“Jewish Ethics of Employee Treatment and Communal Responsibility” by Dani Passow, p. 12-13
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United States labor law does not restrict the number of hours an employer can require an employee to work a week.This implies that the norm in America is, in the language of the Mishna, to work early and late. Nevertheless, the law does require most employees to be paid time-and-a-half for every hour over forty worked in a week. Representing the will of the public, this law suggests that there is, in fact, a social value in allowing workers time in their day to do as they please. While this value begins to establish some of the expectations we saw previously, such as parental involvement, time to be involved in communal activities etc, ultimately the law states that the value of free time is a weak value: It is not absolute, but still has worth. Therefore, one may forego this right, but only if compensated.
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. According to Passow’s analysis, how does US labor law understand the value (and role) of free time for a worker?

2. Should the US restrict the number of hours an employee can work per week? Why?

3. What is the ultimate value of free time for laborers? Why is it important to ensure that all workers have free time?

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Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)