aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,
aefenglommung
aefenglommung

But the government is here to help you

Deanne and I were talking over the pressure she feels at her job. She was hired as a professional, but the Obama Labor Dept.'s new rule on overtime (since stayed by a federal court) meant that her non-profit had to shift her to an hourly wage. Same overall pay, but the pressures are different.

She's being pressed to make "production," which in her case means billable hours. But there are other things that have to be done, too, which don't count as billable hours -- certain reports, follow-ups, and so on. She's not supposed to stay late to get them done, because then they'd have to pay her overtime, but there's no other time to do them. She's been working over her lunch break to try to keep up. This is a problem.

I told her that she's getting the worst of both salaried and hourly statuses, and needs to get some things clarified. A salaried person -- a professional -- understands that the job is the totality of what needs to be done, and to carry work home is usual. But if you're hourly, then you get paid for everything they ask you to do. If you're working at McDonald's and they call you in for a store training meeting, you get paid. If you're on the clock, you get paid, and if you're off the clock, you don't work. A business asking you to work off the clock is not merely demanding; they're breaking the law.

So we talked about how factory work is done, and how hourly workers manage to met production goals within the rules set by their employers. There are all kinds of internal adjustments workers make to succeed in this environment, which professionals don't do. Deanne used to do factory work, and she lit up as she remembered how it was done.

Anyway, I'm sure what has happened is that the bosses at her non-profit got the memo from the Labor Dept. and figured they'd just diddle the numbers to comply and then go on about their business same as always. They probably don't understand that they're paying people by the hour to work like salaried people; they haven't made the transition in their heads.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping that the power grab by the outdoing Labor Dept. gets overturned. But that may not mean that all the non-profits (including the local Boy Scout Council) can go back to the status quo ante. People have lost their jobs over this craziness, as non-profits have had to figure out how to stay within their budgets, and those jobs aren't going to be restored. Similarly, those who've had their statuses changed might not have them changed back, so the question of what is work and what expectations are reasonable will still have to be answered.
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