Category Archives: Hours of Work

Union lobbies Congress to mandate an eight-hour workday, Aug. 20, 1866

Source: Andrew Glass, Politico, August 20, 2018

On this day in 1866, the newly organized National Labor Union called on Congress to mandate an eight-hour workday. The coalition of skilled and unskilled workers, farmers and reformers pressured Congress to enact labor reforms. It dissolved in 1873 following an ill-advised venture into third-party politics in the 1872 presidential election.

Although the NLU failed to persuade Congress to shorten the workday, its efforts heightened public awareness of labor issues and increased public support for labor reform in the 1870s and 1880s.

The Knights of Labor, a powerful advocate for the eight-hour day in the 1870s and early 1880s, proved more effective. By 1886, the Knights counted 700,000 laborers, shopkeepers and farmers among its members. Under the leadership of Terrence V. Powderly, the union discouraged strikes and advocated restructuring society along cooperative lines…..

Colorado School District Gives Students 4-Day Weeks

Source: Suzannah Weiss, Teen Vogue, August 15, 2018

Many of us wish we could have longer weekends, but for about 18,000 students in Colorado, that wish is coming true. A school district outside Denver has decided to shorten its week to four days, and the first school year on this new schedule just started, CBS Denver reports. It began on Tuesday, August 14, because the day students get off is everyone’s least favorite: Monday.

While this may sound like a dream come true, it means students will have to sit through longer school days to make up for the hours they’ve lost, according to The Denver Post.

The decision wasn’t made just to give students more days off, though; it had practical motivations: to save money and attract better teachers. The district estimates that it will save $1 million by not having buses on Mondays, hiring fewer subs, and spending less on utilities, according to KUSA Denver. ….

…. Around 560 districts in 25 states include schools with four-day weeks, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but evidence is mixed on how the different schedule affects students’ performance. ….

Four-Day Working Week Trial

Source: Perpetual Guardian, 2018

Perpetual Guardian is embarking on a world-first: we are running an unprecedented productivity trial for six weeks, starting 5 March. As part of the trial, all our staff – more than 200 people around New Zealand – are being offered a free day off every week. All other employment conditions, including remuneration, are unchanged. Andrew Barnes, our founder and CEO, says the decision to test the new way of working is “the right thing to do.” He was inspired to conduct the trial by several global productivity reports and our recent internal survey, which asked staff how productivity, innovation and engagement can grow. …..

Related:
A 4-Day Workweek? A Test Run Shows a Surprising Result
Source: Charlotte Graham-McLay, New York Times, July 19, 2018

A New Zealand firm that let its employees work four days a week while being paid for five says the experiment was so successful that it hoped to make the change permanent. The firm, Perpetual Guardian, which manages trusts, wills and estates, found the change actually boosted productivity among its 240 employees, who said they spent more time with their families, exercising, cooking, and working in their gardens…..
Four-day working week trial at New Zealand company so successful its boss wants to make it permanent
Source: Tom Embury-Dennis, The Independent, July 19, 2018

A four-day working week trial at a company in New Zealand was so successful its boss wants to make it permanent. The firm, which deals with wills and trust funds, conducted the eight-week experiment earlier this year. It saw its 240-strong workforce, in 16 offices across the country, retain full pay alongside a three-day weekend. Andrew Barnes, chief executive of Perpetual Guardian, said he had made a recommendation to the board to continue the policy after an analysis revealed a “massive increase” in staff satisfaction with no drop in productivity. The research, Mr Barnes said, was conducted by two independent academics drafted to ensure an objective analysis of the impact on the company and workforce.

Research suggests there’s a case for the 3-hour workday
Source: Chris Weller, Business Insider, September 27, 2017
– The average worker spends most of the eight-hour workday doing many other things beside work, including eating, socialising, or reading the news.
– Psychologists have found the brain can’t focus on tasks for more than a few hours at a time.
– Some companies have started adjusting their schedules to help employees maximise their efficiency.

