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The Underworked Public Employee: Government workers take it easier than their private counterparts.
Wall Street Journal ^ | 12/05/2012 | By ANDREW G. BIGGS AND JASON RICHWINE

Posted on 12/05/2012 9:24:37 AM PST by SeekAndFind

With state and local governments struggling to balance budgets in a still sluggish economy, government employment has fallen by 562,000 jobs since September 2008, a decline of 2.6%. In response, the Obama administration has called for more federal aid—on top of the $250 billion doled out in the 2009 Recovery Act—to help keep state and local government payrolls near prerecession levels.

But supporters of more federal aid implicitly assume that the size of the public sector was optimal before the recession. On the contrary, overstaffing is a serious problem in government, and the best evidence is a simple empirical fact: Government employees don't work as much as private employees. If public-sector employees just worked as many hours as their private counterparts, governments at all levels could save more than $100 billion in annual labor costs.

How do we know that? Are we just dredging up well-worn stereotypes of government employees enjoying shorter work days, prolonged sick leave and extended vacation breaks? In fact, new evidence from a comprehensive and objective data set confirms that the "underworked" government employee is more than a stereotype.

In the past, researchers have measured work time with what are called "contract hours," meaning the time that employers require their employees to work. But many people routinely take work home with them, or skip lunch breaks, or pass up vacation days, or go to the office on weekends. Others may regularly come to the office late and duck out early. Little of this variation is captured by contract hours.

Alternatively, researchers have used surveys that ask individuals how many hours they usually work each week. But answers are susceptible to exaggeration and subjectivity regarding what each respondent defines as "work."

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: publicemployee; underwork

1 posted on 12/05/2012 9:24:53 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

WHAT THE AUTHORS FOUND:

During a typical workweek, private-sector employees work about 41.4 hours. Federal workers, by contrast, put in 38.7 hours, and state and local government employees work 38.1 hours.

In a calendar year, private-sector employees work the equivalent of 3.8 more 40-hour workweeks than federal employees and 4.7 more weeks than state and local government workers.

Put another way, private employees spend around an extra month working each year compared with public employees. If the public sector worked that additional month, governments could theoretically save around $130 billion in annual labor costs without reducing services.

NOTE: Public School teachers are EXCLUDED from the full-year comparison because of their naturally shorter work year.


2 posted on 12/05/2012 9:26:39 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Considering how expensive a 30 year retirement with pension plus benefits is, public employees believe private sector employees aren’t working enough hours.


3 posted on 12/05/2012 9:32:14 AM PST by skeeter
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To: SeekAndFind
During a typical workweek, private-sector employees work about 41.4 hours. Federal workers, by contrast, put in 38.7 hours, and state and local government employees work 38.1 hours.

On the clock doesn't necessarily mean working. There's been a county truck with two guys in it sitting down the alley from here for more than 45 minutes. There was a county pickup truck there for about 20 minutes. (I'm guessing that was a supervisor)
4 posted on 12/05/2012 9:36:49 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: SeekAndFind

This Federal worker works through lunch, takes work home, and works on mandated classes on the weekend.

I carry a blackberry and laptop ALL the time.

When I worked in Private sector, for a large consumer products company...our work week was 38.5 hours.

I’m really tired of these articles and the required hateful freeper responses.

And yes, I’m on my lunch HALF-hour while I’m posting.


5 posted on 12/05/2012 9:37:30 AM PST by mom4melody
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To: SeekAndFind

Government employment has fallen by 562,000 jobs? Where?


6 posted on 12/05/2012 9:39:59 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: mom4melody
Oh my, that sounds positively draconian.

It must be just awful.

7 posted on 12/05/2012 9:47:29 AM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: SeekAndFind
IRONY ALERT:

The number of people who will comment on lazy workers while posting from their work computer, on work time.

8 posted on 12/05/2012 10:00:07 AM PST by gdani
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To: RegulatorCountry
Oh my, that sounds positively draconian.

No kidding, one of those poor guys in the county truck had to get out and take a leak in public before they drove off to hide somewhere else after an hour.
9 posted on 12/05/2012 10:01:02 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek

I have a lot of friends who have city jobs. Guess who can’t play in all the golf tournaments out of our social clubs without taking a vacation day because he’s not representing a city department?


10 posted on 12/05/2012 10:12:43 AM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: mom4melody

“And yes, I’m on my lunch HALF-hour while I’m posting.”

“This Federal worker works through lunch”

So you’re not “working through lunch” today, though, right?


11 posted on 12/05/2012 10:15:06 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: mom4melody
And that would reflect the Federal Republic of Where?

Whichg planet?

Over thirty years of directly working with state and federal 'workers' I can attest that the scenario you suggest is not native to this galaxy.

12 posted on 12/05/2012 10:15:24 AM PST by norton
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To: mom4melody
This Federal worker works through lunch, takes work home, and works on mandated classes on the weekend.

Why you don't create a tv show called "The Overworked Federal Employee." Get it setup on The Comedy Channel and I'll bet it would become a ratings bonanza.

