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Why Europe's Laws On Vacations Are Better Than Your Wildest Dreams (and How Badly Americans Get Scr

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posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:07 PM
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I nearly cried while reading this and remembering all the years of working for various companies in the US and just how little I got in paid leave and benefits. The only year I was eligible for 2 weeks paid vacation I spent it having and recovering from surgery. I couldn't afford to take the time off without pay.
Raising 4 sons I always felt badly for never being able to take them on real vacations anywhere - you know the obligatory visit to Disneyworld or week at the beach. If I was "lucky" enough to have a week off we never had the money to go anywhere. My sons are all grown and can afford their own vacations now.
I know I was far from being the only person in this situation. Unless you were lucky enough to have a government job or work for a union you most likely shared this experience. American companies are notoriously stingy about giving anyone paid leave or benefits.

What upset me was reading how well workers in Europe are treated. Germany is doing great economically yet can afford to give the average worker (including full and part time workers) 40 days a year of paid leave.
I've spent many years working for myself and the last time I had a paid week of vacation was in 1998.


Overall, the picture in the U.S is even bleaker. In Europe all workers, both part-time and full-time, are entitled by law to the same paid vacations. However, in the U.S., only 36 percent of part-time workers are “given” any paid vacation at all, and only 37 percent receive any paid holidays. So when you combine full-time and part-time workers in America, on average we receive only nine days of paid annual leave (vacation/sick days) and six paid holidays. That’s downright pathetic


My wife has spent all her vacation time traveling to take care of her elderly father. She only gets 1 week of paid vacation a year anyway, plus 3 holidays.
Small wonder Americans are ready to explode.
We're worked to death and never get time off to enjoy life.
If you're an American read this and weep:

www.alternet.org...
edit on 7-7-2012 by Asktheanimals because: added comment




posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:12 PM
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It is true what they say, America is the hardest working country in the world. We are all sons ands daughters of pioneers and crazy asses who came over here on boats.

We work hard.


also worth noting, the entire european economy ist kaput. maybe its from all that "vacationing"



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:18 PM
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I heard Japan is the hardest working country.

You get caught slacking once your automatically fired. Even if you are working 12 hour days. 6 Days a week.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:25 PM
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40 days a year of paid leave.


I'm not disagreeing with your entire post, American companies are slowly encroaching the standards of Chinese workers. Most Americans can't afford to go on vacation when they do have that 1 or 2 weeks off, I know how that feels, it really sucks and seems unfair.

I did have a job that gave me 40 hours paid time off and 8 hours sick leave with pay every 3 months. That's 160 PTO and 32 hours sick time each year, which increased with seniority. Basically 5 weeks off per year to start, which is not bad in America for a low wage job. I worked with mentally challenged adults, no exp or degree required for those jobs and they are plentiful in many states. The pay sucks and no one can really afford to "take a nice vacation" on those wages, unless you work OT and save up.

As our bills increase in America, fewer Americans can afford to go or do anything out of the ordinary. The basics like food, gas, electricity, heat, and shelter pretty much absorb most people's weekly paychecks.

On the bright side... it's going to get a lot worse& more expensive to just have the basics.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:26 PM
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Here in Spain-

even waiters, barbers, EVERYONE, gets one paid full month vacation at least. 15 days you choose and 15 days your employer chooses, for every 11 months worked. I don't think the new labor laws have changed that, I honestly don't know. Either way it is like that in practice.

That is not mentioning the many many other "festive" paid days that people get off. There are so damn many its nuts. More so in the south. They have so many paid vacation days it's almost insane.



edit on 7-7-2012 by BIHOTZ because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:32 PM
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I couldnt agree more OP.
But Europe? We still have to catch up to China.
Even Chinese factory workers get 10 days paid vacation every year.
If we asked for paid anything it would turn into a dis info onslaught of:
"you must be a commie if you want a Corp to pay you while youre on vacation."
Let alone healthcare. People say we are lazy?
Oh and we surpassed Japan years ago in work hours and less days off.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:33 PM
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Originally posted by truthinfact
It is true what they say, America is the hardest working country in the world. We are all sons ands daughters of pioneers and crazy asses who came over here on boats.

