gratis Women's Lib) but economics-irrelevant misnomer here, unpaid household "work" - with traditional housespouses trying to indirectly negotiate with or at least "get at" their neglectful working spouses and our present commentator indirectly trying to flatter or appease...women, oops, militant housespouses. Funny how much attention "scientific" economists pay to this economics-irrelevant activity while completely ignoring the unimaginably and dysfunctionally overpaid economy-relevant activity of the topmost brackets.]
    From Keynes’ essay..(Keynes on Possibilities)\:\
    "But this is only a temporary phase of maladjustment. All this means in the long run [is] that mankind is solving its economic problem [the straw man of scarcity or the real problem of hoarding aka the Chesterton Pan-Utopian Flaw?]. I would predict that the standard of life in progressive countries one hundred years hence will be between four and eight times as high as it is to-day [except for the carefully ovelooked and unsolved Pan-Utopian Flaw]. There would be nothing surprising in this even in the light of our present knowledge [oh yes there would, because of our blind eye to that Pan-Utopian Flaw]. It would not be foolish to contemplate the possibility of afar [sic, at least in Tim's version] greater progress still.
    "Let us, for the sake of argument, suppose that a hundred years hence [2030] we are all of us, on the average, eight times better off in the economic sense than we are..to-day. Assuredly there need be nothing here to surprise us [except how in the world we managed to plug The Great Leak Upward?]."
    Economic growth over [85% of] that time has been of that order [if we retain the immense GDP padding of non-progressive stuff like military]. We are about 8 times richer than our grandparents were in the early 1930s [uh Tim, two standard 30-year generations back (2015 minus 60) make for grandparents in the prosperous 1950s, not the unfair comparison of the depressed 1930s - ANYthing's better than the Great Depression!]. No, this isn’t some unusual effect of the Great Depression [yes it is]: it’s the effect of compound [greatly padded and coagulated] growth over the decades since then.
    "Now it is true that the needs of human beings may seem to be insatiable ["needs" no, "wants" yes for some people]. But they fall into two classes – those needs which are absolute in the sense that we feel them whatever the situation of our fellow human beings may be, and those which are relative in the sense that we feel them only if their satisfaction lifts us above, makes us feel superior to, our fellows. Needs of the second class, those which satisfy the desire for superiority, may indeed be insatiable; for the higher the general level, the higher still are they. But this is not so true of the absolute needs - a point may soon be reached, much sooner perhaps than we are all of us aware of, when these needs are satisfied in the sense that we prefer to devote our further energies to non-economic purposes [like inventing electrical appliances for housespouses to compensate for the decline of chivalry?]."
    That’s also entirely true and it also explains why much of the complaining about inequality is so ill founded [here we go] but also why it is happening. Because we have much, much, less inequality amongst our absolute needs than was true back then [impossible to say scientifically because we just don't have the data]. Back then to be poor was to be eternally hungry, cold and ill-clothed. Yes, I know the complaints about food insecurity these days and so on but they are entirely trivial by comparison with then.
    [This is quite impossible to say scientifically because we just do not have the data then or now - have you looked at the sketchy American data on homelessness lately, Tim? You apologists for the dysfunctionally skewed status quo are forever trying to rally everyone around how much better off we are today than (preferably some easy benchmark like the Depression - though of course the quick denial..."this isn’t some unusual effect of the Great Depression"].
    But among the wealthy of our society there is that complaining about inequality.
    [Oh please. Most of the wealthy have the sense to stay mum about it. Occasionally a Warren Buffett states that we should tax him more but as G.B.Shaw pointed out, it's not the wealthy who want reform - they don't have the incentive; and it's not the poor - they don't have the means; it's the dispossessed children of the wealthy, who have the incentive and can get back the means.]
    And it is among the rich because that’s where the inequality has grown into a vast gaping chasm.
    [No, it's grown into an unbelievably elongated and stretched-out continuum.]
    The difference between the top 98 to 99% of our society and the middle class, or the bottom 20% [is he saying that these are the same?], isn’t really all that different from what it was.
    [Oh yes it is. Where is your chart to back up this cavalier dismissal?]
    It is the 1% pulling away from everyone else: and within the 1% it is the 0.1% pulling away from the 99 to 99.9%.
    [And it is the 0.001% pulling away from the 99.9 to 99.99%, etc. etc. - granted, this elongated stretch has become much greater, but it has always been there, and those involved have generally tried to stay below the radar, with great success judging from the invisible ubiquity of the Pan-Utopian Flaw.]
    And of course at that level of society no one at all has any shortage of those absolutely necessary goods. But those goods which display superiority are also called positional goods and there’s obviously a limited supply of them.
    [Not really, because at that level they are virtually all made-to-order.]
    For example, in London, being in the 1% would [used to?] give you a reasonable shot at a decent sized house in a good area of the city. These days merely being in the 1% won’t manage it: you need to be in the 0.1%. Or have bought many moons ago. Amusingly, Danny Dorling even wrote a whole book about how it is exactly this which is driving the complaining about inequality. It’s the upper middle classes seeing the bankers pull away from them, nothing else.
    [Oh yes it is something else! More people are sensing that as we continuously concentrate unlimitedly larger percentages of the money supply in unlimitedly smaller percentages of the population, we are slowing the momentum (mass/populationinvolved times velocity) of monetary circulation, which is resulting in the ever-euphemized "slow recovery." And at a certain point, which we need to define and monitor, the concentration turns from positive (functionality of big money available for big projects and, yes, a certain amount of unrobotized market-demanded employment creation available for humans) to negative ("just give us all the money you can and we'll get it right back to work/into circulation creating jobs" - but where are the jobs??) - and so the concentration and resulting coagulation of the money supply has become a dysfunctional, economy-shrinking "positional good" in itself, and deconcentration has become a System Requirement - but almost totally, as here with Tim, unnoticed. And "inequality" is not the best word for it because it's easy to ridicule, as here with Tim, implying to the naive an equalization on a point rather than a range, and not implying any particularly actionable solution - what the heck would Equalization involve?? But calling the problem Over-concentration is a more actionable term for it, because it implies a solution metaphor of Deconcentration and may summon up the prosperity of World Wars I and II, and beg the question, How do we get Wartime Prosperity without the war? and the subsequent questions, what's the essence of Wartime Prosperity (A: wage&spending-raising labor/jobseeker shortage) and how have we ever got it without war &/or plague (A: reduction of worktime per person per time unit, chiefly workweek reduction and chronic overtime conversion into training and hiring, usually non-deliberate or poorly designed).]
    However, here’s the crucial forecast by Keynes [finally we get to his (misleading) point, most of the above being peripheral]:
    "For many ages to come the old Adam [actually a qik consult of Genesis 2-3 shows this is the younger/2d-situation Adam after God switched to "By the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat" Gen.3:18 - the older/1st-situation Adam had "every tree that is..good to eat" Gen.2:9 and God's command "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat" (except one) Gen.2:16; in short, livelihood without effort, a welfare state, garden-targeting parasitism] will be so strong in us that everybody will need to do some work if he is to be contented [no, is he is to SURVIVE!]. We shall do more things for ourselves than is usual with the rich to-day [irrelevant], only too glad to have small duties and tasks and routines [irrelevant]. But beyond this, we shall endeavour to spread the bread thin on the butter [ie: shorten the workweek] - to make what [unrobotized] work there is still to be done to be as widely shared as possible. Three-hour shifts or a fifteen-hour week may put off the problem for a great while.
    [Keynes underestimates the adjustment frequency of the workweek that economies will require; indeed, already require.]
    For three hours a day is quite enough to satisfy the old [2nd-situation] Adam in most of us!"
    And now back to that chart from Roser. That is exactly what has happened, isn’t it?
    [Not at all. The traditional housewife is/was outside the (money!) economy in a private agreement with her husband, and the gathering of data on this is strictly an invasion of privacy and no business of government statisticians concerned with the (money!) until the women's movement in a colossal error began trying to get equal pay in the workplace by alleging general situational dissatisfaction on behalf of all traditional housewives because they lacked any kind of standard monetary allowance from their husbands.]
    Except that it’s happened in the unpaid household labour [ie: the unpaid housespouse, who is EXTERNAL to the (money!) economy - ie: irrelevant], not the paid market labour that we all do [are involved in]. So Keynes was right in general, we do all work hugely fewer hours than our grandparents did [wrong - unpaid effort is not economics-relevant working]. Where he was wrong was in the detail [no, where Tim is wrong is in the glaringly general and obvious]. We mechanised the household [again, the household's insides are private and no business of scientific economics - you wanna broaden to sociology, say so] and that’s what has given us [very few of "us" are traditional housewives, Tim] the extra leisure.
    [Sure Mum used to sit and drink coffee and look out the window at the nice back garden while the washing machine did the laundry after we moved to north Toronto in the late 1950s, but that has nothing to do with the economics-relevant "leisure preference" or the increasing pressure of people who still manage to have full time jobs to work longer and longer, as documented by Juliet Schor in her 1992 opus, The Overworked American - maybe you should take a look at it, Tim, before you proliferate this valium and whitewash our deteriorating situation as the money supply massively coagulates and decirculates.]
    And that is our public policy point.
    [Again, the mechanization of the unpaid effort of traditional housewives is a matter of the private contract between traditional husbands and wives and no business of public policy wonks or economists.]
    When people start talking about working hours we must insist that they concentrate on the important point. Which is not the number of paid working hours [oh yes it is!], but the residual that is left, leisure time [leisure is second to PAID work for economists, and its content is private and of possible interest to sociologists but not economists], after we add up paid and unpaid working hours [misnomers! "paid working" is a tautology and "unpaid working" is a contradiction to strictly scientific economists, because there are and should be no economists per se trying to collect data on unpaid effort or activity by traditional housewives or househusbands - this is private, and of interest only to sociologists]. And on that measure America isn’t the laggard that the general debate assumes [an irrelevant and invalid and misleading and distracting conclusion, but unfortunately typical of the sloppy thinking abroad today].
    My latest book is "The No Breakfast Fallacy, why the Club of Rome was wrong about us running out of resources" [sounds like more straining-for-attention sloppy thinking by Mr. Worst-all]. Amazon and Amazon.co.uk. $6.99 and relevant prices in other currencies.

10/15/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. National summit to safeguard future of Scunthorpe steelmaking, ScunthorpeTelegraph.co.uk
    SCUNTHORPE, UK - UK Industry Minister Anna Soubry will face a barrage of demands at a national summit meeting in Rotherham tomorrow (Friday, October 16) to safeguard the future of steelmaking in Scunthorpe.
    Among the demands will be for the government to support a short-time working scheme in the steel industry and upgrade the skills of employees until the market recovers.
    The steel industry's biggest trade union Community has made it clear its 2,000 members in Scunthorpe want more than "warm words" from the Minister.
    A Community spokesman said: "The summit must not be a talking shop. There is a case for urgent, short-term action to help create a level-playing field for UK steel producers.

  2. The Six-Hour Work Day - Some studies show employees work harder during six-hour work days than in an eight-hour day, by Kent McDill, MillionaireCorner.com
    CHICAGO, Illin., USA - The definition of “work week’’ continues to undergo revision, as employer’s measure productivity against the need for a work-life balance while also demanding that employees put their time in for their salaries.
    In 2014, the talk was about the four-day, 10-hour-a-day work week, which has been popularized by many tech companies in Silicon Valley. Some are even doing the four-day, nine-hour-a-day work week, and using it as an incentive to join their firm.
    Now, many businesses in Sweden are switching to a five six-hour-a-day work week, with an eye toward increased productivity.
    Toyota, a key business in Gothenburg, actually took the first step more than a decade ago, according to Fortune magazine. But now the five six-hour work week [day] has become popular in Stockholm.

