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17 May 2009 @ 05:52 pm
After chatting with a friend ...  
The following poll will be very helpful in sorting some ideas. If you are in paid work and have a minute or two spare, it would be lovely to hear from you!

ETA: Feel free to comment if I have forgotten to include a box that represents your situation in any field!

Poll #1401151 Working Conditions

How many days of regular holiday leave do you have per annum?

Five days or under
Six to 10 days
11-15 days
More than 20 days

How many sick days do you have per annum?

Oh you make me laugh, and then cry ...
Up to three days
Four to six days
Seven to 10 days
11-15 days
More than 15 days

Do you have any other type of normal leave available to you?

Other, will mention in comments

Do you have paid maternity leave?


If you answered Yes to Question 4, who pays?

The government
Your employer
A bit from both the government and your employer

Do you have unpaid maternity leave?


If you have it, how long does your maternity leave last?

What about paternity leave? Tell me what's available.

How are your working conditions set?

Based on a union-won agreement that is industry-wide
Based on a private agreement negotiated alone
Based on a private agreement negotiated with union assistance
Based on a contract you were handed with no options on your part save to accept or not
Working conditions? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

What country are you working in?

United States of America
United Kingdom
New Zealand
A eurozone country
A European Union country not covered above
A Scandinavian country not covered above
Any other European country not covered above

Which country are you working in (continued)?

The Middle East
Elsewhere in Asia
Central America
South America
North Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Elsewhere, will comment

I earn an amount that allows me (and any dependents) to live:

Like a churchmouse in a church whose cleaner has OCD
In genteel poverty
Respectably within my limited means
Comfortably if I am cautious
Without worrying
Like a cat who owns the cream factory and all the cows
Dedicated Escape Artist: agonyjadzialove on May 17th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
Wow. Depressing.

And I couldn't really answer the maternity questions, but basically, unless I slice my hand off in some sort of freakish office accident, if I don't work, I ain't gettin paid, not even for officially sanctioned government holidays.

No wonder I need fandom to stay sane...
Dedicated Escape Artist: Pretendjadzialove on May 17th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
Srsly? I'm sitting here, absolutely astounded that people actually have more than 20 days of holiday time. I can't even fathom it.

I need a new job.

And a prozac.

And maybe a gallon or seven of brown liquor...
drgaellon on May 18th, 2009 08:11 am (UTC)
Teachers. :)
Shivshiv5468 on May 17th, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC)
I don't know what the maternity leave is but it's lots.

And you forgot to ask whether the agreement was based on employment law.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 17th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
Yes, I know, but bloody LJ would not let me go back and edit within the poll. Forgot several other things too, however, it's for personal interest rather than science, so I feel less guilty!

The only reason I know what my maternity leave would be is because the law has just changed. My girlfriend called me a bad feminist when I confessed this. She may have a point ...
Shivshiv5468 on May 17th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC)
Well I don't know, and I'm not a bad feminist. I don't need to. I can tell you what the latest equal pay stats are, what the new equality law will look like, and all sorts of other employment law issues.

I'm getting diversity training soon. Snerks. I have no minions I can oppress.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 18th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC)
Apparently we all need to be more concerned about babies. After 40 years working on equal pay (yes, I was a toddler with a sign), I'm happy for someone who wants to have kids to tackle that one, I need to do the hoovering.

Maybe they are training you in preparation for minions?
Shivshiv5468 on May 18th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
I am concerned about babies. What do you do with the leftovers, given that you can never eat a whole one? Curry?
Meredythmeredyth_13 on May 17th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
The other leave thing needed to be check boxes rather than buttons, cause I get Bereavement and Family leave as per the Aus govt employment standards.

The contract I was originally handed and expected to sign was so unlawful that I refused to sign it. I then went and re-wrote their employment contract in line with Aus standards and suggested we use it instead. They did - for me - but continue to use the other one for everyone else who hasn't worked in HR or have an idea about their legal rights. I figure I told them it wasn't legal - and if people are too silly to check and question before they sign, it's their own lookout. I'm tired of trying to save the world.

My salary is awful, being PPT, although my hourly rate isn't terrible. I could just about live off it if I had to. The average salary for what I do hasn't actually changed much in the 20 years I've been working, so I don't earn any more now than I did then in actual dollars - just the value is WAY less.

Fortunately I have a husband who is a man, and who does clever technical things, and thus earns roughly 10 times what I do, and so we can eat and feed the cats.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 18th, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)
Yes, I am poo at polls!

I remember your contract. Was that before WorkChoices was rolled back? Some people went bananas the minute they caught the scent of bastardry, and it's hard to put them back in their boxes!

