Posts Tagged ‘United States’

burnout MW-BY216_vacati_20140403095851_ME

“Summer time and the livin’ is easy.” Except for Americans, who are burned out and overworked.

According to a recent study by Staples Advantage and WorkPlaceTrends [ht: ja],  more than half of office workers say they are suffering from burnout as a result of the hours they work.

half of all office workers in the United States and Canada now work more than eight hours a day. One in four workers say they usually work from home after their standard working day and 40 percent are working over the weekend at least once a month.

productivity

And, according to both employers and staff (although, not surprisingly, more staff than employers) believe burnout is a key factor contributing to poor productivity.

Millions of those office workers are not eligible for overtime pay (although that may change if Obama succeeds in raising the salary threshold from its current level of $23,660 to $50,440 for workers to automatically receive time-and-a-half pay after working 40 hours in a week).

But that’s not going to alleviate the burnout from overwork. Nor is the fact that the United States has no minimum paid vacation period (in contrast to the country from which I just returned, where 22 days are mandatory) or that American workers only take half of their paid time off.

Employees only use 51% of their eligible paid vacation time and paid time off, according to a recent survey of 2,300 workers who receive paid vacation. The survey was carried out by research firm Harris Interactive for the careers website Glassdoor. What’s more, 61% of Americans work while they’re on vacation, despite complaints from family members; one-in-four report being contacted by a colleague about a work-related matter while taking time off, while one-in-five have been contacted by their boss.

Workers appear to be getting more skittish when it comes to asking for time off. Although this is the first time Glassdoor asked questions about paid vacation and time off, a separate survey, “Vacation Deprivation,” carried out by Harris Interactive for travel site Expedia, shows that Americans left four days on the table within the past year, twice as many as in the previous year. That’s the equivalent of over 500 million lost vacation days a year.

Some 40% of Americans will leave vacation time on the table, a separate study released Tuesday found, citing a post-recession “work martyr complex” among worker who feel tied to their desk. The study by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications and the U.S. Travel Association — which obviously has a vested interest in workers using up all their paid vacation time — found that one-third of the 1,000-plus respondents say they cannot afford to take their time, 40% fear returning to a mountain of work and 35% believe no one else can do their work.

It’s pretty clear that, as long as American workers have no say in the places where they work and live in a country where mainstream economists and business owners celebrate work-rules “flexibility,” they will continue to be burned out and overworked.

the-strip-slide-FNMT-jumbo

Special mention

Earnings_cartoon.spare_largesbr061415dAPR20150612094516

Dave-Simonds-cartoon-on-L-001

Special mention

www.usnews David Simonds Grexit cartoon 14.06.15

mike2julyCOLOR

Special mention

americanexcesscartoon 165146_600

b24e3b2a-c70a-498b-917a-ed7176735de6-1020x712

Special mention

image universal_health_care

20140201_EUD000_0 blog_AIG_Cartoon

Seven years after the global financial crash, we’re still in the midst of a full-scale war of finance.

On one side of the Atlantic, U.S. Court of Claims Judge Thomas Wheeler found that former AIG head Hank Greenberg was indeed correct in claiming the government overstepped its legal boundaries in its “unduly harsh treatment of AIG in comparison to other institutions” that was “misguided and had no legitimate purpose.” The ruling basically confirmed the Fed’s right to create a gigantic bailout of Wall Street but denied its ability to actually determine the use of the funds by the “taking of equity” in essentially worthless financial institutions like AIG.

Finance thus continues to win the war in the United States.

And, as Ambrose Evans-­Pritchard [ht: sw] explains, finance is engaged in all-out war in Europe.

Rarely in modern times have we witnessed such a display of petulance and bad judgment by those supposed to be in charge of global financial stability, and by those who set the tone for the Western world.

The spectacle is astonishing. The European Central Bank, the EMU bail­out fund, and the International Monetary Fund, among others, are lashing out in fury against an elected government that refuses to do what it is told. They entirely duck their own responsibility for five years of policy blunders that have led to this impasse.

They want to see these rebel Klephts hanged from the columns of the Parthenon – or impaled as Ottoman forces preferred, deeming them bandits ­ even if they degrade their own institutions in the process.

The European Central Bank is actively inciting a bank run in Greece and threatening to throw that country out of the euro zone if it resists the demands of the creditors, represented by the troika, without ever seriously considering the proposals put forward by the democratically elected Syriza government.

The truth is that the creditor power structure never even looked at the Greek proposals. They never entertained the possibility of tearing up their own stale, discredited, legalistic, fatuous Troika script.

The decision was made from the outset to demand strict enforcement of the terms agreed in the original Memorandum, which even the last conservative pro­Troika government was unable to implement ­ regardless of whether it makes any sense, or actually increases the chance that Germany and other lenders will recoup their money.

At best, it is bureaucratic inertia, a prime exhibit of why the EU has become unworkable, almost genetically incapable of recognising and correcting its own errors.

At worst, it is nasty, bullying, insistence on ritual capitulation for the sake of it.

The troika, in other words, is acting like a unified debt collector, and is willing to go so far as to threaten to topple a democratically elected government to set an example that, in Greece and elsewhere in Europe, finance is willing to do anything and everything to win the war.

Special mention

165241_600 165240_600