Flights of Fancy Mom

I'm a mom with dreams.  I want to live my life with no boundaries.  One day at a time.

Vacation Days ~ Where does the United States Rank?

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With summer upon us, many Americans have dreams.  Dreams of days in the sun, catching that vitamin D. Dreams of days in the woods hiking. Dreams of escaping their daily routine of waking up, getting the family ready and out the door for work or camp, working eight hours, picking up the kids, getting dinner on the table, going to bed and doing it all over again.

Who doesn’t have that dream???

Did you know, out of 21 of the richest countries around the world, the United States is the ONLY one who does not have it required that businesses give their employees paid vacation time?  We are the only country that allows businesses to choose how much time they will allow their employees. I love America, but, you know what?  That’s kind of pathetic.  This was in a policy put into place in 1938.  Ummm, that was almost 80 years ago. Am I the only one that sees an issue with that?

Of the other 20 countries in the OECD Nations, here are the lowest to highest in required vacation time allowed to their citizens:

  • 20 ~ Japan ** 10 Days

Japan gives their employees 10 paid vacation days.

  • 19 ~ Canada ** 16 Days

Canada gives their employees 10 paid vacation days and 6 paid holidays.

  • 18 ~ Netherlands ** 20 Days

Netherlands gives their employees 20 paid vacation days.

  • 17 ~ Greece ** 24 Days

Courtesy of

Greece gives their employees 20 days vacation and 4 paid holidays.

  • 16 ~ Sweden ** 25 Days

Sweden gives their employees 25 paid vacation days.

  • 15 ~ Switzerland ** 27 Days

Switzerland gives their employees 20 paid vacation days and 7 paid holidays.

  • 14 ~ Norway ** 27 Days

Norway tied with Switzerland and gives their employees 25 paid vacation and 2 paid holidays.


  • 13 ~ Ireland ** 29 Days

Ireland gives their employees 20 paid vacation days and 9 paid holidays.

  • 12 ~ Germany ** 29 Days

Germany tied with Australia and  gives their employees 20 paid vacations and 9 paid holidays.

  • 11 ~ Australia ** 30 Days

Image result for free stock photos of australia

Courtesy of

Australia tied with Germany and gives their employees 20 paid vacation days and 10 paid holidays.

  • 10 ~ Belgium ** 30 Days

Belgium gives their employees 20 paid vacations and 10 paid holidays.

  • 9 ~ New Zealand ** 31 Days

New Zealand gives their employees 20 paid vacations and 11 paid holidays.

  • 8 ~ Italy ** 32 Days

Italy gives their employees 20 paid vacations and 12 paid holidays.

  • 7 ~ Denmark ** 34 Days

Denmark gives their employees 25 vacation days and 9 paid holidays.

  • 6 ~ Portugal ** 35 Days

Portugal gives their employees 22 vacation days and 13 paid holidays

  • 5 ~ United Kingdom ** 36 Days

The UK tied with Finland, France AND Spain. They give their employees 28 paid vacation days and 8 paid holidays.

  • 4 ~ Finland ** 36 Days

Finland tied with the UK, France AND Spain. They give their employees 25 paid vacation days and 11 paid holidays

  • 3 ~ France ** 36 Days

France tied with the US, Finland AND Spain. They give their employees 25 paid vacation days and 11 paid holidays.

  • 2 ~ Spain ** 36 Days

Spain gives their employees 22 paid vacation days and 14 paid holidays.

  • 1 ~ Austria ** 38 Days

Image result for free stock photos of austria

Courtesy of

Austria gives their employees 25 paid vacation days and 13 paid holidays.

Vacation is a time that employees need to take away from work. They spend a majority of their waking time there and they need to be able to walk away from work and refresh. While researching the countries as part of the OECD, I came across the vacation and holiday times available on Wikipedia showing all the days off other countries GIVE their employees. The highest I came across was 45 and 52.  These are from Cambodia and Iran consecutively.  Let me repeat that.  CAMBODIA and IRAN…. Now, let those amount of days sink in.  That is OVER a month and a half of time off work to rejuvenate.

No other country has it as their policy that employers are not required to give their employees vacation time or personal time.  I find that highly outrageous.  As rich as our country is supposed to be?  It’s insane!  You can view the complete list HERE.

And most Americans who take their vacation time, end up taking their work with them. This is so they don’t fall behind and end up fearing the loss of their jobs. That is one thing I refuse to do.  My vacations, personal days and sick days taken are away from the office.  I do not turn on my work computer. Even to check emails.  They will be there when I get back to the office.

