A hard week's work? 7 replies

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masked_marsoe VIP Member

Heaven's gonna burn your eyes

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16th April 2005

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#1 11 years ago

Henry Ford, 1926 The short week is bound to come, because without it the country will not be able to absorb its production and stay prosperous.

The harder we crowd business for time the more efficient it becomes. The more well-paid leisure workmen get the greater become their wants.

These wants soon become needs. Well-managed business pays high wages and sells at low prices. Its workmen have the leisure to enjoy life and the wherewithal with which to finance that enjoyment.

Is a shorter working week a good thing?

On the one hand, more leisure time would mean more time to consume goods, and spend money. On the other, less would mean more time to produce and earn. Ford saw leisure time as a vital part of improving prosperity, as goods that could not be sold to workers without spare time was wastage. It is also seen as helping unemployment as more workers are hired to maintain hours-per-week levels.

At the same time, a shorter working week means happier, and more productive, workers. It means more social and family time.

In Japan and South Korea, a phenomenon called karoshi/gwarosa exists - death from overwork. It's common practice to work 6 days a week, and often 10 or 12 hours a day. Hours worked are the highest in the world, but worker productivity is in fact quite low.

In France, where the worker productivity is one of the highest in the world (2nd only to Luxemburg), the working week is legally 35 hours.

Thoughts?




Emperor Norton I

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#2 11 years ago

The workers in the US are being given too many hours in any view, so I say shorten.




-Maquis-

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#3 11 years ago
In France, where the worker productivity is one of the highest in the world (2nd only to Luxemburg), the working week is legally 35 hours.

just curious, where did you get that statistic?

I believe the workweek is pretty good where its at. Lets assume worker productivity would go up, I still believe that it would hurt our economy. 40 hours isnt high, it should stay as is.




Kwould

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#4 11 years ago

In cases of products in very high demand, long hours are sometimes a necessity for profitability. However, masked marsoe has a point - happy workers do make more productive workers. While US law requires time and a half be paid once 40 hours has been exceeded (for hourly paid employees), there is nothing to stop an employer from working you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I say labor laws be ammended to include double time being paid past 60 hours and triple time being paid past 80. I personally would be willing to work those hours at those kind of wages, at least in the short run.




Mr. Matt VIP Member

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#5 11 years ago
masked_marsoe;4016972In France, where the worker productivity is one of the highest in the world (2nd only to Luxemburg), the working week is legally 35 hours.

Quite where you got that statistic I don't know (French workers are usually on strike for so long they can't do any work...), but what you failed to mention is that France also has a devastatingly high unemployment rate for a Western country. The working week law was brought in to encourage companies to hire more staff in an attempt to solve that unemployment problem, but instead most employers simply increased the production quotas they demanded of their employees to compensate for the dropoff, putting their employees under even greater stress. The law has since been weakened and left unenforced to the point of uselessness.

I personally don't know anybody who does over 45 hours per week, and that seems fine to me.




Dot Com

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#6 11 years ago

Shortened (obviously). The longer the hours are, the less quality of life you have. Working eight hours a day (lets say from 9:00 to 5:00) leaves you with the majority of your day doing work. At the very least, they should give you three days a week off instead of just two...




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#7 11 years ago

I think its fine the way it is




masked_marsoe VIP Member

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#8 11 years ago
Quite where you got that statistic I don't know (French workers are usually on strike for so long they can't do any work...), but what you failed to mention is that France also has a devastatingly high unemployment rate for a Western country.

Actually, picked it up in a blog comment a few days ago, and that had a link to the OECD statistics. I can't find the comment anymore, but the information I did find is quite close. I apologise for not looking into it properly.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/09/03/business/main3228735.shtmlNorway, which is not an EU member, generates the most output per working hour, $37.99, a figure inflated by the country's billions of dollars in oil exports and high prices for goods at home. The U.S. is second at $35.63, about a half-dollar ahead of third-placed France.

At any rate, it's still high, and its still far above where I would have expected France to be at. Also, France held second place up until about 2002/2003, and from what I can tell the US has been pushed up due to software and ICT industry.

Nevertheless, the entire issue is clouded by different sources and surveys, and a focus on growth rates rather than current output.

If you're really interested in the above, you could read SourceOECD: Working Papers which it seems explains why accurate labour productivity measuring is inaccurate.