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198 comments

Fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697608)

Fp fp fp fap fap fap ...ahhhh

Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697626)

Who is responsible for being so fair to workers? We'd never get that here (meaning US.)

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697756)

Actually...it puts more incentive for people to try to opt for the contractor paradigm.

I don't mind working....but I do NOT work for free. If I do work at any time, I bill for it, and yes, it definitely makes the employer think twice about calling or bothering you after hours.

This, and considering that there is such thing as employer loyalty nor job security....hell, just about everyone should opt (if possible) for the contractor route.

If you're gonna get the loyalty and job security from an employer that a contractor gets, you might as well get the freedom, tax breaks and bill rate that a contractor gets....no?

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697954)

In civilised countries, workers get better protections than one-man businesses, and those who set up one-man businesses just for the sake of avoiding tax are treated by the Revenue as workers anyway (UK IR35).

"The contractor paradigm" => the whole company is just interested in enough short term development for executive bonuses => inevitably broken marketplace within a few years. This is why we are where we are now: lack of job security and bonuses sufficiently high to sort people for life meant businesses making decisions which resulted in an unsustainable business model.

But please, feel free to carry on causing the problem. I don't love this degenerate capitalism much anyway.

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (2)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698160)

Gaming the system is stupid-- claiming contractor status when you only work for one company. But, if your position has ups and downs based on project cycles, becoming an independent contractor and working with different companies can be a good move... unless you are doing it through an agency and not as your own business.

For people with an entrepreneurial spirit... who like to work hard, starting your own business is a great thing to do. Complaining about answering an email after hours is silly except in extreme situations. One of those might be when I was telecommuting from halfway around the globe and had to be able to respond near real-time while sleeping. I chose the location though, so it is hard to complain.

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (1)

Antarius (542615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698154)

Lucky bastard. I must have had a shit employer.

In the 90s, my employer was responsible for me being hospitalised with a work injury...

I was getting support calls sent to me while in my hospital bed, doped up on pethidine/demerol. (and yeah, they (illegally) took it out of my leave - I had to fight to get it credited back!)

No surprise I left them later that year. >.>

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (4, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698064)

Who is responsible for being so fair to workers? We'd never get that here (meaning US.)

It's already law in the US, for non-exempt employees. If you're required to respond to emails, the time you spend responding to them count as "hours worked".

29 C.F.R 785.12: "The rule is also applicable to work performed away from the premises or the job site, or even at home. If the employer knows or has reason to believe that the work is being performed, he must count the time as hours worked."
 

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698286)

That's why I quit my previous employer. The HR bitch at ABM was threatening to fire me if I didn't work off the clock and pay checks were usually quite late.

Posted AC for a reason.

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698446)

"that's why I quit my previous employer. The HR bitch at ABM was threatening to fire me if I didn't work off the clock and pay checks were usually quite late."

You fill out time cards anyways and turn them in with the overtime. make copies and send them and your pay stubs to the state.

HR bitch ends up fired, Company is fined a very significant amount of money and is forced to pay all back wages to all employees with interest.

If you keep your mouth quiet and act like a good slave they get away with this crap.

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698476)

Not likely, that company has serious corruption issues and they don't provide copies for the employees. All logs are on the same sheet making it difficult to get a copy.

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (2, Funny)

duguk (589689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698914)

Not likely, that company has serious corruption issues and they don't provide copies for the employees. All logs are on the same sheet making it difficult to get a copy.

Never thought I'd see on Slashdot someone complaining that it's difficult to get a copy of something...

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (1)

Karljohan (807381) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698378)

It's probably unconstitutional and won't hold in court ;-)

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698510)

If you're required to respond to emails, the time you spend responding to them count as "hours worked".

And the key word here is "required".

Yes, if you are REQUIRED to do it, then yes, it should count as overtime.

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698202)

Actually in the US under the FLSA employers have to pay for all the time that employees spend working, regardless of when that happens. There are a few things which are excluded from that list, but answering email and phones is definitely something they're required to pay for. The problem though is that getting it enforced is quite cumbersome and employers are used to getting that work for free.

