- The US federal government has fewer legal work protections compared to other industrialized nations.
- The US is the only country without guaranteed paid family leave or vacation leave. It also does not require that companies give breaks for lunch or coffee. Italy and China, meanwhile, offer two hours of lunch break.
- Here are seven ways the US lags behind the rest of the developed world in providing worker protections.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The US federal government offers surprisingly few worker protections — especially when compared to other developed nations.
Not only is the US the only industrialized country without paid parental leave, it also does not require companies give paid vacation.
Individual states have their own protections, including higher minimum wages and paid leave, but on a federal level, the US lags behind the rest of the developed world.
As a result, Americans work longer hours than people in Europe and Japan, and suffer from high rates of burnout. Minimum-wage workers cannot afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment in much of the US, and the increasing number of gig-economy workers like Uber and Lyft drivers have even fewer protections than their full-time counterparts.
Here are seven mind-blowing facts that depict how few worker protections the US provides.
The US does not guarantee paid time off for vacation or holidays.
France, Germany, Spain, and the UK offer more than 20 days of vacation time to employees.
The US does not give employers vacation time, and its 10 public holidays are also not guaranteed to be paid out, according to the US Department of Labor.
As a result, three in four private companies gave out paid vacation, and the average private industry worker received 10 paid vacation days after 1 year of service, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Even if they get vacation from their company, Americans are notoriously bad at actually going on them. A recent survey by pollster Gallup found three in 10 workers had not gone on a vacation in 2017. The average American worker takes less time off for vacation than medieval peasants, according to economist Juliet Shor.
The US also doesn’t mandate employers give workers breaks during the day.
The Washington Post/Getty
Federal law does not require companies provide breaks for lunch or coffee.
US law surrounding lunch breaks is starkly different from other countries. Italy and China go so far as to give workers two-hour lunch breaks.
The US is the only developed country that does not guarantee some form of paid parental leave. It is just one of eight of the UN’s 193-member states without guaranteed paid time off for new moms.
Italy offers new parents 21 weeks of paid leave to moms after giving birth. The UK offers 39 weeks. Greece offers 43 weeks.
The US, meanwhile, offers zero.
The policy is also restricted to full-time employees who have been with the company for more than a year, which comprises just 60% of workers countrywide.
Other UN states that don’t guarantee paid leave for new parents include Papua New Guinea and the South American nation Suriname, NPR reports.
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