13 posted on 12/05/2012 10:22:08 AM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: SeekAndFind

It is near impossible to find a gov’t employee that has suffered a pay cut in the last 4 years of obamanomics. But you can’t swing a cat at Walmart today without hitting at least one private sector employee that has had a pay cut.


14 posted on 12/05/2012 10:22:39 AM PST by wrench
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To: gdani

“The number of people who will comment on lazy workers while posting from their work computer, on work time.”

The only way I’m getting in trouble is if I turn myself in to myself. Is that Ironic?


15 posted on 12/05/2012 10:23:10 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: mom4melody

“I carry a blackberry and laptop ALL the time.”

Good idea. That way you can Tele-not-work from home instead of not working in the office, unless of course you are on a “snow day”.


16 posted on 12/05/2012 10:27:12 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: mom4melody

As if working more hours is what should be striven for in this age of labor-saving technology.


17 posted on 12/05/2012 10:41:30 AM PST by ksen
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To: RFEngineer; mom4melody

WOW, just WOW

The woman, a fellow FReeper if you hadn’t noticed, gives an example - that pertains to herself - that does not fall into the stereo type and all you can offer her is insults?

Speechless, I’m just speechless.


18 posted on 12/05/2012 10:47:58 AM PST by Gabz (Democrats for Voldemort.)
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To: SeekAndFind

19 posted on 12/05/2012 10:58:11 AM PST by mikey_hates_everything
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To: SeekAndFind
NOTE: Public School teachers are EXCLUDED from the full-year comparison because of their naturally shorter work year.

Naturally, LOL.
But they think they should make as much or more than us poor suckers who work 50-60 hour weeks...........Poor babies.
Yes I know, I just don't understand :)

20 posted on 12/05/2012 11:04:37 AM PST by The Cajun (Sarah Palin, Mark Levin......Nuff said.)
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To: mikey_hates_everything

“D-— it feels good to be a gangsta..”


21 posted on 12/05/2012 11:11:28 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: SeekAndFind
my wife is an IT manager at a state university - she would love to put in 38 hours and so would the dozens (50+) others that work for her. Then go to the other IT people and they too work 50- 60- 70 hours a week. Do some folks at apple or samsung work longer, maybe but to label all government works with the same "work less" ID is crap.

BTW when she attends industry workshops, with IT pros, in the same job, her people produce more per person than 50- 60% of well know banks, catalog retailers etc. etc.

22 posted on 12/05/2012 11:12:01 AM PST by q_an_a (the more laws the less justice)
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To: blueunicorn6

Indeed Obama added more people on the dole in the last four years.


23 posted on 12/05/2012 11:16:09 AM PST by Vaduz
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To: Gabz

“...all you can offer her is insults?”

WOW.....you got a hair-trigger on your defensiveness. Which Federal Agency do you work for? You gotta be a federal employee. Are you tele-not-working today, too?


24 posted on 12/05/2012 11:26:33 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: Vaduz

There are some exceptions, but from my experience government “workers” do as little as possible or, if they work, do little that is productive in any sense of the word.


25 posted on 12/05/2012 11:27:41 AM PST by hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: q_an_a

“BTW when she attends industry workshops, with IT pros, in the same job, her people produce more per person than 50- 60% of well know banks, catalog retailers etc. etc. “

Ok, I’ll bite. As measured how?


26 posted on 12/05/2012 11:29:38 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: SeekAndFind

White males need not apply, affirmative action has punished white men, that’s what it was meant to do, now, the human resource departments are free to discriminate with impunity, “Oh, hi Pedro Sanchez, what’s that you say? You have a friend or family member who needs a job Pedro, okay, I’ll see what I can do”, too funny, check the box on the application if you want, yet if you are white, I suggest you check NATIVE AMERICAN!


27 posted on 12/05/2012 11:42:12 AM PST by IslamE (epiphany)
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To: RFEngineer
I'm not a Federal worker. I notice the perks and cushy treatment Federal workers have gotten during this downturn. I want large cuts.

Still, I also don't like the way Freepers have gotten so nasty and hair-trigger with insults.

The Federal Freeper gave her personal testimony. She didn't deserve the treatment.

28 posted on 12/05/2012 11:43:14 AM PST by what's up
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To: mom4melody

Congratulations on being the one in a million.


29 posted on 12/05/2012 11:48:15 AM PST by Rebelbase
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To: mom4melody

Just be glad you didn’t go to Harvard, work for the post office or teach in a public school. They you’d really get trashed!! LOL


30 posted on 12/05/2012 11:48:57 AM PST by ladyjane (For the first time in my life I am not proud of my country.)
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To: RFEngineer

As measured by the responses from people in the room, who have sent in data. Many of these events are small 20 to 40 managers and they are looking for benchmarks...so data of response time amount of trouble cleared etc. etc are shared among these tech managers.