My salary took a dive with the collapse of my fave weekly, but at least I can work four days a week with no stress!
goddessrissgoddessriss on May 17th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
RE: the sick days question - I assume you mean paid sick leave? Of which I get 6 months full pay, 6 months half-pay. Actually taking any? About 3 days a year unless something drastic happens. I get 25 days paid holiday per year, plus paid bank holidays. Maternity pay (bearing in mind it's been 6 years since I had need of it) was correct as of the last time I reviewed my contract, which would be about 9 months ago. I am entitled to bereavement and family leave, paid, and also an unpaid career break of up to 5 years. If I was over 60, I would be entitled to 3 months unpaid 'Benidorm' leave if I so desired.

I'm reading this through and realising that yes, working for a Mutual company does have its benefits. Even if the insurance is mostly boring. *thanks lucky stars*

★★ C. Gabriel Wright ★★gabe_speaks on May 17th, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, like sick time for me is . . . well, difficult to assess. You get 5.5 hour of accrued PTO [paid time off] each pay period. There's 26 2-week paid periods, so if I didn't use any the whole year, I could feasibly have 143 hours of PTO, which would be nearly a month off of work.

That's different from how it used to be over here where you were given oh so much sick time right off the bat, and then you had personal/vacation time, which you accrued and were awarded after, say, a year's time.

[I remember my mom had worked for a company for 20 years before she had used any sick time, and by the time she started to use it, she had damn near 8 months of sick time at her disposal.]
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 19th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
Are you paid out sick leave when you leave the company? And I love the accrual system for it; it's so sensible given that most middle-aged people will have one significant health issue or another at some point, they should benefit from previous good health!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 19th, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
Yes, and thank you! And while I am sorry that you're bored at work, I am thrilled to hear they are taking care of you, this is a very good thing and there should be more of it!
phelaaphelant on May 17th, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
My company pays for maternity leave but I don't know if the government kicks in any money for it. Regarding paternity leave, up to 12 months can be taken just like maternity leave, though only one parent can be on leave at a time (as far as I know?). But I have heard of instances where both parents take 6 months each, which is really nice.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 19th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
I do think that's a very sensible approach! Thanks for taking the time to vote and comment!
rickey_arickey_a on May 17th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
I stopped working 2 years ago, but answered for where I left off. In the US maternity leave varies depending on state. Most are Unpaid, but must hold your position or equivalent until your return. I think only something like 6 states have some sort of pay for maternity leave.

In California we have SDI (a small state disability insurance) that we and our employers pay into. They use that to give you partial pay on maternity leave up to 8wks for vaginal birth and 10wks for c-section. (you can also take up to 4 weeks before the birth on medical leave if rec'd by a Dr. Most Dr's will happily rec you 2-3 weeks ahead even if you have no med issues like hypertension etc. that would really necessitate work leave) After that you can take FMLA- Family medical leave act - Unpaid leave (up to another 12 wks? not sure something like that) and that can be maternity or paternity. But they have to give you your job or equivalent back to you.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 19th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
Wow ... working past 8 months is almost unheard of in the places I have worked (UK, Aus and NZ), so that is quite a different culture. Usually people disappear around the 6-7 month mark and go home to tidy and sleep (since they'll not be doing that again for a while ;-)

That sounds as though you are only guaranteed to have your job held for about 6 months, is that right?
rickey_a: clingsrickey_a on May 20th, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)
yes, roughly if you put all your medical, maternity, and FMLA all together it works to be about 6 months. (all unpaid w/the couple of exceptions that I noted)

The United States has notoriously horrible maternity leave compared w/other modern countries. Most women are expected to/have to work into the 9th month. I know women who worked up until days before they delivered and then often need to be back to work in 2 months. I took 4 months (16-17 wks) post birth with my first child, but only 10 weeks with my second because I already had a full time Nanny.
Welcome to Ant Countryant_queen on May 18th, 2009 05:09 am (UTC)
Other useful info about my workplace:
- I get 20 days of annual leave per year, I'm meant to use at least 15 days per year, but in reality, I'm lucky if I use 10 as it has been tricky to find a "good time" to take leave.
- Other leave includes Carer's Leave, Bereavement, "other contingency" leave (e.g. natural disasters, home burglary etc..), leave for Defence Forces Reserves training.
- We have concessional leave that covers the period between Christmas and New Year.
- Long Service Leave after 10 years service.
- We get flexi leave (i.e. if you work more hours than are required, you can take these as flex leave).
- Sick leave is 15 days per year, but unused leave can accumulate.
- Paid Maternity leave is 14 full-time weeks which may be taken at 28 weeks half pay. There is the option to return to work on a part-time basis using leave without pay. You have to be back at your original capacity within 104 weeks of the birth of the child. We also have a return to work grant equivalent to 12 weeks of annual salary providing you return to at least 40% load. You can use that to either supplement going part-time, career development to update skills, or subsidise child care.
- We also have leave arrangements for adoption and foster parents.
- There are "Leave without Pay" options as well.

