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Posts: 1529/2365
(19-Jul-2004 at 18:15)


Different Priorities? Work & Leisure in Europe and elsewhere

Found this article in the newspaper today, found it interesting. nothing new, really, but a nice synopsis on the differences between European attitudes towards what work should be like - work to live - and others', especially Americans', notion of the issue - live to work -.
here goes:

Quote:
(Source: IHT, Monday July 19 2004, Frontpage/International)

Continent guards its right to leisure

Katrin Bennhold/IHT
Monday, July 19, 2004


'We are not in a race with the U.S.'

COPENHAGEN In between mountains of suitcases and children racing each other with luggage trolleys at the airport here, Maibritt Ditlev - her husband, Anders, and daughter, Lotte, in tow - remarked that her whole country seemed to be going on vacation.

"In Europe we like our summer holidays," she said, stressing that even a lot of cash would not tempt her to give up their two-week trip to Iceland. In fact, she also works part time because she treasures her time off.

"We have a nice house and can afford to go on two family holidays a year," she said. "What would we need more money for?"

This image of a casual West European work ethic tends to be viewed with something just short of scorn among the world's other wealthy economies.

As Europeans like the Ditlevs happily continue to trade in income for a slice of leisure time that would be unthinkable in the United States or Asia, the gloomy headlines about the Continent's economic future have multiplied.

Europe, the standard criticism goes, has failed to match America's economic expansion for the best part of the past decade and has even begun trailing Japan in recent quarters. Its citizens are on average almost 30 percent poorer than their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic, according to income-per-capita data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Potential growth in the next decade risks being stuck at about 2 percent - one percentage point below that projected for the United States.

Is Europe, which has about the shortest workweeks and longest vacations in the world, doomed to lag behind, a victim of its penchant for ever more leisure and an overly generous welfare state?

One response: If the answer is yes, then so what?

Rather than a failure to catch up with its more industrious competitors because of faltering productivity growth, Europe's more modest income level mainly reflects a series of policy choices that have tended to put a premium on leisure and equality at the expense of greater wealth.

Over the past half-century, West Europeans have gradually opted to work less and take longer vacations. They have put in place varying national versions of public universal health care, education and retirement benefits. They have set up a complex web of minimum income legislation, ranging from unemployment subsidies to disability benefits and basic social welfare, in a bid to limit the risk of destitution. These patterns, established over decades, are now gradually being adopted by the generally much poorer former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

As Joaquín Almunia, a European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, put it: For Europeans, economic growth is a tool, not an end in itself.

"We are not in a race with the U.S.," he said. "Our goal is not to grow as fast as the U.S. or anybody else but to do what we need to protect our economic and social model."

There is plenty to do to keep the system financed and the moral principles underlying it alive, Almunia said on the margins of a conference last month.

The European Union faces challenges ranging from a stagnant, aging population to chronic underemployment and the competitive pressures coming from the new eastern member states and Asian growth centers like China and India. It has already missed many of the targets it set for itself in its bid to become the world's most competitive economy by 2010, as pledged at a leaders' summit meeting in Lisbon four years ago. But for all the bad press the European economy receives, it is so far not performing that poorly.

The growth in gross domestic product of the 15 members constituting the EU before its May 1 enlargement lagged that of the United States by about one percentage point a year in the past decade. This was largely because the region's population expanded at less than half the pace of that of the United States. The average income per person actually grew at the same clip on both sides of the Atlantic - at about 1.8 percent a year, according to Kevin Daly, an economist at Goldman Sachs in London.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, West European productivity growth actually outpaced that of the United States over the past 30 years: GDP per hour in the EU is currently about 10 percent below the American level; in 1970, that gap was closer to 35 percent, according to the EU's Ameco database. Some countries, including France, now have productivity levels exceeding those in the United States.

If Europeans are still poorer than their American counterparts, it is because fewer of them hold jobs, and those who do have gradually reduced the time they spend at work in roughly the same proportion as their productivity gains over the past 30 years. Americans have been much more hesitant to work fewer hours, keeping the tally virtually unchanged over the past 10 years despite strong growth. The result: They work 18 percent more hours than Europeans.

"You have to ask yourself who really is the odd one out," Daly said. "Leisure is a normal good, and as you become richer, economic theory says that you consume more of it."

The Atlantic, it seems, separates two radically different philosophies of life.

