Work life balance in the USA



Gillythedilf

Midfield
There’s millions in this country with those exact same rights (or lack of them) whilst other sectors have about 2 months holiday a year and 6 months off with full pay when sick.

the balance is wrong in this country
 

avacado

Full Back
I've long considered wanting to move to the US at some point in my life. I recognise it has some serious flaws, but my main gripe about the country is with the lack of annual leave the US (and Canada) both have. Am I right in saying the US has NO guaranteed paid leave whatsoever and it has be negotiated with an employer before hand? I also read that approximately 25% of Americans don't get ANY paid leave whatsoever? I think the average American only gets just 10 days off a year? In Canada its not much better either with 2 weeks only (and wages are also lower than the US).

AUS/NZ appear to have a similar work-life balance to that of the UK by contrast. A minimum of 4-5 weeks plus an extra 10-13 paid days for public holidays which is a pretty good deal, so I'm open to moving there also. But the lack of paid work leave is a bit of a drag about North America. I'd be ok with 3 weeks but 10 days or less would depress me.
What field of work would you being going into in the USA ?
 

offmenut

Striker
There's also no automatic right to paid sick leave and if you are sick, you take it from your already pitiful PTO (personal time off) allowance.

The people who worked for me in New York were nominally offered 10 days holiday and 5 days sickness at starting, rising to 17 days holiday and 5 days sickness with long service, which was more generous than most.

We eventually rolled it all up to avoid penalising those who were rarely sick so it was 15-22 days PTO each. One of my staff who was always off sick and always burned through her PTO from sickness would have to take a week or two of unpaid leave late in the year every year.

I was on a UK contract so got my 25 days regardless :lol:
Don't they get 8 bank holidays on top of the 10 days?
That's what my marra in tx gets
It’s generally accepted that Americans work the most hours in the western world.
First job I had here the standard was about 12 vacation days and 6 or 7 bank holidays. They even made us come in on Thanksgiving Friday (the whole idea of it being on a Thursday was supposed to be a four day weekend.)
I now get four weeks paid. The problem with this for the company is that when they have a mass exodus as happens from time to time they have to pay everyone out for their unused vacation days. So next year they’re going to unlimited time off, expecting that most people will continue to take less than their allotted amount and there’ll be no payout when they leave.
I had loads of vacation unused as I’ve barely been anywhere this year and won’t get it paid out so I’m pretty much off from now till new year! I will definitely take at least four weeks next year too.
Workers rights are shit. Every job I ever had was ‘at will’ which means they can fire you due to ‘reduction in force’ with no payoff. I also get no company retirement other than matching up to 5% of what I pay in to a government scheme (401k).
I do get well paid for how much I do and have a lot of freedom but it wasn’t always that way. I was lucky to eventually get myself into a line of work in which I’m in demand so if they sacked me off or vice versa I wouldn’t be panicking about finding my next gig.
As for health care, most working people their health insurance is through their job which is fine if you work for a large company who can negotiate a good deal. If you work for a small business or self employed you’re in trouble. If you’re not working you’re daffy ducked. My missus works in a small clinic so I pay extra to have her and the bairn on my insurance.

Still the weather and lifestyle here are class, I think I paid 13% tax last year on gross income, live in a gaff I could only dream about in England. The SMB loves to slag off America and/or Americans but a sizeable amount seem to spend a lot of dosh to come over here and go to Disney etc. I could be there in 90 minutes and don’t have to deal with the shit rain,fog, sleet, wind and cold you have back home. Hurricanes? I’ve shit ‘em!
The eu / uk is heavily on the side of the employee.
In the USA it seems its heavily on the side of the employer

Good and bad on both. Innovation is huge in America
People ate encouraged to take risks.

In this country, you could start your own business, remortgage your house , employ two staff who then take off hundreds of days sick , and there's not much you can do about it.
We had a lass in our place who took an average of over 100 sick days a year for 10 years (always coming back before her pay was reduced- if she spent as much time learning her role as she did on learning how to play the system she could have been the ceo).
Finally managed to get rid of her with an 18 month farewell package.
Think that's why zero hour contracts are becoming big over here.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: JJH

Lovemore

Goalkeeper
Sounds like you’ve already worked out it’s not for you.

it all depends what you do and what kind of work/contract you can expect to be offered. In Australia many people work casually, no sick leave, no holidays. You can end up working 52 weeks per year unless you can live frugally, which is not always easy. Housing and rents are high. Groceries are fucking insane. Fuel is a little cheaper than the uk. Going to the movies is more expensive than anywhere else in the planet.

there’s positives too.....I just can’t really remember what they are.
 

BIG MAL

Midfield
Sounds like you’ve already worked out it’s not for you.

it all depends what you do and what kind of work/contract you can expect to be offered. In Australia many people work casually, no sick leave, no holidays. You can end up working 52 weeks per year unless you can live frugally, which is not always easy. Housing and rents are high. Groceries are fucking insane. Fuel is a little cheaper than the uk. Going to the movies is more expensive than anywhere else in the planet.

there’s positives too.....I just can’t really remember what they are.
We've had one positive in 8 months, and he was in quarantine.
50,000 at the rugby last week.
100 friends around the house for a party , if i had 100 friends.
Pubs clubs beaches all fully open , except the one where a shark ate someone.
Can't remember anymore.
 
