Special Report

Countries With the Most Vacation Days

As we head into what many call the dog days of summer, many Americans are either on vacation or finalizing plans to get away. In the United States, time away is provided at the discretion of the employer and in many cases, that is linked to the amount of time an employee has served in his job.

The United States, unlike virtually all developed countries, does not have government-mandated vacation time. Many countries have as many as 30 days mandated time off, and many of those countries are in Africa. Every member of the European Union has at least 20 days mandated leave. To find out which countries have the most mandated vacation days off, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the Center for Economic Policy and Research among other sources to compile our list.

Click here to see the countries with the most vacation days.

Mandated vacation time is relatively new and grew out of the International Labour Organisation, which was created within the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. The ILO helped establish the regulation of work hours and improve working conditions. The amount of mandated vacation time would be addressed in the 1930s and 1940s as people became more aware of protecting the physical and mental health of workers. Strong labor movements in Europe supported more leisure time for workers. Studies have shown that time off helps people stay productive and motivated in their job and the duration of paid annual leave has risen in recent decades in nearly all parts of the world. These are the reasons why you should take a vacation.

Besides mandated time off, people in other countries augment their vacation time with public holidays offered by their government. The European nations are among the world’s most generous nations in regard to paid public holidays — the Slovak Republic has 15 public holidays, Spain and Malta have 14, and Croatia, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany have up to 13 public holidays. Combined with mandated vacation days, workers in Europe can get as many as 38 days paid time off. And that holiday time contributes to making these nations the happiest countries in the world.

The amount of vacation time allows people from these countries to travel outside of Europe, and many come to the United States. These are the countries that love to travel to the United States.

To find out which countries have the most mandated vacation off, days off 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Labour Organization, and the Center for Economic Policy and Research among other sources to compile our list. Data on GDP was obtained from the World Bank, and information on unemployment was obtained from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We restricted our list to full-time, full-year workers working a five-day week, who have been working for their current employer for one year.

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