How Sunday Stopped Being Special for the American Worker

Sometimes it's harder to come to work than other times.
Gilbert R. Boucher II/Daily Herald via AP

This month, workers who have been with Walmart for at least five years received a one-time bump in their pay checks. A couple hundred extra dollars is usually welcome, but this time, it actually symbolizes a loss: No longer will those workers receive premium pay for their Sunday shifts, as the idea of compensating people for toiling on what some consider a day of rest fades from American business.

Walmart discontinued Sunday premium pay, which had been $1 extra per hour, for new hires back in 2011. Those who had continued to receive it will receive a lump sum equal to half the amount of Sunday pay they received last year, according to a company release in January outlining a handful of adjustments that Walmart explained were a way of “simplifying its pay structure” — and reducing the overall cost of increasing base wages to $10 an hour across the board.

That hasn’t worked worked out so well for more experienced employees like 8-year Walmart veteran Nancy Reynolds, a 69-year-old cashier in Cape Canaveral, Fla., who works Thursday through Tuesday. Her base pay was already slightly above $10 an hour, so she didn’t get much of a raise, and the loss of a few extra Sunday dollars a week will hurt. “The younger people, the ones who haven’t been there that long, they got it, and I’m glad for them,” Reynolds says. “But they did it at the expense of me and everybody who’s been there a long time.”

In cutting Sunday pay, Walmart is actually behind most of the retail industry, which made that change as legal requirements to pay more on Sundays were stricken from state laws across the country. So-called “blue laws” once prohibited Sunday commerce altogether in 34 states in the 1960s. They were often weakened through compromise, with higher pay mandated in exchange for shopping being legalized. Even with no mandate, premium pay was often what the labor market demanded.

“To get people to work, when they’d never worked before, they started to pay Sunday pay,” says Craig Rowley, a retail compensation consultant with Korn Ferry who has done work for Walmart.

That changed over time as women entered the workforce, pushing more shopping from weekdays to the weekend. The labor market also loosened up, meaning workers couldn’t pick and choose which days they wanted to work; Sunday shifts are now expected rather than optional. And meanwhile, the importance of Sunday as a universal day of rest started to recede from the American psyche.

“When I was growing up, Sundays were kind of family day, church day,” Rowley says. “As we’ve gotten to be a more secular society, staying at home on Sunday is not necessarily expected. ‘We’re all going to be here all day Sunday’ is not as strong a cultural norm.”

Rhode Island and Massachusetts are now two of the last states to require retailers to pay time and a half on Sundays, and the retail industry is pushing hard to get the requirement rolled back in Massachusetts. “Sundays in retail have become unaffordable in our state,” wrote William Rennie, vice president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, in a Boston Globe op-ed.

Sunday premium pay hasn’t disappeared as quickly from other sectors, such as manufacturing and transportation, which have held on to a more traditional five or six-day work schedule. Most federal employees are still entitled to time and a half on Sundays. But more and more of their neighbors in the private sector won’t be so lucky.

Written by Lydia DePillis of The Washington Post 

(Source: The Washington Post)

 

Just Saying No: Interns Challenge Employers Over Exploitation

Carolyn Osorio
Provided by Guardian News

Four years after moving to New York City, Carolyn Osorio had finally had enough.

After three stints as an unpaid public affairs intern and another three as an unpaid fashion design intern, the 24-year-old moved back home to California in the hope of finding a paid full-time job, something she had been unable to land since graduating from university in 2013 with a degree in art and design.

“I was frustrated. I’d been out of college for two years and still hadn’t been able to find a full-time job in my field,” she said.

Shortly after arriving back in San Diego last summer, Osorio thought she had finally found paid work as a fellow with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. That is until she received the acceptance letter for the “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, which included no mention of pay.

“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Unpaid work is common in campaigns, and as secretary of state, Hillary worked for the Obama administration. At the same time the administration was cracking down on unpaid internships in the private sector, it continued not paying the 300 annual interns in the White House,” Osorio wrote in an op-ed for USA Today calling on Clinton to pay her interns.

