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BS: US / UK work differences

Roger in Sheffield 06 May 02 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,irishajo 06 May 02 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,mr happy 06 May 02 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,mr happy 06 May 02 - 03:52 PM
GUEST 06 May 02 - 08:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 May 02 - 08:38 PM
IvanB 06 May 02 - 09:03 PM
DonD 06 May 02 - 09:18 PM
Celtic Soul 06 May 02 - 09:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 May 02 - 09:54 PM
GUEST 06 May 02 - 10:07 PM
Bobert 06 May 02 - 10:09 PM
Sarah the flute 07 May 02 - 03:36 AM
Linda Kelly 07 May 02 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,JohnB 07 May 02 - 12:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 May 02 - 01:43 PM
Dave the Gnome 07 May 02 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,Dave Williams 08 May 02 - 01:43 AM
Grab 08 May 02 - 08:57 AM
McGrath of Harlow 08 May 02 - 09:06 AM
Gary T 08 May 02 - 02:08 PM
Alice 08 May 02 - 03:03 PM
Roger in Sheffield 08 May 02 - 03:44 PM
Peter Kasin 09 May 02 - 03:57 AM
Bert 09 May 02 - 04:09 AM
Grab 09 May 02 - 07:38 AM
JohnInKansas 09 May 02 - 10:25 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 May 02 - 10:39 AM
Naemanson 09 May 02 - 12:14 PM
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Subject: US / UK work differences
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 06 May 02 - 02:45 PM

I just got back from my first US trip and I am intrigued by a few things
How long a vacation are most people entitled to a year? someone told me that many people only get a couple of weeks a year
Also why do Americans work so hard? One of the people I met seemed to work an average of twelve hours a day, often more, including some weekends. Are the taxes high? do you have to pay lots of insurance?
.....it just struck me that he might be making loads of money, yet was having no life outside of work

Roger


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: GUEST,irishajo
Date: 06 May 02 - 03:00 PM

I get two weeks of vacation, 5 sick days and 6 paid holidays a year.

Taxes vary by state. Indiana sales tax is 5%, but across the border in Illinois it's higher, not sure how much.

Some people here work very hard but I'm not one of them. Most of my UK friends seem to be better off than myself as far as work comps, flextime, vacation time, bonuses, what have you. I've often thought of getting a job over there. Though I suppose if I worked a little harder here I might get a job with a company that offered better benefits. But then the money/life choice is an issue.

Luckily my company pays for most of my health insurance, which would otherwise cost me about a quarter of my monthly paycheck.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: GUEST,mr happy
Date: 06 May 02 - 03:51 PM

some years ago i got made redundant from my fulltime job

since the i've worked part time, casual, & sessional

its the best time of my whole life and i wish i'd known about the part time situation years ago

now, even though i don't earn lots of money, there's enough to get by on

and the bestest bit is i've now got the time to live my own life!

i don't need to worry about if i can go out to folky events nearly every night

i'm much more chilled out 'n relaxed- so i can go off on jaunts to festivals 'n other events witout even having to think too much about holidays/leave days etc

i know to the other readers eyes this looks all self centred 'n selfish but by working in employment selectively, its possible for all the other wage slaves to enjoy the good life, provided that your needs are kept simple.

for example, i've already done a couple of festivals this year, [all free ones] and since i discovered the mudcatters gatherings i'm set on not attending mainstream folk festivals anymore- other than at ones where i can work my ticket [stewarding etc]

so, if you'd fancy a life of almost total hedonism, don't worry about amounts of mandatory [or optional] paid leave from your employers; break out of fulltime work 'n enjoy yoour own life.

life's tooo short to waste doing other people's bidding- do your own thing

here endeth the sermon


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: GUEST,mr happy
Date: 06 May 02 - 03:52 PM

p.s. i'm in uk


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: GUEST
Date: 06 May 02 - 08:14 PM

From US:

I don't ever recall working less than a 60 hour week, and most of the time it has been more. There have been a few years when I've taken two weeks of vacation, but they were taken a week at a time. Most people here retire at least by age 65, but I'm 6 years past that and still working the same amount.

