America may be technologically advanced and has great business novelty, but Americans are yet to learn about balancing their work and life from Europeans, this has been proven over and over by latest polls.
American workers work for long hours because they are workaholic. Doing well at work is important for an individual’s self image and to send the right message to their bosses. It also sends a positive signal to the world saying that America is open for business round the year. In fact, many managers in the U.S. reward their employees for their workaholic behavior. They prefer if their employees stay late and arrive early to work, not take leave and even if they take, they work during holidays. The other reason is more of a psychological one i.e. most American workers feel insecure when it comes to their counterpart countries.
Americans have the shortest paid leave vacation than European workers. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) report last year, America is the only country that does not provide legal guarantee of paid leave. About 77 per cent of private sectors provide 21 days of paid leave to their employees. This means that one in four Americans do not get paid leave. These people mostly represent the lower class. Even though many European countries have increased their working hours, employees get four to six weeks of paid vacation in a year. This has led to an increase in productivity. This is why Europe can still give America a run for its money.
Europeans have improved employment protection for their workers, which takes care of unemployed workers, sick leave, working hours, taking a break in between work. Many European countries have signed up for Working Time Directive. Under this directive, the European Union ensures that on an average workers do not work beyond 48 hours in a week, including other restrictions like taking breaks and duration of a shift. On the other hand, in the U.S., there is little employment protection and workers are in danger of losing their job instantly if they do not perform well. Therefore, many workers do not take leave because they feel it will send a message to their bosses that they are not giving their 100 percent.
American workers are passive in nature when compared to their European counterparts. European workers take on the streets whenever there is unemployment problem, companies cut down wages and benefits, unlike American workers.
Studies and polls have shown that working for long hours can effect health and relationship. Our body is like a machine which wears out when overused. If the workers do not invest their personal time in relationship, it can lead to a lot of stress and affect their work life too. Therefore, American workers need to learn a lot from European workers.