"It's a health issue, an environmental issue, a child care issue..."
November 5, 2019 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Too many American have no vacation days, or very few, or they are not paid enough to enjoy them properly. Too many Americans work hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime, or are forced to choose between parenthood and employment. Too many Americans are spending their twilight years in front of a cash register because they can’t afford a real retirement. But it doesn't have to be this way. The Leisure Agenda : a set of policy platforms designed to decrease overwork and increase personal time. Agenda in brief. Related: " 4-Day Workweek Without A Drop In Pay Boosted Workers' Productivity By 40%, Microsoft Japan Says." Previously
posted by The Whelk (45 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
 
4 weeks of paid vacation is a huge shift. Right now the US is one of the only countries that does not have a requirement for paid vacation.
posted by rednikki at 8:47 AM on November 5, 2019 [14 favorites]


While a four-day week with five-day pay may sound wonderful, there are other factors to consider. In the US, being classified as part-time (less than 35 hours) means losing benefits, even if the pay remains the same as a full-time job.
posted by Miss Cellania at 9:06 AM on November 5, 2019 [11 favorites]


It also won't help anyone in a contractor/1099 job, including literally every single "gig economy" worker.
posted by sleeping bear at 9:20 AM on November 5, 2019 [6 favorites]


4 weeks of paid vacation is a huge shift. Right now the US is one of the only countries that does not have a requirement for paid vacation.

When I was still using youth hostels, this was one of my favorite conversations to get into with Australian roommates. I'd ask them how much vacation time they got, then ask, "you know how much we get in the US?....two weeks if we're lucky. There is no law that says you even have to get that." Invariably they would be shocked - but then get a pensive look and say "hey, that explains why so few Americans travel outside their country."

While a four-day week with five-day pay may sound wonderful, there are other factors to consider. In the US, being classified as part-time (less than 35 hours) means losing benefits, even if the pay remains the same as a full-time job.

I'm presuming that the policy would address/correct this. At least it had better.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:41 AM on November 5, 2019 [23 favorites]


In the US, being classified as part-time (less than 35 hours) means losing benefits, even if the pay remains the same as a full-time job.

At least with regard to health insurance, under the ACA, for companies with more than 50 employees the cut-off for health care benefits is an average of 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month. For most workers, a 4 day workweek would still meet that requirement.

For other benefits (e.g. retirement plans) it's mostly up to the employer, but I suspect if a company were willing to go to a 4 day workweek without a drop in pay it would also include the previous full time benefits.
posted by jedicus at 9:43 AM on November 5, 2019 [7 favorites]


I have been university staff for seven years and every job is twelve months when there is noooo good reason the staff couldn't take at least a rotating month off in the summer and still have office coverage. There is no good reason for all the staff to be here all the time when 80% of the students and faculty are gone. Every year I hear "you can do all your projects and pre-planning for the year over the summer!" That is never how it works. And yet I can't afford to lose two months of pay and they would never agree to just pay us the same 10 month salary because those are the ten months we do 95% of our work anyway.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:43 AM on November 5, 2019 [19 favorites]


"Later interpretations such as that done by Landsberger suggested that the novelty of being research subjects and the increased attention from such could lead to temporary increases in workers' productivity. This interpretation was dubbed "the Hawthorne effect". It is also similar to a phenomenon that is referred to as novelty/disruption effect." (Wikipedia = Hawthorne Effect)

So yeah, good idea, but it's just one study in one place in one company.
posted by ITravelMontana at 9:49 AM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


this seems a good as place as any to suggest I think there needs to be a pool of paid substitute service industry workers (dishwashers, cooks, baristas, bartenders, servers, etc) who can come in when someone falls ill or otherwise can’t make it to a shift. this would ensure nobody in the service industry has to work a double or come in on their day off because a coworker fell ill, and conversely nobody would have to feel guilty about making someone work a double or come in on their day off when they need to call out sick or miss a shift for personal reasons. thanks for coming to my ted talk
posted by Gymnopedist at 9:54 AM on November 5, 2019 [51 favorites]


As an American who lives abroad, I’ve had to point out the reason most Americans don’t have a passport might not be because they don’t care hut because they have no ability to use one in terms of vacation time or affording said vacation.