31 posted on 12/05/2012 11:51:24 AM PST by q_an_a (the more laws the less justice)
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To: mom4melody
Ditto for my husband who works for local gov't. He's salaried, never paid for any overtime nor does he get comp time, works most days for 10 hours (7:30AM to 6 PM), not counting early morning and late evening answering of emails or taking calls. Many weekends he gets calls. Even on vacation he gets calls. No pension, 401A, and as with all city workers, took a 3% pay cut 3 years ago, and now being told not to expect a raise till 2014. There has also been a hiring freeze for years, so less people doing same or more work.

Why does he do it, and not change to private sector. Private sector actually prepared him for this job because he was used to this kind of workload in private sector. Plus he enjoys the job, gets a sense of fulfillment out of it, we have to live where we are right now because of family obligations (elder care), close to home 15 minute commute, and good insurance but we pay 1/4 of the insurance costs (policy costs 1200 per month, municipality employee pays 300.)

32 posted on 12/05/2012 11:53:59 AM PST by memyselfandi59
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To: RFEngineer
WOW.....you got a hair-trigger on your defensiveness.

When fellow FReepers are insulted for no other reason than the job they hold, you're right I get defensive.

Which Federal Agency do you work for? You gotta be a federal employee. Are you tele-not-working today, too?

I've never worked a day for any government agency in my life, and have been self employed since the mid 80s - not that it is any business of yours, as I'm sure you will be able to find some manner in which to insult that as well.

33 posted on 12/05/2012 11:57:36 AM PST by Gabz (Democrats for Voldemort.)
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To: mom4melody
This Federal worker works through lunch, takes work home, and works on mandated classes on the weekend.

Good for you.

On the other hand, in our encounters with federal employees, most of us have experienced something like the following:

1. Needing an answer for a farm labor question, I went to the offices of the Wage & Hour Division of the Labor Department in Montgomery, AL. I arrived at the office building where they were renting space at 11:30 AM.

2. I opened the door and was confronted with a sea of desks -- 46 of them, all told -- and every one of them empty. Not a soul in the office. At 11:30 AM. Lunch hour?

3. In the interest of an aroused curiosity, I decided to hang around...wandering thru thee offices, reading the notices on the bulletin boards, etc. Noon came. 12:30 came. 1 PM came...still no employees returning from lunch "hour".

4. At 1:18, the door opened and another person entered the otherwise vacant office. I came out of the "break area" and was greeted with "Whatchudoin' heah? You don't belong heah!"

5. I explained my situation, needing an answer to a farm labor question, and that I had been referred to this office. "He not heah. You gonna haf to leave!" When will he be back? "Dunno. Call'n'ask." There's no answer, what shall I do? "Idunno...notmyprollem...getouttaheah!".

6. At that point, three other "public servants" entered the office. Their demeanor reinforced the suggestion that I wasn't welcome in "their" territory. I left.

7. Subsequently, I was able to arrange a meeting with the supervisor of the Wage & Hour Division of the Labor Department in Montgomery, AL. It was a late afternoon...and about half the desks were filled. In response to my question, I was advised that he couldn't give me an answer -- since he didn't know how the new regulations would be interpreted or enforced. I was advised to make my own decision and be prepared to pay the penalty in the event the regulation was interpreted and enforced differently from my own.

The next time I have to deal with a federal official, I hope it's you -- but my experience is that it will more likely be along the above lines.

Thanks for what you do. A pox on everybody else in the bureacracy.

34 posted on 12/05/2012 12:03:15 PM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA; Ignorance on parade.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Bump


35 posted on 12/05/2012 1:20:11 PM PST by MercedesB
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To: what's up

“The Federal Freeper gave her personal testimony. She didn’t deserve the treatment.”

Perhaps she should take a sick day to recover from the trauma inflicted upon her by me on the ONE day she decided not to work through her lunch hour and surf the internet.


36 posted on 12/05/2012 1:46:45 PM PST by RFEngineer
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To: Gabz

“as I’m sure you will be able to find some manner in which to insult that as well. “

Nope, I have nothing but respect for anyone who labors under the yoke of our federal system that includes federal employees who are underworked, overpaid, and overly sensitive.


37 posted on 12/05/2012 1:50:07 PM PST by RFEngineer
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To: RFEngineer

Thank you for proving my point. Have a good day.


38 posted on 12/05/2012 2:07:36 PM PST by Gabz (Democrats for Voldemort.)
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To: RFEngineer

Perhaps you should not knee-jerk.


39 posted on 12/05/2012 2:20:39 PM PST by what's up
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To: okie01

Perfect illustration.

I’m old enough to remember when public servants actually lived up to the name, were proud of it and honored for it.

Now we work for them, and are often scorned for doing so.

Worse still? It’s coming soon to a doctor’s office near us all.


40 posted on 12/05/2012 2:27:27 PM PST by Fightin Whitey
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To: SeekAndFind

Poor folks. I do like 37 hours a week, private sector. Salary can be nice when the company is smart. Get stuff done on time and go home, that’s how we work.


41 posted on 12/05/2012 2:30:11 PM PST by discostu (Not a part of anyone's well oiled machine.)
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