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).