Monday, July 11, 2011

EDITORIAL: Vacation Time

By: Christina Fermin

Political & Social Columnist

I make it a point each year to take a vacation, between everyday life in a city and work, stress can too often hit hard. When stress hits, it can take many forms and be damaging physically, mentally and spiritually. I had noticed that the weeks prior to taking my vacation I began getting headaches regularly, feeling off and down, and my back was hurting more than usual. Now that I am back to my everyday life, I notice the small changes in myself and my attitude. I know that not too many employers offer paid vacations and the ones that do are too often hard to take off more than a few days at a time. We really need to get on our representatives in Congress to make legislation requiring employees to offer at minimum 4 weeks vacation each year.

Among most of the developed countries around the world, the U.S. is last in the amount of vacation days employees receive. Number one would be Italy with a whopping 42 days each year and number two would be France with 37 days. When it came to the United States we came in last at 13 days per year and second to last was Japan and Korea with 25 days. For U.S. employees to even get to 13 days you have to had worked at your job for about 5 years, assuming your employer gave vacation time. Europeans enjoy far more vacation leisure time than Americans do by about 10 days more. Imagine if your employer was mandated to give you a 2-4 week vacation, what would you do, where would you go, how much better would you feel, and how much better would you work?

It has been proven that happy employees are more productive employees and more productive employees are more profitable. Does it not make business sense to give employees at minimum 20 days off each year, that is about 1 month off of work. I mean we do work 12 months a year, minus a week for Holiday. If you work full time and work for an employer that offers vacation time you usually get 5-10 days, but you usually have to be there a minimum 1 year to qualify for anything more than a few days off each year. Here in the U.S. unlike many developed nations and some undeveloped nations there is no law that requires an employer to give vacation time. Here in the U.S. we work more than the Chinese. Too often than not we are working more than 8 hours a day and in some cases more than 5 days a week just to make ends meet.

In the current economy and the financial mess we are all in, stress is extremely high and living in the city makes it even higher. With the fast pace of the city and high density living it does not surprise me that the standard of living has dropped along with a rise in medical issues. Issues that affect us mentally, physically and spiritually. When working in the city especially, I highly recommend taking at minimum a vacation where the pace is much slower than the city you reside in. When vacationing on a budget camping is always a wonderful alternative and very relaxing. Aside from the 7-10 day vacation I take each year, I like to go on weekend getaways and camp at the state and county parks that are usually a few hours drive away.

By doing this I am able to stay centered, focus and refreshed. My best ideas come after a vacation or weekend getaway. Like many of you I do not gain an astronomical amount of money each year, I am in debt, and I drive a clunker, but I make it a point to save a few dollars each week to make sure that I can go away when the itching comes and the time is right. Without these vacations and weekend getaways I would have suffered from many ailments and been in a lot of pain physically and mentally. My vacation out to the mountains was more than relaxing and refreshing, it was a great learning experience. I understand wholly what Mark Twain meant when he said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

Peace & Harmony,


About the Columnist

With a bachelors degree in political science from Florida Atlantic University, Christina Fermin has always cultivated her love for history, politics, sociology, ancient knowledge and teachings, the outdoors, the ocean and the environment. Christina strives to make our world better by helping us all create a new reality and understanding of all taking place here and now.


I find it interesting that in this time of total economic devastation for many, you would advocate ADDITIONAL regulations on employers that would make it even more expensive to hire people.

As of 2007, average hourly wage was 16.25 an hour. So let's say there's a company with 100 employees and the cost of each employee is $32,500.00 a year in Salary, plus $16,680.00 in taxes and benefits (assuming 2 weeks vacation and 1000.00 a month for Health benefits --- Keep in mind as a consultant I see what employers pay for these benefits).
Sure, doubling vacation time works out to only $1.300.00 a year more per employee, but in the bigger picture here, that means a $130,000.00 a year in additional expenses. Considering the total costs of each employee to the firm of $49,180.00, you could hire 2.5 more people with that extra money. Or you could get rid of 2 people to compensate for the additional expense.
Now multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of mid sized businesses in the U.S.

In this climate do you really want to eliminate another quarter Million to a Million Jobs???


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