It is pretty well understood that Americans give much of their vacation days back to their employers. Some sort of feeling of guilt kicks in, it seems. The country needs a therapy session to get to the root of the whole thing.
On top of that, when US workers actually take vacation days, they work through them anyway. Take a trip to Disneyland and watch how many people are on their cell phones making business calls. At Disneyland. On vacation.
It’s a nationwide issue for the US. A recent report by the US Center for Economic and Policy Research said it best:
“The United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers any paid vacation time and is one of only a few rich countries that does not require employers to offer at least some paid holidays.”
Bummer. Americans thought they had it so good.
So what does London have to offer?
Well, pretty much the sunshine to the US dark of night.
The UK guarantees workers a minimum of 28 paid vacation days per year. That’s five and a half weeks off per year (a working week has five days). Minimum. The UK ranks second, behind only France on this one.
Most working Americans have to put in 10 years with their employer to get a typical max of 20 paid days off. The US employer does this out of good will; as noted by the Economic report, it isn’t required by law. Over the course of a 30-year career, the worker gets a full fifteen more months of vacation time in the UK than in the US.
You can do a lot in fifteen months.
So that’s vacation days. What about holidays? Holidays are the true blue days off. Your boss and clawing peers aren’t working on the holidays either, so there is no defense to be played. Holidays feel more free. Much better vibe.
From a legal standpoint, the playing field is level on holidays. Neither the US nor UK are required by law to pay workers for holidays.
However, the average employers in the two countries provide the following out of corporate good will/kindness of their hearts/desire to keep employees:
The UK typically offers eight paid holidays. The list mirrors many of the US holidays, such as Christmas and New Years’ days. An institution known as “Bank Holidays” take the place of Thanksgiving and some others. Note that the UK does not have any holidays that celebrate military victories, or past leaders of the country, or anyone in particular for that matter.
The US typically offers ten paid holidays, and therefore gets a small victory here. The US holidays tend to celebrate people (President’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day), and military occasions (Fourth of July, Memorial Day, kinda Thanksgiving). Then there are the standard Christmas and New Year’s day holidays.
Neither the US or the UK tend to observe holidays outside of Christianity. Seems Singapore is best at inclusion of several religions into its holiday schedule.
When all is considered, the UK offers people an additional full year of paid free time over the US in the course of a career. Think of what could be done with that time.
Improving relationships with parents and kids. Travel. Volunteer work. Getting in shape. Waterskiing. Whatever.
Time is money. This is a lottery win.