Working to Live
In an article found in the most recent National Geographic Traveler magazine there is an article comparing the U.S.’s vacation/holiday schedule to that of other nations around the world.
The Facts: The U.S. is notorious for the “Live to Work” mentality which would explain why there is a high employee burnout rate in this country. According to a study referenced in the article, the average American gets 9 paid vacation days and 6 holidays off per year and are encouraged to either not use the time, or if they do use it, not to take more than a few consecutive days off in one week. The number of paid holidays and vacations days an American receives is completely dependent on the policies of the company he/she works for, not on policies mandated by the government as is the case with 137 countries around the world. Most Europeans for example are guaranteed an average of at least 20 days of paid leave per year though 25 to 30 days is more common. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation in which its workers are not legally entitled to a certain amount of time off per year.
Here are the numbers:(*Number of paid vacation days and holidays mandated by the governments of the U.S. and our internship program locations):
Australia – Vacation: 20 days; Holidays: 7 days
France – Vacation: 30 days; Holidays: 1 day
Italy – Vacation: 20 days; Holidays: 13 days
Spain – Vacation: 22 days; Holidays: 13 days
U.K. – Vacation: 20 days; Holidays: 0 days
U.S. – Vacation: 0 days; Holidays: 0 days
The good news is that not all American companies hold back when it comes to giving their employees paid vacation time and holidays. Many companies have attractive vacation policies and are closed during the week between Christmas and New Year’s so that employees have a week to unwind and spend with family.
Something for Interns to think about: For those of you who are interning abroad, this will be one of the many differences you will encounter at the work place. A colleague may be on vacation for a solid 2 to 3 weeks during your time with the company or you may enjoy a long weekend here and there due to a holiday built into a country’s work calendar. It will be another cultural difference for you to take in. Who knows, maybe this along with everything else you will experience during your time abroad will one day take you back to the country for a more permanent situation!
The full article, Vacation-Deficit Disorder, can be found in National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine’s November/December 2007 issue. To learn more about National Geographic’s publications, visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com/.