    “The eight-hour work day is not as effective as one would think,’’ said app developer Filimundus CEO Linus Feldt. “To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge. In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the work day more endurable. At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work.”
    The six-hour day often comes with restrictions, including no lunch break and minimal short breaks. Also, at Filimundus, staffers are not allowed to check their social media accounts at any time.
    Studies have shown that Americans who work eight-hour days only work six of those hours, anyway. According to studies cited by The Atlantic, Americans spend between 1.5 and 3 hours per work day on personal activities. Careerbuilder has a study showing that most workers waste at least one hour each work day on personal concerns.
    Investors surveyed by Millionaire Corner were in favor of the four-day work week. Seventy percent gave that idea the nod, with 76 percent saying the four-day work week should be 10-hour work days instead of nine.
    Kent McDill kmcdill@spectrem.com is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner.

10/14/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Companies try 'firm 40' workweeks, by Rachel Feintzeig, Wall Street Journal, B1.
    Radical Idea at the Office: A 40-Hour Workweek - Employees with strict workday [are] expected to focus on work in the office, unplug fully at home, wsj.com (web headline)
    Work stations at lender United Shore Financial in Troy, Mich., empty out quickly after 6 p.m. (photo caption)
    TROY, Mich., USA - At exactly 6 p.m. on any given weekday, the exodus begins at United Shore Financial Services LLC.
    By 6:05, “the parking lot is pretty much empty,” says Ahmed Haidar, who works in client relations at the Troy, Mich.-based wholesale mortgage lender.
    United Shore is among a group of small firms trying a radical management idea notable for just how un-radical it is: a 40-hour workweek.
    Leaders say the “firm 40” makes employees more efficient by forcing them to focus on work while they are in the office—and unplug fully when they leave. Strict work limits have helped some companies attract higher-caliber recruits, some of whom are willing to take a pay cut in exchange for limited hours, hiring managers say.

    United Shore Chief Executive Mat Ishbia demands his 1,350 employees work hard—he likes to remind staffers that 5:55 p.m. on a Friday is no different from 10:55 a.m. on a Tuesday—taking no breaks for Facebook or online shopping. But once the day is done, employees are off duty until the next morning.
    “You give us 40,” says Laura Lawson, the company’s chief people officer. “Everything else is yours.”
    ["Good fences make good neighbors." Robert Frost]
    A finite workday feels increasingly rare for many U.S. workers, for whom the lines between work and home have blurred in recent years. The “work-life integration” policies touted by some companies enable people to head out early for a child’s soccer game or doctor visit, so long as they monitor emails on their smartphones late into the night.
    United Shore colleagues police one another, speaking up if they spot someone slacking off or overdoing it. They are encouraged to take an hour for lunch, and teams do “power blocks”—30-minute periods during which salespeople abstain from email and might stand while doing calls—to sustain focus. Asking employees to work longer hours wouldn’t necessarily mean they would get more done, Mr. Ishbia reasons, a hunch backed by recent research.
    “Workers need time to recover from work,” says John Pencavel, who teaches labor economics at Stanford University. His research has found that employees who put in too many hours in a week or work too many days in a row become less productive over time, with output per hour falling as workers put in more than 48 hours during a given week.
    Allentown, Pa.-based myHR Partner Inc. says some employees are willing to take a pay cut for a 40-hour week. Job postings for the human-resources outsourcing firm boast “an actual 40-hour workweek” and beckon hires to “say goodbye to long work hours.”
    Three open positions at the company have garnered 663 applicants, says Tina Hamilton, the company’s president. She adds that some hires have taken pay cuts from six-figure jobs to come work for myHR Partner, where compensation ranges from $40,000 to $90,000 a year.
    Hours Worked
    Average weekly hours worked in 2014 for persons 16-years-old and over (who usually work full time) for these occupations, according to the Labor Dept.:
    • Management, professional and related occupations: 43.3
    • Service occupations: 41.3
    • Sales and office occupations: 41.6
    Adjusting to an eight-hour workday can be tough for employees accustomed to tapping out emails at 9 p.m. and taking client calls on Sundays.
    Mr. Haidar, a United Shore employee for about two years, says he initially doubted the “firm 40” was real. He now leaves at 6 p.m. nightly and says he hardly ever sends emails or contacts colleagues after hours.
    “There’s nobody to call,” says Mr. Haidar, who goes by Eddie. “Everyone’s at home.”
    At Never Settle LLC, a business-software developer based in Denver, co-founder Kenn Kelly initially wanted employees to work as much as they wanted and take vacation when they pleased.
    Given the freedom to choose, though, workers overdid it—putting in 52-hour weeks on average, according to Mr. Kelly [= a function of labor surplus and job insecurity]. He began penalizing those who worked too much or too little, so that anyone who doesn’t average a total 80 hours over two workweeks loses vacation time. (Most of the company’s workers are now paid on an hourly basis, so controlling hours can rein in costs too, but Mr. Kelly says the policy was developed to preserve work-life balance.)
    Bosses at BambooHR LLC, a Lindon, Utah, human-resources software company with a firm 40-style policy, confront employees who don’t limit their hours, and even fired one for overworking. Others think limited hours means that showing up late for meetings is OK, says Ryan Sanders, BambooHR’s chief operating officer. He tells them, “It feels like you’re not putting in the full 40.”
    People say they are working longer these days, but the truth is murky. A recent survey by tax and consulting firm EY found that about half of managers said they work more than 40 hours a week, and 39% reported that their hours have increased in the past five years. Data from the Current Population Survey show that hours for managers and professionals who usually work full-time have stayed relatively steady over the past few years at around 43.3 hours a week.
    Professionals tend to remember their most hectic weeks as typical, says Laura Vanderkam, an author who studies time use. She recently studied a group of professional women earning $100,000 or more; according to time diaries, the women worked 44-hour weeks on average.
    “We all think we’re working around the clock,” she says. “We assume we must be working harder than anyone ever was, but probably that’s not the case.”
    Write to Rachel Feintzeig at rachel.feintzeig@wsj.com

  2. Here's why Singapore firms should not reward people for putting in more hours, by Michael Podolinsky, Singapore Business Review via sbr.com.sg
    SINGAPORE - Productivity is pretty simple to improve. Do more in less time with fewer resources and you are being more productive. To please those who love complexity, "Productivity is a ratio between output volume (value of what is made) and input volume (labour plus capital expended)."
    Unfortunately, understanding the simplicity of productivity is beyond the minds of many bosses. For some reason, they believe if they can just get their people to work longer and harder, productivity will increase.
    They give them the workload of two or three people, expect them to be on the handphone when not at work (maybe even on vacation), have late night conference calls before or after work and then are amazed when productivity DROPS.
    Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in 2015 reported Singapore's productivity is "well below" many developed countries. Yet Singaporeans put in more hours than workers in other countries in Asia... and the rest of the world!
    Question: Does putting in more hours translate to increased productivity?
    Answer: RARELY!
    A myriad of studies teach us that putting in MORE HOURS rarely equates to ACHIEVING more.
    Lessons from antiquity: The industrial revolution gave the world a 70-hour work week. Six days of 12-hour shifts left one out of every 11 workers at Carnegie Steel DEAD at work.
    Henry Ford and other manufacturers began experimenting with work hours and productivity. After much research, they reduced the work week to 40 hours a week. They were not being benevolent.
    Key lessons for today:
    Well rested and happy employees:
    • work harder
    • make fewer mistakes
    • rarely if ever die at work.
    So why does the average Singaporean work a 46-hour work week, with managers working 52 to 58 hours a week and C-Suite / Directors clocking in 60 to 100 hours a week?
    Simple: A combination of kiasu and kiasi syndromes. A 2011 Robert Walters study showed only 1/3 of Singaporeans take all their annual leave. The rest forfeit the leave for fear of 'falling behind' or being 'passed over' for a promotion.
    Remember 2007 and 2008 when so many lost their jobs and those remaining had to do the work of two or three people? Most did so with NO increment and often a reduction in pay. Many got a promise that 'when things get better', they would be given more pay for doing the extra work. Did they? I've not seen a follow-up study but speaking candidly to 10,000+ seminar participants per year, 90%+ say emphatically, "NO!" How would you define 'stealing'?
    A slew of recent studies concur: The 40-hour work week is the most productive for most jobs... not all. If a job requires a great deal of creativity, a 35-hour work week is more ideal. (Architects, designers, writers need muse... and should visit museums, hike nature reserves, stop and watch the ocean, etc.)
    Let's look at how work hours correlates to productivity:
    Singaporeans work 2409 hours per worker per year. Norwegians only work 1427 hours per worker per year. Then why is Norway's GDP per capita US$97,363 and Singapore's GDP per capita just US$56,286?
    I'm not saying GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita is the same as 'productivity'. It's just interesting how a country that puts in 982 fewer hours per worker per year can attain $41,077 more in GDP per person.
    After 26 years in Singapore, I see how hard [=longhours] Singaporeans and expats work here, how bright and well educated they are, AND how stressed. Then why do they lag behind? Simple. We will always lag behind when we are dragging our behinds to work dog-tired from working non-stop.
    Want to boost productivity at work and have the BEST workers queue up to work for you? Follow these 3 simple rules:
    • Work 40 hours a week. There IS life... after work.
    • Take your vacation time (mandatory). Rested minds and bodies tend to produce more.
    • Measure and reward productivity within this system. Don't reward people for putting in more hours. If someone can put in 40 hours and do more than those putting in 80 hours, reward the productivity... not the hours.
    Data Sources:
    1. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD
    2. https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=ANHRS#
    3. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:OECD_Productivity_levels_2007.svg
    The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

  3. French union wants 35-hour work week cut to 32, TheLocal.fr
    PARIS, France - Forget the 35-hour week. It’s too long says France’s leading trade union, which has launched a campaign calling for a 32-hour week to create jobs and save posts under threat.
    France’s most powerful trade union the CGT wants the country's sacrosanct labour reform - the 35-hour week - overhauled and replaced with a 32-hour limit.
    While the idea of 35 hours a week (even though most people in France work more) is appealing to many around the world, for the CGT believes it’s just too long.
    The union is now pushing for a 32-hour week which it claims will boost productivity and create and save jobs.
    "The reduction in the working week would account for the advances in technology - whether digital or robots - that will eventually lead to many jobs disappearing," the union argues.
    Mohammed Oussedik, who is spearheading the CGT's campaign, said a move to 32-hours would also help improve equality as working hours are the biggest cause of inequality in France.
    Not only that but it would help improve work-life balance, social progress and the health of employees.
    CGT chief Philippe Martinez said the campaign was being launched amid a “general attack” on France’s 35-hour week.
    That attack appears to be being led by the socialist government’s economy minister Emmanuel Macron, who has angered everyone from his own prime minister to unions by suggesting the sacrosanct labour reform is not set in stone.
    The CGT’s idea of a 32-hour working week will no doubt be met with ridicule by many, given that the current 35-hour week is already criticised by many both inside and outside of France [unable to connect the dots to domestic consumer spending] as being a major hold on the labour market [and Chinese-level labour standards and unemployment].
    But the union would get the support of one government minister.
    Reacting to the news that France had just relaxed its rules around Sunday shopping to allow stores to open more often, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira revealed her perfect working week.
    “I dream of a world where we don’t work on Sundays, where we don’t work either Saturdays or Sundays,” she told BFM TV.
    “I dream of a world where we would only work 32 hours a week, so we can dedicate time to others, to read books and go to the theatre,” she said.
    France’s 35-hour week has stood the test of time and is almost considered untouchable, despite all the country’s economic problems.
    [As has the 35-hour week in the unionized sector of west Germany, other parts of the EU, and in many corporations and government jurisdictions in UK, US, Canada, Australia, NZ...]
    A labour ministry report published last year revealed French workers put in an average of 39.5 hours a week in 2011, slightly behind the EU average of 40.3 hours and the 41-hour working week in Germany and 42.4 hours in the UK.
    The Local (news.france@thelocal.com)

