As stock options and bonuses become smaller and less prevalent in Silicon Valley because
of new accounting rules and economic reasons, some workers at technology companies
have begun to seek overtime pay, the New York Times reports.
Some tech workers say they feel exploited because they must work long hours
without the rewards they once received. In the past, stock options
and bonuses made it easier for workers to justify the long hours. However, new
rules requiring companies to treat employee stock options as an expense mean
it will be more expensive for companies to grant stock options, and there is
no technology boom in sight to make the stock options that are granted lucrative,
the newspaper notes.
One technology company is changing its compensation
policy to allow overtime pay for some of its workers, the newspaper reports.
Electronic Arts, a video-game maker that employs 5,800 workers, says it
is responding to employee pressure. The workers who receive overtime pay would be ineligible for stock options and bonuses.
"This tears at the employment model that Silicon Valley was built on,"
Rusty Rueff, the director of human resources for Electronic Arts, tells the
newspaper. "[Overtime pay will move game developers] out of a culture
that emphasizes entrepreneurialism and ownership and into a clock-watching mentality."
In the video-game industry, workers put in long hours during the intense period
just before video games are released, called crunching. During crunching, game
developers can sometimes work, they say, up to 80 hours per week. At conferences
and online, game developers have begun to discuss quality-of-life issues and
working conditions, the newspaper reports.
The newspaper notes that Electronic Arts is facing a lawsuit from a group of
employees alleging that California law required the company to pay them overtime.