The 35 Hour Work Week

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MACDRIVE, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. MACDRIVE macrumors 68000

    MACDRIVE

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Location:
    Clovis, California
    #1
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workweek

    France and Germany at one time had the 35 hour work week. If there was ever a reason for me to shead my stars and stripes and move over to Europe, that would be it. The pros are that more jobs can be created with the 35 hour work week, not to mention an easier life style; I ask you, what are the cons?
     
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #2
    The cons? I'm supposed to do a 35-hour week but it is impossible to do my job properly within those 35 hours so it always turns out to be more.

    Boohoo, I hear many of you say. :p
     
  3. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #3
    I don't know about the pros and cons, but I can tell you that years ago this looked like a real possibility within the United States. Back in the '60s, social scientists and futurists talked about automation and efficiency leading to shorter work weeks. Of course, their visions were predicated on the idea that the boom times of the '50s and '60s would continue, leading to even more prosperity for Americans.

    Globalization sorta took care of that.
     
  4. BakedBeans macrumors 68040

    BakedBeans

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Location:
    What's Your Favorite Posish
    #4
    MY 35 hour we used to be 70 but now that i am on my own its at least 100 :)
     
  5. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #5
    The normal work week in Norway are 37.5 hrs, but on the other hand we have 5 weeks paid vacation each year. :)

    There are strong political forces that want to make 30 hrs work week the standard, but for now this is only tried out in pilot projects.
     
  6. MACDRIVE thread starter macrumors 68000

    MACDRIVE

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Location:
    Clovis, California
    #6
    Yeah, according to the link I posted, you guys are in the top five best places in the world to work. :)
     
  7. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #7
    I don't think I have worked uder 50 hours in many years. :(
     
  8. count chocula macrumors 6502a

    count chocula

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    Location:
    noun. a particular place or position
    #8
    i worked 19.75 hours this week. at this point i cant imagine doing 40, 35, or anything around there. nice paycheck though, seeing as i have no bills to pay.
     
  9. dcv macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    #9
    My core hours are 8-6 so that's a 45-hour week but it works out usually inevitably slightly more than that :rolleyes:

    And I haven't taken a holiday in two years. Perhaps it's time...
     
  10. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    American Riviera
    #10
    France currently has a 37.5-hour work week, but at CNRS (National Lab) we inevitably work more than that. To make up for it, they give us extra vacation time ( 9 weeks :p ). Good deal, in my book.
     
  11. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #11
    Somewhat tangentally to topic, one could easily tie many of the "Value" issues used by the GOP, to the amount and focus of the work Americans do.

    When you talk about threats to Marriage, to the Nuclear family and even to Patriotism - you can draw pretty clear connections between the decline of each and work.

    Americans work more than any other nation (iirc), and work more than ever. Many families have both parents working, and the stresses and sheer lack of time for relationships and parenting take their toll.

    Coupled with the American dream to have a nice house and car, or just to provide security for one's loved ones, in the face of rising costs and stagnate wages and/or unsure job market - makes lifestyles of 30-40 years ago impossible.

    With the advent of globalism, even traditional Patriotism can be eroded, as more and more people relate with their professional counterparts around the globe, than with their neighbors - and there may come a time when Patriotism is only a ephemeral concept dependent on continued US economic dynamism/dominance.

    Not that any of this is a bad thing, necessarily. The US, like most countries, does not stand still, and society is changing to the world around us - a world closer than ever before. The relative lack of experience of the US in the necessary change of values as the world (as opposed to Europe), makes us both idealistic (a plus) and naive (a minus).

    So it has to be all the fault of gays, abortions and flag-burners.
     
  12. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #12
    The folks in EU generally pay way more in taxes and they do have rather high
    unemployment at the moment. Housing is also very expensive.

    The pros.

