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Google's Second-Class Citizens 320

Posted by kdawson
from the more-hourly-than-thou dept.
theodp writes "Valleywag reports on a new caste system at Google, which will mean compulsory lunch breaks, two additional unpaid 15-minute breaks, limited OT, and e-clock punching for those reclassified as hourly workers starting April 1. Could be worse, though. Google also offers gigs through WorkforceLogic (the company that helped Microsoft deal with its pesky permatemps), which come with a guarantee of unemployment after one year. Guess that's what passes for the Best Employer in the US these days."
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Google's Second-Class Citizens

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  • That's fed law. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:22AM (#18442801)
    That's the law. If you are classified as an hourly worker you MUST take at least a 30 minute lunch break and have a 15 minute break for every 4 hours you work. Overtime is also regulated in a similar way.

    What a fantastic non story.
    • Re:That's fed law. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:26AM (#18442873)
      Sorry, not Federal Law - its state Law, so mileage may vary. Although, the laws amongst the states are very similar.
      • Re:That's fed law. (Score:5, Informative)

        by j1mc (912703) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:09AM (#18443545) Homepage
        Looks like Google is just re-classifying these jobs as non-exempt under fair labor standards act regulations. It's likely that Google did an audit of job duties and responsibilities, and found that these jobs should be classified as non-exempt under the law, and are making that adjustment. HR groups have to do that all the time, and California has some of the most stringent labor laws of any state, so Google HR is just doing what they need to do.

        Having your job classified as exempt from FLSA laws carries with it a certain status, though. Employees like to be "salaried," and not have to fill out an hourly timesheet, even if filling out a timesheet means the occasional opportunity for overtime.

        • Re:That's fed law. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:44AM (#18444121) Homepage Journal
          "Having your job classified as exempt from FLSA laws carries with it a certain status, though. Employees like to be "salaried," and not have to fill out an hourly timesheet, even if filling out a timesheet means the occasional opportunity for overtime."

          While I don't like that 'mandatory' lunch and break periods...I don't really see the gripe.

          Since I turned to full blow contractor...that's the way I prefer it. No more working for 'free' ever. I never want to give my working time for free again, which is what you do on salary. If it makes them think twice before asking me to work OT...that's great. I means they won't be asking me unless they damned sure need it.

          I'm willing to do my all for the job when needed, but, they're gonna pay for it. My free time is VERY valuable.

          Now...I wonder if Google would let these people inc. themselves, and work for them on a contractor basis? That way, they could get great tax benefits, and if doing something like an "S" corp...could potentially reduce drastically their income that is subject to FICA, Medicare, etc...the 'employment' taxes....

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually, the DoL does say short breaks (read 5-20 minutes) are to be paid. (My source [dol.gov]) So the 15-minute breaks should be compensated. The lunch break is even stated in federal law as being different and non-compensateable. This is a non-story, as has been said.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by battery111 (620778) *
      Well, the only part of this that I CAN understand being upset about are the UNPAID 15 minute breaks. While it is google's perogative to make them unpaid, generally the 15 minute breaks (law mandates 10 minute BTW) are paid. Again, not illegal, but google has built a reputation for offering it's employees more. Anyone who has ever worked for an outstanding company that gave all kinds of perks is familiar with the google employee's pain. It sucks to have tons of cool benefits then gradually watch them slip aw
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dreamchaser (49529)
        I've worked as a hiring manager for more than one company, and I've rarely ever seen an hourly employee get paid for breaks. It's not a common thing. They get paid for the time they work, which is the essence of an *hourly* employee by definition.
        • Well, if we're going to throw around anecdotal evidence:
          I've never worked for a company that didn't provide at least one paid 15 minute break to its hourly workers.
          • Re:That's fed law. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:48AM (#18444197) Homepage Journal
            "I've never worked for a company that didn't provide at least one paid 15 minute break to its hourly workers. "

            Hell...just take up smoking and you get at least 3-5 breaks a day of about 5 minutes.

            :-)

        • by drinkypoo (153816)
          My understanding is that here in California you are required by law to provide a ten minute paid break for every four hours worked, and a half hour (optionally (ha) unpaid) lunch.
        • One time I took the 15min brake out of my time sheet and my boss (the director of finance, who did payroll) looked at it, sighed, and penciled it back in, and said it was less of a pain to do payroll that way.
        • Re:That's fed law. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Rob the Bold (788862) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @12:20PM (#18444653)

          I've worked as a hiring manager for more than one company, and I've rarely ever seen an hourly employee get paid for breaks. It's not a common thing. They get paid for the time they work, which is the essence of an *hourly* employee by definition.

