Americans, Want More PTO? Move To One Of These Countries

best paid time off policies

Unsplash/Willian West

If you think you’ve got a decent vacation and holiday policy at work, think again. According to a report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), America is seriously behind in the paid-time-off game compared to several other countries.

According to the CEPR, on average, Americans in the private sector are often granted 15 days of paid time off per year, but that paid time off is not guaranteed for all American employees. Actually, one in four Americans receives no paid time off at all.

The report from the CEPR compared America with 20 other countries that offer guaranteed paid time off every year. In fact, European workers are guaranteed at least 20 days off per year, making them some of the best paid time off policies we’ve ever seen. France offers employees 30 days of PTO annually, while countries like Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden offer 25 days per year. Others on the list include Germany with 24 PTO days, and Austria, Portugal and Spain with 22 PTO days.

“The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays,” senior economist and co-author of the report John Schmitt said in the release. “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.”

Statista recently compiled data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development into a new chart, looking at 2016 paid time off policies, including both vacation and holidays, for full-time employees who work five days per week and have been at their employer for at least one year. America still ranks last.

best paid time off


If you’re one of the millions of Americans without a good paid-time-off policy at work, it might be time to move to Europe. If you’re not ready to cross the pond, maybe searching for a new job is the better option. Be mindful: Always consider a company’s PTO time before making the move. If you get the job offer, negotiate for more paid time off — the difference between two weeks and three weeks, depending on your lifestyle, could seriously make an impact. If more PTO isn’t an option, ask your new manager if you can work from home once a week. Whatever it is, don’t sell yourself short. Allowing yourself the time to be mindful can really help you thrive in your career.


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