We work hard.


also worth noting, the entire european economy ist kaput. maybe its from all that "vacationing"


Hardest working only because you have to, at the end of the day it's sink or swim over there. I bet you lot have to work about 50hrs a week as well.

The pioneers you talk about rebelled against taxation and now you are the most enslaved people in the western civilized world.

P.S. Your own economy is just as big a basket case as the Euro, or did you forget about all the bailouts your government have done and your nearly $16trillion debt?



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:34 PM
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Originally posted by Asktheanimals
I nearly cried while reading this and remembering all the years of working for various companies in the US and just how little I got in paid leave and benefits. The only year I was eligible for 2 weeks paid vacation I spent it having and recovering from surgery. I couldn't afford to take the time off without pay.
Raising 4 sons I always felt badly for never being able to take them on real vacations anywhere - you know the obligatory visit to Disneyworld or week at the beach. If I was "lucky" enough to have a week off we never had the money to go anywhere. My sons are all grown and can afford their own vacations now.
I know I was far from being the only person in this situation. Unless you were lucky enough to have a government job or work for a union you most likely shared this experience. American companies are notoriously stingy about giving anyone paid leave or benefits.

What upset me was reading how well workers in Europe are treated. Germany is doing great economically yet can afford to give the average worker (including full and part time workers) 40 days a year of paid leave.
I've spent many years working for myself and the last time I had a paid week of vacation was in 1998.


Overall, the picture in the U.S is even bleaker. In Europe all workers, both part-time and full-time, are entitled by law to the same paid vacations. However, in the U.S., only 36 percent of part-time workers are “given” any paid vacation at all, and only 37 percent receive any paid holidays. So when you combine full-time and part-time workers in America, on average we receive only nine days of paid annual leave (vacation/sick days) and six paid holidays. That’s downright pathetic


My wife has spent all her vacation time traveling to take care of her elderly father. She only gets 1 week of paid vacation a year anyway, plus 3 holidays.
Small wonder Americans are ready to explode.
We're worked to death and never get time off to enjoy life.
If you're an American read this and weep:

www.alternet.org...
edit on 7-7-2012 by Asktheanimals because: added comment


Yeah vacations are why the Euros are going broke. You want to play, you got to pay.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:52 PM
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I'd honestly hate to be American, no jobs, no time off, no health care, education that bankrupts you...

And its supposed to be the land of hopes and dreams lol.

Mind you, I was havin a chat with a coppa over here on monday, and I noticed she had a twang to her other wise perfect English.

She informed me she is originally from Conneticut (excuse my spelling) and she moved to the UK when she was 20 becsue her fathers British and she thought it would be awesome to move to London and travel Europe.

Worst mistake of her life apparently.

She ended up stuck as a coppa in Brum LOL.

She said she can't get paid more than minimum wage, and the taxes are ridiculous (I know! Highest in Europe!), and for the last ten years she's been trying to save enough to go home (US of A) but to no current avail.

Looks like we're all stuffed.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 01:55 PM
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reply to post by Asktheanimals
 


oh but that's socialism and isn't American, so no way you guys can have that...


Ah that's a loaded statement. Yes, Europe's social programs in some places are amazing, but are you willing to pay the extra tax to pay for it?

I sure am, most people aren't.

~Tenth



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 02:02 PM
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reply to post by Asktheanimals
 


It is disgusting. All this automation, and all this technology, and yet we are working harder and longer than ever before, for less wages, with a shrinking middle class, and dependency on the government. What the hell?

