Author Topic: Working practices  (Read 5059 times)

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perpetua

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Working practices
« on: December 21, 2013, 11:48:48 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?

jaxsue

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2013, 11:50:53 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.  :(


Margo

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2013, 12:33:23 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 - 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


perpetua

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2013, 12:33:38 PM »
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.

perpetua

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2013, 12:36:12 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 - 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 :)
« Last Edit: December 22, 2013, 04:55:07 AM by perpetua »

Wench

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2013, 01:14:49 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?

violinp

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2013, 01:48:54 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.
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gollymolly2

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2013, 01:57:52 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.

CakeBeret

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2013, 02:03:01 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.
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jedikaiti

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2013, 02:16:35 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.
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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2013, 02:59:05 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.

menley

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2013, 03:22:53 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.

Bluenomi

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2013, 03:29:17 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.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2013, 03:36:05 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.

perpetua

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Re: Working practices
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2013, 03:39:20 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.