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The Shorter Workweek, The Higher Wages - The Reward
Right now working harder is required, but who benefits?
Worker Productivity in 1980 actually compounded at an average rate of 1.97% per year through 2011.
Worker Non-farm Wages in 1980: approximated an average of $15.95/hour
Worker Non-farm Wages in 2000: approximated an average of $18.33/per hour
Minimum Wage in 1980: $3.10 (non-exempt positions covered by the federal laws)
Minimum Wage in 2012: $7.25 (Unchanged since July 2009 for nonexempt positions. Some states set higher minimum wages, and as of 1/1/2012 Washington State's was the highest at $9.04)
Population in 1980: 226,545,805
Population in 2012: 313,912,000
Illegal Immigrant Population in 2007: estimated as 12.5 million
Illegal Immigrant Population 2012: estimated as between 7 million and 20 million
The established Workweek in 1980: 40 hours (non-farm)
The established Workweek in 2012: 40 hours (non-farm)
How can we properly recognize increased worker productivity?
Here is a proposal which has already been debated and needs to be reconsidered:
Let's go to a four day workweek and maintain something like the five day workweek pay.
Let's recognize that the workers created the increased productivity which resulted in the increased profits which until now have gone primarily to owner and executive compensation.
If the average wage had compounded at the same percentage as the increase in worker productivity, the approximate average hourly wage today would be $29.20, while during those same 31 years workers have been asked to pay an increasing share of their medical insurance, have seen employer contributions to pensions reduced in many cases, and many have seen the loss of their jobs, savings, and homes.
The 40-hour workweek dates way back and was used not only to set a national standard for a week of work, but also to get more people employed when times were tough and jobs were scarce with the federal government as the employer of last resort (if you could even get a federal job!)
As workers have not been adequately rewarded for their increased productivity, let's make a reward that says "we recognize that you are accomplishing more in less time and that deserves to be rewarded."
If going to a 32-hour workweek (or at least some reduction in daily hours) means that some businesses will need to hire extra workers to fill the gaps, that is just what today's economy needs to be doing. Business can play its part by arranging shifts to accommodate the new hours and new employees at all skill levels. Workers will have more family and personal time as a reward for their efficiencies, and even work more effectively on the days they do work. Tax revenues will increase, the costs of public support will reduce, and national pride can be restored.
Isn't this how "The Trickle Down Theory" can actually work to benefit the lives of America's workers who produce the goods, services, and exports we need in order to get America moving again in leading the world to greater prosperity for all?
What would you do with some extra personal and family time each week?
Rather than keeping a five-day workweek, I urge going to the four-day workweek of 32 hours, so the gap needs to be filled by those currently unemployed American workers, rather than someone in management simply demanding: "Now you need to work even harder when you are at work!"
© 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
Working Time through the years....
- Working time - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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