The Instigator
blazingflame
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
31 Points

Mandate a four day Work Week

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/31/2010 Category: Health
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,291 times Debate No: 13521
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (3)
Votes (7)

 

blazingflame

Pro

It is essential that we mandate a four day workweek for the following reasons.
>Reduction of health problems
>Economically wise
>Energy efficiency and environmental friendly.
•Going back to my first reason "Reduction of health problems"; America is a stress filled country. This is a growing problem that must be resolved. Every day, more and more people die from anxiety and many commit suicide. Suicidal seems to be the only resolution to tensions in numerous people's lives. We must see that mandating a four day workweek is the solution to our stress tribulations and many health issues. Heart disease is on the rise, more people are on anxiety meds than ever, people are jetting off to appointments and meetings all day long that they are not able to monitor their cholesterol intakes and their blood pressure. Each day many people are attacked by strokes and heart attacks but we still disregard the issue of stress in our daily lives. An article by proactive change.com and stress.org gives us the first comprehensive look at the real percentile of stress in the United States. It list that 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful;
•25% view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives;
•Three fourths of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago;
•29% of workers felt quite a bit or extremely stressed at work;
•26 percent of workers said they were "often or very often burned out or stressed by their work";
•Job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems.
•80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help;
•14% of respondents had felt like striking a coworker in the past year, but didn't;
•25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress, 10% are concerned about an individual at work they fear could become violent;
•9% are aware of an assault or violent act in their workplace and 18% had experienced some sort of threat or verbal intimidation in the past year.
It is comprehensible that we need to look into this topic and mandate it as soon as possible.

My second point has to deal with economy; in our current economic crisis, our citizens are obligated to work extra hard in their workplaces in the sense that they can no longer keep up with their depts. Putting them in a further stressful situation. According to a June 24 article of 2010, Local governments in particular have had their eyes on Utah over the last year; the state redefined the workday for more than 17,000 of its employees last August. After just one month later, this experiment was deemed successful and the state of Utah was able to save more than $1.8 million. In addition, its citizens were able to save thousands of dollars on gas money
Passing this resolution is also energy efficient and environmentally friendly because if people were to reduce the amount of gas and technology that they use each day, they would be able to reduce our environmental pollution by one third, Being exhausted, stressed out, anxious and overextended isn't the only consequence of the tough American work week. Long commutes cause pollution and are a big drain on energy resources. As gas prices are rising, people are trying to find ways to cut back, but our country wasn't built for mass public transportation and we still have to get to work. The solution that some people are promoting could have a positive effect not only on oil consumption, but American life in general: a four day work week. Says an article from http://earthfirst.com...
SOURCES
http://www.stress.org...
http://earthfirst.com...
http://www.proactivechange.com...
RoyLatham

Con

Thanks to Pro for proposing this debate. It's an interesting topic, with much more involved than apparent.

Note that mandating a four day work week does not directly limit the number of hours worked. The example Pro gave of government offices in Utah was the adoption of four ten-hour days. http://www.time.com... Since the number of hours is unchanged, it has no direct impact on number of jobs.

"Mandate" means "to authorize or decree (a particular action), as by the enactment of law." The debate is about requiring a four-day week through legislation.

1. The government has no business telling anyone how many days a person can work. It is an unacceptable violation of basic human rights. A person may like working more than any other activity; government would be saying that people cannot do what they prefer. Scientists, authors, artists, financial moguls, and entrepreneurs often need long work weeks to accomplish what they want to do, so that a restriction becomes fatal to their entire undertaking. Perhaps we would have had to forgo the General Theory of Relativity had Einstein been forced to take three day weekends. The Sistine Chapel ceiling might have never been completed if Michelangelo was limited to four day work weeks. The resolution is a restriction on human freedom that would obviate many great achievements. Even if one's achievements are not great, there is no compelling reason to forbid people from doing what they want to do.

