Why Construction Workers Deserve More Than Just A Long Labor Day Weekend

30 August 2019

The leaves start to change as fall approaches, football season kicks off, and thousands of us take advantage of the last weekend we can enjoy using the grill outside. 

Labor Day 2019 is this coming Monday, September 2nd. Typically celebrated on the first Monday of September, it signifies the unofficial end of summer for many Americans.

Why do we celebrate labor day? What is labor day all about?

Labor day, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to strength, prosperity and well-being of the United States. The first labor day was celebrated in 1882 in New York City.

Labor Day Weekend

Does everybody get labor day off work?

It used to be that almost everyone had this day off… stores shut down and block parties took over. But today, over 40% of businesses in the U.S. will stay open and have employees on the clock (Bloomberg BNA Survey).

Luckily, the majority of construction workers get to enjoy the long weekend and finally have some time off. In fact, many cities and states stop construction work on labor day: 

“Construction will not be permitted on the following vacations. On these days, all construction work, for which a permit is required, is illegal and could result in a Stop Work Order and may be subject to fines. ” – Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

This long labor day weekend will see many construction workers taking it easy and finding the time to chill out and have fun with family and friends. 

Construction work is physically intense, the hours are long and the safety risk is high–so a long vacation weekend isn’t just deserved, it’s necessary.

Studies have shown that time off work reduces stress, improves health and boosts productivity. Taking time off work can even save your life– the New York Times once reported that you increase your rate of dying by 21 percent when you don’t take any annual vacations.

Time off work is more than a luxury, it’s necessary for the life and well-being of you and your family. Construction workers face high pressure every day on the job. Not only are the physical conditions dangerous (working at high heights, heavy materials, toxic dusts etc) they are also taxing on the body. 

We polled construction workers on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and Linkedin, and 40 percent of you said that the worst part of the job is bad weather. Not many people realize that working in construction means working in uncomfortable and nearly unbearable temperatures and conditions. Freezing rain, beating down scorching sun, or intense humidity… no matter the weather, the job still has to get done. 26 percent of workers said that having to redo poor work was the worst part of the job, 20 percent said early mornings and 13 percent said aches and pains. 

It’s a labor intensive and hard–and I mean hard– job.

So why do thousands of men and women do it?

Is it because it’s meaningful?

As it turns out, it’s because the money is good.

77 percent of construction workers said that the best part of their job is the pay. 

In construction, hard work always pays off. 

Jobs in the industry pay extremely well, especially when you take into account that you don’t need to waste money and time on unnecessary education. Most construction jobs require an apprenticeship or training program directly related to the job to get hired. You learn exactly what you need to know and as a result, you can start earning good money faster than most. 

According to the Bureau of Labor of Statistics, the median annual wage for all construction and extraction occupations was $51,220 in May 2018. 

Money isn’t just nice to have– well paying construction jobs provide security for yourself and your family. Money may not buy happiness but it does provide some peace of mind and stability for yourself and those closest to you. It gives you freedom… maybe even the freedom to take a vacation.

And as we said, vacations aren’t a luxury, a break is necessary for your health.

A Framingham Heart Study, published in 2000, looked at 12,000 men over nine years who were at risk for heart disease. The men who did not take an annual vacations were 32 percent more likely to die of a heart attack.

So forget about cutting down on the junk food — plan a trip to the beach instead. 

Just kidding. But in all seriousness, even if you’re in perfect health, time off work of at least one week — preferably two weeks to really relax — will help you unwind, sleep better and reduce stress. This means you’re safer on the worksite and happier at home, 

Whether it’s relaxing and doing nothing all day but vegging out on the couch, a trip to the lake, the beach or a visit to family–we hope you’re able to enjoy this labor day weekend in whatever way you want, and make it a priority to enjoy more vacation time throughout this year.

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend

Sonya Sikra

Sonya is the Brand Strategy Manager at GoContractor. She specializes in communicating how implementing tech in construction can drive productivity and profit.

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