In Sweden, an Experiment Turns Shorter Workdays Into Bigger Gains
Source: Liz Alderman, New York Times, May 20, 2016

Arturo Perez used to come home frazzled from his job as a caregiver at the Svartedalens nursing home. Eight-hour stretches of tending to residents with senility or Alzheimer’s would leave him sapped with little time to spend with his three children. But life changed when Svartedalens was selected for a Swedish experiment about the future of work. In a bid to improve well-being, employees were switched to a six-hour workday last year with no pay cut. Within a week, Mr. Perez was brimming with energy, and residents said the standard of care was higher. …. The experiment at Svartedalens goes further by mandating a 30-hour week. An audit published in mid-April concluded that the program in its first year had sharply reduced absenteeism, and improved productivity and worker health. ….

The Overworked American

Source: Matt Bruenig, Jacobin, June 4, 2018

We already have too much work in the United States. Why not redistribute it? ….

In light of recent discussions, I thought it might be useful to refresh myself on how different work is in the US and Nordic countries, especially in more recent years after the effects of the Great Recession have started to wear off. In particular, I am interested to know how much the quantity of work differs in these countries. ….

An Unequal Division of Labor: How Equitable Workplace Policies Would Benefit Working Mothers

Source: Sarah Jane Glynn, Center for American Progress, May 2018

From the overview:
Most working mothers return home to a second shift of unpaid housework and caregiving after their official workday ends. When paid work, household labor, and child care are combined, working mothers spend more time working than fathers.

Fighting Night-Shift Fatigue

Source: Carol Potera, AJN The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 118 no. 5, May 2018

Because society needs nursing services around the clock, nurses must work irregular hours and at night. This leads to disruption of circadian rhythms and to sleep deficits that can affect work readiness and the health, safety, and well-being of nurses. Long shifts, shift rotations, double shifts, and evening and night shifts pose short- and long-term health and safety risks for nurses, as well as danger to their patients. Sleep-deprived nurses are also at risk for car accidents. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, less than four hours of sleep in the past 24 hours increases a driver’s risk of crashing 11.5 times, compared with just 1.3 times after seven hours of sleep…..

How to Break an NDA, See If Your Pay Is Fair, Confront a Colleague, and More

Source: Mary Pilon, Bloomberg, May 1, 2018

Practical advice on some of the most uncomfortable—and important—things you could do for your career.

Related:
Employee Rights
Source: NOLO, 2018

Can you be required to take a drug test? Who is entitled to earn overtime? What kinds of conduct fall under the definition of illegal discrimination and harassment — and what should you do if you are a victim? Can you take time off work to care for a new child, serve in the military, cast your ballot, or recover from a serious illness? Get detailed answers to all of your questions about workplace rights here.

Your Workplace Rights
Source: Workplace Fairness, 2018
Hiring & Classifications
Looking for a new job? Wondering if the questions you were asked at the interview were legal? This section addresses some of the most common issues you may encounter in the hiring process, and how you are classified as a worker may affect your workplace rights.

Discrimination
Are you being treated differently at work? If so, is it because of your race, sex, age, disability, national origin or religion? Wondering what other kinds of discrimination are illegal? Get the facts on workplace discrimination here.

Harassment & Other Workplace Problems
Whether you’re being pressured to have sex with your boss, forced to listen to foul language or slurs, or wondering whether the comment you made might get you in trouble, you’ll find this information on harassment and other problems you might encounter on the job to be helpful.

Unpaid Wages/Wage & Hour Problems
Not getting paid what your employer owes you? Are you forced to work overtime, but not receiving any extra pay? Get the facts on “wage and hour” laws here.

Benefits & Leaves
For most employees, your job isn’t just about the pay, but also what benefits are included. Sick leave, disability leave, family/medical leave–the different kinds of leave you may be allowed to take can be confusing. Get information about health care coverage, pensions, leave eligibility and other benefit-related information here.

Privacy & Workplace Surveillance
Is somebody watching you? It just might be your employer. Find out here what rights to privacy in the workplace you do and do not have.

Health & Safety/Workplace Injuries
Is your workplace unsafe? Are you worried about getting hurt at work? Wondering what to do about it? Have questions about the workers’ compensation system? Find the answers here.

Whistleblowing & Retaliation
Fighting back when you see your employer doing something wrong can be scary, and risky. But there are laws that can protect you in a number of situations. Learn more about how you might be protected when you blow the whistle or challenge illegal conduct.

Unions & Collective Action
Facing an organizing campaign at work (or want to get involved in one)? Already a union member but don’t understand how things work? Fired for organizing or joining a union? This section covers information about your rights to organize and be in a union, and how unions work.

