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U.S. lags in workplace protections

Steve Henn Nov 17, 2009
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U.S. lags in workplace protections

Steve Henn Nov 17, 2009
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Steve Chiotakis: This morning, the National Partnership for Women and Families unveils findings from an eight-year study. It compares workplace protections around the globe and their effect on economic competitiveness. Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports.


Steve Chiotakis: When it comes to laws that protect workers when they’re sick or prevent employers from demanding seven-day work weeks, the U.S. is not exactly a world leader, says Jody Haymenn, a professor at McGill University.

Jody Haymenn: A hundred sixty-three countries around the world guarantee paid sick leave, the United States doesn’t; 157 make sure you have at least one day off each week.

And you guessed it: the United States doesn’t.

One reason: U.S. firms fear being left at a competitive disadvantage. But Haymenn found that many competitive economies, like Japan’s and Germany’s, offer greater workplace protections.

Debra Ness is President of National Partnership for Women and Families:

Debra Ness: It puts to rest finally many finally many of the claims that are repeatedly made that putting in place family friendly workplace policies will cost jobs or hurt our nation’s competitiveness.

Ness says the lack of workplace protections can easily hurt the economy. For instance, no mandatory paid sick leave means thousand of workers head into the office everyday with the flu. The diseases spreads. And everyone suffers.

I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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