At the end of the day if they need people working outside of business hours they need to be going through the proper steps to ensure that the employees are exempted from those requirements.

Re:Spontaneous outbreak of common sense (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698422)

So companies cannot monitor employees e-mail usage. That is unfair and violate their privacy.
Companies cannot stop employees from using the company e-mail for personal things. That would be unfair.
But if the employees use e-mail after hours, it is considered overtime.

It is also interesting that, in Brazil, you have to pay the employee for overtime even if it was UNAUTHORIZED. Even if the company has a policy in place that authorization is needed. Since (according mostly to unions), authorized or not, the company benefited from it.

As a small business owners myself, I can attest how difficult it is to hire people here. The government and unions make it such a pain that even my employees hate them.

Brazil and US are, in some aspects, at the opposite ends of the labor law spectrum. And trust me, I don't think one end if much better than the other.

on the other hand (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697672)

People also use their smartphone more during work hours for all things but work.

Re:on the other hand (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697722)

Bollocks. Some people may, mainly managers.

Re:on the other hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697754)

Bullshit. Managers are usually actually working. It's the peons who use the fuck out of their smartphones, as well as the company's bandwidth streaming music and video, and generally not working.

Re:on the other hand (3, Insightful)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697794)

Then that would imply the managers aren't working, since the manager's job is to make sure the peons are working.

Re:on the other hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697984)

Since you think managers are glorified hall monitors, it's obvious which class you fall into.

Swing, and a miss!

Re:on the other hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698496)

Actually Managers are the special ed class, they have manager jobs because if they were in a position where they did real work they would cause damage to the company with their incompetence.

Re:on the other hand (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698004)

No, the manager's job is to make sure that the company's objective's are achieved on time and in budget. If an employee's overall productivity is higher if he or she takes periodic breaks to play Angry Birds or post on Slashdot rather than working solidly all of the time in the office, then only a bad manager would insist on removing the 'distractions'. Most people work best if they take short breaks quite frequently.

I'm pretty sure that you are replying to a troll though. The 'company's bandwidth streaming music' bit was a bit of a giveaway - streaming Internet radio uses very little bandwidth and lots of people work better with music in the background.

Re:on the other hand (3, Informative)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698240)

I'm pretty sure that you are replying to a troll though. The 'company's bandwidth streaming music' bit was a bit of a giveaway - streaming Internet radio uses very little bandwidth and lots of people work better with music in the background.

A single user streaming internet music is neglibile. A hundred can saturate your network connections to the point that the apps the employees should be running are no longer functional.

Re:on the other hand (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698530)

Competent IT will put in Stream reflectors for the users.

We put that in place for the 10 top played internet radio streams in the company, the $200.00 linux servers connects, and then rebroadcasts the stream to up to 500 users.

So I have 500 people listening with the bandwidth overhead of 10.

Re:on the other hand (4, Insightful)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698642)

Competent IT will put in Stream reflectors for the users.

We put that in place for the 10 top played internet radio streams in the company, the $200.00 linux servers connects, and then rebroadcasts the stream to up to 500 users.

So I have 500 people listening with the bandwidth overhead of 10.

But when the competent IT staff proposes this management says 'Why don't we just block the streaming sites on the firewall for free?"

Re:on the other hand (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38699130)

You do a google science search, find an article that support your point and say something like this : According to that emeritus researcher in HR, removing access to music during work reduce worker productivity by n%. Therefore the cost of blocking music is 500*p$(employee)*n% per year while the cost of efficiently stream it is a one time cost of 200$ + 40$/Hr*10Hr plus a maintenance cost of 1Hr*40$/Hr per year, what do you choose.

Re:on the other hand (4, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697846)

It's the peons who use the fuck out of their smartphones, as well as the company's bandwidth streaming music and video, and generally not working.

If this was a real problem then they would be fired after making those things verboten. The employer is paying a rate derived from the amount of work actually done in practice by the typical employee, not the theoretical maximum amount of work a typical employee could perform.

Employees that recognize that they do more work than is typical should ask for a raise and if they do not get it should then respond in a rational manner by either reducing output or looking for a new job.

