Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Work Til You Drop

The LA Times reported today that the United States is the only "advanced economy" that does not require paid vacation for employees.

The average number of paid vacations days per year provided to American workers in the private sector, which is 16, would not meet the minimum number of paid vacation days required by law in 19 countries.

Low-wage workers and employees working for small businesses are affected most by the lack of paid time off.

The study reported that Norway and France legally require as many as 30 paid vacation days, and many other European countries guarantee their workers at least 20 paid vacation days per year. Canada and Japan guarantee at least 10 paid vacation days per year.

South Korea has the fastest declining working time in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and now, in the last decade, has moved to require mandatory forty-hour, five day working weeks for everyone, starting with companies with over 1000 employees in 2004, gradually including smaller and smaller businesses until everyone was included in 2011. The government has continuously increased public holidays to 16 days in 2013, more than the 10 days of the United States.

In a hierarchical society such as the United States, when we are pushed to climb the ladder and rise above everyone else, and produce more and more profits, quality of life is often put on the back burner.