I really don't think it is so much a matter of countries as it is a matter of people. I, for example, can tolerate a half hour doing nothing but watching TV or some such mindless thing, but any more than that drives me up a wall.

My point is, we do (as much as we can) what we are happiest doing. For some it is work, for others, something else.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 May 02 - 08:38 PM

The English have very much longer working weeks than pretty well anyone else in Europe.

The people who suffer most from this are the children, especially when it's both parents working overlong hours. And it shows in the statistics about what happens to the kids as they grow up, which are pretty worrying reading. (It shows in day to day experience too, but that's what they call "anecdotal evidence", so you have to use the statistics.)


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: IvanB
Date: 06 May 02 - 09:03 PM

Most US jobs base vacation time on years of service. Thus, when I started my former job (for state government), I got 13 workdays vacation time per year, as well as 13 sick leave days, which could be accumulated without limit. Vacation time was limited to 30 days, after that much had accumulated without being used, no more accrued. I lost accrual of vacation time just once in 32 years, and it was about 8 hours that I lost. When I retired, I was accumulating at the rate of 27 workdays per year.

Obviously, the US system tends to reward workers who don't move between jobs very much. It would have been nice to have more vacation time when I was younger and had children at home. In the latter years of my employment, I was hard pressed to use all my vacation time, so used it in lieu of sick leave. One nice thing about this was that, when I retired, I was entitled to payment for half my accumulated sick leave. One note: most employers in the US don't have vacation and sick leave policies as liberal as this, and, in fact, the state has eliminated the payment of sick leave at retirement for anyone hired after September 1980.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: DonD
Date: 06 May 02 - 09:18 PM

Here in the Sates there's always comment about how much more annual vacation time people get in Europe (6 weeks in France, 7 weeks in Germany, 6 weeks in Sweden -- I'm making those up) and how much better the health coverage is and other social benefits -- but it amazes me that the flow of migration is overwhelmingly Westward across the Atlantic. Of course, we have 6% unemployment, and on average you only have to work until April or May before your year's taxes are paid.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 06 May 02 - 09:47 PM

As others have stated, vacation and hours really do vary tremendously.

If one *wants* to work 60 hours a week, there are employers willing to let you (and pay you a salary as opposed to wages for your efforts).

The flip side is, lots of overworked people walk away earning enough to retire at 40 (if they want...but generally, workaholics don't want to retire).

For me, I get the usual 2 weeks vacation, a buttload of healthcare, some other insurance to cover accidents, etc., and I work roughly 40 hours a week. I left my last job because it was salary, and I was working sometimes 12 hours a day plus an hour and a half travel to and from.

It's all about choices. If I wanted a shiny new car, I'd have stayed at the last job. But I wanted time with my kid, so I'll continue to nurse my Dads old car, and the *really* old 1984 Rabbit instead.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 May 02 - 09:54 PM

"on average you only have to work until April or May before your year's taxes are paid." I take it that doesn't mean that the equivalent of all the money you earn in January, February and March and maybe April is taken in income tax, because if it did it'd mean you'd be paying far more tax than ordinary people pay here.

Also to get a proper comparison you'd really have to include the cost of any private insurances or whatever you might have to pay to cover things that would be paid for by taxes elsewhere.

Why don't people emigrate the other direction? For most of Europe I'd imagine the language barrier would be a factor. And we're a bit more tightly packed. It's an interesting question (and I haven't a clue about the figures involved, and couldn't find them.)


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: GUEST
Date: 06 May 02 - 10:07 PM

In England, you tell the boss something and he will usually listen. And if he didn't listen then he at least has the courtesy to be contrite when he finds out that you were right al along.

