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Topic: Just wondering...  (Read 731 times)

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Just wondering...
« on: February 05, 2019, 12:07:12 AM »
Hiya guys!

So now that I'm working in the UK I've learnt a few things I never knew -or really cared about- until moving here. I just assumed things were like *this* everywhere.

First story: In Louisiana it's perfectly legal to fire an employee and not even bother to give them notice or tell them why. This happened to me in 2011 when I worked for an icecream parlor. I worked there for nearly a year (about 9 months) My manager and I had a good agreement (Schedules were made once a month, and I gave her my school schedule and she gave me shifts around it) One month, I wasn't scheduled and when I called she had a friend answer the phone (very professional, right?) And said "sorry it's just not working." I was never late, never had a write up or got in trouble, nor did I have any issues with co-workers. It just "wasn't working."  ???

Second story: When I worked at a smoothie shop I had shifts starting at 5:50am, and I was sleepy when I arrived (always on time, I might add) to work. My manager pulled me aside once and said I "had a bad attitude" and "put her in a bad mood in the mornings" and "could easily be replaced." I didn't realize being sleepy was having a bad attitude, but there we have it.

Now, to today. As some of you know I'm currently looking for full time employment in my job sector, but managed to secure a position at a local cafe. I am loving it. My co-workers/management are amazing.

I was telling a few co-workers about the stories I just mentioned above and they were flabbergasted that  the US allowed that type of behavior from management. I had no idea that this wasn't "normal." According to my co-workers, "that type of thing would never happen in this country" I feel like there is more job security, understanding and patience between employer and employee here. Is that true, or am I just extremely lucky at this cafe?

Second, upon applying for the full time positions I've noticed a lot of notes about PTO in the job descriptions. Apparently, most full-time positions/employers are required to offer at least 20PTO days in a year, whereas in the USA the average is a mere 10, and that is usually only given to full-time workers. Part time workers and 23% of full time workers (according to a very basic Google search) of American's don't have ANY PTO.

The longer I live here the more I realize how flawed the USA is in this regard. There is not as much job security (of course this varies by state), employers can dump employees at will, no paid vacation/or very little....It isn't all sunshine and rainbows here but I feel like Europe has got it more together than the US in that way. Not to mention the absence of looming medical debt.

Am I the only one thinking this? What do you guys think? What about you guys who have been here for years/work full time in the UK? What has your experience been like?
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 12:39:18 AM by TeamTollie »
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Re: Just wondering...
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2019, 08:14:20 AM »

The longer I live here the more I realize how flawed the USA is in this regard.

The longer you live here, the more you will realise that the USA is flawed in many other ways, too!

Quote
Second story: When I worked at a smoothie shop I had shifts starting at 5:50am, and I was sleepy when I arrived (always on time, I might add) to work. My manager pulled me aside once and said I "had a bad attitude" and "put her in a bad mood in the mornings" and "could easily be replaced." I didn't realize being sleepy was having a bad attitude, but there we have it.

I once worked for an American company (Whole Foods Market) in the UK, with American managers, and was being trained on the tills where we were not allowed to sit down, and there was no place to sit on our breaks because the break room had only 10 chairs for 50+ people on shift.  And I was struggling, having always worked at desk jobs previously, with sore back, sore feet, sore everything.  I wasn't complaining, but I was limping, holding my back, you could see it in my eyes... just trying to push through the pain; hoping that I would slowly get accustomed to it and it would get better.   I was pulled up for having a 'bad attitude'.  I was friendly and smiling with customers and colleagues, and I wasn't complaining out loud, but because I was visibly in some pain, I had a 'bad attitude'.  I told them where to stuff it and will never work for an American company again, I hope and pray.  And supposedly Whole Foods are meant to be 'good' to work for?!?!
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 12:48:03 PM by Albatross »


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Re: Just wondering...
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2019, 08:50:42 AM »
I was telling a few co-workers about the stories I just mentioned above and they were flabbergasted that  the US allowed that type of behavior from management. I had no idea that this wasn't "normal." According to my co-workers, "that type of thing would never happen in this country" I feel like there is more job security, understanding and patience between employer and employee here. Is that true, or am I just extremely lucky at this cafe?

