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Old 08-05-2010, 06:37 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,947,587 times
Reputation: 13245

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Snippet:
Itís August again. That means that while the French buff their tans along the Mediterranean, Swedes feast on crayfish in the Baltic archipelago and Germans shed their clothes on Ibiza, itís business as usual for Americaís hamburger-flipping, minimum-waged, vacation-deprived drones. Two weeks out of 52, while the Europeans measure their legally mandated vacation time in months. Is there no justice?
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Another snippet:
And what about all the work we do in America on Saturday and Sunday, i.e., work that doesnít ďcountĒ? When I first went to Germany I couldnít find a store open on Sunday over there.

It's Even Worse Than You Think

Report: Paid Vacation Leave (pdf)

Graph

I'm sure some people think we'd turn into a bunch of commies of the government required employers to grant paid vacation. We do have federal holidays, such as Christmas, but nobody has any *mandatory* holidays, let alone paid time off.
Labor unions have changed over the years, perhaps not for the better, but one thing they did help bring us was weekends.
I guess these days many people are more worried about getting or keeping employment. But it is interesting to look at the disparity.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
2,537 posts, read 8,132,369 times
Reputation: 1624
One thing that doesn't seem to be taken into consideration is the use of PTO, or Paid Time Off, to provide for both vacation and sick leave. With this, I'd imagine the gap between the US data and other countries is even greater.

I recently changed jobs and left one where I had 12 paid holidays, 25 vacation days, and unlimited sick leave. I now get 15 "PTO" days to cover vacation and sick leave plus 6 holidays. Despite the higer pay and better environment at the new job, I almost didn't take it due to the generous leave at my previous company. Needless to say, the adjustment has been painful.

The lack of paid sick leave is the worst in my opinion, because it results in employees going to work and exposing others to the illness and also takes workers longer to recover because they aren't resting and taking care of themselves as they should be.

All that said, one thing to consider is this: If you were establishing a company and trying to decide where it made sense to have most of your workforce, would you want to be subject to all the government mandates for time off in the EU, or would you prefer the flexibility in the US? As an employee, I'd love to be on a "euro-plan" but if I was a business owner I'd set up shop in the US.
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:26 PM
 
367 posts, read 954,051 times
Reputation: 259
Don't forget the maternal AND paternal leave rights in Europe...
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
4,836 posts, read 10,203,105 times
Reputation: 2512
Imagine all the lost work and or increase in expenses companies would have if they were madated certain vacation days sick leave etc..

The US isnt the largest GDP in the world for nothing.
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:46 PM
 
12,346 posts, read 18,450,518 times
Reputation: 19278
It's a balance, Europe constantly also deals with double digit unemployment while, in good times, we have been at 4% or 5%. Now, the one thing going for us, maybe the last thing left, is employee productivity. We would be giving up our last edge and you will hear the great sucking sound of jobs leaving this country turn into a vacuum cleaner.

But two points to put out there, and I answer as one who works for an international company and has co-workers in Asia and Europe -
1.) We in the US are not alone. Asia is just as bad. This is a cultural thing as well. In Japan for instance I've heard of some employees who work in the city, 14 hours a day is common, they live near there job in a small closet sized apartment, and go home to the country to see there families maybe once a month. The rest of the time - work or sleep.
2.) European employees have an "out" clause. They hire temp employees (not temp employees in the same US sense, they work for our company, not a temp agency). We have tons of them, under temporary contract. They never know if there contract will be renewed, or if they will be unemployed during the next period. They do not get benifits.
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Old 08-05-2010, 04:18 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 19,889,680 times
Reputation: 6216
I am an American in the US. I work in the US for a foreign company. I was hired overseas. I am paid according to the labor aggrements of the company office in Euros. I am provided benefits according to their labor aggrements of the home office country. Although we abide by US laws as well, if the company's foreign home office rules are greater we get that, if the US laws are greater, we get that.

Unlike most american workers, I am paid under the foreign company rules from the moment I am told to report for work until I sign out. If I report Monday at noon and we fly to another country, even if there is a 3 day wait for the return flight and I'm out at the beach or taking in a movie or just plain sightseeing, I am paid my wages for each and every hour I am away until we return and sign out. A 12 hour flight with 48 hours off and a 12 hour return flght will net me 72 hours of pay.

Because our home office country provides universal health care, the company pays 100% of my health care insurance. I pay $0 heath insurance premiums. But, they only cover the employee because that's who they hired. family can buy into the group plan but they pay the extra cost.

