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CA Legislature Torpedoes IT Overtime 555

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the but-it's-for-their-own-good dept.
An anonymous reader writes to mention that a recent piece of California legislation is enabling tech firms to avoid paying their workers overtime. Originally designed to deal with bonds for children's hospitals, bill AB10 was completely rewritten to prevent lawsuit damages over overtime nonpayment. "'This is the first time that the Legislature has done a takeaway of the rights of private-sector workers as part of the budget deal,' said Caitlin Vega of the California Labor Federation. 'We just think it is wrong. We think it will really hurt the groups of workers who will be expected to work through the weekend and not get paid.'"
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CA Legislature Torpedoes IT Overtime

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  • Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:31PM (#25169333)

    Good - I didn't want to work those weekends anyway, and now I have a good reason not to do it.

  • You mean... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ivandavidoff (969036) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:32PM (#25169347)
    you can get paid for overtime?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      you can get paid for overtime?

      Nope. And, now, apparently, you can't sue over that fact any more. :-P

      Cheers

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cbrocious (764766)
        Sure you can, if your employment contract says you get overtime. Most companies are still going to pay for overtime regardless of whether the government tells them to or not.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gstoddart (321705)

          Sure you can, if your employment contract says you get overtime. Most companies are still going to pay for overtime regardless of whether the government tells them to or not.

          Well, the specific case I can think of was Apple. They were demanding increasingly long hours (as I recall) but not paying additional amounts for it.

          The problem is, if it's too open ended in terms of how much your employer can demand unpaid overtime, then it'll just get out of control. If they're not going to be required to pay it, it

          • Try science (Score:5, Informative)

            by TheMeuge (645043) on Friday September 26, 2008 @03:04PM (#25169957)

            If you think IT is bad, try biomedical sciences, medicine, and science academia.

            The concept of overtime does not exist for >90% of the workers in these fields. It's not uncommon to ASSUME that a 12-hour day is normal, at 6 days per week.

            And yes, I am including students... because if your training extends into your 30s, you're an employee.

            Oh, and by the way, ask your nearest ER resident (or even a junior attending) when was the last time they had a 40-hour week. Most of the time, the answer will be "high school".

    • Of course. If I didn't get paid overtime, I'd just be working for free. Company policy: first 40 hours of the week is free, then they pay me $10 / hr. It is, after all, the industry standard.
  • by phorm (591458) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:32PM (#25169365) Journal

    We think it will really hurt the groups of workers who will be expected to work through the weekend and not get paid

    Not only that, but as this legislation allowed massive abuse of employee's time, the state will suffer as skilled workers start looking elsewhere for employment.

  • Unreal... (Score:4, Funny)

    by teknopurge (199509) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:32PM (#25169369) Homepage

    Why is Arnold not doing something about this?

  • That's what I wonder. If they do, how about cutting that as well?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      News reports claimed that the legislature would benefit from the budget stalemate due to the overtime.

      I'd love to see a state constitutional amendment to the effect that if the budget is not approved by June 1, all statewide elected officials shall forfeit all pay, and any person hired by their office shall receive the federally mandated minimum wage, with no chance of reimbursement, until the budget is passed.

      The bit about "person hired by their office" is to spread the pain. Lets face it, in CA, most leg

  • by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:37PM (#25169459) Homepage

    You can tell if a bill is bad if the author of the bill's name is not on it.

    Apparently, the author(s) were ashamed of the bill.

  • by butterflysrage (1066514) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:38PM (#25169471)

    I work 9 to 5. I work HARD 9 to 5, but at 5 I log out and go home. If you want me to spend extra time at work then we need to do some negotiation for a new contract and you're going to be giving me more money.

    I am not going to give up time with my family so some middle manager can get some slaps on his back for bringing in the project on a date he never should have agreed to in the first place. What ever happened to accountability? oh right.... they get $700bn bail outs.

    • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:48PM (#25169663)

      I am not going to give up time with my family so some middle manager can get some slaps on his back ...

      And therein lies the problem. You may not be willing to, but it's almost certain that someone else (probably someone with no kids yet) will be willing to waste his time in that manner. And he's your competition. And new replicas of him are graduated every year.

      • by spinkham (56603) on Friday September 26, 2008 @03:04PM (#25169947)

        There are 2 ways to be paid: Based on Effort, or based on Results.
        By and large, great employees want to be judged on results, and mediocre ones want to be judges based on effort. The problem is in many fields (including most IT jobs) it is difficult to turn results into a number you can be paid based on, so the industry by and large rewards effort instead.
        That's one of the main reasons I work for a small company: We value results over effort. If I can get my job done in 1/2 the time allotted, that's great. If it takes me 2x as long, sucks for me. So it puts positive pressure on my to improve and be more productive in less time, the exact opposite of the pressure at most companies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cowscows (103644)

        That's only true to a point. Once you get some experience tucked into your belt, there are employers out there who understand what that is worth. It may limit the number of companies that you have to choose from, but there are a lot of them out there.

        If you've got around five years of experience or so and you're worried about being replaced by a fresh college grad, then the place you're working probably has all sorts of priority issues, and you probably hate being there.

