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Old 03-04-2010, 06:51 PM
 
83 posts, read 130,613 times
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My wife's employment, while living and working in the US, is governed by a German contract. Just a couple of observations:

(1) Her contract stipulates a three-month advanced notice for lay-offs; this goes both ways;

(2) By law, all full-time employees in Germany are entitled to 24d of vacation per year from Day 1. And there is no stigma associated with taking those vacation days;

(3) Also by law, females are not allowed to work from six weeks prior to delivery to eight weeks afterwards. Salary continues to be paid during that time at full rate, and the female employee can basically not be dismissed for any reason from the moment she notifies the employer of the pregnancy. Furthermore, one of the parent's can request "time-out" for up to, I believe, 30 mo. after birth at 67% of last salary (max. US$ 2,500/mo.). The work place is guaranteed upon return of the parent. And last, but not least, the German government subsidizes each child w/ a $250 monthly cash payment. (In other words, every second month I get an approx. $1,000 check for our two kids.)

NOW REMIND ME AGAIN WHICH COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IS HISTORICALLY THE LARGEST, MOST SUCCESSFUL NET EXPORTER OF GOODS AND SERVICES? Hint: It's not China.
My point? Economic success does not have to entail an impoverished and disenfranchised labor force.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Onestep4ward View Post
Last week a German college student told me that most German workers have a written contract of employment so that it is much harder for the employer to lay the workers off. She was quite surprised when I explained to her that most of the U.S. states have an "at will" hiring policy, which really offers the employee very little protection. It's also my understanding that Germany has a much more liberal vacation/sick day policy. Really makes me wonder what it's all about here in the U.S.
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
23,031 posts, read 48,950,871 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_in_atl View Post
My wife's employment, while living and working in the US, is governed by a German contract. Just a couple of observations:

(1) Her contract stipulates a three-month advanced notice for lay-offs; this goes both ways;

(2) By law, all full-time employees in Germany are entitled to 24d of vacation per year from Day 1. And there is no stigma associated with taking those vacation days;

(3) Also by law, females are not allowed to work from six weeks prior to delivery to eight weeks afterwards. Salary continues to be paid during that time at full rate, and the female employee can basically not be dismissed for any reason from the moment she notifies the employer of the pregnancy. Furthermore, one of the parent's can request "time-out" for up to, I believe, 30 mo. after birth at 67% of last salary (max. US$ 2,500/mo.). The work place is guaranteed upon return of the parent. And last, but not least, the German government subsidizes each child w/ a $250 monthly cash payment. (In other words, every second month I get an approx. $1,000 check for our two kids.)

NOW REMIND ME AGAIN WHICH COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IS HISTORICALLY THE LARGEST NET EXPORTER? Hint: It's not China. My point? Economic success does not have to entail an impoverished and disenfranchised labor force.
Thank you for that.

The Europeans have their priorities straight and a totally different view on how to live. They have thousands of years of history. Quality of life, otherwise known as happiness, takes precedence over profit. In many of the socialistic countries, the people are happier. 60 minutes did a show on one of the Scandanavian countries a while back, asking the people if they were upset with their high taxes. Everyone said no, they were very happy. They knew they would be educated, have medical care and a respectable retirement.

We'll probably get there someday - hopefully sooner than we expect.

Last edited by Ariadne22; 03-04-2010 at 07:26 PM..
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:22 PM
 
100 posts, read 284,219 times
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Wow! What a change! I remember when most Americans used to point the finger at those socialist Europeans as if their system was the worst thing ever. Now suddenly it all makes sense.

What we have in this country is privatized profits, and socialized losses (sold with clever catch phrases such as 'systemic risk' and 'too big to fail.')
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:45 PM
 
4,100 posts, read 6,441,140 times
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Default Dysfunctional system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lpavitram View Post
I think the unemployment system is dysfunctional. There is stigma attached to collecting unemployment and it is really crazy. This whole thing needs to be reformed.