Polls show that Europeans are by and large happy to pay high taxes in return for social services, and anecdotal evidence suggests that the concept of well-being in Europe is less linked to material wealth than it is in America.

"It's a different mentality," said Kenneth Rogoff, an economist at Harvard University and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.

Enjoying a coffee with a colleague at a brasserie in western Paris, Thomas Levassor, 28, said he had worked in Silicon Valley as a software engineer for three years but had chosen to come back to France to have a family.

"There is a window of maybe five years where the American lifestyle is great - when you're young and healthy and ambitious and single," he said. "After that, other things become more important, like culture and family, and then you're much better off in France."

Giuseppe Roma, who conducts society studies at the Rome-based research group Censis, said European shoppers were increasingly turning away from status-quo purchases to spend their money on lifestyle products. The new attitude, he said, is to care about the "real quality of life," meaning, I may not buy Prada, but I will buy organic olive oil.

Some economists say the Continent's social model is costing Europe dearly. In a society that prides itself on egalitarian values, too many people are either unemployed or altogether outside the labor market, doubly raiding public coffers by not paying taxes and often receiving benefits at the same time.

The jobless rate in the EU's 15 old members rose to 7.8 percent last year, compared with 6.1 percent in the United States, according to the OECD. More striking, 36 percent of Europe's working-age adults do not hold a job, a proportion that drops to 29 percent in America. Two-thirds of those in Europe's so-called inactive pool of labor say that, given the right conditions, they would rather work, according to surveys cited by Raymond Torres, an employment specialist at the OECD.

Headlines about persistently high unemployment have also had a chilling effect on household optimism about living standards and trimmed consumer spending, slowing a major driver of European growth. With a rising number of retirees, joblessness is also increasingly putting the Continent's state-financed pension and health systems under strain: The combined burden is forecast to rise to as much as 8 percent of GDP in most EU member states, the European Commission estimates.

Martin Baily, who headed the White House's Council of Economic Advisers under former President Bill Clinton, says the key for European policy makers is to replace the concept of job security with that of employment security.

High minimum wages, coupled with high payroll taxes and strict job protection laws, have priced low-skilled workers out of the labor market in Europe's core economies, notably Germany and France, he said.

"The notion of social cohesion has tended to protect existing workers to the detriment of those out of a job," said Baily, who is now a senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics in Washington. "But that doesn't mean that you have to dismantle the welfare state. There are European solutions for European problems." Instead of an American-style anything-goes labor-market, the Continent has its own success stories to learn from, Baily said. Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands have all increased employment beyond even the levels recorded in the United States by conditioning generous benefits on tangible efforts to return to a job.

Take Denmark, for example: A country with almost 80 percent union membership and double-digit unemployment as recently as 1993, it boasts one of the highest female and overall employment rates in the world. Unemployed job-seekers receive 90 percent of their last salary (up to a ceiling), counseling, training and financial help for relocating if a vacancy matching their profile arises elsewhere. But if they fail to participate in the job activation program, their benefits are immediately removed. All of this comes at a cost to taxpayers: In total, Danish labor programs cost almost 5 percent of GDP, compared with 3.1 percent in France and 0.7 percent in the United States. But there are not only costs to a generous welfare state. Europe has less child poverty, a lower incidence of illiteracy and a smaller prison population than the United States, OECD statistics show. Europeans also have a slightly higher life expectancy and can hope to spend more of their old age in good health.

According to surveys conducted by the World Database of Happiness, which is run by Ruut Veenhoven, a professor at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, citizens in many European nations are more satisfied with their lives than Americans and other more hard-working nations, like Japan, where people have been clocking up even more hours than in the United States. More significant, happiness in the United States and Japan has been flat over the past 30 years but has risen in most West European countries.

"The welfare state is an efficiency device against market failure," said Nicholas Barr, professor of public economics at the London School of Economics. "It's a perfectly rational policy to accept lower output for higher welfare."

Americans may be unlikely to embrace Europe's welfare model, but sooner or later the laws of consumer economics are likely to persuade them to resume trimming their work hours in line with rising income, economists like Daly and Rogoff say.

At the same time, recent soul-searching in Europe about relaxing some of its labor legislation, coupled with agreements by some factory employees to work more hours, suggests that the decline in working hours will slow on the European side of the Atlantic.

As in the late 1980s, when commentators were promising nothing but gloom and stagnation for the United States, they may have it wrong again.

According to Rogoff, there is a one-in-three chance that the European economy will leap past that of the United States over the next 15 years.

