We can do better than this.

This Paid Annual Leave and Paid Holidays Chart is quite heartbreaking. Come on America, we can do better than this!

(via everlane)

23 Comments leave a comment below

  1. I could not agree more. I find it not only aggravating, but truly sad that a grand majority of companies in America think that working more hours = more profits, when in most situations it means people work 2x the hours at 1/2 or less the productivity.

  2. The article referenced states that America has no law requiring an employer to give you paid vacation. True.
    However, there is also no law requiring you to stay at a company where there is no paid vacation.

    Free choice is a good thing (for both employees and employers).

  3. @geoffrey, I agree about working more hours can lead to less productivity, but I don’t understand why anyone would get a a paid holiday. Hanging out with the fam on christmas or thanksgiving is a privilege not a right, so I don’t see why they should recognize that and pay you wages for doing nothing.

    On the other hand, getting paid sick days and emergencies are fair because the employee can’t plan ahead of time for that.

  4. Or an employer can make allowances an offer paid holidays. Doesn’t matter if it is a right or not.

  5. well… I guess the US has no paid holidays for the same reason their healthcare system is completely screwed up. It’s a dog eat dog everyone for themselves society.

    One of the reasons why the establishment doesn’t like disruptive start ups that challenge the status quo.

  6. How many of those countries have unemployment rates lower than the US? Doesn’t matter how much paid leave you could have if you aren’t getting paid to work at all.

  7. @Jay – Sweden, Finland, Norway, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom*, Canada, and Japan. Providing a work/life balance does not cause a weak economy.
    *By .1%

  8. It’s so good to see another point of view, hey!

  9. In the “Land of Opportunity” Opportunity doesn’t care if you have paid holidays or not, Opportunity waits for no one.. That’s the cold hard truth of living in the archetype of capitalism.

    America, where the dog eats the dog that’s on holiday.™

    Unfortunately the dog that has no holidays, lives a life of constant, pointless toil and struggle like a squirrel collecting nuts for a winter that never comes. Life is more than working yourself to an early grave for a company/country that obviously considers you easily replaceable by offering no incentives (other than money) to retain the employees/citizens it has invested that capital in.

    Rich America / Poor Americans.

  10. This chart is not completely updated. Portugal, for instance, is changing it’s working laws, due to the recession.
    Spain is also working in the same way. The European Social Pact is coming to an end, and we will be like the US in a short period of time… All due to the lack of long term thinking of the politics.

  11. @ Kerrigan

    “@geoffrey, I don’t understand why anyone would get a a paid holiday”

    Are you still living with a pre Victorian mindset?

    Even the industrialist at that time released that they had a duty of care to their employees’ wellbeing, some went even further and built hospitals, schools and housing for them as well, it was this change that lead to the invention of the weekend.

    Corporate America has some really weird ideas, I just hope its one thing we don’t ever copy.

  12. This is a great country! I’m self employed and love what I do. That is more important to me than worrying about working too much. My body tells me when it’s time to take a little time off and re-charge.

  13. Just because we have no laws requiring this, doesn’t mean that companies don’t offer it.

    Since entering the workforce full-time, the three companies I’ve worked for offered paid holidays and vacation on par with the laws in the other countries. I haven’t heard of many companies that don’t offer it.

    This is a good example where you do not need a law to make it happen. The market sorts out fine.

  14. 20 days (4 weeks leave, assuming 5 working days per week) is EU minimum under the Working Time Directive. UK is 28 days (essentially EU+8 public holidays).

  15. An important question to ask is do all these other countries guarantee the same paid holidays and vacation days to all hourly wage workers? Remember, not everyone is a salaried worker, and far too many of our US-based hourly wage earners have zero paid vacation or sick days. If you miss your retail shift, you lose that day’s income.

  16. }}}} Come on America, we can do better than this!

    }}}} Sweden, Finland, Norway, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom*, Canada, and Japan. Providing a work/life balance does not cause a weak economy.


    No, they don’t mean a weak economy.

    Oh, wait, for much of the last 20-odd years, the USA produced, single-handedly, one THIRD of the planet’s wealth — with about 1/20th of the world’s population. The other seven of the G8 nations (many of those listed above) produced another third, despite having something like 5x the population. The remaining nations (about 7/10ths of the world’s population) produced the remaining third.

    I dunno what you consider a “weak” economy, but that fits my bill of lading for the term…

    It’s inarguably MUCH WEAKER.

    …And you figure the USA should be taking its lead from THEM?

    Look, politely said — stop trying to screw this place up for US. You like this stuff so much, by all means — GO THERE.

    Frankly, there’s a reason your ancestors came here. Those places *suck*. And if they didn’t still suck, then the immigration stats wouldn’t have more people coming HERE than going THERE.

    Someday that might change, but the best way to bring it about is to pick the sucky ideas from there and force them into practice here.

    If people WANT paid leave, and the situation justifies it, then people will demand it and take jobs that offer it.

    Ramming it down people’s throats by government fiat is never a good idea. It only makes marginal jobs even more marginal, and more likely to get CUT.

    There’s a REASON why France and Gemany and the UK have persistent double-digit unemployment. The laws regarding workplace compensation are a large part of it.

  17. }}} “In the “Land of Opportunity” Opportunity doesn’t care if you have paid holidays or not, Opportunity waits for no one.. That’s the cold hard truth of living in the archetype of capitalism.”

    Funny, how is it that everyone wants to come to America, Tony?

    I mean, if it’s such an awful, oppressive working environment… why are there almost no nations with which there is a persistent net outflow towards…? If all these wonderful healthcare programs, and wonderful paid holiday programs, and so forth, are so damned spectacularly desirable… why are people staying?

    Why aren’t all the immigrants that DO make it here going, “Hey, this place really sucks!! I want to go home!?!?”

    Why do those who get Green Cards not bother to get citizenship, and return to their nation of origin?


    Can’t be because you, and those whining over this issue, are rather blatantly WRONG….


    Think not again of it. It just doesn’t SOUND right, no matter how ludicrously your position violates openly observable facts.

    Amerikkkkka sucks. We’re evil. We’re corporate. We’re baby-killing monsters.

    Except on weekends…

    … and legal holidays.

    … and on sick days.

    … and on vacation time (which, mind you, we do consider to be unswappable on the fly, evil that we are)


  18. Herman, have you ever travelled?

  19. If you feel you need more vacation – either change your benefits package with existing employer or change your company/career/lifestyle…

    It’s all about priorities and expectations… Some people prefer America over everywhere else for some things, and vice versa for other things. Expecting all pros and no cons is foolish.

    I generally agree with @Mark and @Earlyiron
    Basically, I’m quite fine with America being more of a “Live to work” place – I like accomplishing things. When I feel like I’ve done enough for a while, I’ll take some rest until I want to get back at it again…

  20. @Seth – The fact that no law regulates paid leave/holidays is a source of inequalities.
    @Matt – In France, yes, hourly wage workers are entitled to paid annual leave. It’s 2.5 days per month assuming a 35h per week workload (of course if you work less hours, you get less leave days.)
    But what’s great is that no one can be forced (this include any kind of psychological pressure) to work more than 35h per week. And if you choose to work more than that, then the employer is forced to pay you more for the overtime. France also has very strong laws against working on public holidays and Sundays, which is a great thing for global well-being… and because it gives us plenty of time for demonstrating. ;)

  21. isn’t the euro crumbling?

  22. That’s because of Greece, Ireland, Spain and Italy, mostly. But you’re right, France is not in the best place either.