Friday, September 23, 2016

Criticism of new overtime pay rules; but IT workers probably make too much; more companies offer paid family leave anyway


The Obama administration’s new rule requiring overtime payment to white collar workers who make less than $47476 a year sounds as if it could be disruptive to IT workplaces.  It is already drawing criticism from libertarian sources, as on FEE, particularly with respect to telework from home.

Most IT people are used to production support and being on call, and informal arrangements to take comp time the next day when fighting fires.  Probably most experienced workers make more than that floor now.  In the 1990s, the didn’t (my salary at all ING-related jobs from 1990 to 2001 ranged from $40000 to $73000).

Back in the 1980s, at Chilton in Dallas, everyone supported his own subsystem once in production.  There was never any comp time or expenses paid for coming in to fight fires, because they were presumed to be the associate’s responsibility.

That sort of arrangement hardly sounds realistic today in social media companies where 24x7 support is the norm, and where work is much more fluid.  I’ve wondered what it is like to work for Facebook or Google (or Microsoft or Apple) and how rollouts to hundreds of millions or billions of users in real time are handled, across multiple server farms in many countries.

I recall another story on Atlantic (by Bouree Lam) about being the most “competent” person, whom others rely on to fight production fires. 

The paid family leave debate becomes relevant.  When on-call work is essentially unpaid, people with fewer family obligations tend to do more of it.  When I point this out, someone on Facebook says, my parents must have been suckers when they had me.  I owe it back just for being raised?  Bad karma?

Discovery Communications in Silver Spring MD is now offering very inclusive paid family leave for 12 weeks (includes adoption, foster placement, caregivers).

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