For decades now, our economy has been trending towards a “service” economy. More jobs at Wal-Mart, less at GM. And places like Wal-Mart are closed very few days out of the year. A person with a decent job might have two weeks of vacation every year, and a handful of holidays observed at work. Those are the lucky folks that get to push carts on the fourth of july at wal-mart, catching up with the work around the house that a dual income family can’t get done.
But the service workers toil, begging for hours to be slotted in the schedule so they can make ends meet. And I’m not sure what family values have people working every holiday, either.
So, sure, I’m all for more holidays, but I’m probably for finding a way to make more days days that people don’t work. Could the Religious Right agree to a Sunday excise tax? If you want any good or service delivered or performed on a Sunday, it could be subject to a 10% excise tax (religious services, excluded, of course).
And since the government doesn’t seem to be competing with private industry in wages, it tries to offer better benefits. What about 6 weeks standard paid vacation? That would sure make more employers need more works, which would lower unemployment. In many jobs, only the overhead that should be simplified in any such reform would be added. That could be compensated by tax breaks: if you have 6 weeks off paid for your full time workers, and you have to hire new people because of it, we’ll credit you the costs associated with it. How about that one?
A less onerous, yet possible way of achieving this in the private sector would be to make employees exempt from earning overtime if, in addition to the normal rules, they are paid less than $60,000 per year and do not have six weeks of paid time off total.
Employers hate overtime requirements. It means more people on an hourly basis, it means more rates to pay people (time and half here, etc.) So, combine the two ideas above, and I bet you could make it competitively common to have six weeks of paid vacation and decrease unemployment at the same time.
Personally, I like working a lot. I would be out of my mind if I had six weeks off per year, and I’d rather have the money. Part of that is where I work–I can get time here and there whenever, and my wife is a teacher and is off all summer. So, a whole spate of new forced time off would be a drag for me, but most people don’t share my fortunate circumstances.
6 weeks of pto per year would help strengthen families and would probably also reduce crime.