Australia- Worker Benefits

Today’s post will focus on Australia. My information comes from International Labour Organization and Australian Government Fair Work Ombudsman.

Australia – Working time – 2011

Daily hours limit

The Fair Work Act 2009 does not impose a limit on daily working hours.

Weekly hours limit

The National Employment Standards prescribe the maximum weekly hours of work.

General limit

An employer must not request or require an employee to work more than the following number of hours in a week unless the additional hours are reasonable:

(a) for a full-time employee – 38 hours; or

(b) for an employee who is not a full-time employee – the lesser of 38 hours and the employee’s ordinary hours of work in a week.

Limits on overtime hours

The only limit on overtime hours prescribed by the Fair Work Act 2009 is that additional hours requested or required by an employer are to be reasonable. An employee may refuse a request to work unreasonable additional hours. Further limitations may be prescribed by the relevant award or enterprise agreement

Determining if Additional Hours are Reasonable

In determining whether additional hours are reasonable or

unreasonable, the following must be taken into account:

(a) any risk to employee health and safety from working the

additional hours;

(b) the employee’s personal circumstances, including family

responsibilities;

(c) the needs of the workplace or enterprise in which the

employee is employed;

(d) whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime

payments, penalty rates or other compensation for, or a level

of remuneration that reflects an expectation of, working

additional hours;

(e) any notice given by the employer of any request or

requirement to work the additional hours;

(f) any notice given by the employee of his or her intention to

refuse to work the additional hours;

(g) the usual patterns of work in the industry, or the part of an

industry, in which the employee works;

(h) the nature of the employee’s role, and the employee’s level

of responsibility;

(i) whether the additional hours are in accordance with

averaging terms included under section 63 in a modern award

or enterprise agreement that applies to the employee, or with

an averaging arrangement agreed to by the employer and

employee under section 64;

(j) any other relevant matter.

Vacation and Leave

4 weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers.

10 days paid personal/carer’s leave per year

2 days unpaid carer’s leave (when needed)

2 days paid compassionate leave (when needed)

12 months unpaid parental leave (plus extra entitlements for some employees).

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Argentina- Worker benefits

As I promised in my first post I am researching other countries labor laws. I hope to eventually check all 134 countries that set limits on the lengtht of the work week. I have decided to start with the G-20 members. I will do one at a time to keep the length of the post down and give myself time to research. Today is about Argentina, my information comes from International Labour Organization and Ministry of Labour, Employment and Formation of Human Resources (using a translator program, since my Spanish is very limited).

Argentina -Working Time- 2011

Daily hours limit

General limit

The hours of work shall not exceed 8 hours per day.

The hours of work shall not exceed 48 hours per week.

Exceptions

The limitation of 8 hours does not apply to workers holding responsible positions, when the work is performed in teams, or in cases of accident, urgency, or force majeure (unexpected or uncontrollable event) ,when the work cannot be made during normal working hours.

The limitation of 48 hours does not apply to workers holding responsible positions, when the work is performed in teams, or in cases of accident, urgency, or force majeure, when the work cannot be made during normal working hours

Special categories

Night work

The hours of night work shall not exceed 7 hours per day.

Where hours of night work are combined with hours performed during day time, the limit of working hours shall be proportionally reduced by 8 minutes for every hour of night work.

 In cases in which the work is carried out in unhealthy conditions, the hours of work shall not exceed 6 per day.

 In cases in which the work is carried out in unhealthy conditions, the hours of work shall not exceed 36 per week.

Shift work

The 8 hour limit can be exceeded, provided the average hours worked over a three-week period do not exceed the 48 hour weekly limit.

 The 48 hour limit can be extended, if the average hours worked over a three-week period do not exceed the limit.

The hours of work in any individual week must not exceed 56 hours.

Young workers

It is not permitted to employ young workers (16-18 years old) more than 6 hours per day.

With the permission of the relevant government authority, young workers (over 16 years of age) may work up to 8 hours per day.

 It is not permitted to employ young workers (16-18 years old) more than 36 hours per week.