The principle is stated in Article 23 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights, "Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment." http://www.un.org... If one is not allowed to freely enter into employment for more than four days per week, that is clearly a violation of "free choice of employment." Moreover, if one cannot support one's family with a four day week, as might be the case for a farmer or fisherman, for example, than that is a basic denial of the right to work.

2. Many jobs cannot be done effectively with four day week. Commercial fishing seasons are short and the fisherman must make most of their livelihood when the season is open, then they relax after the season closes. Oil workers on offshore drilling rigs work long weeks on the rigs then have several weeks off; transportation costs make any other schedule impractical. There is long list of jobs ranging from the merchant marine to farming to astronauts that are not practical to perform with a four day week. Many of the jobs alternate long work weeks with long periods off. Farmers must work long weeks during planting and harvest, but winters are slack. Fishing and timber cutting are seasonal. Motion pictures shot on location cannot possibly afford to have four day weeks, but the workers are highly compensated.

For oil rig workers, "The work schedule is arranged by a 14/21-day rotation system where the employee will work 14 days on then 21 off." http://www.oilcareer.net... This arrangement is quite attractive to many workers, and there is no reason why the government should prevent it.

Entrepreneurs are another large group for which a four day week is not generally suitable. "The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index finds that small business owners today work an average of 52 hours per week. The majority, 57 percent work six days a week and more than 20 percent work all seven days." http://www.accountingweb.com...# Of course, some would be able to adapt to four day weeks, but for a significant percentage it would cause the business to fail.

3. Job stress is certainly a problem, but a four day week would not lower stress. "We worry about getting and keeping adequate employment. We worry about new types of work or new responsibilities. We struggle to climb a career ladder, overwhelmed by the demands. Work conditions may change, or we may have interpersonal trouble at work." http://www.articlealley.com... None of that is changed by working four ten hour days. People must still worry about keeping their jobs, about taking on new responsibilities, about career advancement, and disputes with other workers. The four day week just puts more problems into one day.

Pro's reference to the American Stress Institute http://www.stress.org... establishes that too much stress is a bad thing, but it does not claim that rearranging the work hours would cure the problem. Their study shows "40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful; 25% view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives" That means that 60% do not view their jobs as highly stressful and 75% have worse sources of stress in their lives. That in turn suggests that things other than having more than four days in the work week are the cause of the problems. Since very few people have four day weeks, if it was the cause of stress there should be nearly 100% stressed out from the job. It's far more likely that having a bad ob is the cause of the stress, rather than the job occurring over more than four days. 75% have more stress off the job, so requiring more days off the job cannot be expected to help that.

4. The government office workers in Utah are likely to be among the least stressed of all workers. They have the benefits and security of government work. There is no chance a competitor will put them out of business, and no chance their jobs will be outsourced to China. Advancement is more due to seniority than strategizing or risk-tasking. Because they are in low pressure jobs, it makes sense that they can work ten hours in a day without being stressed out. I have no objections to them doing so, nor for anyone else who wants that arrangement. However, work involving intense physical labor or high-pressure decision-making is going to be poorly suited to long workdays.

5. The cost savings in Utah came from shutting off the heat or air conditioning on the day off. Most private employers have to serve customers more than four days a week. That is not just the obvious, like restaurants, but companies that have to ship goods on short notice, must answer sales inquiries, must provide services to customers, or have expensive manufacturing equipment that cannot be shut down affordably. Many government services must also work more than four days: police, fire, utilities, parks, transportation, permitting offices, trash collection, and so forth. Being able to shut down.

Savings in commuting are modest. The average commute in the U.S. is 16 miles http://askville.amazon.com... and the average car gets 21 mpg http://en.wikipedia.org.... So saving a commute day corresponds to 1.5 gallons, which is $4.20 worth of gasoline. http://www.eia.doe.gov... Commuters tend to carpool, use economy cars, or use public transportation, making it even less. Also, it's unlikely that people will fail to drive on their new day off. With more a three-day weekend every week, they are likely to take more long trips. If there is any savings at all, it would be slight.

