É um passo, é uma ponte, é um sapo, é uma rã
É um resto de mato, na luz da manhã
São as águas de Março fechando o verão
É a promessa de vida no teu coração
António Carlos Jobim – Águas de Março
Earnest and hard working Neil McIntyre writes yesterday about the suit filed against KPMG for non-payment of overtime. I had hesitated in writing about it. Without the facts, it is difficult to make a judgement. But it was interesting to read Neil’s very strong views on the virtue of hard work and “paying your dues.” It was quite a contrast to the selection of Gen Y angst and optimistic naïveté that I highlighted yesterday and a little while ago.
I have also written before about the moral and business hazard of firms that bill clients on a retainer basis but can’t get all the work done. They end up overbilling them or with a big liability for hours owed to the client, if the client is watching.
Rather than framing the issue in its legal terms, (whether KPMG, once again, broke the law), Neil puts the discussion into the work-life balance category. His view is that working long hours now is worth it for the payoff later, hardly a typical Gen Y or otherwise view these days. Neil writes like someone with ten years experience in the business. Alas, it takes a few more to see the myriad of dangers in having a business model that depends on ninety hour work weeks. In time, in time…
Work-life balance: KPMG sued in Canada
KPMG is being sued in a proposed class action lawsuit filed the Friday before the long Labour Day weekend, citing employees were forced to work unpaid overtime hours.
The lawsuit alleges KPMG employees routinely work as many as 90 hours a week to complete assignments on behalf of clients. The firm allegedly requires employees to “eat their time” if they spend more hours on an assignment than KPMG can recover from the client.
First of all, the fact they were forced to “eat their time” is neither here nor there. What does it matter if the hours they work get billed to the client in the end? They’re being paid to do the work, and they’re being paid by the firm.
Maybe my loyalty to the profession is clouding my judgment, but I can’t seem to muster much sympathy. The situation is the same at most accounting firms, and if employees don’t like it they can work elsewhere. The job market for accounting professionals is red hot these days…
1)This is not an isolated case. See this site.
2)The key is, as you both said, what classification of employee she was, in real terms. They can designate exempt but it really boils down to nature of work and here in US there are a strict set of rules to use to judge. Also, having signed up for a salary and no overtime doesn’t mean that the switcheroo can be pulled later and 80-90 hours per week demanded to keep your job. That’s just inhumane. Just ask the poor Romanian girl at E&Y. (She’s dead.) In particular, there should at least be compensating time off, (assuming you can take it without jeopardizing your chargeability percentage.)
3)Finally, it’s not ok when a firm makes anyone “eat their hours”, that is, not record them to their engagement billing system. It matters whether a client is billed for all hours they should be billed for or not. Your bonus, amongst other things, is dependent on it. It matters whether someone can see that staff are working 90 hours a week to finish a report. The firms can not measure their profitability and, therefore, are cheating everyone if they estimate and charge the client one thing and work substantially more hours to get the job done. Careers and fortunes are made on the numbers and, for an accounting firm, they should be right, inside and out.