Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange => Topic started by: perpetua on December 21, 2013, 10:48:48 AM

Title: Working practices
Post by: perpetua on December 21, 2013, 10:48:48 AM
A few threads recently have hi-lighted the differences in working practices between the UK and the US and I thought it might be interesting to have a thread on it.

In the UK we get a minimum of 28 days paid holiday per year, which may or may not include bank holidays depending on the employer. Again, depending on who you work for, you might not get a choice in exactly when you take it - for example, factories/offices that shut down between Christmas and New Year might make you take part of your entitlement over that period.

We also don't have a certain number of sick days we're allowed in a year - if we're sick, we're sick. If you're out for an extended period you'll generally be fully paid for several months before you get bumped down to Statutory Sick Pay, which is only about 70 a week. However, if you're taking too many days or the employer thinks you're swinging the lead, you'll probably be monitored for a while, again depending on the company. If we're calling in sick, it's customary to tell your manager what's wrong with you and isn't generally seen as TMI, which seems to raise eyebrows with US posters. I've never been able to call in and say "I'm sick" without giving some kind of detail.

As far as I know we don't have 'PTO' and I've never heard of anyone having to donate sick leave or holiday to another person here - probably because we generally get enough of our own to begin with.

How does it work in your part of the world?
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: jaxsue on December 21, 2013, 10:50:53 AM
I am envious of the European system. It is so much more worker-friendly. Here, you often have to work a full year to get a week's paid vacation. Sadly, many people go to work sick because they fear losing their jobs or they can't afford to lose the pay.  :(

Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Margo on December 21, 2013, 11:33:23 AM
Quote
If you're out for an extended period you'll generally be fully paid for several months before you get bumped down to Statutory Sick Pay,

Just to comment this varies A LOT from one company to another and one industry to another! Its certainly true that some people have very generous sick leave provisions (this tends to be true for people in public sector jobs, in particular ) In private companies there is a huge range - As an example, a company we have been dealing with recently has long standing employees on contracts entitling them to 6 weeks paid sick pay per year; newer employees get 1 week paid sick leave. In a lot of jobs you get x weeks at full pay and then the same number at half pay.

My sister (who is a teacher) has much higher entitlement to sick pay than I had when I was an employee. There is no requirement to give paid sick leave.

In our firm,our employees get 25 days annual leave plus bank holidays (there are 8 bank holidays a year, so this means they get 33 days leave per year. This year we are closing from Monday until 2nd Jan, - of those 7 (week) days, 2 (Christmas Day and New Year's Day) are Bank Holidays, for the other 5, everyone was required to use 3 days of their holiday entitlement and we have given them the extra 2 days, so they will have a total of 35 paid days leave in total.

The right to paid time off continues to build up during any time someone is off sick or on maternity or paternity leave.

I was horrified when I first spoke to American friends about their jobs and learned how few rights employees in there US seem to have, compared to here

Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: perpetua on December 21, 2013, 11:33:38 AM
Here, you often have to work a full year to get a week's paid vacation.

Ah yes, that's the other thing that I forgot when writing my OP - here, you generally accrue holiday from your first day of employment. There's no 'no holiday for the first six months' clause, generally.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: perpetua on December 21, 2013, 11:36:12 AM
Quote
If you're out for an extended period you'll generally be fully paid for several months before you get bumped down to Statutory Sick Pay,

Just to comment this varies A LOT from one company to another and one industry to another! Its certainly true that some people have very generous sick leave provisions (this tends to be true for people in public sector jobs, in particular ) In private companies there is a huge range - As an example, a company we have been dealing with recently has long standing employees on contracts entitling them to 6 weeks paid sick pay per year; newer employees get 1 week paid sick leave. In a lot of jobs you get x weeks at full pay and then the same number at half pay.

My sister (who is a teacher) has much higher entitlement to sick pay than I had when I was an employee. There is no requirement to give paid sick leave.

Yes, that's true. Generally a lot of professional/office type jobs or jobs with 'companies', if you know what I mean, have more generous sick policies than say, a friend of mine who was a driver and worked for a small firm of just the proprietor and two drivers; I'm not sure if he was paid at all when he was off sick.

ETA: and then of course there's contracting - if you're a contractor, you don't get any sick pay or holiday pay and if you're out for a day then you don't earn anything, but you're paid a fairly high daily rate to compensate for this. I've done a lot of time contracting and no holidays became a bit of a bear, but only because I wasn't organised or financially responsible enough to save for them :)
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Wench on December 21, 2013, 12:14:49 PM
How funny I actually was wondering about this the other day!  It looks like from wikipedia there are 11 public holidays and all of these are given as days off in America.  Apparently it also says that if a public holiday falls on a Saturday or sunday you not guaranteed a day off in the week.  Can companies insist you work public holidays and not give you a day off in lieu?
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: violinp on December 21, 2013, 12:48:54 PM
There are certainly "bank holidays." However, I've never intentionally had a holiday off. I didn't work Halloween because I wasn't on the schedule for that particular day. I worked Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and I'm only getting Christmas Eve off because that's the way my bosses worked the schedule - those who could work Christmas Eve work then and then everyone else works Christmas Day, and no one's working more than 4 - 5 hours at a time. In movie theater business, you work when they need you to work, and tough luck on everything else.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: gollymolly2 on December 21, 2013, 12:57:52 PM
I think you'll find that this varies widely among workers in the U.S. depending on who they work for.  We have labor/wage laws that set certain minimums, like that if you are an hourly employee and you work over a certain number of hours, you're entitled to overtime. And we have laws saying you have to hold a person's job for a certain amount of time for extended illnesses.

But otherwise, companies have a lot of discretion in setting paid time off, sick time, holiday, maternity/paternity leave, and other policies.  I know many people with very generous policies, giving more paid vacation days than it sounds like one might get in the UK.  But I also know many people who have employers with really stingy leave policies. And there are many people (especially in the food service/retail industry) who rarely get paid leave at all.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: CakeBeret on December 21, 2013, 01:03:01 PM
I work in the midwest US and my benefits are very generous, comparatively:
15 days off your first year; they start accruing from day 1
20 days your second year
1 extra day per year after that
(these are combined sick/holiday days)
And, annually, 9 traditional holidays plus 2 "floating holidays" that are basically bonus days off that you can take on any day of your choosing
They also allow us to combine 4 hours of flex time with a half-day of PTO for a full day's absence. So you can work 4 extra hours on other days during that week, plus half a PTO day, to get a full day off work.

The company I temped at was pretty bad - you get no sick leave, ever - either come to work sick or miss out on a day's pay; and you had to work a full year before getting a single week's vacation.

Most companies I looked at are somewhere in between. You usually start accruing time off after 90 days, and the average was 10 days off your first year and then 1 extra day each year after that.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: jedikaiti on December 21, 2013, 01:16:35 PM
How funny I actually was wondering about this the other day!  It looks like from wikipedia there are 11 public holidays and all of these are given as days off in America.  Apparently it also says that if a public holiday falls on a Saturday or sunday you not guaranteed a day off in the week.  Can companies insist you work public holidays and not give you a day off in lieu?

Those are by convention, not requirement. Offices, schools and financial institutions tend to get most or all of them off, but stores and restaurants are commonly still open, although perhaps shorter hours. Being open on Thanksgiving or Christmas is a bit more controversial, and I just found out that my usual preferred grocery store chain is closing ALL stores for Christmas Day this year, rather than their previous custom of having a few scattered stores open during limited hours.

When someone works on one of the major holidays, they're typically paid at a "holiday" rate, usually 1.5 times their normal hourly rate. If they're salaried, they might get another day off instead.