          I guess no one thought to check up with the Department of Labor Compliance Assistance office. And as a "hiring manager," you really should be familiar with this stuff:

          http://www.dol.gov/compliance/topics/wages-other-b reaks.htm [dol.gov]

          From the summary:

          . . . if employers do offer short breaks (lasting about five to 20 minutes), federal law considers these short breaks time for which employees must be compensated.
          • I own a sole proprietorship which specializes in helping businesses use open source software. So I know a little bit about labor laws, and other aspects of this article.

            In general, if Google didn't employ some workers as hourly, that would be problematic in my view, not from a legal perspective, but rather that some work is best managed in terms of hours. Hourly workers must take lunch breaks (min. 30 minutes in most states), and in most states (including Washington) these are unpaid. Certain other break
    • Happened here (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:34AM (#18442987)
      It used to be that where I work, everyone in our department was exempt. The catch is that for a few folks, they were treated like hourly employees (strict work times for the help desk staff, for example). Eventually someone complained and certain jobs were reclassified as hourly.

      In general, I don't think it made much of a difference to people's salaries. Certain Help Desk staff had their schedules adjusted to prevent overtime. Hourly people had to record their times. What's strange is that there was a loss of prestige of sorts. Hourly employees weren't considered as "professional" as exempt employees. It wasn't major, and I don't think anyone mentions it now, but it was a cause of grumbling at the time.
      • Re:Happened here (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:45AM (#18443161)
        What's strange is that there was a loss of prestige of sorts.

        That's a really interesting point. I think the loss of prestige is a major factor of grumbling. Although I cannot determine if being classified as hourly is the source of the issue or if the rank and file hourly archetype is to blame.

        At every company I have ever worked for, the hourlies rarely took any initiative to change anything. There were always plenty of complaints from this group, but rarely were there any potential solutions offered.

        Was this a side effect of being an hourly worker? Did they feel they had no leverage or voice to influence change? Did they feel that their job classification put their jobs on a precipice and rocking the boat might get them fired?

        Does being classified as an hourly worker limit your growth potential in a company? That varies by company to company, but I can understand how the perception might be that it would. I can see discontentment arising out of having a ceiling thrown on your career ladder, even if that ceiling is just a perception.
        • by CasperIV (1013029) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:08AM (#18443535)
          When I worked hourly, I made more money then salary with equal positions. With an hourly position you always have the potential for at least some overtime. The only reason people don't like hourly pay is because it doesn't sound as official as salary and because it means they actually have to show up to be paid. Think of it this way, $50,000 a year is only $27 per hour if you work 5 days a week and have paid holidays and such. With benefits such as health care and the like, you are actually making around $35-$45 depending. Know, let's add a little over time. Let's say I wanted to work for time and a half another 8 hours a week (a pretty low number for someone who really wants to work). That's ($27 * 1.5) = $40.50 * 8 hours a week * 4 in a month = $1296 per month extra. Over a year that can earn an extra $15,552 from just 8 hours a week overtime. That's more then some minimum wage jobs and it doesn't even factor double time. If you think salary is a great deal, your mistaken. That hourly guy making 10k less then you actually might be making more then you in the end.
          • by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:18AM (#18443695)
            True, the hourly guy could be making more money - but that's not all there is to compensation.

            The ability to influence actual change is worth more than money to some. I know that I am more than willing to "lose" a few dollars an hour in order to be given free reign to implement my ideas on a large scale. If my ideas work I am in a much better position to be given more critical tasks and matching compensation.

            Some companies don't give this freedom to hourlies.
            • by CasperIV (1013029)
              True, but I'm more looking at it from a consulting or temp side of things. Most of the time you get moved to salary as soon as you start spending enough time with the company that your actually making money. I know as soon as I moved into an administration or developer role with any company, the first thing they talk about is my salary and my salary cap. I might be in charge of a lot more stuff, but in reality, they just promote people to the point of in being ineffectual rather the firing them. You are
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Many companies don't give the freedom to implement change to salaries; that requires a change request and management approval.

        • by ballwall (629887)
          Speaking from my own experience, it was very hard to get the time as an hourly worker (I don't miss those days) to get the time to work for change. Generally you're hourly because you're doing some mundane task. (In my case taking calls on a help desk). In situations like these there are usually metrics in place to determine if you're doing a 'good job' (which is code for not necessarily being good at your job, just doing more than X of task Y on day Z).

