Land of no vacation

Proof what I write about vacation in the US, pic: http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/2007-05-no-vacation-nation.pdf

Okay, I admit that this is a bit of an overstatement – but only a bit.  We can let the statistics about vacation speak for themselves: The US is the only advanced (however that might be defined) country that does not obligate employers under federal law to offer any paid vacation to employees.  Even the Japanese – long thought of as the hard workers of the globe slaving away in their jobs giving half of their few vacation days to the company –  fare better: they get a mandated 10 paid days off.

Most American employees in fact get some time off, like 2 whopping weeks.  These come with strings attached.  Mostly it is considered unacceptable for an employee to take more than one week off at a time.  Even for that period of time the employer will generally expect the employee to check email, answer them and be available for phone calls.  With most parts of the world in reach for a week-long vacation completely wired even the “I couldn’t get a cell phone signal” excuse doesn’t fly anymore.

The weirdest thing to me is, that a good number of employees defend this and think it right.  Arguments I have read, heard and pieced together run the gamut from “the company sure won’t survive if I am away for more than a week”, “if I leave for that long they realize they don’t need me and fire me”, “we Americans are hard working and the rest of them are slackers”, “we aren’t like the French”  and similarly logical reasoning.

The funny thing is – or actually rather sad – that people seem to think that their relentless working makes them super competitive, when in fact the US was ranked fourth in the World Economic Forum‘s 2010-2011 rankings of the most competitive nations and the slackers in Sweden, with their five weeks of vacation, came in second.

Go figure.

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