As summer heats up, workers across the country are enjoying some well-earned time off. People who take vacations report higher productivity and are .
But compared to employees in other nations, Americans take significantly fewer days off.
One reason for this is that American companies offer fewer vacation days. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 76 percent of private industry workers (who make up 84.7 percent of all workers) receive paid vacation days. After one year of employment, these workers were granted 10 days of paid vacation, on average.
This number grows modestly as years of tenure with an employer increase. In 2017, the average worker with five years of experience at a company was given 15 days of paid vacation and the average worker with 20 years of experience was given 20 paid vacation days.
What’s more, according to a study from the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, 52 percent of Americans didn’t even use all of their vacation days in 2017.
Americans used to understand the importance of getting away from the office. From 1976 to 2000, the average working American took off more than 20 days a year. Starting in 2000, workers have been taking fewer days off. In 2015, American worked took an average of just 16 days off.
In countries like Austria and France, governments require that workers are given paid time off. Austrians enjoy 13 paid public holidays and 25 days of paid annual leave. The Boston Globe reports that the U.S. is one of just 13 countries in the world that does not guarantee paid time off.
“The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays,” says John Schmitt, Vice President of the Economic Policy Institute, in a report for the Center for Economic and Policy Research. "Relying on businesses to voluntarily provide paid leave just hasn’t worked. It’s a national embarrassment that 28 million Americans don’t get any paid vacation or paid holidays.”
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