We’ve all wished for a little more vacation time; a little longer on the beach; a few more days hitting the trails. But where in the world do workers enjoy the most time off?
The USA is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers any paid vacation leave. The Center for Economic Research has found that the average paid time off for an American worker is 10 vacation days and six paid holidays.
By contrast, the EU mandates that all employees should receive a minimum of 20 days paid leave. When paid holidays are added to this 20-day mandatory requirement, the average European worker enjoys between 25 and 35 days paid vacation leave per year.
In Australia, the standard entitlement is also 20 days per year, but long-service awards can bump that up significantly.
China also employs a sliding scale based on years of service, albeit considerably less generous. Chinese workers are not entitled to any paid leave in their first year of employment, but this rises to 5 days for up to 10 years; 10 days for 10 – 15 years; and 15 days for more than 20 years.
This entitlement puts the Chinese worker in line with their counterparts in Japan and Canada – each of which has a legal requirement for a minimum of 10 days of paid annual leave.
Significant organizations frequently offer more than the minimum legal requirements because they recognize the critical role that vacation entitlement and other benefits have concerning talent acquisition and retention.
Unfortunately, the desire to attract the best talent means that entitlement isn’t uniformly applied. The CEPR report found that, in the USA, “The paid vacation and paid holidays that employers do make available are distributed unequally. According to … government survey data, only half of the low-wage workers (bottom fourth of earners) have any paid vacation (49 percent), compared to 90 percent of high-wage workers (top fourth of earners).”
However, just because workers are entitled to paid leave, it doesn’t mean they are taking it, according to a report by polling company YouGov. It found that only one in three workers receive their full entitlement.
This attitude of taking allocated vacation varies by country. YouGov found that Brits are most likely to take their full quota of paid vacation leave – 75 percent of them will take the full quota, the median average of which is 28 days per year.
While several countries enjoy a higher median average entitlement of 30 days paid leave per year, including Denmark, Germany, Finland, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Sweden, their workers are less likely to take their full entitlement – with uptake rates of 71, 70, 65, 57, 51, 48 and 46 percent respectively.
Meanwhile, only 44 percent of Americans take the full amount of their meager median average 12-day entitlement.
Whether you have 12 or 30 vacation days to enjoy, make the most of this relaxing days!