Enjoying your Thanksgiving holiday—a much needed four-day weekend, or at the very least, a rare but welcome mid-week paid day off? Me too (you know, except for this post), but while I appreciate the opportunity to sleep in and unwind and all, it's also a reminder that most Americans just work too damn hard.
In fact, the US is the most overworked developed nation in the world. Americans work longer hours with fewer paid days off than workers just about anywhere.
Forget about the French and their notoriously long vacations. By law British workers get a minimum of 28 days of paid leave a year, the hard-working Germans, 4 work weeks plus at least 9 paid holidays. Here in the US the legal minimum is zero. Sure, most US employers offer a minimum of 10 paid vacation days by custom, but you know, only if you're classified as a full-time salaried employee. The steadily increasing percentage of workers classified as contractors or part-timers get squat—a third of all women and a quarter of all men receive no paid vacation time.
I know, I know... with unemployment hovering around 8 percent I should just feel damn lucky to have a job at all, especially in a dying industry like journalism. But here's a thought: If the rest of us weren't working such long hours with so few days off, perhaps there would be more jobs to go around! Not to mention a damn more relaxed, refreshed, happy, and productive workforce.
A little something extra to chew on with your Thanksgiving turkey.