May 12, 2013
IF WE REALLY THINK THAT A JOB IS A SOCIAL GOOD IN ITSELF...:
How Low Can Part-Timers' Hours Go? (HAROLD MEYERSON, MAY 6, 2013, American Prospect)
...and we already know that workers aren't actually productive for even twenty hours a week, why not help business and society by working to increase the number of jobs and reduce the number of hours folks work per week via partnership over the benefits attached to jobs? As we move towards universal personal accounts for health, retirement, education, unemployment, etc., we can just require business to contribute to the funding based on the total hours employees put in, rather than the hours per employee. Or, better yet, tax them on consumption, instead of on labor, since we want them to employee people.Right now, the average number of hours an employee in a retail establishment works each week is 31.4. And a whole lot of Americans work in retail--just slightly over 15 million, according to the latest employment report, out Friday, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Not all of them work hours that hover just over 30, of course, but the UC Berkeley Labor Center has calculated that 10.6 percent of workers in retail establishments that employ 100 or more individuals put in between 30 and 36 hours each week. As retail establishments that employ between 50 and 100 workers may well employ a higher percentage of part-timers than their larger counterparts, that figure of 10.6 percent is likely to rise when those additional employees are factored in.Any way you slice it, there have to be millions of American workers who are likely to see their weekly hours cut below 30 as employers respond to the mandates of the Affordable Care Act. The BLS tells us that the average number of hours worked weekly in the "education and health services" sector--a catch-all category whose 20.6 million workers range from Harvard professors to home-care workers--is 32.9. According The Los Angeles Times in a story last Thursday, "colleges are reducing courses for part-time professors to keep their hours down and avoid paying for their health premiums."Indeed, not all the employers cutting back their workers' hours are found in the private sector. At the direction of Bob McDonnell, Virginia's Republican governor, the state has a new policy stipulating that its part-time workers can work no more than 29 hours a week. McDonnell's office says that more than 7,000 workers will see their hours reduced by virtue of the new rule. Nor is it just Republican-controlled governments that are reducing workers' hours. Long Beach, California, a solid-blue Democratic city, is "limiting most of its 1,600 part-time employees to fewer than 27 hours a week" in response to the law, the L.A. Times reports.
Posted by Orrin Judd at May 12, 2013 10:05 AM