How Employees Are Revolting Against Budget Cuts


Memos from Cubeland

Getting Paid for Booting Up: Hourly employees are revolting against their nickel-and-diming employers.

If you've ever killed time schmoozing with colleagues while your computer boots up, your boss might owe you a few bucks. Hourly workers at AT&T, UnitedHealth Group, and Cigna have filed lawsuits against their respective employers, claiming they should be paid for the time they spend booting up and shutting down their computers — roughly 15 minutes a day, or, added up over a year, some 60 hours of wages. "Employees are required to be available to take a call at the start of their shift," says attorney David Schlesinger, who represents a group of AT&T workers who arrive early just to log in to their programs. "AT&T isn't explicitly asking them to do it, but they leave them no alternative," he claims.

Maybe so, but we wonder if those uncompensated minutes aren't offset by the estimated two hours a day at work we fritter away on Facebook and YouTube. Here, the top time-sucks we're still getting paid for, according to

1. Web surfing

2. Watercooler chitchat

3. Personal business

4. Phoning friends

5. Extended breaks, like long lunches and coffee runs.

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