Change is coming

Budget-crushing labor practices must be altered to save economies

In the category of “I’d love to have that deal, but what if everyone did?”:

Europe’s highest court ruled last week that workers who get sick while on vacation are entitled to more vacation to make up for it.

“The purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure,” the Court of Justice of the European Union explained in its ruling involving department store workers in Spain – but which is applicable across the 27 countries of the European Union.

Even The New York Times report seemed aghast.

“With much of Europe mired in recession, governments struggling to reduce budget deficits and officials trying to combat high unemployment,” the paper writes, “the ruling is a reminder of just how hard it is to shake up long-established and legally protected labor practices that make it hard to put more people to work and revive sinking economies.”

You think?

The court had previously ruled that a European worker could reschedule a vacation if he or she gets sick beforehand; this ruling means you can call in sick from the beach and stop the clock on your vacation time!

How’d you like to have that deal?

Then again, how’d you like your economy to be in a shambles? It’s unsustainable policies and laws and rulings such as these that have led to the financial and social and political tumult we’re seeing in Western Europe today.

In Greece, the grandfather of democracy, they have officially run out of other people’s money – and thousands lined up last week for emergency donations of fruits and vegetables from farmers in Crete.

“From a bonus for showing up to work to a dead father’s pension going to an unmarried daughter, arcane benefits bloat Greece’s budget by billions of euros a year,” Reuters news agency warned in 2010.

“While the law protects civil servants from dismissal, it allows them to retire with a pension in their 40s.”

They made a fuss when it was proposed to raise the overall average retirement age to 63.

Change is coming. They can make all the decrees and laws they like, but in the end the laws of economics must be obeyed.

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