overworked.jpgFamily friendly policies will bankrupt a company and a nation, right?

Wrong!

A new comprehensive study finds that being nice to workers by offering them programs such as paid sick days and parental leave actually helps competitiveness.

“There simply is no negative relationship at all between decent working conditions and competitiveness or job creation,” said Jody Heymann, founding director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University, about a worldwide study that was conducted in conjunction with McGill and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Here are some of the key findings of the study titled “Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth that We Can’t Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone”:

* 14 of the world’s 15 most competitive countries provide paid sick leave
* 13 guarantee paid leave for new mothers
* 12 provide paid leave for new fathers
* 11 provide paid leave to care for children’s health needs
* 8 provide paid leave to care for adult family members
* 7 guarantee breastfeeding breaks to nursing mothers on the job

And guess what, the United States as a nation offers a big ZERO when it comes to these policies.

Yes, many smart corporations provides such programs on their own, but there are no federal mandates to adopt such family friendly necessities. And I say necessities for a reason.

During this swine flu scare, every politician and health expert has been telling people to stay home if they have any symptoms. Folks, that’s easier said than done if you have no paid sick days.

We need these policies to help make America more competitive.

“The world’s most successful and competitive nations are providing the supports the United States lacks, without harming their competitiveness,” Heymann said.

“Globally, we found that none of these working conditions are linked with lower levels of economic competitiveness or employment,” she added. “We found that a number of these guarantees are associated with increased competitiveness. Ensuring a floor of decent working conditions is crucial for the majority of Americans. The United States lags far behind most of the 190 countries whose labor laws we examined.”

We need to get with the program already, right?

Food for thought. Here’s how we stack up against a host of countries:

· 163 nations around the world guarantee paid sick leave; the U.S. does not.
· 164 nations guarantee paid annual leave; the U.S. does not.
· 177 nations guarantee paid leave for new mothers; the U.S. does not.
· 74 nations guarantee paid leave for new fathers; the U.S. does not.
· 48 nations guarantee paid time off to care for children’s health; the U.S. does not.
· 157 nations guarantee workers a day of rest each week; the U.S. does not.

· 148 nations guarantee a wage premium for mandatory overtime, including the U.S.

At least we mandate pay for work, which is nice.

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