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Law Firm Fighting For White Collar (IT) Overtime

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the they-work-a-bit-too-hard-as-it-is dept.

Businesses 573

Maximum Prophet writes "Programmers and System Administrators typically don't get overtime. A law firm based in Nevada is looking to stand up for white-collar workers around the country, trying to reverse decades-old (and incorrect) thinking about what it means to work in an office. 'Computer workers of various stripes, for example, have commonly not been paid for their extra hours ... But under California law, the exemption applies only for workers whose primary function involves "the exercise of discretion and independent judgment." In numerous lawsuits, Thierman and other plaintiffs' attorneys have alleged that legions of systems engineers, help desk staff, and customer service personnel do no such thing. Of programmers, Thierman says, "Yes, they get to pick whatever code they want to write, but they don't tell you what the program does ... All they do is implement someone else's desires.'"

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That will wreck IT... (0, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | about 7 years ago | (#20742111)

If you don't like the hours, don't get into the business. There are plenty of Indians that like to program too. The more we act like Detroit in the 1970s, the more we will be like Detroit in 2007.

Re:That will wreck IT... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742169)

Why shouldn't people get paid for the hours they work? I've never understood why IT workers just "have to work overtime" without compenstation, to me it's just stupid.

Re:That will wreck IT... (5, Insightful)

asills (230118) | about 7 years ago | (#20742301)

Not all IT jobs require massive (or any) amounts of overtime. I may work the occasional 50 hour week because of deadline concerns, sure, but I'll never be a permanent 50+ hour employee.

My dad worked in a union for 30 years (small steel finishing plant), topped out at about 50K per year. He had to work a lot for what he got paid (I worked there for a summer, sometimes it's real hard work, sometimes it's easy, but it's always long hours). I make twice as much as he did and I sit all day.

I realize how good I have it.

If you don't like your job, there really are plenty of jobs in IT that don't require overtime, just go find one. One place I worked at pretty much dictated 8:00-4:30 (or 8:30-5 but everyone did 8:00) every day and everyone leaves (medium insurance company IT dept). I didn't like getting there at 8am, but I sure did enjoy a 37.5 hour work week (after lunch).

Re:That will wreck IT... (2, Interesting)

foobsr (693224) | about 7 years ago | (#20742561)

I make twice as much as he did and I sit all day. ... I realize how good I have it.

That is what I thought myself once upon a time. However, you may have a different opinion after you sat all day for decades (unless you compensate for this hidden torture properly — which I did not).


Re:That will wreck IT... (2, Interesting)

cavehobbit (652751) | about 7 years ago | (#20742757)

You make twice as much as he made?

Did you figure inflation on that?

I'll bet you make the same or less than he did if you figure that out.

50 grand now is probably worth about 30 grand 20 years ago.

Re:That will wreck IT... (1)

Overd0g (232552) | about 7 years ago | (#20742313)

You are free to make any arrangement you like with your employer.

Re:That will wreck IT... (3, Insightful)

cavehobbit (652751) | about 7 years ago | (#20742831)

No, you are not.

The law prevents certain employee's from willingly working uncompensated overtime.

You can not agree to certain "services" being provided in exchange for employment. (think bill clinton, tip oneill, etc).

Plus, the employer usually has the upper hand in any negotiation. Not always, but more than not. I have been in IT for a while. Unfortunately it is all I know that can earn me more than being a retail clerk will.

Corporations will rape IT orkers for all they can until the law changes.

If you think outsourceing to India is bad, so is never seeing your family.

I am close to going to truck driving scholl. Those guys earn close to what I do per hour, and then get overtime on top. A union truck driver can earn 6 figures for over the road tractor trailer driving.

How many IT folks can say that, outside of the hottest current tech?

Re:That will wreck IT... (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 7 years ago | (#20742411)

"Why shouldn't people get paid for the hours they work? I've never understood why IT workers just "have to work overtime" without compenstation, to me it's just stupid."

Simple solution. Contracting. Since I changed, I never looked back. I will NEVER work for free. I will work as long as the job requires, I will bust my ass to get things working, but, I will not do it for free.

It is a plain and simple thing that took ME awhile to realize.

If salary were a two way street ("sure you can leave early this week, since all your work is done") it might be ok, but I find for today, especially in admin jobs, where you are on call and carry a pager (some people actually do this for free??)...salary is just a way to squeeze time away from you for free.

They'd have to pay me a LOT of salary to go back to it.

IMHO, in this day in age, there is no such thing anymore as job loyalty (from either party), nor job security. If that is the case, then the two main things that would draw a person to a direct, salaried job are gone. That being the case, you might as well contract. YOu can find long term contracts....possibly be a contract employee of a company which is kind of a hybrid thing (benefits, and hourly compensation), so it isn't always a hit and miss occupation. If you are really good at what you do, you can do the complete indie thing....make great bill rates, and enjoy more time off.

Sure it takes a bit more paperwork, but, you can incorporate yourself, get tax breaks, write things off.....and you don't have to work for free any more.

Re:That will wreck IT... (1)

cavehobbit (652751) | about 7 years ago | (#20742623)

Not everyone is willing to go through the crap that having a corporation entails.

In addition, most employer companies will not contract directly, you have to go through another shop, that takes a cut. Nowdays, being independant is far less of an option than it used to be.

The attitude that if you are not willing to jump through all the hoops that the big-business/government coalition puts in your way, you do not deserve to earn a decent wage is just Nietzscheian nonsense.

Everyone should be covered by the same rules. Anything else is just a way for some to cheat others.

Re:That will wreck IT... (4, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 7 years ago | (#20742927)

"Not everyone is willing to go through the crap that having a corporation entails."

I'll takes a bit to learn at first, especially if you're like me, and not a real organized, paperwork type person. But, it is easily learned. I got a CPA to show me how and what to fill out. A few hours every month is not that big a price to pay if you want to make and KEEP more of your hard earned money. You pay bills don't you? This is pretty much just like adding a few more bills to the pile as far as time and paperwork go. I'd argue the benefits outweigh extra time consumed.

"In addition, most employer companies will not contract directly, you have to go through another shop, that takes a cut. Nowdays, being independant is far less of an option than it used to be."

To a great extent yes....but, one side benefit of this, it does take a bit of the risk of having to look for all the jobs yourself...which keeps a lot of people out of this type gig. No, you often don't get the full bill rate, but, getting $55-$70/hr isn't that hard, and it can make for a great living if you don't spend a ton, and wisely invest. One thing that companies WON'T generally hire you 1099 directly...too much a risk to them from the IRS or you claiming to really be an employee later in life.

Incorporate yourself (I went the "S" corp route)...and when you do a direct contract can do it corp2corp which shields everyone from the "employee" entrapment possibilities that can happen.

