Common Sense Living

Call to Action: Let’s Get Back to the 40-Hour Workweek

American’s are stressed out, tired, beaten down, and working longer than ever, and it’s because the 40-hour workweek is a thing of the past.  50 to 80 hours has become the new norm!  How did this happen?

For one thing, there has been a gradual decline in union membership for the past 40 years.  Employees are losing their ability to bargain, not only for fair wages, but also for good ole family time.  It has gotten so bad in some industries that employees are even skipping vacations, a trend that has been getting worse for the past decade.

Employees Skipping Vacations

Another factor is that many non-supervisory jobs have been reclassified as “Exempt”, with the employee put on a salary versus a hourly wage.  Non-Exempt employees, when required to work overtime (over 40 hours per week), are paid 1.5x their normal wage.

With the reclassification of jobs, we no longer have “janitors”.  Instead, we have “custodial engineers” who are paid salary, and required to work 75 hours!

When salaries are negotiated, an employee typically assumes a 40-50 hour work week.  If the employer gets 75, that’s free money to them!  No wonder the wealth gap in this country keeps growing!

If you are in the software industry, it’s far worse!  Software engineers work long hours and then get called day and night with on-call duties to resolve issues with systems.  The issues, in most cases, are not caused by anything they did wrong.  Meanwhile, their billionaire bosses have become the richest people on the planet!

It’s time for a newer, simpler, fairer system to ensure that if an employer simply wants more, they don’t put the cost on employees backs, but rather they bear the cost themselves.


I propose a system that states, if you do not manage/supervise people, or you manage/supervise a team of less than 100 people, then you are entitled to 1.5x your hourly pay for each hour you work over 40 hours a week.

This simple rule ensures several results:

  1. Workers are paid for the overtime they put in, and employers don’t get richer by destroying families, marriages, and children’s ability to have parents at home when they need it most.
  2. The 100-team rule prevents the corporation from “stacking” employees vertically so that all but the bottom are paid salaries (each employee supervises only 1 other employee).
  3. The 100-team rule also prevents senior leadership roles from dumping the detailed work on the manager to make up the difference.  If the line is drawn at teams of 100, there is no way the leader of over 100 can perform the detailed work.

So there you have it!  It’s time we get our sanity back as a nation, and reclaim the benefits of the output we produce!  It’s time we protect our families from abusive or mismanaged corporations.

I welcome feedback on this idea!





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