Last edited:

Bob Fleming

Striker
Mate of mine moved to New York. Very good job but the work life balance was very poor and he hated it. As well as holidays and benefits it was the work culture too.
 

Darlo1973

Midfield
One of the big selling points about the US is wages are the highest in the world. Engineers get paid £100k, doctors get paid £250k, nurses £70k, teachers £50k etc. Taxes are lower as well.

But what's the point earning so much money if you haven't got any time to actually fucking spend and enjoy it?
Teachers do OK in the US as they have the whole of the summer off and the US has one of the shortest academic years in the world. Other jobs not so much.

On one side you have high pay, low taxes and usually lower living costs.

On the other side, high healthcare costs, long hours and almost no job protection.
 

the dude

Winger
their annual leave is shocking mind. I know everyone seems to think (and push the narrative) that the UK and the USA are similar politically and in general day to day life, but its such a lazy and dangerous comparison.

People havent got a clue about how bad it can be in the US, and how expensive it can be to do the things we take for granted here. Healthcare, leisure the lot.
I'm sure on a thread about broadband once a poster from the states was stunned at how cheap it is here compared to there.
 

JJH

Winger
I rarely have less than 12 weeks off a year. Been down here 37yrs. If a firm kicks off about it fuck em, others are available. As my marra says: No one ever lay on their death bed and said they wished they’d spent more time at work.

United Saddoes of America.
Exactly
Unfortunately there are plenty who must have massive regret at the lost time with their loved ones .
I used to see it a lot in the factories , blokes working every minute of overtime they could 7 days a week.
Some genuinely needed it however there were a lot who were just plain greedy.
 

zwartekat

Striker
Leave in the US is shocking. On top of which, friends over there get stressed with the pressure to do something 'meaningful' with them.

Mind, from what I'm told, they've embraced wfh so perhaps that might result in a shift towards a more sensible work / life balance.
 

Tex

Striker
13% tax but to take unpaid leave means most folk would lose anything they gain having time off.

It's horses for courses but a bigger house for the risk of losing my job and healthcare sounds like a shit trade off.
I don’t understand your first sentence.

And as for your second - this may be true but like I said after a few nervous years starting out, during which I didn’t have much job security (but no mortgage either - I lived in a 600 sq foot one bedroom flat paying $340 a month rent) I eventually got into a line of work that I’m in demand so felt confident enough to buy a gaff. Maybe that was halfy-halfy good luck and good management on my part. I’m very fortunate but also worked hard too. And since I’ve never known any different you just accept it. I totally get that for people less fortunate and/or less capable it could be a minefield. As a mate of mine said, every family is one major car accident away from bankruptcy. He was a record producer making loadsamoney but after paying off his house he went to work for ‘the man’ so he could have that stability of health insurance, retirement etc.
 

Vauxie

Winger
I've long considered wanting to move to the US at some point in my life. I recognise it has some serious flaws, but my main gripe about the country is with the lack of annual leave the US (and Canada) both have. Am I right in saying the US has NO guaranteed paid leave whatsoever and it has be negotiated with an employer before hand? I also read that approximately 25% of Americans don't get ANY paid leave whatsoever? I think the average American only gets just 10 days off a year? In Canada its not much better either with 2 weeks only (and wages are also lower than the US).

AUS/NZ appear to have a similar work-life balance to that of the UK by contrast. A minimum of 4-5 weeks plus an extra 10-13 paid days for public holidays which is a pretty good deal, so I'm open to moving there also. But the lack of paid work leave is a bit of a drag about North America. I'd be ok with 3 weeks but 10 days or less would depress me.
Divent gan to NZ its crap,emigrated there once,went back to UK.
Lived and worked in the US, no great shakes,locals get paid hol on July 4th I knaar that
 

Tex

Striker
Teachers do OK in the US as they have the whole of the summer off and the US has one of the shortest academic years in the world. Other jobs not so much.

On one side you have high pay, low taxes and usually lower living costs.

On the other side, high healthcare costs, long hours and almost no job protection.
Broad strokes but fairly accurate.

A s for the comments about in America being pressured to work more and taking time off being frowned upon, I can’t really say I’ve experienced this in the 30 years I’ve been here. It may be implicit and just went over my head.
The last few companies I’ve worked for have to one degree or another stressed the old catch phrase of ‘work life balance’ so they’re at least talking the talk even if their execution of it varied from place to place.
 
Last edited:

Sgt Pepper

Striker
It does give off the impression of a nation of workaholics, couldn’t bear it if so despite loving the places over there I’ve been to.
 

Tex

Striker
There’s millions in this country with those exact same rights (or lack of them) whilst other sectors have about 2 months holiday a year and 6 months off with full pay when sick.

the balance is wrong in this country
Yeah I read some stories on the SMB (like what @offmenut mentioned a couple of posts after yours!) about people taking the piss back home and I never hear that sort of thing here. They’d be booted out quick smart at most companies. Weeks off for ‘stress’ and you’d be getting a phone call from HR saying ‘maybe this job isn’t a good fit for you’!
If you’re a small business owner I can see why these kind of piss taking employees hiding behind workers rights could be the death of your profits. On the other hand it seems like England is stepping closer to America with what I hear about zero hour contracts which I take to be similar to the ‘at will’ situation over here.
 

Top