  4. Bridge closure, loan and jail employees discussed during fiscal court, by Christy Hoots christy.hoots@lee.net, The Ledger Independent via maysville-online.com
    VANCEBURG, Ky., USA - The closure of Greenlawn Bridge in Lewis County was discussed during fiscal court Monday.
    The bridge, which sits on the Grayson Spur, failed a state inspection last year due to issues with the bridge beams, and was closed to through traffic, according to Judge-Executive Todd Ruckel.
    Ruckel said he wants to look into the possibility of opening the bridge again, but allowing it to be under the ownership of the landowners in the area.
    Ruckel said no one lives on the other side of the bridge, but there are landowners who access that road occasionally. They would be responsible for the upkeep of the bridge.
    "If we were to continue maintenance on this bridge, it would cost roughly $80,000 to $100,000 to replace it," Ruckel said. "There are other bridges that are in much worse shape that need to be repaired. This one failed the inspection last year, but it's not something that had to be done right away."
    One of the magistrates asked if the bridge would be reopened once the rights were given to the landowners.
    "Yes," Ruckel said.
    According to Ruckel, a letter will be sent out to landowners, letting them know the plans of the court.
    "I'm not sure what will happen, but at the time, I would like to have some letters sent to the landowners about removing the bridge from the county system."
    Ruckel said the discussion would be revisited once landowners have been notified.
    During the meeting, short term borrowing was also discussed as a way to pay off road and bridge projects while the county waits for reimbursements for those projects.
    "We have several thousand out that we've had to pay. We have a lot to pay out and you have to pay out if you want to get reimbursed." Ruckel said. "With FEMA, you never know when you're going to get reimbursed."
    The magistrates approved taking out a short term loan in order to make the payments on the projects until reimbursements have been made to the county.
    Another item discussed during the meeting focused on the hours of deputy jailers at the Lewis County Detention Center.
    According to Ruckel, due to the new laws with the affordable care act, deputy jailers working part time are not allowed over 30 hours a week. If they work over the 30 hours, they must be provided health insurance as if they were full time employees.
    "In the past, part-time employees could work as many hours as they wanted during their probationary period," Ruckel said. "However, with this new law, they have to stay under 30 hours even during that period. So, we may need to increase the amount of part-time employees at the jail."

    [Fewer hours, more jobs! And the reduced number of anxious jobseekers will maintain and raise wages by market forces.]
    Lewis County Jailer Jeff Lykins said he is allowed six part-time employees, but he has four currently.
    "So, he's already looking for some more part-time employees," Ruckel said.
    The court agreed to revisit the discussion later.
    Other items discussed at the meeting included:
    -- Setting trick-or-treat for Oct. 31 from 5-7 p.m. to coincide with the city's date and time.
    -- Renaming the new section of Straight Fork to the Straight Fork Spur.

10/13/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Put forward legislative proposal for standard working hours or we quit talks, warn Hong Kong employee representatives - Six members who represent employees on committee demand legislative proposal, by Christy Leung christy.leung@scmp.com, South China Morning Post via scmp.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Six employee representatives taking part in discussions on standard working hours have threatened to quit if a legislative proposal is not made this month.
    The government advisory committee is due to launch a second round of public consultations at the end of the year and present final proposals to the government before winding up in March after three years.
    One of the representatives, Stanley Ng Chau-pei, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, slammed the committee's slow progress.
    "There are only few months to go, but there is no rigid legislative proposal yet," he said yesterday. "The second round of consultation will then lose direction and meaning. It is a waste of time if we still sit in the committee."
    [Note to Christy Leung - The way we would really say this would be "It is a waste of time if we keep sitting in the committee."]
    Consultation reports on the city's roughly 3.9 million workers indicate that about 728,000 work around 50 hours a week - five hours overtime - with 70 per cent not receiving extra pay.
    After the first round of consultation in March this year the committee proposed a contract signed between bosses and workers that stated working hours and conditions. But Ng said employee representatives had always made it clear that "contract working hours" could not replace "regulated standard working hours" and could not protect workers' rights.
    Another representative, Leung Chau-ting, said if no rigid legislative proposals were made after the next committee meeting on October 28, the six would consider quitting. "How do we face the workers if we cannot strive for the best for them? We might quit the group without giving advance notice," said Leung.
    [The rest of the committee is apparently blind to the experience of the rest of the developed world - all of which has standard working hours - they're apparently alarmist control freaks, lacking a vision for a more progressive, happy, and sustainable Hong Kong - or maybe they're just scared of Beijing, who knows.]
    The others are Wong Siu-han, Chau Siu-chung, Chan So-hing and Charles Chan Yiu-kwong. The six account for half of the Labour Advisory Board on the committee.
    Welfare minister Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said "cut-off" legislation was difficult as business modes varied. But he said the committee had done a lot on the issue and he hoped the representatives would stay.
    Employer representative Stanley Lau Chin-ho, chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, said the workers only wanted a proposal that favoured them.
    Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying pledged to regulate standard working hours in his manifesto in 2012. The 24-member committee was set up a year later.
    This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as 'Take action on working hours or we quit talks'
    [Followup -]
    Hong Kong working hours ultimatum: committee chairman calls for compromise after worker reps threaten to quit, by Allen Au-yeung allen.auyeung@scmp.com, South China Morning Post via scmp.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - The chairman of the Hong Kong government’s advisory committee on standard working hours today called for compromise after six workers’ representatives threatened to quit the group after more than two years of fruitless negotiations.
    The representatives – who account for half of the Labour Advisory Board on the committee – yesterday announced plans to resign if no legislative proposal is put forward to regulate working hours by the end of the month.
    “I respect and understand the employee representatives’ worries,” Dr Leong Che-hung, chairman of the committee, told a radio programme this morning.
    [Sure sure.]
    “But, don’t forget: talking is the best way to reach an agreement.
    [But not talking forever.]
    If (workers’ representatives) leave and refuse to talk, it’s hard to achieve something we want ... I hope everyone can find room to compromise.”
    Leong stressed that the issue of standard working hours is complex and it is difficult to find an agreement that is acceptable to both employers and employees. [No it isn't - just copy any practices in any developed economy, even the most retarded.]
    Saying all options are still open for discussion, Leong said results of previous consultations showed the community had a consensus that passing a “cut-off” law to regulate working hours may not work.
    [So just cut off employees with inflationary incentive = just doing it for the money and therefore never able to get enough compensation for the here&now onthejob when they have to wait to spend it. Let employees work any hours they want if they have deflationary incentive and like their job - as long as they prove it by reinvesting 100% of their overtime earnings in OT-targeted training and hiring. This is Phase 3 of the Timesizing.com program and incidentally offers a way to control runaway inflation without clobbering growth by raising interest rates.]
    According to Leong, more than 70 per cent of employers and employees felt that using employment contracts to negotiate standard working hours would work better. Leong said if the employee representatives quit, the findings of the committee may be perceived as flawed. The six employee representatives express their misgivings on working hours on Tuesday. Photo: Nora Tam However, Leung Chau-ting, chairman of the Federation of Civil Service Unions, who plans to quit the committee if legislation is not proposed, said: “Using contracts to regulate working hours cannot protect the interest of employees. “In [committee] meetings, as employee representatives, we can see the employers are very stubborn. They refuse to talk about legislating working hours. Facing this condition, what can we employees get?” The other five committee members who have threatened to quit are Stanley Ng Chau-pei, chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, plus Wong Siu-han, Chau Siu-chung, Chan So-hing and Charles Chan Yiu-kwong.
    Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying pledged to regulate standard working hours in his manifesto in 2012. The 24-member committee was set up a year later.
    The committee is due to launch a second round of public consultations at the end of the year and present final proposals to the government before winding up in March after three years.
    [In short, more B.S.]

  2. Energy Journal: Oil Companies Cut Wages to Preserve Jobs - Energy companies retain staff amid oil-price drop, by Christopher Harder EnergyJournal@wsj.com, Wall Street Journal via wsj.com
    COLD LAKE, Alta., Canada - Some oil companies are finding that they can’t cut any more jobs than they already have amid the oil-price downturn, so they’re using across-the-board wage cuts, hiring freezes and bonus caps to preserve sufficient staff for their businesses to succeed, Chester Dawson and Benoit Faucon report.
    Energy-company layoffs world-wide have topped 200,000, says consulting firm Graves & Co., and more cuts are expected because crude shows little sign of rebounding soon.
    Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., one of Canada’s biggest oil and gas producers with 7,600 employees, has ruled out job cuts in favor of pay cuts. The company said it would cut wages for all salaried employees in tiers, trimming pay above 50,000 Canadian dollars (US$37,000) a year by 5% and any pay above C$100,000 by 10%.
    [Hopefully it is doing this via hourscuts to at least preserve hourly wages at a time when output also needs to be cut anyway - because the price is never going to go up unless all producers stop flooding the market and creating a self-fueling downspiral.]
    Phillips 66 scaled back its capital budget as the lower price of oil continued to pressure the industry.
    OPEC sees U.S. oil output dropping next year
    The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said lower oil prices are forcing U.S. producers to cut spending, resulting in U.S. oil output falling next year for the first time in eight years, Mr. Faucon reports. OPEC cut its U.S. forecast by 280,000 barrels a day to 13.538 million barrels a day, about 60,000 barrels a day less than this year.
    The U.S. decline will reduce overall supplies from producers outside OPEC by 130,000 barrels a day next year, largely as a result of cuts in the former Soviet Union, according to the OPEC report. Still, OPEC producers continued to pump at high rates, and the International Energy Agency said oil markets likely would remain oversupplied next year.
    Oil bull's faith is tested
    Faith in an oil-price rebound on the part of Andrew Hall’s Astenbeck Capital Management LLC isn’t being repaid as its main fund lost 7% last month, Christian Berthelsen reports. The fund is down 20% for the year as of Oct. 1 and is on track for its worst year since its inception in 2008. Mr. Hall said in a September letter to investors that the world could experience a “sizable” deficit of supply by the second half of 2016 that could drive prices higher. The decline is notable because Mr. Hall is one of the most visible traders left standing who is betting oil prices will soar.
    Volkswagen to cut investment by $1 billion a year
    Volkswagen AG said it will spend 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion) per year less on investments than planned at its namesake brand and make changes to its diesel technology so that diesel vehicles will be “equipped with exhaust emissions systems that use the best environmental technology,” Friedrich Geiger reports. Also, Volkswagen will develop a standardized electric architecture for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The diesel-emissions scandal has illustrated that dozens of European cities still contend with pollution that far exceeds legal limits, especially due to nitrogen oxides, Matthew Dalton reports.
    A BP PLC official said climate-change concerns mean oil reserves will never be completely used, Reuters reports.
    [Pretty dumb. Apparently has a limited concept of "never."]
    Oil prices fell in a volatile session Tuesday as a top energy watchdog said the global crude glut, which has battered prices since last year, will continue into 2016. The International Energy Agency, which represents some of the world’s largest oil consumers, said Tuesday that oil demand will slow next year while supply will continue to be strong amid an expected return of Iranian crude to the market. “The market may be off balance for a while longer,” the Paris-based agency said in its monthly report.
    Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, fell 0.1% to $50.24 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading down 0.4% at $46.90 a barrel...
    Here’s your morning jolt of news, insight and analysis on the global energy business. Send us tips, suggestions and complaints: EnergyJournal@wsj.com
    Sign up for this newsletter: http://on.wsj.com/EnergyJournalSignup