Read up on the 'gig economy' and 'zero hours contracts' and you will see how crap things can really be here in this country.  They use these types of things to get out of paying holiday pay, benefits, etc.  It's really not nice. 
I've never gotten food on my underpants!
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Re: Just wondering...
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2019, 09:14:21 AM »
It's a mixed bag.

Yes, the USA over all has worse employment laws.  But zero hour contracts in the UK allow employers to "get out of" providing the things they are *supposed* to provide.

And it really varies employer by employer.  My first job out of university (the one that eventually brought me here), was a 9/80 schedule, meaning I worked 80 hours in 9 days and we had ever other Friday off, plus a full shut down at Christmas.  And 4 weeks paid holiday.  So I had 26 Fridays off, 5 days between Christmas and New Years, and 4 weeks holiday.  I get that this wasn't a normal set up but they do exist. 

But yes, the USA is definitely flawed - moreso than the UK.  But I miss being treated like a grown up at work in the USA.  Here, it's very big brother, no matter how close to the top of the food chain you are.  The lack of employee empowerment irritates me every single day!


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Re: Just wondering...
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2019, 09:37:20 AM »
Second, upon applying for the full time positions I've noticed a lot of notes about PTO in the job descriptions. Apparently, most full-time positions/employers are required to offer at least 20PTO days in a year, whereas in the USA the average is a mere 10, and that is usually only given to full-time workers. Part time workers and 23% of full time workers (according to a very basic Google search) of American's don't have ANY PTO.

My aunt has lived in the US since the late 70s, working in the same hospital as a nurse for all of that time... even after 40 years, she gets just 10 days of paid leave per year.

In the UK, companies must legally give their employees at least 5.6 weeks of paid leave per year (this can include bank holidays, so it could be 20 days plus 8 bank holidays - pro rata): https://www.gov.uk/holiday-entitlement-rights

From day 1 in my job (civil service), I got 25 days of paid leave, plus 2.5 privilege days (Christmas Eve, Queen's Birthday, half-day Maundy Thursday), plus the 8 bank holidays. After 5 years, I got an extra 5 days of paid leave. As I work shifts in a 24/7 office, I can just lump the bank holidays and privilege days in with my annual leave... so that gives me a total of 40.5 days to take per year. This year though, I'm carrying over the maximum allowance of 10 days because I'm not able to take them before the end of my leave year... so that gives me 50.5 days of paid leave to take between May 2019 and May 2020. So far, I'm using them for trips to Italy, the US, Germany and South Africa, but even after that, I'll still have 2-3 weeks left to take.

Also, a lot of companies will actually encourage you to take all of your leave for the year, because it usually won't carry over to the next year. When I started back working at Boots in September 2008 after I returned from the US, I had been there only about a week when my manager said: "You have a week's leave to take before Christmas, but there won't be enough time to take it later in the year, so why don't you take next week off?". So I did :P.


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Re: Just wondering...
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2019, 09:47:27 AM »
In my experience the quality of employment isn't a "UK v USA" thing as much as it is a "good employer v bad employer" thing, and your own role in the company and the quality of the people you work with and work for have a lot to do with it, too. I've worked for a company with crap policies, but my boss and coworkers were cool to work with, so I didn't mind so much. On the other hand I've worked with a bunch of jerks, but the pay was good and we got lots of vacation days so I stayed. None of these things are exclusive to Britain or America.


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Re: Just wondering...
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2019, 09:52:24 AM »
In my experience the quality of employment isn't a "UK v USA" thing as much as it is a "good employer v bad employer" thing, and your own role in the company and the quality of the people you work with and work for have a lot to do with it, too. I've worked for a company with crap policies, but my boss and coworkers were cool to work with, so I didn't mind so much. On the other hand I've worked with a bunch of jerks, but the pay was good and we got lots of vacation days so I stayed. None of these things are exclusive to Britain or America.

Completely agree with this!


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Re: Just wondering...
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2019, 10:20:16 AM »
Yes ,camoscato, 100% agree too. 

I've never gotten food on my underpants!
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Re: Just wondering...
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2019, 03:08:30 PM »
Very informative replies!! It has been so interesting to learn the differences between our two countries.

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