There is much disbelief and incredulity that we don’t get paid time off as a guarantee, even among people who seem otherwise knowledgeable about such stuff. It’s so bizarre people don’t expect it could be possible in a country so rich and powerful as the US (sarcasm).


(Much like the tax situation for expats which is another topic but also just bizarro world when explained to nonAmericans)
posted by affectionateborg at 9:56 AM on November 5, 2019 [26 favorites]


Fewer but longer workdays is bullshit for full time salaried folks. The longer workday is untenable for people with grueling commutes, child care arrangements, or any sort of weekday personal commitment.

Like jedicus points out "fulltime" is largely up to the employer to define for most things. I am defined as fulltime with a 4 day (8ish hour per) work week and as I often say around here, it is the single best thing to ever happen to me professionally. It is a benefit my employer can never renegotiate with me (my original job offer was structured this way because of a weird funding issue). I am just as productive as anyone else at my employer but I have time for my nephew, my aging parents, my volunteer work, my mental health, maintaining the household, maintaining relationships. It's a fucking godsend.

I don't know about the rest of the world, as I've never worked there, but where "desk jobs" are concerned, American employers are stupidly afraid of paid time off. It's demonstrably easy to give M-F, 9-5, fulltime office workers more flexible schedules with shorter work weeks. One hopes that when we do it, we'll find a way to bring more paid time off (and reliable schedule) to service industry workers or day care workers or nurses or all those people who don't traditionally get the wiggle room with hours-in-the-office higher status office workers do.
posted by crush at 10:00 AM on November 5, 2019 [11 favorites]


Fewer but longer workdays is bullshit for full time salaried folks. The longer workday is untenable for people with grueling commutes, child care arrangements, or any sort of weekday personal commitment.

Oops, hit "post" instead of "preview" and forgot the rest of that thought: I could not tell from that article (or missed it) if they were talking about a 4-day 10-hour day week or a 4-day 8-ish hour day work week. The former is bullshit; the later is overdue.
posted by crush at 10:02 AM on November 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not in a hurry to have 10-hour days be the minimum expectation. We all know how that would go: within a year or two, individual companies would start being like, "Well, our official work week is 4 days, but we might need you on that 5th day," and then some people get exempted and have to work five 10-hour days, and suddenly the 50-hour work week is the new replacement for the 40-hour workweek. Probably with a 25% pay cut thrown in for the "reduced hours" that never gets added back in when the hours become longer again.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:20 AM on November 5, 2019 [30 favorites]


Meanwhile, over in Elon Musk Land: Why Elon Musk says taking ‘vacations will kill you’
posted by bz at 10:33 AM on November 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


The strange idea that we must always be producing, must always be increasing profits, making more things, building a better mousetrap, endlessly, until the Earth is a husk and everyone is burnt out to the point where life isn't worth living is so ingrained in American ideas about work, it's hard to untangle. When we say "4 day work week," so many of us jump to the conclusion that it's 40 hours crammed into fewer days, rather than the idea that there's most likely enough workers to cover what's necessary (and well beyond that) to maintain very much the same level of "productivity" in every workforce at 32 hours per week. We're all grasping for crumbs while a few hundred people have, literally, EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD and they make us kill ourselves working to keep it and increase it.
posted by xingcat at 11:01 AM on November 5, 2019 [60 favorites]


This interpretation was dubbed "the Hawthorne effect". It is also similar to a phenomenon that is referred to as novelty/disruption effect.

Would like more studies, definitely, but this is one reason why I feel like the true answer is that the workers themselves should whenever possible be allowed to make their own decisions about what hours to work, as long as the work gets done, because I do think that there is a value to disruption in this context... but it would be so much easier and more beneficial if we could do it ourselves and create our own novelty when necessary. Let us have routines when we need routine. Let us change our routines when we need a change. The corporation doesn't need to guess when we need novelty like we're zoo animals or something. If we need novelty and enrichment, give us the resources, time, and flexibility to go get it.
posted by Sequence at 11:25 AM on November 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


four hours for work
eight hours for sleep
four hours for fuck the bosses you don’t own me
eight hours for what you will
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:30 AM on November 5, 2019 [37 favorites]


I had to work 20 years to get to 4 weeks of vacation! And now they want to give it to everyone on day one? To that I say...