Among the factors favoring Europe in the coming decades, he said, are fewer lawyers in the economic system, who litigate away at a huge cost to companies; a more moderate climate, with less need to heat in the winter and air-condition in the summer; and most important, more modest defense commitments, which are inflating an already ballooning budget deficit in the United States.

But even if Europe stays behind, it might not be such a disaster for its inhabitants. Jorgen Ronnest, director for international affairs at the Danish Employers' Confederation, says it is healthy in a mature economy to enjoy the fruits of labor.

"The main difference with the U.S. is that we spend more time enjoying life," he said. "And if you look around, maybe we don't need more refrigerators and more cars."
phew, that was long, wasn't it. well thanks for going to the effort of reading all that.


so, would you think that is a correct assessment of the differences between Europeans' and other peoples' idea of what work should be all about...?
do you agree that it isn't all about economic growth, but also about what you do with the fruits of that growth...?
is it decadent, or is it smart...?
have Europeans only realised how precious a good leisure time is, and are merely "buying" more of it, the same way Americans might buy more cars, or refridgerators?
i liked the bit where that Kevin Daly person applied classic economic theory to leisure time: "Leisure is a normal good, and as you become richer, economic theory says you consume more of it."

i must say, i much prefer the European model, where you earn less, but get more benefits and more time to yourself, over the American model, where you make much more money, but get only like one week of vacation time a year. i guess in that respect, as in many others, i am a typical European.

i do see, however, the danger of over-extending the system; if everybody works less and less, the economy will not yield enough to let everybody enjoy those luxuries we so appreciate, like much free time, public healthcare, public higher education, social security, and such.
it is a very thin rope you have to balance, and people getting too complacent, and developing an ever growing sense of entitlement seriously endanger what Europeans have achieved so far.
i guess i would say we have to become a little more American, in order to be able to afford our very un-American, yet dearly cherished, ways...

what's y'all's take on the article, and the subject in general...?
#1  
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(19-Jul-2004 at 19:05)


Quote:
"Leisure is a normal good, and as you become richer, economic theory says that you consume more of it."
It is? well that surprised me, i think they meant luxury good. But anyway this is the basic theory behind the article its the substitution or income effect.

do we want more money or as we get more money do we want more leisure, and however they try to play this it is a personal choice not a national one.

This article talks about europe, well europe is many seperate counries, its not one. They are sperate economies with different systems and different levels at different times. So all this talk of europe is almost meaningless, welfare systems or labour laws as it even pointed out are different throughout europe, so don't talk about it as a single entity.

And one thing
Quote:
"We have a nice house and can afford to go on two family holidays a year," she said. "What would we need more money for?"
Hardly your average family there is it, two proper family hollidays a year is out of reach for most americans and europeans so why use these as an example?

and i think the key thing is, as it points out some people benefit but not all. the economy as a whole suffers which hurts the poor and the rich and eventually the middle earners.

denmarck is a good example for France and Germany, they have similar labour laws to the UK in that you are helped when looking for a job, but you must be looking for a job to get this help. although a problem with all the fully incorporated EU countries is things like the working time directive and union laws which will limit effective measures.

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(19-Jul-2004 at 19:23)


Many people in the UK go on two holidays a year now...

People, like snowflakes, are all slightly different, but we all follow the same patterns -Stewie
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(19-Jul-2004 at 20:05)


Quote:
(Originally posted by Azure Dragon)

Many people in the UK go on two holidays a year now...
two family holidays which apparently include flights, no that is well above any average. Don't think of just yourself or who you know, but the country as a whole, there are great areas where a foreign family holiday with flights is rare, annualy is almost impossible and twice anually complete fantasy. And britain is arguably the ruchest european nation so imagine the rest.

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(19-Jul-2004 at 23:17)


Quote:
(Originally posted by Jasse)
two family holidays which apparently include flights, no that is well above any average. Don't think of just yourself or who you know, but the country as a whole, there are great areas where a foreign family holiday with flights is rare, annualy is almost impossible and twice anually complete fantasy. And britain is arguably the ruchest european nation so imagine the rest.
well yeah, two foreign holidays are probably more than most can afford. however, it's not exactly like those who can in America tend to work less, do they. they can't as most companies will not let them do it. and they usually can't even go on those two vacations, as the American standard vacation time is little more than a week per year, if i am not completely mistaken.

also, you are of course right saying that European labout laws are not uniform, there are wide differences indeed. however, even though there is a wide range of different standards, most European nations, and certainly the European average, have less working hours per employee per year than countries like the US, or Japan.
actually, i'd bet that Brits work less than Americans, and the British are among those working the longest hours in Europe, right?, so that gives you a clue where the rest of Europe stands.