I am all in favor of any savings that is practical, which means for those people whose jobs are suitable to working a four day week ought to do it. The slight savings do not rise to a compelling reason to mandate a four day work week.

==================

The four day work week is a good idea for some people, and I am not suggesting it ought to be forbidden or discouraged. The resolution fails because it is completely unsuited to many jobs, and mandating it is both unwise and an unacceptable government intrusion into individual choices.
Debate Round No. 1
blazingflame

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.
I agree with my opponent that mandating a four day work week would not influence the amount of hours worked however, it reduces the amount of energy used in a week. turning off the lights, the heat and the air conditioning on Fridays in 1,000 of 3,000 government buildings will save about $3 million a year out of a state budget of $11 billion, according to the governor's spokeswoman, Lisa Roskelley.

my opponent made a point in which he states "The debate is about requiring a four-day week through legislation." but we find our self in a situation where we simply cannot require this legislation to be acted upon and the only option we have left is to "Mandate" the resolution.

1. unlike what my opponent mentions, the federal government does have the right to mandate this resolution because it does not involve an individual states but involves the nation in general. As I might have mentioned earlier in my debate, it is the duty of the government to look into many conflicts on our society and to decipher the problem as well. This process is done by seeing if it is proportionate or improportionate, it is then let up to them to regard or disregard the conflict. stress as I mentioned earlier in my first debate is one of these problems; seeing as the person is paid the same amount of money as they would in a five day work week, there is no point in further endangering many lives. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself" as was portrayed by Article 25 of the UN Deceleration of Human rights. My opponent had asked an important question I which I quote "had Einstein been forced to take three day weekends?" The answer is no but seeing that we are in a different world were energy efficiency is a growing problem, the Mandation of a four day work week is the best solution.

secondly I would like to explain to my opponent that the same Article (Article 23) of the UN Deceleration on Human Rights also states that "Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.". not to mention that Article 24 states that "Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay." http://www.un.org...... Meaning that the government can still pass this resolution as long as the citizen makes the same amount of money. This also covers the amount of produce manufactured each year would increase due to more hours thus creating more jobs and higher salaries for farmers.

3. my opponent mentions that "commercial fishing seasons are short and the fisherman must make most of their livelihood when the season is open..." this may be true For this work ethics but we must consider other work places such as the company responsible for buying these fishes. Also mandating a four day workweek will not affect the oil career due to their own personal calendar http://www.groovygreen.com...; however it will reduce the amount of crude oil used by 10% per day http://www.theoildrum.com.... Entrepreneurs are also able to accommodate to this new form because just like other social or independent workers, the amount of product they sell would double and the amount of energy they use per month would fall by 13%.

And in conclusion, the amount of work product would more than double thus reducing the amount of energy use by 13% per states if we Mandate a four day work week.
RoyLatham

Con

I did not argue that a mandate could not be enacted, so Pro need not have devoted space to arguing that it could. The resolution is a "should" resolution, so if it were necessary to amend the Constitution to bring it about, then that "should" be done if the resolution is adopted. My point was that "mandate" is a requirement, not a suggestion.

1. Pro asserted that the shorter week would reduce stress, but gave no reasons why. I listed the specific causes of job stress and pointed out they were all due to merely having a job: worry about keeping the job, worry about performance and advancement, and conflicts with fellow workers. Pro did not make any counter arguments. Stress would not be reduced. 70% of stress is not job related, so if there were any reduction,for unknown reasons, it is unlikely to have a significant health impact.

2. I argued that it was a basic human right for a person to be able to determine how much they worked and when they worked. Pro did not dispute that basic right. He pointed out there is also a right to equal pay for equal work. That's true, but irrelevant to the debate. There is nothing discriminatory about allowing people to chose their work hours.