With the permission of the relevant government authority, young workers (over 16 years of age) may work up to 48 hours per week.

Agricultural workers

The 8 hour limit does not apply to agricultural workers.

The 48 hour limit does not apply to agricultural workers.

Domestic work

No daily limit applies for domestic workers. *

No weekly limit applies for domestic workers.*

*The Congress of Argentina approved on 17 March 2011, a Bill for discussion in the Senate regulating the working conditions of Domestic Workers and modifying the current Act on Employment Contracts. This Law will considerably change the working conditions of these workers in many aspects, among others, the limits in the daily hours of work. However, these modifications are not included since they are not yet implemented.

Vacations                                                                                                                                                                                     Vacations or regular annual license is awarded annually by the employer to the worker, continuous and remunerated, rest periods and annual leave vacation is called.

 The number of days of rest will depend on length of employment:

Less than 5 years: 14 days.

More than 5 years and less than 10 years: 21 days.

More than 10 years and less than 20 years: 28 days.

More than 20 years: 35 calendar days.

 Employee must have rendered services, at a minimum, half of the working days in the calendar year. If you fail to complete the minimum time, rest period which shall be calculated in the following way: 1 day of rest for every 20 days of work.

Family Values

This is not the next post I had intended to write but it’s been on my mind.

George W. Bush argued that because tax payments take up such a large percentage of families’ incomes, it effectively forced people to work more and spend less time at home. “Many middle class families work three jobs: his, hers and the joint responsibility of raising children. High taxes rob families of time to be with each other, and be with their children.”

He did cut taxes. He raised the child tax credit from $600 to $1,000. He also reduced the marriage penalty. I am not complaining about those things but that did nothing to help with having family time. His father used “family values” as a campaign issue repeatedly but I can’t tell he did anything to promote family values. I don’t understand how you can say you are working for families and then ignore the fact that American worker’s have no time with their families. I think we may in fact be moving backwards.

I was remembering my childhood. Both of my parents worked. My mom was a stay-at-home mom after my brother was born, until he went to school. Then she went back to work. I never felt like I didn’t get to see my parents. They would wake us up in the morning (both of them) and take us to our babysitters to catch the school bus. We may have spent an hour there in the mornings. Then in the afternoon we would spend about 30 mins there after getting off the bus. Both of our parents were home to help us with home work and to spend time with us. We watched tv in the evenings, we only had one tv so it was a family activity. I don’t remember them working weekends. I do remember going fishing and hunting together. Not things I enjoy as an adult but I do have found memories of spending that time with my parents. Every summer we would go on a family vacation to either Florida or Gulf Shores. We had so much fun on those trips. When I think about those times I can sometimes still smell the ocean and feel the breeze. If you here my mom tell the story we complained after being there for a day or two, we missed our toys, we got salt water in our eyes, salt and sand in our swimsuits and it was too hot. But I loved those trips, they are some of my happiest memories from childhood. There is nothing like seeing the sunset while out on a pier fishing or watching someone hook a sea turtle and everyone wondering what they got that is so big, or watching your daddy catch a sand shark while fishing on the beach and scaring everyone in the process.

We used to go swimming a lot at a place called Little River Canyon Mouth park. Sometimes we would camp there back when you were allowed to. My dad always wanted to hike farther into the canyon and we would complain and ask why we couldn’t swim at the mouth area. My mom would usually get stuck carrying everything and my dad would end up getting way ahead of us with his long legs, then have to wait on us to catch up. It probably wasn’t as much fun for them as it was for my brother and me, but I am so thankful to them for the experiences and the time we spent together. They really did a lot for us and with us. Toys were great but they are long since forgotten but time and memories are invaluable.

When I was a little older my dad started his own roofing business, he was then able to set his own hours. Sometimes I think he worked more but he still had time for us. He coached my softball team and my mom helped and kept score. Sometimes my dad missed my brothers games and sometimes my mom missed mine if we weren’t playing at the same place (he played baseball), but one of them was always there. Those were great times too. Girls I went to school with that played on my dad’s team even wrote in my senior year book about how much fun they had playing softball with us. There were times when my brother and I disliked how involved they were because my dad would always tell us on the way home what we could have done better. I still like to tease him that he would tell me I should have caught a ball that was on the other side of the field or get onto me for something someone else did.