Re:on the other hand (1)

aurizon (122550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698252)

Well, pay them for after hours work and deduct from then the personal e-mail answered during work hours. The employee can simply advise work they do not answer after hours emails or phone calls. If they are salaried, then the problem goes away because the concept of salaried removes the hours counting in the day and at night.

Re:on the other hand (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698360)

"Lisa, if you don't like your job you don't strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way." -Homer

Re:on the other hand (2)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697962)

streaming music does not imply not working. It's often easier to concentrate on work when you have music to drown out the hum of annoying coworkers around you in the cube farm

Re:on the other hand (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698082)

It's often easier to concentrate on work when you have music to drown out the hum of annoying coworkers around you in the cube farm

And then I put some music on to drown out the annoying hum of your music. Where will it end?

Re:on the other hand (2)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698116)

And then I put some music on to drown out the annoying hum of your music. Where will it end?

When everyone gets some decent headphones (not crappy earbuds) which don't subject those nearby to the music being listened to. This is one problem which really does have a technical solution.

Re:on the other hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698638)

When everyone gets some decent headphones (not crappy earbuds) which don't subject those nearby to the music being listened to. This is one problem which really does have a technical solution.

I'm as much a fan of decent headphones as anybody but you can't put decent headphones in your pocket when you leave for the day. They just aren't as convenient.

Besides, earbuds, even crappy ones, are sealed to the ear canal and consequently very quiet to anyone else. I work in a cube farm filled with people using earbuds and I've never heard any noise from them, even when walking up and tapping people on the shoulder to get their attention.

Re:on the other hand (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698858)

Besides, earbuds, even crappy ones, are sealed to the ear canal and consequently very quiet to anyone else.

No, they aren't. A tinny version of the music comes out the back of the earbud and is quite audible to anyone nearby in a quiet room. This may or may not be true with decent earbuds, it is most certainly true with crappy ones.

Re:on the other hand (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38699268)

Or give people offices with doors.

Then they don't have the distractions of everyone else on their phones, everyone else's noise, they probably have enough space to actually put things, instead of the pitiful amount allotted to most cubby-dwellers (32 square feet of flat surfaces is the minimum - desk, table, shelving).

Re:on the other hand (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698370)

It's often easier to concentrate on work when you have music to drown out the hum of annoying coworkers around you in the cube farm

And then I put some music on to drown out the annoying hum of your music. Where will it end?

I think fondly back to the day that I received an irate email from a supervisor. We'd been working all morning, conversing over email, then he decided to walk around to my office for a chat, and I wasn't there! I'd been logged in via ssh all morning, still in my jammies, and it peed him off no end that he hadn't realized that was possible without him noticing.

Funneeee! :-)

Re:on the other hand (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698556)

A good pair of headphones will not leak enough sound to be heard above the din of the air circulation system, pc fans and other assorted noises in an office environment.

Everyone already can do this (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697680)

If you work after hours (no matter what you are specifically doing) and you are employed on a hourly basis then of course you can claim overtime.
You do not need a specific law for this.

Re:Everyone already can do this (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697696)

But how much can you claim? if your employer calls you in they have to pay you for at least two hours... well, where I live, I don't know how widespread that is. If I have to think about work for half an hour I will keep thinking about it after that time, and it will impinge upon me. But I probably still only get to claim half an hour, right?

Re:Everyone already can do this (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697920)

That is how it is where I work. I actually felt bad that I just threw on half an hour of out of work time (I even wanted it straight since I was on vacation) because one morning one group woke me up, and when I was done with them I had two other groups pestering me immediately for information questions. So I charged that half-hour out of spite/principal. Some of it through emails.

Work gave me two hours because technically it was a call-in.

Re:Everyone already can do this (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698270)

"If I have to think about work for half an hour I will keep thinking about it after that time, and it will impinge upon me."

That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.
If your job involves complex problem solving (you get paid to think) then obviously you can change them for overtime contemplation.
If you are saying every time you are reminded of work you spend hours uncontrollability and un-constructively thinking about it, like a tune stuck in your head. then of course you cannot.

