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A Ride through the History of the American Workforce

12-31-2019
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As a very privileged Gen Zer, I have taken workplace safety for granted. This is because I know that everything was tested before its release to the general public and that there are strict laws and regulations that protect me. However, it was not too long ago that safety conditions in the workplace were flat out terrible.

Other things that I have taken for granted are the Department of Labor, equal rights, and access to technology.

Let’s hop into a time machine and take a ride down memory lane and through the history of the ever-changing workforce.

“4,000 Silk Workers out on strike to wipe out the three and four loom systems” The Paterson Evening News, February 20, 1913.

Yes, you guessed it. Based on that headline from the New York Times, we have landed in the early 1900s, where low wages, long workdays, and poor working conditions are the norm. Our first stop, a silk factory.

Over there, you can see a small child, probably 5 or 6 years of age, working the machinery. No surprise there, 18 percent of all American workers in 1900 were under the age of 16. Children worked long hours under dangerous conditions for very little pay. Many children and adults were seriously injured or lost their lives due to these unsafe conditions, lack of protections, and the exhaustion from using machinery for 12-16 hours a day.

In 1913, strikes like the one in Paterson, NJ were very common. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics documented approximately 23,000 industrial deaths among a workforce of 38 million, approximately 61 deaths per 100,000 workers.

On March 4, 1913, President William Howard Taft signed the Organic Act and created the U.S Department of Labor: a huge win for workers’ rights and workforce safety.

“Stock Prices Slump $14,000,000,000 in Nation-Wide Stampede to Unload; Bankers to Support Market Today” The New York Times, October 29, 1929.

OH NO! Seems like we landed in the middle of Wall Street during Black Tuesday.  Traders are hollering and screaming everywhere. Every time the Radio or Steel or Auburn takes a tumble, you'll see someone collapse on the floor as the market plummets down.

The Roaring 20s was a period of prosperity, consumerism boomed, and injuries and death in the workplace declined; however, the Market Crash in 1929 marked the ending of the good times for the U.S. and the rest of the world.

This was a terrible time for Americans. In such a short period of time, the standards of living had dropped, and the unemployment rate was up by 25%. Despite high unemployment in the nation, the demand for women in the workforce increased and saw the rise of employed women increase by 24%. The Great Depression and the policy responses brought big changes to the workforce: labor unions and welfare expanded, the first federal minimum wage was established, and rights were enacted that protected employees from certain harmful private sector labor and management practices.

“Dodgers Purchases Robinson, First Black Person in Modern League Baseball” The New York Times, April 10, 1947.

Now, let's change our time clock and move forward to the 1940s and 1950s – the post- Depression era. Businesses started to be rebuilt, and with the new era came The Employment Act of 1946. This new change put the onus of economic stability of inflation and unemployment on the federal government.

In the 1940s, the thought of workplace inequality and civil rights was far from America’s mind. This was soon to change in 1947 with Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball.

“Rights Bill Becomes Law” The Chicago Tribune, July 3, 1964.

We landed in a great decade, the 1960s and are about to witness a big win to The Civil Rights Movement. Some progress with civil rights had been made in the prior decade, with the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the “separate but equal” doctrine for public education institutions, but further major victories came this decade. In 1964, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

The previous year had also seen the passing of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which abolished wage disparity based on gender and helped increase gender diversity in the workplace. The Civil Rights Act also gave way to the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1965, in order to combat workplace discrimination.

“The Executive Computer; A Growing Internet Is Trying to Take Care of Business” The New York Times, December 2, 1993.

“Attention Shoppers: Internet Is Open” The New York Times, August 12, 1994.

Yes, you guessed it! This is the 1990s, my favorite era, and no, not because I was born in the 90s. It’s because of the birth of the world wide web. What would we do without it? It gave everyone, from children to adults, from small companies to big companies, the ability to explore their horizons and go global.

Then 2012 gave birth to the era that gave power to the employee. Workplaces became more conscious of their work environments, job satisfaction, engagement, and retention.

Young People Are Going to Save Us All From Office Life - Gen Z-ers and millennials have been called lazy and entitled. Could they, instead, be among the first to understand the proper role of work in lifeThe New York Times, September 17, 2019.

