3 min reading time
Story 008 – 1840 – People Innovation Megatrends

Work Rules – Rules as a Mirror of Time

From the 1840 Penal Code to the 2017 Work Regulations

From the first draft by Philipp Jakob Wieland to the current version, all Wieland work regulations from the last 180 years have been preserved. They provide a fascinating insight into the valid values of the respetive periods in time - and into people's everyday working lives.

The first draft of working rules, written by Philipp Jakob Wieland himself, can be found in a notebook from the year 1840 under the title "Threat of punishment against unpunctuality and other negligence on the part of the workers", which says a lot about the belief in authority at the time. However, the draft says nothing about the concrete punishments, dots indicate that Wieland probably still wanted to think about this. What is certain is that monetary fines were being thougth off – those were to benefit the workers' health insurance fund! The 12 key points range from late arrival to damage to property and materials.

The "Factory Rules", which the founder wrote down in November 1862, already include 14 key points. Point 1 seems quite strange: The working time for all workers is fixed "during Summer in the morning from 5 – 7 o'clock, from ½ 8 – 12 o'clock, and from 1 – 6 o'clock, in Winter in the morning from 6 – 7 o'clock, from ½ 8 – 12 o'clock, and from 1 – 7 o'clock", thus 11.5 hours daily!

The new, this time printed factory rules from 1892 changed little with regards to the working hours, §2 stated straight away: "The weekly working hours for the day shifts amount to 61.5 hours", furthermore "everyone needs to be at their place at the fixed time and the work to begin punctually". Late arrivers will have the missed time deducted from their wages, and they are also subject to "a penalty of the same amount".

The "Factory Rules" of 1929 reveal clear progress: They contain protective provisions for new mothers - an indication of the increasing proportion of women – and no longer contain a punishment catalogue. Interestingly, Section 9 on working hours is covered by a typewritten passage stating: "The regular working hours are determined by the collective agreement of the metal industry of Württemberg".

A considerable backward step is shown in the "Work Regulations" of 1938. In the style of the NS regime there is talk of the "Führer" of the company, of followers, of company community, of loyalty and trust. Among other things, "national unreliability" constitutes a reason for dismissal without notice.

What a difference to the current work regulations introduced in 2017. They serve the "fair treatment of all employees, industrial peace and smooth cooperation … on the basis of mutual trust".

In the factory regulations of 1892, §2, “the weekly working time for day shifts” is defined as 61.5 hours. Unpunctuality is punished with penalties and wage cuts.

Nomen est Omen: The draft of a “punishment” of 1840 does not regulate a prosperous coexistence, but deals exclusively with sanctions, typical of the time.

Testimony to the standardization: Wieland, too, cannot help but adapt its 1938 works regulations to the National Socialist requirements.

Expression of togetherness: The current work regulations are based on the spirit of equal, fair, non-discriminatory and respectful treatment of all Wieland employees.