Originally Posted by OutofDate1980
The only people who would be ticked off if the hours worked were cut down for employees would be the owners.
Most employees are Exempt, thus no overtime pay. If you want to see unemployment drop, restrict the definition of Exempt employees and require overtime pay.
America is a country of cowered workers, always fearful of losing their jobs.
I question your numbers about most employees being exempt, but I honestly don't have any stats to back up my position. Anecdotally I don't think that's true though. Almost everyone I know is hourly and gets overtime. I have a few friends who do sales type jobs and work on commission and a few who are salary (as I am), but the vast majority of my friends are hourly. I confess I can't find any any stats one way or the other though. I may not be looking in the right place.
I know people who double their salaries by working overtime. There was quite the uproar a few months ago when it was revealed that some detention deputies were making $70-80k a year when their base, hourly pay was around $30-35k. They made the additional money in overtime pay. If you waved a magic wand and eliminated all of that overtime you'd cut their pay in half and have some very angry people on your hands.
The fact is we here in the US work way more hours than Europeans do. You can claim that's because we have to, but we also take less vacation than Europeans do and American workers routinely leave vacation hours on the table. I had 160+ hours of vacation that I lost at one job I left and had a little over 100 hours I lost when I left my last job.
Interestingly enough Huffpo chalks this up to higher taxes in Europe that keep people from bothering to work more and better unemployment benefits discouraging people from looking for work.
Low Tax Rates And High Divorce Rates Help Explain Why Americans Work More Than Europeans: Report
There's also a nice article from Forbes that breaks this all down. One of the things that is interesting is that it European unions traditionally fight for less hours while American unions fight for higher wages.
Why Europeans Work Less Than Americans - Forbes.com
It is interesting that even though European works are more productive per hours the average American worker produces more in a year than the average Frenchman.