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The end of the 40 Hour Workweek

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by Shadowex3, May 16, 2013.

  1. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    Direct transcript of some of the debate on the "Working Families Flexibility Act", which has been nicknamed the "Pay Working Families Less Bill", from Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer's website.

    My take? House Republicans voted to allow corporations to pay overtime in time off rather than money, and to allow them to refuse overtime to anyone that actually wants to be paid money for their work... meaning there would be no financial disencentive to not force tons of overtime and likewise no financial incentive to hire more workers. It forces down wages, hurts employment rates, and devastates the idea of the 40 hour workweek.

    Or to put on my cynical hat: Everyone hop on the express lane back to the Gilded Age, where if you work hard enough for all 100 hours this week at minimum wage you'll be paid by being allowed to see your family for a day or two.
  2. genuinemommy

    genuinemommy Moderator Staff Member

    I really can't find any news articles or commentary that puts this bill into a positive light, other than Yoder's address as he spoke to the house:
    WORKING FAMILIES FLEXIBILITY ACT - May 08, 2013 | Congressional Record | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
    My take on the bill? I have no idea how I feel about it yet - I don't really understand how it would really work. My friend is a full-time public employee and has used this time-off for overtime option many, many times to deal with her disabled daughter's health needs.

    If you want to learn more about and track this bill, this website is helpful: Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1406) - GovTrack.us
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  3. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Where ever I roam
    You still work 40 hours a week, just they can be at different times is what I get out of it. Or if the business needs you to work 12 hours one day, you will have to take off 4 hours later. Before the employee would work the 12 hours and get paid time and a half for the extra 4, then still have to work 8 hours the next day.

    Still not the 32 hour work week that we should be pushing for.
  4. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    It would overturn 75 years of labor law requiring overtime pay for non-exempt employees
    Overtime Pay - Wage and Hour Division (WHD) - U.S. Department of Labor

    And effectively gives employers the option of offering comp time instead (at some designated time in the future). The employee's only recourse would be to file a complaint with the DoL/Fair Labor Standards Board and wait months/years for adjudication.

    This is hardly a family friendly bill.
    • Like Like x 3
  5. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    I can see it now, future headlines...

    Bad news, slavery returns.
    Good news, everyone is fair game.
  6. Cubby

    Cubby Vertical

    I'll have to read up more on it (even though it doesn't affect me as I'm in Canada). But if it gives employees the flexibility to put in their 40 hours a week however, they see fit, that would be good. If it means that putting in extra time and getting time off compensation for that at another time I'm not a big fan of that as you may not be able to take that time off whenever you want. In fact I'm wondering if there would be a limit or if it would have any effect on vacation accrual.

    For me the 40 hour work week doesn't exist. I work in the tech sector here in BC and that means I'm actually not covered under our Employment Standards act. This means that if I work over 40 hours a week then I do not have to be compensated for anything. This was introduced during the dot com boom with the realization that we had stock options and by putting in more work, the company value went up and our compensation was higher stocks. But since the bust this is not the case and the law should be changed. For my particular position I can get a bonus (over a quarter) if I put in enough billable hours but that is all dependent on the work coming in. However, the flexibility of my job is what makes me stay. I can coach, help out with the kids, etc. as long as I put in a minimum of 40 hours a week. I can work 4 hours one day and 12 the next day, or make up 4 hours on the weekend...as long as I get my projects done. If this type of flexibility was given to everyone I could see it helping out working families quite a bit...as long as it didn't end up forcing them to put in more hours.
  7. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    The thing is America is not Canada. What it ACTUALLY would do down here is let employers either refuse to authorize overtime or fire anyone that demands it, flood the remaining people with work, and "pay" them with some miniscule amount of time off that they may or may not be able to ever use when their boss deems it allowable. Combine that with the fact that people who actually use their time off here in the States tend to find themselves unemployed...
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Cubby

    Cubby Vertical

    My company actually is an american company even though we operate this, "division" lets say, out of Canada. And we have many other American companies that are part of our group of companies so I know your statement about people who use their time off become unemployed is not all-inclusive. However, I do get your point though and I do know of companies that frown on employees taking time off and would use that to their advantage.
  9. Strange Famous

    Strange Famous it depends on who is looking...

    Ipswich, UK
    Its been along time since i worked as little as 40 hours a week...
  10. samcol

    samcol Getting Tilted

    i just wish that people who work over 40 hours didn't get more money taken out of their check for the government. it doesn't really work well for trades where it's feast or famine. in my trade, it's common to do 50-70 hour weeks for months then not work for a week or so. it's not fair for them to get less money imo.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Seaver

    Seaver Vertical

    Much like the 401k was originally deemed to stop a tax loophole for CEOs, and eventually every single company switched to it to eliminate pension funds and pull the rug up from under the American worker... even the best intentions on this will result in abuse.

    Unfortunately, with their track record I have a VERY hard time believing the GOP even had good intentions at heart on this.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. roachboy

    roachboy Very Tilted

    shareholder returns uber alles.
    • Like Like x 3
  13. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia ...