I also got to do things with just my mom or my dad and so did my brother. I remember another trip to Florida after we were older. My dad and brother would fish and my mom and I would shop, sightsee or whatever. She found this little cheesecake place that we went to I think every day we were there just the two of us. To this day I still think that was the best cheesecake I have ever ate. I’m not sure if it was really that good or if it was going with my mom. I think we may have taken my brother and dad back a piece once, but it was mostly just our thing.

Getting back to the present day and wondering if we have gone backwards. Things are completely different for my family. We have only ever really had one family vacation and that was before our son was born. My husbands vacation time always gets put on hold or they change the terms of it before he is eligible to take a vacation. Then when he has gotten it approved he has had to take it in Dec. when we don’t have the money or time to go anywhere. We have taken our kids to that same canyon a few times and they love it there but we haven’t been able to go in a couple of years. We try to take them to the park when we can but it’s usually just me. My husband defiantly doesn’t have time to coach any teams (although he did get to one time, before the economy crashed and it was great). My husband works every Saturday unless he ask off and even then he doesn’t always get it. I didn’t think we were going to be able to celebrate our anniversary this year because he couldn’t get a day off. We ended up just having to go after he got off work.

I can say for certain that even with all the talk on promoting families and family values that for my family we are not better off than we were 20 years ago, we are actually worse.

I would love to hear from others? Do you get family time? Are you over worked? Even if you don’t live in the U.S I would still like to hear from you.

Lack of Worker Protection in the United States

I’m new to this so bare with me while I figure it out. I am creating this blog because I want to encourage people to stand up for what they believe. I think we should all use our voice and tell our government what we need and want. What I want is protection for our workers. For the last 6 months my husband has been working too much overtime. It started in Jan. with 12 hour shifts was only suppose to last a month until they got a new piece of equipment in. Well here we are almost the end of June and that piece of equipment arrived many months ago and several others have since. My husband is still working way too many hours any where from 10-12 hours a day usually 6 days a week, some times 7. We keep hearing after this happens or after that happens then the overtime will slow down but it never does.

 

Father’s day weekend the company my husband works for said it would be shutting down for the weekend but they would have to work 12 hour shifts for the rest of the week (Tues-Fri). Then on Tuesday my husband was told he and the rest of the maintenance team would have to work Sat. when everyone else was off. I am understanding of this because sometimes maintenance has to work on equipment when it is not running, but I was upset that weekend because they were told they were off and we had told our kids and everyone was excited that daddy would be off work for two whole days. Then on Wednesday they company decided that they would be working 12 hour shifts for the rest of the month but only Mon-Fri. No weekend work. My husband called me few hours ago to tell me that he cut his finger pretty bad and that he is going to have to work Sat and Sun this week. That is in addition to working 12 hours this week and the rest of the month. So NO off day until at least next weekend. I’m upset first I did what I usually do cried. I miss my husband. I feel like a single mom. Then I got pissed. I had already been researching labor laws and found that the U.S really have none to speak of. So Today I found my voice and decided I am going to change this. I have emailed my representatives and will mail letters to the ones I can not. I am really hoping that others will do the same. For today I am going to leave you will a few points I read from an article at http://20somethingfinance.com/american-hours-worked-productivity-vacation/

 

 At least 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of the work week; the U.S. does not.

 

There is not a federal law requiring paid sick days in the United States.

 

The U.S. remains the only industrialized country in the world that has no legally mandated annual leave.

 

In every country included except Canada and Japan (and the U.S., which averages 13 days/per year), workers get at least 20 paid vacation days. In France and Finland, they get 30 – an entire month off, paid, every year.

 

In future posts I will be exploring this matter farther. I plan to research other countries labor laws and see just how we stack up. In America we pride ourselves on everyone being treated equally and encourage other countries to treat their citizens and workers fairly. It is time we do the same!