How Paid Vacation Time is Different around the World
.Raise your hand if you love going on vacation!
There’s no better feeling than shutting down your computer and setting an “out of the office” notice on your email before going on a vacation. Liberty, relief, and adrenaline rush mix together during our last, pre-vacation, moments at work. For some time there won’t be any meetings, crazy deadlines, and annoying clients. Finally, you have time just for yourself.
Sadly, almost half of Americans forgot how going on vacation feels like. Last year almost 50% of Americans didn’t take all of their vacation time. The reason? They are afraid of the amount of workload waiting for them after they return from a vacation, afraid of their bosses or they think taking vacation time will slow down their career.
Working in America is not the best option if you fancy going on vacations.
Sadly, by the Fair Labor Standards, Act (FLSA) employers in the USA are not required to pay for the time their employees didn’t work, and paid vacation time is a matter of agreement between employer and employee.
That made us think: what’s the situation with paid vacation time around the world? We investigated, and here’s what we’ve found.
Paid vacation time, case: Netherlands
In the Netherlands, full-time employees get as many as 20 vacation days per year, which is the legal minimum. However commonly, employers offer 25 days of paid leave on top of 10 public holidays.
In the Netherlands, every employee will get a “vacation allowance” during vacation time, also known as “vakantiegeld”. It’s usually paid out during May or June and it is the 8 percent of gross salary earned in the past year.
If they feel burned out or stressed at work, employees in the Netherlands have the possibility to take paid leave and its longevity depends on how severe the stress or burnout is.
How paid vacation time looks like in the UK?
In the UK, a full-time employee has the right to 28 days’ holiday. However, employers can ask you to work on some bank holidays or take paid vacation leave. The treatment of bank holidays in the UK depends on the contract you signed with your company. Sadly, more and more workers will have to work for Christmas in the UK.
Kate Paulwell, from uniquesleeps.co.uk, told us that “Although there are no laws requiring employers to offer workers sabbatical leave, more forward-thinking companies do offer this as a perk. I think more businesses should incorporate an optional travel sabbatical as an incentive – it’s such a fantastic way to enhance someone’s life experience, and this, in turn, is then reflected in that person’s attitude to work on their return.”
How paid leave looks like in Singapore?
In Singapore, employees who worked for the employer for at least three months will receive seven paid vacation days in the first year of work and they get one day more for each year they’ve worked for the company.
However, common practice tells us that almost all employees in Singapore get around 14 days per year which is double the minimum required under the Singapore Employment Act.
If employment ends for some reason, the employee has to be paid out for all unused annual leave.
Paid vacation time in Australia
Jeff Miller, a CO-Founder of Our Passion for Travel shared with us what vacation time looks like in Australia.
He states that in Australia every employee gets 4 weeks of paid leave annually on top of the 10 to 13 public holidays. However, there’s a possibility of “cashing out” vacation time for every employee. This means that if an employee cashed out 2 weeks of paid vacation time, he or she will get an additional 2 weeks’ pay.
However, Jeff tells us there’s a concept called ‘long service leave’ which differs from employer to employer and from state to state. Some employers activate long service after seven years of continuous service and it may be from six to ten weeks of paid leave.
Paid vacation time in Germany
In Germany, employees get a minimum of 24 working days per year. This is based on their counting of the working week as six working days. Germans make a difference between working days and office days and since office days are usually from Monday to Friday, employees get a minimum of 20 vacation days a year. However, many employers offer more, and somewhere from 25 to 30 is common practice.
An employee is able to take a vacation after six months of work in the same company. However, if the employment ends before those six months, the employee will receive 1/12 of the annual vacation for each month of the employment relationship.
Most commonly, employees have to take their annual holidays/vacations during the calendar year. Otherwise, it is forfeited.
Paid vacation time in Argentina
In Argentina, employees must work for 6 months to earn vacation time. After that period, they’re entitled to two weeks of annual paid leave. However, paid vacation time can increase according to the amount of time an employee spent in a company. That way, employees who’re less than five years in a company get 14 calendar days of paid leave. The ones who have worked between five and ten years get up to 21 paid vacation days. The ones who worked between 10 and 20 years in the same company get between 28 calendar days. Lastly, the ones who worked for more than 20 years in the same company get 35 days of paid vacation time.
It’s not uncommon for employers to extend vacations to their employers. The pay is calculated by dividing the salary by 25 and multiplying it by the number of holiday days. Payment has to be made in advance and vacation time has to start on a Monday.
How bad you need a vacation?
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A cat enthusiast and a cupcake maniac, Ana is a freelance Content Writer passionate about HR, productivity, and team management topics. When she’s not at her keyboard, you can find Ana in the kitchen, trying to make delicious cookies.