11/29-30/2015 – 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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- JCB jobs saved after shorter hours vote, 11/30 Midlands Express & Star via expressandstar.com
ROCESTER, Staffs., U.K. - Shop floor employees at Staffordshire digger giant *JCB [J.C. Bamford Excavators Ltd.], including its cab-making factory at Rugeley, have voted to work shorter hours for the next three months to save the jobs of some workers at risk of compulsory redundancy [=layoff].
It follows an announcement by JCB earlier this month that up to 290 shop floor positions were are risk of redundancy because of a rapid deterioration in world construction equipment markets.
During the first stage of consultations, the number of positions at risk of redundancy reduced from 290 to 235.
In order to avoid compulsory redundancies, JCB and the GMB union [General Municipal Boilermakers, original name] also proposed a flexible working pattern for shop floor employees until the end of February to save more than 100 jobs and GMB members have now voted in favour of the proposal after a ballot which ended on Friday.
[The more worksharing, the fewer layoffs; more timesizing, less downsizing.]
JCB chief executive Graeme Macdonald said: "Our shop floor colleagues are to be applauded for their actions. JCB and the GMB were determined to do everything possible to avoid compulsory redundancies through a combination of voluntary redundancies, early retirements and flexible working. It highlights a great team spirit at JCB and also means we can retain some vitally important skills."
JCB GMB works convenor Gordon Richardson said: "Our members are to be congratulated on the result of the ballot. It’s a magnanimous act which is in the spirit of the approaching festive season and means that over 100 people who were under threat of compulsory redundancy will now have a much happier Christmas."
The flexible working pattern will operate for the next three months at JCB’s world headquarters in Rocester, JCB Heavy Products in Uttoxeter, JCB Cab Systems in Riverside, Rugeley and JCB Transmissions in Wrexham.
The standard working week at JCB is 39 hours. The number of hours worked at each site will now vary depending on production volumes but will be 34 hours or above.
Employees will have the choice of either being paid for just the reduced hours worked or being paid for the full 39 hour week and then working back the ‘banked’ hours next year.
[A longer version from the Manchester Guardian -]
JCB staff agree to work fewer hours to save jobs - Deal will slash digger maker’s wage bill after collapse in global sales forced it to consider compulsory redundancies, by Phillip Inman, 11/30 theguardian.com
More than 100 jobs were saved after workers at JCB’s four major factories agreed to reduce their weekly hours from 39 to 34, GMB union says. (photo caption)
ROCESTER, Staffs., U.K. - More than 2,000 workers at the digger maker JCB have voted to work fewer hours to reduce the number of redundancies demanded by the company as it struggles to cope with falling global demand for mining and construction equipment.
The GMB union said more than 100 jobs were saved after workers at JCB’s four major factories agreed to reduce their weekly hours from 39 to 34 with immediate effect.
The deal, which will last three months, will cut JCB’s wage bill after a collapse in global sales triggered by the slowing Chinese economy.
Demand for JCB equipment has fallen fastest in China, Brazil and Russia. Sales in Russia tumbled by 70% in the first six months of the year, while Brazil fell by 36% and China by 47%. Parts of Europe were also struggling, with France down by 26%, it said.
Even the strong growth in the UK and North America has softened due to a fall in market confidence that has pushed oil prices and commodity prices to post-crash lows.
In September, JCB said the loss of business meant it needed to shed 400 shop-floor posts. Discussions with the union whittled this number down to 290.
JCB to lay off nearly 300 staff after dramatic fall in export orders [blowout stat]
GMB said the company had agreed to scrap proposals for compulsory redundancies, and the number of posts likely to go was 135 or fewer through early retirements and voluntary redundancies.
A flexible working pattern will operate for the next three months at JCB world headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire, the heavy products factory in Uttoxeter, the cab systems in Rugeley and and JCB transmissions in Wrexham.
“The number of hours worked at each site will now vary depending on production volumes but will be 34 hours or above,” the union said. “Employees will have the choice of either being paid for just the reduced hours worked or being paid for the full 39 hour week and then working back the ‘banked’ hours next year.”
Caterpillar, JCB’s US rival, warned in September that falling sales meant its global workforce would need to shrink by between 4,000 and 5,000 by the end of 2016 and job cuts could reach 10,000 by the end of 2018.
Gordon Richardson, GMB works convenor at JCB, said: “GMB members are to be congratulated on the result of the ballot. It’s a magnanimous act which is in the spirit of the approaching festive season and means that over 100 people who were under threat of compulsory redundancy will now have a much happier Christmas.”
JCB’s chief executive, Graeme Macdonald, said: “Our shop-floor colleagues are to be applauded for their actions. JCB and the GMB were determined to do everything possible to avoid compulsory redundancies through a combination of voluntary redundancies, early retirements and flexible working.”
JCB is majority owned by the Tory peer Lord Bamford who has campaigned against the UK remaining in the EU. He said it would not harm trade to leave the single market.
- Cruces school district strikes furlough deal with unions, by Damien Willis, 11/30 Las Cruces Sun-News via Albuquerque Journal via NewsLocker.com
LAS CRUCES, N.M., USA — After months of bargaining, an agreement has been reached in the Las Cruces Public Schools employee furlough dispute. Under an agreement struck between district administration and union leaders, and approved by the school board on Tues., Nov. 17, the furlough days will be returned to school employees in the form of annual leave.
[Whatever. The important thing is, there were furloughs instead of firings = timesizings instead of downsizings!]
Nearly all school employees were furloughed for three days during the 2015-16 fiscal year — a move district officials said was made necessary by budgetary constraints. The furloughs, estimated to save the district $2.1 million, applied to everyone except food service workers, who only work on days when students are present.
Union officials have long contended that the furloughs violated the collective bargain agreements they had in place with the district.
Superintendent Stan Rounds said, under the resolution reached last week, employees will receive three additional days of paid annual leave, which can be used as early as this year. If the furlough relief leave is not used by the start of the 2018-19 school year, employees will be allowed to cash it in at their daily pay rate at that time.
“The bottom line is that we’ve reached an agreement with the unions that represent our employees,” Rounds said. “We’ll be offering three days of furlough relief leave, a leave that all employees that were furloughed will receive. They can use that leave, or they may choose to cash it out at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, in full or in part.”
Rounds added that employees m[a]y also choose to hang onto those days until they retire or leave LCPS.
“The reason they may find that to be a good idea is because they’ll be paid out for those days at a higher daily rate,” Rounds said. “For example, a beginning teacher makes about $188 per day. When they retire, after 16 or more years, they’re making about $300 per day.”
Irma Valdespino, president of the Classified School Employees Council of Las Cruces, helped negotiate the deal on behalf of the LCPS staff her union represents — largely custodians, secretaries, educational assistants and cafeteria workers.
“I think, from the union’s end, we worked hard to get a resolution that would benefit the employees,” Valdespino said. “My collective bargaining team worked very hard to find a resolution that would benefit the employees, currently and in the future. And, ultimately, CSEC-LC members voted to approve it.”
Valdespino said that many of CSEC-LC’s members will find the three additional paid leave days helpful. Others will find it beneficial to bank those days and cash them out, she said.
The agreement stipulates that using the furlough relief days may not be counted against teachers as absences on their teacher evaluations.
“For teachers, this agreement boils down to the good, the very good and the great,” said Mary Parr-Sanchez, lead negotiator for the National Education Association-Las Cruces bargaining team and an NEA-LC board member. “The good is that we were able to recoup the three days that were stolen from teachers. The very good is that we can be reimbursed for those days, or teachers can use them as leave days without being penalized on their evaluations.”
The great part, according to Parr-Sanchez, is that the negotiations “created a little desperation,” and the union was able to change the way teachers are awarded paid personal days. Currently, teachers get two paid personal days, which do not accrue and count as absences against their evaluations if used.
“This year, and every year henceforth, teachers will receive one day of annual leave and one paid personal day,” Parr-Sanchez said. “That annual leave will accrue, up to thirty days, and can be used without counting against them on their evaluations.”
Parr-Sanchez said unused annual leave can be cashed out at the end of a teacher’s employment with the district at 100 percent of their daily pay at the time of their departure.
“It was an 11th-hour deal, and we’re very pleased with it,” Parr-Sanchez said. “In the current budgetary situation, we feel like we got the best deal that was possible.”
In an effort to provide greater transparency into the LCPS budget process, the CSEC-LC negotiations also included the stipulation that LCPS holds a “budget summit” before Feb. 28, 2016, “to provide details of the 2015-16 school year expenditures and a history of the district’s fiscal decisions.”
Additionally, Rounds told the Sun-News that the district plans to hold “six or eight town-hall meetings, where we’ll do disclosure and discussion about the budget for the upcoming year.”
Damien Willis can be reached at 575-541-5468 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @damienwillis.
11/28/2015 – 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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- CC.OO.: Agreement on the majority of Sescam Sector Board to recover the 35-hour working week from January 1, (11/27 late pickup) News Directory via news.newsdirectory2.com
[Someone put this through a machine translator and posted-without-polishing it - I've polished a little but I don't have the original and I haven't studied Spanish.]
TOLEDO, Spain - Sescam workers [Servicio de Salud de Castilla-La Mancha [Castille-LaMancha Health Service] recovered the 35-hour working week from next January 1, by agreement reached this morning in the Sectoral Committee for the Administration and the CCOO [Comisiones Obreras = Work(s) Council(s)?], UGT [Unión General de Trabajadores = General Union of Workers], SATSE, CESM and USAE unions.
CCOO values "the incorporation of trade union proposals [in]to the instructions proposed by the Administration to implement the 35-hour week; Such instructions adapted to the reality of the group of employees and public employees SESCAM undergoing sessions for both fixed and rotating shifts, nights, ongoing conferences, etc.“
”All unions want workers and SESCAM workers recovered 35 hours
unless [except] the CSIF, which has distanced [itself with] incomprehensible and untenable arguments“
Toledo, November 27, 2015. ”It was a productive meeting,“ praised the Secretary General [of the] Health Federation of CCOO, Chelo Cuadra, who explained that the representative of Sescam "union has already received several proposals that clearly improved the instructions proposed by the Administration to implement the 35-hour week; adapting them to the reality of the group of employees and public employees SESCAM days shift under both fixed and rotary, nights, ongoing conferences, etc.“
[Clearly France is not the only place in Europe where the 35-hour workweek applies.]
The general director of Human Resources also took [what] Sescam CCOO proposed that commits managers of public health service to negotiate with employee representatives [on] unctional programming through the guidelines for determining centers on hours, permits and licenses, establishing uniform criteria in the interpretation and application of these rules
“To the delegates of the unions CCOO was a priority managements to negotiate in the activity of the various services and staff of each of them, that [did] not happen so in the last four years, in which everything was decided by the manager unilaterally,“ said Cuadra.
”With this new document, managers have a duty of consultation and participation [with] union board members of staff for the implementation of functional plans“
- Maldives looks to cut state bodies' pay, by Abdullah Jameel, (11/25 late pickup) Haveeru Online via haveeru.com.mv
MALÉ, Maldive Islands - Government made public Tuesday its plan to slash the salaries and allowances of members of independent state institutions.
State minister at the President's office Mohamed Mujthaz in a letter to the parliament said the salaries and allowances must be brought down on par with the recent change to the working hours.
[Sounds like a prorating, so at least hourly pay will stay the same.]
The letter sent on behalf of president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom noted that unlike civil servants, independent institutions warrant a much higher salary and it must be brought down to reflect the lesser working hours.
President Yameen has asked to revert back with a decision of the parliamentary independent bodies committee, the letter added.
The government last month cut-down the official working hours from seven to six hours.
[Sounds like a prorating, so at least hourly pay will stay the same. And of course, job-secure free time, the most basic freedom, will increase. And with an elevation close to sea level at a time of rising sea levels, the more Maldivians with the more free time to think of solutions, the better. We suggest hiring Dutch engineers in the short term, Tuvalu &/or Chinese real-estate prospector-buyers in the longer term. Not clear is whether we're talking about a 5 or 6 day workweek; that is, a reduction from 42 to 36 hours a week or 35 to 30 hours a week. And as always, better a workweek reduction than a workforce (and consumer base) reduction, better timesizing than downsizing.]
Prior to the change official working hours for government employees were from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m, with a one-hour break from 12:00 p.m to 1:00 p.m.
However, the new working hours would include a 30-minute break as per the labour law.
Independent state institutions had enforced the same working hours once it came into effect last month.
The government had said the decision was made in order to provide the opportunity for civil servants to spend quality time with their families, to work in the private sector apart from the government, and to facilitate youth to be more involved in sports activities, further education and technical professions.
However, critics including some civil servants have alleged that the move is designed by the government to avoid from having to raise civil service salaries.
The move to cut the salaries of independent institutions came a day after the government controlled parliament had rubber stamped a controversial MVR27.457 state budget for next year which included MVR7 billion in state salaries.
11/27/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- Quebec civil servants paid less, but have more time off, MontrealGazette.com
MONTRÉAL, Qué., Canada — Quebec’s public sector employees make 10 per cent less than their confreres in the private sector, but their situation is on par with the private sector when overall remuneration is factored in.
L’Institut de la statistique du Québec unveiled its annual portrait of the remuneration of Quebec civil servants Thursday.
It was revealed, once again, that it’s thanks to their shorter work week and what is qualified as “paid time off” (more numerous holidays) that the employees of the public sector do better. When only salaries are looked at, however, public sector employees are behind all other categories of workers with which they are compared: municipal civil servants, university employees, unionized private sector workers and non-unionized private sector workers, among others.
The institute underlined that the average workweek in the public sector is 35.9 hours, as compared to 37.8 in the private sector. At the end of the year, this difference works out to 2.75 work weeks less for public employees.
[AND, Quebec's public employees are getting more of the most basic freedom, job-secured Free Time, without which the other freedoms are either inaccessible or meaningless. They can work to live, not merely live to work. They can "have a life."]
This year’s comparison takes on a special significance because it coincides with the negotiation period for collective agreements in the public and parapublic sectors touching 500,000 provincial employees.
In its counter offer, the united front of public sector unions is demanding a pay hike of 2.9 per cent for the first year. However, the statistics institute shows the expected pay raises in the private sector will be 2.2 per cent.
CSN labour union vice-president Francine Lévesque, who is in charge of negotiations for the public sector, saw in the institute’s figures support for their argument that public sector employees need to catch up in terms of salaries.
The statistics institute confirmed as well that working conditions have deteriorated for Quebec civil servants. In 2009 the gap between their salaries and those of the private sector were six per cent. By 2015 the gap had widened to 10 per cent.
As for global remuneration, which includes salaries, benefits and hours worked, Quebec civil servants have gone from an advantage of 3.6 per cent over their private sector equivalents in 2009, to an advantage of one per cent in 2015.
“It shows that the situation for public sector workers continues to deteriorate,” Lévesque said. “And the government can’t keep pretending, as (Treasury Board president) Martin Coiteux said last week, that it is not true that there is a form of impoverishment of public sector employees."
- Blue Bell Resumes Ice Cream Production at Texas Plant, by Cathy Siegner, FoodSafetyNews.com
BRENHAM, Tex., USA - Blue Bell Creameries is again producing ice cream at its headquarters plant in Brenham, TX, the company announced Nov. 18, and it will embark on phases three and four of a five-phase product distribution plan in December.
The Brenham plant will be operating on a “limited basis” while the effectiveness of new procedures, facility enhancements and employee training are confirmed, Blue Bell stated. Meanwhile, tours of the facility are suspended.
The company recalled all of its ice cream and other frozen dairy products April 20, 2015, after an enhanced sampling program found Listeria monocytogenes in more than one product and in more than one plant.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10 people in four states were hospitalized in connection with that outbreak, and three people in Kansas died.
In May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration posted inspection reports of Blue Bell facilities completed from 2007-2015. The earlier reports did not show evidence of Listeria contamination but noted numerous violations of food safety protocols.
A recent investigative report from CBS News featured two former Blue Bell employees who had worked at the Brenham plant claiming they had witnessed ongoing food safety problems there, but that the company had ignored their concerns.
Blue Bell officials declined to be interviewed for that report. However, the company issued a statement to CBS noting its commitment through the adoption of various enhanced safety procedures to “producing a safe product.”
The Brenham facility was the last of three to go back online, following the company’s plants in Sylacauga, AL, which started back up in July, and Broken Arrow, OK, which restarted production in September. Blue Bell signed agreements with those states outlining specific operational steps to be taken before production could resume.
Blue Bell began distributing limited quantities of its ice cream to selected markets at the end of August, about four months after the recall.
“We are excited to announce that Blue Bell Ice Cream is once again being made at our main production plant in Brenham,” said Greg Bridges, vice president of operations for Blue Bell. “Over the past several months we have been preparing our facility for this day. We are very thankful for the patience and support our customers have shown Blue Bell.”
He added that the ice cream being produced there will be closely monitored and tested, although there is no firm date for when products from the Brenham facility will arrive on store shelves.
Blue Bell has a five-phase plan for resuming product distribution and is currently in phase two. Phase three, which will return its products to stores in Texas and Alabama, starts on Dec. 14, and phase four, bringing its ice cream back to Louisiana and Mississippi, will begin on Dec. 21, the company stated.
The 108-year-old company furloughed or laid off about 37 percent of its nearly 4,000 employees because of the outbreak and subsequent plant closures, but nearly 700 of those who were on paid furlough have come back to work, Bridges noted.
When phase four starts, 115 more employees who were on paid furlough will be brought back, and the total Blue Bell workforce will then be at approximately 1,000 company-wide, he said.
[More furlough, less firings; more timesizing, less downsizing!]
The company’s phased-in production process has limited the number of ice cream flavors Blue Bell can provide. It is currently producing just five flavors of ice cream in half-gallon and pint sizes. Before the recall, it made at least 60 different flavors on a regular or seasonal basis.
11/26/2015 – 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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- Two Calgary restaurants are switching their cooks to four-day weeks. So, they can have a life, by Gwendolyn Richards, CalgaryHerald.com
CALGARY, Alta., Canada - Known for creating innovative dishes, Model Milk [restaurant] and Pigeonhole [restaurant] are now set to innovate how they staff their kitchens as they move their cooks to a four-day work week.
In an industry known for long hours and short breaks, the decision by chef/owner Justin Leboe, Model Milk executive chef Eric Hendry and Joe Dort, director of operations, is unusual.
But the trio believe it will be make for more productive, happier cooks, which will benefit everyone from staff to guests.
“If we can create a better environment, we’re going to get a better product coming out the other side,” says Hendry.
“There’s no mistake we all work too much. People in this industry are under the impression the more you work, the harder you work, the longer you work, the more it will pay off. But it’s not good from a business perspective. The more time at work, the more time to waste.”
In addition, it’s leading to higher burnout rates for cooks and shorter career spans, with even recent culinary school graduates hanging up their aprons.
Typically, cooks are working up to 14 hours a day, five days a week [70-hour workweek].
[A workweek of four 14-hour days would be a 56-hour workweek.]
On their first day off, which starts late because they work until the early-morning hours, they sleep and do laundry and the second day they try to see friends or loved ones, while also thinking of the work week ahead, says Leboe.
They return to work just as tired as they left.
Under a four-day system, they have an additional day to recuperate from the long hours.
Model Milk chef de partie Tory Jackson said working 12 to 13 hours per day [48-52 hour workweek] has been typical in his eight years in the industry, where he has cooked for restaurants such as Sooke Harbour House and Toronto’s Richmond Station.
“After you work those kinds of hours, you almost lose an entire day to rest,” he says, adding he thinks the four-day week is a great idea.
“It’s going to be interesting because I’m used to the older system. With this four-day work week, you can allot one day to rest and then two days to self-growth, lifestyle, family, all those things we value that we don’t have time for.”
Cooks working the line at Pigeonhole moved over to the new system first, with those at Model Milk soon to follow.
They will continue to be paid the same amount of hours for the week, only those hours will be over four days instead of five.
The expectation is the work they do will be more concentrated than under the previous system. But the additional day off will give them more time to recuperate and prepare for the week to come.
“We have high expectations of our staff and they have high expectations of what they will get out of working for Eric and Justin and Garrett (Martin, Pigeonhole’s chef de cuisine) in terms of the skill set they will leave with and the professional development they will experience,” says Dort.
