Sunday, September 1, 2013

A medieval peasant got more vacation than you

Unless you're a member of Congress, you get less vacation than a medieval peasant, Lynn Parramore writes in an opinion piece for Reuters:
Plowing and harvesting were backbreaking toil, but the peasant enjoyed anywhere from eight weeks to half the year off. The Church, mindful of how to keep a population from rebelling, enforced frequent mandatory holidays. Weddings, wakes and births might mean a week off quaffing ale to celebrate, and when wandering jugglers or sporting events came to town, the peasant expected time off for entertainment. There were labor-free Sundays, and when the plowing and harvesting seasons were over, the peasant got time to rest, too. In fact, economist Juliet Shor found that during periods of particularly high wages, such as 14th-century England, peasants might put in no more than 150 days a year.
What happened?

  1. The U.S. has no national vacation policy;
  2. High unemployment and less job security;
  3. Corporate greed. 
You probably knew that. But did you know Congress has 239 days off this year?