The field of working hours and wages is one of the important matters in the labor law in any country in the world. Labor law is to regulate the relationship between workers and the employer and to protect and guarantee the rights of each of them. Wages are among the working conditions that have a direct and tangible effect on daily life. Although wages are necessary to provide for workers and their families, getting fair and regular wages is not guaranteed in many countries of the world due to moral and legal issues.
Many of the problems in many countries of the world as a result of non-payment of workers’ dues as a result of the bankruptcy of the company, or part or a large part of it is paid in kind and all of this ultimately leads to work in order to survive and turn into slavery. There are many global laws that regulate wages in the world, which I will discuss it later.
The working hours are the time required for the worker to stay in the place of the employer or service and perform all the tasks and duties required of him until the end of the specified working hours. The regulation of working hours is one of the important labor legislation, as working long hours endangers the worker’s life. Therefore, legislations have been put in place to regulate working hours and stipulate breaks, including daily, weekly and annual vacations to ensure workers ‘health and physical safety.
Wages are considered compensation for an employee’s personal services or work performed during a given period provided by the employer, whether provided in cash or by check, or a monetary value such as housing. Payments are considered wages even if the worker is temporary, permanent, daily, part-time, or paid by day, by the hour, or by any other method of measurement. Furthermore, there are some of wage types like Minimum wage, living wage, tipped wage and fair wage.
Legal Issues in Wages
Many employees are protected by state law or the legislative council that imposes minimum wages, overtime, and fair wages free from discrimination. Employees can contact government agencies responsible for investigating these allegations and non-compliance with the laws, or they can file legal cases against employers for non-compliance with the laws and if it is found that they have violated those laws. Therefore, the work and workers must know the laws and know them well.
Federal and state laws in America specify in detail the minimum wage that a worker is entitled to. In Palestine, the Palestinian Legislative Council determines these laws, but is suspended from 2006. But sometimes, unintentionally or intentionally, and the employers fail to comply with those laws, such as:
· Failure to pay the correct minimum wage.
· Pay a lower “Minors in age” for workers who must pay more.
· Non-payment of overtime wages or improper classification of exempt employees.
· Have employees work “around the clock” and don’t pay them for it.
· Deduction of wages for goods such as meals or food.
International Labor Standards on Wages ( ILO)
1. Protection of Wages Convention, 1949: Wages shall be paid in legal tender at regular intervals; in cases where partial payment of wages is in kind, the value of such allowances should be fair and reasonable. Workers shall be free to dispose of their wages as they choose. In cases of employer insolvency, wages shall enjoy a priority in the distribution of liquidated assets.
2. Minimum wage fixing convention: Requires ratifying states to establish a minimum wage fixing machinery capable of determining and periodically reviewing and adjusting minimum wage rates having the force of law.
3. Protection of workers’ claims: Provides for the protection of wage claims in insolvency and bankruptcy by means of a privilege or through a guarantee institution.
4. Equal Remuneration convention: Lays down the principle of equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value.
Three Types of Wages
There are many types of wages, but the most important three types is Living wages, minimum wages and fair labor wage. We will start sequentially in the previous order. Fair labor law standard act 1938 contains living wage, minimum wage, fair wage.
A ‘living wage’ implies a basic income that provides more than mere subsistence, enabling participation in society and some scope for workers and their families to insure against unforeseen shocks. As the quotes above suggest, the concept is nothing new. Notwithstanding this, the essential relativism of the living wage concept – defined as it is in terms of higher human needs for social participation and capacity development, both for individuals and their families – makes it difficult to agree on what might constitute an actual living wage in any society at any given point in time (Parker, Arrowsmith, Fells, & Prowse, 2016).
Minimum Wage 1966.
The less- or unskilled worker has been the target of the minimum or living wage argument for over a century and the idea of appropriate minimum rates is a current problem facing both domestic and global companies For many, the issue of whether there should be a minimum wage in the United States is divisive. Some argue that it will cause job loss and other societal problem. Others suggest that a fundamental underpinning of society is the ability to see the dignity and worth of human labor (Leonard, 2008).
Minimum wage has been defined as the minimum amount of remuneration that an employer is required to pay wage earners for the work performed during a given period, which cannot be reduced by collective agreement or an individual contract. The purpose of minimum wages is to protect workers against unduly low pay (ILO) (Sümer, 2018).
It is the industry’s ability to pay more definitely comparisons with the average wage for the same work in other occupations or trades that require the same amount of ability.
