People in the most developed countries work a lot. Americans, Germans, Japanese, and French people are inclined to spend much time working. However, if employees in France have the right to receive five weeks of the paid vacation time, Americans can have only two or sometimes three weeks of the paid vacation. Furthermore, many Americans refuse to use their vacation time and work without vacations during several years. Thus, Americans spend much time working and do not use their vacation time because of the lack of strict policies on the maximum of work hours in the USA, the impossibility to have the full paid vacation, and because Americans are afraid of being fired as a result of their low performance and taking additional vacation weeks.
Americans have to work much because of the high level of competition within the labor market. Employees in the USA want to work less and have more vacation weeks in comparison with the two paid weeks of the standard vacation which can be extended to three weeks. In reality, Americans refuse to use even that time which can be paid for by the employer (Altonji and Oldham). The reason for the fact is that, having much vacation time, the employee can present oneself as a rather lazy worker who does not want to contribute to the company’s development and growth.
Moreover, the maximum length of the work day and work week is not stated clearly in the US policies or laws. Thus, “at least 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of the work week; the U.S. does not” (Miller). As a result, the employer can set the necessary length of the work week according to the adopted standards and regulations and in relation to the needs of the firm. From this point, the time which Americans spend working is not controlled, and the work hours can be increased significantly according to the employers’ visions.
All the employees have the right to receive the two weeks of the paid vacation. Moreover, they also can have even three weeks of vacation a year. However, “the U.S. remains the only industrialized country in the world that has no legally mandated annual leave” (Miller). That is why, Americans are inclined not to ask for the additional vacation time and concentrate on the benefits to have much rest.
In addition, Americans are afraid of being fired because of the lack of their concentration on the work and asking for the vacation weeks. Americans want to keep their jobs and “not be a ‘low performer’ compared to others” (Miller). Furthermore, employers understand these fears of the workers and expect that they will be available through the Internet even while having vacation. 57% of employees work during their weekends and vacation (“Percent of Population Who Worked on Weekdays and Weekend Days”). This fact also explains the tendency typical for Americans to work during the weekends.
Thus, the researchers speak about the tendency that Americans work more than employees in any other developed country and have less vacation. This situation can be explained with references to the policies and regulations on the length of work weeks and vacations. Moreover, the competitive labor market makes employees keep their jobs and demonstrate their desire to work much to contribute to the company’s growth.
Altonji, Joseph, and Jennifer Oldham. “Vacation Laws and Annual Work Hours”. Economic Perspectives 27.3 (2003): 19-24. Print.
Miller, George. The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World – When Do We Draw the Line? 2010. Web.