Let me restate: if you are employed on an hourly basis and are doing any kind of work outside of work you can get overtime in whatever country you live.
If your state has some specific minimum number of hours for at home work then you get that.
It does not matter if they phone you, email you, or just shout very loudly in your general direction.

Re:Everyone already can do this (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698542)

"But how much can you claim? if your employer calls you in they have to pay you for at least two hours... "

I leave work and drive home. if I get a phone call or email I must respond to I coult all the time from when I left work into that call.

Call to ask me a question at 10pm? I just got 5 hours of overtime for that call. IT significantly limits the quantity of dumb calls that can easily be answered the next work day at the office.

Re:Everyone already can do this (3, Informative)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697738)

If you work after hours (no matter what you are specifically doing) and you are employed on a hourly basis then of course you can claim overtime. You do not need a specific law for this.

In Brazil, salaried workers get paid overtime if they work over 44 hours a week or more than 8 hours in a single day. So, if you worked a normal 40 hour week, but had to pull 10 hours on a tuesday, you get paid your salary plus 2 hours overtime.

Re:Everyone already can do this (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698048)

If you work after hours (no matter what you are specifically doing) and you are employed on a hourly basis then of course you can claim overtime. You do not need a specific law for this.

In Brazil, salaried workers get paid overtime if they work over 44 hours a week or more than 8 hours in a single day. So, if you worked a normal 40 hour week, but had to pull 10 hours on a tuesday, you get paid your salary plus 2 hours overtime.

Communists!~

Re:Everyone already can do this (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698152)

Communists!~

No. Just sane people

Re:Everyone already can do this (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698288)

Same as Canada, nut normally at least (not sure about the law). you need a full time week to get any overtime during the week (weekend is always overtime).

Re:Everyone already can do this (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698296)

Same as Canada, but normally at least (not sure about the law) you need a full time week to get any overtime during the week (weekend is always overtime).

Re:Everyone already can do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38699270)

Sorry, serious jobs (you know, >100k/year) in Canada do not get overtime. You work for a salary, you do whatever it takes to get it done, you get said salary. If you don't like it, become a consultant.

Re:Everyone already can do this (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38699318)

That's too simplistic an answer. If you normally work a 40-hour week, and you are not an owner or director of the business, you are an ordinary employee and can most certainly demand that any extra time worked be paid.

Re:Everyone already can do this (4, Funny)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697742)

1. Team up with a co-worker.
2. Exchange a long string of emails back and forth each evening.
3. Profit!

Re:Everyone already can do this (2)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698190)

At which point HR will look rather closely at your "work related activity" out of hours. At the very least they will just not pay you that over time, and every single hour that you claim after that will be scrutinized. Or they will just fire you for fraud. You might get away with a few hours every month, but "each evening" will earn you the pink slip you deserve.

The system relies on people being honest.

Re:Everyone already can do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698486)

HR does _not_ "rely on people being honest." It makes arbitrary and capricious judgements based on management biases and current mood.

Re:Everyone already can do this (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698708)

The system relies on people being honest.

You're what's wrong with 21st Century management. You immediately leap on the dishonest button when confronted with something new, instead of looking at it as potentially a smart innovation that would be good for all concerned.

I've worked lots of places where there was no time during the day to train subordinates and not enough time to get everything done. When half my working day's taken up attending meetings and other such BS, when do we actually get any work done?

I'd consider it a pleasure to be online after hours with my PFNG teaching them what they need to know should I get kissed by a bus some morning. I've sent many a 0300h email describing to superiors what I'd been doing all evening coming up with a fix for their latest raging forest fire.

Yet you see us all as obviously out to game the system. News: we're desperately trying to find a way to work around your hideously unworkable accepted procedures.

In other News: 21st Century management is labour hostile.

They'll just disable email on a schedule (1, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697686)

They're not going to pay overtime. So what they'll do is instruct the email servers to not send mail outside office hours. This might cause problems if employees don't all work at the same time. But doubtless the servers can be programmed to send mail in some customized fashion.

Maybe even make it the employee's job to update a settings page in the web terminal for the email system.

Memo 5441: Employees are required to keep current their hours by logging into the provided address. Errors in this system will be assumed the employee's responsibility and the company takes no responsibility for... yahtah yahtah yahtah.

