button Vol. 5
No. 6
Winter 2000

line INSIDE line

America's Work Ethic: How Hard Do We Really Work?
line Terminating Employees: Ease the Pain
line NLRB Allows Temps to Join Unions
line Woman Not Hired Because She Valued Family Life Too Much
line Notes on Recent NLRB Decisions
line Leave for Domestic Violence-Related Services
- New Law
line The Trusted Advisor
- Book Review
line Briefs

Braun Consulting News
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button America's Work Ethic:
How Hard Do We Really Work?

Even though a number of recent reports show U.S. workers place a high priority on quality-of-life issues, they are still the hardest-working labor force in the world. This fact tends to be in conflict with the stated desire of many workers who say their most important desire is for more time with their family.

In a report last year by the International Labor Organization it was shown that U.S. workers averaged nearly 2,000 hours of work every year. (40 hours per week x 52 weeks = 2,080 hours.) This compares to other workforces in other countries working fewer hours than we do. For example, on average U.S. workers spend 70 hours more per year on the job than their Japanese counterparts, and nearly 350 hours per year more than Europeans. This equates to nearly 10 more weeks of work per year.

A side affect of these hours put in on the job is the price we pay in our private lives. There is evidence that as a person's work hours increased, the likelihood that he or she would report problems at home grows dramatically. (This, according to a study by the Institute for Workplace Studies at Cornell University.) The study shows that approximately 10 percent of workers who were on the job at least 50 hours each week reported conflicts at home, while more than 30 percent of those working 60 or more hours reported conflicts or problems.

More statistics:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the proportion of Americans working 49 hours or more a week has remained steady in recent years, after rising in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the late 1980s, 29.5 percent of managers and professionals reported working 49 hours or more a week, as compared to 24 percent in the early 1980s. But in the past several years, the percentage of managers and professionals working 49 hours or more a week has begun to fall to the current rate of 27.9 percent.

This is showing a trend of younger affluent Americans who desire a work ethic changing from working hard to working smart. It is a good idea for employers to recognize of the changing nature of the workforce and its values. Having strategies in place to promote a healthy work/life balance will become increasingly important - as will your need to properly plan for your staffing needs in a new labor environment.

2. Terminating Employees: Ease the Pain Next Page

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