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Wed May 29, 2013, 11:17 PM

One Quarter of Americans Don't Get Paid Days Off


(AlterNet) Nearly a quarter of all Americans work without paid vacation days or holidays, a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research says. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the U.S. is the only "rich" country that does not require paid time-off, even though studies have repeatedly found that less time at work -- and more time relaxing or vacationing -- actually increases productivity.

“It is striking that six years after we first looked at this topic absolutely nothing has changed. U.S. law and U.S. employer behavior still lags far behind the rest of the rich countries in the world,” John Schmitt, senior economist and co-author of the report, said in a statement.

“The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays,” said Schmitt, “Relying on businesses to voluntarily provide paid leave just hasn’t worked.” ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/one-quarter-americans-dont-get-paid-days



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Reply One Quarter of Americans Don't Get Paid Days Off (Original post)
marmar May 2013 OP
dkf May 2013 #1
BainsBane May 2013 #3
FreeJoe May 2013 #28
BainsBane May 2013 #30
FreeJoe May 2013 #37
Sherman A1 May 2013 #6
MindPilot May 2013 #11
hack89 May 2013 #25
SheilaT May 2013 #2
MindPilot May 2013 #15
SheilaT May 2013 #20
LooseWilly May 2013 #4
Wounded Bear May 2013 #5
Egalitarian Thug May 2013 #8
B Calm May 2013 #7
SoCalDem May 2013 #17
B Calm May 2013 #39
AngryOldDem May 2013 #9
Heywood J May 2013 #10
hobbit709 May 2013 #12
xchrom May 2013 #13
raccoon May 2013 #14
SoCalDem May 2013 #16
SheilaT May 2013 #21
tabbycat31 May 2013 #24
SheilaT May 2013 #31
tabbycat31 May 2013 #32
DotGone May 2013 #33
laundry_queen May 2013 #18
ohheckyeah May 2013 #34
laundry_queen May 2013 #35
ohheckyeah May 2013 #36
TheKentuckian May 2013 #38
Puzzledtraveller May 2013 #19
bhikkhu May 2013 #22
Saphire May 2013 #23
Downtown Hound May 2013 #26
justiceischeap May 2013 #27
fizzgig May 2013 #29

Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2013, 11:47 PM

1. I wonder how many people who get paid vacations actually use it.

 

I saw a stat today that said the more education you have the more hours you work. That sounds about right.

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Thu May 30, 2013, 02:00 AM

3. I use mine

I get four weeks a year. I'm lucky.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #3)

Thu May 30, 2013, 01:29 PM

28. I'm up to 7

The reality is that I usually take about 4-5 weeks and just lose the rest, but I'm OK with that. Ours is a combination of sick and vacation, so if I get sick, I've got extra without dipping into vacation time.

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Response to FreeJoe (Reply #28)

Thu May 30, 2013, 02:34 PM

30. The odd thing about where I work

vacation is four weeks from your first year to your last. Plus we get holidays, sick leave, and floating days, which I always forget to take.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #30)

Thu May 30, 2013, 09:07 PM

37. That is unusual

Ours used to be based on time with the company. Then it was time in the industry. Now it is just age based. I'm in the oldest group, so I get 7 weeks. We also get 11 holidays, but none of them are floating. We can also work either a normal eight hour day schedule (with flex time) or we can work nine our days M-Th and then eight hours one Friday with the opposite Friday off.

When I originally started working professionally eons ago, I was at IBM. I can't recall how much vacation I had, but we had unlimited sick time. In fact, you could call in sick while on vacation and it wouldn't count against your vacation. It worked really well.

Later, when I spent time outside of the IBM bubble, I saw how differently people used sick time. Some people were legitimately sick a lot. Others were never sick. Some people used sick days when they were physically fine but "sick of work". I got kind of disillusioned about it. Now I kind of like just having one big pot of "paid time off." If I don't feel well enough (physically or mentally), I don't go to work. I don't have to fret over whether I'm really sick enough to justify a sick day. In fact, last week I felt like I was getting sick so I took a PTO day and stayed home.