In America, you tell the boss something and he will ALWAYS ignore it. Then he'll blame you because things didn't go right.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Bobert
Date: 06 May 02 - 10:09 PM

Roger,

The average US worker is working longer and harder for the same wage (after indexing) they earned in the 1970's. Why? Because every decision is based on what is profitable to the stock holder of the corporations. Sure, there are a lot of baby boomers who have climbed the corporate ladder but taken on a whole the baby boomers are not as well off as their parents. Bottom line. Things are slipping. Personal debt is at an all time high. Bankruptcies are still common place. The game has been squewed toward the monied class and the rest of us, well, we keep peddling hoping to just get a breather. But, hey, we have collectively beaten back the Japanese threat to our economy. Just that all that "trickle down" stuff didn't quite make it to the working class... Depressing? Danged right it is. But we don't make the rules. We just show up at 7:00 am for another ten hour pounding...


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 07 May 02 - 03:36 AM

I think I should pack my bags and head for the US if I wanted to earn a proper wage since over there at least they take my job seriously! In the UK we hear lots about the impoverished teachers who cant afford to live on their meagre wages (starting salary C £16000) whereas us other professionals working in schools with post grad degrees and the responsibilities of a Head of Department get no recognition. I am lucky I have broken thru the glass ceiling but I am one of a tiny minority - many of my colleagues working in school libraries take home £12000 PRO RATA (ie no pay during school hols). How fair is that? Don't think the same applies to the US


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 07 May 02 - 10:25 AM

I worked for an American company in the UK and I think it was fair to say that the Americans worked no harder than the Brits - working weeks in the uk may hover around 35 to 40 hours but in reality unpaid work brings this nearer 50 to 60 for many of us with a lot of homebased worked and longer hours in the office. Holidays usually depend on length of service, but most companies do not have a sick day allocation. Only about 23% of companies offer a contributory pension scheme and other benefits.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 07 May 02 - 12:21 PM

I think this explains the problem. Sorry about the >‘s. JohnB.

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends!”

Nasty >’s removed and HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 7-May-02.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 May 02 - 01:43 PM

The weird thing is that so many people seem to see working long hours as being the virtuous thing to do, and a society where people work long hours is to be admired.

And then they turn around and talk about the value of families and children and the community. And the two sets of values just don't get put together so thta it becomes clear there's a clash between them if it gets out of proportion. Either way.

When people work long hours they are stealing that time from the people who need them to be available.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 May 02 - 04:20 PM

Nice tale, JohnB. I always relate as well. Some years ago I saw an interview with a high ranking Chinese official. The interviewer commented that he had seen a road gang of 30 people digging, laying tarmac and doing general road building stuff by hand. He asked why they didn't get machinery and cut the workforce down to around 5 people.

The official looked a little puzzled and then asked "What would the other 25 do then...?"

Getting back to the point I worked for an American company in the UK as well. My collegues across the pond did seem to have less holidays and work longer hours as stated but when I rang late at night or at weekend to someone on call they generaly were working from home - something that we are not really into in the UK. There was also a lot more made of the 'Work/Life balance' thing which isn't, again, something that few UK companies appreciate.

My 2 penn'th anyway.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: GUEST,Dave Williams
Date: 08 May 02 - 01:43 AM

McGrath:

DonD's comment is correct. The equivalent of all money earned during January-April does on average go to paying taxes. Not all to US income tax, but total taxes. We also pay State income tax, City income tax, taxes on real estate owned, sales tax (which ranges from 4% to 8% or so depending on where you live), gasoline (petrol) tax, tax on tobacco and alcohol, road tax, etc. Taxes on tobacco and alcohol are very popular with politicians. They're known as "sin taxes" and the theory is that if you don't drink or smoke, you don't have to pay them. Taxes on cigarettes and liquor in particular account for at least 50% of the cost of those items and perhaps much more, again depending on where you live. Again, the "average" American pays about 33% to 38% of total income in taxes of all sorts.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Grab
Date: 08 May 02 - 08:57 AM

As a software engineer in the UK whose company also has a branch in Detroit, I know that the Detroit guys are getting nearly double what I am, for the same level of experience, the same job and the same benefits. And comparable engineers in Ford are getting 2.5 times my income, although with less holidays per year.