Fuck yes! If I'm not part of a trajectory that leads to things getting better, then what is the point? I hate that companies try to use stuff like vacation days to divide the workforce against itself.
posted by BeeDo at 11:49 AM on November 5, 2019 [50 favorites]


I've been feeling since about 2007 that the proper work weekd is 24-30 hours.

3 eight hour days,
4 six hour days
5 six hour days.

However you choose to do so, IDK. But yeah, if it were up to me.
24 is the sweet spot for :

"stay out of trouble (e.g. work) "
"relax (fuck resting only on the 7th day - we're not god; we need more than 1 day ")
"contribute to society (e.g. engage in social activities)"
"contribute to your household (do shit 'round the house"
"MAKE SOMETHING OF YOURSELF (hobbies/fulfillment)"
posted by symbioid at 11:56 AM on November 5, 2019 [12 favorites]


I will never go abroad or use my passport (why do I have one? there's no point) in my life. I've accepted that. Between the money and the time, fughettaboutit, not unless I ever actually play the lottery and win. That's too much to ask of life.

As for vacation: I get 3.5 weeks of it, but I have NO backup at my job. I took one week off in September, nobody did a damn thing of mine while I was out even though I theoretically had backup, because everyone else was drowning too hard to do anything of mine too. Dire emergencies came up that did not get done because I wasn't there. I can really only be out around the end of December without causing myself more stress and making it harder on myself by being out on vacation. I'm taking 2 weeks in December this year in hopes that with less people being around, less shit will be on fire by January. I hope.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:51 PM on November 5, 2019 [13 favorites]


They’ll find someone to do all the things you do when you die or retire. And if they made you redundant, you’d be gone that day, regardless of the impact on your survival or your coworkers’ workload. May as well take that vacation.
posted by toodleydoodley at 1:04 PM on November 5, 2019 [27 favorites]


Recently took a car ride between cities with a friend from France and her friends. One of them was a teacher with the French government, visiting Canada on her 4 months vacation. They reassured me that was exceptional, because normal workers in France were only guaranteed 2. I was aghast.
posted by constantinescharity at 1:31 PM on November 5, 2019 [6 favorites]


They’ll find someone to do all the things you do when you die or retire. And if they made you redundant, you’d be gone that day, regardless of the impact on your survival or your coworkers’ workload.

Yeah but in those cases it's not me who is faced with cleaning up the mess of all the stuff that didn't get done, dealing with the backlog of emails etc. If I take vacation, it is. At this point in my career it feels like vacations are like current me stabbing future me in the back.

(And I say that as a non-American who gets something like six weeks of vacation - I don't even know, because I don't think I've ever managed to use more than three of it, and that's in a good year.)
posted by lollusc at 2:12 PM on November 5, 2019 [12 favorites]


What lollusc said. "Current me stabbing future me in the back" is so accurate. And also, these days they actually aren't finding someone to do all the things people do when people leave or retire so much. If you're lucky, they may take a year to rehire someone.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:23 PM on November 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


It’s worth noting the military gets 30 days paid vacation a year. Not four 5-day weeks - 30 days, so 6 5 day weeks worth. It has not noticeably collapsed as a result.
posted by corb at 5:58 PM on November 5, 2019 [18 favorites]


The longer workday is untenable for people with grueling commutes, child care arrangements, or any sort of weekday personal commitment.

On the other hand, there are people with commitments / responsibilities such that 4 10 hour days is greatly preferable (especially ones where having a weekday off every week opens up a lot of options for appointments / chores / etc).

Giving workers that choice where possible seems like the ideal. I don't know much about sales, but it's perfectly possible in programming, for example (and many tech companies do kind of do this with flexible schedules, but it's not official and so varies highly by manager / group inside the company. And of course most companies do NOT do this, overall).

My father worked 4 10 hour days for 30 years and it was great for him and us. For others it would be worse. I would definitely take the 4/10 over the 5/8. Especially because my commute adds 2 hrs/day to work, so I'd get back 2 hours a week minimum, and losing 2 hours on a day where I already dont get home till late doesn't take away anything (I already can't do anything useful with the couple hours I have free on a weekday).
posted by thefoxgod at 5:58 PM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think that in the military setting, there are a lot of personnel with essentially interchangeable skillsets.

With a company, it's cost prohibitive to hire multiple people for each position. In companies, (skilled) staff are typically less interchangeable in skills/ specialties than in a military setting especially as you climb the org chart.