    You know simply by the way they try and pass this off as a family initiative that it's a measure to screw workers out of household income. Period. Workers don't advocate for employers and vice versa. /fairy tale
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member Donor

    It's not that simple. Period.:) My dad owns a small town hardware store with about a dozen employees. He (has to do it informally;);)) allows his employees to choose whether to get paid time-and-a-half for overtime hours worked, or get comp time off (also at time-and-a-half) and it seems to work pretty well.

    It's illegal under current wage/hour law but he's been doing it for twenty years and hasn't gotten sued yet.

    This is a family initiative in that to some people, having more free time is more important than having more money, as long as the employee is able to choose the form of compensation. See genuinegirly in post #2

    My cousin is a Kansas State Trooper, (an "exempt" employee) and he HAS TO TAKE COMP TIME off for scheduled overtime, but gets paid time-and-a-half for emergency unscheduled overtime hours.
    Hard to argue with that. Some employers will always screw the worker and some employees would rather see the business fail than give an inch. (I miss the shakes head sadly emoticon)
    • Like Like x 2
  15. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    I agree with the option method, workers choice.

    Basically, the worker has given a service, they can choose the method of payment...time or money...unless there is a momentary distinct business NEED.
    The company/supervisor shouldn't have the total continual authority to rule the life of the worker.

    There should be a fair compensation of wage for work, time or money...just like a company would charge a fee for services done.

    Those who take advantage are being dishonorable...Boss, worker, company, client...or government.
    We live in a civilized society.

    Any one looking otherwise is bringing on dysfunction and throwing off the balance, IMHO
  16. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    If the bill stated that the employee could choose between overtime pay or comp time, I would agree. But it doesnt.

    It overturns 75 years of labor law and gives the employer an equal (?) say in the decision, with the employer being in a position of greater power and influence over the worker.

    Employee - "I want overtime pay"
    Employer - "I want you to take comp time"
    Employee - "But, I want overtime pay"
    Employer - "Take it to the NLRB"
    • Like Like x 2
  17. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Yes, then what happens is that the employee takes the comp time when forced to...then they lose the momentum on certain time-sensitive projects and they will be blamed for it.

    Amazing how the perspective is to the convenience of the observer.

    There is no rule, there is only what is best for the situation. These kind of rules restrict flexibility in a chaotic life.
    Guidelines are fine...with the discretion of people who do not abuse them.
  18. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia ...

    I'm not sure how this anecdote about your dad's hardware shop is all that relevant.
    1. we won't have a choice
    2. the impersonal world of nat'l/int'l corporations where most of the people affected by this are employed are not small town hardware stores

    I don't know that this has ever not been true. Except before the enactment of labor laws that gave workers the right to collective bargaining and protections from predatory employers. Before that it was just about employers screwing workers.
  19. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member Donor

    The way that I read this law is that it is enabling legislation that ALLOWS the private employer to --like government agency employers-- provide comp time (at time-and-a-half)
    1. if the employee agrees, and
    2. if doing so is in accordance with any applicable collective bargaining agreement
    3. does not REQUIRE the employee to accept comp time
    4. requires unused comp time to be paid in money at the end of the year

    I don't find anything in this that allows an employer to require comp time instead of monetary payment.
    What's not to like here??
    This is hardly a "The sky is falling!" death of the 40 hour workweek bill.


    The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
    Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 - Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to authorize private employers to provide compensatory time off to private employees at a rate of 1 1/2 hours per hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required.
    Authorizes an employer to provide compensatory time only if it is in accordance with an applicable collective bargaining agreement or, in the absence of such an agreement, an agreement between the employer and employee.
    Prohibits an employee from accruing more than 160 hours of compensatory time.
    Requires an employee's employer to provide monetary compensation, after the end of a calendar year, for any unused compensatory time off accrued during the preceding year.
    Requires an employer to give employees 30-day notice before discontinuing compensatory time off.
    Prohibits an employer from intimidating, threatening, or coercing an employee in order to:
    (1) interfere with the employee's right to request or not to request compensatory time off in lieu of payment of monetary overtime compensation, or
    (2) require an employee to use such compensatory time.
    Makes an employer who violates such requirements liable to the affected employee in the amount of the compensation rate for each hour of compensatory time accrued, plus an additional equal amount as liquidated damages, reduced for each hour of compensatory time used.
  20. Raghnar

    Raghnar Getting Tilted

    With this "I fire people when I please" reasoning there is no difference whatever laws you make (except preventing people to be fired).
    If I risk to be fired for using rightfully earned comp time-off, then I risk to be fired if I refuse to do overtime for free.

    As stated by Lindy the actual law, and also the employers dispositions, seems luckily quite different...

    To be said that the standard 40-h working week is in any case doomed to an end sooner or later. In 40 years Automation will do the automats (and less automats) job, and We will be project oriented workers self-employed-like with flexible project oriented hours and personally-sized commitments. If it would be heaven or hell just depends on how much people keep to apply the "survival of the fittest" to society and business.
    Last edited: May 21, 2013