It’s almost time for summer vacations, but did you know there is no U.S. law that requires your boss to give you a single paid day of vacation time? Ever. Many companies do, probably due to competitive pressures, but twenty-five percent of private sector employees get no paid vacation time or holidays. You are less likely to get paid time off if you are a part-timer, a low wager earner, or work for a small company (under 100 employees).
It is astonishing that the U.S. is the only developed country that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation or holidays. In the EU countries, workers are entitled to at least four weeks’ annual leave each year, with additional time for national holidays. In France and Finland, thirty days is the minimum standard. Other counties including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan also provide guaranteed paid leave for their workers.
According to a recent study entitled “No-Vacation Nation” by the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC, Americans get an average of 15 total paid days off per year, comprised of nine vacation days and six holidays. This falls well below the required standard in the nineteen other countries studied.
Other studies have shown that even with these comparatively paltry leave policies, many Americans do not take all of their allowed vacation time. When paid days off are the perk rather than the rule, why don’t more people take full advantage of their benefits?
From the Center for Economic and Policy Research (PDF document)