I’m thinking this is a policy that our next president needs to work on updating. Having unhappy workers is no good to any business.

How many days do you receive off each year from your employer?  How about paid holidays if any?  I receive 10 vacation days, and 9 paid holidays. My company also just started offering a choice program between November 1st and the end of the year, if we’ve used all of our vacation and personal time, we are able to take unpaid days off around the holiday.  I admit, I ended up taking advantage of three days last year. Unfortunate, I wasn’t able to afford more time off than that. Otherwise I definitely would have!


  1. Alli Rutherford Smith

    My husband gets six weeks paid vacation and I work from home so I can take a vacation whenever – but I usually take my work with me. Oops. 🙂 But, I only work early in the mornings. By nine I’m ready to relax.

  2. vegetarianmamma

    America is sadly behind in many aspects of employment benefits. It’s sad, particularly when you look at numbers around parental leave.

  3. dadofdivas

    I wish I received more vacation time then I get. I love being able to spend time with my family and having the time to do this is critical. The issue of course is having the same time available as my significant other and kids!

  4. Christy Maurer

    That is crazy that the US isn’t required to give vacation time. I know companies usually do but still! I think it should be policy. Everyone needs a break and time to relax!

  5. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    I can’t believe how much vacation time employees of other countries get. I work from home, so my vacation days are flexible. I wish my husband got more vacation days off work.

  6. jeannette

    I wish we could have more vacation days here. My husband has a good amount, but it’s stressful because you also include sick days in there. You never know how often you’re going to get sick so you worry and you don’t take up the vacation days.

  7. Pam Wattenbarger

    A company bought out the company that my husband has worked for for years. They took away a week of his vacation time, which is frustrating,

    1. Jacqui S (Post author)

      Pam, I understand that completely! My current day job we had 64 hours personal time when I started. They decided to give us three holidays back. President’s Day, MLK Day and Veterans Day. So, we knew they’d be taking back 24 hours to cover those days. Umm, nope. They took 48 hours back! We now have 16 hours personal time. They claim it’s because we’re no longer a “premium company” and they can’t just give us days. I was like, you know that’s one of the reasons people signed on with you, right???

  8. piernirandara

    Ugh, I definitely feel like we need more official vacation days, and ALSO to put an emphasis on taking the vacation days! Some places, there’s definitely a social stigma to taking them.

  9. Angelic Sinova (@SimplySinova)

    When it comes to employment rights, the USA is definitely slacking especially when you compare it to other countries. Woah, 38 Days vacation days? Go Austria.

  10. brandyellen

    I am always amazed at the differences in the countries. I had no idea there were so many differences with vacation days too! wow.

  11. Making Our Life Matter

    I get three weeks, and I am actually amazed that it is that much considering I work retail. I definitely agree that the US needs to rethink their time off policies.

  12. Eileen Mendoza Loya

    I think this is insane. Employees need time off to rest and recharge. Stress is one of the major reasons for quitting the job. Employers must be aware that it would cost the business more damage to hire and train new workers to replace the tenured ones who just got burned out.

    1. Jacqui S (Post author)

      The sad thing is, the employers are only taking advantage of what was set in place almost a century ago. Our gov’t needs to re-evaluate this and change that policy!

  13. Stephanie Jeannot

    Wow! That’s interesting to know. All companies should give it I think. We work so hard you know!

  14. Liz Mays

    It’s crazy that we don’t require any. It’s really sad to see how behind we are on worker’s rights compared to other countries.

    1. Jacqui S (Post author)

      It is! When I researched it, I was like, seriously? Come on America!

  15. Caitlin Strate

    i wish we would have mandatory vacation. there are so many american’s who don’t even use their vacation days, and i know that’s their right…

  16. Bella

    It is very interesting to see the differences across the world. In my opinion more vacation time could mean increased passion and productivity.

  17. tiarasandtantrums

    Yes, we are pathetic, as well as this – we are ridiculous with maternity leave! This countries policies are so outdated – BUT we still continue to pay retired politicians salaries until they die – go figure!

  18. chefjoe11

    I need more vacation days!! I never get any, so a few would be nice! This was a really interesting post, thanks for sharing.

  19. Miss Millennia Mag (@MissMillMag)

    I wish we could have more vacation days! I had no idea about so many differences with vacation days too.


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