You’re furloughed!

IN MID-FEBRUARY Hilton, a hotelier, and its employees had something to celebrate. For the second year running the company came top in Fortune magazine’s list of best American companies to work for. The perks provided to its 62,000 direct employees in America included extended parental leave, Under Armour-branded uniforms and facilities to let travelling staff ship breast milk home. A mere six weeks later, on March 26th, tens of thousands of those pampered employees were given notice that they would be thrown out of work because of the covid-19 pandemic. That was the day weekly jobless claims in America spiked by 1,000% to 3.3m.

The stratospheric surge of Americans seeking unemployment benefits contrasts with the situation in western Europe. Companies there are struggling just as hard but many are keeping workers on the books at reduced pay. That is a familiar story. In times of economic upheaval, European firms rely extensively on schemes in which the government picks up part of the wage bill, such as Germany’s Kurzarbeit, France’s chômage partiel and Italy’s cassa integrazione. Traditionally, America has shunned such feather-bedding. From frontier days its labour laws have given employers leave to cull jobs almost...



via Business Feeds

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