“We need to give them some balance so we can expect that and demand that of them.”
Statistics show productivity goes up the more concentrated[?] the work time, says Leboe.
While there used to be bravado around 18-day stretches with no break or excessively long days, there is a shifting in the industry. Before making the move, Leboe spoke extensively with Kris Schlotzhauer of Toronto’s Enoteca Sociale who made a similar change last month.
And he saw first-hand the benefits of such a system while he did a month-long stage last year at Copenhagen’s Relae, where cooks work a four-day week.
At first, Leboe felt a bit lost with the additional day off. By the end of his time in that kitchen, though, he felt he could do a 14-hour day with no difficulty simply because he knew there was a three-day weekend ahead.
There was no lack of excitement when news of the change was broken to the 24 cooks.
“Some of them, there was an actual physical look of relief on their faces,” says Leboe.
Dominique St. Jean, a chef de partie at Pigeonhole, has already started to see the benefit of the new system.
At previous restaurants, she would work more than 12 hours a day, five or six days a week. Now, she says, she can justify having a day to just relax, as well as have time for her side business, Scratch Fine Foods, where she makes fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi.
“Having the four-day work week allows me to have that one day where I can sit in my apartment and watch movies or go out with friends and not feel I’m missing out on work,” she says.
Although still too early to know how well the new system will work, Leboe, Dort and Hendry anticipate cooks will be more focused, will have better morale and will stick around longer.
“We’ll have happier cooks, which is the most important part."
- The "Myth" of Worksharing [our quotes], by Kapteyn & Kalwij & Zaidi, [very late pickup from Y2K] Biblioteca Digital Vérsila São Paulo Brasil via biblioteca.versila.com
[The original version of this title without quotes indicates that the non-native-English-speaking authors either have no idea or do not care that the pejorative and polemic connotations of the word "myth," when applied anywhere besides actual myths such as those of the Greeks, will recategorize their work from "scientific working paper" to "disguised polemic." Also that they have not connected the dots between worksharing and the successful German job-saving policy of Kurzarbeit, let alone the effects of the halving of the workweek in the advanced economies, as in the USA 1840-1940. This paper is certainly a blot on the escutcheon of the Bonn Institute for the Study of Labor. Compare the self-insulting effects of the "lump of labor fallacy" to any would-be economic scientists who retail it.]
BONN, Germany - Autoria [Authorship]: Kapteyn, Arie; Kalwij, Adriaan S.; Zaidi, Asghar;
Fonte [Source]: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) Bonn
Publicador [Publisher]: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) Bonn
Tipo [Type]: doc-type:workingPaper
Data(s) [Date(s)]: 2000
Língua(s) [Language(s)]: ENG
Palavras-Chave [Key words]: #e24 #arbeitslosigkeit #oecd staaten #hours of work #job sharing #c33
Resumo [Abstract]: Worksharing is considered by many as a promising public policy to reduce unemployment. In this paper we present a review of the most pertinent theoretical and empirical contributions to the literature on worksharing. In addition, we also provide new empirical evidence on this issue, by a cross country analysis exploiting aggregate data for 13 OECD countries. The conclusions of the literature survey are indecisive.
[Then there must be some positive as well as negative evidence.]
Conclusions about the efficacy of worksharing as an employment enhancing policy tool depend heavily on the setting in which the analysis takes place. Our empirical analysis does not find any evidence for the proposition that worksharing would promote employment or reduce unemployment.
[Worksharing is labeled false right at the outset ("myth" in the title) and lacking evidence of effectiveness here, so why are the conclusions only called "indecisive" rather than negative above and the evidence "mixed" rather than clear below. The claim here than the analysis is "empirical" is impossible.]
In an appendix we present an overview of recent public policy experience of European Countries with respect to different forms of worksharing. Also here the evidence is mixed.
[Again, there must be some positive as well as negative evidence if the evidence is not clear but "mixed." This is an example of the unscientific nature of much of what passes for scientific economics even today, though it has been noted for decades; see for example Joan Robinson's 1962 book, Economic Philosophy. Mainstream economists themselves, because of their own unemployment-triggered job insecurity, have been blocking the obvious and proven solution to the biggest problems in their (in)discipline...unemployment and poverty. A pity then, and a tragedy for humanity, that both the Bonn Institute or the Study of Labor and the Biblioteca Digital Vérsila of São Paulo are treating this paper as scientific when it is merely disguised polemic or even pro-statusquo propaganda.]
Link permanente para citações [Permanent link to citations]: http://biblioteca.versila.com/10949775
[Notice that, although it is not OK to admit that job creation increases with less working hours, it seems to be OK to admit that job creation decreases with more working hours, as shown in this article from 'Oz' -]
Tips on finding that elusive work-life balance - Work day increased by 16 minutes over last year, by Christopher Bantick, Brisbane Courier Mail via couriermail.com.au
MELBOURNE, Vic., Australia - OK, so you’re grabbing a coffee on the way to work and you wonder why you don’t have time any more for those water-cooler conversations and a bit of the office goss. Instead of going out for lunch, you’re regularly eating “al desko”. If you feel like you’re working harder, then guess what – you are.
Last year, Queensland [state, pop. 4.8 million (Mar 2015)] generated 28,000 new jobs, well behind NSW [New South Wales state, pop. 7.6 million (Mar 2015)] with 100,500 jobs
[- so with the same population as NSW, Queensland would have 7.6/4.8x28,000= 44.3 million new jobs, so Queensland generated only 44,333/100,500= 44% of the population-adjusted jobs of NSW -]
but streets* ahead of the other states and territories. While new jobs are good for the state, there’s a nasty little sleeper in this – your working day increased by 16 minutes over last year.
[*American-Canadian-ese: way ahead, miles ahead - so it's OK to admit that job creation decreases with more working hours, but not the job creation increases with less working hours?]
In September 2014 the average fulltime worker gave 39 hours and 13 minutes a week. The total is now 39 hours and 29 minutes a week.
Meanwhile the average part-time worker put in 16 hours and 42 minutes a week last year but now works 16 hours and 56 minutes a week. Why?
We love to work. ["Speak for yourself, John Alden."] It’s a bit like the force in Star Wars. Our desire to work is around us, in us and defines us. If you think I’m overstating the case here in Oz [=Australia/Oztralia], think again.
Many of our friendships are generated at work, we measure our performance because of work and we talk work socially. We often marry our workmates. Some are our lovers. Take work away and we are lost. That’s why there are so many retirement preparation courses.
I’m not talking managing your hard-earned, but managing all that time!
The work-life balance is a bit of a smokescreen as well. We want to work and do other things but how much of this is actually wanting to spend time with the kids, wiping up infant puke, shopping, school runs, housework and cooking? Not a lot. [Compare yesterday's story about the guy who worked a 40-hour workweek at each of two Subway sandwich stores in Washington State.]
Moreover, we need to say that we are ready to work to gain public support. The dole is for workers out of work. And we work for the dole. [huh?]
In her 2012 book, Time Bomb, work researcher Barbara Pocock noted:
“To place work at the core of citizenship pushes life activities that are ‘not work’ into the shade: they are less worthy.”
Work is so ingrained in the Australian psyche, according to Pocock, that self-worth is measured by engagement with it.
Maybe Richard Branson is on the money when he says: “We spend most of our lives working. So why do so few people have a good time doing it?...”
[because there's a gross surplus of jobseekers relative to job openings in the robotics age when worksaving technology receives the kneejerk CEO response of downsizing instead of timesizing, trimming the workforce instead of the workweek?]
There is also something insidious about work. We work longer and harder and because it is gently incremental, we don’t even notice it. And that’s the really worrying part.
It’s a bit like frogs in water – increase the water temperature slowly and the frogs don’t notice at first, but eventually find themselves exploding in boiling water.
[Do they really explode or just die and cook like lobsters? But back to the point, isn't this going back on the previous line of the greatness of work?]
Then there is worker peer-pressure. You know, the office hero who is in first and out last. If we don’t stay longer at our desks we are thought of as a slacker. So we work longer. We all might have our 15 minutes of fame, as Andy Warhol noted. We don’t even notice 15 minutes of extra work. Until we explode.
Christopher Bantick is a Melbourne writer
11/25/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- Group: Study's Longer Hours For Medical Residents Need To End, by Tasnim Shamma, WABE 90.1 FM Atlanta NPR via wabe.com
Emory University and Morehouse School of Medicine internal medicine residents are participating in a study looking at how residents working longer hours affect patient care and death rates. (photo caption)
ATLANTA, Ga., USA - The American Medical Student Association and a watchdog group, Public Citizen, are concerned by a federally funded study that includes medical residents from Emory University and the Morehouse School of Medicine.
The iCOMPARE study, led by Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Medical School looks at how internal medicine residents working longer shifts of 28 hours or more, affect patient care.
"There is considerable concern among experts in the field that the current duty hour system of residency education may limit the ability of the nation to train physicians effectively." - Susan Phillips, Penn Medicine [blowout quote]
[Humans always have a hard time whenever employment and the sacrosanct concept of heroic Service almost converge; compare employment and therapy/recreation/hobby (as in trying to distinguish between art where you get paid and art therapy where you don't). But it's workaholics like Susan Phillips who trigger malpractice suits while indulging their megalomania, dreams of omnipotence and messianic complexes. Maybe they should get into a high-tech startup where they can't do as much damage to helpless others.]
The 63 schools were given waivers by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to allow residents to work longer hours. But Dr. Michael Carome, director of health research at the Public Citizen, said it needs to stop immediately.
"You cannot do this type of research without appropriate ethics review by an institutional review board and without the informed consent of the subjects,” Carome said. “There's an increased chance that they could suffer medical error that could lead to serious injury or death."
Carome said letting first-year medical residents work longer hours puts residents and patients at risk, especially since patients aren't being told they're part of an experiment.
Work Hour Limits
But Susan Phillips at the University of Pennsylvania said the purpose of the study, which doesn’t involve consent because it’s considered to be “minimal” risk, is to see if medical restrictions on work hours should be lifted so that medical residents get better training.
Medical residents said they have lied to get around the limits.
Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University internal medicine residents are participating in a study looking at how residents working longer hours affect patient care and death rates. (photo caption)
“The goal of iCOMPARE is to determine if the current limitations on work hours for physicians in training should be changed,” Phillips said. “This NIH-funded study began because there is considerable concern among experts in the field that the current duty hour system of residency education may limit the nation’s ability to train physicians effectively.”
The study sets the maximum hours per week residents can work to an average of 80 hours per week over a month-long period, with one day off every seven days and only one night call every three days.
But Carome said the trials are unethical and it's already well-documented that working longer hours puts patients at risk. He said that's why a first-year medical student can only work 16 consecutive hours and other residents are limited to 28 hours.
“If there are problems with work hour restrictions, the right way to deal with that is not going back to long hours,” Carome said. “Maybe that involves hiring more staff physicians to oversee residents.”
Emory and Morehouse School of Medicine residents are just two of 63 university medical programs participating in the study, which began this July and is expected to be complete by July 2016.
Emory University general surgery residents also participated in the Flexibility in Duty Hour Requirements for Surgical Trainees trial, led by Northwestern University. It involved 159 medical schools and was completed in June 2015.
In a statement, Emory said it continues to participate in the iCOMPARE trial because it has been approved by national medical groups and Morehouse School of Medicine said it's following “top medical standards.”
[And medicos aren't the only ones with no lives of their own. And some happen in unlikely places, fast food for instance -]
- 80-hour-a-week employee gets hours cut after newspaper article, by Anrew Theen & Molly Young, The Oregonian via DailyJournal.net
PORTLAND, Oregon — Keith Fons showed up for work Nov. 9 at the Subway he manages in downtown Portland, expecting a normal Monday morning rush.
A day earlier, The Oregonian's front page (http://is.gd/x66LAi ) featured a story about Fons and the everyday challenges that low-wage workers face. The 35-year-old father worked as many as 80 hours every week at two Subway shops to provide for his wife, who has multiple sclerosis, and their three young children.
The family's story of making it work on $11.50 an hour struck a chord with readers and dozens offered to help. One befriended Fons on Facebook and sent money. Another donated a box of Christmas presents for the kids.
Fons was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from strangers.
But less than a week after The Oregonian/OregonLive shared Fons' story, he was fired from his second job, at a 24-hour Subway near Northwest 21st Avenue and West Burnside Street. Losing half his hours will cost his family $1,400 to $2,000 a month.
"People say, 'Do what you love.'" Fons said Monday, wearing a puffy down coat given to him by a customer in recent days. "I loved working for Subway and customer service."
[It's not like it's over, nitwit - it's just sane now.]
Fons said he knew something was amiss Nov. 12, when the owner of both stores, Larry Dennis, carried a legal folder into the store. Dennis and his attorney presented Fons with a check for about $1,500 and asked him to sign a "confidential release agreement" that stipulated he wouldn't sue for back wages or divulge the terms.
They told him he was being let go from his graveyard shift at the Burnside franchise.
He signed the document, he said, because he didn't know what else to do. After wrestling with whether to talk about the termination for 11 days, Fons told his story to The Oregonian/OregonLive.
Although Fons worked up to 80 hours every week, he believed he did not accrue overtime because the stores were separate entities. State labor regulators say that is correct if the companies are truly distinct.
When he was terminated, Fons said, he was told the working arrangement was a "legal gray area." Charlie Burr, a spokesman for the state Bureau of Labor and Industries, said the agency would look into the arrangement if it received a complaint — but it had not.
Dennis, who owns the two companies that run the Subway franchises where Fons worked, declined an interview request and hung up on a reporter Monday. In a voicemail, he confirmed Fons still worked full time at the U.S. Bank tower store.
Subway corporate spokesman Kevin Kane also confirmed Fons still worked at the downtown location. He did not specify why Fons' hours were cut from the other store.
After he was terminated, Fons said he was told he would need to work one more graveyard shift, because no one else could cover it.
Fons said he feels like the company tossed him to the wolves.
"I'm done with this chapter," he said. "Not by choice, but I'm done with it."
He's already looking for a second job.
Fons' story reflects the culture of fear found in many low-wage workplaces, said one longtime Portland labor advocate.
Terminations like Fons' create a chilling effect that may keep workers silent, even if employers make them work outside normal hours, refuse to allow breaks or otherwise steal wages, said Michael Dale, executive director of the Northwest Workers' Justice Project.
Dale said many workers in the fast-food industry worry about consequences for speaking up.
"Workers should be able comfortably to speak about the issues at work that concern them," Dale said. "It's shameful if they are retaliated against for simply expressing what happens at work."
Thanks to donations from readers, which helped pay November bills, Fons said the family won't immediately feel the financial sting. "We have until the middle of December until it actually hits us," he said.
Howard Kenyon, director of program operations with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and Fons' longtime friend, said Fons was proud of working for Subway for nearly 13 years. He met with Fons soon after he was fired.
"He was the most distraught that I've ever seen him," Kenyon said.
Fons said he decided to speak out because he didn't want people to think he had simply quit the job after receiving attention. Some regular customers asked him what happened, and he did not want to lie.
"I am not a freaking quitter," Fons said.
[No, but you're a freaking workaholic. Family values without family time? Quit kidding yourself. You're avoiding your family.]
Hours after he discussed his firing with a reporter, Fons confronted an unruly customer who tried to steal money from the tip jar.
Fons intervened and was punched in the face.
The man was arrested and charged with multiple felonies. Fons' nose was broken and now he will require surgery.
"The things I'll do for my job," Fons said.
[Maybe you should read the handwriting on your nose. Fast food is not even a place where employment and Service nearly converge.]
11/24/2015 – 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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- Older workers seeking options for reducing working hours on the job, Pakistan Daily Times via dailytimes.com.pk
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Roberton Williams' plan was to retire on his government pension and take a part-time job to make up the difference in salary. It didn't quite work out that way. Williams, 68, did retire but then started another full-time job with the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.
"The plan was to work full time just until I got my feet wet," Williams said. "But, I ended up working full time for the next nine years." He's far from an aberration. Many aging baby boomers are caught between a desire to work less and a labor market that just isn't ready to let them go.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17.7 percent of people 65 and older are still working in some capacity, compared with 11.7 percent in 1995.
Of course, part of this increase could be due to a growing fear felt by many Americans about financial insecurity during retirement. Survey data has shown that fears about outliving one's savings are factoring into retirement planning. That is even prompting 34 percent of workers age 60-plus to say they plan on working until they die, or are too sick to work, according to a recent Wells Fargo survey.
Some workers just want a gradual transition, whether for financial reasons or just to keep working jobs where they can still contribute and help train the next generation.
Slightly more than 40 percent of US workers hope to cut back hours or transition to a less demanding position before retirement, according to a 2015 report from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. One option offered by a small number of employers is "phased retirement," which allows retiring workers to go part time while also mentoring their incoming replacement, providing for a smoother transition. The Society for Human Resource Management puts the number at 8 percent.
In other cases, employers are eschewing formal arrangements in favor of short-term contracts.
"One thing we see is that employers are increasingly able to tap into a more flexible labor market, rather than going through formal HR structures," says Jean Setzfand, AARP's senior vice president of programs. "So having hard-and-fast rules for this can be difficult."
For federal workers, Congress passed legislation in 2012 creating a phased-retirement program, and the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, formalized the rules last year.
To date, OPM has only finalized 16 applications for phased retirement from workers at the Library of Congress, NASA, the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Energy Department. It expects to soon receive 12 more from the Smithsonian Institution_that's from a federal workforce where 45 percent of employees are aged 50 or over.
OPM has stressed that it is up to individual federal agencies to decide when and if they will offer a phased-retirement option to their employees.
Tancred Lidderdale, 62, is one of the initial 16 who chose phased retirement. He works for the Energy Department as an economic forecaster, applying highly complex mathematical models to oil and gas markets. He's had an integral part in building these models over the past two decades.
"I know our agency would miss me," Lidderdale said. "They knew I was thinking about retirement and mentioned this option as a way to help pass on what I know before I leave." Lidderdale will work part time for the next two years. But, after nearly three years of waiting, many other federal workers are wondering if the program will even arrive in time for them.
"We have people with over 35 years of experience waiting to retire here, and it's a shame that many of them could walk out the door without the ability to pass that knowledge," says David Maxwell, 64. Maxwell is an air quality specialist with the Bureau of Land Management. Maxwell says if the bureau does offer the program, he'd be interested.
- Garda union tells members to stop working extra working hours from January, BreakingNews.ie
DUBLIN, Ireland - Garda sergeants and inspectors are set to refuse to work an extra 30 hours a year from January 1.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors said that the unpaid overtime, introduced under the previous Haddington Road pay deal, should be expiring in January.
AGSI members voted against the new Lansdowne Road deal, and are also set to face a pay freeze from next July as a result.
In a statement this morning, the AGSI said that it has no confidence in the Lansdowne Road deal being honoured.
It will advise members to stop taking on extra working hours from January.
11/22-23/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- Orleans Public Defenders Office still short of money despite extra cash from city, by John Simerman firstname.lastname@example.org, 11/22 (11/20 late pickup) TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com
NEW ORLEANS, La., USA - An eleventh-hour cash boost from the city may have staved off planned furloughs for public defenders in New Orleans, but that didn’t stop Chief Public Defender Derwyn Bunton’s office from asking a judge on Friday to stop assigning new indigent defendants to the office.
The unusual cry for caseload mercy came at the start of a hearing that Criminal District Court Judge Arthur Hunter called to raise public awareness of the local impact of a statewide budget crunch for public defenders that has left Bunton’s office resorting to crowdfunding to try to make ends meet.
They’re still not meeting, Bunton and several friendly witnesses testified.
“They’re not shirking their responsibilities,” Deputy District Defender Jee Park said of the office’s staff of 53 attorneys. “There just is not enough time in the day to adequately meet the demands of excessive caseloads.”
At issue in Friday’s hearing, which was tied to no particular case, was whether Bunton’s office can provide constitutionally adequate service for its clients, Hunter said.
Bunton said his office has lost six front-line lawyers since late June, when he announced an austerity plan for an office that handles some 20,000 cases a year, including nearly 8,000 felonies.
This week, Bunton announced his office would furlough all employees for 10 days from February to June to help cover a $1 million budget shortfall. A $250,000 injection from the city Thursday has halted those planned furloughs.
[Better furloughs than firings, timesizings than downsizings!]
