No vacations in the US

Hey, another place where the US leads–lack of paid vacation time:

Nearly a quarter of the American private-sector workforce, some 26 million workers, doesn’t get paid time off, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — compared with less than one-fifth in the 1990s.The United States is the only advanced economy that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation and one of only 13 countries in the world not to do so, according to the World Policy Analysis Center at the University of California Los Angeles.

In this regard, the United States falls in line with India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and a handful of island nations that don’t require employers to offer workers paid time off. France, on the other hand, mandates 30 paid vacation days a year for all workers; Scandinavian countries offer 25. US citizens in Puerto Rico get three weeks off a year.

And it seems that the makers are really the takers:

In the United States, low-wage earners disproportionately work without paid vacation. Only 49 percent of those in the bottom fourth of earners get p aid time off, compared with 90 percent among the top quarter of earners.

That’s right, the poor usually don’t get paid if they’re not working while the rich expect to be paid even when they’re on vacation. Of course, we expect the President to work all the time (he also comments on the vacation data; via here) too–we are a nation of Puritans (again, except for the rich).

Not only do the poor not get paid vacations, they also serve at the whim of their employer (via here):

Like increasing numbers of low-income mothers and fathers, Ms. Navarro is at the center of a new collision that pits sophisticated workplace technology against some fundamental requirements of parenting, with particularly harsh consequences for poor single mothers. Along with virtually every major retail and restaurant chain, Starbucks relies on software that choreographs workers in precise, intricate ballets, using sales patterns and other data to determine which of its 130,000 baristas are needed in its thousands of locations and exactly when. Big-box retailers or mall clothing chains are now capable of bringing in more hands in anticipation of a delivery truck pulling in or the weather changing, and sending workers home when real-time analyses show sales are slowing. Managers are often compensated based on the efficiency of their staffing.

Scheduling is now a powerful tool to bolster profits, allowing businesses to cut labor costs with a few keystrokes. “It’s like magic,” said Charles DeWitt, vice president for business development at Kronos, which supplies the software for Starbucks and many other chains.

Sure this put large strains on the workers who might have to commute 3 hours for what ends up being a few hour shift, makes it a struggle to find caretakers for their children, and might make it impossible for them to get a better education, but if it adds profit that’s what matters.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kip
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 14:44:53

    You’re right. Profit is what matters. Please remember, we live in a capitalist society.


  2. Trackback: Workers in the US | Petunias

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