If you work someplace that's typically not open on a weekend, and a major holiday falls on that weekend, there is no requirement that I know of for the employer give a weekday off as well, although some companies may do so as a matter of policy. For example, I always get Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as paid holidays; if they fall on a Saturday and Sunday, then my employer gives us the preceding Friday and following Monday off as well. I believe we get a similar compensation day for Independence Day as well, but would have to check to be sure. In my case, since I am employed by the state, it may be a matter of state law, but if it is I suspect that law only applies to state employees, and other employers may or may not do so as a matter of company policy, but not as a matter of law.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 21, 2013, 01:59:05 PM
How funny I actually was wondering about this the other day!  It looks like from wikipedia there are 11 public holidays and all of these are given as days off in America.  Apparently it also says that if a public holiday falls on a Saturday or sunday you not guaranteed a day off in the week.  Can companies insist you work public holidays and not give you a day off in lieu?
In Australia, this is something set out by the government, not your employer. Some industries you do get the holidays off, others you get paid more for working on holidays (and there's a surcharge added in some restaurants for these days). Two holidays that almost everyone has off are Good Friday and Christmas Day, this means at Easter you get a four day weekend with the Sunday a holiday too.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: menley on December 21, 2013, 02:22:53 PM
In the US, I had two jobs that had vacation, sick and holiday time completely differently.

Job 1: 25 paid days that began to accrue from the day you began work; these days were for vacation or for sick time. If you were sick for 25 days, you didn't get any additional time unless you were able to apply for a long-term leave of absence (generally: chemotherapy, chronic or terminal illness). We got about 8 US paid holidays, but most of them we were required to work anyway.

Job 2: Unlimited sick time (although if you got out of hand, your supervisors would monitor). Everyone automatically got 10 vacation days per year, which do not roll forward; for every 5 years of experience after that, you would get an additional 5 days. So, when I had 6 years of work experience I got 15 vacation days. This company also gave us 10 paid holidays and would randomly e-mail us that we wouldn't have to come in on certain days.

In summary: in the US, with the exception of FMLA and disability leave which is federally regulated, personal time, sick time, and holidays are completely discretionary and vary by company.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Bluenomi on December 21, 2013, 02:29:17 PM
How funny I actually was wondering about this the other day!  It looks like from wikipedia there are 11 public holidays and all of these are given as days off in America.  Apparently it also says that if a public holiday falls on a Saturday or sunday you not guaranteed a day off in the week.  Can companies insist you work public holidays and not give you a day off in lieu?
In Australia, this is something set out by the government, not your employer. Some industries you do get the holidays off, others you get paid more for working on holidays (and there's a surcharge added in some restaurants for these days). Two holidays that almost everyone has off are Good Friday and Christmas Day, this means at Easter you get a four day weekend with the Sunday a holiday too.

And it varies from state to state. Here in the ACT we have the most, NSW has the least. Generally you get them off but in retail, hospitality and the like you get overtime rates or tine in lieu if you work depending on your award/contract.

I work for the public service and get 20 days annual leave a year and 20 days personal. Personal covers sick leave, carers leave etc and while it carries over from year to year if I leave my job I loose it. I've currently got over 1000 hours built up, handy if I or the kids get very sick! We can use it in one hours blocks which is good for appointments.

Annual leaved gets paid out if I quit and also rolls over. If you have more than 250 hours they either make you take leave or cash it in so they don't have it hanging over their heads as a cost if you leave.   

Long service leave you get after working 10 years and is 3 months you have to take in 7 day blocks.

LSL and annual leave can also be taken at half pay to spread it out further.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 21, 2013, 02:36:05 PM
DH's company has a mandatory shutdown period at Christmas New Year when everyone has to take annual leave. But because one of his colleagues is going away for an extended period, DH is working from home Christmas and New Year. Which means he can accrue annual leave for when the baby comes next year in addition to his parental leave.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: perpetua on December 21, 2013, 02:39:20 PM
Personal covers sick leave, carers leave etc and while it carries over from year to year if I leave my job I loose it. I've currently got over 1000 hours built up, handy if I or the kids get very sick! We can use it in one hours blocks which is good for appointments.

I was going to ask about that. Here you generally don't have to take leave to go to dr's appts and the like but again I suppose this depends on your employer. Everywhere I've ever worked you just book an early morning or late afternoon appointment and come in a bit late or leave a bit early. The most I've ever had to do is work through my lunch to make up the time, and that was very rarely.

During my last job I had to have several hospital appointments and I was allowed to take the morning/afternoon for them without it coming off my holiday entitlement.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: TinyVulgarUnicorn on December 21, 2013, 02:55:19 PM
I think one of the biggest things is that America is one of the few countries that doesn't have mandatory paid maternity/paternity/adoption leave laws.  They basically allow businesses and companies to write their own policies in regards to paid maternity/paternity leave.  For most of the companies I've worked for they make you take it out of your vacation and sick time allotment and anything after that you're SOL. 

Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 21, 2013, 03:17:10 PM
Parental leave here does cover adoptions as well as newborn babies. I think there's a government scheme if employers don't have it, but DH's work does.

A lot of these entitlements go way back in our history. Australia has had a long history of unions and they hold considerable powers of negotiation in workplaces. There's none of the links with organised crime (as far as I know) like in the US and banning union membership as happens over there would never happen here. Priority for workers rights has a long, complicated history.

I don't want to go into politics, just wanted to explain a bit of background. I've studied Australian and American history, and the American history lecturer couldn't quite explain why the US didn't have a labour movement like other vortices. It's like the exception.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: perpetua on December 21, 2013, 05:55:36 PM
There are certainly "bank holidays." However, I've never intentionally had a holiday off. I didn't work Halloween because I wasn't on the schedule for that particular day. I worked Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and I'm only getting Christmas Eve off because that's the way my bosses worked the schedule - those who could work Christmas Eve work then and then everyone else works Christmas Day, and no one's working more than 4 - 5 hours at a time. In movie theater business, you work when they need you to work, and tough luck on everything else.

Bank holidays: We get Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, (lots of people take the whole week in between Christmas and New Year and use a few days of their entitlement to do so). We also get Good Friday & Easter Monday which makes a nice 4-day weekend. Then there are the 'bank holiday Mondays', which are 2 days in May (one at the start and one at the end) and Summer Bank Holiday at the end of August. These days are usually given over and above your annual holiday entitlement.

If you work in retail or something similar and have to work a bank holiday there's usually a premium for doing so (perhaps time and a half? Been a long time since I worked in retail so it may have changed).

We don't have anything like Labour Day or Memorial Day/Veterans Day (we do Remembrance Sunday, but because it's a Sunday it isn't a public holiday) but we did get an extra bank holiday when Wills & Kate tied the knot :)

On the subject of maternity leave: We get 26 weeks 'ordinary maternity leave' and that can be extended a further 26 'additional maternity leave'. As far as I know, your employer must keep your job open during that time and you can still decide not to go back to work at the end of it and leave. I think (but don't quote me on that). When you're on maternity leave you get Statutory Maternity Pay for 39 weeks, which is 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks then 136.78 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Psychopoesie on December 21, 2013, 06:10:14 PM
Personal covers sick leave, carers leave etc and while it carries over from year to year if I leave my job I loose it. I've currently got over 1000 hours built up, handy if I or the kids get very sick! We can use it in one hours blocks which is good for appointments.

I was going to ask about that. Here you generally don't have to take leave to go to dr's appts and the like but again I suppose this depends on your employer. Everywhere I've ever worked you just book an early morning or late afternoon appointment and come in a bit late or leave a bit early. The most I've ever had to do is work through my lunch to make up the time, and that was very rarely.

During my last job I had to have several hospital appointments and I was allowed to take the morning/afternoon for them without it coming off my holiday entitlement.

