One reason why this country will never get out of debt.
Example: Government Contractor (A little long)
You work as an employee for a government contractor.
The products you build and test are high tech and very expensive.
You are sworn to secrecy regarding these products.
You work day in and day out charging your time against "shop orders".
These shop orders have Step #'s / Operations that flow in a logical order.
The product is assembled and tested for proper operation, several times during it's construction.
Individual Components are used to build Circuit Card Assemblies.
Circuit Card Assemblies (CCAs) are used to build Modules.
Modules are used to build Units. Units are used to build Systems.
Occasionally your work slows due to equipment downtime, a vendor parts shortage, an incorrect part being installed, a part being installed incorrectly, a discrepancy in the paperwork, unclear work instructions, bad weather, etc.
The question is, "When this happens, what do you charge your time to, in order to get paid?" There are only 5 options.
#1. Company Overhead - With the exception of meetings, training, or bad weather, the use of internal charge numbers is strongly discouraged, although charge numbers exist for many different types of work stopage. Overhead exists, but most of the time management doesn't want employees to actually use it.
#2. Complete assigned computer-based training, if any is due. There is an internal charge number for this.
#3. Cross-train in another work area. You won't be super productive regarding the actual hands-on work at first. You'll mainly watch and learn. But your time will be charged against the shop order in the other work area, just as though you are a highly skilled, well trained employee. You see the customer (the government), pays for any hands-on job specific training (using tax money), because the contractor you work for tells you to labor-on to the shop order that the trained employee is already charging their time to. So the labor is double charged, or sometimes triple charged, because others are out of work at the time in their normal work areas. They want to get paid for being there, after all.
#4. Use up some of your PTO, Vacation Time, Sick Leave, etc. and go home. The company you work for has no problem at all with you selecting this option.
#5. Continue to charge time to a shop order / work order in your area, even though all actual progress has ceased. You're required to report to work Monday through Friday, to be there for 8 Hours plus a Half-Hour lunch break each day, and to work 40 Hours per week minimum. You only get paid for your billable hours, or any "approved" overhead time charges. These "must" equal 40 Hours minimum at the end of each week. You're told not to mischarge, not to charge to overhead, and for the most part, people don't want you coming into their work area and running up their HPUs (Hours per Unit / Labor Cost per Unit), knowing that you aren't going to be working in their area after they train you. You might not have immediate access to a supervisor who can provide direction. So what happens?
So what do you charge your time to?