The problem is our consumerism. Instead of reusing and repairing things, a disposable industry was created specifically to keep the factories running. We could have just lowered the workers hours, but instead we decided to make subpar merchandise, so it would need replaced more often. Even the idea of "recycling" is ridiculous. That is a whole other industry created with more jobs, and more work hours, when we could have just re-used stuff like we have in the past.

The Story of Stuff. It was our genius economists that decided to intentionally make this move.


Better link, straight to original movie.


Here at the Story of Stuff Project, we believe in more than just three “R’s”. Reduce, Reuse, REPAIR, then recycle!


Each and every one of us can work on getting closer to where our society should be. Stop being a consumer. Think long and hard before making any purchase or putting anything into a trashbin. By stuff that will last longer and be easier to maintain.

There is a book, "The Millionaire Next Door." That book talks exactly about how spending just a little bit more upfront, will save you a lot of money in the longrun, and it is a secret that our wealthy already know! They buy suits, and shoes, and furniture, and cars, and homes that will last for generations, instead of buying disposable stuff at Walmart and having to rebuy it over and over and over again.
edit on 7-7-2012 by getreadyalready because: (no reason given)



edit on 7-7-2012 by getreadyalready because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 02:08 PM
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Originally posted by tothetenthpower
reply to post by Asktheanimals
 


oh but that's socialism and isn't American, so no way you guys can have that...


Ah that's a loaded statement. Yes, Europe's social programs in some places are amazing, but are you willing to pay the extra tax to pay for it?

I sure am, most people aren't.

~Tenth


No need. We can have BOTH! But we have to stop living like victims and sheep. We can have ultimate liberty, and ultimate comfort at the same time, but we can't have all of that and instant gratification, all at the same time. We have to learn to live within our means and conserve a little.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 02:21 PM
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This just shows the stupidity of the America bashers out there. They always call the US stupid, lazy, and spoiled. Surely nobody else in the western world has the right to say that (at least say it and be correct) considering pretty much every single other western nation is more spoiled than the US (tons of paid time off, long breaks, etc) and are more lazy (don't work as much as Americans, and the work they do actually participate in isn't as productive as Americans)

Americans are not lazy, they are not spoiled. Stupid? There are a lot of idiots here, I'm not going to argue that. But when 100% of your life is spent working, sleeping, or recovering from medical issues there isn't a lot of time for denying ignorance.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 02:43 PM
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Originally posted by Asktheanimals

My wife has spent all her vacation time traveling


I had to re-read this part a couple of times, I almost PM'ed you to ask if I can come along sometime!


One of the few benefits of living here in Europe. You have other benefits in the US that we don't get, it's a nice game of spreading bits of freedom around the globe, so that someone ever mentions this, they can always say; Well there are countries that do have it!!

We can't have guns, you can. Whenever something comes up about guns here, the US is used as an example of how we shouldn't be allowed to have guns, and it's the same case with everything else. Some countries legalized some drugs, so other countries can then say "well there are countries that have different laws but we don't like the results". (doesn't really apply to paid vacation but I guess you get the point)



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 02:49 PM
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reply to post by Asktheanimals
 


I get two weeks vacation, six personal/sick days a year, 8 hours pay for my birthday whether I work on that day or not. If I work on my B-Day, I get 8 extra hours. I also get holiday pay.

My issue with 40 days of vacation would be not having the money to go anywhere. I would rather get paid to hang out with my friends at work, than sit at home. Maybe that's just because I'm single. I guess I could see how a worker who has a family would actually love 40 days vacation.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 02:50 PM
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Originally posted by James1982
This just shows the stupidity of the America bashers out there. They always call the US stupid, lazy, and spoiled. Surely nobody else in the western world has the right to say that (at least say it and be correct) considering pretty much every single other western nation is more spoiled than the US (tons of paid time off, long breaks, etc) and are more lazy (don't work as much as Americans, and the work they do actually participate in isn't as productive as Americans)

Americans are not lazy, they are not spoiled. Stupid? There are a lot of idiots here, I'm not going to argue that. But when 100% of your life is spent working, sleeping, or recovering from medical issues there isn't a lot of time for denying ignorance.



