EU: Vacationing a Basic Human Right

Posted on: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
Posted in: HR FYI, Blog | 2 comments

itsunriseIt’s old news that Americans get way less vakay than our Euro rellies.  But check this:  A new EU program would subsidize vacation travel for residents who need a break—including the elderly, 18-25 year olds, and families in difficult situations.  Disabled or up in your years?  The EU would pay for your guide. 

  • Read fine print before flying

Of course, a few caveats apply:  Travel must stay within Europe; the program won’t take full effect until 2013; and those in charge may require you to take your break during shoulder seasons or nudge you toward destinations that that need warm bodies.  The EU also hopes to encourage more Euro-unity by sending northerners south, and vice versa. 

So maybe there is no free vacation.  But at least they’re promoting down time  Heck, The EU already requires member nations to provide four weeks off, while some nations opt for more.  (France takes six, ooh la la!) 

  • US time-off laws still lousy

In the US, vacation is not a right—basic, human, or otherwise.  Employers need not give you a day off.  And of course, the majority of employees don’t use all their vacation days anyway. 

Would the USA be a more productive, healthier, happier place to live and work if everyone got to BreakAway now and then? That’s an obvious yes. 

So call your congresspeople!  Go on strike!  But don’t expect change fast, at least not while employees are hugging their desks and assembly lines during this recession—scared about job security, to say nothing of pay and benefits. 

Ergo, take care of yourself.  Retire now and then.  You’ll make more of your life—and probably your income—in the long run.

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2 Responses to “EU: Vacationing a Basic Human Right”

  1. Kim A Says:

    Love this philosophy, Kirk, and truly hope to see it spread in the US. Seems like a win/win for the economy and the individual.

    One thing I notice here in the east is 2-parent families where only one parent works, but that parent works l-o-n-g corporate hours, may even commute to another city to work during the week, and still takes minimal vacation time because it’s not “corporate” to take time off. We have to get rid of that mentality–it’s still taking a toll on the family and the individual even if one parent is home….


  2. kirk Says:

    Hi Kim A,

    Thanks for the wise words! Yes, we have that l o n g hours and commute thing going on here in the MW too. And sometimes, it’s both parents or, worse, a single parent. My heart aches, including for their kids–who I see at the school’s care program getting dropped off at 6:30 am, then picked up at 6 pm (by exhausted parents), day in day out.

    IF IF IF these folks can sneak a vakay, perhaps it feels all the more wonderful? Heck, even this July 4 Monday off has more meaning. We can only hope.


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