Friday, July 26, 2013

Would you donate $2500 to your boss?

If you were earning $10/hr and your boss asked you to give him $2500, would you do it? Probably not. But that's exactly what many people are expected to do.


You're keen to impress your boss, and keep your job, so if he expects you to turn up 15 minutes early, you do it, right? No biggie. And staying 15 minutes late to finish off a few things, sure, you can do that. And then in the evening, you take care of a couple of emails, maybe take a phone call, or deal with a couple of little tasks at home... it's only half an hour. So what?

But add that up. It's an hour a day. Five hours a week - more than half a day's unpaid labor, or $50. Over the course of a month, that's 20 hours - half a week, or $200. In a year, you've done 250 hours unpaid work - that's six whole weeks! Even at normal rates, not allowing for overtime payments, that's $2500 you should have earned. Instead, you worked for free, and the company keeps the money. If they have 20 employees, that's $50,000 they didn't pay out to their staff.

Obviously, for higher paid staff, extra hours go with the territory. I've often been in jobs where I was expected to work 60-80 hours a week, but my salary and other incentives more than compensated for it. But for lower paid staff who have nothing to gain, it's immoral that they should be expected to donate free labor and be exploited in this way.

Unpaid overtime hurts many workers, and it damages the economy. That $50,000 could have employed two extra people. Obviously the work needs doing, and there are people who need the jobs. If the companies who do this actually paid for the work that's done on their behalf, unemployment would be drastically reduced, hundreds of thousands of families would be better off, and the national welfare bill would plummet.