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What Paid Vacation Days Look Like In Wealthy Nations Around The World

By Kelsey Marie

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Americans are known for being all about business, often sacrificing vacation time to climb the career ladder. Getting paid vacation time isn’t guaranteed to workers in the U.S. and if it is, you’ll most likely only receive two to three weeks. 

According to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research in 2019, French workers receive 30 paid vacation days annually. The study also reported that 52 percent of lower-wage workers received paid vacation while 91 percent of high-wage workers were guaranteed paid time off. 

Eileen Appelbaum, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research shared with Travel + Leisure via email: “Workers in the European Union are legally guaranteed at least 20 paid vacation days per year, with some countries mandating 25, or even 30 or more days. In the [U.S.], count yourself as lucky if your job offers paid vacation and holidays.”

However, when Americans do receive paid vacation, many don’t use it. A study by the U.S. Travel Association states that in 2018, 55 percent of workers said they did not use their paid time off. 

Roger Dow, President and CEO of U.S. Travel Association, gave a statement saying, “When I see how many vacation days went unused, I don’t just see a number — I see…missed opportunities to recharge, experience something new and connect with family and friends.” 

I think this is something we can all relate to. 

If you’re curious about what paid vacations look like in other wealthy nations, take a look:

The United States

There, unfortunately, is no federally mandated vacation time in the U.S. The only city to come close to proposing legislation for paid vacations in New York City. 

Australia

Workers in Australia receive 20 paid vacation days and eight paid holidays each year. If you’re wondering what happens if you don’t use all of those days, you’ll be pleased to know you’re able to cash out any remaining leave greater than four weeks. 

Canada

Canadians have 10 paid vacation days and nine paid holidays each year. Most provinces in Canada give their workers an additional week of paid vacation if they work for five to 10 years.

England

Although workers aren’t guaranteed paid holidays, they do receive 28 days or more of paid vacation!

France

In France, workers receive 30 paid days off and one paid holiday. 

Japan

Japanese employees working for more than 18 months at their current place of employment receive one day for every year of their employment and can earn up to 20 days. In general, workers in Japan get 10 paid vacation days and 15 paid holidays. 

Spain

The awesome thing about Spain is employees receive paid leave for life circumstances such as moving, jury duty, and getting married. Spanish workers receive 25 days of paid vacation and 14 paid holidays. 

Sweden

Workers in Sweden receive 25 or more paid vacation days and 11 paid holidays. 

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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

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