Of course, there's the next person down the org chart to cover, but depending on how steep that slope is, coming back from a vacation is like going through crunch.

There's also the ability to enjoy the vacation, if one's worried about the consequences already. I've been meaning to take vk but there's always something burning; HR's been bugging me to use them up instead of being paid out for the non-transferable ones.
posted by porpoise at 6:14 PM on November 5, 2019


Four six-hour days would be PERF for me in terms of workload and work/ life.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:56 PM on November 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


With a company, it's cost prohibitive to hire multiple people for each position.

You mean it would cost more. I doubt it's prohibitive.

In companies, (skilled) staff are typically less interchangeable in skills/ specialties than in a military setting especially as you climb the org chart

If the bosses themselves want to keep working 40/60/80 hours, I suppose we can allow it.
posted by ryanrs at 7:18 PM on November 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


I work 4-10s; But I'm also 250kms from home so the extra day at home is super valuable.

With a company, it's cost prohibitive to hire multiple people for each position. In companies, (skilled) staff are typically less interchangeable in skills/ specialties than in a military setting especially as you climb the org chart.

A company that can't manage to give their people a couple weeks of vacation a couple times a year, year over year, is poorly managed. And setting themselves up for failure. People get hit by the bus (physical, medical, lottery, or new employment type) regularly. Companies should be cross training and using other techniques to at least limp along until a new hire can be brought in. Every time John goes on a two week vacation should be treated as a trial run of John getting hit by a bus.

And don't get me started on organizations the can't afford to give people the opportunity to take vacation but still take six plus months to hire replacements when their employees invariably burn out and quit.
posted by Mitheral at 7:32 PM on November 5, 2019 [22 favorites]


Abolish work. None of us asked to be born, and then here we are, we have to “work” to survive and to give a few assholes more money. We have to pay taxes so our government can do horrendous shit to people here and other people across the world, none of whom asked to be born and have no say in anything. Living is a scam of non consensual existence, and to make it all that much worse we all are forced into hierarchical systems of oppression by default!! all because of a bunch of people over history have made that so. And here we are, working.

I wish I could hang out with all of you, have a drink, shoot the shit, keep in touch, truly care about one another, support one another. Unfortunately most of us here will never get to meet each other, and almost all of that will be because of work, money, etc. It’s fucked.

You know what’s fucking insane? Most of us here have more in common with some random kid getting beaten by some authoritarian, capitalist government thug than we do with any of the scumfucking billionaires who we sacrifice our lives to. “Free will”.

I hope someday, sooner than later, hundreds of millions of us skip work and take care of each other. Human beings are important. Earth is important. Money is a fucking joke.

UGH.
posted by gucci mane at 8:36 PM on November 5, 2019 [28 favorites]


The biggest lie they tell you is this is how things have to be.
posted by fullerine at 1:41 AM on November 6, 2019 [7 favorites]


There is always someone willing to dehumanize their lives more than you. There is always a boss unwilling to confront the optics of appearing less profitable.

Therefore, if you stand up for yourself, you will be replaced.

Until this changes, the 4 day workweek for be a fantasy; and if it were to be implemented, it would likely remain a fantasy except for a narrow swath of upper middle class white people and reasonable facsimiles thereof.
posted by Construction Concern at 4:12 AM on November 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


People get hit by the bus (physical, medical, lottery, or new employment type) regularly.

Yeah, I put in two weeks' notice last Friday and got a lot of people going "oh no, we have to do Knowledge Transfer". Except--it's not like I just know a list of facts that I can write down. I know the application I work on because I've spent three years aggressively trying to learn it. When I started, several other people knew it well. They got replaced with people who relied on me instead of learning themselves. I didn't take any extended vacation time because I get so few days that assorted colds and doctor's appointments ate most of my PTO. Every time I've been gone for just 2-3 days, when I get back, I find that people have just rescheduled everything and held it all for me, instead of figuring out why nobody else could do it.

They are going to have an unpleasant time of the next six months, and it's all been very preventable.
posted by Sequence at 6:08 AM on November 6, 2019 [13 favorites]


I hope someday, sooner than later, hundreds of millions of us skip work and take care of each other.