New Orleans is far from alone in feeling a pinch, said State Public Defender James Dixon Jr., whose office doles out about $33.7 million a year in state-allocated funds to public defenders and contract attorneys statewide.
Dixon testified that the defenders offices in eight of Louisiana’s 42 judicial districts are operating under formal service restrictions, curtailing key parts of their normal work. Among them are the offices in populous East Baton Rouge and Caddo parishes, he said.
The New Orleans office is among eight that are on the brink of curtailing services, Dixon testified.
Unlike in past years, when the state board had extra money from financially flush districts to help out strapped offices, there are no extra funds this year, he said. The result: State funding for Bunton’s office fell from $2.5 million to $1.8 million this year.
A state boost this year is “unlikely,” Dixon said. “Even if we do, it is not nearly enough to do any serious good.”
The state funds make up only a portion of Bunton’s budget, which totals $6.2 million. The city this year kicked in about $1.5 million, including a $400,000 boost, while the rest largely comes from fines and fees levied on criminal defendants, mostly in Traffic Court, where the fact that police are issuing fewer tickets has meant shrinking revenue.
Bunton has long lamented what he describes as an unpredictable “user-pay” system. On Friday, he noted that his office pales in both staffing and budget compared with District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office, which gets about $12 million a year, including $6.5 million from the city.
“I’m not saying the DA doesn’t need what he has,” Bunton said. “I just need more than what I have.”
Hunter called the hearing in September after reading a Washington Post editorial in which a young lawyer in Bunton’s office, Tina Peng, lamented a behemoth caseload. Peng wrote that she found herself having some clients plead guilty to felonies on the day she met them.
One legal ethics professor who testified Friday described indigent defense in New Orleans as a systemic failure by any measure, including caseloads.
“To call this a justice system is really a misnomer,” said Ellen Yaroshefsky, of Cardozo Law School in New York. “If we’re going to accept a system where we’re just processing people and keeping people in jails and prisons without providing counsel, we’re certainly letting down the profession and letting down the public.”
Hunter has been known to make dramatic gestures about funding for public defenders. In 2012, the veteran judge ordered some notable names in New Orleans political and social circles — who also happen to be lawyers — to defend dozens of criminal defendants. At the time, he said he was acting in response to a “constitutional emergency.”
Whatever Hunter does this time, he acknowledged it could apply only to his court section, one of a dozen in the courthouse.
On Friday, he repeatedly posed the same question to Bunton: Why not simply refuse to take on new cases?
“If you’re making a declaration to every judge in this building — ‘I’m not accepting any more indigent defense cases based on constitutional obligations’ — once that happens, it belongs to the judges, what they’re going to do with that particular defendant,” Hunter said. “You don’t have to ask me not to appoint any (more defendants) to you.”
Park suggested that such a move could force unpleasant showdowns with judges who might order the office to take those cases anyway.
Hunter continued the hearing until Monday, when he plans to hear testimony from attorney Barry Scheck, director of the New York-based Innocence Project.
- Employers Urged To Be Flexible In Arranging Work Hours, by Garfield L. Angus, 11/22 (11/20 late pickup) Jamaica Information Service via Government of Jamaica via jis.gov.jm
KINGSTON, Jamaica - Story Highlights
A call has been made for employers to be flexible in arranging work hours for employees as new trends are indicating that where such arrangements exist, there is increased productivity and worker satisfaction is high.
The call came from Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell.
Minister Paulwell cited a recent University of Chicago study, which found that a large number of workers said job satisfaction was materially higher when they had discretion over their hours and place of work.
A call has been made for employers to be flexible in arranging work hours for employees as new trends are indicating that where such arrangements exist, there is increased productivity and worker satisfaction is high.
The call came from Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, while delivering the keynote address at the opening of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica’s (HRMAJ) 35th Annual Conference on November 18, at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.
Minister Paulwell cited a recent University of Chicago study, which found that a large number of workers said job satisfaction was materially higher when they had discretion over their hours and place of work.
“In order for employees to balance the demands of the workplace with enjoyment of being with friends and families, companies need to allow them to work flexible hours, and remotely,” the Minister told the conference.
Parliament has passed flexi-work legislation, which allows the workweek to consist of 40 hours, and all seven days of the week to be considered as possible normal working days. Overtime should be earned after the worker has completed 40 hours.
There will be no set eight or 10-hour workdays, but instead, these will be capped at a maximum of 12 hours.
The Minister, while highlighting the flexibility and growth that technology is adding to workplaces, noted that the flexiwork law is intended to enhance productivity and cost effectiveness within companies, improve customer service, enable workers to structure their lives through a flexible employee/employer work arrangement, and attract and foster a better investment climate.
“Technology is reshaping workplace flexibility by growing the sharing and on-demand economy, where workers have unprecedented autonomy over their hours of work,” he said.
He also cited the many benefits to organisations from Government’s investment in information and communications technologies (ICT).
The three-day HRMAJ conference will expose scores of HR personnel to the knowledge of local and international experts in the fields of management and communications under the theme: ‘Transforming Organisations…Executing Creative People Strategy'.
11/21/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- MAN puts employees in worksharing, (11/20 late pickup) Augsburger-Allgemeine.de
[Translated by Google Translate for Business, cleanup by Phillippus von Heyden.]
MAN Diesel & Turbo has scheduled worksharing. Employees of the foundry are also affected. (photo caption)
550 employees of MAN Diesel & Turbo in Augsburg are affected by worksharing. But even the union sees the exempt.
AUGSBURG, Germany - The MAN Diesel & Turbo company has scheduled worksharing in two divisions. Overall, 550 employees in the foundry and the powerplant division in Augsburg are affected. The scheme came into force this month. Worksharing has been requested until the end of April 2016.
[Better to share the work than slash the workforce (and consumer base!) = Timesizing, not downsizing!]
MAN: "Just getting over a 'roughspot'"
However, a MAN spokesperson says that the company reckons it will end before that. "It's all about getting over a roughspot." The losses have been incurred due to the low oil prices and the weakening economy in the emerging countries. The whole industry is affected by it. "The powerplant sector is taking a deep breath," said the company spokesperson. In the long term, the sector's prospects are good, energy demand is climbing worldwide.
Union: "No warning signs"
At the IG Metall union in Augsburg, what the employment situation at MAN amounts to is, "no alarm signals" seen. With 3900 employees, the company belongs among the largest employers in the city of Augsburg.
In October, according to the employment agency in the Augsburg economic area, 18 facilities were in worksharing (September 22). The number of affected employees had sunk to 205 persons (248 persons in September). So the MAN worksharers will be counted in the November statistics.
- Omaha Library Board still puzzling over whether to cut hours in 2016, by Roseann Moring, Omaha World-Herald via Omaha Metro via omaha.com
OMAHA, Neb., USA - Two months after the city budget was finalized, the Omaha Library Board of Trustees has made little progress in deciding whether to cut hours next year.
Board members heard from Library Director Laura Marlane and others Wednesday that morale is dropping among library employees because of the uncertainty.
“Right now, I’ve got staff very anxious,” Marlane said. “I don’t like leaving people hanging on issues like this. They need to know.”
Staffers are finding it hard to rent out meeting space, they said, because they don’t know when each branch will be open starting in January. And they’re beginning to plan next year’s summer reading program without knowing what funding will be available.
The staff has recommended that the library close most branches an additional day each week.
Mayor Jean Stothert has urged board members to find cuts elsewhere. She said Thursday that an alternative could be to cut back on community outreach and move employees involved in those activities back into the branches. Stothert didn’t have specific examples of such cuts.
The board will likely vote on the budget at its Dec. 16 meeting.
Board members clashed Wednesday over the body’s poor relationship with the mayor.
“Our mayor has been hostile to the library,” board president Mike Meyer said as the board discussed a proposal from Stothert to make the library a city department.
“I don’t think the mayor is a czar who wants to control the library,” board member Kyle Hutchings responded.
Board member Mike Kennedy called Meyer’s comments “political theater,” an accusation he pointed out Meyer has lobbed at the mayor.
The city’s 2016 budget has been set for months. City Council members and the mayor agreed to increase library funding from last year, but the funds were still $850,000 less than the board had requested.
To meet the budget, staffers recommended cutting hours, which they said would follow priorities in the library’s strategic plan.
“This was the best balance between hours and services that we could come up with without one location taking the hit,” Marlane said.
[And better hourscuts than jobcuts, timesizing than downsizing!]
Stothert says that’s not necessary. She has assigned a staffer from the Finance Department to review the department’s budget. Stothert said the finance staffer is scheduled to meet with library officials and make recommendations Monday.
In the meantime, Stothert has declined to approve library expenses related to travel and refurbishing part of the downtown library. She said she disagrees with the library’s priorities and said officials shouldn’t spend money on those items while considering cutting hours.
“I have a grave concern about their ability to handle the budget,” the mayor said.
The board’s committee on finances and facilities has been studying the budget and was supposed to make its own recommendation to the full board. But by this week, no board member had suggested another spending plan.
Meyer brought up the matter at the meeting and said the board needs to make a decision.
Other board members agreed but said they didn’t have enough information to vote. The board couldn’t have taken action Wednesday anyway: The Nebraska open meetings law requires that any item that a public body votes on must be listed on the agenda ahead of time.
“We dropped the ball — it’s not the staff; it’s the board dropping the ball,” Kennedy said.
Meyer said he supports the staff proposal.
“The trustees don’t know how to manage a library,” he said. “The City Council and the mayor don’t know how to run a library. That’s the staff and director’s job.”
Others said they think the library should avoid cutting hours.
“The strategic plan calls for the library to be this nexus, this focal point,” said Adrian Suarez-Delgado. “But the libraries can’t be that focal point if they’re not open.”
Board member Beverly Thompson said she doesn’t think taxpayers know about the proposal to cut hours, though it has been discussed publicly for months.
“I’d like to see what the mayor thinks about it,” she said.
Meyer also said he wanted to go into closed session to discuss possible litigation. At last month’s meeting, he said he was considering consulting an attorney about the duties and powers of the mayor and the Library Board.
He said Wednesday the possible litigation involves a memorandum about that topic dating to former Mayor Hal Daub’s administration.
Contact the writer: 402-444-1084, firstname.lastname@example.org
11/20/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- Work-Sharing program limited layoffs, by Brian Zinchuk, PipelineNews.ca
Yard loader operator Wayne Stubel works with Bert Baxter Transport in Estevan. Like many of their employees, he’s on the Service Canada work-sharing program. “I worked in the oilpatch in the early 1980s. It was slow in ’85-’86, but nothing like this,” he said. (Photo caption)
ESTEVAN, Sask., Canada – In dealing with the toughest downturn in the oilpatch in 30 years, Bert Baxter Transport of Estevan turned to a strategy it used back in the 1980s, work-sharing.
It’s a *Service Canada program where workers put in reduced hours, but their income is supplemented through Employment Insurance.
Service Canada’s website describes it as “an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers.
“Work-Sharing is a three-party agreement involving employers, employees and Service Canada. Employees on a Work-Sharing agreement must agree to a reduced schedule of work and to share the available work over a specified period of time.”
“It hit everybody. We’re all in the same boat,” said Todd Shirley, who heads up the family-owned and operated business.
“We reduced hours,” he said, adding they started on the Work-Sharing program five months ago. It took about three weeks to set up this time
As a result, they haven’t had to do a lot of layoffs.
“We did a few, but very few,” Shirley said.
Usually they would buy three trucks a year. Not now.
“We’re doing zero expenditures,” he noted, adding they’ve parked probably 15 to 20 trucks out of a fleet of 86 and pulled their licence plates.
“The oilpatch is down everywhere, not just here.”
Drilling activity is down by over half since January, and the companies closest to the drill bit are among those seeing the most impact of the downturn.
“We do a lot of pipe. Maybe a quarter of our business is tied to drilling. It’s hit the hardest. In the good times, it was up to 50 per cent tied to drilling.”
Service rig business is also down as hard, he noted.
“The whole industry’s dropped a lot,” Shirley said. “This is one of the worst (downturns) I’ve seen. I think this is harder than ’86.”
Back then, Bert Baxter Transport, one of the oldest companies in the southeast Saskatchewan oilpatch, did just what they are doing now – Work-Sharing.
Asked when he thinks things will turn around, Shirley said, “I can’t even give you a guess. When oil prices are back up, things will pick up. She’s just a waiting game.
“There are no guarantees in the oilpatch,” he concluded.
- Two-hour overtime cap proposed for lower-paid Hong Kong workers in bid to end stalemate over standard hours, by Jennifer Ngo & Phila Sii, South China Morning Post (subscription) via scmp.com
HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - A social policy expert has suggested a two-hour cap on overtime - and only for those earning HK$65 an hour or less - as a solution to the deadlock over standing working hours legislation.
The proposal by University of Hong Kong professor Nelson Chow Wing-sun, which aims to strike a balance between affordability and workers' welfare, failed to win immediate support from employers and employees.
However, Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan conceded it was better than nothing.
"I might not agree with points … but it's a proposal nonetheless - something the government has failed to come up with in months of discussion," said Lee.
Debate on the issue has centred on the definition of "standard working hours" and whether they should be standardised across occupations.
The Standard Working Hours Committee, set up in April 2013, ends its term early next year when it will have to submit a report to the government. "I think the discussion has veered off track," said Chow.
His plan caps overtime payment at two hours - set to keep workers on an eight-hour day from working more than 10 hours just for the money, he said.
[- thus correctly capping inflationary incentive!]
Overtime pay would be structured into three tiers:
For someone working 26 days a month and 10 hours a day, that would amount to roughly HK$16,900, or HK$13,520 if they work eight-hour days. This proposal would cover half of Hong Kong's working population.
- those earning the minimum wage, which is currently HK$32.5, would be paid 1.8 times their hourly rate for the two extra hours. Someone on minimum wage would earn roughly HK$6,760 monthly if they worked 26 days and eight hours each day, with an extra HK$1,690 if they worked two more each day. With the suggested overtime premium, the amount would be HK$3,042.
- For those earning closer to 1.5 times the minimum wage - roughly HK$49 an hour - overtime pay would be 1.5 times their hourly rate, and..
- for those earning twice the minimum wage - which at HK$65 an hour is the income limit \-\ 1.3 times...
Chow said the original goal of having standard working hours legislation was to protect people in low-paid jobs with long hours, but also to encourage a work-life balance. "The two objectives can be at odds, so the solution needs to strike a balance," said Chow.
Employer representative Stanley Lau Chin-ho said 1.8 times of the basic hourly wage was too high for overtime and could be tough for small and mid-sized companies to pay for.
Employee representative Leung Chau-ting also does not support the proposal as those earning over HK$65 an hour "are still low-income people".
Unionists and labour groups want a 40 to 44-hour working week, with a 1.5-times overtime premium, regardless of job.
11/19/2015 – 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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- Cutting Down Working Hours Could Create 150,000 Jobs, by Kevin Lee email@example.com, (11/18 late pickup) KoreaBizware.com
SEOUL, S,Korea – Research suggests that a decrease in working hours for Koreans, who currently work longer hours than almost anybody in the developed world, would lead to a drastic increase in the number of jobs created.
At the Employment Impact Assessment Debate hosted by the Ministry of Employment and Labor and the Korea Labor Institute, professor Lee Hae-chun from the Korea University of Technology and Education suggested that jobs could be created through a decrease in working hours.
According to the report, if current working hours, which are as long as 68 hours a week, are reduced to 52 hours a week, 18,500 jobs could be created in the first year of practice, and a total of 140,000 to 150,000 jobs could be created over time.
The estimated results were based on the assumption that the 26 types of businesses in which workers are allowed to work over 12 hours will be reduced to 10.
Professor Lee pointed out that there exists a need for a policy to stimulate the creation of new jobs. “In order to maximize the effects of cutting working hours on job creation from a macroeconomic point of view, the policy has to be implemented at a time when the economy is growing so that the demand for products and services is high.”
[Not at all - that would just keep you waiting forever. Instead, to maximize the job-creation effects of cutting working hours, the policy has to be implemented in connection with a policy of deliberately converting chronic overtime into training and hiring. The additional jobs and job options and employees and earnings and spenders and spending power would MAKE the economy start growing instead of just waiting for it to happen by magic.]
Professor Lee added that for the policy to be effective, labor and management negotiations on setting reasonable salaries, an increase in the number of part-time workers with quality skills, and a recruiting service program that provides a pool of manpower are a must.
- Junior Doctors Oppose Longer Working Hours, RedBrick.me
BIRMINGHAM, England - On Sunday 15th November, junior doctors protested against a new government imposed contract in the centre of Birmingham.
The contract that was being disputed will change working hours for junior doctors, forcing many to work late and unsociable hours without extra pay.
The protest consisted of NHS staff and medical students gathering at 2 o'clock, with speakers taking turns on a microphone to denounce the new contract. Speakers included many different doctors and medical students. Rossana Median took the stand and called for solidarity and incited staff to strike in opposition to the planned changes.
Hundreds of people attended the protest outside the Waterstones near the Bullring chanting 'Hunt must go' and 'NHS here to stay; Victory to the BMA'.
The changes to junior doctor’s contract will mean a standard working week of 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, with a higher rate of pay for 7am to 10pm Sunday and 10pm to 7pm every day. The contact doesn't mention a system to ensure doctors are paid properly should shifts overrun; there is no payment for overtime and no incentive for employers to prevent work overrunning. In addition, junior doctors don't have annual pay progression, instead payment will be linked to stages of training. Lastly, the proposal replaces the hour-based pay for on-call staff with a fixed single allowance.
The contract will be imposed in August 2016. It will only affect junior doctors in England, since the NHS in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all been able to legally oppose it.
The British Medical Association has issued a ballot for industrial action in opposition to the contract, which all junior doctors will receive. However, no medical students will secure a ballot since they do not currently have a contract with the NHS, even though the new contract will affect them.
[Another take -]
Junior doctor records video diary to highlight concerns over extension to working hours, by Matt Westcott, (11/18 late pickup) TheNorthernEcho.co.uk
CRAMLINGTON, Northum., UK - A junior doctor working in the North-East has warned she is already working flat out, and that any proposed extension to her hours, will simply mean she won't be able to look after her patients as well as she would like.
Jo Senior, who works in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the new Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, Northumberland, is one of three Junior Doctors currently making video diaries for BBC Newcastle to show, first hand, the kind of pressures they already face.
Junior doctors across England are about to find out if they have voted to take strike action in their dispute with the Government, action which the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described as "totally unwarranted and action which will harm vulnerable patients."
He said: "Refusing to talk to a Government that wants to improve weekend care for patients and reduce doctors' hours can only damage the NHS." He urged the BMA to re-open negotiations.
But in her video diary, Jo Senior reveals most junior doctors feel they have nowhere left to turn.
[And similar nonsense about supposedly superhuman medicos in the U.S. -]
- Advocacy groups want 30-hour shifts for novice doctors halted, saying they pose ‘serious health risks’, by Lenny Bernstein, WashingtonPost.com
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA - Two advocacy groups asked the government Thursday to halt a nation-wide research project that is testing 30-hour work shifts for novice doctors, a practice that was banned in 2011.
Public Citizen and the American Medical Student Association asked the Department of Health and Human Services to stop the experiment now taking place at 63 medical programs across the country. The two groups contend that the research is unethical because neither the physicians nor their patients are given the opportunity to consent to the arrangement.
[So, the American Medical Assoc. is probably behind the HHS's crazy experiment. They have a long history of this kind of idiocy, thus raising the question: Is the AMA's self-martyring messianism designed to provide beatified intimidation against malpractice suits, or plenary indulgence for medical mistakes, or skill shortage for pay raising? Or all of the above?]
The research poses "serious health risks," including the possibility of car accidents and depression for first-year internal medicine physicians who must work the lengthy shifts, Public Citizen said in a letter to the government's Office for Human Research Protections. The research also creates additional risk for their patients, the organization wrote.
The two groups also asked the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to rescind a waiver it issued in order to allow the experiment. The council banned 30-hour shifts for first year doctors at accredited medical programs in 2011, limiting them to no more than 16 consecutive hours at work.
The study, and a previous, similar one involving young surgeons, has reopened one of the oldest debates in the training of newly-graduated doctors. Those who favor the long shifts say that novice physicians learn best by following patients for as long as possible and that handing patients off to other physicians unfamiliar with their cases is actually more dangerous than treatment by inexperienced, sleep-deprived doctors.
