Wednesday 17th of April 2024

the rattus model .....

the rattus model .....

from the Centre for American Progress .....

As summer approaches, many Americans are thinking about vacation plans. But unfortunately, nearly one in four Americans receive no paid vacation or holiday time. Even worse, nearly "half of all full-time private sector workers in the U.S. get no paid sick days," with low-income workers, parents, and people with chronic illnesses hit the hardest. Businesses also suffer in productivity and other workers face health risks when sick employees are forced to go to work. The American public overwhelmingly agrees that all workers deserve days off from work; 95 percent of workers believe it is "unacceptable" for employers to deny sick days. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have introduced the Healthy Families Act (HFA), which would guarantee that workers receive at least seven paid sick days each year. Tell Congress to support this legislation here.

For many Americans, getting sick may mean getting fired. "At least 145 countries have paid sick days," notes Public Welfare Foundation president Debra Leff. "The United States is the only industrialized country lacking such a policy." The situation is the worst for the nation's lowest wage earners, 80 percent of whom receive no sick days. Food service workers, who are in constant contact with the public, are also among the least likely to receive paid sick days. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote recently, "Eighty-six percent get no sick days at all. They show up in the restaurants coughing and sneezing and feverish, and they start preparing and serving meals. You won't see many of them wearing masks." Similarly, 55 percent of retail workers and 29 percent of health care and social assistance workers receive no paid sick days. Additionally, workers "who do not have paid sick days for doctors' visits do not have the opportunity to get important preventive care, such as flu shots and vaccinations." A study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research finds that 40 percent of workers "report having contracted the flu from a colleague." "The lack of paid sick days isn't just a family issue -- it's also a public health issue," Kennedy said. "When sick people go to work or sick children go to school, they infect their coworkers or fellow students and the public as well."

Children also suffer when employers do not provide paid sick leave. Just one in three workers receive paid sick days to care for a child, meaning parents are forced to choose between losing a day's pay or sending a sick child to school. Just as viruses rapidly spread in workplaces, the same happens in schools. Even though child-care centers require sick children to remain home, "when parents cannot get off work to stay home with them, many sick children do end up in care." An even bigger threat to children's health occurs when parents are unable to take time off to ensure that their children receive needed preventive care, such as immunizations and well-child visits. Failure to ensure that all children receive timely preventive care has long-term implications for not only their health, but our national health care spending.

Most people don't want to interact with a co-worker who is sick. In a recent survey, 59 percent of businesses said that they have a problem with presenteeism -- workers showing up to work when they are sick -- compared to 39 percent two years ago. A study by Cornell University "found that presenteeism despite medical problems costs $180 billion annually in lost productivity, and may be more costly than absenteeism due to illness." Yet despite these facts, many businesses still do not recognize that employees need paid sick days. Herbert recently contacted Cracker Barrel Old Country Store about its lack of paid sick leave. The company simply responded, "If employees need to miss a shift due to illness, there are generally many opportunities to make up that lost shift later in the week, or the next week." Ness notes that this type of policy can lead to "economic disaster" for many workers.

"The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation," according to a new study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Approximately 28 million Americans receive no paid vacation or holiday leave. Lower-wage workers "are less likely to have any paid vacation (69 percent) than higher-wage workers are (88 percent). The same is true for part-timers, who are far less likely to have paid vacations (36 percent) than are full-timers (90 percent)." Even the national average -- nine paid days of vacation and six paid days of holiday -- is "less than the minimum legal standard" set in almost all the world's rich economies.

Kennedy and DeLauro's HFA mandating that employers with 15 or more employees provide at least seven paid sick days would benefit 66 million Americans: "46 million would gain access to paid sick days; 19 million would gain paid sick days for leave for doctors' visits and family care; and 1 million Americans would gain additional paid sick days." "Paid sick leave is a basic right of people in the workplace and the price paid for denying employees paid sick leave is felt by all of us," said DeLauro. Currently, California is the only state mandating comprehensive paid family leave. The law "provides most Californians with six weeks of partial pay when they take leave from work" to care for a family member. Rutgers University's Eileen Appelbaum and the UCLA's Ruth Milkman note that while the Family Medical Leave Act guarantees "12 weeks of unpaid family leave to eligible employees at large companies, many working families cannot afford to take the time off work without pay," making clear why the HFA is necessary.

meanwhile, back at the awstraylen outhouse office …..

Labor has laughed at the Howard Government's attempt to fix its industrial relations problem by changing the name of the 'WorkChoices' laws, with Julia Gillard saying the next step would be to rename the Iraq War the 'Iraq Peace'.

The Government yesterday ordered that the WorkChoices hotline be renamed the Workplace Hotline & senior Ministers have stopped using the word 'WorkChoices'.

Workplace Relations Minister, “smokin’ joe” Hockey, claimed this was because the 'scare campaign' by Labor & the unions had had 'some impact'.

'The fear campaign has worked,' he said.

However not all Ministers seem to have got the message, with Treasurer Peter Costello saying, curiously, 'As far as I know no edict has reached my ears.'

Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, derided the change, saying that if the Government's IR system 'smells', 'looks' & has the 'effect' of WorkChoices 'then it is Howard's old WorkChoices legislation that we're dealing with'.

Health Minister, Tony Abbott, seemed to back this up when in a TV debate with Labor's IR spokeswoman Julia Gillard, he responded to her question: 'if the policy is so good why has an edict gone out to Howard Government personnel to not use the words WorkChoices?' by saying: 'A rose by any other name, Julia.'

Hockey said yesterday that the creating of the new 'Fairness Test' for AWAs under WorkChoices - for which the legislation is yet to be drafted - meant that the IR policy was now 'different' & therefore needed another name. And he forecast another massive spending spree of taxpayer's money on TV ads pushing the Government's IR laws, saying 'we make no apologies for properly informing people about what's going on'.

However, ACTU President, Sharan Burrow, said it was a matter of 'new name, same old unfair laws'.

'We have the same old unfair IR laws, but now they will be given a new name in an attempt to cover up their impact on the take home pay & lack of job security for working Australians,' she said. 'It is a desperate measure from a Government that doesn't care about working families & is only interested in getting re-elected.

'Banning the name ' WorkChoices' won't alter the fact that people are being ripped off by the new IR laws.'

Burrow said more than four million Australians have lost protection from being sacked unfairly under the laws.

'Working Australians are being ripped off by the loss of penalty rates, overtime pay, public holiday payments, leave loading & other award entitlements under John Howard's IR laws, & the Government's new 'Fairness Test' is farce,' she said.

Why work when you can steal...?

Bilking the Elderly, With a Corporate Assist
Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Published: May 20, 2007

The thieves operated from small offices in Toronto and hangar-size rooms in India. Every night, working from lists of names and phone numbers, they called World War II veterans, retired schoolteachers and thousands of other elderly Americans and posed as government and insurance workers updating their files.

Then, the criminals emptied their victims’ bank accounts.

Richard Guthrie, a 92-year-old Army veteran, was one of those victims. He ended up on scam artists’ lists because his name, like millions of others, was sold by large companies to telemarketing criminals, who then turned to major banks to steal his life’s savings.

Mr. Guthrie, who lives in Iowa, had entered a few sweepstakes that caused his name to appear in a database advertised by infoUSA, one of the largest compilers of consumer information. InfoUSA sold his name, and data on scores of other elderly Americans, to known lawbreakers, regulators say.


Gus:  One major problem is that the "big" firms can "sell" their list to "honest telemarketers who may employ a few bad eggs who will on-sell the info, encrypted or not —or used for themselves — to would be teleracketeers... The gap is not even a foot wide. Regulators have major problems to regulate...