Americans are traveling all over right now for their Christmas vacation, as it is one of the few times that Americans have vacation, while the rest of the world enjoys much more time off.
While most other countries, such as Brazil and Australia, enjoy over a month off for vacation every year, Americans average just two weeks off per year.
In fact, many Americans don’t even use all of their vacation time, as they fear they could lose their jobs or appear lazy in the eyes of their co-workers and managers.
For comparison, Australian workers enjoy at least four weeks away from the office in addition to 10 public holidays, while Brazilians have 22 days of paid leave with a 33 percent salary vacation bonus.
French people have an even sweeter deal, with over 5 weeks off per year for most, and over 9 for government workers.
The United States is the sole member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – a group of 34 developed nations founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade – that does not require employers to provide a single day of paid leave to their employees.
Workers in Finland, Norway and Sweden have 25 days of paid annual leave, followed by Portugal and Spain, where employees get more than three weeks off with pay.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, under the Fair Labor Standards Act employers do not have to pay for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave or holidays.
On average, most Americans get about 14-15 days off a year, but many people do not take full advantage of their already modest vacation time.
“It’s interesting that many workers are not taking advantage of their available vacation days for the year, yet are hungry for more time off,” Joyce Russell of Adecco Staffing told Business News Daily.
Many people are apprehensive when it comes to taking time off, as they fear it will affect how their colleagues and bosses will look at them.
Nearly 30 percent of those who took part in the survey admitted that they get upset when co-workers take several long weekends, while 23 percent indicated that they feel that others judge them when they take any days off.
Political commentator and progressive economist Robert Reich recently had suggested the U.S. Congress pass a law mandating a minimum of three weeks of vacation for every American worker.
“A mandatory three weeks off would be good for everyone — including employers,” Reich said. “Studies show workers who take time off are more productive after their batteries are recharged. They have higher morale, and are less likely to mentally check out on the job.
“This means more output per worker — enough to compensate employers for the cost of hiring additional workers to cover for everyone’s three weeks’ vacation time.”
This is unlikely to pass, especially amidst the looming fiscal cliff.
Do you feel you get enough vacation time from your employer?
James Gilbert | Elite.