The two studies seek to determine whether patient care is affected by the long shifts, and whether the doctors themselves are affected. Results from the study among surgeons will be available in February, but results from the study of internal medicine physicians are not expected until 2019.
[So, the American Medical Assoc. is probably behind the HHS's crazy experiment. They have a long history of this kind of idiocy, thus raising the question: Is the AMA's self-martyring messianism designed to provide intimidation against malpractice suits or plenary indulgence for mistakes or skill shortage for pay puffing? Or all of the above?]
Lenny Bernstein covers health and medicine.
11/18/2015 – 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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- Why Choose the Shared Work Program? To save time, worry, and expense, CBIA.com
HARTFORD, Conn., USA - Whether you’re a small or large business, the state Department of Labor’s Shared Work Program saves you the time, worry, and expense of hiring and training new workers by keeping skilled employees on the job during downturns in business [with shorter hours but without layoffs].
To participate, an employer must complete an application for the affected unit(s) within the company and submit it to the Department of Labor for approval. The DOL’s Shared Work website has recently been updated and has easy to access information and forms needed to apply.
CBIA members report that this is a well-run program that delivers on its stated commitment to preserve jobs with minimal administrative burden.
The Connecticut Business & Industry Association [CBIA] is fighting to make Connecticut a top state for business, jobs, and economic growth. A better business climate means a brighter future for everyone.
- Nov. sees record-high furloughs: MOL, [11/17 late pickup] ChinaPost.com.tw
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Involuntary unpaid leave saw a sharp rise in November with a record-high 5,292 employees furloughed, the highest monthly total since three years ago, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said yesterday.
According to the statistics provided, the number of companies and employees rose from 33 enterprises and 1,218 workers, as of the end of October, to 45 companies and 5,292 employees in mid-November.
Among the companies, Chien Shing Stainless Steel Co. was said to have declared over 100 employees furloughed.
[Better furloughs than firings, Timesizing than downsizing!]
The MOL issues the newest rundown of the number of furloughs every month on the 1st or 16th at 10 a.m.. The numbers are collected from nationwide labor government sectors.
Newest updates of furloughs have run into the thousands of people since Sept. 30 — November's data marks the second consecutive month.
Chiu Chiu-hui, head of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) industry and park operations, stated in a CNA interview that a total of 788 furloughed employees were reported as of Nov. 12.
Hsinchu Science Park reportedly saw three companies furloughing employees in November, for a total of 109 employees, according to numbers as of Nov. 10, with the most in the opto-electronics industry at 113 people.
Two companies furloughed 73 employees in October, according to the statistics Hsinchu Science Park Administration provided — of the two companies, a computer accessory company estimated furloughs of 60 employees will continue until the end of the year, with two days maximum each week.
For the Southern Taiwan Science Park, furloughs stood at 58 employees, but the highest was the 621 furloughed employees of Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP).
Foreign companies did not avoid the recent differences as well, as the Science Park Administration reported a semiconductor parts company furloughed 36 workers from Nov. 6 to Jan. 2, 2016.
For CTSP's 621 furloughs, Chiu stated that the employees primarily came from an opto-electronics company, which reportedly saw dismal performance in its product competitiveness on the market. MOST will provide education grants to protect employees' rights.
Science park revenue from September to October was reportedly in bad shape as well, Chiu said. He stated a possible negative growth could occur, "taking a large bite out of the first half of the year's growth rate."
Despite the bad state, Chiu said that revenue growth has begun to make a comeback in November. "A positive growth rate is still likely," he stated.
11/17/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- Chief Public Defender Derwyn Bunton announces 2016 furlough schedule, by Ben Myers, (11/16 late pickup) The Times-Picayune via NOLA.com
NEW ORLEANS, La., USA - Chief Public Defender Derwyn Bunton on Monday (Nov. 16) announced a 10-day furlough plan for 2016, a move he foreshadowed last week during his office's annual budget hearing before City Council.
[Better furloughs than firings, Timesizing than downsizing!]
Although Mayor Mitch Landrieu's 2016 budget proposal bumps the office's funding $150,000 – or 13.5 percent -- above its current level, Bunton warned council members he needed an additional $250,000 to avert furloughs.
City Council will decide the office's funding when it adopts a budget on Dec. 1. But Bunton's decision to establish a furlough schedule in advance of a final determination seemed to serve notice that his threat was not a budget-season bluff tactic.
"This is real. It's very serious," said Lindsey Hortenstine, spokeswoman for the Public Defenders Office. "Ideally we will have a different outcome at the completion of this process and won't have to go forward with it at all."
Bunton says the furlough days will cost the city $113,000 or more for additional time that defendants stay in jail without access to attorneys. The Public Defenders Office, which represents indigent defenders, claims to represent approximately 85 percent of Orleans Parish defendants.
No public defenders will be available for court dates during furlough days, according to a news release from Bunton's office.
Landrieu's office released a statement Monday night noting the city has increased funding to Bunton's office in each of the past two years. The city's contribution of $1.1 million this year reflects a two-year increase of 34 percent, according to figures provided by the administration.
But the increases aren't keeping pace with state cuts to the office,
"It is high past time that the State fulfilled its responsibilities in this area," the administration's statement reads. "The City cannot continue to be called upon to step in to solve problems caused by the State."
Assuming it moves forward, the furlough schedule is as follows:
- Preparing for change in overtime pay, by Wade Herring 912-236-0261 or wherring@HunterMaclean.com, BusinessInSavannah.com
SAVANNAH, Ga., USA - The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced proposed changes to regulations implementing the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), specifically the overtime exemption that allows certain employees to be paid a salary without overtime pay.
These changes could significantly impact labor costs for employers in all sectors, and the upcoming final rule will have an important impact on employers’ operating plans and budgets.
The FLSA broadly defines two types of employees: exempt and nonexempt. In general, exempt employees have “white collar” job duties — executive, professional, or administrative — and are paid at least $23,660 per year ($455 per week), regardless of the number of hours worked each week.
Interestingly, teachers are classified as professionals and are exempt from overtime requirements, but the salary test does not apply to teachers.
Employees who have the proper job duties and who are paid a set salary consistent with the governing regulations are “exempt” from the FLSA’s requirements for minimum wage and overtime pay, in contrast to nonexempt workers.
Nonexempt employees must be paid at least minimum wage, as well as an overtime rate for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in a single work week. The required overtime rate is generally not less than time and one-half an employee’s regular rate of pay.
The DOL wants to increase the salary requirement for exempt employees, using as a benchmark the 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers. For 2016, the estimated salary requirements would be $970 a week, or $50,440 a year.
The proposed changes also include a methodology for automatically increasing the salary requirement to reflect ongoing economic developments.
Trade organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) have expressed concerns over the proposed salary rules, asserting that the changes would have substantial and potentially disruptive effects on nearly every employer in the country.
SHRM concedes an adjustment in the threshold salary level is appropriate but contends the proposed increase is too large for business owners to absorb in a short period of time. Of special concern is the impact on nonprofit organizations because the salary levels for nonprofits are traditionally lower than in other sectors of the economy. Additionally, variations in regional compensation amounts mean the new regulations would impose a heavier burden on some areas of the country than on others.
No one can say with certainty how the proposed changes will translate into a final rule, but educated predictions are possible: Any changes will not be effective as of January 2016, but a final rule is expected before the election in November 2016.
While an increase in the salary requirement is likely, the DOL will reduce the amount from its initial proposal. Finally, the DOL will allow some grace period before enforcement of the new rule begins.
Even with this uncertainty, employers can prepare now for expected changes. First, employers should review the job duties of all employees classified as exempt[-from-overtime managerial] to determine if the FLSA regulations actually allow the exemption.
Second, employers can require all employees — both exempt and nonexempt — to keep records of their hours worked. If exempt employees are commonly working more than 40 hours a week, the employer has three potential courses of action once the final rule is in place: (1) Increase salaries to meet the new salary test; (2) Reclassify employees as nonexempt and pay overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a single work week; or (3) Reclassify employees as nonexempt and forbid them from working overtime.
Nevertheless, if an employer knows or should know that an employee has worked more than 40 hours in a single work week, the employer is obligated to pay the resulting overtime. An employee can be disciplined for working too many hours, but overtime must still be paid for those excessive hours.
As always, building a trusted team of advisors may be the best defense for ensuring a correct reading of the law and determining the most financially sound means of compliance.
Wade Herring leads the employment law practice at HunterMaclean. He may be reached at 912-236-0261 or wherring@HunterMaclean.com
11/15-16/2015 – 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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- The Future of Work: The 80-hour work week doesn't truly work, by Leah Eichler, 11/15 The Globe and Mail (subscription) via theglobeandmail.com
TORONTO, Ont., Canada - One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from my boss at one of my first jobs. During a performance appraisal, he broke script and encouraged me to put my interests above the company’s.
Last week, after reading in these pages how Kevin Sandhu, chief executive officer of the online loan startup Grouplend, gets his staff to work 80-hour weeks, I realized how lucky I am that I internalized my boss’s advice early on.
Mr. Sandhu wrote passionately about how “amazed” he has been with the long nights and weekends his employees volunteer to spend away from their family and friends, presumably smiling all the while. He then suggests this sacrifice is made palatable because the company graciously includes spouses and families in company events. All along, Mr. Sandhu infers that employees and their loved ones gratefully accept this arrangement, despite earning what he deems “seemingly less-than-minimum-wage” salaries in order to be part of a greater mission.
This “greater mission” story – where employees willingly work incredibly long hours and make tremendous personal sacrifices in order to change the world – gets told again and again in the startup world. But like all fairy tales, it has little basis in reality.
Employees are useful as long as companies are profitable – but as soon as their productivity doesn’t support the bottom line, they become disposable. Take Twitter: Last year, workplace ranking site Glassdoor named it one of the best places to work. Last month, the company said it was laying off 8 per cent of its work force.
Part of the problem is that we don’t know how many hours we should be working to get the job done and still have a life. According to Gallup, the average non-hourly American worker spends about 47 hours a week in the office, with nearly one in five saying they work more than 60 hours. Still, books such as Timothy Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek spent years on The New York Times’ bestseller list, promising an end to the 9-to-5 grind. More recently, a spate of stories about Swedish companies embracing a six-hour workday hit the news. The appetite for such stories demonstrate that we are hungry for an alternative to spending long hours on the job.
Sending employees home on time makes sense for companies and employees alike. John Pencavel, a professor in the department of economics at Stanford University, discovered through his research that increasing hours above a certain threshold – which he refers to as “the knot” – offers diminishing returns.
“Above the knot, successive increases in hours result in successively smaller increases in output,” said Prof. Pencavel, who added that at around 65 hours a week, output fails to increase with more hours.
Not only are returns diminished with longer hours, they can be counterproductive. Prof. Pencavel studied workers who engaged in labour seven days a week, for 10 hours a day, for a total of 70 hours a week, and found their output was slightly less than the group that worked eight hours a day, six days a week for a total of 48 hours.
“The point is that it may well not be in the interest of the employer to schedule hours at which output starts to increase so little,” he said. “It goes without saying that …employers don’t [always] know what is in their best interest.”
He said in the 19th and 20th centuries, many employers resisted calls to cut their employees’ working hours. But when they were required to by law or through trade union bargaining, “they found that the sky did not fall.”
Not only does productivity not increase with extended hours, but the health impact on employees cannot be overlooked. An article published last August in the Lancet medical journal found that employees who work longer hours – specifically 55 hours or more a week – are at a higher risk of stroke than those working standard hours. Poor health and diminished productivity seem like a strange price to pay for the “Red Bull and espresso-fuelled all nighters” that Mr. Sandhu so admiringly refers to.
Rather than pumping employees with highly caffeinated beverages, it’s time for startups to embrace cutting-edge scheduling practices that are scientifically shown to produce results. An 80-hour work week may sound like just the ticket to improve productivity, but it will only lead to mistakes, poor health and resentful employees. Instead, find out how many hours employees truly remain productive in, and schedule and compensate them accordingly. It sounds crazy, but it may just produce the results companies are looking for.
Leah Eichler is founder and CEO of r/ally, a machine-learning, human capital search engine for enterprises. Twitter: @LeahEichler
- Honeywell Aerospace institutes furloughs for quarter of workforce, by Derek Staahl, 11/16 KPHO/KTVK via KPHO Phoenix via kpho.com
TEMPE, Ariz., USA - One of Arizona’s largest employers, Honeywell Aerospace, is instituting furloughs for about one-quarter of its global workforce, including many workers in the Valley.
Honeywell Aerospace announced the furloughs to employees by email Thursday. The aerospace giant employs about 40,000 people worldwide, including nearly 10,000 in Arizona.
Affected employees will be required to take five unpaid days off between Nov. 23 and Dec. 27. The company cited “slow global economic growth,” particularly caused by economic concerns about China, Russia and lower U.S. defense spending.
“We must revisit our fixed costs and workforce resources to best position us in this slow growth economy and take advantage of the efficiencies we are achieving to ensure an appropriate cost structure for 2016 and beyond,” company leaders wrote in the email. .
The furloughs were confirmed by company spokesperson Steven Brecken. Brecken said he did not know how many workers were affected in the Valley, and declined further comment.
According to emails, the furloughs affect some but not all employees in Integrated Supply Chain, which is based in Tempe, and Defense & Space, which is based in Phoenix. A Honeywell employee based in the Valley estimated the majority of local employees are affected. Certain workers who handle the assembly of products are exempt.
"This is like the movie Christmas Vacation, and many people are going to really struggle by losing a full week of pay,” said the employee, who asked not to be identified. “The public thinks Honeywell is a great company, but they treat their employees badly, their suppliers horribly and their customers pitifully. They are the Wal-Mart of the aerospace world."
[Better furloughs than firings, Timesizing than downsizing!]
11/14/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- Domestic helpers ere 'never part of working hours agenda' of Hong Kong government advisers, by Phila Siu firstname.lastname@example.org, (11/15 over dateline) South China Morning Post (subscription) via scmp.com
HONG KONG, HKSAR, China - Foreign domestic helpers fear they may be left out in Hong Kong's first law on working hours as a government adviser tasked with studying its enactment admit they have never talked about including maids throughout more than 2-1/2 years of discussion.
And now, the standard working hours committee, set up in April 2013 to deliberate if and how working hours should be regulated, is near the end of its term in the first quarter of next year - with the deadline looming to submit its report to the government.
Most union representatives advocate 40 to 44 regular working hours per week for Hongkongers and overtime wages at 1.5 times the hourly rate.
[Welcome to the 1938-40 American workweek! You clever Jungwo ren seem to have just as hard a time learning from other people as us dumb Yanks do!]
Chau Siu-chung, a unionist and employee representative on the committee, told the South China Morning Post the members had never discussed if the law should cover foreign domestic helpers.
"It could be difficult to calculate their working hours because of the job nature," he said. "I do think they should be included."
In Canada, not only are helpers paid local rates, their hours are also regulated.
The legislative issue split two major helpers' groups in the city, with United Filipinos in Hong Kong saying that applying the law to locals only would signal "clear discrimination". Dolores Balladares Pelaez, the group's chairwoman, said: "Domestic workers work 12 to 15 hours a day.
"We're also workers in Hong Kong. Just because we are from other countries does not mean we should be excluded."
But Betty Yung Ma Shan-yee, chairwoman of the Employers of Domestic Helpers Association, backed an exclusion.
The difficulty in calculating helpers' working hours could give rise to disputes with their employers, Yung said. Bosses might hire part-time local workers as a result to avoid trouble.
"How can you be sure of what the helpers are doing after they send the employers' children to school? What if they take up illegal work?" she asked.
From a legal viewpoint, Kelley Loper, director of the University of Hong Kong's master of laws in human rights programme, said she could not think of a legitimate objective for an exclusion.
According to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, migrant workers "shall enjoy treatment not less favourable" than the locals enjoy in employment.
This UN treaty also states other conditions of work, including overtime, hours of work, weekly rest and holidays with pay, should be no less favourable than what the locals enjoy.
So far, 48 states have ratified this treaty. China and Hong Kong have not, although the city is home to about 336,000 maids.
Loper's colleague at the law faculty, labour law expert Professor Rick Glofcheski, said the government already had a "poor excuse" for not extending the minimum wage law to helpers. "One reason … was because of the long and ostensibly uncertain working hours of [the helpers]," he said. "This is the very reason why they should be protected."
- The Workweek of Part-Time Workers, by Etienne Lalé, (11/09 late pickup) EconoMonitor.com (blog)
NEW YORK, N.Y., USA - Abstract.
Data on weekly work schedules indicate the coexistence of two groups of part-time workers. The first group represents about 40 percent of part-time employment and comprises those who work a few hours every day of the workweek, mostly during standard business hours. The other group contains workers with either variable weekly schedules or hours concentrated on two or three days of the week, and are more likely to work at night and/or on weekends. These less desirable work conditions are worth worrying about as part-time employment in the U.S. remains elevated several years after the Great Recession.
In the first quarter of 2015, 18.2 percent of workers in the United States were employed on part-time contracts. The corresponding figure was 16.6 percent just before the Great Recession, and 19.5 percent in the last quarter of 2009 when part-time employment reached its highest level. Part-time work – defined as less than 35 hours per week – is pervasive in the U.S. labor market, and yet little is known about the actual work schedules of part-timers. Inspection of data from the Work Schedules Supplements of the Current Population Survey (CPS) reveals a substantial amount of diversity in the workweeks of part-timers, and shows that many experience less favorable employment conditions.
Our goal of this note is to organize the information on weekly work schedules contained in the CPS into a portrait of the typical workweeks of part-time workers. This description helps establish a typology of part-time employment and understand the work conditions associated with it.
Part-time employment is paramount to our understanding of the labor market. At the macroeconomic level, part-time work is a key margin of employment adjustment over the business cycle. As documented by Borowczyk-Martins and Lalé , most of the fall in hours per worker during the Great Recession is explained by the burst of part-time employment, and is in turn responsible for a sizable amount of economic slack. At the individual level, part-time employment is typically associated with a wage penalty, which adds to the reduction in total earned income. Studies by Lettau , Aaronson and French  and Hirsch  all report a significant decrease in hourly wages – which can be as large as 25 percent – that is attributable to part-time work. A further negative effect is that part-time workers typically have lower access to benefits such as health insurance, retirement and leave benefits . In fact, one of the provision of the Affordable Care Act is to extend health coverage to employees working 30 or more hours per week at large employers.
The distribution of weekly hours worked [for men & for women]
X-axis = Usual weekly hours worked, & Y-axis = Percent
http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2015/11/the-workweek-of-part-time-workers/ [and scan down to -]
Figure 1. Distribution of usual weekly hours among part-time workers, men (solid-line bars) and women (bars of dashes) CPS data; Working-age individuals who work part-time and currently hold only one job.
To get a first grip on the diversity of employment experiences associated with part-time work, Figure 1 shows the distribution of usual hours worked weekly among single jobholders.¹ The distribution has many peaks which are worth commenting on. Indeed, we observe peaks at intervals divisible by five, as well as peaks at 24 and 32 hours, both of which are divisible by eight. These patterns are interesting in that they suggest either long workweeks or long working days concentrated on a few days of the week. By contrast, the distribution of weekly hours among full-time workers (not reported) shows one dominant form of employment, namely 5 days of 8 hours each.²
Figure 1 is also informative as to gender differences in part-time employment. Women are two times more likely than men to be employed on part-time contracts (see Figure 2). In part-time employment, women are more likely to work 32 hours weekly whereas men are more likely to work 20 hours weekly. As a result, the average of hours worked weekly is slightly higher among female part-timers. The pattern is reversed in full-time employment because a large number of men report working more than 40 hours.
A framework to analyze weekly hours
The motivation for investigating the workweek of part-time workers comes from a popular distinction in macroeconomics between the intensive and extensive use of labor resources. Loosely speaking, it is likely inefficient to work 18 hours on a single day and none during the rest of the week; a better work-life balance could be achieved by working, say, 9 hours on two days or 6 hours on three days. At the opposite extreme, working 3 hours on six days may be inefficient too due to, for instance, time spent commuting to work.
