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Ltryptophan's avatar

What are the mandatory minimum wages, work weeks, and vacation periods throughout the E.U.?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10241points) July 11th, 2010

Just wondering how we compare with them for work compensation.

I hear France has 6 weeks vacation mandatory, and 2½ hour lunch breaks.

Anyone got the facts?

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14 Answers

ItsAHabit's avatar

I don’t know the answer to all these questions. However, I know that French wine producers are at a serious competitive disadvantage because of their high minimum pay and generous fringe benefits. This means that it’s very expensive to hire grape pickers and then very expensive to release them after the harvest.

See, for example, George Taber’s book, Judgment of Paris, especially chapter 24.

Lightlyseared's avatar

In the UK from 1 October 2010, the National Minimum Wage rates will be as follows:

Workers aged 21 and over: £5.93 (up from £5.80)
Workers aged 18–20: £4.92 (up from £4.83)
Workers aged 16–17: £3.64 (up from £3.57)

Pregnant employees are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave (T&C’s apply after week 26)

You can not be asked to work more than 48 hours a week (the average work week in the UK is 37.5 hours)

Youe are entitled to a break of at least 20 minutes (unpaid) from work during a working day of more than 6 hours, a rest from work of at least 11 hours in every 24 hours and a rest of at least 24 hours in every 7 days.

You are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave (28 days for someone working five days a week) and during your holidays you are paid at the same rate as when working. You start building up holiday as soon as you start work so after 9 weeks you are entitled to a week off. If you take the week off before that and don’t work at the company for 9 weeks then they will deduct domething from your final pay (but you will have earned at least a few days so you won’t lose a full weeks pay).

Statutory sick pay is £79.15 a week but most companies will pay more (normally after three months you will be entitled to full pay for a given period of time after that you will get statutory sick pay. Where I work I will get full pay while sick for 26 weeks of a rolling year.)

Ltryptophan's avatar

lol…thanks for the uk stats…screw healthcare reform…We need labor reform.

rebbel's avatar

The gross minimum wage in the Netherlands for people of 23 and older is 1416 euro (1790 dollar).
Most people work for about 38 – 40 hours a week and have breaks of minimum 30 minutes a day.
There are a minimum of 20 vacation days.

josie's avatar

How cool is that. By the way, who are the poor suckers who pay for all that non productive time. I wonder if they are good and pissed off.

laureth's avatar

Thing is, the Industrial Revolution happened. In Britain, where it hit first, the workers were basically made into a commodity that served business. Life was pretty rough – long hours, low pay, little time to yourself, dangerous conditions. On the Continent, they saw what happened and people wanted better. There was also a history of revolutions when the people felt like they were getting the short end of the stick. So Continental Europeans decided to keep something called “quality of life” – decent vacation time (because there, family seems to be a bigger priority), fair wages, work/life balance.

Of course, here in America they saw how it was too, but they didn’t do much in the way of safeguarding quality of life. America has a kind of frontier mentality still, “if you don’t like it, go off and start your own business or work somewhere else.” Too bad there’s not a frontier here anymore where that kind of thing is viable. Also, in America, there was the “anyone who really wants to can get stinkin’ rich” meme, so people kept throwing themselves into the machine trying. It doesn’t work for very many, but people keep hoping to win that lottery so they don’t question how it could be better.

I guess what I’m trying to say, @josie, is that people invest their resources where it’s important to them. They reap what they sow. In Europe, that vacation time, medical care, and such is what people decided was important, so they all pay for it. It’s one reason so many European countries (and Scandinavian ones in particular) keep popping up on the “most happy countries” lists.

Here in America, we decided that quality of life wasn’t worth as much as the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps, serve the machine, and maybe, someday when you’re old and have penny pinched your whole life, you too can have time to see your family” myth. Like I said, people invest in what they find important, and that’s apparently what people value here. And the little people in society, the ones who “pay” for all that prosperity achieved by the big people at the top? They’re often just as “good and pissed off” paying for their leisure and luxury (with their long hours or no hours, their sweat and their tears and the time they don’t see their family) as you imagine the happy Europeans to be.

josie's avatar

@laureth Well,not quite. Those things occurred in Europe because the socialists, and specifically the Communist parties in Europe had greater influence there than here. And now some of the happy countries are threatening to default on their debt. But your disapproving analysis of America is interesting for sure.

JLeslie's avatar

When I work full time I would gladly give up a weeks pay to have more vacation time. Most American companies won’t go for that. It doesn’t cost the government or tax payers anything.

laureth's avatar

America has some great things going for it. They know how to get things done in ways that no one else does. The sheer muscle of their manufacturing power, for example, got WWII won for the allied side. And not every country in Europe is especially happy. There are good and bad qualities about every country, @josie, if one can be objective.

laureth's avatar

Also: re “Those things occurred in Europe because the socialists, and specifically the Communist parties in Europe had greater influence there than here.”

Perhaps what happened in America is because Business and big money had more influence here than there? ;)

mattbrowne's avatar

Varies from country to country. The 2½ hour lunch breaks in France as a general policy is a myth. Most countries use flex time especially for white collar employees. Extended lunch break means you stay longer in the evening. This is very common in Italy and Spain in the summer.

mattbrowne's avatar

@josie – You’re “communist comment” is ultra-conservative polemics often created by people in the US who have never applied to even get a passport and often their news program is limited to a domestic topics. More knowledge about Europe is required for such debates. Rejecting predatory laissez-faire capitalism is not socialism.

josie's avatar

@mattbrowne The Socialist movement, and the Communist party have been more active in Europe (the Europeans in the 30s turned to the fascists because of their fear of Communism) than in the US. Are you implying that I have to produce a passport to validate the statement? What are you talking about?

mattbrowne's avatar

@josie – Sorry, hasty generalizations about cause and effect. Actually, one might argue that because the socialist movement and the communist parties had been more active in Europe in the past and Europeans know about all the problems related to this today’s politicians take this into account when making wise decisions.

As of July 24, 2009 the federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour.

It might come as a surprise but Germany for example does not have a general minimum wage policy, although this is a matter of debate. The US is already quite socialist in this respect and Germany might follow this or not.

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