Re Dave Willams' comment, that's roughly what we pay in Britain. The average figure in the UK is 29% of earnings on income-related tax - however then we have 17.5% sales tax on everything, 500% tax on petrol/gasoline (over 80% of the retail price is tax). Plus every other tax you've listed up there as well (property, alcohol, cigs, etc).

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 May 02 - 09:06 AM

So how do the figures work out if you add in the cost of having to pay for stuff that's covered by taxes here? (That's a question, not a coded comment; for all I know at the end of the day it might work out cheaper paying for medicine etc, even if you or your dependents need a lot of expensive medical treatment.)


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Gary T
Date: 08 May 02 - 02:08 PM

In my experience, typical vacation allotments in the U.S. are 1 week after 1 year, 2 weeks (annually) after 2 years, 3 weeks after 5 years, 4 weeks after 10 or more years. A number of businesses don't offer that much, some never more than 2 weeks. I think it's barbaric.

In my field (auto repair), paid sick days are not the norm. Some paid holidays are, but if, for example, Independence Day (July 4th) fell on a weekend, there would be neither holiday pay nor a day off for it.

The other end of the scale is usually found in working for the government or some of the larger companies. It would be similar to what IvanB described above.

I like time for doing certain things, like going to music festivals or family get-togethers. I really hated having to grovel for (unpaid) time off for that.

About 6 years ago I quit my job and opened my own shop, a one-man operation. I close down when I want to, which has averaged 5 or 6 weeks a year. Obviously this is unpaid--nothing is earned when the shop is closed. I love it. Time to live is definitely worth something--a lot, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Alice
Date: 08 May 02 - 03:03 PM

I don't know of any job that offers more than two weeks of vacation a year, but I am sure a few must exist here somewhere. In the best paying job I ever had, I didn't get a vacation for 5 years. The owner always told me he couldn't spare me. We would get Christmas day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, and New Year's day, and he would moan alot about that. Several times a year I had to travel and work from 8am to 10pm when the company did presentations at trade shows. I started on that job at $4 an hour as a staff artist and eventually became creative director, with a bigger share in profit sharing and a bonus at the end of the year. In that job, the last two years out of 8 years total were the ones that paid decently. Income and property taxes are high in Montana. Even low income people pay a miniumum amount of income taxes. The state is too large with too few people to support it, so they are desperate for revenue. I have never had a job that gave a paid vacation. I had one job with OK health insurance. Have no health insurance now. My last health crisis cost me over a thousand dollars to get some tests done... which were inconclusive.

There is a new forum in the Annexe on the subject of jobs and working if people would like to continue discussing it there.

Alice


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 08 May 02 - 03:44 PM

I am entitled to 22 days paid holiday a year plus bank holidays, though 3 of these days have to be taken at Christmas
I just wondered why my american friend was surprised that I spent 10 days there, now I see that this could be most of his holiday entitlement while its only around half mine
My job is low paid, relatively stress free and with fixed 7.30-4.30 hours
My US friend is a truck driver and says the pay is good although he works long and unsociable hours and often doesn't know - if/where/or what time - he will be working till the night before
Perhaps he is working himself to early retirement but I just worry that a heart attack may get him first

Roger


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 09 May 02 - 03:57 AM

The afternoon siesta seems to me a more civilized way of going through a work day. Some time to rest and regroup would make the day go better.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Bert
Date: 09 May 02 - 04:09 AM

Siesta, Don't talk to me about siesta! I worked in the Middle East for seven years and I still fall asleep after lunch.

