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Employees are suing several large employers because the employers do not pay for the time it takes the computer to boot up. Imagine a call center bright and early in the morning. Employees shuffle in, hit their respective machines' power buttons, and then head off for a coffee. Estimated boot-time: 15-30 minutes. Once the system is fully logged in, the employees can "punch in" for the day and start working. The employees claim that they are at work and ready to work and only the machine, provided by the employer, stands in their way. Employers say machines are machines, bottom line, the employees aren't working during that time.

First, the boot times do sound high to most users, but I think more than a few of you out there can attest that they are not overblown. My work computer takes 5-6 minutes, and that's on a relatively tiny network without a master contact system that would be found on, say, a call-center machine. If one is working with a Citrix or mainframe-based system, the times seem "reasonable."

Second, the arguments on both sides are also reasonable. The workers see a forced break of sorts. Employers see no work. Seems to me that the problem is one best addressed by technology. Most machines can be booted remotely. On a network this large, why not just power up the machines 15-30 minutes before workers are set to show up? The mvoe might even go a long way to promoting settlement of these actions.

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