Adapted to the context of the present study, this distinction suggests the following breakdown:
Weekly hours = Hours per day (Intensive margin) x Days per week (Extensive margin)
[Mind-boggling example of making a mountain out of a mole hill - all part of the job anxiety of running the economy on a shortage of "frozen 40"hour jobs and a "labor disciplining" high rate of officially minimized un(der)employment, ever including nervous academics as here.]
This formulation is useful because of the terminology used in it [oh please - you're practicing the standard stupidity of trying to explain something in terms of something even more complex and unfamiliar!], and also because it likely performs better than the notion of total weekly hours in capturing actual employment experiences.
Days per week and weekly hours worked
http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2015/11/the-workweek-of-part-time-workers/ [and scan down to -]
Table 1. Days per week at selected weekly hours
Bottom..Middle..Top of the distribution [for men & for women]
Note: CPS data; working-age individuals who work part-time and currently hold only one job. Each row displays, for the corresponding sex category, the fraction of workers reporting the stated number of days among those working the stated number of weekly hours. All entries are reported in percent [percent of what?].
Table 1 reports a set of statistics that characterize the role of the extensive margin (days per week) in explaining the distribution of weekly hours worked by part-timers. The table selects those weekly hours at which a peak can be observed in Figure 1; that is, 10, 15, 20, 24, 25, 30 and 32 weekly hours.
To begin with, a low number of weekly hours is typically associated with a low number of days worked per week. About 40 percent of individuals who report 10 (resp. 15) hours per week usually work 5 hours per day twice (resp. three times) a week. This figure is perhaps lower than expected because, as observed in the table, a significant proportion of worker’s report having long workweeks despite working only 10 or 15 hours weekly. That is, between 25 and 35 percent of workers report five days of work per week that are unintensive in terms of hours per day.
In the middle of the distribution (20, 24 and 25 weekly hours), two patterns seem to emerge. On the one hand, a large number of part-timers reports working five days per week, with the amount of hours per day compatible with spending half the day on the job (4 or 5 hours). The other category contains workers with a large number of hours concentrated on two or three days of the week only – those whose weekly hours are explained mostly by the intensive margin. The most striking example is workers with 24 weekly hours: more than 50 percent of them report working 12 hours per day.
Clearly, the top of the distribution corresponds to two types of long workweeks: one involving 6 hours per day and five days per week, and one with 8 hours per day and four days per week. The part-time workers who belong to the last category differ from the typical full-time worker along the extensive margin only: one additional day of work would put these part-timers at 40 hours of weekly work.
Overall, Table 1 indicates a fair amount of consistency between usual weekly hours and days per week as reported by CPS respondents. Hours per day help understand why the distribution of weekly hours exhibits so many peaks, and why these are located at intervals divisible by 5 or 8. This finding is relevant for other labor force surveys in that the multiple peaks in the distribution of hours is a commonly observed phenomenon.
Two types of part-time workweeks
Piecing together Figure 1 and Table 1, one can posit the following typology [oh gawd, now we're "positing" "typology"!] of the workweek of part-time workers:
Weekends and night work
- On the one hand, about 5 percent of part-timers work more than five days per week, 30 percent work exactly five days per week and another 5 percent work four days per week with long days of work. These workers differ from full-time workers along one margin only: they have long workweeks or long days of work. As will be shown below, they are also less likely to work on weekends and/or at night.
- The other category contains workers who report that their work schedules changes every week (about 14 percent of part-time workers) and workers with less than three days of weekly work. This group is more dissimilar vis-à-vis full-time workers. For example, the majority of workers with 24 weekly hours has longer days of work compared to full-time workers and works two days per week.
So far, the portrait of the part-time workweek says little about the employment conditions of part-time workers. In particular, it was noted above that part-time workers often suffer a wage penalty [6, 1, 5] and lower access to various benefits . One can hypothesize that a lower return to market activity is the price paid for having more time spent in the household and/or with relatives and friends. Whether part-timers work on weekends or at night matters in this respect because such employment conditions make it more difficult to socialize with others. The incidence of “strange hours”, to put it in the words of Hamer-mesh and Stancanelli , is also relevant to characterize the two types of part-time workweeks described in the previous section.
The Work Schedules Supplements of the CPS allows identification of weekend work and night work. Weekend work refers to any work performed on a Saturday and/or a Sunday. Night work is defined as work performed between 10:00pm and 6:00am (inclusive). To fix ideas, under these definitions, 11 percent of full-timers with 40 hours worked weekly are performing some work on week-ends, and 15.6 percent of them are working at night.
One way to characterize further the part-time workweeks just discussed is to analyze whether they affect the propensity to work on weekends or at night. Full-time workers employed 40 hours offer a natural reference group for this purpose, i.e. one can investigate how holding a part-time job changes the probability of working strange hours compared to this group. Table 2 reports estimation results from such a model, in which a set of characteristics (age, education and marital status) are held constant. Three categories of part-time workers are considered: low, intermediate and high hours. Finally, to accord with the above typology of part-time workweeks, these categories are interacted with an indicator for working five days per week.
http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2015/11/the-workweek-of-part-time-workers/ [and scan down to -]
Table 2. Incidence of work on weekends and work at night in part-time employment [for men & for women]
Firstly, the estimates reported in Table 2 show that working part-time raises the probability of working at strange hours, both for male and female workers. For example, working 20 to 29 hours per week (as opposed to regular full-time work) increases the probability of weekend work by 25 (resp. 18) percentage point for men (resp. women) and the probability of working at night by 7 (resp. 5) percentage point for men (resp. women). These results are striking because they show that the hours of many part-timers are likely concentrated on the moments of the week usually devoted to social interactions.
The second finding from Table 2 is that working five days a week is a strong predictor for avoiding strange hours. Indeed, a comparison of the non-interacted and interacted coefficients shows that a workweek of 5 days undoes the higher incidence of weekend work among part-timers and tends to dampen the incidence of night work.3 This provides support for the typology that distinguishes: (i) a part-time workweek of normal work schedules (work during standard business hours) and (ii) a part-time workweek subject to less favorable employment conditions.
Data on days worked weekly and usual work schedules paints a diverse and nuanced picture of the workweek of part-time workers. There are at least two subgroups of part-time workers: those with normal work schedules distributed over the five days of the working week, and those whose hours are concentrated on two or three days of the week sometimes early in the morning, late at night and/or during weekends.
http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2015/11/the-workweek-of-part-time-workers/ [and scan down to -]
Figure 2. Fraction of workers employed on part-time jobs, men (solid, left) and women (dashed, right). MA-smoothed, seasonally-adjusted time-series. Gray-shaded areas indicate NBER recession periods.
These employment patterns matter for our understanding of the labor market now several years into the recovery. As shown in Figure 2, the fraction of workers employed on part-time jobs remains elevated after the Great Recession.
[So shorter hours is happening anyway, but not the best way!]
About half of these workers may be employed under less favorable conditions, such as work on weekends and night shifts. This is larger than the fraction of individuals classified as “involuntary part-time workers”.4 One possible explanation for the discrepancy is that the constraints that may prompt workers to work at night or on weekends – for instance, being unable to arrange childcare – are not taken into account in the definition of involuntary part-time work – which includes only those who cannot find a full-time job and those working part-time because of slack demand conditions. Future research could investigate further the constraints that push individuals to take on part-time jobs with a less favorable work schedule.
Data and sample dispositions
The Current Population Survey [CPS] is a survey of households administered by the U.S. Census Bureau under the auspices of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey records the hours worked weekly by CPS respondents. The Work Schedules Supplement collects additional information on working hours and usual work schedules for all respondents in a household. The universe for the Work Schedules Supplement is civilians aged 15 or older who were working at the time of the supplement.
The sample used in this note is circumscribed to civilians of working age who were holding only one job at the time of the survey. The reason for excluding multiple jobholders is that hours worked at their primary job (the job at which the individual works the greatest number of hours) are likely not independent from hours worked at the second job. This makes their usual weekly schedules less comparable to that of single jobholders.
1 Multiple jobholders are excluded throughout to facilitate the discussion. See accompanying box on data and sample dispositions used in the analysis.
2 In full-time employment, 65 percent of individuals report 40 hours worked weekly. 90 percent of these workers report that they usually work five days per week.
3 The coefficients are statistically significant at the one percent level for weekend work, but most coefficients on the interaction terms are not significant for night work.
4 Involuntary part-time work (also referred to as part-time work for economic reasons) accounts for 15 to 25 percent of overall part-time employment.
 Daniel Aaronson and Eric French. The effect of part-time work on wages: Evidence from the Social Security rules. Journal of Labor Economics, 22(2):329–252, 2004.
 John L Bishow. The relationship between access to benefits and weekly work hours. Monthly Labor Review, 2015.
 Daniel Borowczyk-Martins and Etienne Lalé. Employment adjustment and part-time jobs: The US and the UK in the Great Recession. Sciences Po Discussion paper 2014–17, 2014.
 Daniel S Hamermesh and Elena Stancanelli. Long workweeks and strange hours. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, (forthcoming), 2015.
 Barry T Hirsch. Why do part-time workers earn less? The role of worker and job skills. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 58(4):525–551, 2005.
 MichaelKLettau.Compensationinpart-timejobs versus full-time jobs: What if the job is the same? Economics Letters, 56(1):101–106, 1997.
11/13/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- Fikirlah [=Think]: Shorter Work Hours Key To Better Lives, by Ainul Huda Mohamed Saaid, (11/14 dateline proximity) Bernama.com
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Imagine this scenario: After getting off from work, parents happily fetch their children from school. Instead of rushing straight home, they stop at a nearby lake park, enjoying a stroll in the late afternoon sun before heading home together for a family dinner.
Scenario two: the bachelor. As soon as work is over, he hurries over to his guitar class. He is a civil servant but still dreams of becoming a professional musician. The classes allow him to let off steam in a healthy way and feel good about himself.
He carries the energy into the night. Inspired to pay it forward, he decides to utilise his skills with numbers to provide free Mathematics tuition to children in the neighbourhood.
Both scenarios seem rather far-fetched in today's world. Today's workers spend over nine hours at work, leaving by dawn and returning at dusk.
They spend a lot of time and energy in commute, stressing out in their cars during traffic jams or rushing to get into packed public transportations.
To quote the famous Malaysian Muslim preacher Ustaz Kazim Elias, "We get on the road at the crack of dawn. If we don't, we would see 'red' on our punch cards. If we're lucky, we will be able to reach home by dusk - provided there will not be rain, road accident or stalled vehicle obstructing the traffic on the way home.
"We would "tapau" (take-away) our dinner. Forget about taking the children out for a stroll.
"For the single ones, if they are not too tired, perhaps they would find time to have a chat with friends."
Stressful lifestyles cause social ills
Whether or not we want to admit it, the constant rushing around is giving us chronic stress and adversely affecting our health.
A stressful lifestyle is also among the key factors to the rise of social ills in society.
The Health Ministry recently exposed that an average of 18,000 teenagers in Malaysia are pregnant every year and seek out treatment at government health clinics.
Of the figure, 25 per cent or roughly 4,500 cases involved teens who were pregnant out of wedlock.
This is only the surface of the problem. What lurks below could be darker and far more terrifying, especially when we factor in the problems of drugs, gangsterism and others.
Could this be the price we are paying for almost completely outsourcing the parenting of our children to others, such as schools and daycare services?
It is also unwise to simply expect mothers to resign from work so that they could fully concentrate on their children.
It should be acknowledged that not all families have similar economic advantages. If a mother was also an obstetrician, having her quit her job would be huge loss to the community. At the same time, it is also unhealthy to expect her to give in more to the demands of her vocation than the needs of her children.
What about the single people? Yes, perhaps they have a little bit more time to spend after work. However, would it not be better if they were given the time and space for personal enrichment activities as well as to serve their family and local community?
The solution: shorter work hours
A feasible and helpful measure is if the current working hours are reduced from the usual eight to nine hours to only six hours a day.
This has been implemented in Sweden with the main objective of improving productivity.
In an online article by the British daily The Guardian, Sweden first tested the effects of shortened work hours on nurses at a retirement house in February.
The trial is followed by one done in health centres involving medical workers.
The results were highly encouraging. The quality of services dramatically improved and customer complaints reduced.
In fact, a Toyota service centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, that have been practicing the system since 13 years ago found that it increased the productivity of its mechanics and the quality of their workmanship.
Happy workers, higher productivity
Six-hour workdays make workers more focused and result-oriented, thus driving them to produce more work in a shorter amount of time.
To ensure workers optimise their time, Sweden bans social media usage during the six hours. Meetings are kept short and to the point. There is no going off topic, dwelling unnecessarily on an issue or chatting and eating.
If such a system is to be implemented in Malaysia, ensure that there would no longer be morning or evening tea breaks. There should also be no one skiving off during work hours, lest the privilege be revoked from them.
Shorter work hours would undeniably make workers happier as they would still have some of their best time and energy to give to their family. They would also have time for personal enrichment activities such as sports and recreation, learning new things and getting involved with social work.
Besides that, society would also be much healthier. This is proven by science through a study conducted by the University College London which showed that those who worked over 55 hours a week increased their chances of getting a heart attack by 33 per cent, compared to those who work only 35-40 hours a week.
(The study covers 25 sub-studies and involved 600,000 respondents from Europe, the U.S. and Australia).
The bottom line is that if employers want productivity, lower operational cost and lower health care claims, they should consider implementing shorter work hours.
The time has come for government and private employers to not only consider but seriously study the implementation of the system in Malaysia.
In addition to six-hour workdays, flexible working hours and the option of working from home should also be extended to all staff and encouraged.
I think the country stand to save millions of Ringgit on remedial measures and campaigns to promote healthier lifestyles and curb social ills.
All we need to do is allow our people to spend just a little more time with their families, communities and themselves.
(This commentary is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect BERNAMA's stand or views on the matter).
- Local business' employees find balance in 'Firm 40' hour work weeks, WDAF-TV Kansas City via Fox4KC.com
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Imagine leaving work after putting in a firm, eight-hour work day every single day. It's happening at United Shore in Troy, Michigan, where employers say their employees are happier and more productive.
There may be a trend heading that direction called a "Firm 40," as in 40 hours a week. It's already happening at Marketing XChange in Overland Park.
"It makes a mental difference. It really does, it doesn't feel like, 'oh gosh, all I do is work,'" said Kelsey Huber.
"It's a nice balance between work and life," said Kyle Gones.
It's a change from the average. According to the Workplace Flexibility Study, 66 percent of employees say they work up to 10 hours beyond the required 40 every week.
Mostly to blame is technology; checking emails and phone calls. Thirty-three percent of employees say they are required to be reachable at all times. For those who don't hold their employee's happiness in mind, they're in the minority. More than 65 percent of employers reportedly offer workplace flexibility to their employees, improving employee satisfaction.
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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- Hotels roll out employee-friendly leave policy to rein in high attrition, by By Anumeha Chaturvedi & Varuni Khosla, Economic Times via economictimes.indiatimes.com
NEW DELHI, India - In July, 1,000 associates or employees at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai became the beneficiaries of a tweak in the leave policy — five-day weeks [vs. six?] or eight days off a month [vs. four?]. It's part of a Hyatt Hotels initiative to move to a more friendly regime on holidays.
Not just the Mumbai property, every Hyatt hotel in India will have the freedom to structure its leave policy in line with local laws and regulations from this year.
"The associates at Grand Hyatt Mumbai love the fact that they can utilise the additional time to explore their hobbies and personal interests. This, in turn, results in our associates being better rested and rejuvenated," said Roopesh Rajan, area director, human resources, west and south India, Hyatt Hotels Corp. "Ultimately, our guests' interactions have improved as our associates exhibit higher levels of empathybased engagement."
Hyatt is not alone in this. The industry, notorious for working hours that are long and hard, wants to rein in high attrition and burnout rates by introducing new employee practices and tweaking existing ones.
The initiatives range from more generous leave policies to complimentary room nights for staff. Taking good care of employees will help them serve customers better, hotel chains believe.
The Grand Hyatt in Mumbai also hosts a staff recreation area and has relaxed grooming guidelines for women employees. It has also empowered service associates to take quick decisions without requiring a manager's approval to improve the guest experience.
"These initiatives help us in encouraging people to be able to make a difference in their own special way in the industry and achieving their personal goals as well," said Sunjae Sharma, general manager, Grand Hyatt Mumbai, and area director, west India.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is thinking of providing more parttime options for women. It operates a mix of hotels under management and franchised arrangements across India under its brands such as Four Points by Sheraton, Sheraton, Luxury Collection, Le Meridien, Westin, Aloft and St Regis.
Earlier this year, the company introduced seven days of paternity leave and three days of bereavement leave for its directly managed 5,000-plus employees. The part-time plan is aimed at improving improving gender diversity, said Ritu Verma, regional director, HR, South Asia, at Starwood.
"This is not just about women returning post maternity, but depending on the needs of our women employees," she said. "The options and contracts can be worked upon based on individual needs."
Starwood currently operates 47 hotels in India with 37 more in the pipeline. India is Starwood's fourth-largest market and will soon become number three.
"These benefits have been long pending for employees of hotels," said Natwar Nagar, managing director of HVS Executive Search in India. "It gives equality to employees in comparison with other industries and it is a positive step. This is a fundamental change and companies need to work towards changing the face of the Indian hospitality sector by becoming pro-employee."
Accor encourages new entrants to spend the first night at the hotel with their families to get to know the brand and gain a customer experience at first hand. It has also introduced awards to recognise employee performance across its India properties and put in place round-the-clock staff grievance hotlines over the past year.
Marriott India's employees have a 40-hour work week and hourlong lunch breaks. It's a six-day week [5x7hrs + 1x5hrs?] but managers are asked to make sure staff don't exceed shift timings.
"We also offer 50% off on food and beverage and stays for our employees at our hotels along with similar discounts for their weddings," said Gurmeet Singh, area HR director, Marriott.
Carlson Rezidor, which runs the Radisson group of hotels in India, said timings are structured for each employee. "The industry's work hours do cause pressure and frequent breaks are important as productivity can get hampered if holidays are not given," said Raj Rana, CEO, South Asia.
- Litarion is facing Kurzarbeit [worksharing] - The businesses of the Canadian-acquired firm on the Kamenzer Ochsenberg obviously are not going well, by René Plaul, Sächsische Zeitung via sz-online.de
KAMENZ, Germany - The businesses of Litarion GmbH on the Ochsenberg, which was acquired by the Canadian firm Electrovaya, are obviously not going well. As a company spokesperson confirmed in response to SZ inquiry, the company is facing a Kurzarbeit phase. On the exact reasons nothing has so far been shared. Among the staff it's rumored that an important contract could be going away. Therefore, management has requested Kurzarbeit for December and January. It's said temporary workers have received notice.
The company Litarion manufactures electrodes and a ceramic separator for electric battery cells, which promise a high standard of safety and environmental protection. Former Evonik expertise had been the starting point for the battery factory location. Daimler's battery production is no longer nextdoor.
11/11/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- As millennials eye better work-life balance, is the US ready for a 6-hour workday? WMTV via NBC News via (11/10 posted late) nbc15.com
MADISON, Wisc., USA---Nurses at Svartedalens elderly care home in Gothenburg, Sweden, have had more energy, higher efficiency, and an overall boost in well-being ever since they started working shorter days earlier this year. The patients, in turn, are experiencing better care and attention, and the establishment has had a lower turnover rate. This positive shift is turning heads, causing other companies to re-evaluate their own practices.
Svartedalens began experimenting with a six-hour workday instead of the standard eight — with employees earning the same wages as before. The company found that a shorter workweek has led to happier and more well-rested employees, with benefits rippling throughout the workplace. Tasks are completed more efficiently — and are of higher quality — which makes for more satisfied customers, who in turn spread the word about the company. Other Swedish establishments have been following suit, reaping many of the same benefits.
And while this program seems fine for a Nordic welfare state, could this model work in the U.S.?
According to data from the International Labour Organization, "Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers." With no federal law requiring paid sick days, annual leave or parental leave, Americans find themselves working far more than people living in other countries.
Anna Coote, associate director of social policy at the New Economics Foundation, thinks the American work culture revolves around the concept that the more one works, the more successful he or she will be. She says implementing such a radical change would require a shift in the way the workplace is perceived altogether.
"Work better, yes, not work longer," Coote told Today.com. "In the longer term people will see that the modern life isn't just about working more and more and harder and harder hours."