Termination & Unemployment
Whether you were suddenly fired, laid off, or asked to resign, you’ll want to know what happens now that you are out of a job.

Changing schedules take a toll on medical interns

Source: Kara Gavin, Futurity, March 18, 2018

This year’s crop of graduating medical students just found out what hospital they’ve “matched” to for the residency training they’ll start this summer. A new study suggests the changing schedules they’ll have to endure as residents may take a heavy toll on sleep, physical activity, and mood. ….

Related:
Effects of Sleep, Physical Activity, and Shift Work on Daily Mood: a Prospective Mobile Monitoring Study of Medical Interns Authors Authors and affiliations
Source: David A. Kalmbach, Yu Fang, J. Todd Arnedt, Amy L. Cochran, Patricia J. Deldin, Adam I. Kaplin, Srijan Sen, Journal of General Internal Medicine, First Online: March 14, 2018

From the abstract:
Background:
Although short sleep, shift work, and physical inactivity are endemic to residency, a lack of objective, real-time information has limited our understanding of how these problems impact physician mental health. Objective To understand how the residency experience affects sleep, physical activity, and mood, and to understand the directional relationships among these variables.

Design:
A prospective longitudinal study. Subjects Thirty-three first-year residents (interns) provided data from 2 months pre-internship through the first 6 months of internship.

Main Measures:
Objective real-time assessment of daily sleep and physical activity was assessed through accelerometry-based wearable devices. Mood scaled from 1 to 10 was recorded daily using SMS technology. Average compliance rates prior to internship for mood, sleep, and physical activity were 77.4, 80.2, and 93.7%, and were 78.8, 53.0, and 79.9% during internship.

Key Results:
After beginning residency, interns lost an average of 2 h and 48 min of sleep per week (t = − 3.04, p < .01). Mood and physical activity decreased by 7.5% (t = − 3.67, p < .01) and 11.5% (t = − 3.15, p < .01), respectively. A bidirectional relationship emerged between sleep and mood during internship wherein short sleep augured worse mood the next day (b = .12, p < .001), which, in turn, presaged shorter sleep the next night (b = .06, p = .03). Importantly, the effect of short sleep on mood was twice as large as mood’s effect on sleep. Lastly, substantial shifts in sleep timing during internship (sleeping ≥ 3 h earlier or later than pre-internship patterns) led to shorter sleep (earlier: b = − .36, p < .01; later: b = − 1.75, p < .001) and poorer mood (earlier: b = − .41, p < .001; later: b = − .41, p < .001). Conclusions: Shift work, short sleep, and physical inactivity confer a challenging environment for physician mental health. Efforts to increase sleep opportunity through designing shift schedules to allow for adequate opportunity to resynchronize the circadian system and improving exercise compatibility of the work environment may improve mood in this depression-vulnerable population.

Flexible Work Hours Are Most Valuable Perk for Two out of Five Employees

Source: Elizabeth Ballou, Clutch, Press Release, February 22, 2018

Flexible work hours are the perk that can most influence employee satisfaction, according to a new survey by Clutch, a B2B research firm. More than 40% of full-time U.S. employees surveyed say that flexible hours are the most important perk they receive, and over half (54%) say it’s the perk that matters most to their job satisfaction. ….

The Employee Right to Disconnect

Source: Paul M. Secunda, Notre Dame Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 8, Issue 1, 2018

From the abstract:
U.S. workers are increasingly finding it difficult to escape from work. Through their smartphones, email, and social media, work tethers them to their workstations well after the work day has ended. Whether at home or in transit, employers are asking or requiring employees to complete assignments, tasks, and projects outside of working hours. This practice has a profound detrimental impact on employee privacy and autonomy, safety and health, productivity and compensation, and rest and leisure. France and Germany have responded to this emerging workplace issue by taking different legal approaches to providing their employees a right to disconnect from the workplace. Although both the French legislative and German corporate self-regulation models have their advantages, this paper puts forth a hybrid approach using existing U.S. safety and health law under OSHA to respond to this employee disconnection problem. Initially under the general duty of clause of OSHA, and then under OSHA permanent standards and variances, this article provides a uniquely American approach to establishing an employee right to disconnect from work.