Osorio is one of more than a million Americans who end up in one of the 1.5 million internships available in the U.S. each year, according to Ross Perlin, author of the 2011 book Intern Nation. About half of those internships are unpaid, which is legal in the U.S. as long as the positions meet Department of Labor requirements: unpaid internships “must benefit” the interns by providing them with new skills and experience.

According to Osorio, Clinton’s campaign justified the lack of payment by telling prospective fellows they would be earning experience. Osorio, who already had experience from her other unpaid internships, felt helpless and disillusioned.

“I have considerable student debt which, due in large part to the current job market, I have been unable to pay down,” Osorio said. “I subscribed to the hope that working as an intern while an undergraduate student would significantly improve my chances of attaining full-time employment after I graduated, but instead the experiences were simply discounted as ‘not real work’ because I was unpaid.”

Continuing to take unpaid internships after college while trying to pay rent and student loans was no longer financially feasible, Osorio said.

“The Clinton fellowship would have incurred even more debt because the campaign wanted me to pay for my housing, my transportation, my meals and the actual cost of moving states entirely on my own,” she said. “Telling my loan provider I’ll be getting paid in ‘experience’ isn’t going to stop the ever-increasing interest on my student loans and it isn’t going to put a roof over my head.”

Many internships require interns to pay their own way, which puts poor millennials at a disadvantage.

Minorities are less likely to get the most valuable unpaid internships because they often cannot afford to take them, especially if they are away from their home town, according to Ross Eisenbrey, vice-president of the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

“How can a poor kid afford to pay rent in New York City or Washington, D.C., when she’s not getting paid for her full-time job? Her family isn’t in a position to subsidise her when they’re already borrowing for college,” he said.

A 2015 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found the primary purpose of an internship scheme at about 70% of employers was to turn interns into full-time employees. Yet only 52% of interns were hired after their internships last year.

“Unpaid internships can be beneficial but on the whole, they are much less advantageous than paid internships, and there is evidence that they can actually do harm to the students who do them,” said Eisenbrey. He added that data from NACE found that paid internships lead to salary offers substantially higher than those offered to students who had unpaid internships, in addition to a much higher rate of job offers.

Alex Caprariello is one of the 48% of people who finished an internship without a job offer. Caprariello, 25, is a graduate student at Arizona State University, studying sports journalism. He knew that his recent internship with the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission would be unpaid but did it anyway for the experience.

“Obviously, I would have liked being paid, but in terms of what I want to do, internships are definitely the way to go,” he said.

Before deciding to pursue a career in sports journalism, Caprariello studied business as an undergraduate. During that time, he held other paid and unpaid internships, none of which he regrets.

“I’ve gotten pretty good experiences out of all of them. I usually leave with a good letter of recommendation or a good reference. It’s part of my networking right now. I get to meet a lot of people and the more people get to see how I conduct myself and my work ethic and my motivation, the better,” he said.

But not everyone believes “experience” or connections are enough of a payout for weeks and months of labor. Over the past five years, former interns at Condé Nast, Harper’s Bazaar, Gawker Media, NBC Universal and Fox Searchlight have filed lawsuits against their employers, accusing them of exploitation.

Eric Glatt
Provided by Guardian News

Eric Glatt, who worked as an unpaid intern on the Oscar-winning film Black Swan, led the charge against Fox Searchlight. But Glatt was not a young college graduate who felt he had no option but to take an unpaid internship. At the time, he was a successful 40-year-old who quit a career in finance to become a documentary film-maker.

After completing a film-editing certification course, Glatt was shocked to hear his instructor recommend that students take unpaid internships to build up their resumes and gain experience.

“This idea that employers would expect to get something for free had never even crossed my mind before, not even as an undergraduate student and not when I was in business school,” he said. Glatt said he knew that the Black Swan internship was unpaid from the start, but the more he thought about it, the angrier he got, so he filed a lawsuit in September 2011.

Though the suit is ongoing, Glatt said of his decision to sue Fox Searchlight: “It has been great and empowering to finally call bull**** on bull****.” It also led him to a new career as a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union in Alaska.