In fact, recent research shows that longer hours actually lead to a drop-off in productivity [and quality]. Erin Reid, a Boston University professor, conducted a study in April 2015 in which she found that managers couldn't tell the difference between employees who worked 80 hours a week and those who just pretended to. Working longer hours, she concluded, doesn't necessarily mean working better — it can even have the opposite effect.
John Pencavel of Stanford University reached the same conclusion. He published a discussion paper in 2013 titled "The Productivity of Working Hours," in which he found that productivity decreases after 50 hours of work in a week, so much so that someone who works 70 hours in a week produces the exact same amount as someone who works 55 hours.
Lisa Horn, co-leader of the Society for Human Resource Management's Workplace Flexibility Initiative, said that shortening the workday can allow employees to have a life outside of the office while completing the same amount of work that they would if they were to give up those extra hours.
With less time devoted to work, Coote thinks people will be able to dedicate more time to their families and leisure activities. Reducing work hours, she said, can even help the environment, as people will have more time to devote to sustainable activities such as gardening, and walking or biking instead of driving everywhere.
And while it might be difficult to imagine now, our workaholic culture wasn't always a given. John Maynard Keynes predicted in his 1930 essay "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren" that Americans would be working as few as 15 hours a week by now. He claimed that living standards in "progressive countries" would be so much higher within 100 years that people would have the means to spend far less time in the office and more time on leisure activities.
Keynes theorized that technological advancements would increase productivity in the workplace, allowing people to get the same jobs done in far less time. And according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall output from Americans working in both business and non-farm business sectors has increased every year since 1947, with the exception of 1974.
While the Svartedalens elderly care home didn't cut employees' pay along with their hours, many companies are still entrenched in a "punch card" mentality, where time — rather than productivity — is a big factor in determining compensation.
"Everybody should be able to earn to get what they need on a six-hour day. That's not a lot to ask," said Coote. "Children used to work in factories. 12-hour days used to be the norm. Things do change over time and it is possible to change them."
Horn believes that a shortened workweek is just one of many ways that employers can begin to think about improving workplace productivity and the quality of life for their employees, and these changes have been in the works for some time. She cites shift-trading, self-scheduling, part-year work and telecommuting as options of a flexible work schedule.
"[It's] cutting down on commuting times, increased engagement, more productivity, and I think that trend is only going to continue," she said.
Horn notes that the reason for this continuing trend might be because millennials, who are known for valuing work-life balance, now make up the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. In efforts to recruit the best and the brightest of this group, companies are introducing workplace flexibility initiatives to accommodate the generation's cultural expectation that one should not have to sacrifice his or her personal life for work.
"It really doesn't matter when, where or how my work gets done, but that the work gets done," Horn said. "As long as I'm meeting expectations and results, a lot of those concerns go by the wayside. It really comes down to a clear understanding between an employee and supervisor."
It's a trend that more and more companies are testing not only in Sweden, but around the world, too. The Latin American search engine elMejorTrato.com moved to a 32-hour workweek over five years ago and hasn't looked back, as it's seen productivity grow by 204 percent. Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo, Theory and J Brand, announced recently that it will be offering some of its employees a four-day workweek as part of an experimental trial.
"Why should people be cut off from their children, from the people they love, for so many hours a day because of the way the market is structured?" Coote said. "It's not fair. It's not right."
- A 40-hour workweek isn't the norm - Push for ‘firm 40’ workweek faces challenges across the United States, by Diane Stafford firstname.lastname@example.org, Kansas City Star via kansascity.com
Across the American workplace, “quittin’ time” has lost meaning for many workers. But a handful of CEOs are trying to set a stricter separation between work and personal time, telling their employees to work a “firm 40” hours a week and no more.
Juggling home life and the workplace is overwhelming for many workers. You’re never really off the clock, it seems. (photo caption)
KANSAS CITY, Mo., USA - Many American workers don’t really leave work. Emails, phone texts, pager alerts and phone calls pepper what once was personal time.
- A handful of employers are telling employees to limit work time
- Limiting hours may help productivity, reduce stress
- Most salaried workers have no set time limits on their jobs
And that’s not including on-call shifts or beeper time which require workers to be ready and able to work at a moment’s notice.
When is it time to call it quits?
A handful of company owners and executives around the country are beginning to put limits on work encroachment on personal time. They’re imposing “quittin’ time” policies, asking their employees to give a “firm 40” hours a week and no more.
At United Shore Financial Services in Troy, Mich., employees are told to give the company everything they can for eight hours a day, and then go home to a personal life.
“It’s important that everyone here recognize that their job is part of their life, it isn’t their entire life,” said Laura Lawson, chief people officer at United Shore.
Lawson said the family-owned company wants “our team members to be focused and work hard for 40 hours a week while they’re at the office, and enjoy the rest of their time with their families.”
It’s a tacit bargain, she said: When the company considers its workers’ work-life balance, its workers reciprocate by “wanting to work harder while they’re here.”
According to the 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study by Workplace Trends and CareerArc, two-thirds of professionals surveyed said their managers expected them to be reachable outside the office. Equally, two-thirds of human resource officials said they expected employees to be reachable on their personal time.
This constant connectivity has seeped throughout professional ranks, blurring the line between work and home.
For many salaried employees who don’t receive overtime, “Employers around here mostly are saying, ‘Do your work. We’re not watching the clock,’ ” said Landa Williams, president of LandaJob Marketing and Creative Talent in Kansas City. “That may take more than eight hours, but we’re not watching the clock.”
Outside of organized labor contracts, that’s pretty much the American workplace norm.
“With our devices, we’re all so connected now,” said Kim Bartak, an engineer in Kansas City. “The first thing I do in the morning is check my email on my phone, and it’s the last thing I do before bed. It’s something I put on myself. I don’t want to be missing something.”
Bartak points out that sometimes she’s able to take care of a bit of business at night so that she feels like she has a head start in the morning. For her, constant connectivity isn’t necessarily a stressor, partly because she’s in control of her time.
For others who lack off-hours control, it’s more intrusive. One worker, who asked to be nameless for career-protection reasons, said she left a career in the utility industry for a job with a better work-life balance.
“Due to the nature of our customer service job, many of us had to be available 24/7 , and I certainly understand the need,” the worker said. “But it was frustrating because the general infringement on personal time wasn’t predictable. Power outages aren’t planned. Our plans had to change with little notice, and that made it harder to deal with.”
Putting a limit on work time isn’t just about being nice. Repeated studies find that putting in a lot more hours on the job doesn’t help productivity rise. Worse, longer hours lead to increased rates of work errors, injuries and stress-related health problems. And it certainly doesn’t help people maintain a semblance of work/life balance.
The creeping extension of the workday — and even the workweek [always a problem with a surplus of anxious jobseekers] — has hit blue collar and white collar, hourly and salaried workers alike. Mandatory 10-hour or 12-hour shifts or six-day weeks have become common in some industries. In fact, no U.S. law limits the total work time that employers can ask of workers.
While federal law does require time-and-a-half overtime pay for workers who are paid by the hour, compensation for most salaried workers doesn’t change based on hours spent on the job. The rationale is that the salary pays to accomplish the required duties, no matter how long they take.
Connie Swartz, a small-business founder who has been active in Kansas City entrepreneurial groups for three decades, founded her company with a policy of not taking on clients who demanded round-the-clock or last-minute rush orders. She believed it wasn’t good, in the short or long term, for her workers or her company.
But, while she said she agreed with limiting work hours, she saw the challenge in defining those limits.
“It’s hard to quantify work hours in so many professional jobs,” Swartz said. “People take long lunches. They have flexibility to do the work wherever and whenever. It’s hard to say what hours are work hours.”
[Workweek limits are not arbitrary or optional in an economy where sustainable prosperity and growth are wanted. To maximize markets, it is a system requirement that shoppers be maximized and therefore that spendable earnings be maximized and therefore that jobs be maximized and therefore that we switch from tolerating more and more official and hidden unemployment to Full Employment, no excuses. That requires conversion of chronic overtime into training and hiring and if that doesn't result in Full Employment, creating enough convertible overtime by trimming the workweek until it does.]
Indeed, some studies indicate that many people work less than they think they do. People fail to take into account break time, conversations with co-workers, personal phone calls, time on the Internet and other interruptions from task.
That’s one difference pointed out internationally. In Germany, for example, it’s said that corporate culture causes workers to police each other’s work time — no checking Facebook and limited personal chitchat on the job — creating a “work hard, play hard” vibe.
But, it’s also noted that workers in Germany have about five times the number of paid vacation days annually than U.S. workers, and laws for some Germans limit their time on the job. Most workers in the United States have about six paid vacation days a year and, unless specified in a collective bargaining agreement, have no laws limiting workdays or workweeks.
Even in collective bargaining, though, the AFL-CIO says that “work-family issues are sometimes the most likely to fall off the bargaining table quickly.” The labor organization urges unions to continue to press for lifestyle benefits in contract talks.
Largely, the American workplace is becoming less and less about structured hours. And some employers and employees alike see work-hour rules as unnecessary for people who are passionate about what they do. But many workers don’t fall in the “I love my job so much that it’s not like work” camp.
Indeed, many business owners and executives bewail a perceived loss of an American work ethic. The most common complaint among human resource officers is the difficulty of hiring “good people.” They won’t go on the record with their company names attached, but some say they don’t get a “firm 40” out of their people now.
As with any issue, it’s impossible to put all workers in one category. Some give extra effort; some don’t meet minimum standards. But most will agree that job cuts in the last recession and its aftermath made many workers less likely to complain to the boss.
Good workers who held onto their jobs pushed themselves to work longer, harder, to make themselves less likely to be layoff fodder. Others were forced to work longer because former colleagues weren’t around to share the load.
Whatever the reason for the no-clear-end workday, experts say it isn’t good for employers, either. John Pencavel, a Stanford University economics professor, is getting attention for his research into the negative effects of longer hours on productivity.
Some of his work was based on an old manufacturing environment, but his detailed studies indicated that “profit-maximizing” employers shouldn’t “be indifferent to the length of (employees’) working hours over a day or week.”
In other words, he concluded, demanding more hours won’t guarantee more output or more profit. At a certain point, workers simply aren’t as productive, no matter what they do.
Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford
11/10/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- EVA: Finns work shortest hours in EU, YLE News via yle.fi
HELSINKI, Finland - Finnish working weeks are two hours shorter than that European average, according to a new report by the think tank EVA.
Full-time workers in Finland work the shortest weeks in the European Union, at just 38.5 hours. That is two hours less than the EU average and three hours less than in Germany.
That’s according to research from the business think tank EVA. The comparison used working hours data from Eurostat. It also found that part-time workers in Finland also work shorter weeks than their counterparts elsewhere in Europe.
Holidays, bank holidays and other absences shorten working hours more in Finland than elsewhere, according to the report.
"Shorter working hours hurt our country’s competitiveness," said researcher Antti Kauhanen, who wrote the report. "In full-time work this creates competitiveness problems for industry. Shorter hours in part-time working is a problem for the service sector."
[More thinking from the 18th century before the Industrial Revolution. More willingness to sacrifice full employment and social progress for only one sector of the economy, exports, regardless of the Race to the Bottom. Another European who has no clue about what Europe is doing right.]
- Prez to call for delay on new worker pay system, by Howard Greninger, Terre Haute Tribune Star via tribstar.com
TERRE HAUTE, Ind., USA - A vote on implementing a new job classification/compensation scale for county employees is likely to be delayed.
Vigo County Council President Rick Burger says he will recommend the council temporarily postpone a vote on the new system, scheduled to go before the council at its meeting today. The council meets at 5 p.m. in the Annex.
Burger made the statement Monday, when county officials and department heads met to discuss the new compensation plan.
“I will ask the council to postpone this for right now,” said Burger, who indicated he believes the program is solid, but there are a few issues to work through. “We are going to move forward with this,” he told the group.
Judith Anderson, president of the Vigo County Board of Commissioners, had called the meeting between county officials and Kent Irwin and Addie Rooker of Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele & Associates, which conducted surveys and questionnaires for a new job classification and compensation system.
Judge David Bolk, of Vigo County Superior Court Div. 3, who also serves as chief judge, questioned the difference in salary from 2015 to 2016, as the county issued paychecks across 27 payments this year, but will have 26 payments next year. With one less paycheck, the gross pay of employees would drop at least 3.5 percent, Bolk said.
Irwin said the study’s recommendation is that no employee receive a reduction in pay. Irwin said the overall salary should be paid with bimonthly payments, to reflect that. “You could just pay twice a month, always on the 5th and 20th of each month, to remove concerns,” he recommended.
County Attorney Michael Wright said the issue could be resolved with different hourly rates.
Irwin said 210 job descriptions were developed based on questionnaires completed by employees, who signed off on the descriptions, as did department heads. A draft job description was then made, and it, too, was reviewed and approved by department leaders.
Eighty-five percent of the job descriptions had either no changes or minor revisions, according to Irwin, who said the job classification/compensation system can also be used for assessments related to medical leave and to the Americans with Disabilities. The system also designates exempt and non-exempt employees and who is eligible to receive overtime pay.
Rob Roberts, chief deputy prosecutor, said he was unaware that employees could receive overtime pay after 35 hours; he believed, based on information he said came from the auditor’s office, that there was no overtime pay until after 40 hours.
Vigo County Auditor Tim Seprodi said since the county work week is 35 hours, any time from 36 to 40 hours is overtime based “on straight pay. Over 40 hours, it is time and a half.”
County Attorney Michael Wright questioned Irwin if an employee does not work 35 hours and has no sick or vacation time, could that employee earn less. Irwin said if the employee has not worked the required time, “it (pay) can be deducted,” under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Roberts also voiced concern that under the new pay system, a newly hired person could come in at a pay rate that is the same as someone with experience. Roberts said since longevity pay does not start until the fourth year of employment, “I could have someone with three years of experience making the same a new hire.”
The number of job categories also was a point of contention at the meeting. Travella Myers, supervisor of environmental health at the county’s health department, questioned why more job categories were not used, such as was done in Monroe County. Irwin said the plan is for Vigo County and should not be compared to other counties, which may use different levels of compensation. Vigo County’s plan discarded the top 10 percent and bottom 10 percent of salaries in comparative salaries and based its plan “on the 80 percent in the middle,” he said.
After the meeting, council president Burger said he hopes to have concerns resolved by the end of the year, so that a special call vote of the council can be held in December and, if approved, the system in place in January.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.
11/08-09/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- Why working fewer hours would make us more productive - A shorter working week could improve our mental and physical health and even mitigate climate change, research shows, by Anna Thomas, 11/09 TheGuardian.com
MANCHESTER, U.K. - I worked 100-hour plus weeks as a hospital doctor in the early 1990s. Those dangerous rotas left me low and unable to string a sentence together, let alone give sick people what they needed. Doctors’ crazy hours were reduced, but it seems they may be returning with the new junior doctors’ contract.
Meanwhile, David Cameron will head to Brussels for EU negotiations, planning to insist that UK workers should continue to be able to opt out of the 48-hour maximum working week. Long working hours are on the agenda.
But what about tackling the issue at its roots? What if everyone had a shorter working week? We would be healthier and happier, and society would be less unequal and more sustainable.
A top public health doctor recently said that long working hours was a big cause of mental ill health, and a big 2015 study linked long working hours with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease.
Less time at work would mean more time to care for children and family, be a school governor, look in on elderly neighbours, or organise a game of football. It would mean more time to create the community spiderweb of connections and favours and reciprocation that keeps the world going round.
More than 6 million of us in Britain work more than 45 hours a week, while 1.85 million of us are unemployed. While it would need to happen gradually, alongside some reskilling and training, a shorter working week for all would mean fairer distribution of available work. It would reduce the number of people working far too many hours, and also the number with no work at all.
For people on lower incomes, it would have to go hand-in-hand with a living wage – something that Britain now agrees on, across the political spectrum. For higher earners, it would fulfil pent-up demand – in London, for example, only 3% of jobs with average or higher salary levels are advertised as part-time, according to Timewise Foundation.
It would help with gender equality too, as men would have more time to look after the kids and the house. About 85% of in-work British men work more than 30 hours a week, but only 57% of in-work women.
Shorter hours could also help mitigate climate change. According to a report from the US Center for Economic and Policy Research, reduced greenhouse gas emissions go hand-in-hand with shorter working hours for a variety of factors including lower levels of consumption.
With all these benefits, cutting the working week should be at the top of every politician’s agenda. But it bumps up against some big prejudices. Would the economy fall apart? How would our open-all-hours society function? And wouldn’t we turn into a nation of couch potatoes?
The quick answer to all this is to look at other countries. People in the Netherlands work five hours a week less than in Britain, according to the OECD, and in Germany six hours less. The Dutch and German economies are doing fine, and the Dutch people are better known for their love of cycling, than their inability to part from their sofas.
Productivity – output per working hour – improves with shorter hours. Across the world’s richest countries, higher productivity correlates with lower working hours (see also OECD data). Ford’s original workers were found less productive working more than 40 hours a week, a situation likely to be even more the case for people who work with knowledge rather manually – who ever had their best ideas when they were exhausted?
All this means that we may well be able to work a shorter week and get just as much done. The 20th-century British economist John Hicks said:“It has probably never entered the heads of most economists … that hours could be shortened and output maintained.”
It is true that some workplaces, such as restaurants and hospitals for example, would not be able to run nine to five, Monday to Thursday. Tackling this is simply a management issue, and the result would be a better sharing of available work.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle is cultural, rooted in the Lutheran work ethic and our self-valuation according to how hard we strive. It is challenging to tackle such deep-rooted social and personal norms. But given how exhausted many of us are by the end of the week, and how welcome the idea of more time caring for our loved ones, our communities and ourselves (the side of life that cannot be made more “productive”) – it seems like a challenge worth taking on.
A shorter working week is being tried in Sweden, where some care homes and hospitals are experimenting with a six-hour day, and in companies such as Serps Invaders, an Edinburgh digital marketing company where all staff work four days a week (and can also work remotely, and take a day’s leave without notice).
It’s not a new idea – John Maynard Keynes predicted in the 1930s that by about now, we would all be working a mere 15 hours a week. It’s about time we got on with it.
- After 35 hours ... Carlos Ghosn: why doesn't Macron respect anything! 11/08 Challenges.fr
The Economy Minister, by opposing the CEO of Renault-Nissan, no longer appears as the representative of capitalism at the heart of power. One way to reposition leftward ...
PARIS, France - What audacity! What cheek! What arrogance! It's still going on - Emmanuel Macron, the designated Economy Minister of a government of the "left," is authorized to question the 35-hour workweek, doubtless the most injurious measure for
the French economy taken by a government on the left since 1981. François
Hollande and Manuel Valls esteemed it useful to sermonize on it - and it does not place back in
question what passes for a "social acquisition" -, but everyone knows that in reality,
the president and the head of government [PM Valls] approved both one and the other Macron's analysis. It's still happening that he's wondering out loud about the validity of all or part of the civil servants'
"protector" statute, or again about the nature of the relationship of the left to employment. So
Martine Aubry [designer of the the 35-hour week] told him to zip it, while Jean-Luc Mélenchon agonized o'er the
admonishments and insults.
From henceforth 'tis nought but très banal, since it would go without saying that
Emmanuel Macron, banker for two years of his life and what's more 'twas at ...
Rothschild, would be by nature and definition a "traitor" to the left.
Nought but the très banal. Nought but the sooo taken-for-granted. The kind of social witchcraft trial
in which part of the left loves to indulge. Much good may it do them...
But today the horde of the self-righteous and the mighty rages in reverse against
Emmanuel Macron - the social liberal is transformed into a class enemy, a dynamiter,
irresponsible! His mistake? His betrayal? The Economy Minister dares to
oppose the CEO of Renault-Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, one of the icons of global capitalism,
an untouchable whom it is, by definition, forbidden to contradict. None have the right to
contest the strategy and the objectives of the omnipotent Carlos Ghosn, who by
definition is right and can in no case make a wrong choice. The infallibility of the
Big Boss with capital B's... A joke, but that's the way it is. It's enough then that a minister
of the Republic, in charge of defending the interests of the State, a shareholder in
Renault, authorizes himself to contradict the "samurai" Ghosn, a circumstance that goes beyond -
apparently - the understanding and upsets the Paris-Totality of business denouncing the
ultra statist Macron. Sacred reversal. And yet...