And now, once again, we are experiencing a revolution in the workplace with the rise of three new generations. Millennials and their younger counterparts, Gen Zers (whom are just entering the workforce), are disrupting the dynamics of what was once expected in the workplace. For these new faces, salaries are not their main motivators. Rather, the ability to have a passion for what they do, have work flexibility, work remotely, and work freelance jobs is what drives and characterizes them. While you are still learning to get used to millennials and prepare for Gen Z, there is another generation that is getting more intelligent and most likely already running your business: Artificial Intelligence (AI). Don’t worry, the robots will not come after you (like in I Robot) – but AI-like automation has been advancing for decades. AI has become so important in assisting our lives, all I need to say is “Alexa…”. We are always striving to make our lives easier, and that means using AI to make our lives simpler and more efficient.

So, who knows what the next 100 years will bring? In 2120 and ten more generations, the progress we are making now will set the stage for future workforces to come. As we celebrate the new year and a new version of the roaring 2020s, take time to appreciate how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go.

 


This information is for educational purposes only, and not to provide specific legal advice. This may not reflect the most recent developments in the law and may not be applicable to a particular situation or jurisdiction.

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Overtime Shuffle - Lyrics

Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

VERSE 1
In the world of work, there’s a tale to be told, About overtime hours, and the payroll gold, A consistent paycheck, that’s the worker’s dream, But when it comes to overtime, it’s not as easy as it seems.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, Susie worked hard in San Francisco town, But the rules around overtime, they had her feeling down, 42 hours this week, she gave her all, Now it’s time to calculate, let the numbers fall.

CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

VERSE 2
Exempt or non-exempt, the title they hold, Where they work, where you’re based, it’s all in the fold, California or New York, the laws they diverge, For payroll admins, it’s a never-ending surge.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, the DOL’s website, a labyrinth to explore, State regulations galore, it’s quite a chore, Staying compliant, it’s a tricky art, Missing out on requirements can break your heart.

CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

BRIDGE
But here’s a method that can save the day, A payroll software, to keep errors at bay, Input the info right, integrate with ease, No more manual labor, no more overtime fees.

VERSE 3
Back to Susie’s story, she’s owed her due, According to FLSA, it seems we have a clue, $860 on the table, that’s what we’d say, But California’s got its rules, changing the way.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, California says, hours past eight, Are overtime-eligible, don’t underestimate, Now Susie’s owed $900, that’s the decree, In this overtime puzzle, you gotta set it free.

CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

OUTRO
So when it’s overtime, and the rules entwine, Choose a payroll software, let it all align, Viventium’s the name, we’ve got the key, To make overtime calculations a breeze, you’ll see.

ENDING
Don’t overwork yourself, don’t you fret, With Viventium by your side, it’s a safe bet, Relax, you’re with us, in this overtime fight, With the right tools in hand, everything’s gonna be alright.

Retroactive Rhythms

Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

VERSE 1
In the world of care, where time slips away, Caregivers dedicate, every single day. But when the hours are missed, in the daily race, Retroactive pay, steps up to embrace.

PRE-CHORUS
A caregiver tired, at the week’s end, Forgot to log hours, a mistake to mend. Admins face the challenge, calculations to make, To set it right, for the caregiver’s sake.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

VERSE 2
Manual calculations, prone to a flaw, Dealing with shifts, odd hours, and the law. As your business grows, the cost takes flight, Automated solutions, shining bright.

PRE-CHORUS
Compliance is key, with FLSA’s might, Calculate and compensate, get it right. Avoid the audit’s gaze, fines and the cost, Retroactive pay, no longer lost.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

BRIDGE
Employee satisfaction, a crucial part, Resolve mistakes, a work of heart. Relationships flourish, in pay’s embrace, A payroll software, creating a trace.

VERSE 3
Star caregivers, valued and strong, Retention and recruiting, where they belong. Automated solution, a total pay dance, Establish your business, a work-life romance.

PRE-CHORUS
A self-winding watch, Viventium’s grace, Optimizing payroll, in every case. No more struggles, in the payroll game, In it with you, time and time again.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

OUTRO
As your business grows, in the hustle and fight, Viventium by your side, making it right. No more worries, in the payroll chain, In it with you, time and time again.

In the Arms of Geo Tax - Lyrics

Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

VERSE 1
In the world of business, we all aim to thrive, Year after year, our dreams taking flight. But as we soar higher, we start to see, More money, more problems, just like B.I.G. Outgrowing our shell, it’s an exciting phase, But it brings with it some challenging days. Solutions we had, now show their flaws, As we push the boundaries, breaking through the walls.

CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

VERSE 2
Employees across states, in different localities, Tax laws aplenty, creating complexities. Our old software’s limits, we’ve begun to see, Scaling up our business, we need to break free. Calculating pay and taxes, where it all begins, Errors in this process, lead to countless sins. Employees rely on us, trust in our might, To withhold what’s needed, get it just right.

CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

BRIDGE
Taxes, they’re not simple, that’s for sure, A world of complexity, there’s always more. But Viventium stands with us, in this fight, Geo Tax, our ally, making everything right.

VERSE 3
CPAs may struggle, and admins too, Keeping up with taxes, what can they do? The rules keep changing, it’s hard to keep pace, But Viventium’s here, in this challenging space.

CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

OUTRO
So relax, dear business, and set your mind free, With Geo Tax on our side, we’re the best that we can be. Viventium’s got us, in this tax-filled fight, No more worries, no more sleepless nights.

REPEAT CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

Payroll Grid Serenade - Lyrics

Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

VERSE 1
In the world of admin tasks, where changes often arise, There’s a tool that’s been a savior, under office fluorescent skies. With flexibility and precision, it eases their daily strife, Let’s sing about this feature, it’s the pulse of our work life.

CHORUS
Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

VERSE 2
Admins wear many hats, in their daily grind, Sometimes they need to adjust, leave no errors behind. Adding extra hours, bonuses, or fixing pay, They need a simple method, to make it all okay.

CHORUS
Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

BRIDGE
Custom views and filters, tailor it to your need, Focus on the important, no need for needless speed. A hundred-dollar bonus, a few clicks and it’s in flight, Admins get it done, making sure it’s right.

VERSE 3
In the admin’s world, where numbers have their say, This tool steps in gracefully, making tasks less gray. An interface so intuitive, like an Excel sheet, Changing data effortlessly, making work complete.

CHORUS
Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

OUTRO
So here’s to Payroll Grids, in our song of praise they gleam, For admins working diligently, they fulfill a dream. In the world of office hustle, they bring much-needed light, Let’s tip our hats to this tool, and its invaluable might.

Automation Anthem - Lyrics

Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

VERSE 1
In the world of payroll, a daily task we face, Admins work hard, in this complex space, They handle policies, with attention and care, But there’s a solution that’s beyond compare.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, payroll admins, your role’s crucial and true, But there’s a tool we’ve got, just for you, Let’s explore rule-based automation, my friend, With Viventium, your tasks will gently mend.

CHORUS
Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

VERSE 2
Standardize policies, that’s the key, For tenure, role, union status, you’ll see, PTO, bonuses, pay rates defined, Automation makes your workload more aligned.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, payroll admins, the burden’s a load, But rule-based automation lightens the road, No more tiresome chores, no more dread, With Viventium, it’s smoother ahead.

CHORUS
Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

BRIDGE
In the world of payroll, where tasks repeat, We’ve got the solution, it’s oh so neat, “If this, then that,” it’s simple and sly, With Viventium by your side, you’ll reach for the sky.

VERSE 3
Tenure-based PTO, a common request, With Viventium, it’s passed the ultimate test, Set it up once, and then you’ll see, Automation handles the chore, oh so free.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, payroll admins, take a breath, take a pause, With Rule-Based Automation, you’ll find no flaws, It’s easy, it’s simple, no programming in sight, Viventium’s got you covered, day and night.

CHORUS
Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

OUTRO
So if you’re a payroll admin, feeling the weight, Let Viventium’s Rule-Based Automation be your fate, No more worries, no more strife, With Viventium, you’ll transform your work life.

The Data Groove - Lyrics

Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

VERSE 1
In the world of business, it’s a complex game, With factors and figures, it’s never the same. Decisions are key, they’ll determine your fate, So listen up closely, don’t be a bit late.

PRE-CHORUS
Gather your data, don’t let it fade, In the depths of spreadsheets, don’t let it cascade. Your HCM software, is it up to the task? To capture and store, to help you unmask.

CHORUS
Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

VERSE 2
Once the data’s collected, it’s time to report, But it can be daunting, that’s the common retort. Pre-built solutions, they’re your guiding light, Turning raw data into visions so bright.

PRE-CHORUS
No more manual hours, no errors in sight, With report library’s might, everything’s right. Payroll summaries, tax liabilities, and more, All in a flash, you’ll have what you adore.

CHORUS
Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

BRIDGE
Viventium’s here, with a passion so true, Constantly improving, for folks just like you. A Report Library, a gift from the stars, For data-driven dreams, it’ll take you far.

CHORUS
Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

OUTRO
So remember this lesson, in the business terrain, It’s all ’bout decisions, don’t let ’em wane. With data as your guide, and Viventium’s grace, You’ll conquer the challenges you’ll face.