In Oz, the medical appointments would be coming out of your person leave (sick leave), not recreation leave (unless you used up all your other entitlements). When I worked for the government, we also had flextime provisions so I could use that to make up the time I spent at a medical appointment. Most bosses would have been happy to approve an afternoon off or whatever via flex. However, if I used personal (sick) leave to go, I wouldn't have to ask permission, just tell them I was going and when.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: camlan on December 21, 2013, 07:07:37 PM
In the US there are no Federal laws concerning how many hours a week you can work, days off with pay, days off without pay, holidays. So the individual states have made their own laws, and there is a great deal of variety. There are Federal regulations regarding minimum wage, and what positions can be salaried or hourly, and how employers must compensate their employees.

Federal government employees get the following holidays, and many employers use this list as a guide.

New Year's Day
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Washington's Birthday or Presidents Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Columbus Day
Veterans Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas

Schools usually get all these holidays off, if they occur during the school year. But not private employers give all these days off. The ones most people get are New Year's, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. MKL Day, Presidents Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day vary from employer to employer. I've had them all off, and I've had to work on them with no extra compensation--it's completely at the whim of your workplace.

Since 1993, we've had the Family Medical Leave Act. This is the first legislation that protects a person's job if they are out for several weeks due to medical reasons, including pregnancy. FMLA is only required if your company has 50 or more employees. It allows for up to 12 weeks unpaid medical leave. After that, your employer can fire you or decide to allow you more unpaid leave. The Act only requires that the employer take you back at an equivalent position--they don't have to hold your specific job for you, although I think most do.

You can also use those 12 weeks of leave to care for certain family members if they are ill--your spouse, your child, your parents.

Sick leave and vacation varies. One place I worked gave us three sick days per year, and you started at one week of vacation and earned an additional day every year you worked there, up to a max of 10 vacation days a year, if you worked there for 6 years. Another place gave us 22 days of sick leave a year and two weeks vacation the first two years and three weeks every year after that, plus 3.5 "personal" days that we could use anytime we wanted. My department had to work most weekday holidays, so we were given a "floating" holiday that we could use anytime after that holiday occurred.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 21, 2013, 07:36:54 PM
One thing that was brought up was indiscriminate firing. That doesn't happen here if you work full time, though it is easier to get rid of someone during the three month probation period.

If you work casual, then they can just not give you hours.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: kherbert05 on December 21, 2013, 07:59:20 PM
Texas Teacher here
If you teach in public school the state requires that you receive 5 days per year of personal leave. There is no limit on accumulation and they are transferable between districts. Basically this is part of your base pay that the state pays the district.


Districts can offer pay above the base pay and most do. They can also have local leave days - most do. Some districts require that you use your state days before local days. Mine doesn't I'll have 60 state days at the end of this year and mid 40's in local days.


This is the part that confuses me. We were told point blank last year we are Exempt employees under federal law and that if he wanted to make us stay till midnight for meetings he could and we wouldn't be due one red cent overtime. (He being our then principal who was having a temper tantrum). I did some checking and everything says he was basically right. (Except for the fact they turn off the AC at 6 pm and there was a possibility of putting forth the argument that that made the building unsafe to work in.)


But I in my searches I turned up several sources that said that while the above was true there was an additional rule that said exempt employees could not be docked pay if they worked either part of the day or part of the week. If the part of the week part is true - then my district is up to something hinky. A couple of staff members ran out of days. (I admit I have no sympathy for one because she took off for fun stuff, then got sick. The other has a chronically ill child.) They both had their pay docked even though they worked part of the week.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: CakeBeret on December 21, 2013, 08:01:37 PM
On the subject of maternity leave: We get 26 weeks 'ordinary maternity leave' and that can be extended a further 26 'additional maternity leave'. As far as I know, your employer must keep your job open during that time and you can still decide not to go back to work at the end of it and leave. I think (but don't quote me on that). When you're on maternity leave you get Statutory Maternity Pay for 39 weeks, which is 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks then 136.78 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

Every time I hear about other countries' maternity leave policies I feel almost sick. When I had my DS I only had one week of paid leave, and I was back to work when he was three weeks old because we just didn't make enough for me to be out of work longer.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: perpetua on December 21, 2013, 08:07:41 PM
One thing that was brought up was indiscriminate firing. That doesn't happen here if you work full time, though it is easier to get rid of someone during the three month probation period.

If you work casual, then they can just not give you hours.

Ah yes, that's what we had so much difficulty with in the chef discussion.

We don't have 'at will' employment here either, as far as I'm aware. There are very strict processes an employer has to go through to fire someone and they can't just fire you because they don't like the cut of your jib or for spurious reasons. Failure to adhere to these processes can land the employer with an unfair dismissal case at an employment tribunal if the employee has been there for over a year (or less in the case of some kinds of dismissals). It may be somewhat easier to get rid of someone during a probationary period, but it's usually written into your contract that during probation only one weeks' notice is required on either side, if the employer deems it to be not working out.

Notice periods are another thing, and they generally tend to go by how often you get paid, so if you're paid monthly you have to give a month's notice and vice versa if the employer wants to let you go. It'll be in your contract how much you have to give (or how much you're owed).
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Sharnita on December 21, 2013, 08:16:18 PM
As far as schools getting all of those days off, that is not the case in my experience.  I've taught on Columbus Day and President's Day pretty regularly.  Sometimes schools will be "off" on those days for kids but teachers have a work day.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Library Dragon on December 21, 2013, 08:55:27 PM
Vacation does vary greatly.  DH's experience has varied from separate vacation and sick time at one hospital to everything being considered paid time off at another.

At my library non library degreed employees start with:

10 days paid vacation (available after the first 90 days) working up to 15
3 personal days per year
12 days paid sick days
Paid holidays that include
New Year's Day
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Veterans Day
Thanksgiving Day
Friday after Thanksgiving
Christmas Eve
Christmas

Librarians start with 15 days and work up to 20

We can roll over 3 weeks of vacation and unlimited sick days.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Syrse on December 21, 2013, 09:00:06 PM
I'll throw in the Belgian system for comparison  :)

- 20 days paid leave, not counting the official holidays (12). If you have to work a holiday, you get an extra day off to replace it.
- If you're sick, you call in sick, but you go to the doctor to provide a legal document stating that you are indeed incapable of work. Sick days are payed as well.
- Maternity leave: 15 weeks. (16 for twins :p)
- The right to breastfeed: employers have to provide a room, a fridge and the time for you to pump.
- Father's leave, 10 days. Starts the day your child is born. The company pays two days, healthcare the remaining 8.
- Parental leave: four months per child per parent, to be used before they turn 12. You can take it all at once, or in parts, or go down to part-time while keeping your original contract.
- I forgot what it's called, but... there's all these days you can get for emergencies as well. Like, for funerals, weddings, child being in the hospital, etc. I remember getting married gets you three days off. funerals generally one or two, depending.

If you're out sick for a prolonged time, or for maternity leave, they have to keep your contract open until you return.

Over here, working without a contract is illegal. I find the 'at will' system very strange and alarming, and would never want to work under it. If you quit, you have to give the company notice. If you get fired, you get notice as well, and they have to have documented reason. Of course there are exceptions that will make your dismissal immediate, like stealing, or violence.

And of course there's minimum wage, and your hours are stipulated in your contract.

Of course, the companies still have leeway to write up their own rules. At my work for instance, you can't take off the week between christmas and new years eve (because, well, we're a foodstore), and there's rules about who gets dibs on the school holidays (hint, it's people with kids in school :p).
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Bluenomi on December 21, 2013, 09:39:06 PM
On the subject of maternity leave: We get 26 weeks 'ordinary maternity leave' and that can be extended a further 26 'additional maternity leave'. As far as I know, your employer must keep your job open during that time and you can still decide not to go back to work at the end of it and leave. I think (but don't quote me on that). When you're on maternity leave you get Statutory Maternity Pay for 39 weeks, which is 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks then 136.78 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

Every time I hear about other countries' maternity leave policies I feel almost sick. When I had my DS I only had one week of paid leave, and I was back to work when he was three weeks old because we just didn't make enough for me to be out of work longer.