        Most of what you hear about in IT is

    • by lymond01 (314120) on Friday September 26, 2008 @04:17PM (#25170943)

      I work 9 to 5. I work HARD 9 to 5 -- Friday September 26, @02:38PM

      Slashdot break time is it? ;-)

    • by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert@@@chromablue...net> on Friday September 26, 2008 @04:37PM (#25171183)

      I work 9 to 5. I work HARD 9 to 5, but at 5 I log out and go home.

      Says someone who has made 19 of his last 24 posts on Slashdot during business hours, including this one.

  • Why work it then? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by B5_geek (638928) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:40PM (#25169523)

    If you are not getting paid for your time or getting equivalent time-off in-lieu of, why would you work it?

  • ...but, just quit and get a job in another state. Why subject yourself to a job that you hate to work that much? The laws in Cali obviously favor the companies and not the workers. So...move. The cost of living is a lot cheaper anywhere else. If you are a good coder, you will get a job.

    • by argent (18001)

      ...but, just quit and get a job in another state.

      Where they still won't get guaranteed overtime?

      • by Ngarrang (1023425)

        ...but, just quit and get a job in another state.

        Where they still won't get guaranteed overtime?

        Where you can at least sue when you aren't paid for overtime. Some states have much friendlier labor than Cali.

  • Supporters of the new law note that "the tracking of hours generally is anathema to the creative and free thinking computer professional employees"

    Thanks a lot

  • the trade off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fred fleenblat (463628) on Friday September 26, 2008 @03:04PM (#25169949) Homepage

    I've worked some unpaid overtime in my life, but the amount is miniscule in comparison to the amount of time I've spent during normal working hours surfing the web, reading usenet, emailing my buddies, checking sports scores, ordering stuff from amazon, everything the internet allows. Easily two to three hours a day on an ongoing basis.

    I just can't get mad about a couple hours of evening work or blowing a sunday afternoon in the office once a month when I'm just going to read slashdot while waiting for a batch job to finish.

    • The problem is when you have employees who come to work and do a good job without slacking off, and are then expected to work weekends because of mistakes made by management.

  • by Assmasher (456699) on Friday September 26, 2008 @03:13PM (#25170107) Journal

    ...believe you deserve extra pay? I'm not trying to start a flame war, I just really don't understand the justification. I've been salaried since I got out of school and I've always accepted that working beyond normal business hours was a possibility (and quite often a reality.) If you have a salaried job and don't like the overtime you have to put in, find a better job. Saying that, I now it isn't easy for everyone to do such a thing but there are significant differences (usually) between the benefits, hours, flexibility, and types of jobs when discussing an hourly position and a salaried position. I mean, the whole reason companies offer salaries is for this reason (afaik.)

  • Oh Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rand Race (110288) on Friday September 26, 2008 @03:32PM (#25170341) Homepage

    "the tracking of hours generally is anathema to the creative and free thinking computer professional employees,"

    Indeed. As is the tracking of inventory.

    I'm getting my overtime pay one way or another.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday September 26, 2008 @03:58PM (#25170677) Homepage Journal

    You should be glad we give you a job in the first place. Now, quit whining and get back to work before you are replaced.

  • by rossz (67331) <ogre&geekbiker,net> on Friday September 26, 2008 @04:07PM (#25170815) Homepage Journal

    A friend of mine worked a high tech job that required lots of flying to other cities and living out of a hotel room. He would spend weeks away from home, fly home for a weekend on occasion, then fly out again. One day he realized he was missing his little girl growing up and he was becoming a stranger to his family. After completing a particularly grueling job that took several months, he chose to take two weeks off and spend it with his wife and daughter. His boss thought otherwise because they had already booked him for another job. He flat out refused to go to it. They fired him. He took them to the labor board. They lost big time. My friend had documented every minute he had spent waiting in airports and in the air. Under California law those were paid times (at least they used to be). As he had never been paid for the travel time, they not only had to pay him, they had to pay a penalty to him. He's now much happier with a local job. He gets to have dinner with his family and sleep in his own bed. The pay is only slightly lower and he is much happier (and so is his family).

    So what is your time worth to you? If you are willing to work unpaid overtime, then you put a very low value on your life. I flat out refuse to work unpaid overtime on a regular basis. Yes, I've occasionally put in a couple of extra hours, but this is the exception, not the rule. Typically, if an emergency requires me to work late, I'll leave early the next day (or come in late). If a project consistently requires overtime, management has not done their job. Either they didn't assign enough people to the project, or they set too short of a deadline. Improper planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on mine. One or two days of crunch time isn't a problem. Shit happens. But weeks or months of it is not acceptable and your project is NOT going to be on time because my life is worth far more. You say you'll fire me if I don't work unpaid overtime? Not a problem. Go ahead and fire me. We'll talk further in a hearing.

    I should repeat this. Emergencies happen and require extra time. Failure to set a reasonable deadline (or changing the requirements at the last minute) is NOT an emergency. Also, if I'm expected to carry a pager and be on call, my salary better reflect that requirement. I don't get up at 3am to fix your server for free. At one job, they decided to stop authorizing overtime pay, so I changed nagios to never send out alerts outside of work hours. Five nines of uptime aren't free. In this case, management didn't have a problem with it. The systems did not need to be up 24/7. Oddly enough, an ecommerce job, where 24/7 uptime was essential, was least willing to make the investment to keep things running (thus one of the reasons I no longer work for them).

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