Can you fix it? Bring in a 30-hour working week

Last updated 11:30 12/11/2012

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A 30-hour working week isn't a new idea. What I describe is just a means of accomplishing it.

Shift workers and anyone working on a roster and being paid per hour, should be paid time-and-a-half when working more than 40 or 50 hours in a week (or otherwise as described in their contract).

I suggest that all employment contracts be required to include this, as well as to introduce another clause in that respect: That any employee working more than 30 hours per week be paid time-and-a-quarter for every hour worked after the 30th hour.

Employees working more than 40 hours per week would receive normal payment for the first 30 hours, time-and-a-quarter for the following 10 hours and time-and-a-half for any hours worked after that.

For example, Johnny works as a retail manager earning $20 per hour. One week he works 37.5 hours exactly (7.5 hours per day). He would earn for that week:

30 hours = $600
7.5 hours at 1.25 = $187.5
Total: $787.5

The following week Johnny needs to cover someone else's shift, and ends up working 45 hours.

He would earn:

30 hours = $600
10 hours at 1.25 = $250
5 hours at 1.5 = $150
Total: $1000

In order to avoid harming businesses, they should be able to deduct from their taxes (or otherwise be refunded) part of their losses incurred due to this change for the first years after the introduction.

This could be calculated as a maximum threshold depending on the amount of people the business employs.

Some consequences would be:

1) Employers would be likely to employ more people, with fewer working hours, thereby distributing the job opportunities more throughout the market.

2) The tax-deductible payment would mean that if someone needs to work 40+ hours a week, they would also be better rewarded for their time. This means more money would be going towards the people who really need it. (This could be the case, for example, if they are single-handedly supporting a large family, or need to pay back debt, or the employer can't find qualified workers).

3) The average "9 to 5" worker, if working 30 hours a week, would have more time during the week to go out during commercial hours and spend their money, thereby strengthening the economy.

Can you fix the economy? is an ongoing Stuff Nation assignment. To contribute hit the green button.

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