That's horrible! I'd be upset as well. I get 14 weeks at full pay from work (which I'm taking at half pay for 28 weeks) plus 18 at minimum wage from the federal government. Add some long service leave and annual leave and I've got almost 15 months off at pretty much half pay the whole time.

DH gets 4 weeks parental leave from his work but because I had a c section he took 6 weeks carers leave and will use his parental leave a bit later.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 21, 2013, 09:48:39 PM
Maternity/parental leave here is excellent, almost good enough to make me want to have kids.   ;)

The mother can take a total of 52 weeks off and still come back to her job.  The first 18 weeks is at one rate, the next 17 at another and the final 17 I think may be at a lower rate again.  Fathers can take some of the time off, too, but the amount of time they take off reduces the amount of time the mother takes off.  We had one guy in our office who's wife was self employed and didn't have maternity benefits so he ended up taking 34 or 35 weeks off himself and since my job tops up what you get from employment insurance, he got something like 80% of his salary while being off for that time.  Some of the other guys in my office have taken some of the parental leave, too, usually just the last 17 weeks.

For government and bank employees, there are 12 statutory holidays a year:  New Year's Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday, Labour Day, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.  Easter Monday, Civic Holiday and Remembrance Day aren't official stats so some companies don't give those.  My former place of work made Easter Monday and Remembrance Day 'floating' holidays so you could take those on whatever day you wanted.  The idea was to allow non-Christians to use 'stat' holidays to take their high holy days off.  But it meant that someone had to work and if everyone wanted Easter Monday off, you had to figure out who was working and usually the most junior member got the short end of the stick.

Vacation and sick time are separate.  At my previous work, I would get 4 sick periods.  If I was out for more than 2 days at a time, my supervisor could ask for a doctor's note.  If I was out a 5th time, the first 2 days would be unpaid, unless I was hospitalized.  Where I am now, I get 6 sick days at full pay and 124 days at 2/3 pay.  You will be called in for an interview with your supervisor if you are off for more than 8 or 9 days in a year.  Our sick days are not carried over year to year. 

Both places I worked very generously started with 15 days vacation/yr but you'd have to work for 8 or 9 years before you got more and then another 6 or 7 years before you got more again.  The most days you will ever get is 30.  Vacation days are sometimes 'carryable'.  Where I used to be, I could only carry forward 5 days, unless there was a valid reason to carry more, in writing, that your supervisor could approve or not.  You would get paid out if you couldn't carry them forward.  Where I am now, you are allowed to carry your entire yearly allotment forward.  So if I carried all 15 days to next year, I'd have a total of 30 days.  But I'd have to use 15 days before the end of the year and only carry forward 15 days.  As your vacation allotment goes up, so does your carryover capability.  But if you don't use them?  You lose them; there is no payout, AFAIK.

We get some bereavement leave for funerals of close family - 2 or 3 days but only one day for an Aunt or Uncle!  We also have 3 days of compassionate leave, that are granted at the supervisor's discretion.

ETA:  We can also get 'Family Leave' up to 18 weeks for things like caring for a dying parent or something.  It is unpaid but your (a?) job has to be waiting for you when you go back.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Wordgeek on December 22, 2013, 11:02:16 AM
In this folder, the mods often get reports of concerns regarding political content.  From the forum rules:
Quote
Discussions on politics and religion are not typically germane to this forum. The caveat to this rule is when discussions of politics or religious beliefs or practices can illuminate other people's understanding of different religions and cultures so that tolerance is promoted.

So that's your guiding light.  See the full post on forum rules here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=2.0

Edited for HTML issues.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: lady_disdain on December 22, 2013, 11:22:18 AM
I am always amazed at how little protection the American worker has.

Here, some of the workers' protection is good (and makes sense) and some of it is, in my opinion, rather over the top and over protective.

The good: 30 running days of vacation/year after the first year (most employers allow people to schedule 20 working days at the employee's discretion), you get the sick days you need according to a doctor (the first 30 are covered by the employer, the rest by Social Security), if you are "unjustly" fired (there are reasons to justly fire an employee: attendance, insubordination, dereliction of duty, etc), your employee pays a fine based on your salary and time of service, 6 months maternity leave including for adoption, transport subsidy for low pay workers, etc.

The bad: justifying firing someone can be hard (even if the employee hasn't been meeting goals, low productivity, etc), 1/12 of your salary is deposited in a government account for emergencies (you can access the money if you are fired, get seriously ill, buy a house but you guys have no idea how much this irks me! I can handle my own money, thank you very much), flex time is not really common (lots of liabilities).
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: perpetua on December 23, 2013, 03:29:31 AM
In this folder, the mods often get reports of concerns regarding political content.  From the forum rules:
Quote
Discussions on politics and religion are not typically germane to this forum. The caveat to this rule is when discussions of politics or religious beliefs or practices can illuminate other people's understanding of different religions and cultures so that tolerance is promoted.

So that's your guiding light.  See the full post on forum rules here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=2.0

Edited for HTML issues.

This actually wasn't meant to be a political thread in any way, Wordgeek, so I hope people don't take it as such. I started this thread so we could have a better idea of our respective backgrounds and working cultures when discussing things that arise at work, so I think that fits nicely with the caveat quoted above. A situation arose on a thread recently where some non-UK posters seemed to be having real trouble understanding that expectations were different here, and were only using their own country's work-related rules and experiences to judge the subject of the post as rude or not. So I thought it would be helpful for future discussions. I hope people take it in that spirit :)
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: perpetua on December 23, 2013, 03:40:28 AM
I am always amazed at how little protection the American worker has.

So am I. It shocks me, honestly.

I've always got the impression, from what little I know about US culture (and I'm learning a lot more being here on the forum) that 'hard work' is a very prized notion in America, something to aspire to (as it should be, of course). As such, given that it *is* seen as such a thing to aspire to, I'm always surprised that perhaps it isn't rewarded a little better with nicer working conditions/reasonable amounts of time off/not having the threat of being fired at the drop of a hat.


Quote
1/12 of your salary is deposited in a government account for emergencies (you can access the money if you are fired, get seriously ill, buy a house but you guys have no idea how much this irks me! I can handle my own money, thank you very much),

Where are you based, lady_disdain? That sounds like an interesting scheme, although I can see why it would bug you.

Here we pay something called National Insurance, on top of our income tax, and it's deducted before you receive your pay. It's about 10%, I think (although it's one of those things like the price of a pint of milk: I never know exactly how much it costs because you have to buy it anyway, if you know what I mean). That goes towards things like healthcare and state benefits. If you find yourself out of work and need to claim unemployment benefit, you've already 'paid into the pot', and are entitled to it (and if you haven't, you get 'income related' benefits instead of 'contribution related' ones - I'm not sure exactly what the difference is though).

That's another thing. Employers don't pay 'unemployment'. It comes from a central pot.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Margo on December 23, 2013, 06:57:18 AM
As Perpetua said, we don't have 'at will' contracts here (UK)  - you do have less protection from some types of dismissal etc in the early stages of your employment.

So, for the first 2  years (used to be one) you are protected against being dismissed (or suffering constructive dismissal) on the basis of racial, gender or age discrimination, but you can be dismissed for other reasons.

Once you've been employed for 2 years or more there are very strict rules about sacking people, and failing to follow them can result in a tribunal case which can award compensation or order someone to be reinstated.

Where there are lay offs because the job is no longer available (redundancy) there are again strict requirements to have a fair  selection criteria and to give workers the chance to be heard on the issue. If you are selected for redundancy you are entitled to a redundancy payment which is based on your earnings and length of service, although there are caps.