"The attitude that if you are not willing to jump through all the hoops that the big-business/government coalition puts in your way, you do not deserve to earn a decent wage is just Nietzscheian nonsense."

Well, I don't know about the attitude comment. I take the attitude that I have to be willing to do what it takes or do that bit extra to excel in the current work environment. As I wrote before, I perceive that jobs and employment have changed a great deal....especially since my parents' time. Since I do not perceive a direct job to have the benefits of old (job security, loyalty to employees, room to grow) I see a new paradigm for working if you want to make and keep money.

And also, I guess it depends on what you think a 'decent' wage is. If you are willing to settle for what they'll pay you direct...and the unpaid OT...more power to you. But, in this day in age and the current market and where I think I forsee it going....I think the only way to have a positive employment future is to go more on your own, and take charge more of your own HR needs. YMMV of course.

Re:That will wreck IT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742171)

And that's exactly what "the Man" has programmed you to believe.

I don't see why we as a nation should aspire to example set by India and China. In fact, the more we stoop to their level, the less we are Americans.

We're a nation of drones.

Re:That will wreck IT... (1)

drakaan (688386) | about 7 years ago | (#20742367)

You're not even in the same argument.

The OP's point was that we don't want to make a change that will push *more* jobs to India and China. If you don't like straight salary, then become a consultant. If you're good (or can pass yourself off as good and get away before they figure out you're not), you can make plenty of money, and you can bill for the hours you work.

Having government dictate the terms of my employment doesn't sound like a great plan to me. It's not as if they know what my time's worth. I have plenty of choices...I can go for stability in a straight salary job with employer-paid insurance, or I can go it alone, and try to make some more money, if I believe I stand a chance.

What, exactly, is the big problem that's just waiting to be fixed?

Why am I replying to yet another AC?

Re:That will wreck IT... (4, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 7 years ago | (#20742501)

Having government dictate the terms of my employment doesn't sound like a great plan to me.

Before the government started dictating terms of employment, working 12 hours per day, 6 days per week was the norm. Maybe you want to go back to that plan.

Re:That will wreck IT... (3, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 7 years ago | (#20742887)

Before the government started dictating terms of employment, working 12 hours per day, 6 days per week was the norm. Maybe you want to go back to that plan.

For scientists and doctors that's the current reality... alongside with dropping salaries.

The post-docs in my laboratory, make about $40'000 a year... after a PhD. A clerk in the subway booth makes $55'000 after 5 years with benefits that dwarf any academic institution... with a GED and a demeanor of a world-class asshole. When translated into per-hour payment, the booth clerk makes $27.5/hour, and the post-doc makes $13/hour.

That's the kind of society we live in. Want more unions?

Re:That will wreck IT... (2, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 7 years ago | (#20742533)

"Having government dictate the terms of my employment doesn't sound like a great plan to me. "

Well, trouble is, it didn't use to always be this way. Back in the day (as my Dad was telling me), "professional" people like Engineers, and Programmers, used to get paid time and a half for OT. However, the Govt. didn't want to pay that anymore on their contracts, and came up with that little fun exempt situation for us.....and found a way out of paying.

That being said...with contract now, you 'can' get straight time, but, not 1.5 time.

So, some of this argument isn't so much about the govt. meddling...they always have, it could be viewed as just a push to get back what we used to have.

Re:That will wreck IT... (1)

pixelkiller (1158573) | about 7 years ago | (#20742717)

As a contultant the rule of thumb (or really the joke) is all you have to know is more then the person your invoicing.

Re:That will wreck IT... (1)

lottameez (816335) | about 7 years ago | (#20742461)

Ha. I'm "The Man". ha. funnee.

Actually AC, your problem is basic human competition. If you do not produce better/faster/cheaper than your competitors, you lose. You lose. I say again: You lose.

You lose customers, you lose deals, and your employees lose jobs. No amount of socialist hand-wringing changes that basic equation.

Guess who gets blamed (and rightfully so) if a company fails?

Re:That will wreck IT... (1)

Nigel_Powers (880000) | about 7 years ago | (#20742647)

Hmm, I tend to agree that we have to be competitive in the global marketplace. However, we do have a certain amount of socialism (that we as a society have deemed important) that gets neglected when jobs are outsourced. If the standard of living falls, then the tax dollars that support the socialist institutions dry up and then everyone loses.

The problem with Capitalism (as I see it), is that it seeks the most efficient level of production to maximize profit. However, human beings and societies (that have certain standards of living) are not efficient. You can only maximize one at the expense of the other.

It is my preference (rightly or wrongly) to maintain my standard of living -- even if it's at the expense of an Indian or Chinaman.

How do I attempt to achieve my goal? I work hard, pay taxes, and I vote.

Re:That will wreck IT... (1)

Ragein (901507) | about 7 years ago | (#20742191)

Hey atleast you don't get accents coming through in code,, I can't bear to imagine my Pc communicating as badly as the guy I was talking to from Bt last night.

Re:That will wreck IT... (3, Insightful)

miskatonic alumnus (668722) | about 7 years ago | (#20742257)

Yeah, man. The only people who deserve a pay increase are CEO's. God, everyone knows that.

Really, do you mean to suggest that fewer domestic people entering the business will result in a different outcome (regarding the number of Indian programmers) than current employees getting overtime pay?

Re:That will wreck IT... (0, Flamebait)

Lije Baley (88936) | about 7 years ago | (#20742741)

Not a troll. MOD UP.

Salaried or per-hour... (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | about 7 years ago | (#20742123)

Ummm....can't RTFA, but does this refer to salaried or per-hour employees? Because there is - and always has been - a distinct difference.

Re:Salaried or per-hour... (1)

Otter (3800) | about 7 years ago | (#20742283)

It refers to both. Out of curiosity, why can't you RTFA? If you're getting it blocked at work and are wondering why MSNBC is suddenly objectionable, I suspect it's because the second and third sentence each contain a word that's setting off your filters. (Or maybe you work at CNN or Fox?)

Re:Salaried or per-hour... (1)

kalirion (728907) | about 7 years ago | (#20742385)

My mother's an accountant (salaried), and until about a year ago she'd been paid overtime.

Overtime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742417)

FYI - This topic is tackled in this week's Business Week.

Re:Salaried or per-hour... (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#20742651)

If you are paid per the hour, you are almost always entitled to overtime pay.

Being salary, however, does not mean you are not entitled to overtime pay. Many companies work in this manner (that salary means no overtime), but legally they are often in the wrong.