Pro also asserted a right "Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay." A right is something that a person may freely choose to exercise. The right to freely practice religion does not translate to a requirement whereby a person must practice religion. The right to time off means that a government cannot require working seven days a week, per Chinese sweatshops. It does not mean that a budding Einstein can be forbidden from fiddling with equations seven days a week if he wants to. Moreover, the resolution is not limiting working hours, it is mandating the arrangement of working hours. I don't think the limitation on working was in any case meant to apply to people who are self-employed. It makes no sense to forbid a person from milking his cow every day on grounds of human rights.

3. I pointed out that there are many occupations that cannot be performed under the resolution. Fishing must be done during fishing season, and crops must be harvested when they are ready to harvest. The fish cannot be required to wait through three day weekends, nor the crops required not to ripen. There are also jobs that are impractical to perform under a four-day work week. Oil workers cannot be practically shuttled every four days; and it is to their benefit to work two weeks on followed by three weeks off.

Pro granted this argument, but pointed out that there are jobs where a four-day week makes sense. I believe that this negates the resolution. I agree that a four day week ought to be used where ever it makes sense. The resolution is whether it ought to be mandated when it does not make sense. Pro seems to grant that there are such situations where it makes no sense, and therefore the resolution fails.

Pro points to a reference, "groovygreen.com," claiming that offshore oil drilling should be banned, because then we will use less oil. That argument is nonsense, as we would just import more oil, but it is irrelevant to this debate. There is no generic argument that all jobs unsuited to four day weeks ought to be banned. That would include farming, fishing, timbering, and, I suppose, astronaut exploration of space.

Pro asserts without evidence that entrepreneurs could adapt to a four day week. I offered solid evidence to the contrary. Sure, some entrepreneurs could adapt, but many could not. It is absurd to require that all enterprises that cannot succeed within a four day week ought to be outlawed. That makes no economic sense, and is a gross violation of the individual's right to spend time as he wishes.

4. I gave reasons why the energy savings claimed by Pro are unlikely to be achieved: many business must operate more than four days to serve customers, expensive fabrication facilities cannot be economically left idle, and workers are likely to drive on their extra day off anyway. Government, the only example Pro used, is almost unique in not having to satisfy customers by providing good service and not having expensive machinery making product. Pro did answer any of my arguments, but merely reasserted his claim that 13% energy saving could be achieved.

==================

The resolution is good in that it promotes thinking about the unintended consequences of sweeping government mandates.

A resolution along the lines of "a four day work week should be promoted" might be reasonable, as sometimes a four day week makes sense. However, the resolution is that a four day work week ought to be mandated. The resolution fails on grounds of individual freedom and it's economic impracticality for many jobs.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 2
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Dingo7 6 years ago
Dingo7
Another argument Con could have used is that increasing hours in a day doesn't necessarily equate to more worker productivity for the day. Workers only have a few productive hours a day anyway, so any boosts coming from 2 extra hours a day would be minimal and probably outweighed by the productivity lost from cutting a day off.

Con did very well without it though, good work.
Posted by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
Pro did not do well here.
B/A: Who cares
Conduct: Tied
Grammar: Easily Con. I normally leave this one alone, but the number of errors on the Pro side was too much.
C/A: Pro kept getting off the subject and never addressed, much less refuted, Con's solid points. Pro seemingly had a good opening statement, but could not deal with the opposition. This is another easy one for Con.
Sources: Pro offered irrelevant sources and tried to use several arguments from authority. Con took this one too.
Posted by darkhearth 6 years ago
darkhearth
intresting topic
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Dingo7 6 years ago
Dingo7
blazingflameRoyLathamTied
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Vote Placed by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
blazingflameRoyLathamTied
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Vote Placed by Chrysippus 6 years ago
Chrysippus
blazingflameRoyLathamTied
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Vote Placed by darkhearth 6 years ago
darkhearth
blazingflameRoyLathamTied
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Vote Placed by darkkermit 6 years ago
darkkermit
blazingflameRoyLathamTied
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Vote Placed by Alex 6 years ago
Alex
blazingflameRoyLathamTied
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Vote Placed by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
blazingflameRoyLathamTied
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