As for Osorio, she does not regret writing her op-ed. Weeks after it ran in July 2015, Clinton’s campaign announced it was going to pay the full-time fellows it had hired for the summer.

Written by Jana Kasperkevic of The Guardian

(Source: The Guardian)

 

Company Ordered to Pay Back Wages for Bathroom Breaks

  
Stuart Dee/Getty Images 

A publishing company near Philadelphia has been ordered by a judge to pay back wages – possibly up to $1.75 million — to more than 6,000 employees after it neglected to pay for bathroom or other short breaks, according to a statement released by the Department of Labor Monday.

American Future Systems, also known as Progressive Business Publications, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by docking its telemarketers’ wages “for virtually all time not spent making sales calls, sometimes bringing their wages below the federal minimum wage,” the DOL said. The federal minimum wage for nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and a half for hours worked beyond 40 per week.

While the exact amount has not been determined, the DOL estimates that Progressive and its president, Edward Satell, “are liable for at least $1.75 million in back wages and liquidated damages to more than 6,000 employees who worked in 14 call centers” for violations occurring through June 2013.

“Our company has a liberal break policy of allowing our telemarketers to choose unpaid breaks anytime, for any reason, for as long as they want,” Satell said Tuesday. “This flex work policy was greatly valued by many of our employees to handle their personal needs.”

Satell said he will appeal the decision, issued by a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Dec. 16, 2015. “If upheld, we’d have to discontinue this generous policy,” Satell said. “We have very good legal reasons to be hopeful that the court will reverse the ruling.”

“For far too long, American Future Systems penalized its employees for taking breaks to meet the most basic needs during the work day — stretching their legs, getting a glass of water or just using the restroom,” said Jim Cain, district director for the department’s Wage and Hour Division.

Investigators from the division found that PBP telemarketers had to clock in and out for every break, “even those as short as two to three minutes,” the DOL said. PBP deducted the break time from the total hours worked each week.

The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require lunch or coffee breaks. “However, when employers do offer short breaks (usually lasting about 5-to-20 minutes), the law considers the breaks compensable work hours that must be included in the sum of hours for the work week and considered in determining overtime,” the DOL said.

Progressive Business Publications, founded in 1959 and based in Malvern, Pa., publishes and sells primarily business newsletters.

Written by Roger Yu of USA Today

(Source: USA Today)

8 Jobs That Will Go Extinct by 2030

© Provided by GoBankingRates
© Provided by GoBankingRates

As technology continues to improve, future job forecasts will likely be dim for some workers.

Andrew McAfee, co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, addressed the future of jobs in developed economies in an insightful TED Talk. McAfee suggested that the increased productivity from sophisticated machine and computing power will lower prices and reduce “drudge” work. And Ira Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and expert in workforce trends, estimated that close to 50 percent of jobs will be extinct within the next 20 decades.

1. UTILITY COMPANY ENGINEERS

Thomas Frey, senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute, believes that the power industry will undergo dramatic changes in response to health and environmental issues. In a blog post, Frey predicted national grids will switch to micro grids to serve large cities and single homes. Power lines and coal plants will be replaced by cleaner technologies, and the role of utility engineers and transportation workers will shift.

The good news is that an evolving power industry will initially provide new jobs to support the changes, such as installation crews, a new breed of engineers and more.

2. DELIVERY AND TAXI DRIVERS

Deliveries of packages might soon be carried out by drones and driverless cars. Amazon is testing drones outdoors after receiving the go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), reports the Wall Street Journal.Frey wrote that driverless cars will replace limo and taxi drivers. He believes the U.S. legislation will agree that these cars are safer options. Delivery dispatchers, traffic monitoring systems, engineers, emergency crews and more will likely replace delivery and taxi drivers.

3. SOME TEACHERS

Teachers are unlikely to become extinct. However, free online learning is revolutionizing teaching models, wrote Frey. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) currently offers more than 2,000 courses online, and there have been more than 130 million downloads. The Khan Academy offers a similar number of courses, and downloads exceed 100 million.

