Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Extra-Hours WorkWeek Explained

Kevin Koch explains the reality and dynamics of the 45 hour workweek (I've excised it from "comments" down below.) ...

Commenter: The 45 hour week (40 hours of straight time and 5 hours of "guaranteed overtime") doesn't mean you have to work 45 hours to get full pay. It only means that in an overtime situation, you have to work 45 hours of straight time before you start earning time and a half.

President Koch: This is incorrect. The 45 hour work week means you are working 40 straight-time hours and 5 hours of guaranteed overtime. This is the baseline.

...and I may be wrong but that is only in effect during a 5 day week.

This part is correct. You work your 45 hours M-F, and if you need to come in Saturday, those OT hours are on top of the 45.

It basically saves the studio a few bucks because they ALWAYS get themselves into an overtime situation but that's usually during the last few months of production.

More than that, it gets them 5 extra hours of work each week BEFORE that OT situation hits.

...oh, and what it ultimately is designed to do is reduce your hourly rate which means that, again, in an overtime situation, they actually pay you time and a half based upon that reduced rate. For example: if you make $2000 per week on a "45 hour week", your rate is not $50 per hour, it's actually $44 per hour.

Nope. The situation is worse than you've calculated. That $2000/week is now divided by 40 straight-time hours, and 5 OT hours, equivalent to a total of 47.5 straight-time hours. So the hourly rate drops from $50/hour to $42.10/hour. Your additional overtime hours are now worth $63.16.

(The thing about 45 or 50-hour work weeks -- as it's been explained to me by people with law degrees -- is that Federal regulations require that the "45 hours with 5 hours of pre-paid overtime" be worked most of the time. Otherwise, individuals who mostly work 40 hours of their stipulated 45-hour week are actually earning their salaries on a 40 hour week, and their weekly $2000 would then be divided by 40 hours, not 47.5.

This is why Disney requires the 45-hours to be worked each week. (A "hard" 45-hour work week vs. a "soft" 45-hour work week.) Otherwise, the company collides with Federal regulations.

-- Steve Hulett)

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this is still a subject. Many people have put in many more hours in a week than 45, and did it for free. Because they wanted to do the best they could because your scenes are there forever. Some times its not just about the money.

Anonymous said...

A little OT, but isn't it labor law that in either an 8 or a 9 hour day, employees must take a lunch hour? That is, a lunch hour that is not spent "working" which by definition includes mandatory meetings? Because some places that are going to "hard" 45 hour weeks are also regularly scheduling work-thru-lunch meetings for their employees. They do always provide food.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this is still a subject. Many people have put in many more hours in a week than 45, and did it for free. Because they wanted to do the best they could because your scenes are there forever. Some times its not just about the money.

No offense, but no one should EVER work for free. EVER. Never ever ever.

Dont forget, we arent just talking about fresh out of school newbies here, we're talking 20-40 year vets (like Eric Goldberg and Andreas Deja) to essentially take a pay cut.

Anonymous said...

Hours worked is irrelevant(ref. Einstein, Special Relativity.) Quality of applied craft is the more accurate measure for future income generated. (See Revenue, Box Office.)

There is no form more useless than a time card, save for a loan application.

I wish our guild weren't so locked out of negotiations to reduce us to the perpetual policing of management OT abuses. Animation is far too creative an endeavor to suffer the indignity of clock-watching.

But hey, we're only below-the-line right? Right?

Steve Hulett said...

Many people have put in many more hours in a week than 45, and did it for free.

People are free to violate laws whenever and wherever they like. Happens all the flipping time.

But they're violating laws. (i.e., falsifying time cards, working without additional compensation, etc.)

I just get tired of people complaining to me about violations they commit. ("Stop me before I kill again!")

... they wanted to do the best they could because your scenes are there forever. Some times its not just about the money.

Sure. Not about the money. Except for many this "not about the money" thing gets to be an ingrained habit.

But fine. You want to pretend your working in a Florentine art studio for Michelangelo, be my guest.

Steve Hulett said...

Animation is far too creative an endeavor to suffer the indignity of clock-watching.

But hey, we're only below-the-line right? Right?


Absolutely. So take what you get, and be grateful. Put the ugly subject of overtime (which is due under the contract and/or law) out of your mind.

It's all about the work ... the art ... doing a good job.

Oh. And forget about royalties/residuals. We mustn't look greedy or grubby, right?

Remember, it's all about the work ... the art ... doing a good job. Your scene is going to be up on that screen forever.

Money? Totally unimportant.

Steve Hulett said...

A little OT, but isn't it labor law that in either an 8 or a 9 hour day, employees must take a lunch hour?

California labor regs say that at least a thirty minute lunch break must be taken.

That is, a lunch hour that is not spent "working" which by definition includes mandatory meetings? Because some places that are going to "hard" 45 hour weeks are also regularly scheduling work-thru-lunch meetings for their employees. They do always provide food.

A mandatory meeting with food is "work."

So when there's a work/lunch meeting, labor regulations are being broken. Yet again.

The way many employees deal with it is going for a 30 minute walk in the fresh air during the middle of the afternoon.

Others go back to their rooms and repeat: "It's all about the work ... it's all about the work ..." ...

Anonymous said...

>>Your scene is going to be up on that screen forever. Money? Totally unimportant.

See, this sounds just like IATSE failing to connect the bigger dots.

Again, why is TAG, one of the most creative guilds today that continues to produce such a large amount of revenue for work that is "put up on that screen forever" locked out of negotiations beyond clock-watching?

Steve Hulett said...

why is TAG...locked out of negotiations beyond clock-watching?

I donno. Is it? How so?

I mean, clock watching is important, yes? If TAG members are willing to work for free, the studios probably ask themselves: "Why pay more?"

I Am Not John K. said...

And if we're willing to work for multi-national conglomerates for free because of our "art", how can anyone who isn't brain damaged from caffeine poisoning think the studios would ever be willing to pay us residuals?

Anonymous said...

"So when there's a work/lunch meeting, labor regulations are being broken. Yet again.
The way many employees deal with it is going for a 30 minute walk in the fresh air during the middle of the afternoon.
"

What about the union talking to company management about it. Would that do any good?

Anonymous said...

"Again, why is TAG, one of the most creative guilds today that continues to produce such a large amount of revenue for work that is "put up on that screen forever" locked out of negotiations beyond clock-watching?"

What do you mean by "locked out"? You know why we don't get residuals, right? List which creative guilds apart from 'above the lines' get them now.

PS: Review the insane problems SAG has been having just trying to come to an agreement among its own members about what to get.

Steve Hulett said...

What about the union talking to company management about it. Would that do any good?

Has in the past. I've argued the subject with a number of studio reps.

The bottom line: Members have to report abuses. They don't report, I can't take action.

Anonymous said...

Isn't "guaranteed overtime" just a way of sidestepping the law and getting employees to work longer hours for less pay? Unions which fought for the 40 hour work week seem apathetic to this slight-of-hand scam. Please explain to me why this isn't the kind of worker exploitation that unions usually fight against.

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