Saturday, September 20, 2014

When It's Bad to Be Above Average

Traveling is a chance to notice USA Today, a mixed blessing. But I saw this chart yesterday:

So half of all full-time workers put in more than 40 hours a week, and the average number of hours is 47. Wow.

I wonder how many of those overtime hours are paid for. Workers who aren't salaried are supposed to be paid time-and-a-half for hours over 40 per week, but there are numerous reports on the rise of "wage theft": employers who don't pay more for overtime, or worse yet, don't pay at all (for instance, requiring workers to clock out before cleaning up, not clock in when getting set up, and even more extreme examples).

There has been recent action to enforce the Federal Labor Standards Act in California. But it takes at least a slightly empowered worker to bring a case, and in an age of race-to-the bottom pay and fear-for-your job, that's not likely to happen.

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