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4 Hour Work Days?

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4 Hour Work Days?

Postby NorthAmericanguy » December 19th, 2011, 8:54 pm

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Postby Think Different » December 19th, 2011, 11:06 pm

I haven't read this, but the French government implemented this policy a few years ago. They dropped the mandatory work-week from 40 hrs/week to 35 hrs/week, which still included full-time benefits. The idea was to put more people to work (i.e. more man-hours available), keep the riff-raff off the streets and get more people paying into the tax base. It actually has been somewhat successful from what I've heard, although I haven't honestly followed it closely. I also know the French has the best rated universal health care system in the world and some of the longest time off from work (~44 days/year).
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Postby E_Irizarry » December 19th, 2011, 11:21 pm

Think Different wrote:I haven't read this, but the French government implemented this policy a few years ago. They dropped the mandatory work-week from 40 hrs/week to 35 hrs/week, which still included full-time benefits. The idea was to put more people to work (i.e. more man-hours available), keep the riff-raff off the streets and get more people paying into the tax base. It actually has been somewhat successful from what I've heard, although I haven't honestly followed it closely. I also know the French has the best rated universal health care system in the world and some of the longest time off from work (~44 days/year).


No wonder it's easy for young dudes to get sex from MILFs and GILFs over there! It seems so laid-back there.
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Postby Grunt » December 20th, 2011, 12:49 am

My wife did 4 day weeks, 10 hours a day, when we lived in Montana. It was awesome. Now that we are in Virginia, shes back on 5 days, 8 hours a day and it blows.
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Postby jamesbond » December 20th, 2011, 1:49 am

People in western Europe get a lot more time off from their jobs than Americans do. In Germany, France and a few other countries, they get 6 weeks of paid vacation a year starting with their first year of emploment!

In contrast, in America, 25% of workers get NO vacation time at all! :shock:

I think in Europe they understand that you were not put on this earth to be a workaholic, your supposed to live a balanced life. Just another good reason to relocate to Europe! :D
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Postby Grunt » December 20th, 2011, 2:02 am

Then I agree with the European work model. Hell, even in the military we got a full 30 day leave once a year. f**k the fascist American corporate slavegrid.
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Postby momopi » December 20th, 2011, 3:31 am

I worked for a multinational Fortune 500 company in the finance/mutual fund industry for 12.5 years (14 years including contract time). The company had 21 offices around the globe, plus numerous financial/investment analysts scattered around the world in developed and developing countries. Working with the folks in European offices were always an adventure with different holidays and schedules, because they're often not permitted to work overtime by law. This means, if the company needs someone there after-hours, they must hire another worker and put him/her there. This was done to reduce their unemployment rate. Also, the Geneva office required "special handling" because the Swiss men depart for annual war games to fulfill their militia training obligations. So whatever project you worked on have to be arranged around it.

Europeans in general are also more specialized in their given task. They're highly trained to perform one task or system, and multitasking was somewhat discouraged. Please keep in mind that my experience is based on my prior dealings with people in Western Europe (England, Swiss, Germany) only. I've had no business or professional relationship with folks in Eastern Europe.

I'd also note that my time working for the above company was the "Gen X era", and there are some distinct differences with the "Gen Y era" work environment today. With the Gen X era, it was a time when:

- Mainframes and mini's were being retired in favor of micro computers (I started as an admin on IBM/360 system running AIX)
- Most employees had desktop PC's, only a minority were issued laptops
- Business attire was moving from suit & tie to "business causal" (following IBM's example)
- 8 paid holidays
- 2 weeks paid vacation to start (plus couple personal days and sick days)
- Company rules tend to prohibit using company computer for personal activities
- The internet was becoming popular and companies discouraged employees from surfing the web during working hours
- Moving away from pagers toward cell phones
- Your eduction background and work experience were major factors in the hiring decision
- Company pension system were slowly going away and replaced by 401(k)'s
- High demand for IT workers due to dot com bubble
- Companies experimented with off-shore services with mixed success
- Usually only 1 company "all hands meeting" and 1 company "holiday party" per year
- Employees had 1 annual performance review per year with their boss, and increases/bonuses are handed out once a year.
- Companies preferred to retain full time employees and used contractors as buffers when they need to lay people off
- Companies discouraged employees from dating each other
- 8 to 5 M-F regular work schedule, most IT workers are full time staff with no overtime pay
- When smartphones were introduced, blackberries were the standard.
- Senior management tend to be very formal


