Posts Tagged ‘no-vacation Americans’

No Vacation Americans….British and Europeans Ask If Americans Lose Their Health Insurance if Taking Unpaid Leave

October 22, 2011

British and Europeans are often shocked to find out how little vacation time Americans have. While Europeans have up to six weeks each year, Americans have generally one week, and a small percentage of people have two weeks. A very, very small percentage of executives have three weeks.

Americans can travel many places without passports: Puerto Rico, Guam, Bermuda, Mexico, Canada, and many different varied places and climates in the U.S.--Alaska, Hawaii, Northwest, Southwest, Gulf Coast, East Coast, Northeast, etc.

The American Resident blog has a fascinating post on why so few Americans have passports, and does the best job I have seen of explaining why so few Amercians actually need passports.  In the discussion following this post, a British poster asks if Americans risk losing their health care if they take an unpaid absence from a job in order to travel.  The answer is NO. However, what they DO risk is LOSING THE JOB…..and if they lose their job, yes, they do lose their group health insurance that goes with it (if they were lucky enough to have a job with that benefit these days).

When taking an unpaid absence longer than the standard vacation offered by that employer, the business usually would have to hire a temporary worker to fill in, or have  other resentful workers  fill in the slack.

I once took an unpaid leave to travel, but it was a special circumstance. I was hired for a job, but before the interview my husband and I had already paid for a foreign trip that was coming a couple of months after starting the job. I mentioned immediately when they offered me the job that we had already paid for this trip, and asked if they were willing to work with me to give me those ten or so days without pay.  They agreed. But very seldom would a business be willing to offer more that the one or two weeks of standard vacation offered in that business (there is no vacation time mandated by law in America; it is purely at the employer’s discretion).

CNN reports, “Some U.S. companies don’t like employees taking off more than one week at a time. Others expect them to be on call or check their e-mail even when they’re lounging on the beach or taking a hike in the mountains…..(Europeans)  kind of have this idea that Americans work like robots and if that’s the way they want to be, that’s up to them. But they don’t want to be like that.”

–Lynne Diligent

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