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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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Answer (maybe)

by dawgit In reply to It would be interesting t ...

Here in Germany, and I think Europe in general, it factors to a little less, 40% to 45%. It's really hard to tell, depends on whither the company is trying to negotiate a better deal with a it's workers or the unions. (than it gets inflated)
In general it has been found in Europe, anyway, that the more time you work your people, doesn't mean more productivity. (in fact it usually leads to less.) Happy workers actually do more work and at a greater quality factor also. -d

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Happy workers

by AV . In reply to Answer (maybe)

Dawgit, You've made an excellent point about productivity that I think American companies are missing. Europe has it right - happy workers do more quality work.

The cost per employee in Europe is slightly lower, but American companies need to recognize that people need time off. An American just starting a job may have only 10 days vacation for their first 3 years of employment. Thats just not enough and leads to worker burnout. Unpaid time off is usually frowned upon. Some people can't afford that anyway, but for those that can they shouldn't be looked at as not being a "team player".

In 2006 where I work, New Years Day, a usual official holiday fell on a Sunday. Many companies that always gave that day off gave the Monday off, January 2nd, instead. My company decided everyone should work that day unless they used a vacation day. The workers in my office so resented it that it caused a severe morale problem. There was no productivity, just a pall over the entire office. It lasted for a good couple of weeks. Even people that were exceptional employees had a real change of attitude about their job. They felt they weren't appreciated.

Time off is always different for IT workers, but I think I'd be treated better in Europe.


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Unpaid time

by Shellbot In reply to Happy workers

Most places here are pretty decent about unpaid leave..
Last year when i was having some daughter problems, i had 6 weeks unpaid leave.

Here you get parental leave as well. (not sure, but up to two weeks a year if your kid is under a certain age)

Then sick leave, I get 10 days paid per year..

My hubby gets 2 "duvet" days a year as well..2 days a year you can call in on short notice and take the day off, no questions asked.

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In the US, we have the Family Medical Leave Act

by jdclyde In reply to Unpaid time

If there is a medical crisis, you get off (unpaid) as long as you need. Of course, you have to use up all of your vacation days towards it first, but it does protect you if you need an extended leave.

I have also known employers that would allow people to start an hour early or late, because of issues in child transportation.

This majorly flawed report doesn't reflect how many people don't TAKE all of their vac and personal days because they NEED the money.

Government has no place stepping in and legislating vacation days.

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I don't agree with that JD

by AV . In reply to In the US, we have the Fa ...

The Family Medical Leave Act is a needed worker protection program, but why should I have to use all of my vacation time first before it kicks in. That bites. Why should I not have some time off because I had to care for a sick relative.

Employers that allow people to start an hour early or late are giving flexibility but those people still have to work the same amount of hours. The company isn't giving them anything but flexibility. Big whoop.

Compared to other countries, American companies don't give you anything. If the government didn't step in, we wouldn't even have the job protection provided for under the Family Medical Leave Act.

In many companies, people that don't take their vacation just lose it. Many companies don't let you carry it over from year to year and they don't pay you for the days you didn't take.

I think the government should step in and guarantee that any worker should have a certain amount of vacation days a year that are used for vacation and nothing else. We're not automatons.

I think the report is very telling about how American companies don't give a rat's a$$ about their workers. And Canada, you're even worse.


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Your vacations and personal days are for when you have personal issues

by jdclyde In reply to I don't agree with that J ...

And it amazes me that you think you shouldn't use this time for your issues as they come up.

Sorry, but I am strongly against the notions of a socialist society and/or a nanny state.

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by AV . In reply to I don't agree with that J ...

Vacation days are different than personal days. Everyone needs some vacation to maintain their health and sanity. Otherwise we're no different than the sweat shops in 3rd world companies.

It isn't an entitlement program because the government isn't paying for it, but the government should ensure that companies treat their workers humanely. Vacation should be part of that. I'm talking about full and part time workers. Consulting jobs are different.

Look at what other developed countries give their workers in vacation and compare it to what we get here. I think companies are getting away cheap and our government is more interested in serving them than they are into looking out for the needs of the average working Joe.

We should be embarrassed, but Oh Canada should be more embarassed than us.


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A key part of what you said AV

by jdclyde In reply to Happy workers

"Unpaid time off is usually frowned upon. Some people can't afford that anyway"

How many people do you know that willingly work overtime and actually volunteer for it? Why? Because the morons have over-spent their budget and to pay for the "American Dream" they now HAVE to spend all of their time working just to pay for the fancy house and car that they now have no time to enjoy.

We work more (in general) because we HAVE to work more to pay our bills.

One of the major factors of me changing the way I live my life. I have not taken on any new debt in four years, and that was minimal to get a car.

Want less, enjoy more.

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i'm with ya

by Shellbot In reply to A key part of what you sa ...

since we sold the hosue and moved we in a "paring back" mode.
been getting rid of all the "stuff" in the house that is only collecting dust..
we've paid off almost all the money we owed..and not planning on making any purchases at all in the next while..

I realised we had a big house and all this stuff..and no time to appreciate now we have a small house, a few toys to play with and plenty of money to enjoy it!!

For the next while, the only thing i am spending much money on is travel..because we both enjoy it.

Unfortunatly some people HAVE to work overtime to make ends meet..i thank god I don't have to..when 5pm hits..i am out that door. I would actually (and have done so) refuse a job that had regular overtime, or being on call..

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Sounds great Shell

by jdclyde In reply to i'm with ya

I am cutting back because I need to do two things. Get my boys through college, and build up my 401K and Roth.

The only toy I would really like to have right now is a few kayaks.

Buying my ex out of the house, so I don't have to move now. Will wait until the boys move out on their own, and then buy something smaller for myself.

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