This year, I got a new job working for a "Gen Y" type company that develops web based businesses and mobile apps. The company office was located down the street from Google office, so we kinda followed some of their methods to remain competitive in getting and retaining employees:

- New employees tend to be younger
- Company is tolerant with tattoos, piercings, dress code is jeans, t-shirt, sneakers (I've even see slippers)
- Couch & entertainment area on every floor with multiple flat screen TV's, cable TV, Xbox 360, Wii, etc. Dart boards on the walls at random. (tired of working? go play some video games, your manager is OK with it.)
- Building has larger game room with ping pong tables, basketball hoops, arcades, pinball machines, music boxes, cable TV, xbox/wii, etc.
- Heavily subsidized snacks and drinks (5 cent for bag of chips)
- 3 weeks paid vacation up front + 1 week after 2 years. Senior positions start with 4 weeks paid vacation.
- 4 "all hands meeting" events every year, which is basically day off work and you go listen to the CEO talk and eat free food and party
- Employees hit on each other at company parties and some go home together afterwards. Company publish "dating guidelines" and only discourage dating between managers and their subordinates due to conflict of interest.
- 4 "team building events" every year where the whole department goes fishing, K1 racing, boat trip to Catalina, etc.
- 12 paid holidays this year (that I counted)
- Employees can sign up with charity/volunteer programs and go do volunteer work at company expense (you get paid for the day)
- Employees issued laptops, smartphones, tablets. You rarely see desktops. Blackberries are so yesterday, we only issue iPhone and Android phones now.
- Flexible work schedule, people come in at 9am-10am and as long as they put in 40 hours/week, the managers are happy. Sometimes I go in at 8am and I'm the only person in the office in my area.
- All IT staff are on "hourly wage" and not allowed to do overtime without special permission from senior management. All OT is paid at OT rate.
- I think half the people in the office is logged on to facebook or surfing the web. As long as they get their work done the management rarely complains. But we're an internet app company so...
- Your skills have a larger impact on hiring decision vs. your education and past work experience. Job ads read "looking for awesome programmer", and interview process include proving your ability to code by hand on a white board.
- Skilled & desirable employees are difficult to hire and retain. i.e. good mobile app developers that come in to interview are usually interviewing with 3-4 other companies at the same time, and the unemployment rate for them is very low at 2%-4%, with annual pay of $80k+.
- Gen Y workers tend to care more about quality of life, time off work, and the work environment than salary.
- Higher turnover rate (20%)
- Quarterly reviews with your manager (guy might not be here in 6 months and want his money now)
- Senior management tend to be informal, I can walk into the VP's office and bitch about some sh*t at work and it's OK.


Also, coming from a Gen X perspective, there is a generation gap with Gen Y coworkers that are 15 years younger than me. It's something that you just have to deal with, and teach them how to tie a fishing hook/knot because they never touched a fishing pole in their life before, other than fishing video games.
Last edited by momopi on December 20th, 2011, 4:19 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby S_Parc » December 20th, 2011, 4:07 am

In all honesty, I can't see a 4 day work week, happening in America, outside of self-employment where in effect, you don't take client calls on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. For that, you may have to take a paycut.

Here, the concept of a W-2 employee is that of being owned. In other words, hours are billable to a cost center or customer code and thus, many places make people book 40-55 hrs per week, to justify headcount, in place of offshoring the work. If a team were to routinely post 35 hrs to a project, I can see that group getting whacked during a reorganization.

Right now, South Korea and many east Asian societies have people working 10-11 hour days and sometimes even 1/2 days on a Saturday. And from the look of things, LG and Samsung are way ahead of Europe in terms of electronics & solid-state components. Philips and Siemens are on the decline, in comparison.