They're not paying over time. Governments might be dumb enough to do it but corps just won't. So they'll find some way to not do it. They don't really need employees to respond to company emails outside of work time anyway.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (5, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697764)

Not paying overtime by not requiring overtime work is exactly the purpose of this legislation I believe. What is wrong with that?

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697802)

Not paying overtime by not requiring overtime work is exactly the purpose of this legislation I believe. What is wrong with that?

You mean besides the fact that its a coercion of freedom?

Maybe I want to market myself as available for some minor duties (such as responding to urgent emails) after hours, as needed, for a higher base wage? Well now if I lived in Brazil I cannot do that.

Furthermore, wont the effect be to exert a downward pressure on the base pays of those this law happens to target?

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697818)

You could just charge overtime then.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697872)

Maybe I feel the after-hours access to me is worth more than my base rate multiplied by some time and scale factor. This is dictating the manner of that compensation, thereby reducing both my freedom and my employers.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

aintnostranger (1811098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698110)

No, you are free to ask for more. What this legislation establishes is the minimum. Nobody is banning higher overtime pay.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698144)

No, you are free to ask for more.

But not free to negotiate how.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

aintnostranger (1811098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698356)

Yes you are. We have lots of legislation like that in my country and you can ask for whatever you want in whatever manner you want on top of the minimum.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698764)

We have lots of legislation like that in my country and you can ask for whatever you want in whatever manner you want on top of the minimum.

Minimum what? Wage? Aha.

Brazil just decided that I must accept at a minimum an hourly rate that is greater than my regular rate ("overtime rate"), rather than that I might simply accept, for example, a piece rate.

This can only have a downward pressure on my regular rate. Thanks a lot.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

j35ter (895427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698132)

Sir, you have some brown stuff around your lips....

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698564)

That's just the republican lip balm.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (2)

Jessified (1150003) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698140)

How is dictating that employees who do work must be paid for said work reducing freedom? Is it reducing freedom to outlaw theft, too?

Generally speaking, it's possible to contract around laws. In Canada, a collective agreement has the first priority, and then any areas not covered by the CA fall to the employment legislation.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697830)

Maybe if you want to market yourself as available 24/7 for the rest of your life after a one time fee?

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698246)

That's what half of American does already. The difference is, they don't get the one time fee.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697840)

Maybe I want to market myself as somebody who isn't worried about inhaling toxic gasses. Worker safety laws are a coercion of freedom.

If workers don't want to inhale toxic gasses, then they won't take those jobs. Just like how that happened before worker safety laws.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (0)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697972)

Worker safety laws are a coercion of freedom.

They certainly are, but society has decided that it has a moral authority to enact some worker safety laws because members of the society are sometimes incapable of assessing risk in various working scenarios

Now, explain what worker safety laws have to do with wage legislation. What moral authority does society have in determining the manner of my compensation?

Maybe I want a per-email payment. Piece Work [wikipedia.org] isnt immoral, is it? Brazil just outlawed considering the after-hours fielding of email as piece work, demanding that it be considered only "overtime."

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (2)

doshell (757915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698320)

Worker safety laws are a coercion of freedom.

They certainly are, but society has decided that it has a moral authority to enact some worker safety laws because members of the society are sometimes incapable of assessing risk in various working scenarios

I don't think that's the reason why worker safety laws exist. The problem is not so much the fact that I as a worker am unable to assess risk, but rather that I might end up in a world where all jobs that are available to me are risky, as there is no incentive for employers to take measures to eliminate those risks.

At this point, free-market types will argue that, if enough workers refuse to work for the risky jobs, there will be demand for an employer that actually takes measures to eliminate them, thus making a more competitive offer to prospective employees. Except that oftentimes the labor market does not work that way: usually the employer can afford not to hire someone, but that someone cannot afford to be unemployed. Doubly so in an economy with a high unemployment rate, and triply so for jobs that require little to no qualification --- and ironically, those are usually the riskier ones.

Here's the way I see it: worker safety laws are a way to correct the distortions in the labor market caused by the imbalance of bargaining power between employers and employees. If you don't have them, you will likely end up with something resembling feudalism more than a free market(*).

