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Do we work too much in the US?

By AV . ·

After reading this article and looking at the chart, I started thinking about the quality of life for US workers. The chart is based on 10 years of tenure. Most US workers don't stay at a job that long so they have alot less time off.

I was surprised to learn that there are no federal laws in the US mandating that companies pay employees for time off or that they grant them a minimum amount of vacation days unpaid.

I can't remember any company I ever worked for saying "take 2 weeks off" like they do in Europe. I'm lucky if I can get 1 week of peace in the IT field. As it is, I have to check emails. What kind of time off is that? In my 20+ years in IT I have never taken 2 weeks off at once. How sad is that?

Do you think all of this work has paid off for you? Is it worth it? PS - O, Canada! You're worse than the US.


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Australia - It gets better - ever heard of an RDO ?

by drowningnotwaving In reply to Do we work too much in th ...

It's a "Rostered day off". Union award win - particularly in large banks and many government departments.

It's the day off you need to be able to schedule your hair-cut, shopping, doctors appointments etc.

One per month (although in most places they don't accumulate. Use it or lose it.

Of course, if you can't actually make it to the doctor on that date, don't sweat it: you have between 8 and 15 days medical leave per year.

{ Now, in my case, working for a 'small company' (that the government defines as 99 people or less), no such thing occurs. It's only something I effectively have to pay for at all my banks and government agencies. }

Add to that the unofficial times off: half-a-day for Melbourne Cup. Half a day on Xmas Eve. Most long weekends - finish work at 2pm.

It's a nice place to work.

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You're kidding

by AV . In reply to Australia - It gets bette ...

You have a RDO or one day per month for miscellaneous appointments? Damn! I'm living in the wrong country.

You know what I have to do to take time off for a doctor's appointment? I have to go in late to work and stay late to make up for lost time. Medical leave is akin to sick time here, but you have to be really sick to get them to pay for it. Just a doctor's appointment doesn't count.

We do get out at 3pm on some long holiday weekends, but some companies make you work the full day. Last year, I had to work on the official New Years day, Monday, January 2nd, because of how the holiday fell unless I took it as a vacation day. I went to work and did absolutely nothing, as did my co-workers. Everyone was really angry because most places were closed.

We could never even dream of a half-a-day off for an event like the Melbourne Cup here in the US.


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Oh by the way - I forgot Long Service Leave

by drowningnotwaving In reply to You're kidding

LSL is 3 months fully-paid vacation for 10 year's continuous employment.

It accumulates from day 1, but is not usually required to be paid out for under 5 years.

That is, work less than 5 years - get nothing on termination. Work more than five years and (usually) you'll get some proportion of the accumulated long service leave paid to you upon termination.

WHAT'S EVEN BETTER : Some international companies (most notably IBM, certainly up to the year 1999, although I cannot confirm since), will recognise the previous experience of overseas internal transfers.

So, for example, work in IBM Idaho for 8 years, get a transfer to Oz and work a further two years, and get 3 month's vacation fully paid.

It's just great, eh?

Oh, and most companies will negotiate pro-rata payment up to 6 or 12 months. That is, take 12 months leave on 25% monthly salary. Get another moonlighting job. Have a great year.

EDIT: Oh, and by the way, in year 10 - you still get your four week's vacation. Overall four months fully paid.

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by AV . In reply to Oh by the way - I forgot ...

That can't be true. A 3 month vacation after 10 years of employment under LSL? What happens to your job - I mean - who covers for you during that time? If I left my job for 3 months, I can't imagine what it would look like when I went back.


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The Reality is Nothing

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Wow

In every Job that I've ever done I have always been paid out for my Holiday Time because I can never take the Time Off. At one place I was offered to either have a very long holiday of 8 months as I had not had a holiday in the 8 years that I worked there or be paid out as a new company was buying the business so all leave had to be finished off and paid for before the transaction could be completed. Of course our Entitlements stayed put just any remaining Holiday Time was removed.

Now I really wanted a break but I was offered an If or them option and I certainly couldn't have been absent for 8 months as I had made no arrangements to cover my work during my absence so I just took the money. 2 years latter when I had my LSL accrued I just sat on that as well and the longer that I was there the more time off I was owed. When I eventually left that place I walked out with the money again.

But it depends on the company as many get rid of workers before that reach the 10 year limit and while this remains with Government and Management there are very few other places that worry about LSL.


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Yes and no ...

by drowningnotwaving In reply to The Reality is Nothing

Yes, Col, in the majority of cases most people take it in much smaller lots over time (for example, an extra 2 or 3 weeks vacation per year) or they leave it 'in the bank', so to speak, and cash it out when they leave employment.

But I do know a number of people who have taken it and enjoyed it, as i am sure you do.

Re your statement:

many get rid of workers before that reach the 10 year limit

I'd be interested to see any articles or discussion on this. I've known a lot of people in a lot of companies and have, in 25 years employment, never heard of or seen this (with the exception of the once-per-five-years sensationalised story on the tabloid media).

Your right to LSL entitlements is actually covered in legislation, once you hit the five year mark. Sacking someone at 8 or 9 years wouldn't actually save much money (unless, of course, the company plays upon the general ignorance of the employee to claim what is rightfully owed - and I'll agree that happens lots of times).

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I am in awe

by AV . In reply to The Reality is Nothing

I can't believe how different companies in other countries treat their workers. It seems to me that all I ever hear about in the US is the sweat shops in China and other cheap labor countries, but never about countries that have it better than us. Probably because it makes the US look bad.


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You should be able to

by TonytheTiger In reply to Australia - It gets bette ...

get your hair cut on company time... After all, it grows on company time :)

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You've not seen my head

by drowningnotwaving In reply to You should be able to

... and that is just another fortunate side effect of the internet-sans-cameras.

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Good point, Tony

by AV . In reply to You should be able to

I'll have to bring that up at my next management meeting. Then I think I better update my resume.

AV :^0

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