I have known several people whose hours were well documented who waited until they quit, then went to the labor board (or whatever it is called), and very easily got paid for all those hours. The problem is that in the cases I know about, the companies will pay off those that complain, but they won't really change the way they practice. The people who don't go to the labor board get screwed.

Total compensation (3, Insightful)

WPIDalamar (122110) | about 7 years ago | (#20742149)

Overtime is one of those things both the company and the employee has to consider when taking a job and the salary is based around those terms.

If companies suddenly had to start paying overtime, salaries would have to be adjusted.

Personally, I'd prefer to stick with the deal I have.

Re:Total compensation (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20742289)

Thank you! Someone who gets it. TANSTAAFL. When the company hires you as salaried, that time you're 'giving' them is factored into the pay. If they had to pay hourly beyond it, you wouldn't get as much in the first place.

The company I work for thinks I put in a lot more overtime than I do because I'm so productive. I do put in -some-, but not nearly as much as they think. The deal works out great for both sides. If this law goes through, I'll get a huge paycut (or fired, and someone else hired) and no overtime as well. I'll just lose money no matter how it goes.

Of course, I'll have more free time... But not a lot more.

Re:Total compensation (4, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | about 7 years ago | (#20742607)

When the company hires you as salaried, that time you're 'giving' them is factored into the pay.

Bullshit. Only one company I ever interviewed for told me up front that overtime was common. I didn't even bother to go back for a second interview. Most companies tell you 40 hrs, but then expect more, and more and more.

If they had to pay hourly beyond it, you wouldn't get as much in the first place.

What nonsense is this? They'd either hire someone else, or adjust to more realistic timelines. If the company is constantly giving you 60+ hours of work. I've been lucky to have all my employers pay me the rate I want and still not expect more than 40 hours.

The company I work for thinks I put in a lot more overtime than I do because I'm so productive. I do put in -some-, but not nearly as much as they think. The deal works out great for both sides. If this law goes through, I'll get a huge paycut (or fired, and someone else hired) and no overtime as well. I'll just lose money no matter how it goes.

That's your own fault; you're letting them think you're less productive than you really are. You need to fix that.

That said, this would be a great idea if they also tarrified outsourced labor. If they don't, it will only drive companys more to China.

Re:Total compensation (4, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | about 7 years ago | (#20742851)

Most companies tell you 40 hrs, but then expect more, and more and more.

I've had a pretty similar experience. When I was interviewing for my last job, one of the company's managers explicitly told me that there would be about two weeks a year of 'crunch time' in which everyone would work longer hours, but otherwise it would be a 40 hour week. They offered me a salary that I considered fair for that amount of overtime, and I took it. Flash forward to actually being on the job and finding out that working a few hours of overtime every Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday was expected, and a full day+ every other Saturday and Sunday was mandatory.

Of course, that being said, I didn't need lawyers to straighten that out for me; I just found a better job ASAP, as did nearly all of the more skilled people who were given a similar bait and switch by that company. Market forces can't fix everything, but in this case it worked out all right. (My exit interview included the same manager, who flat out denied his earlier fradulent claim, although he'd made it to many of us. Weaselly jackass.)

Anyway, the point being, the 'You agreed to the contract!' sentiment I'm seeing in some of the posts on this article is something I can only agree with if overtime was presented accurately during the interviewing process. I've rarely seen a company that does.

salary vs hourly (1)

Speare (84249) | about 7 years ago | (#20742377)

Overtime is one of those things both the company and the employee has to consider when taking a job and the salary is based around those terms.

I agree that if you are offered a salary, then that's it. The job is estimated at a standard work week, you work until the job is done, and you can only expect a certain constant paycheck in return. If you have to work longer hours, suck it up, that's part of being a professional.

I also think that if the staff are hired as "contractors" for per-hour fees that are above the usual salary pay ladder, then that per-hour fee can't go into the stratosphere if the contractor works more than the standard work week. It's just a sign of a bad contract if the contractor can double-charge at whim.

What I don't agree with is the way companies will hire long-term "contract labor" for an hourly rate that matches the ambient salary (with fewer guarantees of job security or benefits), and then avoid the time-and-a-half /double-time structure for overtime pay. If the company wants me to work more than the healthy forty hours a week, rather than hire yet another IT staffer, then there should be something in it for me, and a disincentive for the company. If they really have that much extra work to do, I'd rather have them hire some help to assist me.

Re:salary vs hourly (1)

liquidpele (663430) | about 7 years ago | (#20742873)

wrong. Companies don't tell you that they'll end up requiring you to stay late 3 days a week re-doing things because some manage made a last minute judgment call and then left for the day. If they want the salary solidified in your employment contract, the hours you work per day should be too imo.

Re:salary vs hourly (1)

wtansill (576643) | about 7 years ago | (#20743019)

Hmmm -- You say that if I'm salaried I'm expected to stay until the work is complete. Let's go with that for now.

So -- assume that in week one, I have to put in 60 hours to accomplish the assigned task. Now assume that in week two, I only need to put in 16 hours to achieve that week's assigned task. That means I can just not work the next three days and still collect my "salary", right? What do you mean I have to put in for leave for the three days that I needn't work? It seems that "salary" only works one way....

What's wrong with this picture?

Re:Total compensation (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 7 years ago | (#20742627)

If companies suddenly had to start paying overtime, salaries would have to be adjusted.

The ethical thing to do would be to adjust executive salaries down and let everyone else's stay the same. Not going to happen, but I hope everyone realizes that this is a result of institutionalized greed, not a case of not enough money going around.

Go back to the 1950's and the difference between the CEO and the janitor's salary was a hell of a lot smaller.

Re:Total compensation (2, Insightful)

no_pets (881013) | about 7 years ago | (#20742739)

Hopefully you have a fair/good deal with your employer regarding salary and working conditions. Perhaps your employer is not out to exploit you. That is great.

The example that TFA mentions (non-IT example) is that of a store manager at Starbucks. That person has a salary and most would agree the position to be exempt. But, if that employee is spending a good chunk of time making lattes just like the baristas that do get overtime then the store manager should not be exempt as the position is basically a glorified barista.

A real-world IT example of this (and I have seen it) is this: I do not know what you do but being in IT let's say you have a sweet deal going with no/minimal overtime and a fair salary and working hours. Then somebody quits or gets fired. Now you end up having to "temporarily" help cover for this employee until the position is filled. Perhaps the "other duties as assigned" portion of your job description is mentioned. You begin working overtime, etc. Someone in management/HR/Finance ends up deciding that the position does not need to be filled after all because things are getting done now anyway.

Re:Total compensation (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | about 7 years ago | (#20742931)

Personally, I'd prefer to stick with the deal I have.

I am pretty sure businesses would love for things to stay the way things are also. Does not make it right.

