Who fares best?
According to global measures, workers in the UK have little to complain about with the greatest number of statutory holiday entitlements: 28 paid annual leave days1, plus 8 public holidays2.
Those working in Austria, Sweden, France, Luxembourg and Denmark, as just some examples, all receive a minimum of 25 paid days off each year1. People living in Iceland and Malta receive 24 days off, and workers in Portugal enjoy 22 days1.
But, what about Australia? We’re on par with Italy, Russia, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, with 20 days of paid leave each year, with shift workers in Australia receiving 24 days1.
Who’s not so lucky?
You may be surprised that when it comes to paid time off, people working in the United States fare worse than employees in every other advanced economy in the world.
US employers are not required to pass on a single day of paid leave to their employees; not even Christmas Day. And it’s because federal law does not compel them to pay for time not worked.
Many organisations in the US will provide some paid leave once an employee has given 5-10 years of service1. Although there may be some employers who do offer some leave entitlements no matter how long employees have worked there.
People working in China are only slightly better off, with 5 days of annual leave, and this is after one year of service1.
How many days off are you entitled to?
In Australia, in addition to the full-time workers’ entitlement of 20 working days, we benefit from seven paid national holidays: New Year's Day, Australia Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day3.
Additional holidays—for example, Melbourne Cup Day (Victoria), Picnic Day (Northern Territory) and Labour Day (Western Australia)—roll by too, depending on which state you live in. So all up, you may enjoy up to 13 public holidays3, plus 20 days of annual leave!
Visit the Australian Government website to find out the 2017 public holiday dates in your state.
It’s your time, your money
We’re among the lucky—time away from work as a full-time employee doesn’t have to mean sacrificing money.
1 Working conditions laws report 2012: A global review, International Labour Organization
If you thought it was taboo, it's customary in many countries around the world to give money.