How Does The US Measure Up When It Comes To Leave, Sick Days?

By: Jessa Goddard Email
By: Jessa Goddard Email

The United States is among the wealthiest nations in the world.
But in regard to policies like maternity leave and paid sick days, the American worker is on par with workers in Liberia and Swaziland.
Volunteer TV's Jessa Goddard has more on a study released today that explains why.
Workplace policies for families in the U.S. are weaker than those in many middle and low income countries.
In fact, it's one of only five countries out of 173 in the survey that doesn't guarantee some form of paid maternity leave.
Putting working moms in the U.S. on par with working moms in Papua New Guinea.
Dr. Matt Murry, a UT economics professor says, "we're just on the other end of the continuum, where we have chosen in this country to rely on the market, and let people take the lumps as they come along."
Murray says the study is being released as Congress considers scaling back existing federal law providing unpaid family leaves, or pushing new legislation allowing paid leaves.
"While it would end up helping a lot of individuals, a lot of families, it would also raise the cost of doing business. We're worried very much in this country today about our competitiveness."
But it comes at a cost.
And Dr. Michael Green says it's our physical and mental health that pay the price.
"Certainly, in Europe, they have it down to where they get many, many weeks off, and lots of holiday, and such. And i think they do enjoy themselves a little bit more."
Meantime, Dr. Green says many of his patients choose to work sick, because they can't afford not to.
The U.S. provides unpaid leave through the family and medical leave act, but there is no law providing for paid sick days.
An issue your representatives are debating right now.
Dr. Green continues, "you have to leave that to people to decide how we want to as a country spend our economics, because it does cost money when we formally give people times off."
According to this study, the U.S. fares comparatively well in some areas, such as guaranteeing significantly higher pay for overtime and ensuring the right to work for all racial and ethnic groups.
In fact, the U.S has been a leader in adopting laws that provide equal opportunity in the workplace.


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