Magog: Unguarded
Magog: Unguarded
Swarming Around... cats living with dogs... total chaos.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

The apocalypse must be coming, because I actually agree in part with what Molly Ivins has to say about the Family Workplace Flexibity Act. My perspective may be a little skewed on this; from a white-collar worker's perspective, this piece of legislation doesn't seem to accomplish much that helps employees and seems to justify little things that employers already get away with. According to Ivins:
Exclude previously-protected workers who were entitled to overtime by reclassifying them as managers. Companies are already using this ploy where they can get away with it. Say you're frying burgers on the night shift at McDonald's, making overtime, and suddenly -- congratulations -- you're the assistant night manager, with no raise and no overtime. Eliminate certain middle-income workers from overtime protections by adding an income limit, above which workers no longer qualify for overtime. You like that? You make too much to earn overtime. Remove overtime protection from large numbers of workers in aerospace, defense, health care, high tech and other industries.

I did a bit of research on this (well, as much as I can when I am supposed to be working) and I found nothing in the proposal that substantively backs up any of the above. I find her use of the McDonald's a little inept, for example. This doesn't occur at McDonald's, so why scare everyone with this unlikely scenario? That said, I have personally experienced the second point just recently. But if that is the case, why is this legislation needed in the first place?

Companies are looking for new and creative ways to cut costs and, given that, it doesn't suprise me that this legislation would get support across the board from employers. It is much easier from a cost-cutting perspective to offer comp time than it is to pay time-and-a-half for overtime. In my experience, the situation goes like this: overtime is forbidden, but if you "have to" work overtime, you comp it. But if you are in a situation in which overtime is required, what good is it to have even more vacation time on your hands? And what happens if that vacation does not roll over to another fiscal or calendar year? You lose it. Effectively, you've worked overtime for free. So I can see how this can be abused. As an "at-will" employee, I don't feel particularly threatened by this. But I do worry a little about hourly wage folks who may not have as many options when they get squeezed like this.

posted by the wolf | 9:00 PM
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