          In these types of positions it's hard to work on chang
    • Re:That's fed law. (Score:4, Informative)

      by MontyApollo (849862) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:38AM (#18443049)
      Often times in instances such as this, some hourly workers realize they are legally entitled to overtime pay and start thinking that the perks don't compensate them at the same level. Google is probably instituting these policies to avoid hassles with the labor board (or whatever it is called in California).

      I've worked at several companies where they made everybody "salary" to avoid paying overtime, even though legally they were in the wrong. Some employee waits until he has a new job, then reports the former company and often recovers quite a bit of money as well as forcing the company to start paying overtime to everybody else entitled to it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991) *
      That's the law. If you are classified as an hourly worker you MUST take at least a 30 minute lunch break and have a 15 minute break for every 4 hours you work. Overtime is also regulated in a similar way.

      But not paying people for their lunch breaks isn't a requirement of the law.
    • The part that gets me is the reclassified as hourly. If I moved across the country to work for them, took a lower pay to do it, and then got reclassified, I'd be angry.
    • That's the law. If you are classified as an hourly worker you MUST take at least a 30 minute lunch break and have a 15 minute break for every 4 hours you work. Overtime is also regulated in a similar way.

      True, but every job Ive ever had paid you for those 15 minute breaks. Including working as a temp at the US Postal Service.
      • Re:That's fed law. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:52AM (#18443235)
        Did every one of those jobs have a labor union?

        I know that the paid breaks as a postal worker did not come from the US Government being nice. They were a result of Postal Worker Unions negotiating benefits.

        Labor Unions have forced a lot of companies into giving their hourly employees benefits not mandated by law.
        • My experience with regard to paid 15 minute breaks is the same as the grandparent's and none of those involved a union. Most of the companies I've seen just do it because, and this is just speculation, making people keep track of every time they go to the bathroom is horribly demoralizing and would lead to them losing talent.
    • I worked at wal-mart in HS and even they gave 2 paid 15 min breaks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Whats missing here is the story of what the perks of working for Google mean, and the contrast of these temp jobs.

      Google, has catered Lunches and Dinners, hell probably even breakfasts and snacks whenever you wanted. All you have to do is walk to the Minimum, one per floor snack rooms for your choice of literally a hundred different, drinks and food stuffs.

      Then there is the spend one hour a day doing what you enjoy for clearer or creative thinking later. And lets not forget the exercize balls and equipment,
    • if it's Fed Law. I worked in one for years, and seldom got a break.
      • by Splab (574204)
        Are you a member of a union? Have you raised the issue with your employer?

        In my experience very few people are able to read you mind, so I usually try talking it over with them if there is an issue.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by stratjakt (596332)
      State law, varies on the state.

      In maryland, an employee has no right to any sort of break, sick time, vacation. Not even a lunch break - unless it's agreed to in the employment contract.

      Most everyone is employed "at will", meaning you can be fired for no reason at all (except for federal statutes prohibiting firing based on race, sex, refusal to commit crime, etc).

      The only exception here is employees under 18 are entitled to a 15 minute break (unpaid) for every 5 hours of work.

      The only right an employee ha
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tacvek (948259)

      That's the law. If you are classified as an hourly worker you MUST take at least a 30 minute lunch break and have a 15 minute break for every 4 hours you work. Overtime is also regulated in a similar way.

      The article is overly negative. These labor laws are actually generally for intended for employee protection, not protection of the profit.

      Take for example this quote:

      .. ordered to take at least 30 minutes off for lunch so that they don't rack up billable time while grabbing a sandwich in their cubicle ..

    • Re:That's fed law. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OrangeTide (124937) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @12:23PM (#18444699) Homepage Journal
      The mandatory breaks are there to protect the worker. And by making them mandatory rather than voluntary it protects the employer as well because there can be no dispute as to if there was some "arrangement" made or not.

      Working an 8 hour day, and getting paid extra for working long hours. and being limited on the number of hours you work (forcing a business to hire more people to handle the work load) is a GOOD thing.

      Getting paid a set salary, then working tons of hours is labor abuse, in my mind. Because if you don't like it, your only choice is to complain and get fired for not being a "team player". happens all the time.
  • Remember when (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:24AM (#18442839)
    Anyone remember when a worker would just go in, get hired by a company, and work for them? Now it seems like everything but the most professional jobs are getting outsourced either oversees or to temp, staffing services, and contractor agencies.