10/11-12/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Forget standardising working hours, it's time to fix standard working culture, by Frank Siu, 10/11 Hong Kong Free Press via hongkongfp.com
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Parallel with ongoing calls for legislation over standard working hours, Hong Kongers need to address the misconception that more “face-time” and longer hours are characteristics of a good employee, something deeply rooted in the East Asian work ethic.
    Rather than “work-hard, play-hard”, we have grown accustomed to expectations of “work-hard, work-some-more”. Some may claim that this stoic work attitude is the embodiment of the so-called “Lion Rock Spirit”, a penchant for hardship and perseverance that has allowed Hong Kong to endure through the years. Sadly, the Lion Rock mythos is outdated and uninspiring for today’s generation of young workers.
    Long working hours rarely mean greater productivity, quite often the opposite. Using the Total Economy Database compiled by The Conference Board, a business and economics NGO, along with data from the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), a regional think-tank, we can see that labour productivity in Hong Kong ranks among the lowest within developed countries (blue). We are even surpassed by Japan, a classic “textbook” case of low productivity due to excessive working hours and rigid corporate bureaucracy. It is worth noting that all East Asian economies fare poorly in this ranking.
    Labour Productivity for Select Countries [in] GDP Per Hour Worked] (graph)
    https://www.hongkongfp.com/2015/10/11/forget-standardising-working-hours-its-time-to-fix-standard-working-culture/ [scan down halfway]
    [Hong Kong is about the middle (21st) of 40]

    The APO applies proprietary adjustments to economic data to make estimates comparable across geographies, which results in an assumption of a 42-hour work week for Hong Kong. In contrast, data reported by the HKSAR’s Census and Statistics Department and Labor Department put the average work week at a whopping 49 hours. After incorporating the CSD’s numbers, Hong Kong’s ranking drops further still, becoming on par with the likes of Greece.
    Hong Kongers work hard but they evidently do not work smart. The “Lion Rock Spirit” of unwavering diligence may have benefitted the Hong Kong of yesteryear, a manufacturing-centric economy dominated by workers cranking out widgets on a factory assembly line, but is hampering competitiveness and innovation in today’s service-oriented and technology-driven businesses.
    Older generations frequently complain about gwai-lo being lazy. The figures above corresponding to Western nations do not support this stereotype at all. Perhaps it boils down to jealousy over those “foreign devils” being highly efficient in what they do despite clocking in fewer hours? In any case, legally-enforced standard working hours will be a welcome step forward, but old-fashioned mentors and parents also need to stop patronizing young workers with advice like “be the first to arrive at the office and last to leave” or “remember to stay later than the boss”
    [People, it's 2015, not 1715. Hundreds of robots are being introduced into economies around the world every day and they really are 24/7. So (A) don't be stupid enough to try to compete with them and (B) bear in mind they need a maximum of consumer-spenders to buy their output and they do not buy anything themselves.]
    [People, hundreds of robots are being introduced into economies around the world every day and they really are 24/7. So (A) don't be stupid enough to try to compete with them and (B) bear in mind they need a maximum of consumer-spenders to buy their output because they do not buy ANYthing themselves.]
    Frank Siu is a financial econometrician working in the private sector. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he takes a keen interest in local affairs, particularly issues of rising social inequality and deepening political uncertainty. He enjoys curry fish balls and rubik's cubes.

  2. Know the Law: 24/7 workday puts new obligations on employers, by Kenton Villano, McLane Law Firm via UnionLeader.com
    MANCHESTER, N.H., USA - Q: Many of my employees use electronic devices to respond to work-related emails, texts and voicemails outside of work hours. I like the productivity, but I am concerned about issues with overtime pay and record-keeping. How should I address this off-duty mobile work so that I don’t have to worry every time I see an email that was “Sent from my iPhone”?
    A: The prevalence of smartphones, tablets, and laptops has created a 24/7 workday, with the virtual office extending to wherever an employee can get a wireless signal. This means that employees at any level can — and in some cases, are expected to — constantly monitor and respond to communications on their electronic devices. However, with this increase in responsiveness and productivity comes an increased obligation on the employer to properly record and pay the employees for this after-hours work.
    This is of particular concern with nonexempt employees. Under the federal Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), a nonexempt employee’s hours must be tracked, and they are entitled to overtime pay of not less than 1.5 times their regular rate of pay after 40 hours. Unless it is considered “de minimus,” all work must be compensated for by the employer, and this will often include checking emails, responding to texts, taking work home, and taking calls off-site and after-hours.
    Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules for what constitutes compensable work in this area of “mobile” business. The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently announced a request for information about “the use of technology, including portable electronic devices, by employees away from the workplace and outside of scheduled work hours.” But, until specific guidelines are announced, employers should take certain precautions to limit their exposure to claims by nonexempt employees for unpaid wages and overtime related to portable device work.
    • Ensure that your employees are properly classified as exempt or nonexempt based on their job duties. Employers should take specific note of the recently proposed changes to the so-called “white collar” exemptions. These changes could affect the exemption status of higher level employees who are expected to regularly work and communicate outside the office via their smartphones.
    • Have a policy in place to address unauthorized work, work off-the-clock, and recording/reporting when such work is done. This policy should specifically address the use of portable electronic devices, and include disciplinary actions for employees who violate the policy.
    • To the extent practicable, do not issue smartphones to nonexempt employees or allow them to access the company’s network or email system when away from the office. If these employees must have company-issued smartphones, or if your employees can sync up their device with the network, require the employees to keep detailed time records of their activities.
    • Educate the managers and supervisors in regards to sending communications outside of normal work hours. There are some policies, such as “delayed deliveries” and “email curfews,” that can safeguard against non-exempt employees performing unauthorized work off the clock.
    There will be official DOL regulations on this matter, and sooner rather than later. Getting a jump on a “mobile” work policy will help ease the transition for your employees — and your business — down the road.
    Kenton Villano can be reached at kenton.villano@mclane.com.

10/10/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Give us a break: Hong Kong needs to limit working hours if it's serious about making people's lives better, by Alice Wu, (10/11 over dateline) South China Morning Post via scmp.com
    ...Since other economies have benefited from regulating working hours, there's no reason why we can't too, despite alarmist warnings about the adverse economic effects
    It is time for government researchers to understand that they must keep in mind the economy's impact on the actual well-being of Hongkongers.
    (photo 1 caption)
    HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Robert Owen, the man who coined the slogan "Eight hours' labour, eight hours' recreation, eight hours' rest", demanded a 10-hour workday more than 200 years ago. By 1817, he was demanding eight-hour days. Maybe we shouldn't be so shocked to hear that Sweden has recently adopted the six-hour workday.
    A persistently overworked and underpaid workforce will be affecting long-term economic development in every aspect, and we don't need economists to tell us that (photo 2 caption)
    It may be true that Sweden is a very different place from, say, Hong Kong, where a quarter of the workforce put in, per week, an average of 51 hours or more, according to the Standard Working Hours Committee. It is also true that this is not the 1800s.
    Coming back to modern times, let's not forget that our neighbours - Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan, among others - have already adopted an eight-hour working day while we drag our feet.
    The latest committee report threw up some scaremongering numbers crunched by government economists. They include projections of more than 34,000 jobs lost among those who earn HK$15,000 or less a month, a 2 percentage-point increase in inflation, and up to 7,000 now-profit-making companies going into the red if we adopt a 44-hour working week.
    Perhaps the most damning words were: "If manpower shortage turns even more acute, Hong Kong's longer-term economic development would be inadvertently affected."
    [And compare -]
    Read more: Standard hours for Hong Kong workers will drive up inflation by two percentage points, government economists predict
    Telling people who are barely making enough, working night and day, that they may be looking at unemployment is scary. Telling businesses that they may not make a profit is scary. Runaway inflation is scary for everyone and maybe that's why number-crunchers always throw that threat in our faces.
    It's the same song and dance, really, every time the minimum wage issue comes up. And yet, they have admitted there was no telling how the implementation of a minimum wage drove up inflation. The truth is, food and rent are far greater inflation drivers. So for a really good scare, they threaten our long-term economic development.
    How well these number crunchers have served our financial secretary: these are the same people who have been estimating - infamously underestimating, to be exact - Hong Kong's budget surpluses, year after year.
    Miserable, anxiety-prone, sleep-deprived people put their own health and economic productivity at risk. Workers' health is important for the bottom line. (photo 3 caption)
    While those budget surplus figures have become something of a joke, perhaps it is time for the researchers at the Economic Analysis and Business Facilitation Unit to understand, once and for all, that they simply cannot ignore their social conscience. While they are responsible for looking at different aspects of this city's economic performance, they must also keep in mind its tremendous impact on the actual well-being of Hongkongers.
    A persistently overworked and underpaid workforce will be affecting long-term economic development in every aspect, and we don't need economists to tell us that. Miserable, anxiety-prone, sleep-deprived people put their own health and economic productivity at risk. Workers' health is important for the bottom line.
    People seek a better work-life balance because there aren't enough hours in the day for them to live.
    Many economies have made standard working hours work. There is no reason why Hong Kong cannot, either. Productivity, and hence, profit, can soar when workers make a good living and still have time to do what they enjoy doing, with people they love, and do so in good health. It's not just about working hours and liveable wages. If we are serious about making life better, we have to look beyond number-crunching.
    People are not machines, and should not be treated as such.
    Alice Wu is a political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA
    This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Time to give Hong Kong's overworked people a break

  2. Jeremy Hunt signals major climbdown on junior doctors' Saturday working hours - Worry over reforms to doctors' hours could lead to industrial action, by Teresa Hayes, iSurfPaducah.com
    LONDON, U.K. - Under the current plans, the contract will reclassify doctors' normal working week to include Saturdays and up to 10pm every night of the week except Sunday.
    Hunt also assured juniors that "this is not a cost cutting exercise".
    He said: "No junior doctor working full-time will be expected to work on average more than 48 hours a week".
    Angry Junior Doctors have said the pay premia would mean taking money from their colleagues to pay for theirs.
    But the letter seen by the BBC says Mr Hunt would be "pleased to discuss" a compromise on the definition of normal hours on a Saturday.
    In the letter Mr Hunt admitted that to support a seven-day NHS Junior Doctors would have an increase in "plain-time working", but it would be backed up by an increase in basic pay.
    Many junior doctors are threatening to quit in protest and there has been a surge in the numbers applying to work overseas. In such circumstances, employers will compensate the individual doctor for such hours, provided that the work has been undertaken for the needs of the service and is authorised by an appropriate person.
    Responding to Mr Hunt's letter, Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair said: "It is encouraging that the health secretary has finally recognised the vital role that junior doctors' play as tomorrow's leaders across the NHS".
    He said: "It would lengthen the working week and the BMA wants doctors to be keen and alert, not exhausted, when seeing patients". This is not primarily a contractual issue but we do need to look at how we can better support work life balance including leave arrangements and recognising that juniors often have family responsibilities and choose to work part time. NHS staff argue they will lose out financially as evenings and Saturdays will be paid at the standard rate opposed to the higher rate.
    He said the great majority of doctors would be paid at least as well as they are now, and said he would be willing to consider offering a few kind [few kinds? new kind?] of "pay protection" to any groups of doctors who did worse under the new terms. Are we not doctors who are the most trusted profession in the world?
    "I can give an absolute guarantee to junior doctors that this contract will not impose longer hours", he wrote.
    He gave assurances GP trainees will not be disadvantaged by the changes despite their subsidy being slashed.

    "Doctors don't take industrial action lightly, but there is a huge amount of anger among junior doctors about what is happening to them and what is happening to the NHS".
    Hunt's move revealed divisions between professional organisations that mostly represent more senior doctors, which want to see a negotiated settlement as soon as possible, and rank-and-file junior doctors, many of whom said Hunt's olive branch was not enough.
    He said that he shares "exactly the same aims for the new contract" as junior doctors did, and concluded the four-point letter by saying he had asked NHS Employers to develop the details of the new contract.
    Jeremy Hunt has signalled the Government could be prepared to back down on plans to impose all-day Saturday working hours on junior doctors as he sought to calm fears that the new contracts would cut pay and lead to longer hours.

