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Old September 14th, 2012, 10:43 AM   #46 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by A.Nonymous View Post
A lot of people would be ticked if you cut down on the number of hours they worked. America is a country of workaholics. Especially compared to Europeans.
I'm sure they would be upset to see a drop in their wages, but they need time to live, too.

Originally Posted by A.Nonymous View Post
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.
Not taking your time off is a really awful attitude though. Wishing to avoid disruption to your company is one thing, and admirable, but not taking what you are due?

Originally Posted by A.Nonymous View Post
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 -

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.
Yeah, shorter hours has always been the big thing, although wage increases above inflation are oft a demand too.

Not sure about the tax or welfare arguments though, welfare rates seem to have little effect on employment, and as for tax, well if you are earning less...
I would say that Europeans probably feel a lot more secure and thus dont feel the need to work as much. That said this idea is at odds with Americans low saving rates.

Originally Posted by A.Nonymous View Post
Just speaking anecdotally, I don't think most Americans want less hours and more vacation time though. I don't have the numbers and stats to back that up, but that's just what I get from people I know. Certainly unions here have historically fought for higher wages, not less hours. I know quite a few people who would love to get paid more. If you gave them a choice though between say a 35 hour week and an extra $5k a year, they'd take the $5k a year. I'm not convinced that Americans want to work less. They want to be compensated for the work they do, but not necessarily work less.
As more and more of the economy becomes automated, and resources become more scare in relative terms, people will have to work less or risk high unemployment and resource scarcity.
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