Comparisons should only be made from personal experience and should not be extrapolated to include whole nations. Having said that, my experience is that in the US they work harder, in the UK they work smarter. When I worked for one company in the US I soon realised that they were not keeping check in sick days. So I started taking one day off sick every week. This was never noticed. What WAS noticed was, that I was handling more calls (in a customer support job) than anyone else in the department.

When I tried to show MY system to the others - no one was interested.

THAT's the difference;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Grab
Date: 09 May 02 - 07:38 AM

McGrath, medical insurance is usually covered by the employer, so it wouldn't affect the salary.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 09 May 02 - 10:25 AM

As several people have pointed out, work schedules and benefits are extremely variable in the US.

Although we have, relatively, very low unemployment in most areas, a rather large percentage of jobs are in "minimum wage" occupations. (Chambers of Commerce say "we have lots of service job openings.") What this means is that they would pay you less if they could legally. There are federal regulations requiring minimum pay for any company "doing business with the government," "engaging in interstate commerce," or - in some cases "employing more than a certain number of people." Most, but not all, states also have their own "minimum wage" laws, that may set the same or different minimum rates, and may impose coverage on additional occupations.

A common gambit is to pay less than the legal minimum wage, and to claim that the employee receives the rest in "tips." The IRS abets this process by forcing the employer to record and report the tip income of employees, or - if the employer doesn't keep the records, by "imputing" tip income of 10% of the employers gross sales and making the employees pay income taxes on it.

A few employers have been known to demand that all tips be turned in. They return 10% to the employees and keep the rest (usually without reporting it as income).

Most people in such jobs get no paid vacation, and minimal, if any, paid medical insurance. Depending on the "generosity" of the employer, they may be permitted to take unpaid leave, or they may simply be "replaced" if they don't show up.

A "thoughtful" minimum wage employer may enroll the company in a medical insurance plan - usually to get his own "plan policy" at a reduced rate. This may qualify employees for "reduced rate" insurance if the employee wants to pay for it.

Because the pay is so low, a very large percentage of people in these occupations are willing to work as much "overtime" as possible, because they need additional income to maintain a subsistence life style.

Unfortunately, certain tax regulations provide an incentive for employers at this level to limit hours worked by any individual. An employee who works less than 2 (I think that's the current) consecutive "quarters" is exempted from collection of FICA (social security tax) and the employer evades paying his "matching tax." Such employees are also "exempted" from most minimum wage regulations. There are other, similar "weasel holes" for employees who work less than 40 hours per week. One fairly large "branch" of a national fast food chain was recently convicted of "hiring" the same individual under three different names (with three bogus Social Security numbers) in order to let him work enough hours to survive without subjecting the business to "extra costs." (There were about 7 individuals involved, working under 19? different names.)

The "typical" large corporate job assumes "straight time" pay for 40 hours per week, 2088 hours per year. Ten paid holidays per year is fairly typical, although the range may be from 7 to 12(?). One week of paid vacation after the first full year of employment is fairly usual. It may require two to five years to qualify for the "standard" two week vacation. Some fairly typical companies add 2 days per additional year worked. Most companies that I have had experience with limit the maximum paid vacation to 30 working days, although I have heard of a few that allow as much as 60 days (for a few very old employees).

For most such companies, it has been negotiated by unions that no more than half of the current year vacation can be "carried over." Use it or lose it. The same contracts generally prohibit "pay in lieu of vacation." The reason for these provisions is that too many companies were forcing employees to "defer" vacation indefinitely, or to take pay in lieu of time off.

Companies like these will typically allow 10 working days sick leave for each day worked. Ability to carry over unused sick leave, or to be paid for "banked" sick leave is extremely variable.

Although it is common for people in some occupations to use sick leave as "alternate vacation time," there is a "snag" in this practice. IRS regulations say that after the third consecutive day, sick leave pay is a "benefit" and not pay for work performed. This means that the employer is not required (or is required not) to withhold FICA tax from sick pay after the third day. In most states, he is required to pay additional "occupational security tax" (unemployement/disability tax) on these amounts. An employer who does not confirm that you are sick before paying sick leave is in violation of federal regulations - and probably of state law.