Labor law in Palestine ( wages)
Article 81, The worker is entitled to a wage if he is present at the workplace and if he does not perform work for reasons related to the establishment. Article 82, 1- The wage is paid to the worker in legally circulating cash, provided that payment is made according to the following: a- In the days and place of work. B – At the end of each month for monthly paid workers. C- At the end of each week for workers on the basis of the production unit, hourly, daily or weekly basis. 2- It is not permissible to delay the payment of the worker’s wages more than five days from the due date. Article 85, According to the provisions of the law, the worker’s wage is considered an excellent debt. Article 87, The Wages Committee shall carry out the following tasks: 1- Study general policies for wages and their suitability to the standard of living and submit recommendations regarding them to the Council of Ministers. 2- Determining the minimum wage, provided that a decision is issued by the Council of Ministers. Article 89, The worker’s wage may not be less than the legally approved minimum 1450 NIS.
Legal Issues in working Hours
As long as working a lot of time consumes a lot of energy and affects the physical and mental energy. Therefore, the law was found to regulate working hours and not allow workers to work for a long time. There are laws on the number of working hours a person can work per day, when a person is entitled to rest, and how many overtime hours are allowed.
The Working Hours Act stipulates how many hours per day and per week an employee may work and when he* is entitled to a break or rest. These regulations have been established in order to protect the worker’s health, safety and well-being, but also to enable him to combine work with his private life and family responsibilities. The regulations apply for employees aged eighteen and older. Separate regulations apply for children under 16 and young people aged 16 and 17. A few special regulations also apply for women who are pregnant or who have recently given birth(Ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid, 2010).
working hours” means the period during which an employee is available for employment including short breaks allowed to an employee by agreement for rest and fresh air other than the breaks provided in section 2 (One & Interpretation, 1943). Also, The time spent on work and the time an employee is required to be present at a place of work at the employer’s disposal are considered working hours. Daily periods of rest as referred to in section 28 or based on agreement are not included in working hours if the employee is free to leave the place of work during these times. Travel time is not included in working hours if it does not constitute work performance (Nogueira, 2005). Along with, the International Labour Organization (ILO), standard weekly working hours (excluding overtime) cannot exceed 48 hours per week and eight hours a day. According to the ILO, “the imposition of hours limits was intended to ensure a safe and healthy working environment and adequate rest or leisure time between shifts”. However, the international guidelines, especially on overtime limits can be confusing and unclear.
There are some laws From ILO about regulate working hours:
ILO Convention No. 1, on the Hours of Work (Industry) (1919), covering industrial undertakings, i.e. construction, mining, extraction and transport, establishes an eight-hour-day and a 48-hour-week (Article 2).
Article 3 of ILO Convention No. 30 on the Hours of Work (Commerce and Offices) also stipulates working time of 48 hours a week and eight hours a day. Under this Convention, the maximum amount of working hours can be so “arranged so that hours of work in any day do not exceed ten hours” (Article 3). The Convention covers commercial or trading establishments, those working in administrative services and mixed commercial and industrial establishments.
Both Conventions deem working hours exceeding the 48-hour-limit as overtime. Any overtime must be paid at a premium. Convention No. 1 stipulates that the rate of pay for overtime that is determined by ‘government authorities’ must be at least 25% more than normal pay (Article 6(2).
International Standard in Working Hours
It is important to remember that clause 6 (specifically items 6.2 to 6.6) is based on international standards on working hours. International standards are considered at the core of and fundamental to the ETI Base Code, and working hours are no exception(Ethical Trading Initiative, 2016).
Relevant ILO conventions:
1- Hours of Work (Industry) Convention, 1919 C14: Weekly Rest (Industry) Convention, 1921 2- Forty-Hour Week Convention, 1935
3- Night Work Convention, 1990
Other relevant international standards and guidelines:
A- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that all persons have the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay (Article 24).
B- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) addresses labour rights in article 6, which states that workers are entitled to sufficient rest and leisure, including limited working hours and regular, paid holidays.
C- ILO Recommendations also address working hours, such as the Reduction of Hours of Work Recommendation, 1962 (No. 116).
Labor Law in Palestine ( Working Hours)
One of the employer’s obligations towards the worker is a weekly rest day, or also he is obligated to give him a rest period during working hours.
Right of weekly Break
The Labor Law grants the worker the right to a paid weekly vacation, consisting of 24 continuous hours, and the employer and the worker can accumulate this leave, so that the worker takes it once a month according to Article 72/1.
The weekly rest day is Friday, unless the worker and the employer agree otherwise, or if the interest of the work requires otherwise, according to Article 73 of the Labor Law.
