Will 20-Hour Work Week Boost the Economy?

A bunch of think tank groups are gathering in London with goal of coming up with solutions that would help boost the economy, create more jobs, help the credit crisis and reduce the carbon footprint.

The New Economic Foundation is one of the groups joining the London conclave.  One of the ideas they are advocating is a 20 hour work week.  They claim that it will create more jobs and give people more time to reflect on the effects they are having on the environment.

If you only work 20 hours then you only get paid for 20 hours.  That cuts worker’s pay in half.  For many families that would require them to find a second job for another 20 hours a week.

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Then there is the issue of benefits.  Most companies don’t offer benefits to workers only working 20 hours so most people will lose their medical, dental, vision, short and long term disability and retirement packages (401k, etc.).  This would save the companies tons of money, but it would place an added financial burden on workers to purchase private health insurance and set up their own retirement accounts, if they do at all.  Many will not put aside for retirement, thus adding an extra burden on the Social Security and other government programs when we end up with a whole generation that can’t afford to retire but get too old to work.

Businesses will still have to be operating the same hours they are now, so they will have to hire double the number of workers.  The government will use these figures to say that unemployment is down, but in reality, you probably will have the same number of people working, just that they’re all working 2 jobs instead of one.

And please tell me how this is going to reduce the carbon footprint if people still have to work the same number of hours, but at two different locations?  Depending on how people’s schedules run, the 20 hour work week will probably increase the amount of carbon footprinting.  If a number of people work 4 hours in the morning at one job and then 4 hours in the afternoon or evening at their second job, then there will actually be more driving, more use of fuels and more carbon footprints left all over the place.

Working two jobs, no matter how you look at it will take more time away from every individual and they will have less time to contemplate their effect on the environment as the brainiacs from New Economics Foundation think it will.  Workers will have less time to spend with their families and less time to spend their hard earned money.

While many people may think this sounds great at first, once they realize the ramifications, they’ll soon change their minds.  Sometimes I wonder if these think tank people ever come out of their cells to view the real world, because for the life of me I can’t envision any way mandatory 20 hour work weeks will help out.  I don’t belong to any think tank, but you don’t have to be a genius to see that this idea is actually more detrimental than it is a solution.

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