Labor Day Thoughts: Vacation Days in the U.S. vs. Other Countries

On this Labor Day, some thoughts about labor.

It’s no secret that American employees are some of the hardest-working and dedicated in the world. Alternatively, it’s no secret that American employees are some of the most exploited in the world. It all depends on your perspective.

Vacation and holidays are a case in point. Americans may view European workers as spoiled and pampered, but how many Americans would turn down 30 days of paid vacations a year?

Good data on vacation days around the world isn’t the easiest to come by, but according to the World Tourism Organization (via, here is a comparison of average paid vacation days for selected countries: has similar numbers for some, but not all of these countries. Expedia also adds information about days earned vs. days taken.

Based on this (admittedly limited) data, U.S. workers do appear to have very little vacation time compared to the rest of the world.

This could be evidence of a superior American work ethic, of differences in leisure-consumption preferences, or of employers taking advantage of American workers. But that will have to wait for a future post.

I’m taking the rest of the day off.

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