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4 weeks vacation(20 posts)

4 weeks vacationbboc
Aug 14, 2003 10:46 AM
Interesting opinion, what do you think?

A National Vacation Policy
Robert B. Reich

It's summer. The weather's beautiful. You'd like to take a couple of weeks off work, right? But you already took a week last winter between Christmas and New Year's. And then there was that four days you took off for your friend's wedding last March. So you're not entitled to two weeks now. Maybe a week, at most.

Well, you're not alone. Many American workers get only two weeks paid vacation a year. Some companies give three weeks, but then they automatically subtract any sick days. A lot of companies don't give any vacation time at all, especially to people in their first year on payroll.

Here's my proposal: A federal law requiring that every company in America give every employee at least four weeks paid vacation per year.

You think this idea is far-fetched? It's the law in Europe. Even if you're an entry-level worker in a fast-food restaurant in Sweden or Italy or anywhere in Europe -- even if that fast-food restaurant happens to be called McDonald's or KFC -- you get, by law, four weeks paid vacation.

I can already hear conservatives hollering: A federal requirement like this interferes in the free market!

Not so fast. We already have a minimum wage law. We've got a law requiring hourly workers get time-and-a-half for overtime. We've got worker-safety laws. So why not a minimum vacation law?

I can hear companies objecting: It will boost costs!

Yes, a bit. But the cost increase won't hurt you because the requirement will apply equally to all your competitors. So you just pass the cost along to consumers.

I can hear economists yelling: It will hurt American competitiveness! American workers are already competing with workers all over the world who are willing to work longer and harder for less money.

Hold on. The competitiveness American workers depends mostly on our productivity, and American workers are among the most productive in the world. So are European workers. And they get four week vacations. A guarantee of four week's paid vacation here may make American workers happier and hence even more productive.

Others will say: Your proposal will cost jobs!

But think about all the new jobs that will be created when more Americans have more vacation time -- hotels, restaurants, recreation and travel.

I'm not running for office, but I offer my proposal to anybody who is. Dean, Kerry, Lieberman, George W. Bush, anybody. Make it part of your platform: A minimum four weeks paid vacation for every working man and woman in America. You'll be elected in a flash.
What's the source?TJeanloz
Aug 14, 2003 10:52 AM
I find it hard to believe that Reich, who is generally a fine labor economist, wrote that peice, and Google can't find any reference to it.

The argument that it won't hurt American competitiveness is ridiculous - Europeans are not exactly our competition. When was the last time a factory was shipped offshore to France?

I work half the time in Europe, and the vacation policies make work significantly less productive, more chaotic, and generally lousy.
Aug 14, 2003 11:01 AM
definitly a liberal source, but I wouldn't guess they made it up....
No, I wouldn't think they would have,TJeanloz
Aug 14, 2003 11:06 AM
It was apparently a transcript from NPR's marketplace. It sounds to me more like a lazy summertime pie-in-the-sky proposal than an actual academic thought from Mr. Reich.
I disagree TJ.Fr Ted Crilly
Aug 15, 2003 1:08 PM
I went from 5 weeks to 2 weeks vacation when I moved to the US from working in the UK and productivity and morale are definitely lower here in California.
Having at least a two week summer vacation was practically the norm at home, and it gave everyone something to look forward to each year.
my opinionbboc
Aug 14, 2003 11:24 AM
I figure it causes all types of problems, but It would be great for me, and good for many people I know.

I've worked my way up to 2 weeks paid vacation (not enough), 4 would be much, much better. I could visit my family over the holidays, attend a wedding, and still have time to take a short relaxing vacation. Currently I can only visit half my family, have time for 1 wedding, and a few long weekends.

