America is the no-vacation nation, which leads to lower productivity and health problems. Now some economists are complaining that mandatory paid vacations are draconian. Really?
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It’s no fantasy that businesses can provide paid vacations to workers. The rest of the industrialized world has proven businesses can be both successful and humanitarian. America, on the other hand, continues to grouse any time businesses might be required to avoid running modern-day gulags.
Benefits of Paid Vacations
Medical Daily cites a number of reasons why Americans should be taking vacations. On the personal side, time off from work gives people the opportunity to strengthen their family bonds. Often, family is the reason we need to work to make money, so it stands to reason we might want to enjoy some good time off with our loved ones.
Time off from work may increase worker productivity. It gives us time to “recharge our batteries,” gain some long-term perspective and allow our creative juices to flow. Sometimes workers come back from vacation with new energy and new ideas.
Problems With Mandatory Paid Vacations
Forbes contributor Adam Ozimek seems to feel that workers’ cups are only half empty, not completely empty. He worries that if employers are told they are required to pay workers for vacation days, the workers will lose their ability to negotiate which among the plethora of fringe benefits they might like to choose, and will have to put up with being forced to be paid to take a couple of weeks off every year. The horror.
This argument assumes that non-union employees have any bargaining power to begin with, which they don’t. At-will employment ensures that workers can be replaced the minute they start to sound expensive.
Cost of Vacations
To be fair, Ozimek also brings up seemingly realistic arguments that employers will be unable to afford to hire as many people if they have to pay workers for a couple of weeks off every year. Plus, if this benefit is only mandatory for full-time workers, Ozimek predicts that all jobs will become part-time as employers look for ways of avoiding providing benefits.
It is reasonable to think that many employers will respond by trying to avoid paying benefits, at least at first. It is unreasonable, however, to think that America is truly unable to provide decent benefits to those employed in the private sector. Every other first-world nation does so; so can we.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you think American workers deserve benefits such as a paid vacation? We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment or join the conversation on Twitter.