Dandelion's Labor Credit System

Tags: Dandelion, Labor

Dandelion's Labor Credit System DN-C1

Dandelion's Labor Credit System DN-C1

At Dandelion we share our work through a labor credit system designed to distribute work as equally as possible and find enjoyable work for each member. The labor system also helps us organize our work, and its records help us evaluate past efforts and plan for the future. Most important, it helps us put our belief in equality into practice.

* Each work area in the community has a manager or managers who make day-to-day decisions and are responsible for figuring out what needs to be done in their areas. All work areas have labor budgets which are agreed to by the whole community at economic planning sessions once or twice a year. Every week, managers requisition the work they need done according to their budgets.

All members are encouraged to indicate what they like and do not like to do in general, plus they have a chance each week to make special requests. Visitors may make their preferences known also, although the shorter the length of their stay, the few options are available. Everyone does a share of income producing and domestic work (washing dishes, cleaning, etc.). Beyond that, members choose their work areas, some involving themselves in a variety of projects while others may specialize in one or two areas.

Every Sunday, one or two people assign labor for the coming week, trying as much as possible to match the requisitions with the preferences. They fill out a labor sheet for each member and visitor. During the week, individuals keep track of their work by writing on their labor sheets the number of credits they do.

All work has equal value, whether it is cooking, making hammocks (our main income source), childcare, accounting, cutting wood, construction, or anything else. One hour of work is worth one credit. While the kind of work each member does varies, the minimum hours required, or quota, is the same for everyone. Quota ranges from 42 to 50 hours per week. For every week a member completes quota, co earns ½ day of vacation time - about one months per year in all. Extra vacation time can be earned for overtime work, at the rate of ¼ day for every two hours over quota. Members may use earned vacation time either at Dandelion or to take vacations elsewhere.

In addition to extra vacation time, there are two monetary incentives for overtime work. When the community as a whole does more industry production than was assigned in a given week, everyone's personal spending allowance (usually $4.00 per week) is supplemented. Incentives are distributed equally regardless of who did the extra work that week. Also, for every five credits over quota a member does in a week, co earns $1.00 to apply toward anything they wish to purchase that can be used by the entire community. Members often accumulate several dollars and spend it on record albums, books, special food, etc.

Sharing the work of the community and doing work we enjoy and find challenging are important sources of satisfaction for us. We try to employ the talents of all members and give everyone opportunities to learn new skills. We also encourage both women and men to do work that is not typically associated with their gender roles. We value working together and often work in groups, sometimes combining work and recreation.

* Labor budgets are not currently planned; they just "happen" week to week.