Quote:
denmarck is a good example for France and Germany, they have similar labour laws to the UK in that you are helped when looking for a job, but you must be looking for a job to get this help.
you are so right here. i wish they'd do more of that in Germany too (and i think it is going to happen rather sooner than later). this is definitely an area where i think the government should crack down hard. unemployment benefits are supposed to be helping you out until you find work again, and that implies you actually actively looking for work. it should and can not be a permanent source of income to afford you a life without work. anybody who uses it as that does indeed abuse the system and should be dealt with harshly, financially. because it is them that are endangering our achievements.
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(19-Jul-2004 at 23:39)
America is the land of the rat race.

My own wife gets 3 weeks paid vacation but is restricted as to the times she can go.

Thus she sometimes stays home working while my son and I go off on our travels during the summer and over Xmas holiday's.

A lot of Americans don't use their time off but instead stay at work out of habit. I used to do that before I retired. I got 30 days a year vacation.

The European model is good and bad, you play much more in taxes than we do. Gas prices are much cheaper here also, due to low taxes. Current gas price for a US gallon of gas is $1.77 for unleaded at my local pump. Heard a friend of mine in England stated his cost was about $5.00 for the same gallon of gas.

Some Americans do take lot's of time off and their lifestyle's reflect it. Working at home seems to be becoming a big thing with them.

The evolution of the work week is still being experimented with here in the US 4 day work weeks etc.

Time will tell if we change more towards the European model.

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(19-Jul-2004 at 23:55)


Quote:
(Originally posted by sgthall)

America is the land of the rat race.

My own wife gets 3 weeks paid vacation but is restricted as to the times she can go.

Thus she sometimes stays home working while my son and I go off on our travels during the summer and over Xmas holiday's.

A lot of Americans don't use their time off but instead stay at work out of habit. I used to do that before I retired. I got 30 days a year vacation.

The European model is good and bad, you play much more in taxes than we do. Gas prices are much cheaper here also, due to low taxes. Current gas price for a US gallon of gas is $1.77 for unleaded at my local pump. Heard a friend of mine in England stated his cost was about $5.00 for the same gallon of gas.

Some Americans do take lot's of time off and their lifestyle's reflect it. Working at home seems to be becoming a big thing with them.

The evolution of the work week is still being experimented with here in the US 4 day work weeks etc.

Time will tell if we change more towards the European model.
I pray to God we switch more over towards the European model. Also, the taxes have nothing to do with their vacation time, it has to do with universal healthcare and other government funded welfare programs. Also, in Europe you must remember that they use a LOT LESS gas then we do. They have gas-friendly vehicles and almost all places can be accessed through walking, biking or public transportation. Peasants in the medieval days worked MUCH less then we do now. Studies have shown that in some regions they worked as little as 150 days a year, and when they did work they took long breaks and NEVER worked when it got dark out or on Sundays. Somehow they all still managed to survive (but *gasp* No showers or internet!). Sounds kinda nice, doesn't it (obviously their time off, not the terrible political system they were under)?

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(Posted as SniperWolf)
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(20-Jul-2004 at 05:40)


Us Americans are work-aholics, thats a given. In someways thats a good thing, others its not. I enjoy working, its a nice routine and besides that it just feels good to come home at night, flop down in my chair(tv or computer) and just relax after a day's work. More or less it is probably the routine that drives us.

Downside is that the family life does suffer a bit(unless of course your in a family business!). I, myself, will take 3-4 weeks off total from work this year. Mainly since I can . Out of those weeks, two of them will be volunteering, one for a family vacation, and another just to kick back and do nothing. Mom and dad wont however, just since thats the nature of work. One week(plus federal holidays) is it.

So, I guess my opinion is hard work is good, and if you can afford to take a lot of time off then do it. Its not exactly a 'right' to have a large ammount of time off. I see it this way, its the employer thats doing you the favor by giving you a job and a paycheck.
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(20-Jul-2004 at 10:47)


Quote:
two family holidays which apparently include flights, no that is well above any average.
I wouldn't say so. You can fly Manchester/Spain for around the cost of a Leeds/London rail ticket. It only takes a day at an average wage to earn the money for it. For Continental Europeans it is even easier, just get in your car and drive into the next country.