First of all we pay through our employers some money towards unemployment insurance..so this not welfare. This is insurance that employers buy to pay people who lose jobs for no fault. No congressman or any politician has a right to block this.

Second unemployment insurance is not enough. Employers should float their own insurance in addition to unemployment insurance...that pays moneys equal to the salary that is lost. For example if I am earning 5k every month and i am getting 2k from unemployment this insurance should pay me 3k so that I get equal amount to my salary. This should be for one year or two years depending on the insurance premiums.

Unless we get the money equivalent to our salary how can we honor our committments. Especially defaulting on the committments related to mortgage payments and children can seriously impair the life, self esteem and health of workers. Unless we get support equal to our lost pay how can we educate and retrain ourselves for good jobs or atleast get jobs with the same salary. We cannot maintain a positive attitude and try for good jobs if we are hurting financially.

Once unemployment benefits stop irrespective of my two decades of education and ten or more years of experience working for fortune 500 companies I will forced to seek jobs at a wallmart or a 7-11. That will put people on a downward spiral and it is a great loss of education and personal resources. Why one should study for decades to end up at Wallmart. This situation does not make sense.

The government , our elected officials, senetors instead of fighting and bickering should find ways so that workers in this country can survive. The most important thing is to look at this whole thing in a positive way and introduce better insurance systems so that workers can adopt to the changing environment and society.

They cannot CREATE new jobs so easily but atleast they can fix the insurance system so that people are sane and can handle this situation in a better way.
I agree with you 100%, Unemployment systems are dysfunctional, and should never have been started in the first place. Anytime the government starts a program and also administers that program is doomed. On the other hand, it is obvious you have never been an employer. What makes you think the government should even have the right to make an employer pay into a fund for employees who loose their jobs? Why would employers ever want to float their own insurance in addition to unemployeement insurance? Why doesn't the government require employees to have a savings account that can be used only when that employee looses his job? Sounds stupid to me to even think such a thing, but it doesn't sound as stupid as the statement you made about employer floating addition insurance. Where did you ever come up with such a dumb idea? Doing what you suggest, would mean hiring you would cost the employer all most twice what your hourly wage is costing him. You maybe worth what you are paid by the hour, but you have convinced me, you are certainly not smart enough to be worth twice what you are being paid. Everytime a law is passed that makes it more difficult for the employer to produce goods or services, or more costly for the employer to produce goods and services, he has to raise his prices to stay in business or cut down the the number of employees he has. Employees are the highest overhead an employer has. Apparently you don't know or understand any thing about operating a company that uses employees and has to make a profit to keep those employees employed. Ha, confusing, don't you think? Maybe you should go back to school, or finish school, which ever the case may be. Do you live in New Orleans or one of those areas where everyone is on welfare and expects the government to take care of them? Someone who claims to have a college education should be smart enought to plan for emergencies and not depend on government handouts to survive. I know, they don't teach common sense in college, and it is clear to me that you have absolutely none. I'm surprised you ever found a job to begin with, it must have been a job that didn't require a whole lot of thinking. One other option that is open to you if you need more money, you could always get a second job if you are lucky enough to find someone else who will emply you.
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:46 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
23,031 posts, read 48,950,871 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coronadeluxe View Post
Wow! What a change! I remember when most Americans used to point the finger at those socialist Europeans as if their system was the worst thing ever. Now suddenly it all makes sense.

What we have in this country is privatized profits, and socialized losses (sold with clever catch phrases such as 'systemic risk' and 'too big to fail.')
When enough people suffer, more will finally see the light. It's going to take more than 10% (really 17% or more) unemployment. It will take as someone posted above, others failing because too many are unemployed to support their jobs or businesses. Also as someone said earlier, the worst may still be ahead.

Last edited by Ariadne22; 03-04-2010 at 11:03 PM..
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:31 AM
 
83 posts, read 130,613 times
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It really needs to be pointed out that there are no countries in Europe that currently employ socialism as the basis of their economy or society. None!

