Ms. Bridget Jacobs
Final Draft 1
October 7, 2013
The Billable Hour
If I’m not mistaken, everyone likes to get paid. Most of us are paid by a system called the billable hour. Also, most of us make about 7-10$/hour and careless about working constantly and productively for the entirety of your shift. Now imagine a service that you are paying for by the hour that is not getting work done as efficiently as possible, for instance, a cleaning service that sits and watches TV while supposedly cleaning your living room or movers who seemed as if they only moved three boxes in the past hour. This would make one very angry. Many lawyers and accountants do this to people every day. The U.S. economy is having enough financial issues as it is. There is no need to add access dilemmas on our indigent economy. One problem that we have is the billable hour. In the U.S. today, the billable hour is very detrimental to our lives when the work being done is not profitable. The billable hour gives no reason for employees to be efficient and it also helps employees find creative ways to add unworked hours to a timesheet in order to gain a higher pay. So the billable hour poses a couple of problems. One of these problems is that there is no reason for employees to be efficient in their work. By using the billable hour, you get a set rate of pay. Many people who are naturally slackers are rewarded because of this. By slackers, I mean people who habitually avoid work or lack work ethic. Often times, more efficient work is not rewarded but having more hours are. This could be somewhat discouraging and lead to inefficient work. It is also a misconception that longer hours equal better performance and this is not, at all, always the case. Getting work done too quickly is not beneficial. When this happens, one of two things can occur. “You are given more work immediately, which causes you to have to work even harder (when you probably worked really hard to finish whatever it was that you just finished, and kind of wanted a nap). Or You’re not given more work immediately, which means you’re going to have to do even more work later, to make up for the hours you can’t bill today.” (Monahan) This gives reason to for employees to drag assignments out for as long as possible. A survey was done by Salary.com, surveying more than 3,200 people from February to March 2012.Of the people we surveyed from salary.com, 64 percent said they visit non-work related websites every day during work hours. However, that number is down nearly 10 percent from the last time we conducted this survey in 2008. With so many jobs lost in the last four years, it's likely employees have less time to waste because they're spending more time on their added job responsibilities. Thirty-nine percent of the people who took the survey said they spend a mere 1 hour a week or less on non-work related items. 29 percent of people said they spend up to 2 hours a week wasting time on the computer at work, and 21 percent said they waste up to 5 hours a week. Only 3 percent of respondents spend 10 hours or more on personal tasks while at work in a given week. This survey goes to shows that 50 percent of people spend in between 2-5 hours. Another survey was done on the reasons why employees waste time at work. 34 percent of employees claimed they waste time because their hours are too long and 32 percent of people said their company gives them no incentive to work harder.
At the end of the day, most partners and associates are reaching towards one common goal. This common goal is reaching the minimum billable requirements. The minimum billable hour requirements began in the 1950’s. “The notion of charging by units of time was popularized in the 1950s, when the American Bar Association was becoming alarmed that the income of lawyers was falling precipitously behind that of doctors (and, worse, dentists). The A.B.A. published an influential pamphlet, “The 1958