Overtime: Paying for abuse
The site www.unpaidovertime.ca provides a definition of "unpaid overtime" in Canada and updates pending cases pending against two major banks and a railway corporation.
In August 2008, the suit against accounting giant KPMG was settled, according to this report retrieved from www.hrthoughtleader.com:
"On August 7, 2008, the $50-million overtime class-action suit against KPMG was settled. The settlement was approved by the court and it is expected to cost KPMG as much as $10-million.
Justice Paul Perrell of the Ontario Superior Court approved the proposed KPMG settlement which uses the KPMG overtime redress plan process. The settlement approval can be accessed at www.orpinfo.ca.
...According to Jim Middlemiss of the National Post, now all eyes turn to the CIBC, Scotiabank and CN Railway Co., overtime class actions being run by Douglas Elliot of Roy Elliott O'Connor and the labour law firm Sack Goldblatt Mitchell.
CIBC has filed reams of legal materials disputing the allegations against it and the other organizations have also denied that they owe staff any money."
The logic in many companies I work with is, "You're a manager. You will work whatever hours it takes to achieve success in your unit, for which you'll receive a bonus at the end of the year. Or, if we declare we're in a recession, no bonus. But the long hours remain. Oh, and because we've had layoffs, forget about that vacation. You might be able to fit in the occasional long weekend."
I've always found the logic that managers should work long hours just because of the role without direct compensation a feeble, morally bankrupt rationale. After all, a manager is still a worker. And I don't think that ownership (via owning stock in publicly-traded companies) carries with it the imperative that you will now routinely work ten to fourteen hour days.
In one company, a middle manager rises at 4 am to get to her desk by 6 am. so that she can do both her job and that of another manager who was downsized this year. She might get home by 8 pm. She is a single mother terrified of losing her job.
Overtime abuse rarely exists in isolation from other poor employee relations practices. A friend who works for one of the world's largest corporations took over the job of a vice president felled by illness and now on long term disability. When she asked to be named to the role in an acting capacity, after eight months (and two previous year-long stints doing the job while the incumbent was on maternity leaves) she was told, "We have a freeze on promotions." Yet other promotions were announced.
Do typical management-level benefits (stock options, club memberships, cars) provide a fair exchange against the loss of the finite hours and minutes of a life? Aside from emergencies or unusual occurrences, shouldn't an employer expect a manager to work a normal week?