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From Bay Area to Barcelona

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Give me a break! [ Thursday, 09 Aug 07 | 23:20 ]
[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |tiredtired]

Feel like you need a break from your job? A really, really long break? Count yourself lucky if you live in Finland then. Finnish workers receive the most of any other country — 44 days off each year (30 vacation days plus 14 holidays). This is according to a 2007 survey by Mercer Resources, a global human resources firm.

Spain is behind Finland and France, but ahead of Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and tied with Sweden.

By comparison, employees in the United States get about 25 days off yearly on average — 15 vacation days and 10 holidays. In fact, all of the English heritage countries do rather poorly.

Check out how your time off stacks up to countries around the globe.

Global vacation comparison
Country Minimum paid
vacation days
Paid public
Australia 20 11 (average) 31
Canada * 10 10 (average) 20
Finland 30 14 44
France 30 10 40
Germany 24 10 34
Ireland 20 9 29
Israel ** 24 16 (average) 40
Italy 20 11 31
Japan 20 15 35
Netherlands 20 8 28
New Zealand 20 11 31
Portugal 22 12 34
Spain 22 14 36
Sweden 25 11 36
United Kingdom 20 8 28
United States *** 15 10 25

The figures are based on statutory entitlements for an employee working five days a week, with 10 years of service.

* In Canada, yearly paid vacation is usually two weeks, increasing after a specific number of years of employment and varying across provinces. The figures above represent minimum time for Ontario.

** Public holidays in Israel include a number of “half holidays,” but vary across companies. Figure above represents an average.

*** In the United States, federal law does not mandate pay for time not worked. Vacation policies vary widely, many organisations provide one week of vacation after six months of service, two weeks after one to five years of service and three weeks after five to 10 years of service.


[User Picture]From: muckefuck
Thursday, 09 Aug 07 | 23:17 (UTC)
It would be interesting to see this correlated with a table of paid sick time for the same countries. Do countries with generous vacation benefits also see a lot of absenteeism? How much of the deficit do those with shorter vacations make up by feigning illness?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Friday, 10 Aug 07 | 04:48 (UTC)
I can tell you, from my own experience that there is no paid sick time. You can't call in sick, for instance (ok, one day maybe)

However, if you are sick, you must go immediately to the public doctor in your assigned medical area (we have public healthcare in all those places). The doctor writes a certificate according on your illness for how many days you should be off work. Depending on how much you're on sick permit, your salary is paid by:

In Spain: less than 10 consecutive working days: paid by your company. From 11 days on, it's paid by the Social Security although the paycheck might not include some benefits you have in your salary like transport or allowances.

Doctors can be suspended if they issue fake certificates and lying to the Social Security is also a reason to not getting your "replacement salary". Nevertheless, there's fraud in these certificates (in spain we say "when the law is just made, the trick is made too") although nobody cares much if it's paid by the companies and the Soc. Security focus on long-time sick people.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ursine1
Friday, 10 Aug 07 | 05:22 (UTC)

Sick-leave days

I found a study which says…

Sick-leave days differ widely among industrialised countries. For the US it is 5, for Sweden 20 and for Poland 26 days per year and per employee. The possible causes for these differences have apparently not been systematically analysed. Two groups of contributing factors are considered: (i) objective causes, like the general health situation, employment of women and older persons, and (ii) behavioural reactions (a) to macroeconomic conditions, like unemployment or the possibility to work outside the official labour market, and (b) to the design of institutions, like the generosity of granting sick leave or the strictness of employment protection. On the basis of a panel for 20 countries and for the years 1996–2002, it is econometrically shown that the main explanatory factors are the generosity of granting sick leave, the strictness of employment protection and the employment of older persons. The unemployment rate and the employment of women—contrary to the result of some single-country studies—do not contribute to the explanation of sick-leave differences between countries.

Genorosity by country
Country Generosity Index
(0/7 Scale)
Australia 4.10
Canada 3.52
Finland 2.60
France 5.24
Germany 6.11
Netherlands 3.40
Portugal 4.75
Spain 4.75
Sweden 6.73
UK 3.87
USA 2.70

Notes: Generosity Index is the unweighted sum of seven variables:
  1. Waiting period,
  2. Self-certification,
  3. Total maximum duration of payment,
  4. Employer maximum duration of payment,
  5. Employer amount of payment,
  6. Sickness fund amount of payment,
  7. External proof.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: muckefuck
Friday, 10 Aug 07 | 14:08 (UTC)
In Germany, one of the reasons given by people I knew for the high rate of absenteeism was the lousy service hours of many institutions. Banks still keep bankers' hours there, so if you wanted to do any banking or deal with any official institutions (e.g. register a change of address, report a claim, etc.) you basically had no choice but to take off work--and people much preferred calling in sick to using vacation time.
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