May 2019, Adewale Maye

The United States continues to be the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation and holidays. This report is the third revision of No-Vacation Nation (2007) and No-Vacation Nation Revisited (2013) comparing the statutory requirements for paid vacations and paid holidays in 21 rich countries (16 European countries, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand) and the United States. Workers in the European Union are legally guaranteed at least 20 paid vacation days per year, with some countries mandating up to at least 30 days. Nearly all other rich countries also provide paid holidays to supplement the paid vacation required to their workers.

Close to 1 in 4 US workers do not receive paid vacation or paid holidays. The absence of a mandated paid vacation time policy disparately impacts lower-wage workers, those employed part-time, and workers employed by smaller businesses. Throughout the report, we distinguish between paid vacations — also referred to as paid annual leave — and paid holidays, which are organized around particular fixed dates in the calendar. Our analysis does not cover paid leave for other reasons such as sick leave, parental leave, or leave to care for sick relatives.

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