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Did You Work This 4th of July? For Many Americans, The Answer is Yes

Friday marked the country’s 238 birthday, but for many Americans around the country it was just another day at work.

While police, doctors and other emergency workers have always worked the holiday, a growing number of Americans in all sorts of work simply don’t have the day off.

A local Bronx paper noted that like other places around the country, many stores and restaurants decided to stay open on the holiday, meaning their workers had to be there too, skipping picnics and fireworks to man the cash registers and serve diners. While some workers surveyed said they did not mind, others felt that they were forced to forgo the holiday to keep their jobs.

That is because unlike many other countries, in the United States workers do not have to be offered any paid holidays at all, making it easy for businesses to make the decision to stay open on Thanksgiving, the 4th of July and other holidays and expect their workers to simply show up.

In fact, since the 1970’s, the number of workers able to take a paid holiday has declined steadily, leading to a growing number of workers spending holidays on the job.

For many of these same workers, taking any vacation time is out of the question too. While most high-wage earners have vacation time to get away from the job, most low-income workers don’t and nearly one-quarter of the work force has no paid time off at all.

That means taking time off for anything, including when they are too sick to show, can lead to a loss of a day’s pay, something many can ill-afford.

It is also something that is common only in America.  The United States is nearly the only advanced country that doesn’t guarantee all workers at least some paid time off and most developed countries around the world mandates paid holidays -an average 9 per year – for their workforce.

In the U.S. however, these perks are left up to the whims of the employer, meaning for more and more workers, the 4th of July is just another day at work.

Photo Credit: Rubbermaid

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.

  • Angela Monger

    Kind of makes me wonder why we even have holidays if most people can’t celebrate them.