Thus, Europe will completely fall behind the curve, when east Asia becomes the world center of capital in the decades ahead. The US will mainly keep up, mostly due to pre-existing defense projects, mining (shale, coal, etc), food stuffs, and international money laundering. All and all, that world work culture will be more like Singapore or Korea and less like Holland or France in the years ahead.
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Postby gsjackson » December 20th, 2011, 6:16 am

This was written in 1932. If you go back and look at American news magazines from the '50s, such as Time and Newsweek, you'll see that the twenty hour workweek was a hot issue back in those days of rising prosperity and a rapidly expanding middle class. What were we going to do with all that leisure time -- that was how it was framed. But the idea then was that these would be regular jobs with the usual benefits. Ironically, now we have plenty of twenty hour work weeks, but it's so employers don't have to pay for health care, and can stay "flexible," as labor is expected to. Anybody working a regular full-time job nowadays is expected to stay at the office more than 40 hours a week.
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Postby djfourmoney » December 20th, 2011, 7:22 am

S_Parc wrote:In all honesty, I can't see a 4 day work week, happening in America, outside of self-employment where in effect, you don't take client calls on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. For that, you may have to take a paycut.

Here, the concept of a W-2 employee is that of being owned. In other words, hours are billable to a cost center or customer code and thus, many places make people book 40-55 hrs per week, to justify headcount, in place of offshoring the work. If a team were to routinely post 35 hrs to a project, I can see that group getting whacked during a reorganization.

Right now, South Korea and many east Asian societies have people working 10-11 hour days and sometimes even 1/2 days on a Saturday. And from the look of things, LG and Samsung are way ahead of Europe in terms of electronics & solid-state components. Philips and Siemens are on the decline, in comparison.

Thus, Europe will completely fall behind the curve, when east Asia becomes the world center of capital in the decades ahead. The US will mainly keep up, mostly due to pre-existing defense projects, mining (shale, coal, etc), food stuffs, and international money laundering. All and all, that world work culture will be more like Singapore or Korea and less like Holland or France in the years ahead.


It will happen because economics will force it.

You already have more people entering the job than jobs available and not including the people currently in working part-time that desire full-time work or the long term unemployed like me.

Eventually the Government will have to pay people to stay home because of computers and automation, you can already see it. This is why we're more of a service economy than industrial and that tread will not just continue but pick up speed.

You largely don't even need people to build cars or electronic devices NOW, its for a slew of Geo-Political reasons that is not happening yet, especially with bad economy.
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Postby E_Irizarry » December 20th, 2011, 7:43 pm

momopi wrote:I worked for a multinational Fortune 500 company in the finance/mutual fund industry for 12.5 years (14 years including contract time). The company had 21 offices around the globe, plus numerous financial/investment analysts scattered around the world in developed and developing countries. Working with the folks in European offices were always an adventure with different holidays and schedules, because they're often not permitted to work overtime by law. This means, if the company needs someone there after-hours, they must hire another worker and put him/her there. This was done to reduce their unemployment rate. Also, the Geneva office required "special handling" because the Swiss men depart for annual war games to fulfill their militia training obligations. So whatever project you worked on have to be arranged around it.

Europeans in general are also more specialized in their given task. They're highly trained to perform one task or system, and multitasking was somewhat discouraged. Please keep in mind that my experience is based on my prior dealings with people in Western Europe (England, Swiss, Germany) only. I've had no business or professional relationship with folks in Eastern Europe.

I'd also note that my time working for the above company was the "Gen X era", and there are some distinct differences with the "Gen Y era" work environment today. With the Gen X era, it was a time when:

- Mainframes and mini's were being retired in favor of micro computers (I started as an admin on IBM/360 system running AIX)
- Most employees had desktop PC's, only a minority were issued laptops
- Business attire was moving from suit & tie to "business causal" (following IBM's example)
- 8 paid holidays
- 2 weeks paid vacation to start (plus couple personal days and sick days)
- Company rules tend to prohibit using company computer for personal activities
- The internet was becoming popular and companies discouraged employees from surfing the web during working hours
- Moving away from pagers toward cell phones
- Your eduction background and work experience were major factors in the hiring decision
- Company pension system were slowly going away and replaced by 401(k)'s
- High demand for IT workers due to dot com bubble
- Companies experimented with off-shore services with mixed success
- Usually only 1 company "all hands meeting" and 1 company "holiday party" per year
- Employees had 1 annual performance review per year with their boss, and increases/bonuses are handed out once a year.
- Companies preferred to retain full time employees and used contractors as buffers when they need to lay people off
- Companies discouraged employees from dating each other
- 8 to 5 M-F regular work schedule, most IT workers are full time staff with no overtime pay
- When smartphones were introduced, blackberries were the standard.
- Senior management tend to be very formal


