Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No vacation nation

Oh yeah... and while we're at it... another reason it's not so hot being a (working) US mom: not enough vacation time.

CNN has a piece on how lame our national vacation policy is, compared with other "advanced" nations.

Germany is among more than two dozen industrialized countries -- from Australia to Slovenia to Japan -- that require employers to offer four weeks or more of paid vacation to their workers, according to a 2009 study by the human resources consulting company Mercer.

Finland, Brazil and France are the champs, guaranteeing six weeks of time off.

But employers in the United States are not obligated under federal law to offer any paid vacation, so about a quarter of all American workers don't have access to it, government figures show.

That makes the U.S. the only advanced nation in the world that doesn't guarantee its workers annual leave, according to a report titled "No-Vacation Nation" by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal policy group.
For the record, mandatory (paid) leave is not just good for your mental health. It's a must from a computer security point of view -- it's one tool for detecting fraudulent activities -- the vacationer's backup will be exposed to the vacationer's records and may come across fishy transactions.

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's not so hot to be a US mom

In fact, "The United States ranked number 31 out of 43 developed countries," according to this article. It goes on to say,

Only 58% of U.S. kids go to preschool compared with 98% in Iceland, 95% in Norway and 82% in Australia.

Compared with other developed countries, U.S. scored dead last is in the issue of paid maternity leave, Powers said. In the U.S., the typical family leave is 12 weeks compared with six months to a year in Europe, where mothers can bond with their babies and establish good breast-feeding practices.

The CNN article is based on statistics Save the Children's 12th annual Mothers' Index, which "analyzes health, education and economic conditions for women and children in 164 countries". It is worth taking a look at. Among the other horrifying statistics, we have

  • An under 5 mortality rate of 8 per 1000 live births -- only 10 "developed" countries countries do worse (places like Albania, Belarus, Romania, etc.)
  • A lifetime risk of maternal death of 1 in 2100, higher than any of the 43 developed countries except Albania, the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation
It never fails to amaze me how we manage to be the richest country on earth, and yet take such poor care of women and children.