Quote:
do we want more money or as we get more money do we want more leisure, and however they try to play this it is a personal choice not a national one.
That assumes they are allowed to make that choice. Most employment contracts specify working hours, plus 'other times as required'. That is the bit that needs controling.


Quote:
a problem with all the fully incorporated EU countries is things like the working time directive and union laws which will limit effective measures.
The working time directive doesn't forbid long hours (at least in the UK), it protects the employee from being forced into it. As it allows a 48 hour week averaged over 17 weeks, IMO it is plenty without the opt-out option.


Quote:
So, I guess my opinion is hard work is good, and if you can afford to take a lot of time off then do it.
Hard work is good, long work isn't. I speak from experience here. Ten years ago I was a much wealthier man than I am now - Hunter 32 in a marina, Mercedese Benz, dream house. I never had time to sail the boat and I could go months and never see my house in daylight, or my child awake. Eventually my wife got fed up and divorced me (the ungratefull bitch was happy to spend my money though!) which, with the discovery of high cholesterol and high blood pressure at only 32 years old, made me take stock of my life. Now I only have enough wealth rather than lots, and a much happier life. The European approach seems far better to me.
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(20-Jul-2004 at 12:50)


Quote:
as the American standard vacation time is little more than a week per year, if i am not completely mistaken.
I think you may be there, that does seem awfully short.

Quote:
I wouldn't say so. You can fly Manchester/Spain for around the cost of a Leeds/London rail ticket. It only takes a day at an average wage to earn the money for it. For Continental Europeans it is even easier, just get in your car and drive into the next country
please read the article, does this familiy look like one who has taken a bargain holiday to spain? Yet you are still wrong and your ignorance of real life is astounding. There are a great number of people who can never afford to go on a single foreign holiday, not that many go on one a year and it must be a tiny fraction of the population who go on wo preper foreign holidays a year, these people are not representitive and i do wonder why they used them, but this is dragging off topic it was just an observation.

Quote:
That assumes they are allowed to make that choice. Most employment contracts specify working hours, plus 'other times as required'. That is the bit that needs controling.
Everyone has some degree of choice, you can move jobs, can't be forced to work over a certain amount of hours and can try to negotiate a contract, this is true to some dregree however.

Quote:
The working time directive doesn't forbid long hours (at least in the UK), it protects the employee from being forced into it. As it allows a 48 hour week averaged over 17 weeks, IMO it is plenty without the opt-out option.
We aren't really in it thats why, our one is just a comprimise to say look we are doing it as well, a 35 hour maximum limit is a joke, it potentially harms the employee, creates a potential welfare loss for anybody leaving benefits. In England at £5 an hour which is above minimum wage that is £175 a week, thats pathetic.

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(20-Jul-2004 at 13:25)


Just a point, a report from barcleys bank yesterday predicted that by 2020 Britain will have a larger economy then Germany for the first time since 1959. This is quite incredible considering Germany have a population 1/3 greater. One of the reasons for it is an ageing population, but that report stated the reasons for britains superior growth (which they predice will be at least twice the level of germany untill 2020 and then rise at an even greater rate) are the decline of the union, flexible labour market and managment of the economy.

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(20-Jul-2004 at 17:24)


Quote:
Yet you are still wrong and your ignorance of real life is astounding. There are a great number of people who can never afford to go on a single foreign holiday, not that many go on one a year and it must be a tiny fraction of the population who go on wo preper foreign holidays a year
You must know a lot of very poverty stricken people then! Spain is £100 return on a scheduled flight, cheaper if you go out of season. You can have a week full board in Benidorm for under £400 including the flight, that is only half a months salary even for a basic manual worker so don't give me this 'you're ignorant of real life, only a tiny fraction can afford it' crap.