The employer and the worker may agree to work daily nine actual working hours instead of seven and a half hours, and this agreement is permissible as long as the number of actual work hours per week does not exceed 45 hours, and in this case the worker is entitled to one day from the two days of rest with pay, as for the next day There is no concern for the business owner. If the worker works intermittent days, he is entitled to one day off after every six days, according to Article 72/2.
The right to a break during working hours
The Labor Law defines the working hours for forty-five hours per week and this number of actual hours, according to what is stated in Article 68 of the Palestinian Labor Law, i.e. an average of seven and a half hours per day on the imposition of work for a period of six days per week.
Working women are entitled to take a day off for a period of one hour and for a year from the date of birth, according to Article 104 of the Labor Law.
Working women are entitled to take a day off for a period of one hour and for a year from the date of birth, according to Article 104 of the Labor Law.
There are exceptions in working hours when those under the age of 18 reduce their working hours to one hour, which is stipulated in Article 96/1. Also excluded from work for a period of seven and half hours per day are workers in hazardous or harmful industries and workers in night work, as the work time is reduced by at least one hour to these works, so that the total of their actual work hours is only 39 hours. This does not include the hours of daily rest hours, as stated in Article 70 of the Palestinian Labor Law.
It has become the custom in a large part of private establishments in Palestine to give half an hour as a daily rest allowance, so the number of hours the worker is in the establishment becomes the actual working hours, which is 45 hours, adding the half of an hour of rest, so the total is 48 hours per week.
It is permissible for the worker and the employer to agree on additional working hours that do not exceed 12 hours per week according to what is mentioned in Article 71/1, and the extra hour wage shall be an hour and a half wages according to what is mentioned in Article 71/2. Exempted from overtime hours are persons under 18 years of age according to Article 95/3 of the Labor Law. It is not permissible for women to work overtime during pregnancy and the six months after childbirth, according to Article 101/2 of the Labor Law.
The worker is required to take a rest time after working five continuous hours, meaning that the workers don’t work for more than five continuous hours under Article 70 of the Labor Law. As for persons under 18 years of age, continuous working hours may not exceed four hours, according to Article 96/2 of the same law.
The Ethics of Wage
Morality pertains to the established standards that arise from human conscience. Human beings are not machines needing a minimum amount of fuel and maintenance in order to produce. To be human means to be both an individual person and a person in relationship. As a moral standard, wages should reflect the contribution workers make to their companies. Wages and work requirements should enable them to meet their own needs and those of their dependents, and to contribute to the sustainable growth of their community.
We find there is a lot for non-compliance with global laws and local laws related to wages and the employer’s evasion from paying the right of minimum wages or paying the cost of living that provides a decent life for the worker, and there is also a law of fair wages, so the employer must have a high rate of ethics At work, and payment of all employee rights and compliance with the laws, otherwise in case of violation, he exposes himself to trial before the law. Human resources Management is the beating heart of the company through the Human Resources Department. One of its functions is the interest in work relations, which is the process that takes place between the employees and the employer and the management of unions in order to take decisions within the organization, including wages, work condition, number of working hours and safety within the work.
The Ethics of Working Hours
Working long hours, non-compliance with instructions and laws, and greed to achieve the highest possible profit at the expense of employee health and safety is considered unethical. Working for long working hours affects the health of workers and reduces productivity, continuous fatigue, and infection with many diseases in the future.
The Human Resources Department must pay attention to the safety and health of workers in the facility. For instance, HR management has an obligation to guarantee that the organization is in compliance with healthy and safety Laws necessities and that directors and supervisors comprehend that it is their obligation to guarantee that the working environment is liberated from perceived perils that are causing or prone to cause passing or genuine actual mischief. The executives preparing and assessment ought to guarantee that supervisors comprehend representative rights, including, for instance, the privilege to health and safety preparing in a language that the worker gets it.
To avoid these ethical issues, the human resources department in the institution must comply with the country’s laws related to working hours and the internal laws of the institution and also publish those laws and procedures to employees to know their rights and educate them to avoid any legal issues in the future, and in addition to that, the human resources audit department To check periodically these issues.
How can Business avoid excessive hours:
Regulating working hours is important not only for workers’ health and safety but also for the company. Respecting limits on working hours helps meet legal requirements, avoids penalties and meets customers’ requirements. Ensuring that workers work a reasonable number of hours, and that these hours are agreed to by the worker – can improve worker satisfaction, morale, safety and welfare. These benefits to workers can also bring business benefits, such as:
1- Increased productivity due to better worker health and increased alertness. Well-rested workers generally work faster and make fewer mistakes(Ethical Trading Initiative, 2016).
2- Reduced staff turnover.
3- A more harmonious workplace as rested workers are less irritable and less likely to conflict with co-workers or senior staff.
4- Increased business from customers.
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