Skip to comments.The Underworked Public Employee: Government workers take it easier than their private counterparts.
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 aidon top of the $250 billion doled out in the 2009 Recovery Actto 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 ...
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.
Considering how expensive a 30 year retirement with pension plus benefits is, public employees believe private sector employees aren’t working enough hours.
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.
Government employment has fallen by 562,000 jobs? Where?
It must be just awful.
The number of people who will comment on lazy workers while posting from their work computer, on work time.
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?
“And yes, Im on my lunch HALF-hour while Im posting.”
“This Federal worker works through lunch”
So you’re not “working through lunch” today, though, right?
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.
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.
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.
“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?
“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”.
As if working more hours is what should be striven for in this age of labor-saving technology.
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.
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 :)
“D-— it feels good to be a gangsta..”
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.
Indeed Obama added more people on the dole in the last four years.
“...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?
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.
“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?
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!
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.
Congratulations on being the one in a million.
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
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.
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.)
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
Thank you for proving my point. Have a good day.
Perhaps you should not knee-jerk.
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.
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.