Good God you're still in pretty deep aren't you :S Europeans are lazy because we get a break now and then? LMFAO. You do realize that when you work for a business, you contribute to the profits they make? Is it really that bizarre that people get paid vacation then? Or you're convinced the corporation should keep all the profit like it is in your country? Wow...


What I find even more hilarious, even pretty painful for you, is the sentence you conclude your post with;


Originally posted by James1982
But when 100% of your life is spent working, sleeping, or recovering from medical issues there isn't a lot of time for denying ignorance.


So you too are basically saying that it's not right to have no time at all left? So why are you against Europe where people get some spare time, useful for denying ignorance (though most prefer to spend it on entertainment)???

Being occupied 100% of the time is NOT natural, ever observed the animal kingdom? Animals, and we belong to that category, live better lives when not stressed, it's not a natural thing, and though it can't hurt once in a while, it's not supposed to be a way of life, like you seem to think it is.

There is a third option you know, you work don't have to pay taxes so other people can get sh¨t they don't need, and the rest of they day is spent enjoying and relaxing, or you work full weeks and take a week off, I don't care, anything is better than the current system.



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 03:20 PM
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reply to post by ThisIsNotReality
 


I think you misunderstood my post.

Europeans who bash America often call us lazy and spoiled. I don't know how you could get through life without hearing this at least once, you know it's true.

I'm showing the hypocrisy of such an insult. How is it that a European has the right to call an American lazy or spoiled, when Americans work longer, and harder, for less?

That's all I'm saying.... I'm not against Europe's workers laws. I think they are great. I'd absolutely love to have all the time off and other perks that the Europeans get.

What I am against is Europeans saying that Americans are spoiled and lazy when the opposite is true. It's a traditional case of the pot calling the kettle black. That's all I'm getting at. Like I said I think America should adopt the same worker's rights as Europe. I'm in total agreement with you that it's not right, natural, or healthy to work yourself to death and have no free time.

But people who are lucky enough to have all that time off and other rights have no place calling those that work harder and longer lazy or spoiled. Do you understand the hypocrisy in that?

Hopefully I explained myself well enough for you to get where I'm coming from, but I'll reiterate, I'm totally in FAVOR of Europe's workers rights, I think it's the right thing to do. I'm just against those Europeans that call Americans lazy and spoiled when obviously that isn't true.
edit on 7-7-2012 by James1982 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2012 @ 09:15 PM
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US companies can afford to give more paid leave and better benefits since they've been recording record profits for the last several years. Only the profits are going to the investors and the upper management who are making ridiculous salaries and get bonuses that dwarf what many of us make in a year.

Europe isn't going broke because of over generous benefits either - they're going broke because the banking system became lockstep with government and created endless debt so they could sit back and reap the interest payments forever and ever.

We can have healthy economies and still create profit without turning workers in to slave labor, it just requires a fairer distribution of the wealth among the workers who actually create it.
edit on 7-7-2012 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 07:18 AM
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reply to post by getreadyalready
 


I've seen the story of stuff before - it's great. Thanks for linking that.
I think my parents are millionaires because that's how they've always shopped - they would spend more to get a quality item that would last instead of buying cheap junk that rarely works and replacing. Come to think of it my wife and I are that way too. Our last "new" car was a 2003 Toyota which now has 183,000 miles but still runs great and is super reliable. The guy at the Ford dealership was offering 0% financing and really putting the pressure on to sell us a Ford focus but the car felt cheap so we went for the Toyota for a bit more money.
Matter of fact she wore a dress the other night to the crosby, Stills and Nash concert that was over 30 years old yet she was the best dressed woman at the concert.



posted on Jul, 8 2012 @ 07:43 AM
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Imam an European that will, most indubitably, NOT call Americans lazy. On the contrary.