In the future, there might be fewer teachers and professors but more coaches, course designers and learning camps, according to Frey.

4. TRAVEL AGENTS

Savvy sites that allow you to book your own vacation, such as Kayak and Airbnb, cater to the mobile user who prefers speed over personal service from a live representative. Fast Company ranked travel agents No. 5 on its list of the most endangered jobs of 2014, and Staff.com co-founder Rob Rawson wrote in a blog that websites provide a bespoke service that rivals the most efficient human travel agent.

A computer can determine a traveler’s needs, clarify questions via a website and deliver the cheapest or most suitable options quicker than a human travel agent and at a lower cost. He predicted travel agents will no longer be needed by 2025.

5. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS AND PILOTS

Futurist, strategist and pilot John L. Petersen wrote that drones and other unmanned carriers will become part of the global aircraft fleet. Artificial intelligence agents can research and collect information such as the weather and flight plans — just like traditional pilots. Petersen also reports that the Navy has flown drones from aircraft carriers, and drone cargo helicopters are already in use in Afghanistan by the Marine Corps.

6. BOOKKEEPERS AND ACCOUNTANTS

Rawson also predicted that bookkeepers and accountants will be extinct by the year 2028. Chris Thompson of Wellers Accountants wrote that the business intelligence that bookkeepers provide by number crunching and reporting is key to strategic decision making. Software, such as QuickBooks, can capture and report data in real time. And artificial intelligence software, such as that created by Quill, can now analyze data and produce written reports integrating various data sources.

7. INTERPRETERS AND TRANSLATORS

The nuances of language make voice interpretation difficult for computers, as Kevin Rawlinson experienced on a recent trip to Bilbao, Spain. In an article for BBC News, he wrote that he found various Google language apps to be helpful but awkward in practice.

But according to The Economist, which cites the consulting firm Common Sense Advisory, sales in the language interpretation industry are approaching $37 billion each year. This implies that Google and other leading technology firms will continue to attempt to perfect their tools. One day soon, the need for interpreters could disappear.

8. NEWSPAPER REPORTERS

Careercast included newspaper reporters as a dying breed in its 2014 list of the most endangered jobs. Citing a report by NewspaperDeathWatch.com, Careercast predicted the profession will decline by 13 percent in the coming years as consumers continue to read the news online and advertisers exploit online channels rather than print publications.

Layoffs and furloughs will be the inevitable result of reduced funds from the advertising industry. And news apps will appeal to the mobile user, who can catch up on current events while waiting in line or riding public transportation.

Written by Caroline Banton of GoBankingRates

(Source: GoBankingRates)

Investor Confidence Holds Steady at 7-Year High

© TheStreet
© TheStreet
© TheStreet

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Retail investors are feeling optimistic about their financial futures, according to a new poll.

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index showed that U.S. investor confidence held steady in the second quarter at a seven-year high.

“They have confidence in the economy, they have confidence in the job market, the housing market seems to be inviting more first time homebuyers, so the American Dream, in their minds, seems to be alive and well,” said Mary Mack, President of Wells Fargo Advisors.

Optimism however, trumps planning.

Less than half of those surveyed have a written financial plan, according to Mack.

“I think it’s scary for some people,” she said. “So our financial advisors work with them, break it down, talk about goals and dreams and risks, and what worries you,” added Mack.

The poll found that investors also said access to online or digital investing tools is nearly equally as important as having a strong relationship with a personal financial advisors.

Additionally, a majority of investors said they do not  feel confident about investing in the market on their own and prefer consulting with a professional.

The survey also asked investors about their financial worries.

The majority of respondents, 57%, said their number one worry is personal identity theft.

That was followed by cyber-attacks on their savings or investment accounts, stock market volatility and elder financial abuse.

In a press release, Mack stated “over the past three years, we’ve seen reports of such abuse coming in from our advisors, and unfortunately, we expect to see that growth continue as the population ages.”

The poll of 1005 investors was conducted in late May. Of those surveyed, 59% reported annual income of less than $90,000, while 41% had income above that level.

Written by Rhonda Schaffler of The Street

(Source: The Street)