"The state is not a naive, second-class shareholder"
Last April, the state reinforced its stake in Renault, raising it from 15 to 19.7%,
in order to assure itself a grant of double voting rights and, in this way, weigh even
more on the main strategic choices. Anger from Ghosn, the "double" boss of Renault
and Nissan - a unique case in global capitalism.
Anger somewhat reinforced by a
new sortie by the minister not hesitating to bring up the eventual merger
between the two manufacturers. Ghosn claims that the balance between the
two manufacturers is in that way "threatened" and no doubt he is right. But he
expresses his doubts and disagreement in such a tone that Macron
can't avoid reacting: "I will never let the State be rendered fragile, never let
the State be considered a discounted shareholder or ever let untruths be told about what the State is doing. The shareholding State will continue to play its role, same as it has played since 1945." Or again: "The state is not a naive, second-class shareholder."
The political struggle also leads elsewhere besides the National Assembly
An ultra-violent weapon passes between the star Big Boss and the Minister up till then
revered by French capitalism. Ghosn makes an ascent to the front of the ten "independent" directors
of Renault, particularly Franck Riboud, the former CEO of Danone,
and the omnipotent Marc Ladreit of Lacharrière, who accuse the Economy Minister
of taking an action "of a destabilizing nature for the Alliance." Others go after the
"pyromaniac government" or mock this "State converted into investment banker"
(a heavy-handed reference to Macron's past, management contra leftists). The blows are rough.
But Macron replies just as dryly, evoking "hidden agendas," "conflicts of
interest," concerned about "a system depending on one man" - Carlos Ghosn's ears are burning! -,
bringing up in turn a "rebalancing of power" and ending with a call to order: He
is "the CEO, not a shareholder."
All beside the point which, it goes without saying, remains essential - which of the two, Carlos Ghosn
or Emmanuel Macron, is meandering around the strategy needed to strengthen Renault? - the
political and media battle into which they are plunged is instructive:
Ghosn did not agree that the state is making itself understand the point that a minister can only interrogate himself regarding his vision and therefore his aura.
Else a crime of lèse majesté against a star of capitalism, and his peers, whether a
bloc or one alone, supported him. Macron himself took the opportunity to "anoint" himself a boss -
and what a boss!
He comes out partly winning from the scrum because he proves that,
contrary to the claims of a large part of "his" camp as a Minister "of the left," he is not the
"creature" of capitalism or its representative at the heart of power. So it's also a way for Macron to
reposition himself to the left. For example, he will get the support of Henri Emmanuelli,
one of the "consciences" of the "hard' wing of the Socialist Party who had conscientiously
distanced him from the first day of his appointment at Bercy.
The true political fight is also conducted, and perhaps before all is conducted, elsewhere besides in the
parties and at the National Assembly. Proof by Emmanuel Macron and Carlos Ghosn.
11/07/2015 – 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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- Important information to help you during a temporary downturn, (10/22 late inclusion) Massachusetts Dept. of Unemployment Assistance (mass-) emailing via Odaiko New England
BOSTON, Mass., USA - Quite often, employees are the first casualties when a business faces a business slowdown or cash flow problem. It doesn’t have to be this way.
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- Thousands of doctors to quit NHS in protest at Tory changes to working hours, by Keir Mudie & Nicola Fifield, Mirror.co.uk
Stressed: Young doctors can work 85 hours a week in the NHS and thousands are looking abroad (photo caption)
Since Jeremy Hunt announced new contracts on September 16, a total 5,301 doctors have applied to the GMC for documents allowing them to work overseas
LONDON, U.K. - Thousands of doctors are set to quit the NHS [National Health Service] in protest at the Government’s plans to shake up hospital working hours.
Since Jeremy Hunt announced his controversial changes, 5,301 requests have been made to the General Medical Council for the paperwork needed to practise medicine outside the UK.
This strong indication that many fed-up doctors are considering working abroad comes as countries including Australia, Canada and Dubai try to tempt NHS staff with higher wages and less gruelling hours.
Today the British Medical Association warned a mass exodus of junior doctors would be a disaster for an already under-resourced NHS.
And Labour described the situation as a crisis and called on the Health Secretary to withdraw his plans.
The 5,000-plus applications for a certificate of current professional status (CCPS) have been made since September 15 when Mr Hunt announced he wanted medics to work anti-social hours for less money.
On September 16 a total of 873 requests were submitted online. Next day another 431 were submitted.
Already this year 7,727 certificates allowing medics to work abroad have been issued - compared to 4,925 for the whole of 2014.
Tonight Labour’s shadow public health minister Andrew Gwynne warned: “If junior doctors were forced to leave the NHS in these numbers then it would have serious consequences.
“Hospitals will be left short-staffed and patient care will suffer.
“This is a crisis of the Government’s own making.
“Jeremy Hunt must now withdraw the threat of contract imposition, and re-engage with junior doctors to find a solution.”
Doctors planning to work abroad: 873 CCPS requests allowing a doctor to work overseas received by the GMC on September 16 – the day after new contracts were announced [blowout stat]
Mr Hunt staged a humiliating last-ditch effort to stop medics going on strike by offering junior doctors a pay rise last week.
He claimed the offer was worth 11% with starting pay rising to £25,500 and in the final year of training up to £55,000.
But normal hours which attract no extra pay still rise from 60 hours a week to 87, and include Saturdays.
Furious junior doctors, currently being balloted for industrial action, are now set for the biggest doctors’ strike since the 1970s.
It comes as the NHS faces the worst financial crisis in a generation, with reports suggesting trusts are already operating at a £1billion deficit.
Dr Johann Malawana, junior doctor committee chair of the British Medical Association said: “These applications for certificates should serve as a serious wake-up call to the Government.
5,301 Total CCPS requests since September 16, the day the new contracts were announced [stat blowout]
“There has been an outpouring of anger over the new contract and there is a real risk that junior doctors will vote with their feet.
“To lose a large swathe of doctors in the early stages of their careers would be a disaster for the NHS.”
The General Medical Council claimed that some doctors who had requested a CCPS were doing so to protest against the new contract and there is no way of knowing how many are really considering working abroad.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “We want to reward junior doctors fairly whilst improving safety for both doctors and patients.
“We have given absolute assurances that no junior doctor will receive a pay cut compared to their current contract, and we will reduce the number of hours doctors are asked to work.” ...
What seems to be the problem?
Q Cause of the difficulty?
A The Government.
A Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt wants a seven-day NHS. He aims to change contracts to improve weekend cover. At the moment junior doctors already work an average 48-hour week.
Q How long has this gone on?
A It started a couple of years ago but talks broke down again in the summer.
Q What’s the aim?
A The only way the Government can think of achieving the seven-day system is by changing what “normal hours” are. Hunt wants to cut the number of hours classed as “unsociable”. But those are the shifts where the money is. Especially for juniors.
Q Other money problems?
A Trainee doctors are not well paid. On completing their degree they start on just over £22,000. It goes up in time but takes at least four years to reach £30,000. According to the British Medical Association, the proposed changes to hours could see a pay loss of up to 30 per cent.
£100,000 Salary being offered to NHS doctors to work in Australia and New Zealand [blowout factoid]
Q And the diagnosis?
A Quite straightforward. The BMA says the changes could ultimately be unsafe and unfair for both doctors and patients. The Government thinks differently.
Q What’s the outlook?
A It’s not looking good. A pay offer from the Government was rejected and the strike ballot for junior doctors shuts on November 18. In the meantime, more and more juniors are looking abroad for better pay and conditions.
Q Any hope?
A The Government’s last offer was welcomed as a “step in the right direction” by the BMA after the assurance that no trainee working legal hours would lose out. But there’s a long way to go.
Q What’s the prescription?
A Keep negotiating with the Government.
Q Any side-effects arising from that?
A Mild nausea. But it should pass. Eventually.
'Jeremy Hunt's NHS plans will drive us back to Australia'
Juniors: Dagan and Erin Lonsdale with their son Handricks.\.at their south London home (photo caption)
A British junior doctor who was paid £100,000 a year working in Australia is considering going back there if Jeremy Hunt gets his way on working conditions, writes Martin Halle.
And Dagan Lonsdale – now earning just half that with the NHS – warned: “Hundreds if not thousands of junior doctors want to quit and work abroad.”
The intensive care medic, 32, said he and partner Erin, also a junior doctor, were treated wonderfully well as staffers at a state-run Brisbane hospital.
“We had 40-hour weeks, lots of time off and didn’t face the pressure the NHS gives,” he told the Sunday People.
“We came back as we love the NHS. Yet Mr Hunt is pushing lots of loyal junior doctors like us to the point where we’ll leave.”
Dagan, of St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London, added: “I stress this isn’t about money. We’re well paid compared with lots of people.
"This is fundamentally about how Jeremy Hunt wants to treat us as human beings. I already work long hours, often beyond the end of my shift. Mr Hunt wants 40 per cent more from us, while taking away some of our income.”
Dagan and Erin, who works at Croydon University Hospital, have a year-old son, Hendricks.
Erin, 30 – also now on half of what she earned in Australia – said: “The NHS is in our blood but people think we’re mad giving up what we had there.”
Another two British junior doctors now working in Sydney urged Mr Hunt to see how medics are treated in Australia.
The pair, who gave their names only as Derick and Thea, both 30, earn a combined £30,000 a year more than in Britain. But Derick said: “It isn’t just about pay.
“Staffing and shifts out here are better. For patient safety, you need to have doctors who aren’t exhausted. What Hunt’s doing is dangerous.”
Under pressure: Junior doctors work extremely long hours.\.at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital (photo caption)
Junior doctor's daily diary reveals week of hell
A trainee doctor described his week from hell which aptly got worse on the night of Halloween.
By the time he finished work on November 2 at 9am he had worked 85 hours with often snatched breaks of no more than 15 minutes in a 12-hour shift.
Monday, October 26: A half-normal day to start a hectic week. Ten hours in theatre. But I somehow get three 15-minute breaks because I have another junior doctor with me who is allowed to work alone in certain situations.
Tuesday 27: Today I’m in theatre. I worked for five hours on two cases without stopping. Lunch was a grabbed sandwich and drink from machines. Fifteen minutes. Then back into theatre for another five hours. Half-way through my consultant relieves me in between his cases and I get 10 minutes for a cup of tea. I work an hour over my shift dealing with a patient who hasn’t come round quickly enough. Exhausted and shattered at the end.
Wednesday 28: We have a plastic surgery operation that lasts 10 hours. My consultant is in a meeting. After seven hours in theatre he relieves me so I can have a break. This is crazy. Train drivers aren’t allowed to work so long without a break and certainly not airline pilots. Overworked doctors make mistakes. Jeremy Hunt knows this yet he is trying to squeeze more out of us.
Thursday 29: Kidney transplants and other kidney surgery. Flat-out with no break till a grabbed lunch. Back into theatre for five more gruelling hours. You are normally the only anaesthetist in an operation so you have to be constantly alert for possible changes in the patient. I’m doing kidney surgery and the patients are well-hydrated. I feel like my kidneys are being damaged from dehydration. Nothing to drink for four hours in hot theatre! Drained again. There is no let-up time to talk to anyone, to discuss concerns. It is like a factory production line. If there are delays, managers come chasing, wanting to know why an operation has been put back.
Friday 30: It is the start of a weekend on nights on the labour ward. I spent most of the night in theatre doing emergency C-sections, setting up pain relief epidurals and repairing post-birth tears. Very little break.
Saturday 31: Halloween: Three emergency C-sections plus an absolute emergency C-section where you have literally minutes to get to theatre to save a baby. Mothers who were promised epidural pain relief have to wait or miss out altogether as I am left by myself dealing with all the operations.
Sunday, November 1: More of the same. Not as bad as Halloween. But no one there to help so more C-sections, repairs and epidurals. Two 15-minute breaks. My night shift finishes at 9am. I’m meant to have the week off in lieu of working seven days. I’m moving hospitals so that’s cancelled. I get just Tuesday off.
11/06/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- One in six firms mulling furloughs, CNA via TaipeiTimes.com
TAIPEI, Taiwan - About one in six local companies is considering sending employees on unpaid leave as a way to reduce operating costs amid a sluggish economy, online job bank Yes123 said yesterday.
Citing a survey of 705 companies conducted from Oct. 20 to Oct. 30, the job bank said that 16.9 percent [= just over 1/6 (16.66°)] of companies are likely to implement employee furloughs before the Lunar New Year, which falls in January, as the economy continues to slow down.
[Better furloughs than firings, timesizing than downsizing!]
Lower-level employees are likely to be the first to be sent on furlough, as indicated by 76.6 percent of the companies polled, the job bank said.
A total of 1,223 workers at 33 companies had agreed to take unpaid leave, including 1,218 who are already on furlough, data compiled by the Ministry of Labor showed.
Yes123 spokesperson Yang Tsung-pin said that economic prospects early next year would depend on the performance of export-oriented sectors, including the manufacturing and high-tech industries.
Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd yesterday confirmed that it would send employees on furlough from Tuesday until the end of December next year.
Local media said the furloughs are likely to affect about 3,000 employees at the Taoyuan-based flat-panel maker, with most of them taking one or two days of unpaid leave per week.
- IT-Technology to witness strong growth: Kotak Securities - IT sector report by Kotak Securities, Moneycontrol.com
Kotak Securities has come out with its report on IT sector. According to the research firm, the industry is expected to witness strong growth with spatial surprises. [huh? sounds spacy to us!]
TAIPEI, Taiwan - Strong growth with spatial surprises. 2QFY16 was solid and intriguing. Overall growth for the industry was strong; however, the distribution of growth was contrary to expectations. Additionally, midcaps outperformed the large caps materially. We believe that the industry has many legs of growth; however, getting the distribution of growth (which will determine eventual winner) is critical. We back Infosys and Tech Mahindra.
Overall revenue growth for 2QFY16 was strong and gives comfort in beginning-of-the-year industry revenue growth expectation of ~12% in constant currency. This is despite higher-than-usual year-end furloughs.
[and is only possible because they've been doing furloughs and saving their skillsets instead of doing firings requiring rehirings (if staff still available).]
While growth will be strong, the performance does raise some interesting points.
Midcaps outperform Tier 1. MTCL grew 8.1% (organic), Mphasis 4.2% (ex-HP channel), NIIT Tech 3.5% and KPIT 5.3% in US$ terms. It is unfair to club Mindtree with other mid-tier companies since it has delivered consistently over a long period of time and a cut above the rest. We believe that operating conditions for mid-tier companies has improved gradually over the past few years due to a combination of—(1) ability to attract senior management talent that bring in best practices and large relationships, (2) not at a disadvantage anymore in recruiting engineering talent, (3) digital opportunity that is capability-based rather than scale based for now and (4) focus on a few areas of relevance by mid-tier companies as opposed to diffused focus of the past. Of course, favorable operating conditions also require ability to capture the demand and not all companies are cut out the same. Nonetheless, the external environment is relatively better than in the past when compared to Tier-1 IT. We like Mindtree’s strong execution but will wait for a better price-point before turning constructive.
Convergence in growth instead of divergence. TCS disappointment, HCLT shock, Wipro surprise and disappointment at the same time, Infosys outperformance and excellent Accenture and CTSH open up various top-down sector conclusions. Too early to comment but it does appear that (1) companies with inherent strength in run-the-business services are struggling to sustain momentum while those with greater exposure to discretionary spending are gaining and (2) growth appears to be converging across key players as opposed to material divergence earlier. We believe that industry growth for FY2016E will still be a robust 12%. What has changed is the distribution of growth—earlier perceived as outright winners have seen estimates downgrade, while laggard Infosys has caught on with the industry growth.
Record new deal wins and furloughs. Nearly all companies indicated record signings of new orders—(1) TCS indicated that orders signed by them are 30% higher than its previous peak, and (2) Infosys (TCV of US$983 mn), HCLT (TCV of US$1 bn+) and Wipro also indicated strong deal wins. And yet guidance for the Dec 2015 quarter is weak due to higher-than-expected furloughs. A slow Dec 2015 quarter could be temporary in our view. We believe that growth will pick up subject to ‘no shocks’ in financial services and companies ensuring defense wallet share in large accounts (instead of allowing revenues to leak away).
Aggressive deal structures are becoming a norm. Infosys’ balance sheet contained deferred cost item for the first time, indirectly implying upfront payment to secure deals. Increased number of Tier-1 players and high growth aspirations without commensurate incremental business means fierce competition for market share. As a result, pricing pressure and aggressive deal structures are becoming a norm. Of course, this aggression also helps in churning away contracts from global incumbents. Tier-1 IT have done well to ensure there are no delivery shocks.
Disclaimer: The views and investment tips expressed by investment experts/broking houses/rating agencies on moneycontrol.com are their own, and not that of the website or its management. Moneycontrol.com advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decisions.
11/05/2015 – 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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- Labor Code: yet another upcoming easing for 35 hours, 20minutes.fr
[First-cut translation by Google Translate, cleanup (and frequent reinsertion of flavor of original French wording!) by PH3.]
PARIS, France - Without actually touching the 35 hours, the reform of the Labour Code is intended to give companies more flexibility in the organization of working time. But from exemptions that already exist, it's hard to tell if the future law will be a simple facelift or a real upheaval.
The government has given itself two years for the "reform" [our quotes], but wants to go faster in rewriting the 125 pages of the Code devoted to the duration of work, by introducing a bill in February or March 2016.
Objective: to permit companies to identify more clearly their maneuvering room: annualization, holidays, penalties, overtime payments, etc. In fine, to improve their competitiveness and favor employment.
[These last two are usually opposites for short-sighted CEOs.]
The legal duration, the weekly 35 hours - and in consequence the threshold for the unleashing of overtime - will be enshrined in the law.
"This is not a reform of working time," they say at Matignon [France's White House or Downing Street]. "It is a restructuring of the Labour Code with the widest possible space open for collective bargaining, by industry or company," all while respecting the hierarchy of norms, the principle according to which a company agreement cannot be less favorable than the [industrywide or economywide] law or regulations.
For 15 years, the Aubry laws on the 35-hour workweek has known manifold relaxations, and companies already enjoy considerable latitude.
But, according to Matignon, a small company that has no lawyers is at pains to find its way in the complexity of the code.
Today, these opportunities would be "very seldom seized" for fear of contentiousness - plentiful in the worktime arbitration boards - or because certain elements of the law limit the breadth of discussion, particularly in regard to compensating overtime hours.
Example given by Manuel Valls: a business head wants his employees to work 46 hours a week for 12 weeks to cope with peak activity. Today he can do so only in limited cases, when a company agreement could open that possibility to him.
The idea would be to no longer "play hardball" in writing certain provisions.
[All sounds so commonsensical but without deliberate (and hardball!) conversion of chronic overtime into training and hiring, it ain't going to increase employment and consumer spending.]
- 'Race to the bottom' -
"This will have no impact. It is true that the Labour Code is not well organized, but that's not why employers do not resort to worktime modulation systems: If no additional article comes to make things easier, that will not be more flexible," according to analysis by Deborah David, a lawyer close to the companies.
"The reform of the Labour Code will have real consequences in SMEs [small & medium enterprises]. But on the worktime area, it will be marginal. Franckly, one does not really feel any quaking in the HR departments," stresses Sébastien Vernède of the Kurt Salmon consulting firm.
Part-time, overtime premium, compensation recoveries ... What provisions will fall per the law under industry or company? The list does not stop. As to what will be the more relevant level between industry and company, numerous players are objecting to the fuzziness, like the craftsmen of the UPA [Union of Professional Artisans].
Because for most of verysmall+small&medium businesses, the role of the collective agreement in the industry is central. It allows in particular the avoidance of a rivalry between employees in the core of the same sector, and, on the social side, a race to the bottom.
"Watch out for a total deregulation of business negotiation, which would drift into emptying the industries of their role in a minimal safety net," also warns Etienne Colin, a lawyer with the works councils.
He underlined that many of the advantages from which employees today benefit (various bonuses, leave entitlements, allowances, etc.) fall under industry agreements (which cover the quasi-totality of companies), rather than company agreements.
"Lowering this regulation at the company level is dangerous, for it is in the domain of organization and worktime that the power relationships are most unfavorable to employees. At that level it's more difficult to resist job blackmail," the lawyer comments.