Its all in the contract (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 7 years ago | (#20742157)

If you agreed to the contract you really dont have a right to bitch about it, in my experience there are just as many who pay overtime as there are that dont. My contract actually gives me time and a half for working overtime/weekends though I dont take advantage of it as much as I could. The only person in my department who gets no overtime is my manager, who at a 130 grand salary, and with nearly a months worth of vacation, I dont think he really gives a rats ass.

Re:Its all in the contract (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | about 7 years ago | (#20742447)

"If you agreed to the contract you really dont have a right to bitch about it,"

Not necessarily. Many contracts have been thrown out by courts after it was determined that the bargaining power was so one-sided that the other side really had no say and was forced to sign. This also applies to cases where the signing party was unaware of what he/she was signing and was somehow coerced into signing. They'll probably use an argument along these lines.

Re:Its all in the contract (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 7 years ago | (#20742995)

Forget the courts. If somebody is smart enough to be working in IT, shouldn't they be smart enough to read, or even discuss an employment contract? It's not rocket science.

FairPay Act of 2004 (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#20742159)

It sounds like they are only doing this in California, which has ad the IT exemption for decades. For the rest of the country, IT workers were getting overtime until the so-called Fair Pay Act of 2004, which exempts IT workers (and other fields as well) from overtime, in exchange for guaranteeing overtime pay for anyone making less than about $23,000 a year. Of course, there are no IT workers making such a low wage (except in India), so that means all IT workers became affected.

I, myself was getting overtime pay until 2005.

Beats Flipping Burgers (4, Interesting)

neverest (1154455) | about 7 years ago | (#20742513)

In New York, HR came to IT and requested job descriptions of all the IT employees; which would ultimately decide who was and was not exempt from Overtime due to the Fairpay Act. IT Mgmt complied, and must not have been told the reasons for the request, because after which 85% of IT employees, HR deemed eligible for Overtime. Not only that, we were eligible for retroactive Overtime for time work since Jan. This was in April. I earned Overtime for a full year at Sys Admin hours, all the time knowing this was never going to last. At my next review, Mgmt gave me glowing reviews and "promoted" me. They gave me a new title, which then exempt me from Overtime pay - however my job duties and hours remained the same. My base salary increased by 3%, which is standard at my company. No matter what the law says and how it is written, Mgmt will always find ways around it. But you knew that going in. No one ever went into IT for the long lunches and 35 hour work weeks. Oh, and just to put this in perspective, my brother-in-law served in the US NAVY for 12 years, has held many jobs outside of the military, has multiple degrees in engineering, currently flies passenger jets for an international airline...and he makes less than I do. For what we do, it's not that bad pay.

Re:FairPay Act of 2004 (5, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 7 years ago | (#20742789)

Patriot act - unpatriotic
Clear skies act - no controls on pollution
No child left behind - everyone is left behind
FairPay act - no more overtime pay

Hmm. I would swear I can almost notice a pattern here!

I kind of agree with this (5, Interesting)

scubamage (727538) | about 7 years ago | (#20742185)

Ok, I'm a salaried network admin/systems technician. When I applied for my job as a systems tech, I was assured it would be an 8-5 job. Well, about 2 weeks in I am asked to handle a week of after hours calls. This is fine, except my company is in the Medical/PACS industry. If radiologists can't get their images, people could die. Some nights I will get 10+ calls. Do I get comped? No. Do I get anything for this? No. I applied to build servers and be a backup for fielding calls and was assured a certain set of hours. I did my time on helpdesk and would like to think I'd finally graduated past it. I would just like to see some sort of gratuity from the company for me having to literally go 2-3 days without sleep sometimes because of late night calls. Its bad enough when I work from 8 until 10 at night, but then to get calls most of the night after, I think I deserve something.

Re:I kind of agree with this (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742291)

Have you tried setting the building on fire?

Re:I kind of agree with this (1, Informative)

walt-sjc (145127) | about 7 years ago | (#20742317)

Well, then ASK for it. Or quit. It's pretty simple.

Re:I kind of agree with this (3, Informative)

grommit (97148) | about 7 years ago | (#20742323)

You don't need a lawsuit. You need to get your employment contract modified or move to a different job. That's all.

Re:I kind of agree with this (1)

Overd0g (232552) | about 7 years ago | (#20742363)

OK. Then ask for it. If you are denied, find another job.

Re:I kind of agree with this (4, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | about 7 years ago | (#20742371)

When I applied for my job as a systems tech, I was assured it would be an 8-5 job. Did you get it in writing? If not, you have little recourse. You have a couple of options, though. You can either quit, or you can demand more money at your next review.

Why do you let your company abuse and exploit you and then do nothing but complain to the internet about it?

Re:I kind of agree with this (4, Interesting)

no_pets (881013) | about 7 years ago | (#20742907)

I was in a nearly identical position as a sys admin at a hospital and I'll tell you why I stuck with it for a long time before quitting and probably why the original poster has stuck with it for so long. He is working two jobs. The after hours job is completely different from his daytime 8-5 job. He builds servers 8-5, gets paid well, likes the work, people, pay and he's happy. Then when it's his turn to be on call he becomes the fucking help desk. He's helping radiologists get their images, and other life-threatening bullshit that someone else should be doing. Say, a staffed, after-hours help desk employee that the company does not wish to hire. If the company had to pay the original poster for his overtime then they would instead hire a freakin' help desk person and then he would go back to his sweet 8-5 gig and be happy.

He's probably sticking with it hoping that the eventually that position will be filled and he won't have to do it anymore.

Re:I kind of agree with this (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | about 7 years ago | (#20742373)

I am a PACS Admin at a hospital, and fortunately those types of occurances are rare. Maybe 4 or 5 times a year. Yes, it does suck not to get overtime, but I will say it sucks more for the PACS vendor that has to answer my calls when I can't fix the problem myself.

Re:I kind of agree with this (2, Interesting)

scubamage (727538) | about 7 years ago | (#20742413)

I think you're all missing the "kind of" qualifier. I do love my job, even if it is a pain in the ass. They don't care if I stroll in two hours late because they know I bust my ass. However, I think there should be something to protect IT workers because until there is, companies are going to be asking for more and more. I'm lucky I'm not one of the programmers here, one actually has a cot in an unused side room. Granted, he also makes about 3 times what I do. That said, the plumber example above is a good one. Yes, I'm a professional. That doesn't mean I should get taken advantage of.

Re:I kind of agree with this (3, Insightful)

cthulhuology (746986) | about 7 years ago | (#20742425)

My best friend is a PACS admin for one of our county hospitals. As a county hospital employee he had to join the government union. Does he get overtime and flex time when he gets a pager call? You bet ya! Does he get paid "private sector" wages, yep (was a matter of having the job's classified as a higher grade). So I gues the solution to your problem might actually be a union.

