View Poll Results: Should the work week be reduced?

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  • The work week should be increased to more than 40 hours, or eliminated

    19 37.25%
  • The work week should remain at 40 hours

    20 39.22%
  • The work week should be reduced to 36-39 hours

    3 5.88%
  • The work week should be reduced to 32-35 hours

    6 11.76%
  • The work week should be reduced to less than 32 hours

    3 5.88%
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Thread: Shortening the work week?

  1. #31
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    This poll is mostly directed toward Americans. I was wondering what you thought about the idea of shortening the 40-hour work week. I think it would be a very positive step for our society. We already work far more hours, on average, than any other developed country in the world. I think that most people (with some exceptions) are happier when they're out doing things they enjoy than when they're working.

    Furthermore, reducing the work week would be a good way to help tackle our unemployment problem. If an employer needed a certain number of labor-hours and couldn't get as many labor-hours from each worker, they would need to hire more people. This would reduce unemployment.

    As I see it, the main cost of this would fall on employers. They would need to either pay more overtime (if they still wanted to have employees work 40 hours) or hire more people (and incur the associated recruiting/processing/training costs). These costs seem rather small, especially since corporate America is doing quite well. I think that this would be a much more worthwhile cost to impose than, say, a lot of the inefficient corporate taxes to which businesses are subjected.

    The free market will not reduce the 40-hour work week on its own; if we think it's desirable to work less than that, it will require some government prodding. The 40-hour work week has been in place since 1950, despite the fact that the American worker of today is vastly more productive than his 1950 counterpart. Furthermore, in most industries, companies have an incentive to work employees as many hours as they can get away with, because it reduces training costs.

    But what about the fact that some people already struggle to make ends meet with a 40-hour job? OK, but there are lots of other people in the even worse position of working 0 hours per week because they can't find a job. From a macroeconomic perspective, this is very harmful. It would be far better for our economy to have more people working fewer hours, than to have fewer people working more hours.
    We don't need to work less. I mean, who the hell do you think we are? Greece? I'm not opposed to a 4 10 hour work days to have 3 "weekends". But then I always think "if I can work 4 10 hour days, why not 5 10 hour days?" Get more done that way. Well, in my line of work there's no set hours other than the expectation that you're always working.
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  2. #32
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Quote Originally Posted by celticwar17 View Post
    I think the work week should go with just being a societal preference, not something actually regulated... so i'd say eliminating it... if the free-market wouldn't reduce it on it's own, then it's not meant to be reduced below equilibrium.
    The free market wouldn't pay people living wages during the 1910s on its own either. I guess we were all meant to starve and live like a 3rd world country.
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  3. #33
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    I know that I have seen some people saying this already, but I thought I would expand on what I have read.

    If you reduce a person's workweek, and therefore their hours and the amount of money they make, then they will be more likely to qualify for government assistance programs. All government assistance programs are based on how much you make as a ratio of what your family's expenses should be based on an average amount per person for the areas/state that you live in. Just having people with jobs will not reduce how many people are on government assistance. In fact, reducing a person's pay just to create more jobs that pay at that level or below could very well increase how many people receive assistance.

    To show some math on this, if a person was making $20K a year at a 40 hour per week job and their hours are cut to 32 hours then they are now only making $16K a year. That $4K could certainly be the difference between their being on assistance or not. Even at higher wages per hour, the loss could lead to qualifying for assistance because higher wages being earned means a higher difference in yearly pay when hours are lost.

    As others have also pointed out, if people need to make up for their hours lost by finding parttime work elsewhere or by another family member going to work, then you a) now need more jobs created to make up for the extra jobs needed to make up the pay, and b) that would mean less overall hours with the family because most likely whatever job is gotten elsewhere is going to have to be for more hours than just those that were lost during the week. If a person loses 4-6 hours a week, the person or their spouse that might not have worked is most likely not going to find a job for the same or better pay where they only work 4-6 hours a week. If we are talking about a family where the parent/parents only put 40 hours a week into work before between the two of them or even just for the one if there is only one parent, they will either have to be on assistance or now put in at least 40 hours a week but most likely somewhere between 50-60 hours per week.
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  4. #34
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatuey View Post
    The free market wouldn't pay people living wages during the 1910s on its own either. I guess we were all meant to starve and live like a 3rd world country.
    Yet people didn't starve and live like a 3rd world country in the 1910s.

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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    Yet people didn't starve and live like a 3rd world country in the 1910s.
    No that was in the '30s..
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  6. #36
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    I believe the workweek should remain at 40 hours. I don't think it should be increased, and I don't think it should be decreased.
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  7. #37
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    I have to disagree. You're talking about cutting people's salaries by over 10%. That is a significant pay cut. On top of that, you're increasing the cost of doing business in the US, making us less competitive in the global market. All for fixing a short term problem of a spike in unemployment. Our economy has a boom/bust cycle and eventually things will move back towards a boom and unemployment levels will no longer be a concern.
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  8. #38
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    Yet people didn't starve and live like a 3rd world country in the 1910s.
    Only they did. America was a third world country even by that day's standards. Incredibly high rates of disease. Unhygienic living conditions. High rates of infant mortality. No, no, I beg to differ. Americans were starving in the 1910s and lived like a 3rd world country. Quit revising history. Here is how the average American lived during the 1910s:









    I know a believer in the cult of Free Market Libertarianism would never admit that things really weren't better 'back in the day' but history is amazing in that it can show just how horribly people lived even 100 years ago.
    Last edited by Hatuey; 02-28-11 at 05:23 PM.
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  9. #39
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Hell, I'd love to be able to ONLY work 5 days a week for 40 hours!! I've been working 6-7 days a week at 60+.

  10. #40
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Well, when something like this is proposed, my first instinct is to look around the world, and see how it is working in other places, so lets take a look overseas, in Europe in particular. In the year 2000, the "Aubry Law" was passed in France, which reduced the the work week to 35 hours. It was argued that it would create other jobs, and reduce unemployment. Yet, in 2004, France's unemployment was still around 10%. Germany as well learned it's lesson, as they realized how much of a negative impact it had on their businesses, and threatened to leave, although they bargained to raise their hours from 35 to 40 a week.

    And lets not forget, the average work week here in America has shortened from the 20th century.

    During 1900–70 the average workweek declined from about 60 to 40 hours. In some measure this occurred because of the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the establishment of precedent-setting collective bargaining agreements.
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