Which countries get the most paid time off work a year?

Employment & Skills | International | Reports

day off

The team at International Citizens Group, experts in international living, have looked at the amount of time off workers around the globe can expect.

The amount of paid leave varies hugely from country to country due to different legislation across the world with some countries offering a generous vacation package, while others offer absolutely nothing.

US employers are under no obligation to provide any form of paid leave, while workers in Europe can expect at least a month’s worth of paid holiday a year.

Joe Cronin, President of International Citizens Groups, said: “Everyone deserves a break, especially in this climate, but some countries get more than others. Having a relaxing rest can do wonders for staff productivity, creativity, and problem-solving.

“Levels of statutory holiday vary massively around the globe due to different laws and local regulations. It is also worth remembering that different companies offer their employees different holiday perks and alternative days off instead of public holidays.

“Members of the European Union benefit from a Working Time Directive, meaning they are all guaranteed at least 20 days off work whilst getting paid a year. Many EU countries also offer a generous number of paid public holidays, which means employees could land up to an extra two weeks off.

“However not every country is so lucky when it comes to holidays and every working week can vary greatly. Depending on the geographical location and local legislation, full-time hours start at 35 hours over 5 days, all the way up to 48 hours over 6 days.”

Top countries for paid time off

  1. Spain – 39 days

As well as a daily siesta, Spaniards accumulate a whopping 25 days of paid annual leave a year. Employers cannot replace holidays with financial compensation, meaning they must all be taken. There are also 14 public holidays, which the Spanish government dictates. However, they are not included in the minimum holiday entitlement and offer another well-earned break. They include Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and the Spanish National Day in October.

  1. Austria – 38 days

Austria’s workforce may typically work a Monday to Friday week, but all employees are entitled to 25 working days leave each year. They also get 13 public holidays off spread throughout the year. In most major companies, if an employee has 25 years of continual service, their leave allowance increases to 35 free days a year.

  1. Finland – 36 days

It is common for Finns to also take a week of holidays in the wintertime, either around Christmas or in early spring when children have their winter holidays. People living there tend to get 25 days off a year for annual leave and most employers also offer an additional 11 paid days during public or religious holidays.

  1. Sweden – 36 days

The rules regarding time off in Sweden mirror Finland’s, especially when it comes to public and religious holidays. Every employee in Sweden is entitled to 25 full working days of vacation every year, regardless of age or type of employment.

Worst countries for paid time off

  1. The United States of America – no days

Despite its advanced economy, America is one of the few nations that does not guarantee its workers any paid time to chill. Although many employers grant some of their employees paid holiday time, no specific law sets out a legal minimum amount of vacation time that employees should be entitled to. Because of this, it is thought that up to a quarter of American’s get no paid time off, which is very unfair.

  1. Canada – 19 days

The basic entitlement is 10 days of paid holiday, with nine public holidays which are also paid for. After five consecutive years with the same employer, the entitlement increases to three weeks of vacation and then after 10 years, employees working in Canada are entitled to four whole weeks off. Employee loyalty seems to pay off in Canada!

  1. Switzerland – 24 days

Workers in Switzerland can expect four paid public holidays, alongside their 20 days of annual leave. Some Swiss companies also offer an extra week of vacation to employees who have worked at a company for several years.

  1. Japan – 25 days

Most employers in Japan pay their employees for their time during the 15 public holidays that occur throughout the year. In addition to that, workers are guaranteed 10 days off paid for vacation annually. In some Japanese workplaces, an employee will not take their full annual entitlement, because they fear they will let down or inconvenience colleagues. Seniority in a company also plays a part in paid vacation time, employees sometimes gain another day of paid time off, per year of employment, up to a maximum of 20 days annually

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