Sunday, June 05, 2011

Let's shorten the work week

It's not right to leave the unlucky jobless to starve on the side of the road, when we can just shorten the work week and spread the pain a bit. We could encourage four-day work weeks by starting time-and-a-quarter overtime after 32 hours in a week, with time-and-a-half overtime after 40 hours as usual. Accompanying this with underemployment insurance from the nation or state could help preserve our society from crimes of desperation by those people otherwise left behind. A similar 'Work-Sharing' approach has been implemented in Germany, and has been widely used.
If, as a result of such a law, a half of workers had their hours shortened by a day a week, this would create jobs for about an additional 7% of us. That alone could almost eliminate official unemployment, currently at 9.1%, and make a dent on actual unemployment, which is calculate to be quite a bit larger.
In addition, this could ease the burden on social service providers, as the newly employed could care for themselves. And it would ease discrimination against minorities, as fuller employment tends to do.

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