Dude, "taking care of each other" is also work.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:31 AM on November 6, 2019 [10 favorites]


I think we're all agreeing here: I read gucci mane's comment as "I hope someday, sooner than later, hundreds of millions of us skip selling our labor to capitalists for wages and labor to take care of each other.
posted by Tehhund at 7:04 AM on November 6, 2019 [7 favorites]


A company that can't manage to give their people a couple weeks of vacation a couple times a year, year over year, is poorly managed.

Right? Isn't innovation the miracle of capitalism--that there's creative destruction, and always another firm waiting in the wings that can do it better? Let's stop rhetorically propping up businesses (including non-profits) that can't find a way to treat their workers right.
posted by mabelstreet at 9:03 AM on November 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I put in two weeks' notice last Friday and got a lot of people going "oh no, we have to do Knowledge Transfer". Except--it's not like I just know a list of facts that I can write down.

Oh, we have one department in our office where every single person in it quit or retired within the last year. There have been WHOPPING issues with the new hires not being able to replicate years of institutional knowledge, or learn all of it within a few weeks before someone else quit/retired. There have been whopping disasters that have happened since then. They still don't have a permanent manager hired yet either.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:21 AM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


It also won't help anyone in a contractor/1099 job, including literally every single "gig economy" worker.


“As summarized by Sanders’s office, the bill would narrow the definition of an independent contractor, revise the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and increase protections for workers in the gig economy by extending collective bargaining rights to gig workers.”
posted by The Whelk at 9:30 AM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


FWIW, I used to have the same problem with my job where if I wanted to take a week off it just meant working twice as hard before and after the vacation so when my department was doing some other restructuring they made sure that part of the place was to get me some backup and put me on a team where some of my responsibilities could get shared.

So now my department is in a better position if I win the lottery/get hit by a bus, things don't get as disrupted when I take time off, and I'm a generally happier and more productive employee. Wins for the company, wins for me. All good things.
posted by VTX at 9:31 AM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Gymnopedist, this is a great time for me to plug a friend who wrote an app for that.
https://www.facebook.com/swoopjobs/
posted by envygreen at 10:32 AM on November 6, 2019


EmpressCallipygos: Dude, "taking care of each other" is also work.

Tehhund: I think we're all agreeing here: I read gucci mane's comment as "I hope someday, sooner than later, hundreds of millions of us skip selling our labor to capitalists for wages and labor to take care of each other.

This is what I am saying, I just don’t have the theoretical underpinnings down.

“Taking care of each other” is work in our current system and nearly all of it is unpaid work, unpaid emotional labor, etc. People that “take care of others”, whether that’s undocumented women who work as babysitters, or people who are psychiatrists, or people at medical care facilities, or activists creating a community for marginalized groups, or any number of things that are “work” but aren’t considered as such, are typically “undervalued”, and in most cases these aren’t even considered “work” in the same way that being a doctor would be considered work. This is an issue.

We should either elevate those practices into a place where they are considered “work”, or abolish the concept of work and level the playing field. I think we should abolish work. That’s my opinion. I have no idea what that looks like, because I completely lack the language needed to convey what a system outside of capitalism looks like, a system in which “taking care of each other” is considered an important human process, versus “work”, and certainly is not a lesser form of work compared to things that people in our society consider to be “work”.

“Taking care of each other”, while being something you have to do and takes care, effort, time, and diligence, is work in that sense. But is it only considered as such because we have such a finite amount of time between our “jobs”, our families, school, leisure activities? If we weren’t subjugated to sell our labor to people who make obscene amounts of money off of our backs, and we could spend all that time with our families and friends, taking part in activities we enjoy, learning and connecting with nature and other people, or doing any number of things that we enjoy, would it be work in the traditional sense of what we are speaking of? Or would it morph into a new framework?

Excuse me if I am not making sense. The fact of the matter is, articulating an entirely new concept of reality and society that is beyond our current one is extremely difficult, and I don’t have all the time in the world to read theory :P “It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.”
posted by gucci mane at 10:58 AM on November 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


Nah, you're good, gucci; I was just having sudden flashbacks to the "emotional labor" thread and fearing that "yeah, three guesses who's going to do the grunt work of taking care of things again, like always..." but that was likely me projecting. Your new comment, I agree almost unequivocally.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:14 AM on November 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