(*) I mean the one with all the nice properties put forth in microeconomics courses, not the "laissez-faire and hope for the best" approach.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38699346)

as there is no incentive for employers to take measures to eliminate those risks

There was strong pressure to increase safety in the U.S because of worker compensation laws passed in 1908. Now thats not a law that says you must increase safety.. thats a law that says that you must compensate injured workers. The economics of it is what increased general safety. All other safety laws do not increase general safety, only specific safety failings where a worker cannot assess the real risks.

At this point, free-market types will argue that, if enough workers refuse to work for the risky jobs, there will be demand for an employer that actually takes measures to eliminate them, thus making a more competitive offer to prospective employees. Except that oftentimes the labor market does not work that way: usually the employer can afford not to hire someone, but that someone cannot afford to be unemployed. Doubly so in an economy with a high unemployment rate, and triply so for jobs that require little to no qualification

You dont have extended high unemployment in a free markets. See Hong Kong's history of unemployment. They have one of the best unemployment records in the world and its no coincidence that its the most free market. High unemployment is only sustainable under artificial constraints.

Hong Kong's worst unemployment rate in the past 30 years was 8.6%, and during that short period (the SARS epidemic [dallasfed.org] ) their currency actually deflated to compensate, with no harm to the economy. Meanwhile in America things like deflation are considered verboten, so the capital reserves that could be increasing in value and thus making it easier for startups and expansion are decreasing in value instead.. its crazy what we are doing to ourselves.

Hong Kong's unemployment has averaged only 3.77 percent over the past 30 years. The United States has not even seen a single year with unemployment rates as low as their 30 year average since 1968, 44 years ago. The danger in true free markets is not unemployment, its lack of unemployment. Unemployment seen is free markets is frictional rather than structural, and as such goes away quickly.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697966)

Brazil is a leftist country, which means they take workers' rights seriously. You see, as there is a competition in a labour market, without regulations like minimal wage or overtime pay the companies could just require workers to work more for less pay, because there would always be someone else to take the job. By regulating overtime, the state ends the competition between the workers, thus solving the prisoners dilemma scenario and resulting in an environment that's better for everyone.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698046)

You see, as there is a competition in a labour market, without regulations like minimal wage or overtime pay the companies could just require workers to work more for less pay, because there would always be someone else to take the job.

Countries like Hong Kong seem to do OK with very few regulations, because their over-supply of workers induced more businesses to start up inevitably reducing that over-supply of workers. America was the same as they used to let anyone in the world come here, and by the millions per year they did. By the end of that period America had the most diverse and powerful economy on the planet.

Minimum wage is the most regressive employment regulation imaginable.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (2)

aintnostranger (1811098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698258)

Well, while we wait for our south american countries to become as nice as Hong Kong, we have families to feed. And without regulation, companies have screwed the workers as much as possible. We've had very low regulation periods (aka the 30s, 70s, 90s) and companies didn't use that to create jobs nor make the economy flourish but to ransack as much as they could. Hey, even banks like Citybank and Bank Boston (champions of the free market?) decided not to pay our bank deposits back in 2001. So what did we do? We realized that very oftenly the champions of free markets are big hypocrites and that they would screw us unless we set regulations. Its all nice to assume that you can stand up to your boss and demand better compensation/conditions, but here that has oftenly resulted in you becoming a good example for the rest of workers of what not to do. So, we have unions, and unions demand regulations. And thanks to that, conditions are better even for non union workers. And companies still do business here, because its still convenient to them. As soon as you have way more workers than jobs, things get ugly for workers. Hence the need for government regulation, investment, etc... It must have been a bit over 50 countries that bought the "super neoliberalism free market" thing in the 90s. Most flopped. It surprises me how a country (the US) that implements a lot of Keynesian (and less optimal, like military spending) measures is on so much denial about it. To build the interstate system it had to be shown as a military/strategic thing, because that'd be good, but making it just to boost the economy or give people more comfortable travel would be a communist horror.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698678)

We've had very low regulation periods (aka the 30s, 70s, 90s) and companies didn't use that to create jobs nor make the economy flourish but to ransack as much as they could.