Re:I kind of agree with this (2, Insightful)

bwalling (195998) | about 7 years ago | (#20742481)

So, if the law changes, your employer will not pay you any more than they do now. You'll likely run the risk of earning less. When determining your hourly pay rate, your employer will factor in the total number of hours they desire you to work, including the on call time. So, your pay will be the same as it is now, provided you work a full week, including the late night calls. The weeks where you don't get the calls, you'll get paid less than you do now.

Think I'm being cynical? Watch it happen. Best case is that your total pay remains the same. Management is there to make money, not to let some new law cause them to pay more to their employees.

The whole package (1)

IPFreely (47576) | about 7 years ago | (#20742503)

If you want them to count all that time, then you have to also. You can't just walk in and tell them you worked extra hours and expect to get paid for it.

Now you are on a time clock. You must account for *all* time worked. You clock in. You clock out. They watch that clock as closely as you do. You lose time when you leave early or take a long lunch.

I've done the clock. I prefer salary. I may not get overtime, but being off the *%$#&^%$* clock is just nice.

Re:I kind of agree with this (0)

ekimminau (775300) | about 7 years ago | (#20742615)

The plan for dealing with abusing companies 101. You need to go to your boss and let him know that you will work 45 hours per week. Including after hours calls. Once you have hit 45 hours you will notify him. You will even let him know when you have hit 40, then again at 45. At 45 hours, you will turn off your cell and your pager. He should make sure that there is additional staff and a secondary for all shifts to take over. Especially for those life and death situations where he should always have a secondary in place to begin with. Preceeding this discussion I would make sure your resume is posted on monster, Dice, HotJobs, 6figurejobs and any other site you prefer. Make sure you have voice mail. I am currently getting 3-5 calls a day looking for experienced network/sys admin types paying $150K+. When he attempts to fire you, please make sure you have an experienced employment attorney who demands a jury trial. Sue the company for every dollar it earned in profit in that year for wrongful termination. Make sure at least 51% of the jury is blue collar workers. Settle for enough to retire comfortably. Enjoy the rest of your life without OT.

Re:I kind of agree with this (1)

scubamage (727538) | about 7 years ago | (#20742797)

And in the meantime hospitals who depend on our product lose support, my company goes under, and my fellow workers lose their jobs, and hospitals lose their ability to read studies since many of them no longer have film printers on site. I'm not looking for the world or to never work after hours again, I'm looking for compensation for my time WAY beyond the call of duty. I have a feeling most people feel the same way. Hell, I'd settle for an extra couple days of vacation time. I like what I do, and I like knowing my job helps to save lives.

More like ServicePacktime, PatchTime, Antivirus... (1, Offtopic)

jkrise (535370) | about 7 years ago | (#20742219)

From a sysadmin point of view, the time spent on Service Packs, Patches and Antivirus (handling issues arising from above software) has to be the most unrewarding, thankless and useless in their careers.
ZERO value addition - nothing useful learnt... except to understand how MS has found another way to screw up.
ZERO appreciation from management or users ... the sysadmins are just doing a job!
ZERO information / guidance to complete... everything is learnt in the field - support from MS or Symantec is close to useless.

I guess if we had such items on the paycheck, the beancounters will finally notice what shitty software they are using in their Enterprise.

Re:More like ServicePacktime, PatchTime, Antivirus (1)

analog_line (465182) | about 7 years ago | (#20742405)

Any company led by half a brain ought to be keeping track of exactly what that paycheck is buying them, as in how much time you spend on what.

You should consider keeping track yourself and making it available to your immediate superior. Worst case it's a CYA when someone further up the line complains.

Re:More like ServicePacktime, PatchTime, Antivirus (3, Interesting)

walt-sjc (145127) | about 7 years ago | (#20742453)

Sysadmin type work is NEVER simply a 9-5 type job. Why? Because so much maint has to be done during off hours. That's the way it has always been. If you have an incompetent jerk boss that decides that you need to work 9-5 everyday PLUS do off hours maint with no comp. time or anything, then that's YOUR problem. My "night maint" guys start late the day of maint, get free dinner, and only work a half-day the next day (frequently resulting in a less-than 40 hour week.)

Can't speak for Symantic (1)

Toreo asesino (951231) | about 7 years ago | (#20742703)

....but for all your MS patching needs (Windows, Office, etc), use WSUS + appropriate group-policies and delay on deploying patches to production machines until at least a week after release (sites like slashdot never seem to fail to inform when MS has screwed up a patch-batch, so there's your warning source). WSUS is a gem for seeing/testing the state of patch-deployment.

Failing that, just don't run anyone as admin and you won't have an issue anyway. Windows only really needs 100% patches guaranteed when admin rights are the norm.

Never mind... (4, Insightful)

Pig Hogger (10379) | about 7 years ago | (#20742239)

Never mind contracts. It's the law who's king.

If the la says overtime must be paid, contracts who say otherwise are null and void.

It's not for nothing that there are laws, because companies cannot be relied to do the right thing.

Re:Never mind... (1, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | about 7 years ago | (#20742665)

If the la says overtime must be paid, contracts who say otherwise are null and void.

Contracts created after the law goes into effect, maybe; Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution prevents states from impairing existing contracts.

Being in the industry (3, Insightful)

AbbyNormal (216235) | about 7 years ago | (#20742241)

for a few years, I think companies have made out like bandits. Companies have always towed the "your a professional" line when expecting overtime from employees. While that may be true, try telling that to your plumber or mechanic. I'm wondering what the impact on general salary would be if some sort of legislation was put into place.

Re:Being in the industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742295)

>Companies have always towed the "your a professional" line when expecting overtime from employees

Retort: "If I'm a professional, I expect to be treated as one. Starting with my wages, which are currently on par with the pay, and therefore, the 'professionalism' expected of a senior McDonald's manager".

Fairness and Federal Law (3, Interesting)

cavehobbit (652751) | about 7 years ago | (#20742251)

The problem is that IT are the only workers, non-professionals in the traditional sense, that are singled out as exempt from overtime, whether straight time or time and a half.

State laws, like Californias, are all based off the Federal law.

This exemption was written into the law way back in the 1970'or 80's at the behest of big corporate consulting firms based in NYC. Priot to that, IT folks were paid hourly just like most other office staff.

This is a matter of basic fairness. Why should IT be singled out for different treatment from all other technical trades?

I have been biatching about this for years. Equal treatment under the law is a Constitutional requirement in the US, and just plain ethical everywhere else.

This is also the reason why most IT offices are 40 hour weeks on paper, but 50-60 hour weeks in actuality.