10/09/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. 35-hour week decision not a problem – Ministry of Finance, Portuguese Economy Probe via peprobe.com
    LISBON, Portugal - The ruling handed down by the Constitutional Court that rules central government involvement in local government employment contracts to be unconstitutional would be respected, the Ministry of Finance press office told Lusa Thursday.
    “We respect the decision by the Constitutional Court and shall comply with its stipulations” said the spokesperson.
    The October 7th ruling by the Constitutional Court strikes down some of the provisions of the General State Civil Service Law passed in June 2014 that saw the central state hand down stipulations to local government instances [sic].
    The court found that apart from in exceptional circumstances and in the public interest, such involvement represented interference with the principles of local government autonomy.
    The Constitutional Court ruling was requested by the SINTAP trade union representing local government employees and the Portuguese National Association of Parish Councilsand which[. The ruling] now overturns government regulations such as reduced staffing numbers, freezes on human resource costs and overtime restrictions on any local government entity wishing to provide staff with a 35-hour week.
    LYFS/KAR //KAR. Lusa

  2. Three cheers for a four-day work week! by Susan Richardson, Human at Work via NewsWorks.org
    PHILADELPHIA, Penn., USA - With the upcoming Columbus Day holiday [and Canadian Thanksgiving], some of us are heading into a three-day weekend — at least for those of us who cleave (if only in theory) to a five-day work week. Granted, that leaves out a lot of folks, but for those who work inside the structure of five-days-on, two-days-off, those three days usually end up feeling like a gift from the work gods.
    You get all your errands and housework done, squeeze in time with friends and family, and then — wow! — a whole extra 24 hours beyond that.
    Sound good? Apparently working fewer hours is good, according to recent research in fields ranging from psychology to cognition to sleep, and medical conditions such as depression and anxiety.
    You're healthier.
    A recent systematic review of studies on work and heart disease conducted by The Lancet concluded that "Employees who work long hours have a higher risk of stroke than those working standard hours." Additional evidence also suggested somewhat higher risk for heart disease. And not surprisingly, the stats are even worse for those in manual labor.
    You're more productive.
    Studies are increasingly showing that shorter workweeks — or recently in Sweden, shorter work days — result in higher productivity, as workers are allowed to harness their energy more efficiently. As the Harvard Business Review reports, "Considerable evidence shows that overwork is not just neutral — it hurts us and the companies we work for. Numerous ... have found that overwork and the resulting stress can lead to all sorts of health problems, including impaired sleep, depression, heavy drinking, diabetes, impaired memory, and heart disease. Of course, those are bad on their own. But they're also terrible for a company's bottom line, showing up as absenteeism, turnover, and rising health insurance costs."
    You're happier.
    When you can avoid the burnout at the end of the day — along with the poor decision making and general grumpiness that come with it — you tend to better manage your relationships with colleagues when at work, and probably the relationships outside work, as well.
    That all sounds pretty convincing, but I also wanted to hear from someone who'd actually been test-driving this concept for awhile. I found her, in a millennial who works as an engraver at the U.S. Mint here in Philadelphia.
    Renata Gordon says she's had a four-day work week for about a year and a half. She compresses her work as an artist designing coins (how cool is that) into 10 hours a day, Monday through Thursday.
    How does it work out? "I go to bed early Sunday through Wednesday," she says. "It creates a four-day period of intensive work and self – improvement [sic]. For example, I wake up very early to work out before work, I get adequate sleep during that time, and I cook most of what I eat.
    "While a 10-hour workday at first seems tiring, it is something one gets used to, making it seem like a normal four days," Gordon says.
    [And with robotization and tons of superproductive technology, there's no reason the workweek should still be four 10s, instead of four 9s, or even four 8-hour days.]
    "The following three-day weekend every week seems like a bonus! Toward the end of the day, I sometimes wane in my level of creative energy. However, after a three-day weekend, I am totally renewed each week, and feel that makes up for it. I appreciate the structure a four-day work week builds, and the freedom the weekend brings complements it."
    Seems like the four-day week is good food for thought and may help us integrate the Four Circles of work, home life, community life, and private time that Stewart Friedman, Practice Professor of Management and Director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project identifies as crucial to healthy work/life balance.
    So this weekend, if you have Monday off, enjoy — and observe.

10/08/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Louisiana Food Stamp Recipients Must Meet Minimum 20-Hour Work Week to Qualify, State Decides - An estimated 62,000 food stamp recipients now have three months to find work or lose their benefits by Karen Lo, (10/07 late pickup) TheDailyMeal.com
    Louisiana has allowed a longstanding waiver, which allowed unemployed adults to receive benefits without a time limit, to lapse (photo caption)
    BATON ROUGE, La., USA - Louisiana residents who apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP] benefits, or food stamps, are now required to meet a minimum work requirement, according to new state guidelines issued Thursday, October 1.
    In a press release, Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) explained that the work requirement is the result of the state allowing a federal employment waiver to expire. The waiver, introduced as part of the 1996 welfare reform package, allows adults 18 to 49 without dependents to receive benefits indefinitely, even if they are capable of working but are not employed.
    The requirement, which now applies to all able-bodied SNAP recipients without dependents, stipulates that food stamps will only be available to those who work no less than 20 hours a week, or are enrolled in a federally-approved job training program. If a SNAP recipient does not meet the new requirement, “they will only receive benefits for 3 months out of a 36-month period,” DCFS announced.
    An estimated 62,000 able-bodied, dependent-less adults in Louisiana will now have three months to find employment or enroll in an acceptable training program.
    Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal.

  2. Down Under C-Stores Consider Cutting Hours of Operation - 7-Eleven Australia is weighing whether to cut back on its current 24/7 hours, NACSOnline.com
    [Uh, isn't "7-Eleven" supposed to mean, opens at 7am and closes at 11pm anyway?]
    SYDNEY, Australia – Residents of the land of the midnight sun might get some more sleep if Australian convenience stores, among other retailers, start closing down in the wee hours of the morning, the Herald Sun reports.
    [Uh, the "land of the midnight sun" only refers to places within the Arctic (or Antarctic) Circle, which includes part of Alaska, Yukon, NWT and Nunuvut (and Antarctica) but none of Australia.]
    Many stores in Australia never close, but recently, merchants are questioning whether it makes business sense to stay open all night long.
    Even 7-Eleven, which has 593 of the 620 Australian locations open 24/7, has said it was considering a change. “The name [7-Eleven] came from those being the opening hours [bingo!],” said new CEO Michael Smith. “I don’t think it’s kind of a major issue but we’re open to everything. You do need to consider it and we’re not going to rule anything out.” Driving the consideration is the fact that many 7-Eleven stores have few, if any, customers after 11 pm.
    It’s not just Australian shops that are pulling back from 24-hour operations. Walmart announced this summer that 40 of its superstores would close at midnight, while Tesco in the United Kingdom said some operating hours would be trimmed from some of its always-open locations. “A business has fixed and variable costs and to extend trading hours is cost effective but at a certain point of time these benefits are overcome by disincentives,” added consultant Barry Urquhart.
    Australian stores started staying open around the clock during the mid-1990s, with both large and small retailers never turning the lights out. Urquhart pointed out that such a practice works better in areas with a high population density, but for Australia, “you don’t have the same number of people living within an area to provide that viability,” he said.
    For now, 7-Eleven will continue operations as usual. “We are looking at everything but we would expect 24-hour trading to remain as it is a key part of the 7-Eleven offering to always be open for our customers,” said a company spokeswoman.

10/07/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. City in Sweden reduces workers 40 hour work week to 30, WISH-TV via wishtv.com
    GOTENBURG, Sweden – Officials in Gotenburg, Sweden are conducting a real-world experiment by trimming a 40 hour work week to 30.
    The city government in Gotenburg said they noticed the towns nurses and doctors were burnt out.
    In 2014, they started an experiment with one nursing facility. They turned nurses eight hour shifts to six and kept their pay the same.

    “Since the 1990s, we have had more work and fewer people, we can’t do it any more. There is a lot of illness and depression among staff in the care sector because of exhaustion. The lack of balance between work and life is not good for anyone,” one nurse told the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper.
    The city said it took a $1 million investment and hired 14 more people.
    The results won’t be out until the end of 2016, but reports indicate the nurses are less fatigued and more efficient.
    So far, the study has found productivity is a balance between quality and quantity...

  2. The Death of the Workday: Is 9 to 5 Working Obsolete? Posted By Matt Byrom, Business.com
    SOUTHPORT, Mersysid., UK - There was a time when the 9 to 5 was the dominant model of a days work. Increasingly, we are seeing that change.
    Freelancing and self-employment are on a steep upward curve. Shift work is increasingly prevalent as businesses stay open later. Even full-time, Monday to Friday employees are typically expected – and expect, themselves – a level of flexibility beyond the usual working hours.
    So, is the 9 to 5 working day dying – or does it still have a future?
    During the Industrial Revolution and the decades that followed, hellish 16-hour work days were pretty much the norm.
    It was Welsh social reformer Richard Owen who saw that this was unsustainable and began to campaign for the 8-hour work day. The uncomplicated rationale was that, of the 24 hours in a day, we should aim to split them equally between work, leisure and rest.
    Henry Ford was among the first to introduce the 8-hour day into his company back in 1914. It proved to be a roaring success, in terms of both productivity and profitability. Of course, other companies quickly followed suit.
    It seemed that this was the beginning of an inexorable trend of working hour reduction and, in 1930, John Maynard Keynes was actually telling anyone who'd listen that, thanks to technology, we'd be working 15 hours a week before the century was out.
    [Note the nastiness of "telling anyone who'd listen" - symptom of stifling political correctness in the "science" of economics and the "objective" quest for truth.]
    Not Quite...
    Clearly Keynes' prediction was wide off the mark. The 40-hour work week has remained largely unchanged for decades, and indeed, in many countries, people routinely work longer than that.
    Keynes was right to expect profound cultural and technological changes, though. And they're slowly opening up the question over whether working between 9 and 5 is still the way to go.
    Clearly, advances in online technology have changed the game; workers can now securely access their work whenever and wherever they need to.
    This has resulted in an unprecedented rise in the number of people working from home. In the days of Owen, Ford and Keynes, workers were required to be physically present to do their job. But now – with people working remotely – it's easy to see the idea of setting 'fixed hours' in which they should be doing their work as slightly archaic.
    Technological advancements have also prompted a disconcerting rise in the number of office workers taking work home with them. Four in five UK office workers say they check their work email after leaving the office – and a third log on before they even get out of bed in the morning.
    So, in fact, it's hard to quantify exactly how many hours people might be working. Sure, they're in the office 9 to 5 – but how much of their free time is being swallowed up by work demands outside those hours?
    Culture and Competition
    Cultural and generational changes have brought about a real demand for immediacy among consumers.
    It's now incredibly difficult for companies to simply 'switch off' after hours, because so many modern consumers expect answers to their questions and problems right now. Not tomorrow, and certainly not 'after the weekend.' This is a huge challenge to the 9 to 5 philosophy.
    As a consequence, businesses find themselves under pressure to expand their hours of availability—particularly digital companies.
    That competition, it seems, extends to the mindset individual employees. With the economic downturn that has characterised most of the last century, many workers are so preoccupied with job security that they'll happily go the extra mile – often risking burnout – to try and stay ahead.
    The Problems With 9 to 5
    It would be churlish to suggest that the 9 to 5 model doesn't have its problems. The most glaring one is that simply working for 8 hours a day is no guarantee of productivity. Clearly, employees can sit at your desk for 8 hours and actually achieve very little – a lot of time is wasted at work, a problem which seems to be getting worse. Is 'time in seat' really an accurate measure of productivity?
    The arbitrary 9 to 5 model also takes no stock of when people work best. Human beings are a diverse bunch. We often work quite differently – some of us are slow-starting night owls who love to hammer out the work when others are still asleep. Others are early risers who are ready to get started the second our head leaves the pillow, but are burned out by mid-afternoon. These differences are more pronounced than you might think – did you know, for example, that 44% of women and 37% of men say they prefer to work at night?
    There's also the fact that 9 to 5 is, by definition, rigid and inflexible. This can be detrimental to recruitment, retention and morale. Millennials particularly value the idea of flexibility, with 45% saying it takes precedence over pay when choosing a new job. Stats like this are creating a pressing need for companies to be at least flexible to some extent.
    But Is It Still Viable?
    With all that said, the 9 to 5 still has its supporters, and, indeed, many merits. While it can seem draconian to seemingly 'deny' flexibility, ultimately, it can be a useful way to draw a line in the sand between work and leisure – in exactly the way 19th century reformers imagined it.
    The problem with flexibility, of course, is that in many places it's become a by-word for 'working more.' It means people are still working their core hours but taking work home with them as well. Against this backdrop, it's probably no coincidence that we're seeing a rise in health issues related to overworking, including obesity and a mental health crisis. Perhaps this is because all-too-many employers are expecting their employees to be more widely available for work, without providing flexibility in return.
    As Ricardo Semler said in a must-watch TED talk, “We've all learned how to go on Sunday night to email and work from home. But very few of us have learned how to go to the movies on Monday afternoon.”
    Against all odds, could the old-fashioned 9 to 5 working model be the perfect solution to the modern problem of overworking?
    Closing Thoughts
    Experts are far from unanimous in the debate over whether the 9 to 5 model has a long-term future – and it's difficult to reach any firm conclusion at this point. Despite all the technological changes and cultural upheaval, an idea that seems totally antiquated still has its merits.
    What do you think – does 9 to 5 still fit the bill for your company? Will it remain the 'default' model in future, or will it slowly become obsolete?
    Matt Byrom is the Managing Director of Wyzowl. Wyzowl is an explainer video production and content marketing agency based in UK. They are one of the market leading explainer video production companies in the world having created over 1,250 videos for customers in 40+ different countries. Their content marketing service is an end to end all inclusive offering to help businesses generate brand awareness and leads online.