I have also done the 1 year without sick days or vacation twice. It absolutely sucks, and I feel that it should be illegal for full time jobs. The worst part is that if you take unpaid leave it counts as a black mark during your review (I got reprimanded for taking off too much time, 1.5 weeks, even though it was due to viral menengitus, and they knew about it).
vacation is a state of mind,TJeanloz
Aug 14, 2003 11:34 AM
I've never taken a vacation. A day here-and-there for special occaisions, but never consecutive days. I have a good time at work every day and I don't really see the need to take time off, at least for me - I realize everybody is different.
I applaud your life choices....bboc
Aug 14, 2003 11:58 AM
If that is true, you've essentially won the career lottery. While I like my job, I'd much rather be riding, camping, traveling, visiting friends/family, exploring, etc., etc., etc.

It's too bad I'm one of those people who need a certain sense of security, it's really hard for me to just say F!$& it and do what I want to do, money be damned. (Athough I did just drop everything and move to CO a year and a half ago)

something is terribly wrong with you TJ ;) (nm)ColnagoFE
Aug 14, 2003 12:22 PM
If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life (nm)TJeanloz
Aug 15, 2003 1:22 PM
don't count on itDuane Gran
Aug 14, 2003 12:00 PM
I don't expect this to happen anytime soon. Personally I don't think the government should mandate vacation or pay rates for anyone. Some people want money more than personal time. A law giving 4 weeks of vacation assumes that everyone wants the same things in life.

I'm reminded of the situation in France with their 35 hour work week. It has been a disaster from what I hear and they are thinking of repealing the law.
I've got 4 weeks.......MR_GRUMPY
Aug 14, 2003 12:18 PM
I want 8
how bout i don't work at all but keep the checks coming!? (nm)ColnagoFE
Aug 14, 2003 12:32 PM
I've got FIVE.cory
Aug 14, 2003 4:17 PM
Stick with a company for 25 years, and they give you the extra week in exchange for converting your pension plan to a lump-sum payout. If I work until I'm 270 years old, I'll come out ahead.
I get zero weeksPaulCL
Aug 14, 2003 4:54 PM
Work on commission/fees and get no paid vacation, no paid sick days, no personal Is the government going to force me to take off four weeks??? Would I get paid??? I doubt it.
Me toomickey-mac
Aug 14, 2003 5:22 PM
I've got five weeks and I love it. I could find a job making substantially more money but it would come at the cost of at least two weeks vacation and other "lifestyle" benefits that I'm not willing to give up.
5 wks. here....BIGBOB
Aug 15, 2003 5:14 AM
But you gotta stick around for 15 years until you can accrue it at that rate, and 3 weeks sick that can roll-over.

Life is good, Bob
5 weeks here..loki_1
Aug 15, 2003 6:38 AM
3 weeks after 3 years, 5 weeks after 5 years. 35 hr work week (in theory), sick time plus personal emergency time (ie kids are sick, parents need to be taken to the dr, etc)

Productivity is very good here.

If you don't like your situation, change it. Don't expect the government to get involved for you. (Whine: "But I'm entitled to it"... not)
I just turned down a job yesterday..boyd2
Aug 15, 2003 12:14 PM
because they only offered 1 week of vacation a year for the first 2 years. I told them that I wanted to take leave without pay for 1 week each of the first two years. They told me they would lower my pay $5000 for two years and give me 1 extra week vacation in the second year. $10,000 for one week off! What are they thinking?

Other problem with this job. One of my interviews was the day before a Triathalon that I was doing. I mentioned it when asked about my weekend plans. The owner of the company said "oh, you won't have time to do those if you work here".
congrats--gotta keep those priorities straight!ColnagoFE
Aug 15, 2003 12:49 PM
I once had a boss tell me that my going to the gym every day looked bad. I guess like I should have worked through my lunch or something. I asked if I got an hour off for lunch every day or not. She says yes. I told her that it wasn't any business of hers what I did over that hour and that I'd make sure I never went over that hour. Since then I have a new boss. What really got me though was when I was contracting for big $ a while back. Every time I took a vacation I mentally calculated in my head all the $ I was missing out on by taking time off. That was torture!