Because of the cost and complexity of sacking someone without risking being taken to a tribunal, its not uncommon to agree a compromise arrangement whereby someone will agree to leave voluntarily rather than going through disciplinary proceedures and being sacked, in return for a lump sum payment (it benefits the employee as they also are able to say they resigned from their last job, rather than having to say they were dismissed. For instance, we had an instance last year with an employee who had been performing really, really badly - it wasn't bad enough to qualify as gross misconduct or to allow us to dismiss him immediately, we had to go through the disciplinary procedure, giving him formal targets for improvement,  support and monitoring etc,. We came to an agreement that we paid him the equivalent of 2 months wages and he left. From a business point of view this was better than leaving him in place while we went through all the procedures to get rid, not least because we could not have started recruitinmg to replace him until he was gone (as doing so while the disciplinary process was going on would have risked us being accused of not conducting the process fairly, as it assumes he'll fail.


In relation to carers / parents, there are provisions that say (from memory) that parents/carers are entitled to unpaid time off to deal with family emergencies, but it'[s not absolute - I think the requirement is that employers facilitate this where reasonably practical.

Most employers will have either formal or informal provisions for compassionate leave but there is no statutory requirement (e.g one of our employees lost their spouse unexpectedly - they were given 2 weeks paid compassionate leave)

Maternity leave here applies on adoption as well as following the birth of a child. The employer must keep the job available for the parent during their maternity/adoption leave (although they can still be made redundant, provided that the selection criteria for redundancy are fair)

Employees are entitled to ask for flexible work arrangemetns (for instance, coming back part time after maternity leave) and employers are required to consider the request and to try to accommodate it where practical. The bigger the company is, the more likely it is that it would be unreasonable to turn down a request for flexible / part time work.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Yvaine on December 23, 2013, 07:39:02 AM
I am always amazed at how little protection the American worker has.

So am I. It shocks me, honestly.

I've always got the impression, from what little I know about US culture (and I'm learning a lot more being here on the forum) that 'hard work' is a very prized notion in America, something to aspire to (as it should be, of course). As such, given that it *is* seen as such a thing to aspire to, I'm always surprised that perhaps it isn't rewarded a little better with nicer working conditions/reasonable amounts of time off/not having the threat of being fired at the drop of a hat.

I think for a lot of people in the US, there's sort of a subconscious thing that hard work is so awesome that people should be willing to do it for nothing. I don't mean this as a political statement but as a subconscious mindset that I think a lot of people have, all over the political spectrum, without really examining it. I've heard of cases where a company was going under, the paychecks started bouncing, and the employer was shocked that people stopped coming to work when they weren't getting paid anymore! Ask a Manager emphasizes all the time that "I work, you pay" is the actual deal and nobody should let themselves get guilted into working for free.

Likewise, I think some in the US think it's lazy and indulgent to have too much vacation. Again, because work is just so awesome that we should want to do it constantly.   ;)
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: camlan on December 23, 2013, 09:52:48 AM
I'm treading a fine line here with the legal stuff, so this is intentionally vague.

There are some federal and state protections for workers. There are "protected" classes of employees. This means that you cannot fire someone for race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age (40 and over), sexual orientation, being disabled, veteran status, gender. There are federal and state categories and individual employers can have their own polices--they can add categories but they can't remove them.

Most large companies have policies/regulations about firing employees, in order to avoid wrongful dismissal law suits. A typical policy designed for an employee who's work is not up to standard might be an oral warning, a written warning, a one or two month probation period during which certain goals must be met, and finally, firing.

It's expensive to find, hire and train a new employee, so most employers do try to work with people before firing them.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: lady_disdain on December 23, 2013, 10:17:46 AM
Quote
1/12 of your salary is deposited in a government account for emergencies (you can access the money if you are fired, get seriously ill, buy a house but you guys have no idea how much this irks me! I can handle my own money, thank you very much),

Where are you based, lady_disdain? That sounds like an interesting scheme, although I can see why it would bug you.

Here we pay something called National Insurance, on top of our income tax, and it's deducted before you receive your pay. It's about 10%, I think (although it's one of those things like the price of a pint of milk: I never know exactly how much it costs because you have to buy it anyway, if you know what I mean). That goes towards things like healthcare and state benefits. If you find yourself out of work and need to claim unemployment benefit, you've already 'paid into the pot', and are entitled to it (and if you haven't, you get 'income related' benefits instead of 'contribution related' ones - I'm not sure exactly what the difference is though).

That's another thing. Employers don't pay 'unemployment'. It comes from a central pot.

I am in Brazil. If I got fired, I would get 6 months unemployment (quite a low ammount, actually) from Social Security plus I would be able to withdraw that money (FGTS: Time Served Guarantee Fund).
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 23, 2013, 01:34:59 PM
I am always amazed at how little protection the American worker has.

So am I. It shocks me, honestly.

I've always got the impression, from what little I know about US culture (and I'm learning a lot more being here on the forum) that 'hard work' is a very prized notion in America, something to aspire to (as it should be, of course). As such, given that it *is* seen as such a thing to aspire to, I'm always surprised that perhaps it isn't rewarded a little better with nicer working conditions/reasonable amounts of time off/not having the threat of being fired at the drop of a hat.

I think for a lot of people in the US, there's sort of a subconscious thing that hard work is so awesome that people should be willing to do it for nothing. I don't mean this as a political statement but as a subconscious mindset that I think a lot of people have, all over the political spectrum, without really examining it. I've heard of cases where a company was going under, the paychecks started bouncing, and the employer was shocked that people stopped coming to work when they weren't getting paid anymore! Ask a Manager emphasizes all the time that "I work, you pay" is the actual deal and nobody should let themselves get guilted into working for free.

Likewise, I think some in the US think it's lazy and indulgent to have too much vacation. Again, because work is just so awesome that we should want to do it constantly.   ;)
DH was telling me about this construction company that was going bad and expected it's workers to work over Christmas without pay. They downed tools.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: magicdomino on December 23, 2013, 04:21:22 PM
U.S. Federal Government workers start with 4 hours Annual (Vacation/Personal) time and 4 hours sick leave every two weeks, for a total of 13 days of each per year.  Between 5 years service and 15 years service, you earn 6 hours of Annual leave per pay period; after 15 years, you earn 8 hours (26 days per year).  You can keep a maximum of 240 hours of annual leave.  Any annual leave over that will be lost on the first pay period of January.  For instance, right at the moment, I have 16 hours of "use or lose" that needs to be used before January 11th. 

We also get all federal holidays.  If a holiday happens to fall on a weekend, we get either Friday or Monday off, whichever is closer.

By contrast, when I worked for a small defense subcontractor, we earned 40 hours (5 days) each of vacation and sick leave.  We couldn't carry leave over to the next calendar year, but we did get paid for any unused leave. After two years, the vacation was increased to 8 days; at either 3 or 4 years, you got the maximum of 10 days worth.  Sick leave remained the same -- which is why I took leave without pay for doctor appointments. 

We got most of the federal holidays.  We were given a choice between Columbus and Veterans days, and usually voted for Columbus Day, since it was in October, and November already had Thanksgiving.  By the way, neither place gave the day after Thanksgiving off, although many private companies do.  On the other hand, the president usually grants us Feds Christmas Eve off if Christmas falls on a Tuesday.  Not like there's going to be a whole lot of work getting done anyway.    ;)
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 23, 2013, 05:03:24 PM
As others have said, the difference vary enormously be company and type of work in the US.

When I had my 2 kids (early 90s), my company (Fortune 100 Oil company) provided me full pay for 8 weeks (it was called short term dissability) and I could take another 8 weeks at half pay if I chose to or use vacation days to extend my time off. I could also take a leave of absence at no pay for up to 6 months. For my second child I requested and they allowed me to extend my full pay to 16 weeks but I worked from home half time from week 2 on and they paid me full pay for the entire 16 weeks.

I've never worked a fulltime job where I didn't receive at a minimum of 2 weeks off for vacation, 5 sick/personal days and 8 holidays. I currently accrue what is referred to as Time Off With Pay. I accrue hours of time I can use as I want (personal, holidays, vacations) and the accrural rate increases as your years of service increases. I currently accrue about 500 hours a year or 12.5 weeks of vacation. I can rollover and keep in my time off bank a maximum of 2000 hours, so about a years worth of hours.