    Free or low cost healthcare, free or low cost higher education, much higher regard for the importance of the family, culture that no city in the U.S.
    can equal, architechture, arts, heritage, and beautiful women with very sexy
    foreign accents who generally speak at least some English.:D
     
  13. MACDRIVE thread starter macrumors 68000

    MACDRIVE

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Location:
    Clovis, California
    #13
    Nine weeks a year off? Sweet! If the French can do that, why can't we? By the way, is that paid? :)
     
  14. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #14
    VW is threatening to lay off 30,000 workers in Germany. One of the issues is the shortened work week. While it sounds appealing, given the high rates of extras the employers must pay for, it's prohibitively expensive. It has its merits but I don't think it would work in the US.

    Blackfox points out that the threat to the American family comes from our insane demands on employees. Forcing employers to limit work to 40 hours a week would do a lot to ensure that families have a chance to survive. 35 hours a week may help a family a little bit but a 50 hour week will surely kill them.
     
  15. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    American Riviera
    #15

    Of course it's paid, otherwise it'd be called "playing hooky" ;).

    Don't forget that this is in addition to standard public holidays...even better.
     
  16. MACDRIVE thread starter macrumors 68000

    MACDRIVE

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Location:
    Clovis, California
    #16
    I'm thinking I should start learning the French language. :D
     
  17. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    American Riviera
    #17
    Good plan, we'll be glad to have you. I think that the standard is 5 or 6 weeks, but here at CNRS (French national lab, so you'll need grad school too :)) they make up the difference with an extra 3 or 4 weeks. YMMV at other companies. I'd be surprised if anyone gave less than 6, though.
     
  18. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    #18
    The only problem with that is the massive number of families out there who have to work those overtime hours just to make ends meet. Additionally, if we were to limit the work week to X hours, where X is less than the typical work week now, employers would be forced to hire more people to get the same amount of work done, pay more benefits etc, which would lead to higher prices, which would in turn lead to having to work more...spiral situation ensues.
     
  19. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #19
    there is a concept (in the US Dept. of Labor) called exempt and non-exempt. it refers to works wrt labor laws. for example, non-exempt fulltime workers are limited to a 40-hour workweek. if they exceed 40 hours, overtime must be paid.

    examples of non-exempt workers would be the guy who works the mcdonald's drive-through window and high school teachers.

    many professionals are exempt, meaning that they're exempt from such labor laws. doctors, engineers and lawyers may be worked more than 40 hours and there's no law that requires overtime.

    any move to a longer or shorter workweek would affect non-exempt workers only. so if 35 hours become law, the software developer working 70-80 hours would not suddenly drop to 35.
     
  20. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #20
    Work week, vacation time are a zero-sum equation.

    If you want a 35 hour work week, you make less money per week
    If you want 18 weeks paid holidays, you make less money the rest of the time

    The equation is that a unit of work is worth the same amount to the employer, whether 1 person or 2 people do it. If the society wants full employment, and is willing to take a 15% lower standard of individual income across the board, then a short work week, higher employment, and lower individual pay is very doable.

    The problem comes in when people don't want to (or can't) settle for the lower paycheck, because the cost of living doesn't go down, and therefore have to work a second job or longer hours, thus defeating the theory.

    The other problems are salaried workers (who can relatively easily be coerced into working longer hours for no additional pay) and skilled workers whose shorter work week cannot be replaced with .2 of another person

    And it has little or no bearing on people who are self employed or business owners -- because they have to work far harder to keep up anyway.

    The thing that is destructive in N. America is the widespread policy of hiring service, low-skilled, education and healthcare workers part time in order to save masssively on costs.

    If an employer can keep their workforce under a certain number of hours per week, then they are not obligated to provide benefits, pension contributions, etc., and they can juggle hours and downsize the "Part time, temporary" workforce with little or no notice or severance costs. So you get employers that have only part time workers, and workers who have to juggle two and three jobs to make ends meet - with the transportation and shift scheduling nightmares that wreaks on their personal libes and families.

    Here, we have the ridiculous situation of fully qualified teachers and nurses having to do "on-call", "substitute", "supply" and part time shift work for five or six years before they can get a permanent position.
     

Share This Page