Here in the US the term "Socialism" is used by certain corners of the political spectrum to describe anything that is not 100% unfettered, unregulated capitalism.

Instead practically all countries in Europe subscribe, to a more or lesser extent, to what is called "Ordoliberalism" or "Social Market Economy".

In short: "The social market economy seeks a market economic system rejecting both socialism and laissez-faire capitalism, combining private enterprise with measures of government regulation to establish fair competition, low inflation, low levels of unemployment, a standard of working conditions, and social welfare. Nominally respecting the free market, the social market economy is opposed to both a strictly planned economy and laissez-faire capitalism. The term "social" was chosen rather than "socialist" to distinguish the social market economy from a system in which the state directed economic activity and/or owned the means of production which are privately-owned in this model. In a social market economy, collective bargaining is often done on a national level not between one corporation and one union, but national employers' organizations and national trade unions." [source: Wiki]

I think it is important to not let ideologues cloud the public discussion by knowingly misuse certain terms and definitions, and ultimately misuse language.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coronadeluxe View Post
Wow! What a change! I remember when most Americans used to point the finger at those socialist Europeans as if their system was the worst thing ever. Now suddenly it all makes sense.

What we have in this country is privatized profits, and socialized losses (sold with clever catch phrases such as 'systemic risk' and 'too big to fail.')
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:06 PM
 
1,650 posts, read 3,570,130 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nite Ryder View Post
I agree with you 100%, Unemployment systems are dysfunctional, and should never have been started in the first place. Anytime the government starts a program and also administers that program is doomed. On the other hand, it is obvious you have never been an employer. What makes you think the government should even have the right to make an employer pay into a fund for employees who loose their jobs? Why would employers ever want to float their own insurance in addition to unemployeement insurance? Why doesn't the government require employees to have a savings account that can be used only when that employee looses his job? Sounds stupid to me to even think such a thing, but it doesn't sound as stupid as the statement you made about employer floating addition insurance. Where did you ever come up with such a dumb idea? Doing what you suggest, would mean hiring you would cost the employer all most twice what your hourly wage is costing him. You maybe worth what you are paid by the hour, but you have convinced me, you are certainly not smart enough to be worth twice what you are being paid. Everytime a law is passed that makes it more difficult for the employer to produce goods or services, or more costly for the employer to produce goods and services, he has to raise his prices to stay in business or cut down the the number of employees he has. Employees are the highest overhead an employer has. Apparently you don't know or understand any thing about operating a company that uses employees and has to make a profit to keep those employees employed. Ha, confusing, don't you think? Maybe you should go back to school, or finish school, which ever the case may be. Do you live in New Orleans or one of those areas where everyone is on welfare and expects the government to take care of them? Someone who claims to have a college education should be smart enought to plan for emergencies and not depend on government handouts to survive. I know, they don't teach common sense in college, and it is clear to me that you have absolutely none. I'm surprised you ever found a job to begin with, it must have been a job that didn't require a whole lot of thinking. One other option that is open to you if you need more money, you could always get a second job if you are lucky enough to find someone else who will emply you.
I don't think we should move to the socialist societies of Europe. Hasn't anyone watched the news lately and found out what is happening over there? The countries are so far in debt that they are all falling apart. With this move, we would also lose our freedom. Do we really want the government involved in every aspect of our lives? Do we really want the government to tell employers that they MUST pay higher taxes on every employee, give us all free health care, pay us full wages after we lose our jobs? It all sounds great but, the last time I checked, money doesn't grow on trees. The employers will be forced to take the money out of there already limited budgets and lay people off. What kind of person would want to do business in a country where you are forced to provide employees with free health care, full wages when not working? If we are putting all these mandates on employers what is going to stop the government from placing mandates on employees? The government could say that employees all have to work double shifts for $2.00 an hour. The government could mandate that females can no longer work. The government could mandate that illegals should have rights to a job. Gee, what would that do to the job market?