And that’s sort of the issue as well! I’m a white male, I don’t think I should even be establishing a conceptual model for a new society outside of capitalism without first disputing the preconceived notions and patriarchal systems that have been imbued unto me. That’s part of what is so frustrating about all of this: I didn’t consent to being put into a system in which I am nominally harmful or benefitting off of other human beings, and now, in the midst of a bunch of other things going on in my life, especially things like “working” to survive (pay rent, utilities, eat food, etc.), I have to do the “work” of disrupting those systems. And look, I’m fine with that! I just wish I had more time to dedicate toward it! I work 40 hours a week at a restaurant, being paid minimum wage and then having an additional amount of money subsidized by customers via tips, and when I get home I typically come into here and read articles and try to interact, and lately I’ve been updating the Syria thread nonstop, then around 10 PM I go to bed. So with my commute, time dedicated toward personal hygiene and making food and such, I only have a few hours each day to dedicate toward doing something that I think is important, and which would be considered work in some sort of sense. Like, disrupting the power structures inside of myself is important and takes work, but if I didn’t have to “work” for my millionaire bosses I’d be way more efficient at doing that, not to mention having more leisure time for myself, time to help out and support my friends and family, etc. I think if I didn’t have to “work” this job, and had more time, I wouldn’t consider supporting my friends to be “work” in the traditional sense, even though it does require time and effort and, well, WORK!

And look, this is a personal thing for me, but I think a lot of people may be able to identify with this particular struggle: when I was growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money. We were poor, there were vehicles being repo’d, bankruptcies, etc. My father was unemployed and my mother worked a shitload in order to support our family. This meant that neither of my parents had a lot of time to support me, a precocious, sensitive kid. Both of my parents neglected me emotionally throughout my life, either because of these issues with work and money, or because of their own traumas from their upbringings. If my parents didn’t have to worry about those things, and they could securely have had a family in which we were able to dedicate time and love to one another, my life would have turned out much differently. And now as an adult I’m learning to work on those issues as well, while also maneuvering through...work. It’s hard to work to survive, while also needing to work on these emotionally laborious, but absolutely necessary! issues.

And this is what I mean by being able to take care of one another. EmpressCallipygos, if you had some sort of medical issue or something happened like your house was being foreclosed on, it would be tremendous if we as a community came together to help you, but sometimes people can’t because they have bills to pay or their own issues going on. If we could create a system where those issues were mitigated we could help one another on a more intrinsic, human level.

Also, related to the overall topic but not necessarily what I just talked about, there are teachers that say they teach out of love, and then people take that to mean that they shouldn’t be paid anything 🙄 If we could create a system where you could teach out of love and not worry about losing your life over it, that would be great.

I know all of this sounds “idealistic”, and in some essential manner it is definitely part of a theoretical framework, but there are places in the world where people are carving out anti-capitalist, feminist, non-hierarchical societies. I think we are going to start seeing more of this as we move forward into probable human apocalypse.
posted by gucci mane at 1:07 PM on November 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


And this is what I mean by being able to take care of one another. EmpressCallipygos, if you had some sort of medical issue or something happened like your house was being foreclosed on, it would be tremendous if we as a community came together to help you, but sometimes people can’t because they have bills to pay or their own issues going on. If we could create a system where those issues were mitigated we could help one another on a more intrinsic, human level.

This is pretty standard social democracy and, in a US contact, basically Bernie's platform. It shouldn't be considered idealistic. It has been standard practice in much of Europe for decades, even if it is now being whittled away.

I work for the British Civil Service, who are now fully paid up members of the flexible working club. We have all the standard flexitime arrangements (based on 37 hour week). I did 0800-1700 yesterday but am doing 1200-1600 on Friday to rebalance my flexi budget. Home working is an option for everyone, and we get 25-30 days of annual leave (start at 25 and gain one per year of service up to 30) plus 8/9 public holidays on top of that. There are also plenty of people who work part time or compressed hours (9 days in 10 for example).

It just works. Staff are happier when they're trusted to manage their own working hours and given that greater level of freedom, and it helps cut down on presenteeism.

I think we could probably go to a 4 day week without much issue, and probably without damaging productivity. We might have to do a bit of thinking on how to coordinate timing, but we already do a lot of this for our substantial part time workforce.
posted by knapah at 1:02 AM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


They reassured me that was exceptional, because normal workers in France were only guaranteed 2.

Make America France Again
posted by kliuless at 6:41 AM on November 7, 2019


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