Most such companies do provide some form of paid medical insurance. It ranges from "HMO DEATH" to fairly decent full coverage. There is an increasing trend toward making employees pay part of the cost of medical insurance, although most employers may provide minimal insurance for the employee (probably not his whole family) without significant additional payment. Companies in this category typically claim to pay near $300 per month per employee for medical insurance, and the typical married-with-family employee may pay one or two hundred per month for "extended benefits" or "alternate plan" coverage.

Large companies tend not to pay overtime to salaried employees, pay only for hours in excess of some "minimum" (44, 48, or 60 hours tend to be the weekly minimums) and usually pay at a rate less than for "regular hours." Hourly paid employees can expect 1.5 times regular rate for hours over 40 per week. Some may get 2x for hours over 48 or on Sunday - but it varies.

Under most union contracts, an hourly employee can be dismissed for refusing to work scheduled overtime, but the contracts also usually limit maximum hours worked per week. 48 hours is a common max, although some contracts permit 60. Some permit 60, but only for one week. Some require the company to permit a full 2-day weekend at least every third week ... etc.

Truckers are a separate case worth discussion, but this is already more than anyone wants to know - and of course is entirely MOHO.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 May 02 - 10:39 AM

Well, as they say,"You pays your money and you takes your choice". Except that there seem to be some pretty powerful players that seem intent on taking away the choice of anything other than aystem run for private profit.


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Subject: RE: BS: US / UK work differences
From: Naemanson
Date: 09 May 02 - 12:14 PM

McGrath of Harlow - Why don't people emigrate the other direction?

ME- My daughter is working on that. She is currently planning to continue her education there and then wants to make England her home of preference.

GUEST - In England, you tell the boss something and he will usually listen. And if he didn't listen then he at least has the courtesy to be contrite when he finds out that you were right al along.

In America, you tell the boss something and he will ALWAYS ignore it. Then he'll blame you because things didn't go right.

ME - Well, I'm a boss and I try to always listen to my people. And we've worked together for 15 years now.

Gary T - The other end of the scale is usually found in working for the government or some of the larger companies. It would be similar to what IvanB described above.

ME - Well, maybe. I work for the U.S. Federal government. It has good and bad points. On the bad side the management sucks. They have piled us with work while downsizing the hell out of our organization. And they've loaded us with computers that are out of date and software that doesn't integrate among the different programs. My pay cannot compare to that of my counterparts in private industry and though there is a system of bonuses the amount of those bonuses is ridiculously small.

But the good side is that I get 13 days sick leave every year that accumulates through my career. They pay a portion of my health insurance and give me a fair selection of plans. I get 26 days of vacation time over the year (based on seniority) and 10 paid holidays. I only work 40 hours per week and overtime is either paid or compensated by time off. Unfortunately the US Congress decided that there should be a cap on overtime pay so I actually take a pay cut if I work overtime. I can work a flex time schedule too.

And there are jobs available all over the world. Next year I hope to go to Italy or Spain to live for a few years. And I can do that without jeopardizing my retirement benefits.

I live in Maine which is among those states with the highest taxes. The comment that we work for the first three months of the year to pay our taxes is true. It requires all our pay for those months to cover the value of our Federal and State taxes. And on top of that we have to pay health insurance premiums as well. I think my premiums run about $200.00 per paycheck and I am paid twice a week. But there is a deductible of $200 per person and $200 per family that has to be paid before the insurance company covers anything.

It is common to think that working for the Government is a cushy job and it may have been once upon a time. But these days we are working our butts off and getting nowhere. We do have incredible job security but the other perks are mostly imaginary.


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Mudcat time: 4 March 8:01 AM EST

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