All they do is implement someone else's desires (3, Interesting)

texastexastexasdfw (1057110) | about 7 years ago | (#20742255)

All they do is implement someone else's desires -- I love this. i am no longer a programmer, bit pusher, or code grunt! I am an implementer of someone else's desires.

If this passes (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 7 years ago | (#20742265)

I think more jobs will be lost overseas while salaries will be cut or held stagnate over time to normalize programming/worker costs. That's one of the realities in our global economy. Rarely in our recent recent history have salaries simply and truly gone up across the board (accounting for true inflation).

I mean, I can the other side - companies will not hire enough people in some cases and work their salaried ones to the bone in some cases, until they are exhausted and not of any immediate use anymore.

But I think it would be better to strive to go to work for a better business that treats you better than have the government indiscrimantly burden everyone because of the sins of a few - this will definitely hamper small businesses if it goes through.

Re:If this passes (1)

Richard Frost (18848) | about 7 years ago | (#20742477)

But I think it would be better to strive to go to work for a better business that treats you better than have the government indiscrimantly burden everyone because of the sins of a few - this will definitely hamper small businesses if it goes through.

Very small businesses don't have IT staff. They have "that guy who does computer stuff" in addition to his regular tasks, who often makes a mess of things. Established small businesses have outside IT companies handle their computers. They either have a contract or pay by the hour anyway. Medium sized businesses will hire one IT guy, view him as a burden to the company, and work him to the bone.

Besides, your "sins of the few" argument is shallow. Those who suck should stop. And it won't be a burden to the rest, because if they're not committing the sin, that means they're already following the procedure the law would implement!

Re:If this passes (1)

bjourne (1034822) | about 7 years ago | (#20742535)

On the contrary, managers will stop handing out busy work to programmers when they realize that their time actually costs real money. No more, please sort these papers in chronological order tonight, we don't pay you anything anyway. So much great talent is wasted everyday because programmer time is way to cheap. Less hours means more productive hours means better software.

Re:If this passes (1)

krgallagher (743575) | about 7 years ago | (#20742583)

It is not 'If this passes.' It is already the law. From the article:

The core wage and hour law, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, has been on the books since 1938. The New Deal statute, which mandated that a broad swath of the workforce receive 90 minutes' pay for every hour worked beyond 40 in a week, had two goals. One was to reward laborers who put in long hours. But another was to expand employment by making it cheaper for companies to hire additional workers than pay existing ones time and a half. This penalty, Thierman argues, is ineffective today, given the enormous costs of health care and other benefits for each employee. The result, he says, is that businesses prefer to require long hours, and they either pay overtime or not--and hope they don't get caught.

This would not really hit small business that much. The white collar staff in a small business still has"the exercise of discretion and independent judgment." Small businesses need that kind of independent thinking to remain productive. This mainly hits code mills and other high volume "service" industries. These companies are already outsourcing as much business as is profitable.

I've seen lots of companies where unpaid overtime is considered mandatory. I've watched people put in 80 hours a week for months at a time. When I was a consultant, it was expected that you worked all your waking hours. Often times I was also expected to get up at 2:00 AM to be on conference calls to India. Unfortunately that industry is justified in saying that I was expected to use "the exercise of discretion and independent judgment." It is one of the reasons I am not in that industry now, I want to have a life that is separate from my job.

Be really good (5, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | about 7 years ago | (#20742287)

I used to work in a company that used to put a lot of pressure on the programmers to work long hours. One old guy there came at 9am and left at 5pm every day, and refused to work any later. They didn't get rid of him because he was good and reliable. In retrospect I realise all of us ambitious youngsters were being taken for a ride and the old guy just wasn't having it.

Re:Be really good (2, Insightful)

chdig (1050302) | about 7 years ago | (#20742671)

I've always found this to be common -- older guys know they're in demand, and won't put up with being pushed more than they want to be.

Then again, the kids actually want to work those extra hours a lot of the time. I wonder if many programmers aren't more proud of the crazy hours they worked/work at the beginning of their careers than sad that they worked overtime.

As an older guy, I'm now fed up with overtime, but several years ago, those crazy nights programming were in part where I honed my skills, and why I now have the cred to demand my own hours -- and a decent wage.

Re:Be really good (3, Interesting)

CmdrGravy (645153) | about 7 years ago | (#20742901)

Of course you were being taken for a ride, it's the companies job to squeeze as much out their employees as they can for as little as possible.

It's your responsibility to realise that if you signed up for 40hours a week working hours then that's how many hours you should do. If you're not getting paid why on Earth would you work, this has always been a mystery to me.

The best situation is where you can manage your time flexibly, do your 40 hours of work at a time which suits both you and the company best.

I really am amazed that you all don't seem to expect overtime for working more hours, this is madness. I live in the UK and I can tell you I would never ever make a habit of working more hours than I was contracted for without expecting overtime and I think thats a fairly attitude here. If you're working for something then they need to pay you for the work, it's a simple as that. I'm not a charity !

Cure worse than the disease (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742305)

This is one of those things where the cure may be worse than the disease.

The article puts software jobs in the category of those whose primary function does not involve "the exercise of discretion and independent judgment." I have to say that this is patently false and such a misleading statement as to do damage to the profession -- essentially dumbing it down to the lowest common denominator (or least capable person) to the point of justifying off-shoring. "See, no independent judgement required! Why should we pay a decent wage for what amount to robots? Ship it overseas!"

So while you may get paid for overtime as a result, your job is now nothing more than, say, a factory worker's that does not require a degree or college education. And a profession which a large portion of the public does not understand in the first place is dumbed down -- "see, these guys really aren't so smart at all..." Oh, and good luck taking that IT / CS / etc. and moving up into management if people see your job as having nothing to do with judgement or critical thinking.

Independant Judgement / Discretion (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742343)

Depends, that can be interpreted pretty broadly.

Joe/Jane cablepuller for example, doesn't exercise this often. His job is to pull cable and wire cabinets, pretty simple.

Joe/Jane router-rebooter / windows reinstaller, same thing. Problem A = Solution A

Joe/Jane java-programmer, probably more along the lines of a typist. (Problem A, Java cookbook solution A)

IT is viewed more as a support role, supporting the people who DO make the decisions. When IT workers eventually ramp up their credentials (we need more engineers in IT), then maybe this will be overturned. Right now, IT is the refuge of the undereducated, 'self-taught' windows reinstaller , cable-puller, and typist, ie: programmer.

Overtime is for blue collar workers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742365)

What a fucking joke IT has become! There was a time those in IT (before the dot coms and degree mills) were on par with other white collar professionals ... both in reputation and compensation. Now the industry has become something of an embarrassment to be associated with now on the level of TV repairmen and assembly line workers.

