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Did You Know U.S. Employers are Not Required to Offer Paid Vacation Time?


The Memorial Day Weekend is over and we are now into the summer season, which means vacation time. I am taking my vacation during the last week of June. Surprisingly, according to a new report, U.S. employers are not required to offer paid vacation, while other countries do. In fact, the U.S. is the only highly developed nation that isn’t required to do so…who knew? The report, prepared by the Center for Economic and Policy Research looked at 21 developed countries including the U.S. and 20 of the countries are required to provide workers somewhere between 10 and 30 days per year.

France gives the most paid vacation at 30 days, which is the most in the study. Japan and Canada were at the bottom of that list, but employers in those countries are still required to provide some paid vacation time.

The study did point out that more than three-quarters of American workers do enjoy some paid vacation that on average amounts to about 13 days per year for full-time employees.

The majority of U.S. companies do not offer part-time workers paid vacations, but some do depending on the company, which really isn’t a surprise.

The study also showed that U.S. workers do not feel as secure in their jobs as workers in other countries and as a result, don’t take more than a week or two away from the office even though they have more time available. To be fair, some companies will limit the amount of vacation you can take at any given time anyway.

I personally have four weeks per year, but could not take that much time at once, which again, is not unusual. To be honest, I never even thought about whether paid vacation time is required or not and I had no idea that some countries actually require employers to provide paid vacation time.

What’s interesting is the fact that if companies are forced to decrease benefits for whatever reason, vacation time is generally not affected because it’s really the most cost effective benefit that most companies offer, which really makes perfect sense when you think about it.

Knowing that U.S. companies are not required to offer paid vacation time but do anyway, does that make you feel any more thankful for the time you get? It should because vacation time is not some inalienable right of passage. For the most part, vacation time is earned and a lot companies will reward longer service with additional vacation time. I guess you learn something new everyday, so let’s be thankful for the time we do get.



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