You mention the 1930s, but that was a time of great instability in Brazil, with a revolution in 1930 and then a coup 7 years later.

Then you mention the 1970s, the period of Operation Condor and military dictatorships.

Then finally you mention the 1990s, which while removing the military dictatorship, only did so because hyperinflation was just kicking. Then you have the period of dual currencies, culminating in a great deflation of one while trying to stop the rapid inflation of the other.

Banks are not the champions of free market, and certainly not Americas. People are the champions of free market. Brazil does not seem to have had a period where a free market and stability existed together for any length of time. Remember that strong property rights and strong contract law go hand in hand with free markets, fostering trust that you develop is yours, and that agreements will be honored (one way or another.)

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38699226)

Countries like Hong Kong seem to do OK with very few regulations, because their over-supply of workers induced more businesses to start up inevitably reducing that over-supply of workers.

Do you really try to compare the economy of a city-state to a huge country like Brazil?

America was the same as they used to let anyone in the world come here, and by the millions per year they did. By the end of that period America had the most diverse and powerful economy on the planet.

Being the most powerful economy doesn't do much good when only a few percent of the citizens gets a share of that booming economy due to inequalities.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698014)

Yeah, a lot of those worker protection laws are restrictions on your freedom to work in unsanitary, dangerous conditions and on exploitative or slave contracts. And apart from a few libertarian freaks most think it's a good thing.

Any time you get a specified amount of money for an unspecified amount of work you're going to get screwed, because the natural reaction in every company is to abuse that privilege as much as possible. Paying you a fixed salary with no overtime is like the company giving a fixed price bid wth a line item saying "Any changes the client wants". The company would be insane to do that and honestly, so it seems are most US workers. Yes, obviously paying overtime pay means base salary goes down so the total remains about the same. But for one it's much fairer among the workers, those that actually work overtime get paid and those who don't doesn't and secondly it takes away the incentive to abuse you by constantly sending "urgent" mails to squeeze free work out of you. If you work, you get paid. The only people that seem to have a problem with that principle is managers.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698236)

It won't push down the wages of the people this law targets - because I bet you at the moment they aren't being paid for the work at all. Now the companies have a choice - they can either cut off their servers from sending emails out of hours OR they can pay their employees for working out of house.

In the case of the former, the employee will get paid the same and have more time to enjoy themselves

In the case of the latter, the employee will get paid more because it will be over time.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698348)

I agree... ideally one should be able to wave this whole overtime thing since a lot of employees aren't paid by the hour anyway. Just make it part of the law that no employer can coerce someone to wave the requirement and that it has to be voluntary.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698030)

What did you want, some law that lets employees print money by answering a few emails, without the company's ability to control that cost at all? Come on.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (2)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698206)

VW already do this with their Blackberry servers, although the state aim was to encourage a better work life balance. I realise this concept is strange to a lot of Americans - but there are companies out there that do this.

Re:They'll just disable email on a schedule (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698304)

You had me until you made the stupid insult against my country.

We are well aware companies do bad things all the time. My point was that the companies are not paying for overtime. They won't do it. So the new rule is going to be disabling the email.

Please save the juvenile insults.

Of course they can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697698)

If you work overtime, you can claim overtime. News at 11.

nothing new (3, Informative)

queequeg1 (180099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697748)

This isn't new, isn't specific to smartphones, and (as noted in the article) isn't unique to Brazil. Many employers have the ability to allow employees to check work email remotely from their home PCs. However, most sophisticated employers (or perhaps more paranoid) are careful about opening up such access to non-exempt employees (i.e. employees who are paid on an hourly basis) because of wage and hour issues. My employer (a US healthcare system) requires non-exempt employees to get manager permission before remote access is enabled and even then there are explicit rules about when the employees should be accessing email remotely. Compliance can be easily monitored but, conversely, wage and hour problems can also be easily proven through log in records.

Re:nothing new (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698196)

Last place I worked that handed out Blackberries only gave them to exempt employees.