Re:Overtime is for blue collar workers (1)

bulldog060 (992160) | about 7 years ago | (#20742549)

... so instead of doing something useful you troll IT forums anonymously? did you recently lose your job as a TV repairman?

Re:Overtime is for blue collar workers (1)

Don853 (978535) | about 7 years ago | (#20742847)

My g/f is entitled to overtime pay through her company as a salaried
chemical engineer working for a fortune 500 company (straight time, but still). Is that not a respectable profession? Trauma nurses get O/T pay - now there's a job a bit more draining and complicated than filling trucks with boxes, with the added benefits of swing shifting and catching bullshit from patients all day. OT pay isn't just for simple braindead drone jobs.

Well I do. (4, Insightful)

samael (12612) | about 7 years ago | (#20742375)

I get overtime as a coder. And I have no compunction about saying "Sorry, I'm busy this weekend, I can't do any overtime." when asked (not that I turn it down all the time, but I like to have my time

You crazy Americans with your 5 days holiday a year, 80 hour working weeks and complete lack of overtime.

Re:Well I do. (1)

tkavanaugh (863507) | about 7 years ago | (#20743033)

and yet we are "lazy fat slobs" according to the 35 hour work wee, 1+ month vacation a year Europeans... interesting...

Nothing to do with law (5, Insightful)

mujo (1083177) | about 7 years ago | (#20742421)

the problem is not whether the law allows the bosses to pay or not pay for extra hours, its all about availability of workers willing to not demand for extra hours to be paid.

I mean if I start to insist on getting paid for every hour over 42h/week I work, my boss will fire me and replace me with someone that wont ask for overtime.

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742423)

You don't get your overtime paid and you're OK with it?
Sounds to me like some kind of All American Madness just as college football, laugh tracks or the war on whatever.
Well, good luck with that.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742681)

Your country says that people in any job are required to be paid overtime and that it is illegal to sign for a salary that covers everything, 24/7?

So if the Prime Minister has to work from 8 in the morning till 7 in the evening one day, his finance department must dutifully write out a statement for salary earned per hour plus the extra salary per hour for the overtime he worked that evening, or they go to prison, and they must tally the number of half hours he spent in work or work-related functions at the end of each day?

Sounds kind of crazy. Enjoy your stuff.

about time (1)

Kinobi (159344) | about 7 years ago | (#20742427)

This is why I like being a contractor, we get paid by the hour. If you are salaried and have a non substantial share of the company, you are getting screwed by the people making a ton of money from your labor. I think it is fair to at least be compensated for the (often tremendous) over time worked by IT and Programmers.

Re:about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742941)

Where I work they restrict the contractors to 40 hours or less per week. IMNSHO being a contractor is just an excuse to make you easier to let go and avoid paying benefits. I've, after all, been a contractor for like six months now. Of course the company regularly encourages you to attend lots of events that they don't pay for, most of which I generally don't. IMO if you are there you should be on the clock, period. I could even go with not getting time and a half for above 40, as long as you weren't required to work it. As to lunch and such, well I think a couple short breaks throughout the day are also perfectly fair game, without having to work longer to make up for them.

Of course I also think contractors should make more than full time employees, since they are not getting health care, or any of the other benefits like vacation/sick days. At my company the exact opposite is true of course. Contractors are treated like second class employees. I was sick for about a week with the flu awhile back, and asked for something I could work on at home, which would have been easily possible and something one of the full time employees often get. Of course, all I got was a weeks less salary and a token get well email. Of course such consideration, among other things, is a reason I'm not ruling out seeking a different job. Losing a week's salary does matter to me. (My other consideration is I'm not overly fond of the one programming language to do everything solution, despite overwhelming evidence that it is often vastly inefficient, when we are working on material where efficiency is important.)

Well crap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742445)

Who is going to pay all those folks who work on FOSS software after hours?

One of the main reasons for the overtime... (1)

Billosaur (927319) | about 7 years ago | (#20742451) that IT departments are simply not hiring enough people to do all the work, even when the outsource overseas. We hear all the time how productivity in the United States keeps going up -- it has to! One person is expected to the work of three now, and nowhere is that more evident than in IT. Companies don't seem to realize that for a modest investment in extra staff up front, they can save the cost of projects running late and over budget, keep downtime to a minimum by having enough technical staff available to handle outages, and more importantly allow workers to have some quality of life that will make them more productive. My last job was killing me, only because for all the work that they wanted done, there were not enough resources and my having to bounce from one thing to another constantly caused me to constantly be behind, and as a result, the quality of my work suffered. Want to know why code is so buggy? Programmers working 60 hours a week when they don't have to and are not getting paid for the effort is a good place to start looking.

Re:One of the main reasons for the overtime... (1)

pixelkiller (1158573) | about 7 years ago | (#20742621)

Thats exactlly why Google Rocks. (not that I work there) If more companys treated there IT Staff like Google treats there! Life would be better all a round.

frigging idiots (2, Insightful)

Russ Nelson (33911) | about 7 years ago | (#20742455)

An employer has a limited amount of money with which to compensate employees. The exact structure of counting the labor doesn't affect the pay in the long term. Long herre is about a year.

Gotta negotiate ahead of time... (1, Interesting)

GuyinVA (707456) | about 7 years ago | (#20742483)

I don't know why people wait until it's too late to bitch. My former IT job I got comp time in lue of money. It was great because I ended up getting days off. I know I actually worked those days ahead of time, but getting a couple of 3 day weekends every month really boosted my moral. When they switched me and my co-workers to hourly, I still worked those hours, but instead got to bank the money. I didn't end up missing the 3 day weekends because i still had a fairly easy schedule, and the extra money went to buying another car. Now my first IT job, oh-boy was that a mess. I thought that working hard long hours would get me ahead. HA! But I figured I felt better when the company went under and I gave myself an additional severance package with the 'extra' hardware that they didn't need anymore.

Re:Gotta negotiate ahead of time... (1)

Don853 (978535) | about 7 years ago | (#20742957)

This isn't flamebait... did it piss off some mod working a 70 hour week for slave wages?

Maybe not the best argument for Slashdot.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742509)

If you read the article carefully, it actually states that:

-The law says that people must be paid for overtime

-The law says that people can sign a contract excempting them from being paid for overtime (implying, they would look at what the job demands from them as a whole, day and night, and measure the annual salary up against that). This however ONLY if they have jobs that require creative and original thought. You cannot by law sign up as a burger flipper for $20,000 per annum and be on standby days and nights with no overtime comp.

