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the_dork

Maximum Working Hours

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Beyond the futile call for more ‘jobs’ (whatever these are) and tampering around with the tax system, we clearly need more political reforms.

For me, one good idea which would enable us to work less and pay less tax is maximum working hours. This obviously couldn’t apply for everything skilled (doctors, lawyers etc) or for vocational jobs like acting, sports. But maybe 80% jobs in the economy, are a chore and done as a means to an end, a paycheque.

If instead of loads of people doing these jobs 45-50 hours a week, with loads of people doing nothing, we re-jigged so everyone did say 35 hours, what would happen?

  1. Many of the less skilled/unemployable would be working rather than not. This could lower overall efficiency, though I’m sceptical as there’s a lot of unskilled work out there.
  2. As a result of above, less tax on population as a whole as this aspect of social spending could shift way down (or spent more productively)
  3. Some people would possibly be unhappy at this restriction on free labour contracts.

Am I missing something?

I understand this has been tried in France, with fairly limited success though that country is a constant source of bafflement to me, in many ways the best in the world, in others, the worst.

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Sorry yes, that's a fairly obvious one I should have explained. However, paying less tax and prices would change enormously, so what would net effect be?

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Sorry yes, that's a fairly obvious one I should have explained. However, paying less tax and prices would change enormously, so what would net effect be?

A lot of disgruntled tory voters.

People unable to afford their mortgage repayments.

People uanble to afford food/gas/petrol.

You have a point though...we NEED deflation.

Edited by TheCountOfNowhere

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I understand this has been tried in France, with fairly limited success though that country is a constant source of bafflement to me, in many ways the best in the world, in others, the worst.

Speaking as someone who has worked in France and seen the "35 heures" in action...

The original idea was fair and noble: "sharing the work in order to reduce unemployment".

Unfortunately it hit several snags:

  1. Employing someone in France means loads of paperwork. Bosses were not happy at having to employ more people, as it meant more administrative overheads. Oh, and despite the demonisation of Fat Cats here and in other media, most employers are just average people struggling to pay bills like everyone else!
  2. Employees realised that they would be making less money, at which point they stopped singing "The Workers United". The unions pushed for - and got - that employees would work less hours, but keep the same wages.
  3. So instead of sharing the same sum total of "salaries" between more employees, employers saw their wages bill shooting upwards. The predictable result was that they chose to push existing employess harder, rather than take on new staff.
  4. If you work a shorter day, it has massive impacts on other activities/industries. E.g. school times, public transport peak-time schedules, etc... Anecdotally, I know of one factory that bused in its employees. When they switched to a shorter week, they didn't change the bus times (as the bus operator probably couldn't do it) so staff spent their "free time" kicking their heels. In practice, instead of working shorter days, most people ending up getting more days off work ("les RTT").

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1. More traffic on the roads.

2. Presumably there would have to be a disincentive to working more than the prescribed number of hours. I guess this would mean a lot of people going underground, meaning tax revenues suffer

3. Culture - especially amongst older industrial workers (who didnt have chance to play tax credit system). Normal time pays the bills, overtime pays for holidays, the pub and fags.

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I'd happily work four days for 80% of the money, but in order to do that and still operate effectively I'd need the people that I'm dealing with to work the same four days.

A national four day week Mon - Thurs would suit me down to the ground, and I'd have said the same when I started work on my not very big salary.

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Simple ish solution..

First 30 hours per week are at a standard rate, next 10 are at standard plus 20%, next 10 another 20% and so on. Applies to all jobs without exemptions.

Allows flexability whilst encouraging shorter working weeks. Also stops the use of unpaid mandatory overtime, and eliminates presentee-ism.

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....many do already do what is called a 'job share' not only do they share the wage, they also have to share the holidays, what about sick pay, pensions etc?.....what about promotion/ career advancement?....it would be an unfair two tiered system if forced upon people....so there would be those that can earn more/work more and those that can't, all well and good if it was a free choice..... I think full time workers especially when they are older should be encouraged to work part-time and give others a chance, but some would hate to give up or cut back on their job, their purpose, their identity, who they are for some, is what they do.

Many of the hours people work are not infact paid, they are salaried, people work the extra hours for free, over and above their contracted hours because often they choose to or are obliged to, so as not to get passed over for promotion or seen as not dedicated to the job.....more to all this than meets the eye. ;)

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Thanks for the thoughts, view from France particularly interesting.