If I were laid off fired for anything other than for "cause" (stealing, law violation, mismanagement of my position) then I could apply for unemployment benefits through the State. But the maximum rate is only around $450 per week.

And after 20 plus years in corporate America, I can tell you it is very hard to fire someone. Being layed off because of downsizing or economy is much more common.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: nuit93 on December 24, 2013, 01:00:44 PM
I'm treading a fine line here with the legal stuff, so this is intentionally vague.



Most large companies have policies/regulations about firing employees, in order to avoid wrongful dismissal law suits. A typical policy designed for an employee who's work is not up to standard might be an oral warning, a written warning, a one or two month probation period during which certain goals must be met, and finally, firing. There are some federal and state protections for workers. There are "protected" classes of employees. This means that you cannot fire someone for race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age (40 and over), sexual orientation, being disabled, veteran status, gender. There are federal and state categories and individual employers can have their own polices--they can add categories but they can't remove them.

It's expensive to find, hire and train a new employee, so most employers do try to work with people before firing them.

In many U.S. states it is still legal to fire someone for being LGBT.  I don't think that's the case in a lot of other countries?
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: cwm on December 24, 2013, 01:35:07 PM
Growing up, dad was an auto worker. They had great benefits from the union, he could call in sick at a moment's notice if he needed to (meaning he was always the parent to stay home with the sick kids). I'm not sure about all the logistics behind it, but I know he got a decent amount of vacation pay.

He was also laid off every year when the plant re-tooled. They had to rebuild the machines that built the cars to make the new model year, and it took about a month. Dad was off work. Healthcare benefits kept up, somehow, but he had to call every week to get unemployment until the plant started up again. That was near the end of summer, and it was always stressful having dad home all day. It changed the routine for us kids, we weren't used to it because we'd had all summer to ourselves and then the week before we were back in school, BAM, dad was there all the time. It wasn't so bad the years they'd saved enough money to take us all on vacation, and mom always had enough days to come with us most of the time, but when we were at home it wasn't fun.

At my job, I work for a company that works for financial institutions. Last year we got all the standard bank holidays off work, but this year the only ones we're actually getting paid for is New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The others are floating holidays. If you worked one of the other bank holidays, you'd get 8 hours PTO for something else, or you could take off that holiday. We also accrue 4.92 hours per pay period (every two weeks), starting from day 1. If there's a big event coming up and you'll be gone for a week and you only have 4 days, usually the managers will OK it because you're going to earn that last day within a month.

After 5 years here, you earn more hours off per pay period, but I'm not sure how much. And you use your PTO for everything. My first manager gave everyone her cell phone number and told us we were free to text her if we weren't going to be in, there was no need to call. And we didn't need to give any reason, just "Not going to be in today." That was it. Nobody asks questions. If I want to take a day to go shopping for someone, or just have a nice day in the park, I can do that.

If at the end of the year you have more than 80 PTO hours still accrued, anything over 80 will either be put in an Extended Disability Leave bank (EDL) for if you get really sick and need more time saved up (usually for cancer or taking care of someone with a terminal illness) or you can get a buyback of it. 80 hours will carry over to the next year, so you can possibly start day 1 of the new year with 80 hours leave.

Our company recommends that we take off at least one continuous week, but they don't require it. The only stipulation they have over the holidays is that you have a "buddy" who can cover for you while you're gone. With me and the other sales assistant, it's fairly easy. I took Christmas last year, she had just been hired on, so this year she's taking this week to go back home (few hours' drive away) and I'm taking New Year's off. With some of the other people, it's a bit more of a problem because everyone wants off, but it's a matter of who asks first.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: perpetua on December 25, 2013, 01:47:06 AM
In many U.S. states it is still legal to fire someone for being LGBT

(http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-basic/jawdrop.gif)

Quote
I don't think that's the case in a lot of other countries?

Certainly not here, no.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: iridaceae on December 25, 2013, 05:18:39 AM
In theory at will States can fire whenever however (there are some exceptions). Unless you get an EvilBoss from Ehell though the reality most places just don't do that. Why? Well for one thing finding hiring and replacing is expensive. Another is most bosses aren't EvilBosses.

Here in the US overtime is mandatory after 40 hours in one week for hourly employees . The company has to pay a minimum of time and a half but is free to pay more if they want (and sometimes some do).
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Snooks on December 25, 2013, 04:49:10 PM
A couple of things to add from a UK perspective:

Leave - you don't always need to have accrued leave to take it.  For example, I started my job in February, technically I "accrue" my leave at a rate of 0.5 days per week, I could have taken a week's leave at the beginning of April without any issue.  The only issue would have been if I'd left my final pay cheque would have had however many days pay deducted (similarly when I left my last job I had about ten days leave "owed" to me which was paid out in my final pay cheque).

School's are the exception to the rule when it comes to leave - my mum worked term time only for years which meant she couldn't take leave during term time but she got all the school holidays off.  Other posters may be able to correct me but I've got a feeling the six week summer holiday is often "unpaid" for people who work term time only.

Pay - it's unusual to work an office job and not be paid monthly.  DH used to get paid weekly but that company had only just stopped paying cash wage packets before he started (mid 2000s) and was pretty much operating somewhere in the 1970s.  I've only ever been paid by direct deposit into my bank account (including my Saturday job in a shop when I was a teenager).

Sick pay - my last job you got six months on full salary which then went down to half pay for the next six months.  It was remarkable how many people recovered right around that six month mark.  Having said that if I'd known that before I handed my notice in I would have gone to my doctor to get signed off with stress while I job hunted because that job darn near pushed me over a cliff.

Firing - you can be let go at the end of your probation but other than that, as most people have said it's really unusual to be fired.

Redundancy - under two years service and you're entitled to nothing under the regulations but often companies will offer you a better than statutory package (personal experience with that one twice over).  If you're made redundant you're entitled to job seeker's allowance (was about 70/week a few years ago not sure what it is now).

Parental leave - the UK is in the process of a new system which allows parents to divide up leave but no matter how much I read about it I do not understand it.  I know maternity at my last place allowed you to have a over year off (because your five weeks of leave plus all bank holidays were added to your maternity leave) but if you left within three months of coming back you had to pay back some of the money you received from the company (above statutory) when you left.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: HorseFreak on December 25, 2013, 05:49:09 PM
In the US it can be difficult to get the protection that employees are legally entitled to. A summer employer during grad school decided two weeks after I was hired to cut my pay by 40% and make it retroactive to my start date (time already worked) which is not legal. I called the local labor board and found they were quite disinterested in listening to me and kept repeating that my pay could be cut at any time, and I could not make them understand they were trying to backdate the cut. Short of legal action, which I had to threaten, I didn't have any other options. If I was a low wage employee with a family who desperately needed my job I might not want to risk getting fired for rocking the boat and getting a reputation for being a legal pain in the rear.

As for differences, I live in the southeast and work for a very small business. My assistants do not receive any vacation time despite working up to 50 hours a week, no health benefits and no paid sick leave. Overtime is something to be avoided. I work on a partial commission basis and have been called variants of lazy and greedy for wanting to get paid for the favors my boss asks me to do for his friends or for taking a day off every other week. I'm on call 50% of the time, work a 40-70 hour week over 4-7 days and have no predictability in my line of work. I have two weeks of vacation and no official sick time. I missed a week of work this year for a severe back injury and was paid my normal salary, but my overall paycheck was affected as I don't make commission if I'm not working. Same goes for my two weeks of vacation.

