U.S. Trails Industrialized Nations in Paid Time Off for Holidays

| by Michael Allen

On Thanksgiving, many U.S. workers get the day off without pay, or have to work without holiday pay. Stores such as Walmart and Target are open all day, and even late hours, to begin 'Black Friday' on Thursday.

While this is becoming more common in the U.S., it's practically unheard of in Europe.

According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not require vacation time by law and about 25 percent of Americans get no paid holidays off from their employers.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research reports:

European countries establish legal rights to at least 20 days of paid vacation per year, with legal requirement of 25 and even 30 or more days in some countries. Australia and New Zealand both require employers to grant at least 20 vacation days per year; Canada and Japan mandate at least 10 paid days off.

The gap between paid time off in the United States and the rest of the world is even larger if we include legally mandated paid holidays, where the United States offers none, but most of the rest of the world’s rich countries offer between five and 13 paid holidays per year.