    How many people here still work for companies where the secretaries and janitors (sorry, don't have the inclination to use the newer politically-correct terms) actually are full-time, fully-vested, non-contracted company employees? I'm praying there are are least a few of you who do.

    • Now it seems like everything but the most professional jobs are getting outsourced either oversees or to temp, staffing services, and contractor agencies.
      Don't forget replaced by machines; I'm sure many slashdotters are responsible for people losing a job.
      It might suck for the person losing the job, but in a macroeconomic sense improved capital efficiency isn't a bad thing.
      • Architecture/Engineering firms typically hire everybody, and everybody is in-house, form the mail room to the partners. Of course, everybody but the partners get paid poorly and work long hours without overtime (exempt folks, that is), so it's not like you're getting off scott free. Oh, and layoffs are pretty common as the building market swings up and down. *shrug*
        • by simm1701 (835424)
          Sorry but I don't work unpaid overtime.

          I work damn hard in the hours I am working, but if more work needs to be done then:

          either its impotant enough to preauthorise paying me for it

          or

          its not important enough to need doing

          There is no middle ground.

          And yes as you might have guessed I'm a contractor, but I've been permanant too and had the same attitude there, I never refused extra work but my response has always been the same "Sure I can do that, is the extra time authorised? Get back to me when it is" the ma
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dan Ost (415913)
        Every time I've been involved in replacing manual work with some sort of automation,
        nobody has ever lost a job. However, they do get less overtime pay now.
    • Re:Remember when (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sashapup (1025115) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:56AM (#18443291) Homepage
      Let's play this one out a bit. You work for a company that makes widgets. Your company is really really good at making widgets. Janitorial services are definitely not the forte of anyone directly responsible for the normal operations of making and selling these widgets.

      Why add an in-house service that you're obviously not good at when there are plenty of local janitorial service companies that you can contract out to and be more capable of at least telling whether or not the contracted company is doing a good or bad job at it?

      Note, I do know that it's harder to tell on some things whether the contracted company is doing a good job without internal working knowledge. But janitation... pretty easy to tell that the toilets, bathrooms, carpets aren't being cleaned.
    • by Canthros (5769)
      I don't even see how this is relevant, but I wonder if Google's policy wrt temps isn't just that, if they aren't willing to hire you after a year, you're probably not worth keeping around?
    • by cdrudge (68377)

      How many people here still work for companies where the secretaries and janitors (sorry, don't have the inclination to use the newer politically-correct terms) actually are full-time, fully-vested, non-contracted company employees? I'm praying there are are least a few of you who do.

      Where I work almost all secretaries are full time, fully vested employees with pension and profit sharing. We have some maintenance staff that is also the same way. Most of the day to day cleaning or major facility projects

    • by EngMedic (604629)

      How many people here still work for companies where the secretaries and janitors (sorry, don't have the inclination to use the newer politically-correct terms) actually are full-time, fully-vested, non-contracted company employees? I'm praying there are are least a few of you who do.
      I do! .. Then again, we have 56 employees total, 90% of which have a technical degree of some sort (including the CEO, he's an EE). Go small r&d business!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Anyone remember when a worker would just go in, get hired by a company, and work for them? Now it seems like everything but the most professional jobs are getting outsourced either oversees or to temp, staffing services, and contractor agencies. How many people here still work for companies where the secretaries and janitors (sorry, don't have the inclination to use the newer politically-correct terms) actually are full-time, fully-vested, non-contracted company employees? I'm praying there are are least

  • by ahknight (128958) * on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:24AM (#18442851)
    If you're hourly, it's a federal requirement to take at least a 30 minute lunch break and get two 15 minute breaks during an eight hour day.

    The year-long contracts thing has been done-to-death in the employment world, especially in tech employment. This is nothing new or special, either.
    • cause it is not a federal law...

      • by ahknight (128958) *
        If not federal, it's in a lot of states' codes. It's law here in Texas, and I'm fairly certain it is law in California as well, if it's not federal. It is extremely common, one way or another.
    • Well, what's new is that google is doing it.

    • by daigu (111684)

      The fact that it is a common U.S. business practice doesn't make it right or even smart. I'll bet that setting your business up for mandatory yearly turnover is a good way to lose a lot of intangible value - incomplete projects, lost knowledge, limited worker involvement/productivity, etc. The intangible value is exactly what people looking at the short-term bottom line miss.

