Labor & Workforce

US labor laws rank country behind developed world: Oxfam

New York, June 13 (EFE).- The United States has labor laws that place it behind the developed world in wage policies, worker protection and union rights, according to a report made public Tuesday by Oxfam America, comparing the labor legislation of the most developed countries.

The non-profit organization tracked 56 labor policies in the 38 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which it later ranks according to its score, a statement read.

The US ranks “consistently near the bottom” of those lists, coming 36th in wage policies, 38th in worker protection and 32nd in rights to organize, reflecting how the country views rights and labor protections “privileges for people in ‘good’ jobs,” it added.

Kaitlyn Henderson, a research fellow at Oxfam America’s US National Policy Program and lead author of the report accompanying the index, said that in the country’s current labor laws “you can clearly see the echoes of historic racial discrimination and gender.”

The US, Henderson said, is “the only economically advanced nation that denies its workforce the fundamental right to paid leave,” part of a series of policy decisions that fuel “extreme inequality” and especially affect people of color, women, immigrants and refugees.

In the care sector (generally for dependent people), the country is last on the list, since it does not offer any days of compulsory paid sick leave, paid maternity or paternity leave for workers, the NGO said.

“Meanwhile, the US could learn a lot from a nation like Spain, which guarantees 16 weeks of paid parental leave to both parents, encouraging a more equitable approach to caregiving responsibilities,” the report added.

Oxfam also said that although the US has a federal minimum wage, it has not been increased in 14 years, and also only covers 29 percent of the national average wage, compared to countries such as Belgium, where it covers 75 percent.

It said that this minimum wage excludes agricultural workers, young people or those with disabilities.

On union rights, it said branches of government and private corporations “consistently attack union safeguards” and despite growing popular support for unions, membership remains low.

In 2022, it fell to record lows of 10 percent, and only 12 percent of the workforce was covered by collective bargaining.

The NGO, which said the US’ delay on many issues is a matter of “political will,” asked legislators and activists to use the index to help identify points of legislative improvement for the benefit of the workforce and working families. EFE


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