On the whole, our Enterprise Bargaining Agreement is pretty good. However, we also have a stack of people in our unit who are massively overloaded with no support so they're just accumulating leave that they don't have time to take because no-one will do their job while they're away.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 19th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
yes, that's the downside of a lot of sort of public sector jobs; the conditions on paper are great but the actual work can be insane. Not long until you are free as a bird again! Well, free-ish ...

Thanks, luv, good detail!
snottygrrl on May 18th, 2009 06:31 am (UTC)
i answered for nz since i don't have a job here yet and have no idea what the rules are in oregon or what i'll be eligible for when i do.

in the usa i'll most likely start out with less holiday, but will be able to work up to more.
drgaellon on May 18th, 2009 08:10 am (UTC)
In addition to vacation and sick time (technically, one bank of PTO), I get two personal days per year. I also get a floating holiday any time I take call on a holiday, and one each time I take a weekend as admitting attending on call (once per quarter). Bereavement comes out of PTO. Unpaid family leave can be taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act of... I think it was 1986. I also get one week per year (in addition to PTO) for continuing medical education. Short-term disability is paid for by my employer, up to 26 weeks; after 1 year of employment, they pay 50% of salary, and it's tiered up to 100% after 10 years of employment. Longer than 26 weeks, and it shunts over to disability insurance (which is also provided).

If it were not for my large student debt and tax debt (from a failed attempt at a solo practice), I would be living like a king - I am in the top 10% of earners in the US. However, given my debt level, I still live quite comfortably.

Edited at 2009-05-18 08:15 am (UTC)
Mific: punk duckmific on May 18th, 2009 08:40 am (UTC)
Ashamed/lucky to say I needed a "don't know" option for the "how much" question re sick leave, so guessed. Am hopeless about blithering cheerfully on, not reading union agreements so often don't know what my entitlements are.
Other sort of leave I'm entitled to is conference leave. Also long-service leave, eventually.

ETA: hopelessly coddled by the dregs of the welfare state I'm afraid. NZ in case you're wondering.

Edited at 2009-05-18 08:42 am (UTC)
kayleigh_jane: facepalmkayleigh_jane on May 18th, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)
Brammers, I am baffled by these questions. I answered as far as I knew, but the whole idea of unpaid maternity leave and that you have to negotiate those things in your contract is absurd to me. This may be because I live in a welfare state (the Netherlands) and everything is taken care of. I have a minimum amout of vacation hours (72) which no-one can touch. The normal amount you get is about 140 hours. The hours I don't use are paid out or taken to the next year. And I get vacation money, 8% of my yearly income, to go on holiday with.

Sick leave is paid by the company's insurance. You are reported when you are ill and they pay your full salary. When you are ill for a long time you can be forced to see a doctor who will determine if you are indeed ill. Just to make sure you have not taken a holiday. Protection of both the employer and the employee.

Maternity leave goes by the same idea, you have three to four months and can add your normal leave to that. Fully paid and your job will be held for you.

I view all these things as normal, and now I see that it is apparently more exception than rule for the most of the pollers... Eye opener and a depressing one at that.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on May 18th, 2009 11:32 am (UTC)
It's terrifying, isn't it? Australia has only JUST started with paid maternity leave for all workers. Madness. The UK is a bit better.

I've had cover from most of my private employers through my career, but not from the last two (it's OK for me, I have never wanted to have kids). I asked the CFO of the evil publishing company I worked for until my mag was unexpectedly folded last year why. 'There are lots of women here, it would cost us money!' he said. 'But doesn't recruiting new staff cost you more?' I asked. 'That's not the point,' he blustered.

Alas, there are a lot of people who like the American business model who think that way. What is absurd is the idea that it is good for the company, when any look at the Netherlands, where retention of staff, morale and general innovation are generally higher shows what a stupid idea it is.

And although personal taxes are higher, the overall benefit to the individual is massively better than in other lower-tax, low-benefits countries.

In Oceania, New Zealand has a system that is not dissimilar to Scandinavia. Australia is quite good for holidays and sick leave, though it has just come out of a government that was keen on stripping workers' conditions, but not so good on the parental stuff.

Still miles ahead of America. What provoked the questions was talking to yet another American who has 5-10 days leave per annum. That's just barbaric!
Snape's Angel: quillangela_snape on May 18th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
As a teacher, I have a lot of leave time - 2 weeks at Christmas, 1 week in March, and 2 months in the summer. Makes up for putting up with 100 teenagers/semester. ;-)

Also, 20 days paid sick leave per school year, and it accumulates if I don't use it - I think I have close to 200 days saved up.

And... regarding the maternity/paternity leave, I ran out of room above. We get up to 12 months, as I indicated. The parents can take time together (say, 6 months together for both of them, but then they both have to go back to work or continue without pay) or they could split it, with mother going back to work at say, 8 months & the father finishing off the last 4, which I've known several people to do, especially if Mom makes more money than Dad.