Category: Work Place Tips

We Go All Around the World!—How the US Minimum Wage Compares

FlagsMinimum wage is a popular topic, with the #raisethewage campaign well underway, during both this midterm election and the elections to come. Amidst the number crunching and the protesting, various politicians have begun discussing the United States’ minimum wage as compared to other industrialized nations. The evidence they have presented shows the US lagging in their pay rates.

Currently, the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25/hr. Using strict foreign currency exchanges, Germany’s newly federalized minimum comes close to the US, at 8.50 euros per hour. That roughly converts to approximately $10.67 per hour. France rings in at 9.53 euros which converts to $12.35 per hour. Australia has an established minimum wage of 16.87 Australian dollars which comes to about $14.81 US per hour.

Now compare that with the cost of living in each of those countries. The cost of living in Australia and France is much higher than in the US. Therefore, when you adjust for those factors, the purchasing power of that $12.35 per hour in France gets reduced to $10.60 per hour. In Australia, $14.81 per hour gets adjusted down to $10.20 per hour.

Though those figures get adjusted down for purchasing power, they still ring in higher than the US federal minimum wage.

Source: Politifact.com

History is Made!—Fe-Mail General

Over 25 years ago, Megan Brennan made her route every day as a letter carrier in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As times changed and the years went out, Brennan found herself working her way up the United States Postal Service ladder. Today, Brennan was named the first female Postmaster General in history.

Current Postmaster General, Patrick Donahoe, announced his retirement after 39 years of employment with the USPS. Brennan is the current Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for all USPS operations, like mail processing, transportation, and delivery.

The American Postal Workers Union welcomes Brennan as the new Postmaster General, hoping that she will reverse many policies that Donahoe put in place that workers were not fond of.

Source: LA Times & USA Today

The Rolling Stone Never Gathers Moss—Job Turnover Is High

The good news: the number of people being hired for new jobs is at a seven year high. More than 5 million people were hired the month of September, a figure that has not been seen since December 2007.

The bad news: the number of people resigning or voluntarily quitting has skyrocketed and hit a six year high. Almost 2.8 million people quit their jobs in October, the most since April 2008.

But the bad news may not actually be bad news. The fact that workers are voluntarily leaving their positions may reflect a confidence in the economy and job market. Voluntarily resignations were measured as 57.5% of job vacancies with terminations (not lay-offs) were only 8.1% of separations.

At the peak of the Great Recession, 55% of job separations were a result of layoffs, discharges, and terminations. Only 37% were voluntary separations.

Not only are employees confident in the job market and economy, the rise in hiring indicates that employers are confident that the growing economy will be “enough to bolster their payrolls.” The amount of job openings is at its highest since 2001 with 4.7 million job openings in September.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Stress Relievers at Work Make for Happier Camper

BeforeWorkAfterWorkYou spend the majority of your week and your adult life at the office. When you spend so much time in one place, it is understandable that you are effected emotionally by the office. Employment can be an emotional roller coaster that leads to stress and anxiety.

So how can you manage your stress under control to make sure you don’t burn yourself out? Here are some helpful tips:

1)      Eating and Drinking Habits: Though you may not know it, the way you eat and what you drink affects stress levels throughout the day. For example, while alcohol may seem like a stress reliever for a short period of time, in the long run, it leads to higher levels of anxiety, much like nicotine. Additionally, low blood sugar leads to feeling of anxiousness. So combine small but frequent meals and limit your alcohol intake. You may feel calmer at work.

2)      Let’s Get Physical: Especially in an office job, it is very difficult to find time to exercise or move around. Keep in mind, raising your heart rate by exercising has many good effects other than losing weight. By exercising for 30 minutes most days, you will increase energy, lift your mood, and heighten your sharpness at work.

3)      Give Yourself Time: Plan to leave the house 10-15 minutes early so you don’t have to run into office. Starting your day with a frenzied race to your desk, sets a stressful precedent for how the rest of your day may turn out. But if you have time to peacefully adjust to being at work in the mornings, it will relax the start of the day.

These tips and more can help establish a stress-free environment for you at work. It’s impossible to always be stress free all the time, but cutting out some stress will go a long way for your mental health.

Source: The Help Guide

To Be (Sick) Or Not To Be (Sick)

We’ve all heard inventive and bizarre reasons employees have called in sick or late to work, from a pet emergency to a sudden case of Ebola.  Strange excuses mentioned in a recent Careerbuilder.com survey included having plastic surgery “tweaked,” accidentally getting on an airplane, getting stuck in a blood pressure machine at the grocery store, and getting “lucky” one night and not knowing where you were the next morning as a result.

What are employees actually doing when they call in sick?  Well, some of them are really sick, especially in the cold and flu seasons in December, January, and February, when sick days are used the most.  Other reasons employees reported in a survey include catching up on sleep, going in for doctor appointments and, especially in snowy and cold climates, bad weather.  In total, 28% of surveyed employees said they had called in sick in the last year on a day they were actually feeling well.

What is probably more surprising is that the opposite is actually more common.  More than half of all employees who responded to the survey said they’d gone into work even when they were sick.  Many employees stated that they didn’t want to call in sick because the work wouldn’t get done otherwise, but nearly 40% of employees had a more pressing reason: they couldn’t afford to lose a day’s pay.

The good news for California employees is that paid sick days are coming to more employees as of July 1, 2015, so losing a day’s pay won’t be a problem for nearly as many employees in the future.  Significantly, it will also be illegal to discriminate against employees for using their paid sick days, which will be a huge relief to legitimately ill employees now having to choose between getting their coworkers sick and losing their jobs.