I have Family in the states. One is an elderly aunt that got swindled out of her 401k, and thusly, at age 72 has to work her behind off. (selling graves, of all things...)

Her children live in San Fern. Valley. One of her daughters has a flower-shop, her hubby is a car-mechanc. They both make at least 10 hours a day. Yet, they Still can hardly afford the health-insurance for them and their daughter. They pay through the nose in property-tax, because they were unlucky enough to settle in a county with ridículous taxes for commercial buildings("building" fêh.. A flower shop that's narrower than her car is long..)

The most unpleasant part in this comes when she visited us in the Netherlands. (We partially funded her ticket) she was appauled to notice that her family actually paid móre in taxes than we, as Europeans did. Nót through her income-tax. That was, indeed, véry low compared to what we pay (46%, middle-high income) but through nastieness like property tax.

We pay, once a year, about €360.- Shé onthe other hand, paid that amount évery month...

The biggest difference between America, and The Netherlands, is that petrol f.i. Is taxed at 70% yes, SEVENTY percent. Same goes for polluting industries. Clean-up, or pay!

The other, not unimportant, thing is, that in an election campaign, a prospect politician has to pay for it through their party. Every politician gets a certain amount of money alotted from the treasure. He máy engage in fund-raisers, but the raised moneystíll ends-up in a centrally governed fund. A bit hard to explain, but suffice to say that anonymous donating dirèctly to a party and/or politician is prohibited explicitly by law. Not that certain lobbyists aren't trying, but when they get caught, they can say their careers goodbye.

On the other hand, company taxes are in the order of 5% (!!) hence the proliferation of American companies over here. We got tons of Americans overhere, working for such diverse companies as Apple and GM. They all make a LOT of money. Buuut.. Their income tax, as well as theirr assets, are taxed at a hefty 56% .

Still. Most of them are hesitant to leave again, since f.i health insurance, dentist, glasses, Tibettan singing-bowl-therapy and what not, costs about €1990.- pp. year, co-pays about €200.- a year max, deductibles about €700 a year max, and only if it involves an actual hospital-stay.

Yet, still healthcare is only 10% of our GDP. And no, no long waiting lists for necessary care, call the family physician, and get helped within 20minutes of taking a seat in the waiting room. For dentistry even shorter. (although fairness forces me to admit that insurers cover only a meagre 20% of dentistry.. But we are working on that)

This is not boasting, these are plain, simple facts.

Our society, as a whole, finds leisure time more important than making a lot of money, and STILL succeeds in belonging to the top 3 richest countries in Europe. "We work to live, nót the other way around" Same goes for most managers and CEO's. It is a completely different mentality, partially come into fruition because the risk of losing ALL in our society is greatly diminished. Makes for a relaxed people that feels relatively safe.

The funky thing about having a lot of leisure time, is that it áctually improves productivity on the hours that one's working. Many researchers in Germany, as well as The Netherland found that out, mostly to their own astonishment.

A german (lady) CEO is even famous for designing her business around "9 to 5 " and nóthing else. No "home working" No overtime. Get to job: work 8 hours flat, go home. No job-related activity allowed, so to speak.
Managers are strictly forbidden to contact employees outside of office-hours of 9:00 to 17:00. As was the board of Directors. Productivity boomed. Employees as well as management lóve the concept, because it also meant that managers could't be hassled in théir off-time.

To be honest, we, the Dutch, are true curmudgeons, seeing bears on the road about everywhere, whining and complaining about EVERYTHING, but are also amongst the 7 or so, "happiest people" in the world.. Go figure.

An american collegue of mine, a staunch Republican, and thusly more often than not, the center of teasing, once remarked: "sheesh.. I get more stuff done in an hour here, than in a day back home....and still have time to browse, this cannot be right...
edit on 8/7/12 by dutchmilpo because: (no reason given)




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