Friday, January 9, 2009

What's ailing Belgium? Laziness in the form of sick leave.

You've got to love fans of a huge welfare state. They give workers over a month of sick leave (or even "unlimited" sick leave, in some cases) and then are shocked -- SHOCKED! -- when the workers abuse it. Apparently they haven't grasped the simple fact that one of the reasons America's economy works so well is that businesses here expect Americans to actually work. To many people in Europe that notion -- that people who are supposed to be working should really be working -- is probably shocking or unacceptable.

And please don't talk about relative productivity. Yes, I concede that if you're working 20 hours a week and have the rest of the time off (paid, of course) you'll probably be more productive on a per hour basis than someone expected to work 50 hours a week. Of course, you'll only be doing 20 hours worth of work, while the guy working longer hours will probably accomplish more than you, and his economy will probably produce more than yours. But hey, you've still got your time off to write poetry at your parents' house because you feel depressed. (That's an actual example from the article, by the way, of what one Belgian taking sick leave did with it.)

1 comment:

Howie Goodell said...

I recently spent a year in France. Most Americans would probably rate French industriousness up there with what -- Mexico? They dearly love their benefits and holidays -- good luck getting anything taken care of in August or on the weekend! Yet at least the folks I saw (to be fair, students and professors at a good university) worked plenty hard, and the figures support it: French productivity per hour is actually slightly better than hours, I believe. If they choose less money and more leisure (that's changing, sure, but still not a bad generalization), vive le difference !