      Then again, I'd also bet that Google knows this but is using hourly workers as a way to fill the gaps that are created by their expl

      • by 2short (466733)

        It's not a matter of setting up your company for mandatory yearly turnover - most of your employees are not going to be on this plan in any case. But in a large org like Google or the big university where I had such a job, you will periodically have projects you want to hire someone to do, but that you don't want to add a permanent position for.
        In the job I had, I was called a "casual employee" - the sub-sub-department that hired me didn't have to go through getting aproval to expand their headount
  • Gah (Score:3, Informative)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:25AM (#18442859) Journal
    Since when is offering temporary jobs a terrible thing to do? If you apply for one, you know _up front_ that it's a temporary position. It's not like they are baiting-and-switching anyone.
    • Re:Gah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:54AM (#18443273) Homepage Journal
      When you do it in a systematic way to avoid hiring employees as regular, full-time workers to avoid paying benefits. MSFT lost a big lawsuit in the early '90's over this. A little research with your favorite search engine should give you the background.
    • by AusIV (950840)
      I agree, I was kind of scratching my head on that one. As a college student, the past several jobs I've had were times I knew I'd be available for x amount of time. I've gotten jobs every summer break, every winter break, and one spring break - employment for three months, three weeks, and one week respectively. I knew I wasn't going to be available after that time, and I didn't want to mislead my potential employers.

      It's easy to see a college student being available for such periods of time, but I can see

  • Oh come on... (Score:3, Informative)

    by milamber3 (173273) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:26AM (#18442875)
    I'm sure Google needs the ability to hire workers who will not spend 20% of their time on passion projects and who they can set to a fixed schedule. Not everyone at a large company will have the kind of work ethic that they enjoyed when it was still a smaller workplace. This is not some awful evil thing they are doing. It is the natural progression in the growth of a large company.
    • Why should we believe that the work ethic of early employees would be better than those who come later? I've worked both at startups and large established companies and I haven't seen any significant difference in the dedication of workers.
    • by iabervon (1971)
      The people specifically mentioned in the article are approving AdWords buys. I think Google was probably not benefitting much from these particular people working on side projects (like approving initial cell phone customers?) 20% of the time. I'd like to see an article about people doing data entry for Google, who are happy about the opportunity to spend part of their time entering the data they want to enter, but I suspect that would only appear in the Onion.
  • Duh, it's the law (Score:4, Informative)

    by throatmonster (147275) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:26AM (#18442883)
    There are fairly strict laws about who is allowed to be an 'exempt' employee (exempt from hourly labor laws). Most of Google's administrative staff aren't going to qualify. They have to be put on the clock, and paid overtime if they work more than 40 a week. There are benefits to being an hourly worker.
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:34AM (#18442991)
      > There are fairly strict laws about who is allowed to be an 'exempt' employee (exempt from hourly labor laws). Most of Google's administrative staff aren't going to qualify. They have to be put on the clock, and paid overtime if they work more than 40 a week. There are benefits to being an hourly worker.

      Yes, like not being 'exempt' from overtime pay.
    • by jconley (28741)
      Ok, lets make this clear

      Hourly and Salary do not equal exempt or non-exempt

      Houlry/salary is the way an employee is paid.

      Exempt/Non-exempt determines if an employee is eligible for overtime.

      You can be an salary/non-exempt employee. You get a fixed weekly salary, and overtime based on work over 40 hours (or 8 hours/day based on your state)

      You can also be an exempt hourly employee. Exempt/non-exempt status is based on goverment regulation, hourly vs. salary is based on employer choice.
  • the porcelain palace and your ps2 and you can relax for hours. make sure to grab the luxurious handicap stall.
  • by boxlight (928484) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:34AM (#18443003)
    The problem I would have with the Google work environment is that it all appears to be geared to getting you to spend as many hours as possible at the office.

    That is, the free food, and fun corporate events are all nice and everything; but my sense is that in return you're pretty much expected to work extremely long hours, to make your job your life.

    IMO, it's extremely important -- crucial even -- to have a separate work life and home life. Work hard from 9-to-5 but then drop everything and go home, spend the evening with your wife and family. Forget about work and come back fresh the next day. Google doesn't seem to emphasize that. It appears when you work at Google, you work there 24/7. I don't think that's necessarily a healthy approach.