I think one issue of it is that it would work best in a socialist/communist society (which has other problems!) rather than competing businesses responding to consumer demand.

I reckon a basic income is a more feasible and efficient goal under state capitalism

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I was working in Paris soon after the restricted hours came into force. It was a joke. We had a tight deadline and were burning the midnight oil, except we actually had to keep the lights really low because the story was the authorities were out looking for offices still lit up after 8.00pm. What a pathetic situation, like the blitz blackout, just a farcical piece of legislation.

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If you have debts then you "NEED deflation" like a hole in the head. So it might be more accurate to say "some of us want deflation".

Well I needed years/decades of out-of-control raging HPI like a hole in the head as well - and it's just great looking at zany asking prices on Rightmove, with hardly any supply on the market.

At this point, against mad house prices, and years of people making excuses for those with huge debts (they just wanted a home / media / social pressure jumbo mortgages.... buyers still queuing up and pushing and falling over one-another outbidding each other for properties at mad prices).... I don't care at all about debtors and their debts.

It's their debt, so let them pay it.

Edited by Venger

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Beyond the futile call for more ‘jobs’ (whatever these are) and tampering around with the tax system, we clearly need more political reforms.

For me, one good idea which would enable us to work less and pay less tax is maximum working hours. This obviously couldn’t apply for everything skilled (doctors, lawyers etc) or for vocational jobs like acting, sports. But maybe 80% jobs in the economy, are a chore and done as a means to an end, a paycheque.

If instead of loads of people doing these jobs 45-50 hours a week, with loads of people doing nothing, we re-jigged so everyone did say 35 hours, what would happen?

  1. Many of the less skilled/unemployable would be working rather than not. This could lower overall efficiency, though I’m sceptical as there’s a lot of unskilled work out there.
  2. As a result of above, less tax on population as a whole as this aspect of social spending could shift way down (or spent more productively)
  3. Some people would possibly be unhappy at this restriction on free labour contracts.

Am I missing something?

I understand this has been tried in France, with fairly limited success though that country is a constant source of bafflement to me, in many ways the best in the world, in others, the worst.

Well ive just turned down a 6 weeks contract in Belgium as im only allowed to work 50 hours a week, as opposed to the 84 that is the norm for this kind of job in the O and G industry.

So your idea is wrong, people should be allowed to work any hours they want.

Why the fck some bureaucrats who has never had dirt on their hands thinks he knows whats best for me is staggering.

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I understand this has been tried in France, with fairly limited success though that country is a constant source of bafflement to me, in many ways the best in the world, in others, the worst.

Limited success is an interesting way of describing a moribund economy and record unemployment

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with a great cultural scene, well preserved environment, strong family units etc.

Seems like they just want globalisation to go away, same as many people on here, but dealing with it in a different way

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Well ive just turned down a 6 weeks contract in Belgium as im only allowed to work 50 hours a week, as opposed to the 84 that is the norm for this kind of job in the O and G industry.

So your idea is wrong, people should be allowed to work any hours they want.

Why the fck some bureaucrats who has never had dirt on their hands thinks he knows whats best for me is staggering.

I work in the oil & gas industry too and yes 7 12's was the norm but not anymore H&S has improved I've done it for years it runs you down & burns you out. 6 days is now considered max or 2 days off in 14.

Personally I'd rather not work alongside people that are dog tired but that's my opinion as a welder.

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Well ive just turned down a 6 weeks contract in Belgium as im only allowed to work 50 hours a week, as opposed to the 84 that is the norm for this kind of job in the O and G industry.

So your idea is wrong, people should be allowed to work any hours they want.

Why the fck some bureaucrats who has never had dirt on their hands thinks he knows whats best for me is staggering.

12 hour days, 7 days a week. Let's hope it doesn't involve heavy machinery or any kind of judgement.

How are your feelings of occupations like Airline Pilot, Bus/Lorry Driver, etc having people being allowed to work however many hours they want?

Thing is, my day job is in software development, in which trying to persuade people that there is a limit to how many hours a person can usefully work in a day seems a losing proposition. Much better to have completely exhausted people writing gibberish code, apparently. This is why I'd prefer to see a limit implemented through mandatory, escalating overtime payments, it would focus management minds a lot better than a hard limit that would get forgotten about.

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