Saturday, July 22, 2006

Are programmers entitled to overtime?

Electronic Arts (EA) settled for $14.9 million USD with programmers of various experience levels. This would suggest that yes, programmers are entitled to overtime and most especially in California where their rights to overtime are explicitly protected in state law.

Many programmers in the United States are not paid overtime - lawyers for United Employees Law Group are now asking American programmers to submit claims if they are not being paid overtime. Even though federal law may not protect overtime rights, many state laws do. According to this lawfirm, most states require overtime to be paid and do not classify programmers as management staff (thus exempting them from overtime).

What do you think - are programmers entitled to overtime?

4 Comments:

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Prasanth said...

In India, i never got paid overtime during my programming days and i do not resent it because i loved to program !!. I loved to develop something new and see it work !!. My be mine is a unique prespective. I have not heard of any company in India paying overtime for programmers - they are extremly well paid anyway.

Regards,

Prasanth

 
At 12:02 PM, Blogger R. Lawson said...

"they are extremly well paid anyway."

By standards in India, they are. You would live in poverty on the same pay in the USA. You of course are aware of the currency exchange rates - you simply can't survive on your salary here without government assistance.

When you compare yourself with other people in India you are probably quite fortunate. Poverty is rampant and most would love to be in your position.

I don't think we should use India as a measure of successful overtime laws because so many people live in dire situations. The reason we go to India for software services is for cheaper and more exploitable labor - period.

Your labor movement is yet to gain momentum, and the country suffers by problems of corruption which unless resolved will keep the majority of the population in poverty conditions. I'm not sure it is productive to compare the two countries because they really aren't comparable.

You should use wealthier nations as a measure of success, and we shouldn't use nations where the majority of citizens live in poverty as our measure. The goal should be to reduce, if not remove, poverty from the world.

Enjoyable as it is, software development is a business. The purpose is to make money and provide for our families. Our ability to provide in the US is jeapordized because of overtime laws, and a host of other issues that I have discussed on this blog.

Most companies in the US also don't pay overtime for programmers. California law seems to require it - and companies must abide by both state and federal laws. So even if one is exempt from federal over time laws, you may not be exempt from state law.

I am not certain on Florida law. It would appear that programmers are in fact exempt here but I am looking into that now. I think the answer to this question will ultimately depend on what state you work in.

 
At 2:24 PM, Blogger Prasanth said...

My intention was not to compare India and US and I agree with most of what you have stated except the statement "The reason we go to India for software services is for cheaper and more exploitable labor - period" - Cheaper? Yes "exploitable"? Hardly.

I was just stating the fact that overtime pay is almost non-existent in India (not just in IT) unless you are an assembly line worker or you belong to one of the government owned companies and I thought it is the same in US too.

My question is, if programmers in US demand overtime, won't it be another incentive for the companies to outsource the work to places outside US?

Regards,

Prasanth

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger R. Lawson said...

"I was just stating the fact that overtime pay is almost non-existent in India (not just in IT) unless you are an assembly line worker or you belong to one of the government owned companies and I thought it is the same in US too."

Yeah, that sounds factual and can't argue with that. In the US it is different for most non-managerial jobs. They exempt IT jobs from overtime.

"My question is, if programmers in US demand overtime, won't it be another incentive for the companies to outsource the work to places outside US?"

Yes it would, could you do me a favor and demand it first ;-)

We should be in a race to the top, not bottom. If Indian tech workers want a fair fight, demand that your government stop manipulating the currency. It is artificially low right now.

The again, why would you want a fair fight? I wouldn't complain if my government was getting the upper hand in a trading relationship.

 

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