News in brief

This week’s news in brief

45 million in US choose to shun
healthcare insurance

The number of US
citizens without health insurance rose by 1.4 million to a record 45 million in
2003, the US Census Bureau reports. This appears to be mainly due to sharply rising
costs for health coverage and a continuing fall-off in the number of workers in
employer-sponsored health plans. However the proportion of uninsured people to
the total has risen only slightly, from 15.2 to 15.6 per cent, as the growth in
the general population has added 3.2 million more people to government health
programmes. US
experts see the latest figures as confirmation of a long-term downward trend in
the number of people obtaining health insurance through employers.

East-west divide
still in evidence across Europe

Senior managers in Eastern Europe earn less than half
of those in Western Europe, according to a study by
Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Average gross pay for senior managers in Eastern
Europe is just £25,000 per year compared to £58,000 for those in
the West. At the extremes, managers working in Switzerland
earn £98,000 on average while Austrian and Danish managers earn around £67,000.
In contrast, the average salary for Romanian managers is £21,000 while in Bulgaria
it is just £17,000. In the UK,
senior managers can expect to earn, on average, around £58,000 per year.

Czech mate for men as women’s pay
lags behind

Sixty per cent of people in the Czech
Republic believe that women have a
lower chance than men of getting a job that would correspond to their skills,
according to a recent survey conducted for the country’s Ministry of Labour and
Social Affairs. Another third think the chances are the same and only 2 per
cent state that it is the other way round. As many as 70 per
cent of the respondents told the questioners that females have a smaller chance
of getting the same salary as males for identical work.
According to the
MF Dnes daily newspaper, Czech women earn 26 per cent
less than men, on average, with the only other EU member state where the
situation is worse being Austria.
The only area where the country’s females are better off than males is in the
chance to keep their child after a divorce, with three-quarters of the survey’s
participants agreeing.

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