Leo Gertner

Leo Gertner is a staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project in Washington, D.C. 

Recent Articles

This May Day, It’s Time to Cut Work Down to Size

Americans work longer hours (even in multiple part-time jobs) than their European counterparts. Here’s how to create a better work-life balance.

Carlos Osorio/AP Photo
Every year, the rest of the world marks the first of May with worker celebration and protest. American unions that sprung up in the years after the Civil War picked the day to launch their inspirational campaign for a better balance between work and life, captured in their slogan: “Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for what you will.” Back then, the average manufacturing worker toiled 100 hours a week. Conditions have improved, but we’ve hardly achieved the eight-hour day. Today, half of all Americans report working more than 50 hours a week, while millions of “involuntary part-time” employees at corporations like Walmart scramble to find enough hours of paid work to survive. Even Republicans recognize this crisis, with their recent belated proposals for paid family leave . These ask working people to fund their time spent caring for their families by taking loans from Social Security, cannibalizing their retirements. They’...