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40-hour work week is long gone

Remember the good old days, when you showed up at work at 9 a.m. and left at 5 p.m.

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A new report by PGi, a virtual meetings software company, finds 88 percent of American professionals now work more than 40 hours a week, and 71 percent routinely bring work home with them.

Technology is part of the problem since it is now possible to reach workers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Your boss can call you Saturday afternoon on your cell phone, or send you an email on your smartphone on Sunday afternoon – or (you) can just log onto your workplace computer from home at night and do more work,” said Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute in Princeton.

And while computers were supposed to make life easier for workers and allow them to spend more time with their families, it has turned out to be exactly the opposite, according to Maltby. “We can get more work done with a computer, but our bosses make up for it by giving us even more work to do. No matter how you look at it, the work just keeps piling on.  The computers haven’t helped us at all.”

For some professionals, like a doctor or an executive, working more than 40 hours a week is part of the job, but for many workers that’s not the case, according to Maltby.

Workers putting in more than 40 hours could be entitled to more money.  “Most people are entitled to overtime for anything over 40 hours a week, but just because you’re entitled to it, doesn’t mean your employer is going to give it to you. There are literally millions of people today who are entitled to overtime who aren’t getting it because their boss isn’t doing it voluntarily, and they don’t know enough to demand it.”

Where can workers turn if they feel they deserve more money for working longer hours?  Maltby recommends contacting the New Jersey Department of Labor to have the matter reviewed.

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