  3. New Rules Put Workers Back on the Clock - White-collar workers, long used to salaried pay, could return to doing time sheets, by Rachel Emma Silverman & Rachel Feintzeig, WSJ, B8.
    [This is the second thing that the Obama administration has done in line with the 500+year socioeconomic design of Timesizing and its upgrades. The first was Obamacare, which triggered thousands of over-50-employee US companies to cut below 30 hours a week to avoid Obamacare premiums. This second one brings in time accountability, which supplements our idea of shadow time accounting.]
    WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Some five million American workers will be newly eligible for overtime pay as early as next year. To get that pay, those managers, supervisors, data analysts and others may have to do something they haven’t done in years, if ever: punch a clock.
    The proposed expansion of overtime rules put forth by the Obama administration has sent employers rushing to reallocate work and sketch out the costs. It has also posed a dilemma for managers, who say asking a new group of employees to clock in could change work in subtle yet profound ways, making some workers feel they are being pushed to a lower rung of the office caste system.
    Yoking employees to the clock flies in the face of modern management theory, much of which holds that flexibility and autonomy are crucial for a high-performing workforce. Historically, clocking in has been the province of workers in blue-collar and service roles, while managerial, professional and white-collar workers have been free to manage their time as they need—one of the perks of moving up the corporate ladder. The new rules could change all that, experts say.
    “For a lot of people, the difference between hourly or salaried is the difference between a job and a career,” says Nancy Hammer, senior government affairs policy counsel at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) an HR professional group.
    Under the proposed Department of Labor regulations, salaried workers earning less than $50,440 will be eligible for overtime pay. The rules would more than double the previous salary threshold for overtime-eligible workers, sweeping in some managers and supervisors. A Department of Labor spokesman declined to comment on when the rules would be completed or implemented.
    Employers like Dollar Tree Inc. have argued against the rules, saying the shift would strip employees of status and flexibility. Some employees say they resent losing control of their time.
    Workers who have had to start tracking their hours say the change felt like a step down—even when time-and-a-half pay fattened their wallets.
    Jeff Berman, a data analyst at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, a trade association for community hospitals, may be among those tracking hours if the proposed regulations go through.
    While he stands to earn more, he says, “it just doesn’t feel as professional [if] I have to punch a clock.”
    A survey of 413 SHRM members found that 67% of respondents said that employees would have decreased autonomy and flexibility and 70% said their firms would likely offer fewer opportunities than before to work overtime, because of cost concerns. Some 900 SHRM members have submitted comments to the Labor Department objecting to the proposals.
    Extra pay may allay those objections, although many employers are expected to limit overtime hours to save costs, or shift some work onto others. U.S. employers spend an average of $540.80 per employee on overtime each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    “It kind of felt like a demotion” when Shaun Pilcher, a paralegal, had to start clocking in more than a decade ago.
    [Well, Shaun, bear in mind that prestigious and highly paid consultants practice the time accountability of billable time.]
    Mr. Pilcher, who works for Goldberg Segalla in White Plains, N.Y, now records his time in, time out and lunch breaks on a computer system.
    “It’s nice to know that if you have to stay late, you’re being paid for those hours that you’re working,” he says.
    Bosses, too, worry the time clock may weigh on staff morale.
    In 2009, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer reclassified some plant supervisors from salaried to hourly when they were asked to go back on the production line. Longtime employees felt disappointment at having to punch back in, according to a human resources official at the company.
    “It was a heartbreak for them. They felt like they had been working too long and too hard to now have to go back and clock in and out,” the official says, adding that she is concerned the proposed new regulations will have a similar impact for some of the firm’s current employees.
    Hourly workers place a higher value on their time than salaried workers do, says Sanford DeVoe, an associate professor of management and organizations at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, who studies how workers perceive time. Hourly workers are more likely than salaried ones to jump at extra duties if they will be paid more. However, hourly workers are less likely to take unpaid breaks or do other tasks free, because they equate time with money, he says.
    Tom Stanton, chief executive of Huntsville, Ala.-based Adtran Inc., says he wants his employees to view their roles as more than mere jobs, and go the extra mile when the telecommunications company needs them.
    So, rather than asking them to record all their hours, he plans to ask newly overtime-eligible workers to keep tabs on when they are working more than 40 hours and report it to their managers on an honor system.
    “To me, that’s an empowering thing if you’re not sitting there punching a clock,” he says. “Someone’s not looking over to see every move you make.”
    Write to Rachel Emma Silverman at rachel.silverman@wsj.com and Rachel Feintzeig at rachel.feintzeig@wsj.com
    There are 38 comments.
    Norman Martin, 1 day ago
    My dad was an engineer and a physicist. A lot of time at work he was sitting quietly thinking. A lot of time at home he was sitting quietly thinking. Punch a time clock for time spent quietly thinking?
    [No. Punch a time clock before and after "time at work" and not before and after "time at home." You've already made the distinction. (And as colleague Kate asks, "Quietly thinking about WHAT?" - maybe there's non-workstuff he's "quietly thinking about" at work that balances the workstuff he's "quality thinking about" at home!)]
    Some wet behind the ears MBA will shut that down right away... Innovation, gone!
    [Oh spare us the alarmism. This prevents employers from having a blank check on your dad's life and allows him to HAVE "a lot of time at home" in the first place!]

10/06/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. These 10 cities consider short work hours as source of pride, Venture Capital Post via vcpost.com
    NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - In America, employees [who still have a vanishing "full time" job] work an average of almost 47 hours a week and rather choose to have more flexible-time-on-the-job than less time [on the job and more freedom].
    Normally a full-time employee works 40 hours or more in a week but at some Swedish firms, work period is cut to 30 hours. Studies showed that lesser hours of work makes employees more productive and promotes better morale, according to CNN Money.
    "The reason is that we actually care about our employees, we care enough to prioritize their time with the family, cooking or doing something else they love doing," the company's CEO Maria Bråth [of the Brath Co. of Stockholm] wrote last month in a blog post and [who] shifted to six hours a day three years ago.
    Here are the 10 cities with the shortest working hours according to Business Pundit.
    1. Paris [France] tops the list with only 1,604 of work hours per year. As one analyst wrote, "Those who like time off [alias the most basic freedom, job-secure Free Time] should consider finding a job in Paris, where people work only around 35 hours per week ... and have 29 days of paid vacation."
    In 2000 [actually 1997-2001], officials implement[ed] the 35-hour work per week in order to encourage companies to hire more workers.

    2. Lyon [France] is a close second place with Paris having 1,631 working hours including 29 paid holidays each year lessening their total workloads. Employees work with an average of 31.3 hours per week.
    3. Moscow, Russia is third in the list although the economy in the said city is declining, but it doesn't stop employees to still work at shorter hours. The average working hours is 1,647 hours per year with 31 days of paid holiday.
    4. Next comes Helsinki [Finland] that also treats its employees well. The average worker spends 1,659 hours per year in the office and is offered 29 days of paid vacation. Finland has been ranked as the best country in the world in terms of employee training and preparation.
    5. Vienna, Austria comes next with total working hours of 1,678 for its citizens and offers 27 days of paid vacation. The city has a population of 1.8 million where employees receive exceptional healthcare and excellent stable economy.
    6. Milan, Italy is next in line and one of the top fashion cities of the world, where models show off the latest collection from famous fashion designers. Workers engaged about 1,691 hours per year on average. Residents enjoy the balance between work and life, working only for 32.5 hours per week, as reported by Hot Copas.
    7. Denmark [capital Copenhagen] follows Milan with less than 1,700 hours where employees enjoy a 1,697 hours of work annually. The city is usually listed as one of the happiest places to live.
    8. Up next is Luxembourg with 32 days of paid holidays for its workers adding national holidays. Average workers spend 1,703 hours every year.
    9. Lithuania [capital Vilnius] offers its workers 30 vacation days every year with working hours of 1,716 annually.
    10. Belgian capital [Brussels] workers have an average of 1,717 hours per year and receive 18 days of paid vacation annually.
    As compared to the workers in the U.S., working hours can reach up to 2,000 a year in the office and can be easily doubled with second jobs, overtime, and demanding jobs keeping them early in the morning and late nights.

