Economic Snapshot | Wages, Incomes, and Wealth

U.S. workers enjoy far fewer vacation days than Europeans

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Snapshot for August 24, 2005.

U.S. workers enjoy far fewer vacation days than Europeans

With summer quickly coming to a close, many vacation destinations will soon be less crowded as summer vacationers settle back into the routine of work. Vacation is an important part of work—a time to get away from the demands of a job, to enjoy family, and to rejuvenate. President Bush’s extended vacation at his ranch in Texas reflects this need.

Figure A  presents the average number of paid vacation days (by minimum length of job tenure) for workers in the United States. All workers employed for a year or more receive, on average, 8.9 days of vacation. After 10 years of employment workers receive just over three weeks of vacation. Vacation leave approaches four weeks after 25 years of service.

Figure A

Figure B shows the statutory minimum annual paid vacation days in other advanced countries.  It takes a quarter century of service in the United States to achieve mandated minimum vacation allotments in other countries. In fact, there is no mandated vacation time in the United States.  U.S. laws and employers should recognize the connection between workers’ needs to “recharge their batteries” and connect with family and friends outside of the normal routine of work—needs that may have truly positive implications for productivity and the bottom line.

Figure B

This week’ Snapshot was written by EPI economist Sylvia A. Allegretto.

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