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Thu May 30, 2013, 05:07 AM

6. Precisely

I know many with whom I work, take just part of their accrued vacation time off and use the rest as a cash reserve payout for such things as Christmas shopping or unexpected bills or alike. At least they get something for the time and don't lose it, but I find it sad nonetheless.

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Thu May 30, 2013, 08:31 AM

11. I only use mine if I'm too sick to crawl into work.

 

I see accrued time off as layoff insurance. An actual vacation is out of the question; if they can do without me for a week, they can probably do without me forever. That is a risk I'm not going to take.

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Thu May 30, 2013, 01:20 PM

25. I use mine. My company insists on it. nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 01:59 AM

2. That sounds somewhat high to me, but I'm not out there collecting statistics.

 

I would like to see a breakdown by industry or job type. I wonder how many of those people are only working part time, and therefore don't get paid time off.

Those who earn vacation days and don't take them -- and this is nothing new; I've been aware of this for forty years not -- are idiots. I've always understood that taking time off as a vacation is important.

I work in a hospital, and we accumulate hours as a combined leave, which you can choose to take as sick time or vacation or whatever, as you choose. You max out at 368 hours, which , if I can do the math right, is 36 days off for those who work an 8 hour day. Once you've accrued that much time off, you stop accruing more. I've heard people complain that they have trouble getting time off scheduled, although that does not happen to me. There is a provision to "sell" excess time off back to the hospital. Personally, I'd rather the time off.

Right now I have 132 hours accrued, and I'm going on vacation next week.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #2)

Thu May 30, 2013, 08:47 AM

15. So you think I'm an idiot?

 

I save my vacation time so I have a little bit more to walk away with when I get laid off. I think that is being prudent. And if you do take a vacation who does your work while your gone? In my case no-one so it just piles up, so I wouldn't have a vacation, I just have a bunch more to do when I return. And if they find out that they can do without me for a week, they would probably figure out that they can do without me permanently.

As long as you have a job to worry about keeping, a vacation is simply impossible. That time and money is better saved for leaner times.

Have your fun grasshopper; this ant is hording.

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Response to MindPilot (Reply #15)

Thu May 30, 2013, 10:04 AM

20. If you never take any of your vacation time for years on end, yes you're

 

well, it really is rude and uncalled for of me to repeat what I said upstream.

But I still maintain that time off makes for a saner, better, probably healthier life.

And this ant has horded quite successfully. Everytime there was a bonus or a gift of money, it was invested, not spent, so I have a nice little nest egg.

I do have the very good fortune to be in a job where no work piles up when I'm not there, as I work on an information desk. But then, my hourly rate leaves something to be desired. I am not the heartless witch I sound like, because all around me I see people who take even two days off and then go crazy catching up on the work that piled up on them. The underlying problem in those cases (and this is totally separate from the worth of vacation time or your personal desire to pile up time that will be paid out in the end) is that your company has absolutely no consideration for the health and well-being of its employees and makes absolutely no provisions to cover time off as it should.

What would happen if you drop dead tomorrow? How quickly can you be replaced? Sometimes the answer is: immediately. Other times the answer is: things would be quite rough for a period of time while someone else figured out what to do what I do.

And personally, I don't trust a lot of companies to make good on the promise to pay out unused vacation time. Do make sure you know what the max is that you can accrue before it simply goes away.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 02:08 AM

4. With more and more people having to cobble together various part-time gigs... no wonder.

I'm not sure when the last time I had a paid vacation was. I think I accrued something like 17.2 hours of vacation time with 15 months of retail "part-time-plus" work with one job, and I think I've gotten a couple of holidays like Christmas off with some "holiday pay"... but "vacation days"? "Sick days"? ... meh, don't think I've had any of those in my 25 ish years of working my ass off.

Welcome to the post-Reagan USA...

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 02:31 AM

5. When do we stop calling the US an "advanced" economy....

It's getting pretty 3rd world around here.

