May 9, 2011
A better Mother's Day gift for working moms (and dads)
[Photo by pizzodisevo]
As Kelley blogged last week:
The greatest Mother's Day gift of all -- for all of us, men or women, whether we happen to have kids or ever will -- might have to do with the clock. The stark reality is that, given the American workplace, there aren't enough hours in the day. Or in fact, the year.
As Kelley's blog post reminds us, there aren't nearly enough paid days off for U.S. employees, especially those in greatest need of them.
Countries like Austria, Brazil, and Italy boast 30 government-mandated paid days off a year for their workers. And as this chart shows, more than 30 other countries around the globe require employers to give workers between one and six paid vacation weeks a year. The United States is not one of them. Our government doesn't require any paid vacation days for U.S. workers.
When it comes to paid sick days, the situation isn't any better. Around the world, 163 nations guarantee workers paid sick leave. Again, the United States is not among them. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 19 percent of our nation's lowest-earning workers get paid sick days. And according to non-profit group MomsRising.org, almost 50 percent of U.S. workers never see a paid sick day.
"Working for change" might sound like a hollow call, especially to those already strapped for time and cash. But organizations like MomsRising.org make it easy to let employers and legislators know you'd like to see real change in the workplace.
So next Mother's Day (or this coming Father's Day), do as Kelley suggests: think beyond the token flowers and tie clips. In addition, think about how you might spend a few minutes pressuring the nation's employers and leaders for better work-life policies.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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