- The law firm says that IT does not require creative and original thought, and hence IT people should not be given contracts (which they almost always are) that exclude overtime

I mean, getting the argument through would be a radical shift in the salary structure of IT people - you would get paid by hour instead - but you might struggle to find people here to agree that IT support is as uncreative as burger flipping.

Good spin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742511)

Sweet, a law gets enacted to geniunely protect the local workers and workers in general and they find a way to twist it and interpret it into a way to fuck with them.
A class action lawsuit on this would never stand but it's a nice thought :)

Not all white collared (4, Insightful)

br00tus (528477) | about 7 years ago | (#20742571)

I have been following this for a bit. There has been overtime exceptions for decades for professionals like lawyers, doctors etc. One of the problems of the changing laws is they keep revising downwards what the definition of an IT "professional" is. I make $90k base pay, but the current definition of IT "professional" has overtime for IT workers thrown out if I recall correctly below $40k, or it may even be below $30k.

As far as people who don't want government involvement - there are a host of laws limiting what we can do. The Taft-Hartley law allows the government to call off any strike. States are allowed to prevent certain agreements between workers and management (a "closed shop"). Overtime, at least below a certain salary level, is one of the things countering this. If you don't care about the ITAA etc. pushing the salary level for overtime down, down, down until it disappears, all that will exist are laws that give weight to the employer, and have the government take away your freedom in contract-making with the employer (Taft-Hartley, so-called right-to-work laws etc.) Even if you want to do away with all such laws, from our perspective it makes sense to keep these laws until the ones hurting us are done away with first, as in the meantime these just balance things on our side against the laws against us.

Applies to medical interns and residents, too? (5, Interesting)

CorporalKlinger (871715) | about 7 years ago | (#20742575)

I'm a medical student who will be graduating soon and entering residency. I hope any progress from this affects us, too - currently the AAMC (which regulates the medical residency programs) limits interns and residents to an 80 hour work week. Yes, these are the people charged with learning to save lives WHILE saving lives. 80 hours per week. Most of us will sign some utterly unfair, incomprehensible, thick as a dictionary employment agreement with our hospital that basically signs our life over to them for the next 3 to 7 years. Choice tidbits of "policy" included in these contracts mention that we may be expected to be on call for anywhere from 18 to 36 hours - on hospital grounds - multiple times per week. The 80 hours limit, while "technically" weekly is only calculated on a monthly basis. Fun times.
It's great that such important people as those who maintain our information technology infrastructure are about to get a financial boost... what about those of us earning $55,000 a year or less with 8 years+ of college and post-graduate education and charged with taking care of you and your family? Everyone envisions doctors as Corvette-driving, boat-owning, million-dollar mansion homestead people. I assure you that in today's marketplace, NOBODY goes into medicine for the money - unless they're making drugs for a big-pharm company or doing boob jobs.

Re:Applies to medical interns and residents, too? (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 7 years ago | (#20742829)

Everyone envisions doctors as Corvette-driving, boat-owning, million-dollar mansion homestead people. I assure you that in today's marketplace, NOBODY goes into medicine for the money - unless they're making drugs for a big-pharm company or doing boob jobs.

I do think doctors get a lousy deal at the start of their career, but after your residency your salary should steadily climb. While I don't think anyone enters the medical field for the money, you can at least comfort yourself that in 3-7 years you'll definitely be making a comfortable living, and you'll have great job security, something that can't be said for sure in other professional fields (MBA, JD, PhD).

What's the line from Office Space (5, Insightful)

techpawn (969834) | about 7 years ago | (#20742585)

...In a given week I do 15 hours of REAL actual work...? Let's be honest with ourselves. We work overtime because a LOT of what we have to do must be done during non production hours. There are some days where we're in support mode and just read websites all day...

Want to Boost the Unemployment Rate? (1)

smack.addict (116174) | about 7 years ago | (#20742749)

Push for this change.

Seriously, just the uncertainty associated with this alone is enough to alter an employer's hiring patterns.

Look... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20742771)

...if you take a job, and don't know what you're getting into, one of two things has happened.
a.) You didn't do your homework
b.) The company actively conned you.

If you're taking a job in a role that involves support, or large projects, if you're not asking whether occasional overtime is required, you're an idiot. Ask about what's typical. But most importantly, ask if you can speak to one of your prospective peers--if you don't see them in the interview, that's a bad sign. If they won't let you talk to them on request, it's a worse one. These are things you SHOULD FIND OUT. If you didn't ask, and are suddenly surprised by overtime, you get no sympathy from me.

Think about what you're willing to put up with, and how much it's worth to you. Use that in salary discussions. If the company says "Well, you're asking for $80,000, but I see your last job only paid $68,000. I'm not sure we're willing to fund such a significant jump in salary," then you have a counter of "Well, my last company had 'follow the sun' support in Australia, the UK, and US, so there was no overtime. Your company seems to average 5 hours of off-hours time per week, which includes an average of 2 weekend callouts per month." Hey, rational business discussion! Get your money. If they want you to do more work for the same salary, say "thanks for your time."

Now, I'll admit some companies pull con jobs. They will lie to people "Oh, we call people out occasionally, but it's very rare--maybe once a month" when they're calling out three times a week. If that's the case, do you really want to be working for a boss that lied to your face? I don't. But if you want to stay (need the job or whatnot), well, pull your boss aside and say "Look. When I interviewed here and negotiated a salary, I took you at your word that callouts averaged one a month. In my three months here, that's clearly not been the case. I've been called 15 times, for an average length of 3 hours. So the work I'm doing is significantly more extensive than what you agreed to pay me for. I think it's appropriate for us to re-negotiate." If they won't offer more money, they might be convinced on a comp time policy as a reasonable fair solution. Don't be judgemental about "hey, you suck, you goddamn liar!" Present facts and reasonable arguments. A fair boss can be convinced. An unfair boss? one's chained you to your oar.

People vote with their feet. If your company can't keep people, they'll pay the price for being cheap with employees. There actually are good people in the software industry who will be fair to you. The problem is that too many people are willing to put up with working for lying jerks. Or, alternatively, don't take advantage of the opportunity to find out what they're getting into and/or reasonably resolve disputes.

companies should have to comply with the law (1)

themagic8ball (1153221) | about 7 years ago | (#20742787)

The idea that more jobs are going to go overseas because companies are being sued for not complying with the law is a little silly at best. Companies will try to outsource where it makes sense to their bottom line, and if they haven't outsourced it already, it probably doesn't make sense to. The article says that these laws were designed to create more jobs so that employers wouldn't work a few poor bastards to death and instead divide out the same work load to a larger number of people. I like this, and I hope companies respond to this threat with a better compensated work force. You should get paid for what you do and companies should have to comply with the law.
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