The Biggest Differences Between Working In Canada And In The US
The US definitely seems to have gotten the shorter end of the stick.
Yes, we're friendly neighbours (usually), but that doesn't mean we don't have our differences. Working in Canada and working in the US has a ton of major dissimilarities, from how easy it is to get fired to the paid days off we get. After reading this, you'll think twice before complaining about your job in Canada.
Maternity leave is considered pretty standard by Canadians. Our government mandates a leave for new parents depending on the length of their employment and hours worked. Mothers can take anywhere between 17 and 52 weeks off and their employers are required to accept them back to their job once their leave is over.
The government also offers paid leave for parents through Canada's employment insurance plan. Through this plan, a mother can take up to 15 weeks of paid leave. The pay equals 55 percent of their average weekly wage up to a maximum of $485 per week.
The US, on the other hand, has no such thing as paid maternity leave. Mothers are entitled to 12 weeks of parental leave, however, it's unpaid. They are one of the only countries in the world that doesn't mandate some sort of paid leave for new parents.
We women in the US need to hit the streets and demand REASONABLE maternity leave. I’m PISSED/ SAD to be returning to work once by baby is 7.5 weeks old.— Baby After Loss (@rainbowonboard) September 30, 2018
In Canada, workers with less than five years at a company are entitled to two weeks of paid vacation per year. After their five year work anniversary, they're entitled to three weeks.
American's paid vacation time is totally up to the discretion of the employer - they don't have to offer any if they don't want to. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 74% of companies do offer paid time off. Most places will give their workers at least two weeks.
Breaks & Work Hours
Even though many workers in both the US and Canada are chained to their desks all day anyway, Canadians are legally entitled to breaks - 30-minutes are allowed every five hours. There is also a maximum of 48 hours per week that a Canadian can be asked to work unless there is a written agreement between them and their employer.
Federal law in the US does not require breaks. However, most employers do offer breaks, typically lasting between five and 20 minutes. The law recognizes this as paid time. There is no legal limit to how many hours a week someone in the US can be asked to work. However, the law states any time over 40 hours must be paid time and a half.
The rules for terminating employees vary from province to province and state to state, one thing is quite clear - it's way easier to get fired in the US than it is in Canada.
In Canada, employees are pretty highly protected by the government. For example, in Ontario, employees who've worked full time for over a year are almost impossible to fire unless they've really crossed the line.
yep, that is correct. American employment laws are pretty wild, lots of states still have at-will employment so they can fire you at any time and give no reason for it 😐— water falling in drops (@stillicides) October 2, 2018
If a company has an employee who hasn't been doing their job or just isn't the right fit at the time, that's not a justifiable reason to fire them. However, if they've done something crazy, like stolen company property or harassed someone, they can be fired.
Many states in the US are "at-will employment states". This means that employees can be fired for any reason under the sun. Show up to work late? You're fired. Wore an ugly shirt? You're fired. Forgot your boss's latte? You're fired. Kidding, not kidding.
What would Canadians do without that lovely mid-February time off known as Family Day? Statutory holidays in Canada hold payment rules for employers. Salary workers usually get stat holidays off as paid days. Workers who are required to work are entitled to payment of either 1.5x or 2x their regular wage.
In the US, the Fair Labor Standards Act does not require payment for time that isn't worked. So, while Americans are more than welcome to indulge in some Monday Thanksgiving festivities, they're not entitled to be paid for the day off. Any holiday payments or benefits that are given to an employee is at the discretion of their employer.
So, there you have it. Even though waking up at the crack of dawn on a snowy Canadian day to get to that 9 to 5 job might be killer sometimes, it could be worse.