Friday, April 22, 2005

Someone To Watch Over Me...

Unlike our friends in France, we have a 40 hour standard work week in the USA. Most people work eight hours a day for five days a week to get their 40 hours. Most, if not all, of the states in the nation consider any hours beyond 40 in any one week to be overtime, obligating the employer to pay time and a half for each hour of overtime. California takes overtime pay one step further and considers any work hours beyond eight in any one day to be overtime. Please note, we are talking about non-exempt workers in all cases.

Many companies are allowing their exempt and non-exempt employees to work a 4-10-40 week. That is four ten hour days to get the forty hour work week. This is a popular option, when available, amongst most employees, even for those that don't actually take advantage of it. A number of California governmental departments offer its employees this optional 4-10-40 work week, like at the AIR Resources Board (doc), Department of Corrections (pdf), and the County of Santa Clara Sheriff's Office. The problem is, with the exception of governmental departments, California employers must offer over-time pay to any non-exempt employee who works more than eight hours in any one day, making the 4-10-40 option cost prohibitive. California AB 640, by Republican Van Tran, would have allowed employers to permit employees to work a 4-10-40 work week without paying overtime on the ten hour days. The employer could only make this option available upon employee request and could not encourage the 4-10-40 work week. Daniel Weintraub reports that AB 640 died today in the Assembly Labor Committee. I'm sure our beloved labor unions has something to do with it. I think they've worn out their welcome in California, but I'm also sure they are treated like movie-stars in the marbled halls of Sacramento. I'm confident our legislature only had my best interests in mind when they killed this bill.


Blogger Mike said...

Just goes to show what happens when government pokes its nose in where it doesn't belong. What was so urgent a matter that the state had to step in and put such a demand on working hours.
You mentioned France. I couldn't believe when I read that Chirac passed a law limiting everyone to 35 hours per week. He figured it would force companies to hire more workers. Much like our minimum wage laws, it had the opposite effect. Companies reacted by just reducing their output. Now they have double digit unemployment. So the moral of the story is, the government needs to butt out of the private sector.

10:02 AM  

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