It's about time. (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697784)

It is about time that companies pay their employees for the work done. My manager once told me that he expected me to answer work emails until 9pm each weekday evening, and all day on Saturdays and Sundays. He effectively double the length of my work week, and there was no compensation for it.

Re:It's about time. (1)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698394)

If you are on salary, it is often hard to argue as the work day may have relatively loosely defined hours. However now that I get paid hourly I tun my work phone off at the end of my shift, and it doesn't turn back on again until the start of the next one. I have to give my phone number to every customer, I asked my employer if they would pay me to answer it outside of work hours, they said no, so I turn it off to eliminate the problem. In an emergency, if my employer wants me to come in to work (with pay) they have my personal phone number and can call me. This has happened occasionally, and is always accompanied by a charge for a minimum of 2 hours of double-time pay.

Oh to be non-exempt (1)

ElmoGonzo (627753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697808)

The employers in the USA have pretty much figured this out already. I can't remember the last position I had where I wasn't exempt from overtime.

Re:Oh to be non-exempt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697862)

Exactly. If such a law were passed in the US, it would do nothing for IT workers who are almost all exempt from overtime pay.

Re:Oh to be non-exempt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698104)

That's only because the USA has very week employee protections. "Exempt" employment would be illegal in Europe, for example: the company I work for can not demand that I work beyond my contracted hours, and can not demand that I work more than 48 hours in any given week[1]. If they ask me to do overtime and I agree to that, then fine, but most employees are smart enough to ask for something in turn. Even if you're salaried, that's usually overtime (on top of your salary) or time off in lieu.

[1]: Slightly more complex as it's 96 hours over any two week period, and I can waive that right if I wish. I have.

Re:Oh to be non-exempt (1)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698444)

Here it's also 48 hours per week, but instead of being per two week period, it's averaged per quarter. Officially the contract I have with my employer does allow for mandatory overtime, in 12 years they have used it once... and anyone with half a made up excuse managed to get out of it, and there was still enough of a backlash to that one that I don't see them trying it again any time soon. Generally they call and offer overtime, and if you say no they call the next guy. If you say yes, you bill them a minimum of 2 hours of double-time pay. As for email and other things, my blackberry from work gets turned off every day at the end of my shift. In an emergency my employer has my personal phone number, and know that if they use it they have to be willing to pay me that minimum of 2 hours of double-time pay.

The first one to claim email overtime . . . (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697842)

. . . will be the last one to receive a promotion . . .

Dynamically weight and sort promotion list based on willingness to do overtime email for free.

Patent this.

Re:The first one to claim email overtime . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698034)

Wait wait. You have to make sure your patent contains the language "on a computer". Just to make sure it'll be an easy score.

Re:The first one to claim email overtime . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698170)

That's even older than "over a network"... get with the program man. It's "on a mobile device" nowadays! Besides, the patent would be useless in the US anyway. Nobody gets a raise here. If you do, it's so minuscule it won't even cover inflation. The only way to get a "raise" in the US is to change jobs.

True in California Too (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698036)

The test for whether you are "on the clock" is whether you are under the control of your employer. If you are at home, but required to respond to email, you are on the clock. Simple as that.

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Pamphlets/Employee.aspx#6

So can I... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698180)

I have a Brazilian boss, and I can claim overtime for answering e-mail from home, too...

Won't make a damn bit of difference in my paycheck, since I'm on salary, and we have the 70+ club for people who work 70+ hours a week - I think the club members got a T-shirt last year, or maybe it was a ball cap, anyway, all those hours over 40 sure are appreciated, hardly compensated at all, but appreciated.

Re:So can I... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698478)

70+ hours a week... hardly compensated?!

Are you mad? Surely no sane person would work a minute over time without being paid?

overtime for email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38698462)

I've worked for various Federal Government contractors (SAIC Unisys BAE) over for the past 10 years. This is common practice and is billable to the client. It is detailed in the weekly progress report.

A requirement at my U.S. Company. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38698604)

Any time worked off the clock, whether it be via E-mail or phone will be logged and turned in for payment. To not do so is grounds for termination.

Hah, that's nothing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38699058)

One guy here in Brazil had an accident at work and lost a finger... we made it President... of the fscking country!

How's that for compensation?

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