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 :)