Note: I'm one of those who doesn't get sick/vacation/holiday pay. Nada.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #5)

Thu May 30, 2013, 06:07 AM

8. We do have an advanced economy by today's definition, it's our society that's backward. n/t

 

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 05:27 AM

7. The employers that do offer

 

paid vacation act like you are pulling their teeth out when you try to schedule time off.

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Response to B Calm (Reply #7)

Thu May 30, 2013, 08:55 AM

17. or they put in limitations for which times you cannot take vacation

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #17)

Fri May 31, 2013, 06:31 AM

39. Boss: Sorry can't let you have that week,

 

we already have one guy off that week.

Employee: But boss. . . I'm just a fucking janitor and no one replaces me when I'm gone.

Boss: The same rules apply to everyone in the department.

(Close to the end of the year) Boss: You have two weeks vacation left to schedule or you will lose them.

Employee: Okay, I'll schedule the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Boss: Sorry, but we already have two guys off each week, we can't have three off!

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 06:16 AM

9. Paid days off? What's that?

Meanwhile, all the salaried people where I work are busy taking their vacations, while the office heads into the busiest time of the year shorthanded.

Most of the employees (myself included) are temporary full time. If we get sick, or just decide we need a day off, we don't get paid. So, we don't get sick, and we don't decide we need a day off (in most cases).

It's actually a pretty good deal for the office --we don't get any kind of benefits, can work all sorts of God-awful hours, and are also the scapegoats and whipping boys if something goes wrong, so hey! What a deal! For them.

But at my age (52) this is the best I can probably do in this economy.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 08:05 AM

10. I remember having this discussion here before.

Someone pulled out a section of Ohio law, I think it was, that said you could be fired for not agreeing to work 24/7/365. No time off - even to sleep.

I imagine that with the recession and the labor surplus, things have only gone downhill. I've heard of places now mandating exactly when and how vacation will be taken: a day here, a day there, instead of letting people take a week off and recharge. "Smith, tomorrow will be your vacation for the year. Jones, you get Wednesday. Brown, you get Thursday off. Keep your phones with you - we might need to call you back in to work."

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 08:34 AM

12. how many get sick days?

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 08:34 AM

13. du rec.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 08:36 AM

14. IMO, that's about the right figure. nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 08:53 AM

16. I am surprised the number is not higher

This is another "benefit" to employers when they hire "seasonal"/"part-time" workers.

They often do not even guarantee a specified number of workdays, and make the employees always hungry for hours and reluctant to gripe when they close one day and open the next, or are worked just to the point when automatic benefits might kick in..and then they are off for enough days to start all over again..

If a boss schedules an employee five 5-hour shifts, they have effectively got them close to full time, without paying them full time. these people with short scheduled shifts often do not even get breaks/lunch, and most are too tenuous to complain. They come in early/stay late because they need the money

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #16)

Thu May 30, 2013, 10:10 AM

21. I believe that lunch breaks, while not federally mandated,

 

are often covered by state law, so you want to check for your specific state. Typically, any shift that's five hours long requires a 30 minute, usually unpaid, lunch break.

I found this helpful: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs22.htm

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #21)

Thu May 30, 2013, 01:18 PM

24. Lunch breaks are typically for 6 hours or more

I know when I worked in retail (I wrote break schedules), 5 hour shifts were not entitled to a lunch break.

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Response to tabbycat31 (Reply #24)

Thu May 30, 2013, 02:46 PM

31. Where I work we're supposed to get a 30 minute lunch break

 

if we're scheduled 5 hours.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #31)

Thu May 30, 2013, 03:27 PM

32. It's been years since I've worked there

It could have been state laws and they could have change. I just remember that if you worked 6 hours you got a 20 minute (paid) lunch break. Anything over 6 hours got you 1/2 hour lunch.

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Response to tabbycat31 (Reply #32)

Thu May 30, 2013, 05:02 PM

33. 6 hours is Federal Law but some states override that

Federal Law mandates 1/2 hr break for working over 6 hours. Some states, such as CA, mandate it at 5 hrs. Some companies have a policy at 5 hrs to make it uniform at each location.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 09:15 AM

18. typical of corporate America - companies are shooting themselves in the foot on this one

Not only do vacation days increase productivity and improve morale but there are numerous other ways companies benefit.