The American mindset of needing to put your nose to the grindstone is quite tiring and the people who work many of the hardest, lowest paid jobs get the least in return.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: saki on December 26, 2013, 02:22:00 AM

Parental leave - the UK is in the process of a new system which allows parents to divide up leave but no matter how much I read about it I do not understand it.  I know maternity at my last place allowed you to have a over year off (because your five weeks of leave plus all bank holidays were added to your maternity leave) but if you left within three months of coming back you had to pay back some of the money you received from the company (above statutory) when you left.

I've been looking into this.  I think (though it is complicated) that basically how it works is:

Both mothers and fathers get 2 weeks off immediately following the birth, which are non-transferable to the other - i.e if the father doesn't take it, the mother can't add this to her leave.  The mother has to take it and cannot go back to work any earlier than 2 weeks after the birth (or 4 weeks if she works in a factory) to protect her health.

Other than that, there is 12 months of leave, of which 39 weeks is paid at statutory maternity rates (unless your employer tops this up which some do).  Of this, the father can take between 2 and 26 weeks of this but only if the mother has returned to work (i.e. they cannot take time off together) from 20 weeks after the birth.

Worth noting is that both of you continue to accrue annual leave while on maternity/paternity leave.  So, where I work, most women are actually off for 13 months because they use up 4 or so weeks of annual leave at the end of their maternity leave (and then keep the remaining 2 weeks of their leave allowance for other use)
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: kherbert05 on December 26, 2013, 07:00:36 AM
A couple of things to add from a UK perspective:

Leave - you don't always need to have accrued leave to take it.  For example, I started my job in February, technically I "accrue" my leave at a rate of 0.5 days per week, I could have taken a week's leave at the beginning of April without any issue.  The only issue would have been if I'd left my final pay cheque would have had however many days pay deducted (similarly when I left my last job I had about ten days leave "owed" to me which was paid out in my final pay cheque).

School's are the exception to the rule when it comes to leave - my mum worked term time only for years which meant she couldn't take leave during term time but she got all the school holidays off.  Other posters may be able to correct me but I've got a feeling the six week summer holiday is often "unpaid" for people who work term time only.


In Texas (every state is potentially different) as a teacher I'm paid for 180 days. I have to get 8 hours off contract training a year. The Training year goes from March - Febuary, because we get 8 hours comp time* as payment for the off contract time.


In my district Exempt employees (saleried) are paid for 180 days, but our payments are spread out over 12 months (24 pay checks).


Non-exempt employees (by the hour) are paid every 2 weeks for the hours they work. If they don't work - they don't get paid that week.  All employees get year around Medical Insurance. I know a couple of women who work as aides and almost 100% of their pay goes towards the premiums to cover them and their families. Their husband's pay check pays for living expenses. Their combind take home pay and the fact many speak Spanish at home means they qualify for Preschool Class, meaning once their kids are 4 they don't need day care.


















*The comp day used to be Easter Monday. With Good Friday being a staff/student holiday but doubling as a bad weather/act of God day make up day.
They flipped it to the comp day is Good Friday and the Bad weather make up day is Easter Monday after they actually had to use the make up day a few years ago and from the hue and cry you would have thought the School Board was burning down churches and making blood sacrefices to Old Nick on the ashes. (Most of the people wailing and pounding their chest were are hypocrats who by their own admissions never attend church services and honestly would have pitched a fit no matter when the make up day was. )
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Sophia on December 26, 2013, 09:55:28 AM
I think one reason for the lack of concern with the reason for the sick day is because it is tied in with holiday/vacation time.  Every year, I get 2 weeks for vacation, 1 week of PTO/sick days, and we get off the minimal holidays.  For example, New Year's Day is a holiday, but Columbus Day isn't.  But, in truth, vacation, sick, PTO, holiday time is just put into one field.  So, any day I don't work, 8 hours is taken out of that bank, regardless of the reason (and I get paid). 

Every employer I've worked for either has you lose all unused leave at the end of the calendar year.  Or, there is a bank that just keeps accumulating.  With my last employer I got a check when I quit equal to one month's salary because I'd had that accumulated.  With my current, I have about 150 hours saved.  I've traveled extensively before, but right now I just want to be a homebody. 

Before my father retired, he had 4 weeks of vacation plus holidays plus unlimited sick days.  He really didn't know what to do with more than two weeks.  In fact, he started to work 4 day weeks in the fall just to use the extra two weeks. 

My personal belief for the difference is that in America the focus is more on the home.  Money is more likely to be spent on an upgrade for the home, than a nice vacation.  So, more than what is needed to rest every now and then isn't missed. 
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: fountainof on January 02, 2014, 05:16:09 PM
I am in Manitoba and have similar leave/vacation situations as others have mentioned.  However, I will mention that for maternity/parental leave we do not receive a top of our pay with my employer.  I would receive on Mat/parental leave the maximum from the Employment Insurance program, which now I think is $450 per week.  This amount is 55% of a set maximum of $42,000ish (sorry I didn't look up exact #s).  Anyway, the amount is much less than I make so Mat leave doesn't really pay everyone all that well.  When I had DD I came back after 8 months not really for money but because at my career taking the full 12 and missing the tax season can really affect your career.

We do also have other leave options that employment insurance will pay for including a compassionate care leave to help assist with an ill family member care (6 weeks) and sick leave to help with an illness/surgery (15 weeks).  During both leaves your position is held for you.

You have to work a certain number of hours between types of leave to qualify for the both the pay and your position being held.  Therefore, you wouldn't be able to take a year mat/parental leave and come back 9 months pregnant and take another one, be paid and keep your position I mean, no one will force you to work :).  There are formulas of hours worked, pay made, etc. that I won't get in to.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Outdoor Girl on January 02, 2014, 05:20:21 PM
One of my coworkers had to cut her maternity leave short because she got pregnant again and she needed to work for a specified number of weeks in order to be eligible for benefits again.  She just made it, with only a couple of days to spare.  Her oldest was the local New Year's Baby, I think, and her second was born in March.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: ladyknight1 on January 04, 2014, 09:31:10 PM
My prior employer was the worst. No benefits, and a reduced pay rate for the week if you had to call off for any reason.

I started at my current employer, a state university, as a temporary employee. That meant that although I worked 40 hours per week, I did not have any benefits other than a pay check. If the university closed for a holiday, I went unpaid. Now, the temporary employees have to be offered the ability to have health insurance.

I was able to get a different position 6 months after starting the first, and became a member of the protected hourly class. I worked 40 hours a week and earned 8 hours of medical leave and personal leave per month. I got one extra personal day a year and was paid for holidays. I was eligible for health insurance.

After 5 years, I went to yet another position, still hourly, but exempt from completing time sheets. I lost the personal day, but my personal leave is now earned at 13 hours per month.

Non-temporary employees: We get 7 paid holidays per year and pay when the university closes. We closed for 12 days over holiday break, and were paid for that time.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Leafy on January 05, 2014, 08:10:15 AM
I don't think anyone has mentioned the Long Service Leave that we get in Australia? I don't think anywhere else has it except perhaps New Zealand. It stems from back in ye olde colonial days when it took four (?) weeks to sail back to the mother country. So after a good length of work, workers were entitled to 3 months long service leave to enable them to sail to England to see family and then sail back to Australia.

So most companies you need to work for 10 years and then you can get your three months paid LSL. Yes, at full wage. After another number of years (7 I think) you can get your next lot of LSL. You can save them both up and take six months paid leave, or you can take it at half pay and have a year off. My work is very generous and we can take our first set of LSL after 8 years and the next after five years.

In terms of sick leave I get 12 days a year and they roll over into the next year. I think I now have about 90-100 days sick leave stocked up as I don't take much. I couldn't just suddenly take it all at once (need a doctors certificate for more than 2 days sick leave) but it's there if I needed it. That includes 'family leave', which is up to five days a year, for looking after family members or going to funerals etc.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Sophia on January 05, 2014, 08:13:08 AM
I don't think anyone has mentioned it already.  But, my fellow Americans are usually shocked at the idea of a country taking vacation all at the same time. 
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: HoneyBee42 on January 05, 2014, 10:12:44 PM
I think that the PTO (paid time off) system is a pretty good one.  I've worked other jobs where there were x-vacation days and y-sick days.  The vacation days had to be taken in a block (no single day off), so if you wanted/needed to take just one day off for some reason, you'd have to fake sick and call in.