  2. Reality check: How hard does China work? A look at the realities of working life in China, following Jeremy Hunt’s suggestion that Britons need to work as hard as the Chinese, by Tom Phillips, TheGuardian.com
    Hunt: tax credit cuts [sic] will make Britons work like Chinese or Americans (photo caption)
    [= moronic in the age of 24/7 robotization - "That dog don't hunt!"]
    BEIJING, China - “There’s a bit of a British attitude which treats China as a sweatshop on the Pearl River,” George Osborne opined during a trip to the world’s second largest economy in 2013.
    “One of the things I’m trying to do this week in China is change British attitudes,” he said.
    The chancellor’s message appears to have eluded the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt. On Tuesday, citing his Chinese wife as inspiration, Hunt suggested Britons needed to pull up their socks and work hard “in the way that Asian economies are prepared to work hard”.
    [And compete with 24/7 robots? Jeremy Hunt, stuck in the 18th-century with the Puritan work ethic, has not thought this through. Concentrate the vanishing market-demanded human employment and who's going to have job earnings to buy all the stuff the robots are churning out, Jeremy? As Reuther retorted to Henry Ford's taunt "Let's see you unionize these robots" - "Let's see you sell them cars."]
    So how hard do Chinese people work?
    The answer, as might be expected in a country with more than 760 million workers, is complex.
    The average Chinese worker puts in somewhere between 2,000 and 2,200 hours each year, Wang Qi, a researcher at Beijing Normal University, told the Wall Street Journal last year.
    That compares to a UK average of 1,677 hours last year, according to figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
    But Chinese work hours have been falling for at least three decades, said Li Chang’an, a labour economist at Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics.
    “Since the 1980s and 1990s, Chinese workers have been working shorter and shorter hours,” Li said, pointing to improved labour laws, improved productivity and the introduction of two-day weekends.
    “We visit many factories every year,” Li added. “In most, working conditions are improving (and) salaries increasing while working hours are decreasing.”
    Perhaps unsurprisingly, China’s hardest grafters are its impoverished and often exploited migrant workers, the Wall Street Journal found.
    China’s average migrant worker worked 8.8 hours each day in 2013, it claimed, citing official statistics. Nearly 85% of migrants worked more than 44 hours a week, earning an average of just £270 per month.
    The consequences of such relentless work can be dire. Reports in China’s state-run media last year claimed that a staggering 600,000 citizens were dying from over-work each year.
    A 2012 editorial in the China Daily newspaper complained: “Employers cajole, persuade, goad or force their workers to work overtime because they want to perform better in China’s highly competitive market to ensure that they don’t go out of business.”
    What about the more affluent?
    Better-off Chinese people are suffering, too. A report by the Boston Consulting Group claimed that half of China’s more affluent classes now complained of health issues stemming from “work pressures, family obligations, and long work hours”.
    “Common complaints were insomnia, fatigue, a lack of energy, obesity, and frequent illness,” it warned. “The incidence of these complaints is growing fast, especially among younger people.”
    What’s the impact on productivity?
    But all those man-hours do not necessarily pay off. Chinese experts have urged employers to reduce workloads as a way of boosting productivity.
    “Working overtime is not good for workers’ health and does not improve productivity and efficiency,” said Li, the Beijing-based labour economist.
    “Chinese workers have to work longer hours than their peers from the more developed countries, such as the UK and US, because China’s production efficiency still lags significantly far behind those countries,” he said. “As we are still at the developmental stage of chasing GDP growth and increasing total production, long working hours will persist for a certain time.”
    Additional reporting by Luna Lin

10/04-05/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. After Sweden, Malaysian unions call for six-hour work day, 10/05 TheMalayMailOnline.com
    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) reiterated its demands for Malaysia to move to a six-hour work day following the introduction of the policy in Sweden.
    Local daily Harian Metro reported today MTUC president Mohd Khalid Atan as saying that the change in work hours was crucial for employee health in Malaysia.
    “We urge the government to reduce the working hours to six hours as practiced in other developed nations. For example in Sweden which has enforced their working hours to six from eight previously,” Khalid was quoted saying in the report.
    He also said the majority of workers in Malaysia work additional hours to gain more income, which would make their working hours go up to 12 a day.

    In Sweden, companies ranging from startups to retirement homes have been experimenting with a six-hour work day policy in recent years.
    [But be careful to let those who love their jobs and are willing to reinvest overtime earnings in sharing them work all 168 hrs/wk if they want to!]
    However, recent reports say the majority of companies in the Scandinavian country are still practicing the typical 40-hour work week.
    [And here's a fuller discussion of this dated tomorrow -]
    Should Malaysia follow Sweden’s 6-hour work rule? by Sharan Raj, 10/06 TheMalaysianInsider.com
    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Sweden recently made headlines by enacting a law restricting working hours to six a day from Monday to Friday.
    The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) president Mohd Khalid Atan reiterated the demand to follow Sweden's footstep few days ago.
    The idea draws various critics and supporters making it an issue discussed from the tables in “mamak” shops to the boardroom.
    Yet, the main question prevails, is Malaysia ready to implement the six-hour work rule?
    In order to solve this question, let's compare Malaysia with Sweden.
    Sweden economy is relatively advanced compared to Malaysia and Swedish GDP per capita is nearly six times that of Malaysia.
    Based on the economic indicators, Malaysia outperforms Sweden only in terms of GDP growth showing Malaysia’s positive economic direction.
    Sweden ranked among the world lowest in terms of inequality while Malaysia has more work to be done.
    Malaysia has to triple its GDP per capita before even considering implementing lower work hours without jeopardising future growth and quality of living.
    Sweden productivity are 3.3 times better compared to Malaysia, which means Swedish required 3.3 less effort and time to produce the same work output compared to Malaysians.
    The Malaysian working culture is not on par with developed economy despite tremendous progress within the past 35 years.
    The poor productivity of work force is linked to yes-man attitude, complacency, procrastination, late work submission or delay, poor punctuality (Malaysian timing), unnecessary holidays, faking medical leave, lack of corporate transparency, poor working conditions, etc.
    This requires more working hours for Malaysians to complete the designated economic output.
    This is not unique to the private sector but also public service as most Malaysians can relate waiting longer than necessary at civil service offices to settle their respective affairs.
    It is an open secret that Malaysians are fearing the loss prosperity due to rising inflation and want to learn more to either sustain or increase their lavish lifestyles.
    Within past decade, Malaysians have clocked more overtime and performed additional task just to gain better pay raise as well climb the corporate ladder.
    This created what is known as “overtime culture” in the private sectors.
    Thus, any staff seen leaving before the boss are considered lazy and not committed, leading to staff to purposely delaying their work to fill in time as well clock in extra hours for better pay.
    Without improving the productivity of the private and public service, a six-hour working period per day will only slow down economic output, hampering economic growth and jeopardising quality of living.
    The whole idea of economic growth is to have enough prosperity for the people to reap a better living quality as well as create a better country for the future generation.
    Both workforce and economy are not prepared for such drastic change nor have we the fundamentals to cushion the temporary knee-jerk effect.
    Reducing work hours may provide more time for personal and family interest.
    However, without addressing the fundamental weakness, any attempt to reduce working hour will create an unconducive economic environment, which Malaysians built over the past 35 years. – October 6, 2015.
    This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

  2. Teaching less, so pupils learn more - Special report: Schools gear up to cut class hours and bring in after-school activities, by Dumrongkiat Mala, 10/04 (10/05 early pickup) BangkokPost.com
    Rice planting and harvesting will be part of the programme as students in 3,000 of the 38,000 state schools have their in-class time cut by two hours a day in a pilot programme. (photo caption)
    BANGKOK, Thailand - More than 3,000 of 38,000 state schools nationwide will have to cut their class hours by two hours a day next term in response to the Education Ministry's "Teach Less, Learn More" pilot scheme, amid doubts about whether many schools are ready.
    ["Train up a child in the way that (s)he should go..." And that's working smart, not hard, in the age of hardworking robots.]
    The term starts in the last week of this month. The initiative was introduced by new Education Minister Gen Dapong Ratanasuwan, the 17th education minister in the past 14 years. He claimed classroom hours for Thai students are among the highest in the world. Primary school pupils sit in classes for 1,000 hours a year, and secondary students 1,200 hours a year, compared to 800 class hours a year in most developed countries.
    According to the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), academic class hours under the new plan will be cut from 30-35 hours a week to 22 hours a week for elementary schools and from 35 hours a week to 22 hours a week for elementary schools and from 35 hours to 27 hours for secondary schools.
    Classes will finish at 2pm every day, two hours earlier on the present finishing time, allowing students to use the remaining two hours in school to do extra-curricular activities of their choice.
    Under the pilot scheme, extra-curricular activities will be divided into three categories: encouraging learning capability, cultivating attributes and good values, and enhancing working and living skills.
    Each category contains 13 activities such as communication and thinking development, vocational training, use of technology and upholding the values of the nation, religion and the monarchy.
    "Thai students are spending too much time in classroom, they need more free time to learn skills which prepare them for life. Schools need to teach less to let students learn more. I believe when students are happier they'll eventually get better grades," Gen Dapong said.
    Gen Dapong insisted his idea is not a call for teachers to do less, but a call for educators to teach better.
    On the face of it, it seems like a perfect idea to free up students to try new activities and confine them less to their desks.
    However, many school heads and academics are wondering if it will really work out like that. They say schools have been given just a month to prepare, which is not long enough.
    Amnuay Puttamee, director of Phyathai School, one of the schools in Obec's pilot scheme, said no guidelines have arrived from Obec, even though the new term starts in less than a month.
    "We received an invitation from Obec to attend a policy briefing on Oct 13-14, meaning we will have just two weeks to prepare everything," Mr Amnuay said.
    A lack of teachers and supplies for extra-curricular activities are possible problems. He is also afraid that cutting class-time would lower his students' scores in the Ordinary National Education Test (Onet).
    Similarly, Thantip Kaewliam, director of Galyani Vadhana Chaloem Phra Kiat school in Chiang Mai, said time is too short to organise everything required. Many school heads in her area still do not understand the concept behind the scheme.
    Ms Thantip said she and her staff will attend workshops organised by Obec in the middle of this month. However, she has already prepared 6-7 elective classes for students herself. "Our term starts on Oct. 26. We cannot wait for the workshop, so we have prepared ourselves the best we could," she said.
    Sompong Jitradab, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Education, said consistency is a big problem in the education system as the rules change every semester. New guidelines are handed down to teachers on course content, lesson plans and testing.
    "With every change of the education minister comes a change in policy direction," he said.
    Mr Sompong said Obec may need at least 8-9 months to prepare schools for the policy of introducing electives after class hours, which will include changes to the curriculum and assessment system to support it.
    Firstly, he said teachers need to be trained in the concept of "Teach Less, Learn More", which is to produce a generation of youngsters who can meet future needs through independent thinking and the ability to solve problems on their own.
    Secondly, Obec needs to change the thinking behind its assessment system because if children are still being pressured to do well in exams, nothing will change, he said.
    Lastly, in his view, academic class hours should be cut from 1,000 hours to 600-850 hours a year for primary schools and from 1,200 hours to 880 hours a year for secondary schools.
    "If students have less time in classrooms while they still have to study the same content and have to be assessed under the Onet, their academic performance might worsen and finally they may have to spend more money on cramming schools and tutoring," Mr Sompong said.
    Prapapat Niyom, educator and founder of Bangkok's Roong Aroon School, said if the ministry wants to cut class hours, it needs to change assessment as the first priority.
    Instead of exams, she recommended alternative assessments that allow more open-ended responses and testing students over a period of time to judge their holistic development.
    "Cutting class hours alone will not change the quality of Thai education, because rote learning, an authoritarian school culture and frequent policy changes are also problems which the Thai education system has to address," Ms Prapapat said.

