Target: U.S. House of Representatives
Goal: Pass act that will require minimum paid vacation time for U.S. employees
One in four private-sector employees in the U.S. do not receive paid vacations or holidays. This is in stark contrast to workers in EU member countries, who are legally guaranteed a minimum of 20 paid vacation days per year. Among 21 wealthy OECD nations, the U.S. ranks last in its generosity to laborers. Representative Alan Grayson, D-Fla., hopes to reverse this embarrassing situation. Urge the U.S. Congress to pass Grayson’s ‘Paid Vacation Act.’
The ‘Paid Vacation Act,’ which would amend the ‘Fair Labor Standards Act,’ has three central tenets. The first is that any company employing 100 or more people must provide one week of paid vacation time per year. Second, three years after the Act is made law, businesses employing 50 or more people must also provide one week paid vacation, while businesses with 100 or more workers will then need to provide a minimum of two weeks paid vacation time. Lastly, the Secretary of Labor would launch a campaign to ensure that American workers are aware of their right to claim paid vacation time, so long as they inform employers no less than 30 days in advance.
Many rich countries provide both paid vacation and holidays, sometimes as many 30 days per year. In the U.S., some 28 million workers don’t receive vacations at all. Low-wage workers and employees of small businesses are most affected. Only 49% and 69%, respectively, of these workers receive paid vacation. Studies to evaluate the link between paid leave and job productivity are varied. Findings in general show little to no correlation, besides maybe a rise in overall job satisfaction. However, job-related stress can increase problems of employee retention, workers’ health, and lost productivity. Vacation can be a highly effective bolster against stress.
The U.S.’ absence of paid vacation requirements first came under intense scrutiny after a report published in 2007. Since then little has been done. So far we’ve waited for businesses to take responsibility and volunteer to provide paid time off. As this isn’t happening, Rep. Grayson believes congress must act. Support Grayson and urge the House of Representatives to pass the ‘Paid Vacation Act.’
Dear U.S. House of Representatives,
On yet another issue of worker’s rights, the U.S. is lagging behind much of the wealthy world. EU member nations guarantee their workers a minimum of 20 days paid vacation per year. U.S.’ private sector employees receive an average of 16 days paid vacation and holidays. Unfortunately, 1 in 4 Americans receive absolutely none at all. Once again, it is the poor, low-wage earners that are most heavily affected. For a section of the population that enjoys few employee rights, paltry healthcare benefits, low job satisfaction and hardly a salary on which they can get by, only 49% of low-wage earners receive paid leave. And this on top of the fact that the average American worker puts in 160 more hours than he or she did in 1976.
Concerning the provision of paid leave to workers, our country is last among 21 OECD nations. Thus far we have allowed businesses to make the choice, but few are volunteering to take initiative. As such, American workers have suffered, low-wage earners, small business employees and part-time workers disproportionately so.
I plea to Congress that something be done to improve the lot of our nation’s employees. Many of our workers are stressed and tired, completely disallowed a week’s break in which to recuperate and spend time with family. The ‘Paid Vacation Act,’ introduced by Rep. Alan Grayson, is a great step forward in ensuring American workers a period of respite. Please pass this invaluable Act and give American workers the vacation they deserve.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: David Gordillo via Flickr