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Regulation and Compliance > State Regulation

Vacation-wise, U.S. stands alone among advanced economies

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The U.S. is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation time or holidays, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

In its May 2013 report, “No-Vacation Nation Revisited,” the Washington, D.C-based organization states the U.S. is unique among the 21 richest countries in not offering the legal right to paid vacation time. This contrasts with France and the U.K., which guarantee 30 and 28 days, respectively of vacation time.

Most of the 21 (mostly European) countries surveyed guarantee:

25 days of paid vacation (Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden);

22 days of paid vacation (Austria, Portugal, Spain); or

20 days of paid vacation (Italy, Belgium, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Greece, Netherland, and Switzerland)

Germany provides 24 days of paid vacation. Canada and Japan, the report notes, guarantee 10 days each.

“The gap between paid time off in the United States and the rest of the world is even larger if we include legally mandated paid holidays, where the U.S. offers none, but most of the rest of the world’s rich countries offer at least six paid holidays per year,” the report notes.

Countries guaranteeing paid holidays among the 21 countries surveyed include the following:

13 paid holidays (Austria, Portugal)

12 paid holidays (Spain)

11 paid holidays (Italy)

10 paid holidays (Belgium, German, New Zealand)

9 paid holidays (Canada, Ireland)

8 paid holidays (Australia)

6 paid holidays (Greece)

2 paid holidays (Norway)

1 paid holidays (France)

Absent government mandates, the report states, almost one in four Americans has no paid vacation time (23 percent) and no paid holidays (23 percent).

“According to government survey data, the average worker in the private sector in the U.S. receives only about 10 days of paid vacation and about six paid holidays per year: less than the minimum legal standard set in the rest of the world’s rich economies, excluding Japan,” the report states.


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