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Were you disgusted stores forcing their workers to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas?  

Shoppers on Thanksgiving Day
Karl Gehring, Denver Post file photo
Here's how we push back: paid holidays! It's a travesty that the US doesn't have paid holiday laws.  Most other first-world nations do.  This is not some wild-eyed untried idea and would benefit workers for a variety of reasons.
Graph showing other nations with paid holidays
Center for Economic and Policy Research graph (http://www.cepr.net/...)

The US has 10 federal holidays and each state has their own list of holidays.  This is on par with most other first world nations.  However--unlike in those other nations--in the US whether you have to work on these days or not depends on either the generosity of your employer and/or your union contract.  There is no mandate that you be given the day off--paid or unpaid.  This might come as a surprise to many people.  To others it may not.  

Government employees almost universally get these days as paid time off. To many people this it may be a source of resentment: why should their taxes go to pay for government employees (state or federal) to take the day off when they have to work?   Republicans have used this sort of resentment has lead to the anti-government-worker/anti-public-union legislation pushed in many states (especially my own state of Wisconsin).  What if progressives were to flip this resentment on its head: instead of punishing the public employees, expand their benefits to everyone?

State Level

Another travesty is the fact that almost none of the legislatures of "blue states" have pushed this at the state level.  Let's look at a handful of these states and see what their laws are:

California - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Colorado - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Connecticut - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Delaware - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
D.C. - Employers only required to let employees take off April 16, "District of Columbia Emancipation Day" (unpaid). Can require employees to work all other Holidays, no extra pay.
Hawaii - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Illinois - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Iowa - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Maine - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Maryland - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Massachusetts - MA requires retail establishments to close on certain holidays and pay time and a half on others.
Michigan - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Minnesota - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
New Hampshire - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
New Jersey - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
New Mexico - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
New York - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Oregon - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Pennsylvania - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Rhode Island - Employees have the right to refuse to work on state holidays.  If they do work, they must be paid time and a half.
Vermont - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Washington - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.
Wisconsin - Employers can require employees to work Holidays, no extra pay.

Not a single state provides for paid holidays.  Only a couple (MA & RI) require unpaid holidays and/or time & 1/2.  D.C. has only one unpaid holiday that employees can request off.  You'd think that in a least one of these legislatures, over the decades, a law would be passed.

Benefits of paid holidays

  • Allow low-paid workers to spend time with their families
  • Get rid of "two-tier" holidays where retail workers have to work while everyone else (except emergency workers) get the day off.

What would paid holidays look like?

We don't have to look far: our neighbors to the north ensure that their citizens get paid holidays.  Let's look at Ontario:

  • Employers are required to give employees 9 holidays off
  • Employees can agree in writing to work the holiday but then must be either paid time and a half or be given a "substitute holiday"--another day, paid
  • Applies to full time employees and part time employees scheduled to work that day.
  • Some industries, hotels, hospitals, gas stations can require employees to work but must either pay them time and a half of give them a substitute holiday.
  • If the holiday falls on a day the business is closed (i.e.: weekend or Monday) employee is entitled to holiday pay anyway
  • If the holiday falls on a day the employee is on vacation, he/she is still entitled to holiday pay.
  • If the holiday falls on a day the employee is on sick leave, he/she is still entitled to holiday pay.
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Comment Preferences

  •  I work as a janitor but it is a union job, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, Nova Land

    (SEIU), so we get paid holidays, including Thanksgiving and the Friday after; Christmas Eve Day and Christmas; New Years Eve day and Jan. 1st.

    Thank you to those who negotiated this into our contract.  

    I, for one, refuse to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, and even try to avoid filling my gas tank those days.

    I love sports. Whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio. -- Gerald R. Ford

    by mideedah on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:04:35 PM PST

  •  You forgot (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, scott jones, Nova Land

    One of the big advantages of a decent amount of paid time off for employers is an increase in productivity.

    Wolfgang Seidl, head of Mercer's healthcare consulting business, said: "Despite continued economic turmoil, interest in the issue work/life balance continues to grow. From the employee's and company's perspective, health creates wealth. Companies recognise that a healthy, happy workforce is a productive one and this feeds directly into the bottom line.
    There are additional national advantages that the rate of unemployment would reduce as more workers are taken on to cover those on holiday. A boost will be given to tourism and other service industries as those workers use their time off for recreation, not recovery from overwork.

    We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:49:40 PM PST

  •  Where I work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land

    only full-time employees get paid vacations, but everyone gets time and a half for working the holidays. Our time & a half holidays are Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.

    Coincidentally, those are the same holidays with ZERO bus service.

    English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

    by Youffraita on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:21:52 PM PST

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