If we all want big government, are we all aware that countries like North Korea, the former Soviet Union, Iran, Cuba all have really, really large governments. Uh...the governments....like.... they control everything in those countries.

I am on unemployment and I am always planning for the day that the government says that there will be no more unemployment checks. The right to an unemployment check isn't guaranteed under the Constitution. I am working really hard at finding a job. My unemployment only pays over $200 a week. I am willing to take ANY job because I don't want the government supporting me forever. I won't stop until I find a job. I have lost nearly everything, but at least I still have my freedom.

I did go two months without an unemployment check and I did survive. We do have enough private charities that are willing to help if necessary. Some people in my family were generous and helped with bills and I did have some savings that I had to use. Even strangers helped out.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
2,778 posts, read 7,343,308 times
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The sad fact of this situation is that will probably have a significantly higher unemployment rate forever now that most manufacturing has leapt overseas, large banking financiers trade in debt products, not lending products, and our population is rapidly aging and depleting natural resources.
Sometimes I think the only solution is to promote a 32 hour work week to enable more employment slots for more people.

Idle minds and hands.... not a good thing.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:50 PM
 
83 posts, read 130,613 times
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What is this FREEDOM that you are talking about? The freedom to suffer, starve, not have a roof over your head, let alone health care? The freedom to loose everything?

The countries in Europe are most certainly not falling apart, and neither is the European Union.
And as far as companies go: you'd rather drive (i) a GM, Chrysler, or Ford, or (ii) a Porsche, BMW, or Mercedes? If all workers at Porsche, BMW, Mercedes are deprieved of their freedom, and are in fact mindless "socialist" robots: how come they can build a product that outsells and outperforms that of FREE, corporate America any day of the week?


Workers' rights/ benefits and corporate success are not mutually exclusive. Actually, I would argue that you can't have one without the other...





Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebelt1234 View Post
I don't think we should move to the socialist societies of Europe. Hasn't anyone watched the news lately and found out what is happening over there? The countries are so far in debt that they are all falling apart. With this move, we would also lose our freedom. Do we really want the government involved in every aspect of our lives? Do we really want the government to tell employers that they MUST pay higher taxes on every employee, give us all free health care, pay us full wages after we lose our jobs? It all sounds great but, the last time I checked, money doesn't grow on trees. The employers will be forced to take the money out of there already limited budgets and lay people off. What kind of person would want to do business in a country where you are forced to provide employees with free health care, full wages when not working? If we are putting all these mandates on employers what is going to stop the government from placing mandates on employees? The government could say that employees all have to work double shifts for $2.00 an hour. The government could mandate that females can no longer work. The government could mandate that illegals should have rights to a job. Gee, what would that do to the job market?

If we all want big government, are we all aware that countries like North Korea, the former Soviet Union, Iran, Cuba all have really, really large governments. Uh...the governments....like.... they control everything in those countries.

I am on unemployment and I am always planning for the day that the government says that there will be no more unemployment checks. The right to an unemployment check isn't guaranteed under the Constitution. I am working really hard at finding a job. My unemployment only pays over $200 a week. I am willing to take ANY job because I don't want the government supporting me forever. I won't stop until I find a job. I have lost nearly everything, but at least I still have my freedom.

I did go two months without an unemployment check and I did survive. We do have enough private charities that are willing to help if necessary. Some people in my family were generous and helped with bills and I did have some savings that I had to use. Even strangers helped out.

Last edited by matt_in_atl; 03-05-2010 at 04:02 PM..
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:33 PM
 
154 posts, read 447,216 times
Reputation: 306
Last time I looked many European countries had working democracies. What I really envy about Europe is their more balanced approach to life. Vacation policy here is so variable- some workers never get any paid vacation and I think that is not healthy. Maybe the Europeans general standard of living is lower and there aren't too many McMansions but maybe, just maybe, they are less stressed out! THere are certainly pros and cons to living here in the U.S. as well as in Europe.
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