This year, I got a new job working for a "Gen Y" type company that develops web based businesses and mobile apps. The company office was located down the street from Google office, so we kinda followed some of their methods to remain competitive in getting and retaining employees:

- New employees tend to be younger
- Company is tolerant with tattoos, piercings, dress code is jeans, t-shirt, sneakers (I've even see slippers)
- Couch & entertainment area on every floor with multiple flat screen TV's, cable TV, Xbox 360, Wii, etc. Dart boards on the walls at random. (tired of working? go play some video games, your manager is OK with it.)
- Building has larger game room with ping pong tables, basketball hoops, arcades, pinball machines, music boxes, cable TV, xbox/wii, etc.
- Heavily subsidized snacks and drinks (5 cent for bag of chips)
- 3 weeks paid vacation up front + 1 week after 2 years. Senior positions start with 4 weeks paid vacation.
- 4 "all hands meeting" events every year, which is basically day off work and you go listen to the CEO talk and eat free food and party
- Employees hit on each other at company parties and some go home together afterwards. Company publish "dating guidelines" and only discourage dating between managers and their subordinates due to conflict of interest.
- 4 "team building events" every year where the whole department goes fishing, K1 racing, boat trip to Catalina, etc.
- 12 paid holidays this year (that I counted)
- Employees can sign up with charity/volunteer programs and go do volunteer work at company expense (you get paid for the day)
- Employees issued laptops, smartphones, tablets. You rarely see desktops. Blackberries are so yesterday, we only issue iPhone and Android phones now.
- Flexible work schedule, people come in at 9am-10am and as long as they put in 40 hours/week, the managers are happy. Sometimes I go in at 8am and I'm the only person in the office in my area.
- All IT staff are on "hourly wage" and not allowed to do overtime without special permission from senior management. All OT is paid at OT rate.
- I think half the people in the office is logged on to facebook or surfing the web. As long as they get their work done the management rarely complains. But we're an internet app company so...
- Your skills have a larger impact on hiring decision vs. your education and past work experience. Job ads read "looking for awesome programmer", and interview process include proving your ability to code by hand on a white board.
- Skilled & desirable employees are difficult to hire and retain. i.e. good mobile app developers that come in to interview are usually interviewing with 3-4 other companies at the same time, and the unemployment rate for them is very low at 2%-4%, with annual pay of $80k+.
- Gen Y workers tend to care more about quality of life, time off work, and the work environment than salary.
- Higher turnover rate (20%)
- Quarterly reviews with your manager (guy might not be here in 6 months and want his money now)
- Senior management tend to be informal, I can walk into the VP's office and bitch about some sh*t at work and it's OK.


Also, coming from a Gen X perspective, there is a generation gap with Gen Y coworkers that are 15 years younger than me. It's something that you just have to deal with, and teach them how to tie a fishing hook/knot because they never touched a fishing pole in their life before, other than fishing video games.


That sounds like the IT job I had as an Microsoft ASP Developer in Beverly Hills 11 years ago. Pizza one night alternating with California styled Thai food every other night - free on the house. We never had to eat out because there was always food there!!!! When 6pm came, It was Quake III Team Arena time! LOLOLOLOL hahahaaha!!!!
"I appreciate the opportunities I have in America. Opportunities that allow me to live abroad." **Smiles** - Have2Fly@H.A. (2013)

"The only way to overcome that is to go abroad to get a broad."
- E. Irizarry (2009)

"MGTOW resilience is the key to foreign residence. You better muthafuckin' ask somebody!!"
- E. Irizarry (2012)

"I rather be ostracized by 157.0 million (27.3% of the US of Gay pop), then to appease 1 feminist." - E. Irizarry (2013)

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