All days off due to a legitimate illness or injury with no negligence on the employee part, is paid at standard weekly rate. There is no set sick days since the company covers all legitiamte, non negligence illnesses or injuries. So long as I;m sick and under the care of a doctor if required, I can be out 365 days a year and I'm getting paid.

I get 10 paid days off at my descretion. I can use that in combination with vacation or just to have a day off.

I get 15 days for vacation. Vacation scheduling is done by the company in advance based on operational needs and I can't say no. If vacation is scheduled for 1 Aug to 20 Aug, I'm on vacation. Everyone is on vacation. The company isn't working and we're all off.

It's not perfect but with turnover being so very low and company profits remaining high, it works for us all. I know some who came from years of civilian workforce had a hard time understanding and adjusting to the company dictating vacations and needing documentation for sick days, but in the end, its a good deal for the employees and company.
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Old 08-05-2010, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Texas
43,582 posts, read 52,772,341 times
Reputation: 70904
Keep the people all happy and content and they won't see who the real sheep are.
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Old 08-05-2010, 05:51 PM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,947,587 times
Reputation: 13245
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyMIA View Post
Imagine all the lost work and or increase in expenses companies would have if they were madated certain vacation days sick leave etc..

The US isnt the largest GDP in the world for nothing.
Did you read the article(s)?
In terms of GDP, Germany is #4, and France is #5. My kid in France has 5 weeks paid vacation per year.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
It's a balance, Europe constantly also deals with double digit unemployment while, in good times, we have been at 4% or 5%. Now, the one thing going for us, maybe the last thing left, is employee productivity. We would be giving up our last edge and you will hear the great sucking sound of jobs leaving this country turn into a vacuum cleaner.

But two points to put out there, and I answer as one who works for an international company and has co-workers in Asia and Europe -
1.) We in the US are not alone. Asia is just as bad. This is a cultural thing as well. In Japan for instance I've heard of some employees who work in the city, 14 hours a day is common, they live near there job in a small closet sized apartment, and go home to the country to see there families maybe once a month. The rest of the time - work or sleep.
2.) European employees have an "out" clause. They hire temp employees (not temp employees in the same US sense, they work for our company, not a temp agency). We have tons of them, under temporary contract. They never know if there contract will be renewed, or if they will be unemployed during the next period. They do not get benifits.
Your points noted and agreed with.
I've read all kinds of stuff about Japan's work norms.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdp_az View Post
One thing that doesn't seem to be taken into consideration is the use of PTO, or Paid Time Off, to provide for both vacation and sick leave. With this, I'd imagine the gap between the US data and other countries is even greater.

I recently changed jobs and left one where I had 12 paid holidays, 25 vacation days, and unlimited sick leave. I now get 15 "PTO" days to cover vacation and sick leave plus 6 holidays. Despite the higer pay and better environment at the new job, I almost didn't take it due to the generous leave at my previous company. Needless to say, the adjustment has been painful.

The lack of paid sick leave is the worst in my opinion, because it results in employees going to work and exposing others to the illness and also takes workers longer to recover because they aren't resting and taking care of themselves as they should be.

All that said, one thing to consider is this: If you were establishing a company and trying to decide where it made sense to have most of your workforce, would you want to be subject to all the government mandates for time off in the EU, or would you prefer the flexibility in the US? As an employee, I'd love to be on a "euro-plan" but if I was a business owner I'd set up shop in the US.
Agreed.
btw--My kid can take sick days off, but he has to provide a doctor's note, kind of like when we were back in school.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
Keep the people all happy and content and they won't see who the real sheep are.
The sheep are everywhere--and so are the agitators.
The trick is to find the happy medium and work toward a consensus.
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:33 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,478,534 times
Reputation: 8164
I'm retired, but some of my working years were in unions ( 19 years and 10 years......different unions,different occupations)

I was union president at the last place ( 10 years) and 4 weeks vacation was maximum.

Since that was reached at 18 years, I/we tried to get another week for 25 years.

The owner ( small plant ) consistantly refused by stating........." If I can operate w/o an employee for 5 weeks, I really don't need him "
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
4,836 posts, read 10,203,105 times
Reputation: 2512
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWillowPlate View Post
Did you read the article(s)?
In terms of GDP, Germany is #4, and France is #5. My kid in France has 5 weeks paid vacation per year.

.
I understand that but, are they number one? No they are not. The US is the most productive and richest country in the world for a reason. Imagine if companies forced tens of millions of people to stop working.
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