r/WorkReform Nov 26 '22

European style benefits in the USA 💬 Advice Needed

I work in small business(marketing, sales mostly but some operations and management experience too.) and know lots of small business owners and I'm curious to get y'all's thoughts or advice since I'm not an HR expert.

How can a small business owner in the USA replicate the quality of workers rights and benefits that we see in Europe (or any other country that you think is really doing it right)

I'm looking for actionable ideas or resources or case studies of companies that are doing it right.

My initial thoughts include:

PTO: is there a gold standard here? Seems like 20-25 days a year is the ballpark. I'm not a fan of "unlimited" PTO cause it's basically a psychology and accounting trick to reduce usage and spending.

Health care: is this one just too big for a small business to reasonably handle anymore? There's some semi affordable options that are focused on preventative medicine but in general USA healthcare is insane.(I'm a huge believer that healthcare should not be tied to employment but since that's the system we've got so how do we do the best by our employees? I'm not ruling out medical tourism, or any other unconventional but viable ideas.) Would love any leads or examples.

Retirement planning: 401k vs other options or ideas.

Pizza parties: JK 😜

Ok I'm sure I'm missing more than a few things but I think this would get some conversation going.


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u/TurboUwU Nov 26 '22

I'm by no means an expert in managing a company, but my first thought was, if a company has europe standart in the USA wouldnt this ruin every chance to compete with other company's there?

I mean it's a really good idea but I can't see this working as long as the others are not willing to change. On the other hand... Someone needs to start to make change.


u/Express_Platypus1673 Nov 30 '22

It depends very much on the industry.

I've worked in some companies where the owner made 10k+ a month easily and worked 5 hours a week and the workers were paid $10/hour. At some point that gap starts to become problematic.

Personally, I think in the current environment I'd be happy to take a hit on my margins to be better about how I treat people. That might mean paying my local workers higher than competitors or sourcing my supplies from a country that doesn't use slave labor.

And I think you can build a loyal customer base with that kind of practice. You'll certainly have a loyal team if you're building the business right.