Do you see anything wrong with the chart above? It shows how many paid days off are mandated by country for workers … and the United States ranks. dead. last.
That’s not something to be proud of. American employees are delivering more and more productivity and corporations are raking in billions and billions of profits but workers are simply not realizing the benefits of that hard work and the financial success these companies are experiencing. The absolute large majority of profitability gains are going directly to shareholders and C suite executives who are swimming in millions in stock grants and compensation packages.
And do not underestimate how significant an impact these additional working hours have on the formation of families and development of children.
Derek Thompson at the Atlantic brings us the above chart and gives some background HERE:
Still, don’t blame Washington. Blame yourself. Americans don’t even make use of the paid vacation they have. In 2011, a Harris Interactive study found that 57% of working Americans had up to two weeks of unused vacation time at the end of 2011. Multiple hours-worked studies conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the OECD have found the Americans work longer hours than practically any advanced country except South Korea and Japan. The United States’ long-hour culture permeates both our day-to-day family choices and our national laws, creating an up-and-down feedback loop of industriousness. I’ll stop short of commenting on that loop further, for risk of stepping some very smart people’s toes. But at the very least, I’ll say enjoy your Wednesday off, America. You’ve earned it.
Ellen Ruppel Shell says Americans work too hard HERE:
In the late 1970s America’s annual working hours, after declining for decades, began to steadily increase. Today Americans work more hours than do people in any other Western nation. Yet at the same time most real middle class incomes in this country stagnated and in some cases even declined. Young male workers were particularly hard hit: In the early 2000s, men ages 25-34 made less than did their fathers at a similar age. Of course we all know where the money went. The huge discrepancy between C-level executives and the rest of us has become a simple matter of fact; as have pay cuts, benefit reductions, layoffs and slippery “employee at will” contracts.
Despite this we continue to work ever harder — and admire those who do. Yet there is no evidence that long hours contribute to real productivity in the work place, and plenty of evidence that they do not. Slaughter’s suggestion that to enable family dinners for employees managers schedule meetings at 8pm rather than at 6pm does not seem to me an uplifting one. That parents be allowed to work one day from home — as well as nights and weekends — seems even more depressing.
Of course – I’d point out this erosion of worker’s rights coincides with the lowest level of union participation for workers in the U.S. in modern history. 1 + 1 = 2. It’s not complicated math.
But as we’ve written about HERE – corporate profits are at an all time high and wages are at an all-time low:
Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low. This is both cause and effect. One reason companies are so profitable is that they’re paying employees less than they ever have as a share of GDP. And that, in turn, is one reason the economy is so weak: Those “wages” are other companies’ revenue.
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