Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth that We Can’t Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone

Source: Jody Heymann and Alison Earle, Stanford Politics and Policy, October 28, 2009
(purchase required)

From the press release:
A major new study by researchers at Harvard and McGill Universities – the largest ever to look at working conditions worldwide – finds the United States far behind other economically successful nations in terms of adopting policies that support workers and families. The new study finds that 14 of the world’s 15 most competitive countries provide paid sick leave, 13 guarantee paid leave for new mothers, 12 provide paid leave for new fathers, 11 provide paid leave to care for children’s health needs, eight provide paid leave to care for adult family members, and seven guarantee breastfeeding breaks to nursing mothers on the job. At the federal level, the United States offers its workers none of those supports.

Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth that We Can’t Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone examines policies, protections and supports in 190 of the world’s 192 United Nations countries. It is the most extensive study ever conducted on these issues. Released today, the new book is published by Stanford University Press and written by Jody Heymann, Founding Director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University and Alison Earle, while a Research Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health. They were aided in the study by a team of international researchers who also examined the working conditions faced by 55,000 households in seven countries on five continents.

Raising the Global Floor also finds that:

* 163 nations around the world guarantee paid sick leave; the U.S. does not.
* 164 nations guarantee paid annual leave; the U.S. does not.
* 177 nations guarantee paid leave for new mothers; the U.S. does not.
* 74 nations guarantee paid leave for new fathers; the U.S. does not.
* 48 nations guarantee paid time off to care for children’s health; the U.S. does not.
* 157 nations guarantee workers a day of rest each week; the U.S. does not.
* 148 nations guarantee a wage premium for mandatory overtime, including the U.S.

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