[So probably the shortsighted employers of France are taking another step backward into high unemployment and low domestic consumer spending - proving once again that even the Europeans themselves are clueless about what they are doing right in terms of spreading the unautomated employment to retain or rebuild their markets. Truly the invisible hand, without the spread of meaningful democracy to support it, runs in reverse and shrinks the economy because low-ceiling employers want only to take advantage of the markets provided by other employers' large workforces while minimizing their own.]
- The truth about Sweden's short working hours, by Maddy Savage, (11/02 late pickup) BBC News via bbc.com
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Erika Hellstrom loves being able to close the door to her office at 3.30pm, before heading out for an early evening hike in the deep, green forest that surrounds her home city.
The 34-year-old art director used to have a long and erratic schedule as a freelancer, but she's now based at one of the first Swedish start-ups to offer a standard six-hour day, in Falun in central Sweden.
It's just one of a number of Swedish companies trialling the concept, which is part a national obsession with work-life balance.
[Woo-ah! She's verbing the noun 'trial'! (What's wrong with "trying out"?)]
"For me it's absolutely fantastic," Erika says.
"I have more spare time to train or to be outdoors while it is still daylight, or to do work in my garden."
She has no children of her own, but enjoys being able to spend more time with friends and relatives and feels "much less stressed" since her hours were cut.
Company boss Jimmy Nilsson says he is going to trial six-hour days for nine months (photo caption)
[Erk, this time it's not so hip, cuz "going to trial" means something else. Better go back to "try out," Maddy, or we'll get PM Frahncis Urquhart to push you off the roof.]
Her boss Jimmy Nilsson, who co-owns digital production company Background AB, launched the initiative in September as part of efforts to create a more productive workforce.
"It's difficult to concentrate at work for eight hours, but with six hours you can be more focused and get things done more quickly," he says.
His staff are at their desks between 8.30am and 11.30am, take a full hour off for lunch and then put in another three hours before heading back to their homes in the Swedish mountains.
They're asked to stay away from social media in the office and leave any personal calls or emails until the end of the day. Salaries have not changed since the initiative started in September.
"We're going to try it for nine months and see if it's economical first of all, and secondly if it works for our customers and our staff," Mr Nilsson says.
The concept of six hour days is not entirely new in Sweden, although 2015 has seen something of a revival in the idea.
At Toyota's service centre on the country's west coast, shifts were cut for mechanics more than a decade ago, and with the company reporting a swift increase in profit, it's stuck with the idea ever since.
There were also a handful of trials in the public sector in the 1990s and early 2000s, including one in the northern mining town of Kiruna that ran for 16 years, but was scrapped amid a political row and a lack of raw data to measure its success.
The northern town of Kiruna was home to a 16-year trial of shorter working days (photo caption)
In recent months, several start-ups in Stockholm have joined Background AB in testing the concept, alongside two hospital departments in Umea in northern Sweden and a surgery unit at Sahlgrenska University hospital in Gothenburg.
The most high profile initiative is at an elderly care home in west Sweden, where 80 nurses switched to six-hour days in February as part of a two-year controlled trial of shorter hours. Eighty staff at a similar care home are continuing to work their usual eight-hour shifts.
"It is too early to draw any firm conclusions, but nurses working shorter hours are taking less sick leave and report being less stressed," says Bengt Lorensson, the lead consultant contracted by Gothenburg City Council to analyse the data.
He says patient care appears to have improved, with staff organising more activities such as dance classes, group reading sessions or outdoor strolls.
"Right now, we're only looking at early indications, but we can see that the quality of work is higher."
Swedish and international policy makers are watching the project closely, with Mr Lorensson admitting he's been somewhat overwhelmed by the global media interest in his research. He is keen to stress that the six-hour day is still a long way from becoming the working norm in the Scandinavian nation.
More flexible hours
On the other side of the country, career coach Pia Webb, 40, is flitting between meetings in Stockholm.
Image caption Swedish businesses understand that a healthy workforce is more productive, says Ms Webb
"I don't know anyone in my network who only works six hours a day," she laughs.
"Many of my clients are managing directors who think that work is the most important thing, and [then] realise they haven't spent time with their children."
But she says she is not surprised that the short shift trials in Gothenburg and elsewhere have captured so much attention given Sweden's reputation for work-life balance.
"Swedish businesses see the link between health and profitability," she says.
"Big organisations give out gym passes. There are more flexible hours - you can work your life around picking up and dropping off your children."
A former IT manager who admits experiencing burnout herself, she recently penned a self-help book aimed at international professionals titled 'Improve Your Own Quality of Life: The Swedish Way'.
Across Sweden, only around 1% of employees work more than 50 hours a week, one of the lowest rates in the OECD, where 13% is the average. By law, Swedes are given 25 vacation days, while many large firms typically offer even more. Parents get 480 days of paid parental leave to split between them. Most offices are empty after 5pm.
"It's a very different experience to when I worked in the UK and clients wanted to stay in touch on weekends and during the evening," says Canadian-born Ameek Grewal, 29, who relocated from London to Citibank's Nordic headquarters in Stockholm a year ago.
Ameek Grewal left his banking job in London to move to Sweden... Mr Grewel says the Swedish way is very different, but overall beneficial (photo captions)
While he argues that the environment might at times feel "frustrating" for those used to putting in longer hours or getting swift responses from clients, he's convinced that the Swedish model brings far greater benefits than drawbacks.
"Here there is a mutual respect. I'll wait until office hours to call or email my customers and at the same time I know I won't be phoned when I'm on holiday."
But fewer hours do not necessarily lead to less stress, according to Mrs Webb.
"The first thing I thought when I heard about six-hour days was 'what are they going to do with their time?'," she says.
[Have a life?]
"I already see a lot of clients who finish work at 4pm to 5pm but they end up trying to take their kids to all these activities, to exercise, to make homemade food…
"They have the summer house, they have the boat, so in theory they've got all this stuff to help them relax but it just makes more work for them. It's a very Swedish problem… In theory we have this work-life balance but, actually, we're not very good at sitting around and doing nothing."
Maddy Savage is a British journalist based in Stockholm. She is editor of The Local Sweden.
11/04/2015 – 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) email@example.com unless otherwise initialed) -
- Bush apologises for saying Senate only works 'a French work week', France24.com
[This is a twisted one. The French should be proud of the fact that they are leading the world with the shortest nationwide workweek in the robotics age, and everyone else should be envying them. But instead, the French have allowed the passive luddites to manipulate them into boasting that they really work longer hours than the Germans, who for some reason get a free pass. These passive luddites don't actually go out and sabotage technology like active luddites. They merely smear technology by turning its promise of more human freedom into a curse by forever freezing the workweek at a 1940 level and backing a kneejerk downsizing response to technological work savings. "Intelligent species"??]
SOMEwhere in N.H., USA - During a Republican debate in Colorado last week, [J.E., not really Jebediah] Bush criticised senator and rival presidential candidate Marco Rubio for missing Senate sessions as he campaigns for president, joking that the Senate only works "a French work week".
“I mean, literally, the Senate – what is it, like a French work week?” Bush had asked.
His comment drew a rebuke from French Ambassador Gerard Araud and emails from French journalists, prompting the candidate to backtrack.
“I now know that the average French work week is actually greater than the German work week,” Time quoted Bush as saying. “So, my God, I totally insulted an entire country – our first ally, that helped us become free as a nation. And I apologise."
[And once again, France is helping us by example - it is leading the world with the shortest nationwide workweek in the robotics age and attacking un(der)employment by spreading the downsizing-diminished amount of unrobotized employment onto more people. Not that it understands this. In fact, much of Europe doesn't realize what it's doing right, in terms of cutting worktime with shorter hours and longer vacations, instead of cutting workforce and consumer base. And workaholic anglophones like Brits (eg: David Cameron) and Yanks (eg: 'Jebediah' Bush) ain't helpin' cuz their heads are stuck in the 1700s (or Biblical times) prior to the Industrial Revolution.]
Traveling with reporters in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Bush joked that comparing the French to Congress was actually unfair to the French.
My comments "did a huge disservice to France”, he said.
[And hopefully to his electability. The disservice was only in the eyes of people who don't "get" the promise of technology = more of the most basic human freedom, job-secure free time, without which the other freedoms are meaningless or inaccessible. And when the tables were reversed in 1912, alas, the Dems didn't swing to the right, so Teddy Roosevelt didn't get elected and America didn't get a viable third party to give it deeper-than-cosmetic democracy. If Jeb continues trashing himself, the traditional Massachusetts Republican circular firing squad will go federal, and we'll hopefully be able to slow our vrille.]
Bush has seen his poll numbers slide in recent months and he sought on Monday to revive his prospects for the November 2016 election by starting a “Jeb Can Fix It Tour” in New Hampshire and releasing an e-book.
The former Florida governor, who has struggled to stand out in televised debates and whose campaign for president has reduced spending, headlined events in South Carolina and New Hampshire on Tuesday with a renewed sense of urgency.
Down in the polls
"A president can't say 'you're fired' and go to commercial break," Bush told more than 100 people at a senior centre in New Hampshire, in an apparent jab at billionaire reality television star Donald Trump, who is at or near the top of most opinion polls.
"A president has to roll up their damn sleeves and get to work," Bush added.
Bush, who has sunk to single digits in early-voting state polls, is spending more concentrated time this month in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the first three states to hold nominating contests next year.
Backed by a political action committee that raised more than $100 million in the first half of the year, Bush was viewed early in the year as a likely front-runner, but is now fighting to emerge as the mainstream Republican standard-bearer.
With outsiders Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson leading in national polls, Bush has recently taken aim at Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has turned in steady debate performances and attracts similar segments of the Republican Party as Bush.
(FRANCE 24 with AP and REUTERS)
- France to tackle work hours in 2016 in first step of labour code revamp, uk.reuters.com
PARIS, France - France will begin reforming the cherished labour code early next year by tackling the way companies can adjust working hours, the government said on Wednesday, in what is likely to be one of the last major policy drives of the Socialists' term.
Although the government expects a re-draft of the 3,800 pages of the labour code to take several years, a revamp of the 125 pages on working hours will be presented as soon as the first quarter of 2016.
The government has pledged not to unstitch statutes stating that the legal work week is 35 hours, which will be part of a framework of rights that will remain enshrined in law and not modifiable by employers and unions.
However, issues such as the adjustment of working hours over a day, a week or a year, rest time and paid leave or overtime pay will be adjustable by companies through collective agreements, the government said.
"This will be an ambitious reform, which will profoundly change our labour code," the new labour minister, Myriam El Khomri, said in parliament. "It doesn't mean fewer rights, but we have to take responsibility for this clarification."
El Khomri and Prime Minister Manuels Valls unveiled the plans to simplify the labour laws following recommendations made by a top civil servant in September.
"Without delay, the government makes the choice to re-write in the proposed bill the essential part of the labour code dedicated to working hours, rest and paid leave," a document distributed by the government said.
France, where unemployment remains stubbornly high at a near record 10 percent, has promised to speed up structural reforms demanded by its European Union partners in exchange for more leeway on deficit reduction.
Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in 2017 and President Francois Hollande only has a small window of opportunity to push through reforms that can have a visible impact on growth and jobs before then and give him a chance to be re-elected.
But with a regional election in December looming, the government's reform zeal has appeared shakier.
In the space of a few days, the government has backtracked on a raft of planned public spending cuts, shelving minor reforms of disability and housing benefits, and pledging to repay pensioners who have seen sharp increases in local taxes.
(Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and Michel Rose; Editing by Alison William)
11/03/2015 – 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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- Koreans work second longest hours in OECD, by Yoon Ja-young email@example.com, KoreaTimes.co.kr
SEOUL, S.Korea - Koreans are working 1.2 times longer on average than their peers in other developed countries, statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed Monday.
While data supports those demanding that working hours should be shortened for a better quality of life and job creation, businesses say doing this will only increase labor costs.
According to the OECD, Koreans worked on average 2,124 hours last year, 354 hours longer than the OECD average. Koreans had the second-longest working hours among the 34 OECD member countries, behind Mexicans who worked 2,228 hours a year. Germans worked the shortest, averaging 1,371 hours.
The government is planning to shorten working hours to 52 a week from 68, hoping that this will help increase the number of jobs.
According to a simulation looking at 10.1 million workers by the Korea Labor Institute, curtailing working hours to 60 a week will create up to 67,000 more jobs, while 272,000 more jobs will be created with 52 weekly working hours.
While the government has not yet set up details for reducing working hours, Strategy and Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan has said it will not be hasty.
"Reducing the number of working hours may increase the vitality of the society," he said last month. "It may start the virtuous circle where workers enjoy improved quality of life and businesses see enhanced productivity."
However, the minister added, "There may be more losses than gains if we hastily make changes."
While the labor circle is demanding shorter working hours, employers say that it will not be effective in increasing jobs [it will if you deliberately convert chronic overtime into jobs], while significantly increasing labor costs [and markets and export independence].
[Maybe it's time you guys connected the dots between your employees, consumer spending, and your customers' customers.]
"As the labor market is rigid, businesses may resort to contract workers or subcontractors instead of additionally employing workers," said Woo Kwang-ho, a senior researcher at the Korea Economic Research Institute. "They may eventually substitute labor with capital."
He said fewer working hours will especially worsen conditions for small businesses. "As the wage falls due to shorter working hours, they will have more difficulty finding workers."
Experts also point out that the country is suffering low productivity as many people work extra hours in the evening instead of concentrating on their work during the day.
- Nearly 90,000 workers still don't have guaranteed regular hours - 'If and when' contracts proliferate in Irish workforce says new UL study launched by Ged Nash, by Fearghal O'Connor, The Sunday Business Post via businesspost.ie
LIMERICK, Ireland - Almost 85,000 employees, 5.3 per cent of the workforce, have constantly variable working hours and do not know their working hours from week to week, according to a new study launched by Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash.
The study was carried out by the University of Limerick’s Kemmy Business School, and found that while so-called ‘zero hour’ contracts are not extensively used in Ireland, there is evidence of “if and when” contracts. Under those contracts, people are required to be available for work but are not guaranteed work.
Such contracts are most prevalent in the accommodation food and retail sectors, as well as in education and health, the study found.
The study recommended that all employees should be given a written contract on their first day of work and it should provide a statement of working hours which are a true reflection of those required. At present, employers have up to two months to give an employee a contract.
The study also recommended that there should be a minimum of three continuous working hours where an employee is required to report for work. If no work is available, they should receive three hours’ pay.
It also says that an employee should give a minimum of 72 hours notice of any request to work or any cancellation of work.
Nash said the situation around if and when contracts was worrying and can lead to precarious working conditions.
He said he would now undertake a short consultation with employers and unions with a view to bringing recommendations to cabinet in the new year.
The study pointed out that almost a quarter of all employed people work on contracts that provide less than 35 hours a week.
[Shorter hours are happening anyway, but not the best way. Compare "Google Express sued over employee-contractor distinction," by Jack Newsham, 11/04 Boston Globe, C3, sued "for allegedly misclassifying workers..as independent contractors" to deprive them of wages. Anna Coorey worked for nearly a year as a courier required "to wear a uniform with Google logos, work in 4-hour shifts, assent to GPS monitoring, and follow Google-approved scripts when interacting with customers." This is "independent"? Meanwhile, she was paid $50 for each shift that didn't vary regardless of how far she had to drive or how many packages she delivered, and she had to use her own car and pay for its upkeep.]
[Shorter hours are happening anyway, but not the best way. Compare "Google Express sued over employee-contractor distinction," by Jack Newsham, 11/04 Boston Globe, C3, sued "for allegedly misclassifying workers..as independent contractors" to deprive them of wages. Anna Coorey worked for nearly a year as a courier required "to wear a uniform with Google logos, work in 4-hour shifts, assent to GPS monitoring, and follow Google-approved scripts when interacting with customers." This is "independent"? Meanwhile, she was paid $50 for each shift that didn't vary regardless of how far she had to drive or how many packages she delivered, and she had to use her own car and pay for its upkeep.]
Based on Central Statistics Office data, 2 per cent of employees regularly work between 1 and 8 hours a week. Six per cent work between 9 and 18 hours, while 24 per cent work between 19 and 35 hours a week.
Fearghal O'Connor is Public Affairs Editor of the Sunday Business Post. A staff member with the Post since 2011, he has worked as a journalist for more than 15 years writing across a range of topics. A five-time winner of the Transport Journalist of the Year award, he previously worked for titles including North County Leader, The Sunday Tribune, Business & Finance, Ashville Media and RTE Online.
11/01-02/2015 – 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) firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise initialed) -
- Events Calendar: Nov. 5 Shared Work Lunch & Learn, Carthage Chamber of Commerce via carthagechamber.com
CARTHAGE, Mo., USA - Event Sponsored By: Carthage Chamber of Commerce
Is your business facing a layoff?
Wish you had an alternative to losing your employees?
Try the Shared Work Program [click & scan down to Missouri] and reduce your labor costs, keep your employees, and show your employees that you genuinely do care about them!
Join us for an overview of this program from Missouri Division of Employment Security.
Open to ALL Chamber members. Cost $10* includes lunch. Please RSVP by 10/30. For info, contact Mary Jo at (417)358-2373 or email@example.com.
*Cancellations will be refunded ONLY IF cancellation is received more than 24 hours before start of event.
This event is for Chamber Members Only.
Interested in going? Join the Chamber today!
Occurrence(s): Thursday, November 5th, 2015
Time: 11:30am 'till 1pm
Location: CWEP Community Room, 627 W. Centennial, Carthage, MO 64836
- New Regulation On Reduction Of Work Hours And Salaries, by Luiz Guilherme Migliora & José Carlos Wahle, 11/02 Veirano e Advogados Associados via Mondaq News Alerts (registration) via mondaq.com
BRASILIA, Brazil - The government has just issued provisional measure 680/2015 which allows companies in financial distress to reduce the work hours of their employees and their salaries up to 30%, the PPE.
[PPE stands for what?]
The program still needs further regulation by the government and then it may be implemented through a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") between the company and the labor union representing the employees working on the principal business.
The government will determine the business sectors which will be entitled to benefit from this special program through a committee formed by members of different ministries and the general secretariat of the presidency of the republic.
With respect to the prospective CBA, there are three main aspects worth stressing: (1) The reduction of salaries and work hours must apply to all employees of a given company or at least to all employees in a given department or sector of the company; (2) The reduction of salary and work hours may be agreed for a period of up to six months and may be renewed for another six months through a CBA; (3) During the program and for an additional period of 1/3 of the term of the program, employees cannot be terminated without cause. These employees will enjoy a temporary employment guarantee as a result of the application of this provisional measure.
The economic component of this program consists of compensating the employees with public funds. The government will pay to the employees an amount equal to a maximum of 50% of the salary reduction implemented, limited to R$900.84 (65% of the maximum allowance provided for in the unemployment insurance rules).
The companies will be required to make the FGTS and social security contributions during the reduction period considering the amounts they will pay to the employees (original salaries less 390%) and the amounts paid by the government using FAT funds (up to 50% of the reduction)
In a hypothetical case in which an employee earns R$5,000, his/her salary can be reduced by 30% to R$ 3,500. In this case, the government would complement his/her salary by paying him/her R$ 750.00 so that his/her final compensation would be R$ 4,250, i.e., 15% less than his/her original salary.
The fundamentals of the program are laid down but its implementation will depend on regulation by the government and CBA's. Some questions will require further consideration and assessment, such as the definition of "fraud" - which shall cause the cancellation of the program - or the possibility of adhering companies to make its employees work overtime.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
Click here for spontaneous cases of primitive timesizing in -
July 2-31, 2013
July/2011 + 8/01
February 2-28/2011 +3/01
January 2-31 +2/01/2011
December/2010 + 1/1/11
June 2-30/2010 +Jul.1
May 2-31/2010 +Jun.1
April 2-30/2010 +May 1
March 3-31/2010 +Apr.1
February 2-28/2010 +Mar.1-2
Nov.27-30 (& Dec.)/2004
Oct.27-31/2004 + Nov.1
(July 31+) Aug.1-10/2004
Feb.21-29/2004 + Mar.1
Jan.31 + Feb.1-10/2004
1998 and previous years.
For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing on Amazon.com.
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