    Still -- looks like a very fun place to work. If you are allowed to go home at the end of the day. ;-)

    boxlight
    • We work overtime when needed, there is alot of support for balancing work and life. Telecommuting is a big plus, as is flexible work hours. As long as I make netmeetings and conference calls and hit my targets, they don't care when I get the work done.
      • by boxlight (928484)
        > We work overtime when needed, there is alot of support for balancing work and life. > Telecommuting is a big plus, as is flexible work hours. As long as I make netmeetings > and conference calls and hit my targets, they don't care when I get the work done.

        Thanks for the response. That sounds very reasonable, indeed. Where do I sign up? ;-)

        boxlight
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 22, 2007 @01:47PM (#18446325)
      I've been a software engineer for about 7 years, and I started at Google a year ago.

      Of course it's great to have a separate work and home life. It's also very difficult to keep up a >50 hour work week without negatively affecting productivity or happiness in general. In no way or form does Google demand 24/7 attendance or disallow employees from going home. For that matter, i don't even know who would order me to stay at work later. If anyone had the balls to do that I'd quit.

      Just for a data point (yes, anecdotal, I know) here is my typical work week:

      • Monday and Tuesday: ~10am-7pm. Most of my in-person meetings take place on these days, so I try to keep normal hours. Also, dinner is served at 6:30. Sometimes I might stay another half hour or hour and have dinner with a teammate before leaving the office.
      • Wednesday-Thursday: Noon to ~10pm. I try to get as much of my coding done, and this tends to be easier and interruption free in the afternoon and evenings. Since I'm staying late, I run my daily errands in the morning or sleep in and come in at noon. On some occassions I'll stay later than 10,
      • Friday: Noon to 4pm. By Friday morning, most of the work I want to get done for the week is completed, so I want to relax. I'll sleep in a bit, and come into work just to check in with random people. There's a higher propensity for goofing off on Friday, but at the same time I'd rather just goof off at home, so I try to only stay for about 4 hours. At 4pm there's a TGIF session where they make announcements and serve up wine and beer. If it's interesting, I'll stay, but I'd rather get started on weekend plans.
      Co-workers around me will sometimes have grossly different schedules. It's mildly annoying sometimes when you *really need* to get ahold of someone, but there is a lot of respect for the personal life of others and you learn to get by without always relying on others. There's no way in hell I'll call a co-worker's cell phone unless there is an extreme, dire, emergency.
  • INAL, but I'm pretty sure Google is obeying the law here. Hourly workers are governed by a lot of employment laws that salary workers are not. The above-mentioned compulsory lunch breaks, as an example.

    Is this poster complaining about Google, or are they praising? A news story is no place for excessive sarcasm.
    • Is this poster complaining about Google, or are they praising? A news story is no place for excessive sarcasm.

      I'm not sure myself. Who is the second class citizen here: the guy reclassified as hourly who now gets overtime, or the "exempt" employee who can be required to put in as much unpaid overtime as the supervisor wants?

      A lot of workers these days are classified as "exempt" from overtime because they are the "Network Backup Manager", or the "Administrative Assistant", or "Security Professional" or w

    • by Otter (3800)
      Is this poster complaining about Google, or are they praising?

      I think the actual complaint is that workers who were formerly part of the Google perkfest are now punching a clock, not the mandatory breaks per se. The link is incoherent ("Retarted."?!?) and the submitter seems to have mostly repeated it.

  • by DaMattster (977781) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:50AM (#18443217)
    I think a lot of people smelled this one coming and it was only a matter of time before it hits. Many industries are going to outsourcing and nowhere is the impact more visible than on the devoted employee. I checked one of the links and was sickened by the fact that the appeal to Bill Gates for assistance from a quasi-temp with brain cancer and raising a family as a single parent went unheeded. If I was even a minor functionary at Microsoft and I saw that letter, I would make certain it got routed to the Chairman somehow. Are we so self-preserving that we cannot help out another human being? This even sickens me further because Gates runs a charitable foundation. I guess it must only be "en vogue" to help foreign countries because a blind eye was turned to a legitimate plea here at home.

    I am not a particularly religious person but a rabbi once lectured on charity and its importance to being a good citizen. He even said that, "The highest form of charity is the anonymous donation." He said also said that true charity is not supporting a cause celebre. My cheers to those who stepped in to help that quasi-Microsoft employee. Your assistance was in the true spirit of charity.