Quote:
a 35 hour maximum limit is a joke, it potentially harms the employee, creates a potential welfare loss for anybody leaving benefits. In England at £5 an hour which is above minimum wage that is £175 a week, thats pathetic.
A 35 hour week would be a joke, but it is actually 48. That is a reasonable working week for someone who wants to spend some time with their family, and if they are particularly despearate they can always take a second job.
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(20-Jul-2004 at 17:38)


Quote:
You must know a lot of very poverty stricken people then! Spain is £100 return on a scheduled flight, cheaper if you go out of season. You can have a week full board in Benidorm for under £400 including the flight, that is only half a months salary even for a basic manual worker so don't give me this 'you're ignorant of real life, only a tiny fraction can afford it' crap.
lets say a family of 5, so thats 5 flights to spain at £100 each, so £500 already, i'll assume 1 week in a rubbish hotel at £30 a night (if thats possible) which is £210 per person or £1050 for the family, so this trip is already over £1,500 without any costs included, then add taxes, insurance, eating, going out etc. Its not about being poverty stricken, many families cannot afford £1500-£2000 for a week of holiday, you might laugh thinking how people can easily spend £15,000 on a holiday or whatever but considering the average wage is around £20,000 a year that is a significant amount of money and one which many families simply cannot afford.

Quote:
A 35 hour week would be a joke, but it is actually 48. That is a reasonable working week for someone who wants to spend some time with their family, and if they are particularly despearate they can always take a second job.
Jasse provides literacy lessons yet again,
Quote:
We aren't really in it thats why, our one is just a comprimise
In europe those countries who signed up to the working time directive they have a 35 hour maximum working week, we have a 48 hour optional limit which basicly says you cannot force people to work more but they can if they like.

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(20-Jul-2004 at 18:50)


Quote:
Its not about being poverty stricken, many families cannot afford £1500-£2000 for a week of holiday, you might laugh thinking how people can easily spend £15,000 on a holiday or whatever but considering the average wage is around £20,000 a year that is a significant amount of money and one which many families simply cannot afford.
Families of 5 are very rare but I can understand your reasons for using an extreme example. Large families with only one income are even more rare. Even so it is only 10% of the income if you assume one wage earner.


Quote:
In europe those countries who signed up to the working time directive they have a 35 hour maximum working week, we have a 48 hour optional limit which basicly says you cannot force people to work more but they can if they like.

Voice of Reason corrects Jasse yet again....

From the original text of the Working Time Directive

'Article 6 - Maximum weekly working time
Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, in keeping with the need to protect the safety and health of workers:
1. the period of weekly working time is limited by means of laws, regulations or administrative provisions or by collective agreements or agreements between the two sides of industry;
2. the average working time for each seven-day period, including overtime, does not exceed 48 hours .'
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(20-Jul-2004 at 22:25)


US capitalism vs EU semi-socialism.

I find it fascinating myself the differences between the too.

If you see the light at the end of the tunnel, then you passed the test.
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(21-Jul-2004 at 00:51)


Quote:
Families of 5 are very rare but I can understand your reasons for using an extreme example. Large families with only one income are even more rare. Even so it is only 10% of the income if you assume one wage earner.
rare? its the average family, around 2.8 children now and 2 parents (could work it out using 4.8 if you really want). and only 10% of income? well your ignoring tax, and a mortgage, living costs etc. some people don't live in the real world from these boards, you ask the poorer people here if they (or their family) could afford £2,000 or $3,500 for a week away and that remember was bare minimum costs. then imagine every year, then make that twice a year, then look at the fact these people are actually going for 2 weeks to iceland that holiday is going to be costing an awfull lot more then £2,000, maybe that per person.

Now i'm not saying thats not me, i holiday a lot, but i am lucky. you may live in a nice place where everyone is pretty wealthy (relativly) but trust me, that aint the norm.

and you are looking at britains working time directive, we opted out. So stop acting clever, go to france and see what their maximum working week is, then see if you can come back and correct me.

Getting banned is not smart, nor cool. - Swifty
#16  
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Posts: 717/7006
(21-Jul-2004 at 04:37)


Quote:
rare? its the average family, around 2.8 children now and 2 parents (could work it out using 4.8 if you really want).
From here, in 2003 the number of UK families with 3 or more children is only 4%. Even in 1971 it was only 9%. Your information is several decades out of date, the average UK family now has only 1.64 children.


Quote:
some people don't live in the real world from these boards, you ask the poorer people here if they (or their family) could afford £2,000 or $3,500 for a week away and that remember was bare minimum costs. then imagine every year, then make that twice a year, then look at the fact these people are actually going for 2 weeks to iceland that holiday is going to be costing an awfull lot more then £2,000, maybe that per person.
If what you are claimimg is true then the article that started this thread wouldn't have been written, but travel statistics say that Europeans do go on plenty of holidays.