10/03/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Government takes precautions against rise of unpaid leave, CNA (China News Agency) via Focus Taiwan News Channel via focustaiwan.tw
    TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government has taken precautions in case the number of employees given unpaid leave continues to rise, but the situation remains far less serious than during the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, public agencies have said.
    Taiwan's export-oriented economy is vulnerable to global economic volatility, and a recent slowdown in global trade has hurt orders at many Taiwanese electronics companies, prompting them to give employees unpaid days off to keep costs down.
    The Ministry of Labor (MOL) said on Thursday that a special fund of NT$20 billion (around US$600 million) has been set aside to help companies and employees facing furloughs in case of emergency.
    [Furloughs not firings! Timesizing not downsizing!]
    A source at the MOL's vocational training center said that while there were no indications that the number of people on unpaid leave might shoot up in the foreseeable future, the ministry was prepared to use the special fund to offer job training or other assistance.
    A special task force consisting of representatives from the Economic Affairs, Labor, and Science and Technology ministries and the Financial Supervisory Commission that was first created in 2011 could also spring into action should the number of people furloughed surge.
    The government first established a special employment security fund in 2008 to lend support to furloughed workers after the global financial crisis battered Taiwan's exports.
    At the peak of the crisis in February and March 2009, over 230,000 employees were on unpaid leave.
    The numbers today are far lower, though there is still plenty of unease over the ongoing global economic doldrums.
    According to government statistics, 26 companies had given a combined 1,233 employees unpaid leave in September, the highest number for a single month since February 2014.
    Most of the 26 companies are small-and-medium enterprises, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said.
    Lu Cheng-hua, the director-general of the MOEA's Industrial Development Bureau, said Taiwan has experienced declines in exports over the past few months, and some manufacturers have seen a drop in orders and are operating well below capacity.
    Government agencies are concerned about the unpaid leave trend and aside from setting up mechanisms to assist those affected, authorities are also providing assistance to the semiconductor, machinery, flat panel display, textile and vehicle sectors, hoping to stimulate exports, Lu said.
    At one of Taiwan's main high-tech hubs, the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park, LED and panel manufacturers laid off a total of 241 employees in September, and only sapphire wafer manufacturer Tera XTAL Technology Corp. put employees on furlough.
    A science park administration source said, however, that not all sectors were facing sluggish business and some manufacturers were even considering expanding their workforces.
    He cited the prospects of the solar energy sector as having improved since the beginning of the third quarter, and manufacturers of modules and silicon wafers were planning to expand production capacity and increase employment.
    [A less big-bird's-eye version -]
    Over 1000 workers placed on furlough in Sept.: MOL, Taipei News.Net via chinapost.com
    TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Labor said Thursday that 26 businesses had placed a total of 1,233 employees on involuntary unpaid leave during September.
    The September figure is the most furloughs reported in a single month since the beginning of this year, as well as the first time since last February that a monthly figure has exceeded 1,000.
    On Wednesday, Labor Minister Chen Hsiung-wen announced a NT$20 billion fund that would be authorized once the number of workers on unpaid leave reached 1,000.
    The fund would be used to subsidize vocational training for furloughed employees and other employment support, Chen said at the Legislative Yuan.
    On Wednesday, Chen had said that latest available data showed 19 businesses had placed 783 employees on unpaid leave so far in September.
    In Tech and Traditional Sectors
    Government regulations allow enterprises to place employees on furlough for up to three months.
    According to Ministry of Labor data released yesterday, 26 registered businesses had placed 1,233 employees on furlough in September, up 84 percent from 669 workers in August.
    The businesses implementing the furloughs were mainly small and medium-sized enterprises in traditional industries and electronics.
    Among the businesses using furloughs were one firm in each of Taiwan's three major science parks, according to the report.
    Furlough figures are only a part of jobs data and alone do not signal Taiwan's industrial downturn. Other employment data, including mass layoff figures and unemployment benefits claims, need to be analyzed before any conclusion is made, ministry officials stressed at a press conference in Taipei.
    'Not particularly high': Labor Ministry
    The Labor Ministry said that while September's furlough rate is up 84 percent from August, the increase is in line with past annual patterns.
    "Furlough rates tend to peak around the end of the year and the start of the next year," said Lee I-hsuan, a section chief at the Ministry of Labor.
    "So far this year's situation is still relatively stable. Compared to (furlough use) in the past, it is not particularly high."
    Since 2011, the Ministry of Labor has released its latest data on furlough usage on the first day and the middle of every month.
    Since the beginning of this year, around 5,000 workers have been placed on unpaid leave, according to government statistics.
    The ministry said that the total number of workers placed on furlough each year is easily 5,000 people and has occasionally exceeded 10,000.

  2. Worksharing will be retained - ThyssenKrupp plans new rounds of savings, en.storyclash.com
    ESSEN, Germany - The steel baron of ThyssenKrupp, Andreas J. Goss, is planning a new austerity program. "We will also watch our costs very closely in the next few years. I'm expecting at least 100 million euros in additional savings per year," Goss told the Rheinische Post.
    The firm is holding fast to worksharing: "The 31-hour week has been agreed upon until 2018 - it allows us to avoid additional job losses," said Goss. With the September-expiring best-option austerity program continued, the European steel sector has achieved a long-term savings effect of 650 million euros per year, 180 million of them by forshortening worktime, as well as the socially acceptable reduction of about 1,000 jobs.
    [Worksharing instead of layoffs keeps many people employed and spending, instead of concentrating work and wages on fewer people with lower net spending.]
    ThyssenKrupp views the plans of the EU Commission for a tightening of the export quotas with great apprehension. "The EU's plans threaten the existence of the German steel industry. This is no mere lobbyist whining, but provable," said Goss. The implementation of current plans from Brussels lay additional costs of 1.9-3 billion euros on ThyssenKrupp from 2021 to 2030.

10/02/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. RUAG brings in short-time work in Nyon, ruag.com
    NYON, Vaud, Switzerland - As of 1 October 2015, international technology group RUAG [RaumfahrtUnternehmen AG = Space Enterprise AG] will be introducing short-time work at its Nyon site owing to the worsened order situation. This will affect all 72 employees, including management. The average reduction due to short-time working is 20 percent, and is expected to last until the end of 2015. This measure has been agreed with the employee representatives.
    The main reason for this action is the drop in order intake in the first half of 2015, which has led to shortfalls in capacity utilization in the second half. The introduction of short-time work will not affect customers in any way: quality, commitment to performance and availability are guaranteed at all times.
    RUAG Space in Nyon is one of the world's leading manufacturers of slip rings. These are electromechanical components that ensure the reliable transfer of signals and electricity from a rotating part to a fixed part – such as from a self-adjusting solar panel to a satellite.
    Looking ahead to 2016, RUAG anticipates a substantial recovery in the order situation in Nyon.
    In April and July this year, RUAG increased working hours by three hours to 43 hours a week in selected, mainly export-oriented areas. This was because the Group faced a competitive disadvantage against foreign competitors owing to the strong Swiss franc.

    Inquiries to: RUAG Holding AG, Stauffacherstrasse 65, 3000 Bern 22, Switzerland
    Phone +41 31 376 64 50, Fax +41 31 376 64 51
    Email: Rita Baldegger, Chief Communication Officer, +41 31 376 65 17

  2. The Introduction of "Kurzarbeit" in the Czech Republic, by Katerina Demová of Dvorák Hager & Partners advokátní kancelár s.r.o., CzechMarketPlace.cz/en
    PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Beginning in October, employers affected by an economic crisis or natural disaster may ask the Labour Office for a contribution to their employees' wages. The "Kurzarbeit" program, which some employers have for a long time been calling for, will be introduced by an amendment to the Employment Act.
    But what exactly is the Kurzarbeit system?
    If an employer does not have enough work, but does not dismiss its employees and pays them at least 50% of their wages, the state will add another 20% to the employees' wages under an agreement with the employer.
    This can be useful for example in situations where an employer does not currently have a sufficient number of orders, but it assumes that this situation is only temporary and that its capacities will be fully occupied [utilized] again in the medium term.
    Dismissal of a part of the staff and its subsequent acquisition [rehiring] is rather problematic in the labour market, especially for skilled technical jobs. The Kurzarbeit system can help address these situations.
    With regard to In the matter of the need for prior approval of each agreement by the government, however, it is questionable how effective the Czech Kurzarbeit model will be in practice in comparison to the German model, which proved successful during the economic crisis [and had less red tape?].

10/01/2015 – News&opinion about the timesizing alternative to downsizing, reinvented thousands of times every day in every recession by mainly mid&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 & foremost - ([commentary] by Phil Hyde (PH3) ecdesignr@yahoo.ca unless otherwise initialed) -

  1. Sweden is moving towards a six hour working day as Australia's hours increase, by Chloe Booker, Sydney Morning Herald via smh.com.au
    The theory behind the shift to a shorter working day is that businesses will ultimately reap the financial benefits of having happier employees. (photo 1 caption)
    [AND that they will ultimately convert the extra chronic overtime into jobs, and training whenever needed - but we don't recommend leaving that to chance.] SYDNEY, S.W., Australia - As work-life balance worsens in Australia, Sweden continues with its renowned family friendly policies by shifting to a six hour working day.
    Businesses across the Scandinavian country are implementing the change so workers can spend more time at home or doing the activities they enjoy.
    The theory is they will be more focused and productive during the time they are at their jobs. Businesses across the Scandinavian country are implementing the change so workers can spend more time at home or doing the activities they enjoy.
    Businesses across the Scandinavian country [Sweden] are implementing the change so workers can spend more time at home or doing the activities they enjoy. (photo 2 caption)
    Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus CEO Linus Feldt told Fast Company [Magazine] they switched to a 6-hour day last year and hadn't looked back.
    "We want to spend more time with our families, we want to learn new things or exercise more. I wanted to see if there could be a way to mix these things," he said.
    Feldt reported that productivity had stayed the same, while there were less conflicts because workers were happier and more rested.
    A study found that those worked 60-hour work weeks suffered more health issues than those who worked around 40 hours a week. (photo 3 caption)
    Meanwhile, Gothenburg retirement home Svartedalens is conducting a year-long experiment to evaluate if the cost of hiring 14 new workers to cover the lost hours is worth the improvements to patient care and employee morale.
    Australians working longer, not smarter
    The director of Melbourne University's centre of workplace leadership, professor Peter Gahan, said Australia should consider investing in similar experiments.
    Australians are among the world leaders in working unpaid overtime. (photo 4 caption)
    "When it is planned for well, you should be able to get the same levels of productivity out of people working shorter hours with more technology, and so on, than you used to get out of eight," he said.
    While Sweden was shifting towards shorter work days, Mr Gahan said Australia had been moving in the opposite direction to many other industrialised economies with average working hours for full-time employees increasing.
    "We've been working more overtime, unpaid overtime, and us and the United States are about the only countries where that's been taking place," he said.
    [If you're going to be copycats, at least don't copy us/US scandalous stupids - copy those Scandinavian smarts!]
    'Significantly different' working arrangements needed
    Mr Gahan said the extra hours had "significant" consequences for workers, employers and communities.
    "They experience more stress, burnt out that might mean for organisations there are consequences in the form of lower levels of engagement and less productivity, and the more likelihood that people would leave," he said.
    In order for a reduction in hours to work in Australia, Mr Gahan said the business community would need to be brought along.
    He called the review of the Fair Work Act to include examining "significantly different" working arrangements that reflected the new working economy.
    "We're at a significant juncture in terms of how to reconfigure the way that we work and the sort of working hours and working arrangements that we enter into," he said.
    Shorter work day, longer lives, [more real Freedom]
    Mr Gahan said benefits included an extension of our working lives and better health and connection to communities.
    "Health and medical research shows that people who work much longer hours tend to fall off the perch in the end, and are more likely to suffer more serious health consequences later in their life," he said.
    A study published in The Lancet in September that analysed data from 25 studies monitoring the health of more than 600,000 people in Australia, the US and Europe for up to 8.5 years found people who worked 55 hours a week had a 33 percent greater risk of having a stroke than people who worked a 35 to 40 hour week.
    It also discovered a 13 per cent increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.
    Back in Sweden, Mr Feldt told Fast Company the eight hour work day was not effective, with workers needing to pause in order to cope.
    What was preferable, he said, was less hours with fewer meetings and workers asked to stay off social media and away from other distractions.

    "My impression now is that it is easier to focus more intensely on the work that needs to be done and you have the stamina to do it and still have energy left when leaving the office," he said.
    Poll: How many hours a week do you work? (graph title)
    Less than 20: 3%
    20-30: 4%
    30-40: 27%
    40-50: 38%
    50+: 28%
    Total votes: 13694.
    Poll closed 2 Oct, 2015
    Disclaimer: These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate

  2. Unions continue their campaign to negotiate 35-hour agreements, (10/02 postdated) epsu.org
    LISBON, Portugal - In 2013 the government imposed a 40-hour week on public sector workers.
    This was a five-hour increase without compensation.
    This prompted unions to begin a collective bargaining campaign across the public sector to negotiate agreements with local and regional employers to retain the 35-hour week.
    Unions like STAL and SINTAP have signed hundreds of agreements with government agencies, local authorities and other public bodies which keep the 35-hour week.

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