Beside the dream of making it from rags to riches, there are many reasons that may attract you for choosing the USA as your expat destination. There are many things that are good to know before becoming an expat, from business values to working conditions.
Working in the USA may be different from what you are used to and working conditions might seem harsh compared to some European countries. The average workplace in the USA can be highly competitive, with decisions being made at executive level without much consultation of the workforce. Most international employees in the USA share a positive experience of the country and its people. North Americans are generally outgoing and sociable, trying to make every newcomer feel welcome. Identification with their country and its values tends to be high among Americans. They are also keen to impart these values to everyone living in the USA.
In the USA, it is common for people to take pride in their work. Mobility is also an important aspect of working in the USA, especially for people who want to get ahead. Employees and business people are expected to jump at a career opportunity, even if it means that they have to relocate with their entire family. A considerable number of companies and business people also take on certain social responsibilities towards the community: voluntary work, charity donations and fundraising activities are both common and highly regarded practices. Given the permeable social safety net, US society relies very much on these values.
People in the USA are often employed at will, meaning they are not protected from dismissal by a clause in their work contract. There may either be no written contract at all, or one that doesn´t specifies the need for a valid reason for letting an employee ago. Employees who aren’t union members should consult an official employee manual to find out more about their rights and duties. These manuals are mostly distributed by the employer. There is, however, a variety of anti-discrimination laws, which are taken very seriously to ensure equal opportunities for all people, regardless of age, race, religion, gender or disabilities.
There are a few general guidelines valid for most employees in the USA. An average working week has 40 hours, although in the US working overtime is common and often expected. The minimum number of paid holidays amounts to ten days per year, paid sick leave to seven days. There is no maternity or paternity leave, but the parents of a newborn child are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave or could be covered by a disability insurance.