Average salaries for my industry (software) are much, much lower were I work (Italy) than in the USA. Also, we pay a lot of taxes, in some cases more than half of our gross income. On the other hand, we have some lawful rights that are missing in the States and they are quite valuable. These include, but may not be limited to (I could be forgetting some):
- If the company employs 15 or more people, we cannot be fired without a strong reason that must be approved by a court
- Paid sick leave, basically as long as our doctor says that we are ill
- Paid vacation time, at least 20 working days per year
- Paid absence hours to run errands (How many hours? This can vary. Let's say about 100 hours per year)
- Paid wedding leave, 15 working days when we marry (only once)
- Paid parental leave, at least two months before the birth and three months after the birth, for mothers (some can be transferred to the father instead)
- If the firm goes bankrupt, we employees are the first ones who get our money (in case there is still any), before banks and other creditors
- No need to negotiate for medical benefits: we don't need an health insurance because all citizens are covered by the National Health Service
- Working hours: we are typically salaried, but our salary pays exactly 40 hours per week. We then need to be paid extra for overtime and on call time. (My understanding of many posts on this site is that salaried workers in the USA normally work unpaid overtime). EDIT: Hilmar explained the meaning of the word salaried. So what I really mean is that we have national contracts that state that we work 40 hours per week for a certain pay and when we go beyond that we get paid for overtime.
- Obligatory 15 minutes (paid) break every two hours if our job requires to look at a monitor
You may argue that this is changing, (just google Italy's jobs act), so please consider the situation of someone who started their current job before March 2015.
How can the worker estimate the value of such a list of lawful rights, when having to decide whether to exchange them for a much higher pay in the USA?
I hope that some objective arguments can be found, but I'm not sure. If we find out that this is not a good subjective question, I will close it.