PTO--I earn 7.93 hrs every two weeks (when I hit the 5 year mark, it will go up) and half that for sick time (you have to be long-term sick to use it--like over a week out of work).  PTO covers the official holidays (ours are New Year's Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, and Christmas) and any other time off that you want during the course of the year.  It does roll over if you don't use it, but if you hit the max, you are strongly encouraged to take time off to burn it off.  In total, it works out to around 25 days per year that I get to take off (18 days of my choice).  I also have the option of putting in for partial days off (like if you have an afternoon doctor appointment, or an early morning dentist appointment that'll still run past your start time).  Generally speaking, you don't have to put down why you want the time off.  This same bank of time is used for vacations and for days off due to short illnesses.  For the most part, you don't need to put in much advance notice, though they ask that you put in for your vacation (a whole week off) a month before the time off.

Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: EllenS on January 05, 2014, 10:33:42 PM
I am also in the US, on a PTO (paid time off) system, and I really like it. Any week I have less than 40 hours clock time and/or official holiday time, the deficit is taken out of my PTO in 15 minute increments.  So if we have a slow week and I leave early, or take a long lunch, I still get paid my weekly wage.  If I know I will need time off for a doctor's appointment, or something, I have the option to make up those hours by skipping lunch or coming early/staying late - as long as the extra hours worked are within the same week.

If I work 40+ hours in a week, I get paid overtime.

I get 168 hours of PTO per year, plus 8-10 official holidays (we do not get an "extra" day if the holiday falls on the weekend).  At the end of the year, I can carry over those hours but if I have not used them up by a certain date (January 31, maybe?) I get paid for the time at a slightly reduced rate.

However, for the first six months you work, you are on probation and get zero PTO (but do get paid official holidays). Second six months, you get 5 days (40 hours) PTO. Then, for the remainder of that calendar year you get 128 hours.  I started in March, so basically I was stretching my first 168 hours of PTO over 18 months instead of 12.  I think they do this because some departments have extremely high turnover.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Sirius on January 06, 2014, 03:59:00 PM
I get no paid sick leave and no paid vacation, as I am paid by production.  Also, since I work at home, I've worked when I was a lot sicker or contagious than most people because I don't have a choice. 

However, there are pluses to this job.  For one thing, I start at noon so I don't have to wake up early.  There's a lot more flexibility in my job than in most; for instance, if I have to go to the bank or the drug store, I can just tell the people I work with that I'll be gone for awhile and go take care of business.   
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: nuit93 on January 06, 2014, 04:04:56 PM
I get no paid sick leave and no paid vacation, as I am paid by production.  Also, since I work at home, I've worked when I was a lot sicker or contagious than most people because I don't have a choice. 

However, there are pluses to this job.  For one thing, I start at noon so I don't have to wake up early.  There's a lot more flexibility in my job than in most; for instance, if I have to go to the bank or the drug store, I can just tell the people I work with that I'll be gone for awhile and go take care of business.

What do you do, if you don't mind my asking?
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: TootsNYC on January 06, 2014, 04:15:18 PM
Quote
If you're out for an extended period you'll generally be fully paid for several months before you get bumped down to Statutory Sick Pay,

Just to comment this varies A LOT from one company to another and one industry to another! Its certainly true that some people have very generous sick leave provisions (this tends to be true for people in public sector jobs, in particular ) In private companies there is a huge range -

. . .


I was horrified when I first spoke to American friends about their jobs and learned how few rights employees in there US seem to have, compared to here

Things vary a great deal in the U.S. as well--industry to industry, status to status (i.e., non-exempt vs exempt; part-time or hourly; etc.), with union and government jobs having different benefits as well.

And state to state.

I know people who work for a government agency who roll over their sick days; the private companies I've worked for would never allow that. For the first time, I work at a company that will not let you roll over vacation days (others have allowed rolling over 1 week, or 2 weeks, or all of it).
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: Library Dragon on January 06, 2014, 04:41:42 PM
DH used to contract his anesthesia services.  He had not PTO in any form, so he always saved money for vacation.  The major plus for him was that as a contractor he determined when he took vacation and holidays.  That meant when he needed to take 2 weeks to go somewhere he could.  Technically it didn't matter if 5 other people were off.  He was always considerate of the over all schedule.  Of course the anesthesia group always had the option of not renewing his contract, but they always renewed.  They even raised his contracted rate of pay without being asked. 

It wasn't until the hospital told the anesthesia group that they didn't want independent contractors (he was one of 4) that they become employees and cogs in the machine.  Most of them have since left the group. 
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: MurPl1 on February 22, 2014, 01:48:58 AM
Texas Teacher here
If you teach in public school the state requires that you receive 5 days per year of personal leave. There is no limit on accumulation and they are transferable between districts. Basically this is part of your base pay that the state pays the district.


Districts can offer pay above the base pay and most do. They can also have local leave days - most do. Some districts require that you use your state days before local days. Mine doesn't I'll have 60 state days at the end of this year and mid 40's in local days.


This is the part that confuses me. We were told point blank last year we are Exempt employees under federal law and that if he wanted to make us stay till midnight for meetings he could and we wouldn't be due one red cent overtime. (He being our then principal who was having a temper tantrum). I did some checking and everything says he was basically right. (Except for the fact they turn off the AC at 6 pm and there was a possibility of putting forth the argument that that made the building unsafe to work in.)


But I in my searches I turned up several sources that said that while the above was true there was an additional rule that said exempt employees could not be docked pay if they worked either part of the day or part of the week. If the part of the week part is true - then my district is up to something hinky. A couple of staff members ran out of days. (I admit I have no sympathy for one because she took off for fun stuff, then got sick. The other has a chronically ill child.) They both had their pay docked even though they worked part of the week.

It's my understanding that you cannot dock by hour, thus turning an salaried-exempt employee into an hourly non-exempt employee.  But you can dock whole days of pay.  And that PTO/vacation days can by taken in half-day increments but nothing smaller.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: MurPl1 on February 22, 2014, 02:01:58 AM
I'd like to clarify that At-Will is a two way street.  Employers can fire at-will as long as it doesn't violate laws like discrimination for race, religion, sex or national origin.  But it also means an employee can walk away at any time.  With two weeks notice (used to be standard but is becoming rarer), with a days notice or just never comes back from lunch.

And I will also add, as a business owner, that you don't fire someone unless you have cause to.  Hiring and training someone takes time.  Additionally, in Texas, if you fire someone without following progressive discipline policies you have in place, you will likely be on the hook for unemployment.  Which raises your taxes.  So it's not a good idea to just tell someone they're fired unless keeping them is a bigger expense and hassle than letting them go.
Title: Re: Working practices
Post by: kherbert05 on February 22, 2014, 06:16:09 AM
I don't think anyone has mentioned it already.  But, my fellow Americans are usually shocked at the idea of a country taking vacation all at the same time.


True after all who will run all the amusement parks/tourist attractions if everyone is on vacation ;-)


In Texas for  my Dad's generation and mine school started mid August. According to Dad they started that when was in school because there was a spike in Polo in August. The suspected cause was kids swimming in crowded pools or the bayous. So put them in school and keep them out of the water.


Then starting around 1984 - 1985 the legislature started moving the date around. One of the arguments made for a later start date (post labor day) was that tourist places needed the cheep teenaged labor. They would work for minimum wages and didn't need health care. Now because of the multiple shifts in start dates, new teachers in my district work 1/2 August and 1/2 September before their first paycheck on Sept. 15. Before that they are still paying veteran teachers for the past year.