Nations With The Most Paid Time Off (And How The US Compares)

By @MarkJohansonIBT on
  • No. 1 Russia

    Arrivals: 24.9 million Major Draws: culture, heritage, cities

  • Venetian Carnival In Venice

    With 24 days of annual leave plus 12 public holidays, Italians get a total of 36 paid days off.

  • No. 2 Finland

    With 25 days of annual leave plus 10 public holidays, Finns get a total of 35 paid days off.

  • Street-art in Paris, France

    With 25 days of annual leave plus 10 public holidays, French get a total of 35 paid days off.

    REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen
  • Rio De Janeiro

    With 30 days of annual leave plus 5 public holidays, Brazilians get a total of 35 paid days off.

  • Statue of Liberty

    With 10 days of annual leave and 10 public holidays, Americans get a total of 20 days off. Of the nations surveyed, just Taiwan, Singapore, China, Canada and Mexico fared worse.

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If you’re looking for paid time off, one thing is certain: You don’t want to live in Asia or North America. Indeed, a survey out Tuesday from shows a wide disparity in paid and public holiday entitlements across the globe.

Researchers looked at both statutory annual leave and public holiday allowances in 30 nations in Europe, Asia and the Americas. What they found was that workers in Europe and South America receive much more time off than their counterparts in Asia and North America.

The global average of annual leave and public entitlement across the nations surveyed was 28 days. Workers in the U.S., however, get an average of just 20 days off. America’s neighbors to the north and south fare even worse. Thanks to a lack of public holidays, Canadians get an average of only 15 days off, while Mexicans get just 13.

Workers in Taiwan (19 days), Singapore (18 days) and China (16 days) don’t fare much better either.

The country with the most days off each year may come as somewhat of a surprise. With 28 days of annual leave and 12 public holidays, Russians get a total of 40 days off annually, twice as much as Americans.

Taylor Cole of, perhaps looking to her own industry's interests as well as the general welfare, said it’s a shame Americans don’t have more time to relax.

“Vacation time enables workers to strengthen their connections to friends, family and interests outside of the office,” she noted. “It is essential to help them hit reset on creativity and productivity within the workplace.”

The U.S. is the only developed country without a federal mandate for a minimum number of vacation days. It also honors only 10 federal holidays a year, a number that's below the global average.

According to data out last August from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 39.7 percent of American workers (or about 55 million people) did not have access to paid vacation time in 2011. What's even more disconcerting is that about 57 percent of working Americans whose employers did offer paid time off had an average of 11 days left on the table at the end of 2011, according to a separate study performed by Harris Interactive for low-cost carrier JetBlue.

For a look at 10 nations that all give their workers at least a month of paid time off, click through the slideshow above.

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