  • Short on details (Score:4, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:55AM (#18443283)

    The story is so short on details it's hard to form any opinion. For example, how many people will be affected and what kind of jobs? Are we talking 100 people? Are talking about jobs that may be temporary by definition (receptionists, contractors, etc.) or unskilled labor (janitors, garage attendants, security guards). Other companies like HP have had the same issues with "permatemps" and how to properly classify them. Other than linking to the same company as the Microsoft fiasco, it really serves no other purpose than to take a cheap shot at Google.

    In the MS case, MS had people working at the same jobs as skilled salaried employees for years. But what irked the judge in the case what Microsoft did in the case. As soon as the lawsuit was initiated, Microsoft lawyers drafted an agreement that they tried to get all their temporary employees to sign that would relinquish all their rights to sue Microsoft for labor violations. It was insinuated that those who did not sign could not work for Microsoft. The judge sua sponte quashed the agreements. In the end, the courts ruled that they should have had rights to participate in the employee stock option program.

    • I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OrangeTide (124937)
      With the permatemp who has cancer and no medical insurance. "Miller loved his job, made good money" .. 'Miller said he was well compensated by Microsoft, but did not buy health insurance. "I never thought anything about it. I never expected to use anything like that," he said.'

      So he was compensated, but choose not to buy health insurance. And now it's Microsoft's fault? When I do contracts I take how much health insurance costs into account. Because I could get hit by a bus and become paralyzed, health insu
  • From TFA: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Brunellus (875635) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:55AM (#18443285) Homepage

    threat of a black mark on the review of anyone who fails to punch in properly to the time-tracking window on their desktops. "Retarted." says our disgruntled informant.

    Guess we know why that monkey's punching a clock. Welcome to the real world, kids, where the boss wants you at work on time. I work a similarly menial job. What I want to know is what the hourly wage for clock-punching down at the Googleplex is, and whether it beats my current wage.

  • You'd think they'd be nicer to theirs.
  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:07AM (#18443517) Homepage
    These are the rules for nonexempt employees.

    Previously, many high-tech companies classified effectively everyone as "exempt" as a way of avoiding overtime. There are major law firms who make money suing such companies, their adds are all over BART in the bay area.

    This is simply Google actually complying with employment law, reclassifying a large number of employees as nonexempt, so they either have to get paid overtime or go home.
  • by mutterc (828335) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:18AM (#18443703)

    It would be so much more motivating to be paid by the hour. If the company wanted you to work long hours, they would have to pay extra for the privilege. The only tangible thing salaried employees get for working overtime is "maybe this will put you slightly higher on the list for raises next year, if there's money for raises at all".

    It's a healthier attitude, I think. My employer would pay a fixed amount of money per unit of my time / effort. Of course, employers don't want that because they want you to donate a bunch of work to them, saving them some money. Of course, it never saves enough money to make your job safe from offshoring.

  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:37AM (#18444011) Homepage Journal
    Many salaried workers these days aren't high status professionals who come and go as they please as long as the produce the desired results. They're just workers who have to have to be laboring at their posts when the man says so. Their big perk is that they get to work overtime and take work home when the boss says so -- without extra pay.

    I realize there is a generational difference in attitudes towards work; younger people expect to be given responsibility faster and have looser restrictions on when and how they work, provided they get the job done. Some people see that as spolied, and sometimes it may be, but it also represents a shift in the kinds of work many people do. If you can redefine how your job is done, I say more power to you.

    That said, there are still jobs where a worker's output is largely a function of his having his ass in his seat for a certain amount of time. These people don't need to prepare briefs in time for a court deadline. They don't have jobs where interrupting them while they're in the grip of creative inspiration would be tantamount to a crime. They are paid to perform relatively routine operations repetitively.

    Some might think having one of those jobs makes you second class. But having legal protection so the boss can't extort more work out of you can't hurt your status.
  • Perm is Dying (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @01:16PM (#18445691) Homepage Journal
    Everything I've seen points to the trend away from the "permanent employee". The internet has made it easier to find people with a given skill such that companies are less likely to worry about losing a skilled person when the scene changes. What they really want is Just-In-Time workers to plug in and work on a project, and then send them off when the project is done. The US specializes in changes and trends because anything that becomes predictable or mechanical moves to the 3rd-world where the labor is far cheaper. Our comparative advantage is "change". Thus, come-and-go projects is where it's at in the US, for good or bad, thanks to free trade.

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