From here

'Sweden, for example,
shows the highest average number of trips per tourist, at 3.1; tourists from
Finland and the United Kingdom each took, on average, more than two trips
of four or more overnight stays.
'
(my bolds)


'Portugal, at
31.2%, has the lowest holidaymaking rate in the
European Union. Spain comes next at 37.3%, followed
by Belgium (40.2%), while Luxembourg, Sweden and
the United Kingdom all have a holidaymaking propensity
rate exceeding 60%.'


'Air travel is the second mode of transport for European
holidaymakers. British (37.7%) and Luxemburgish
(40%) travellers record the highest overall rates of use
of air transport.'

From here

'the proportion taking two or more holidays has increased from 15 per cent in 1971 to 25 per cent in 1998.'

The 'real world' is obviously not:-

Quote:
a foreign family holiday with flights is rare, annualy is almost impossible and twice anually complete fantasy. And britain is arguably the ruchest european nation so imagine the rest.

Quote:
you are looking at britains working time directive, we opted out. So stop acting clever, go to france and see what their maximum working week is, then see if you can come back and correct me.
From the Employment Lawyers Association

'The EU Working Time Directive limits the working week to 48 hours in other EU member states, but the UK's opt-out currently allows employers to ask their staff to work longer hours.'
#17  
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Posts: 553/2050
Donated $50.00
(21-Jul-2004 at 04:43)


To illustrate Jasse's point I went on holiday at the end of dec '00 to the US for a couple of weeks, I decided to go in July '00 & scraped together enough cash in that short without too much trouble (total including spending money) about £1500.

Today I am on a much higher salary (about 50% higher) - yet would not even hope to get that much cash together in that kind of time. I am married but don;t have kids. How is this possible ? Well I pay a lot more into my mortgage than I payed in rent back then, I now have a vehicle which requires maintenance & petrol (I walked to work then). I have a wife to look after, I save spare money in case of redundacy e.t.c.

In short I don't have the same kind of disposable income that I had when I had a signifivant fraction of my current salary because I use the capital elsewhere.

More on topic - I changed job about a year ago into one that has virtually zero prospects & requires me to be on call work night shifts. I did this because the way hours are calculated it means I work less hours than everyone else & have long periods of time at home - e.g. after monday I will have eight days off. I realised that time off to spend time with my wife & enjoy my life at home is far more important to me than any fiscal reward my company is ever likely to offer me. Why spend the last few years when we are truly free (before children) at work ? Thats crazy to me.

This is what every PvP argument boils down to:
Dear Devs:
Rock is overpowered, please nerf. Paper is fine.
Yours, Scissors
#18  
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Honorary Member
Posts: 3236/3991
(21-Jul-2004 at 09:53)


The laughable thing is you are trying to sustain the argument, at most you have 25% going on two holidays a year And that includes small breaks and trips in the united kingdom, I'm guessing this drop very sharply when these are taken into account to well under 10% on our criteria.

Quote:
the proportion of British residents who did not take a holiday of four days or more has remained relatively unchanged over the past three decades (41 per cent in 1998),
and thats not talking only about a long family holiday abroad, so this number gets even higher when you include that, so there you go, almost half the population and we are one of the richest. Not to mention this includes people who drive, take ferries and eurostar etc. if we add flights i guess this plumets again. as your own facts show, amany others have under half the population taking less then one trip a year.

But as i've said before this is an irrelevent side-track, they are not representitive and i wonder why they were chosen, but i made it meerly as an observation, not a point.

and your source is outdated, many in europe use a 35 hour minimum time now, i never said it applies in britain.

Getting banned is not smart, nor cool. - Swifty
#19  
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Posts: 5/21
(21-Jul-2004 at 10:28)
They are representative, "two family holidays" does not mean they fly to Iceland every year for 2 weeks each time.

What it means is they GO SOMEWHERE for a week or so twice a year.

When I was young (and in America) my family went somewhere for a week or so, even if it was just to camp somewhere.

We'd probably vacation for 2 to 3 weeks a year.

My family was lower middle class income, and was able to make the vacations very cheap, but we definetly went.

Now, I can tell you, going to the country in France is very very cheap, and many choose to vacation this way. If you go down to the south of France in the off season you can almost certainly rent a whole house for the price of one-month apartment rent for a month!

Spending 600 euro for a one month stay is nothing.

For food you are eating at local restaurants very cheaply because, it is off season so you are paying what locals pay. You are also buying locally produce food to eat at home, so you aren't spending much more in food then you would be at home, maybe less if you live somewhere the food is pricey.
#20  
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