One of the HUGE major things you learn is that when people don't get vacation (or don't take the vacation they do get) puts a company at high risk for fraud and theft. Auditors know this, and no vacations is a big red flag. So American companies are really being stupid when it comes to this. No shocker there, though, too many bean counters are completely unable to see the big picture. I think it's a function of a rules based system - hyperfocus on each rule instead of overall big picture thinking. But that's an accounting debate for some other time

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #18)

Thu May 30, 2013, 05:10 PM

34. It's not just corporate America...

the two jobs I had that offered no paid days off were a mom and pop shop and a non-profit organization. They paid the worse, too, and neither offered any benefits of any kind.

Some people seem to have this pie-in-the-sky idea that all mom and pop shops are good and all corporations evil.

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Response to ohheckyeah (Reply #34)

Thu May 30, 2013, 07:35 PM

35. That is true

but IME, the mom and pops that don't treat their employees well often end up not having a business at all, especially in a small town. Most see the big picture pretty quickly when they screw up and treat employees like crap (not all, but a good portion) whereas a large company often has employees that are so specialized they don't see the results of their decisions, or they don't see the causal relationship.

There are some larger 'mom & pops' where the owners tend to own everything in the entire town, and those are the worst for mistreating the employees - a lot of them are the only employer in town and they treat all their employees like crap because where are they going to go? One town I lived in was like that - one family owned everything. Those places are every bit as bad as large corps.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #35)

Thu May 30, 2013, 07:57 PM

36. Sometimes in small towns the mom and pops are the only

jobs available to a lot of people.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #35)

Thu May 30, 2013, 11:31 PM

38. Actual small business often run on really tight margins

Many just don't have the resources to spread around to provide solid benefits, especially when product or service wise you are competing with national franchises and "big box" deals. Time off is the weakest link in a paper chain, redundancy is super minimal and the more mission critical one is the more it is impossible to do more than "cover" if ducks are in a row or someone else has to pretty much completely put their job on hold to actually substitute.

The thing worse is BIG business shell gaming as small business, you catch both downsides and few of the benefits of either.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 09:23 AM

19. 2 days a month, one for annual leave and one for sick

after 5 years 1.5 of annual and sick accrued each month and after 10 years 2 annual and sick accrued each month. Plus never work weekends or holidays.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 11:25 AM

22. I suppose its fairly easy to rationalize

Employers hire you to do a job, why should they be expected to pay you to relax at home? Or so would go the reasoning. Where the job market is competitive (or where its a "workers market", then you have perks such as vacation and sick days offered.

I don't get sick days or paid holidays, but I do get a week of paid vacation time each year...which isn't much, but I have too many different interests. I like my job because it doesn't demand too much; it allows me time and flexibility to pursue a variety of other activities that are important to me, while still paying the bills.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 12:40 PM

23. I work full time..40 hrs per week. No sick time,

No vacation time. 5 unpaid holidays per year. It sucks, but its a job.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 01:25 PM

26. If I take more than one day off consecutively, I risk getting fired

I've only done that once when I was really sick, and I got a call from my employers that if I didn't show up the next day I would be out of a job. So I showed up, and the next week half the company was out sick.

Way to go management!

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 01:27 PM

27. I don't get paid days off 'cause I'm a contractor

I'm fortunate that I get health insurance but not paid days off.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu May 30, 2013, 01:52 PM

29. it's part of what keep my husband and i from going on longer trips

i get plenty of pto at my job but my husband doesn't have any, so we don't go away for anything more than a few nights. otherwise we're losing half our income and we just can't afford that on top of paying for a trip.

i get two weeks, plus about a half dozen paid holidays and then three floating holidays and i always use all my pto. last year i took the last two weeks of december off and it was awesome. and i don't have any problem getting the time off when i need it. it's one of the few good things about my job.

edit: i don't get sick time, but that's never been an issue for me.

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