View Full Version : How much vacation time do you get?
November 1st, 2005, 05:37 PM
All my life I've heard about how people in the States work too many hours and don't get/take much vacation time, at least compared to those in Europe. Is this true?
I'll answer first - I live in the US. In my last job I felt very lucky because I got 4.5 weeks of vacation per year when most people I know only get 2. And these were paid days, not unpaid.
What about you? Where do you live and how much vacation time do you get per year?
November 1st, 2005, 05:53 PM
what's that? :wink:
November 1st, 2005, 05:59 PM
In Australia, 4 weeks paid leave a year is standard. I think we get 10 sick days too (although I've noticed more and more these are being called "personal leave" days, so you might use them for caring for sick family members or other personal emergencies).
We get a fair few public holidays (the land of the long weekend! :inlove:) but I work for a university, and they stay open for most of the state holidays and only close for the national holidays. This means there's 3 public holidays throughout the year that I have to work on. To make up for that, the university shuts down for 2 weeks over the Christmas/New Year period. I love this working arrangement, as it means I get time off for the holidays, without it impacting my 4 weeks.
I'm also very fortunate to work flexi-time in my job. Essentially you can choose your hours (within reason), and arrange to have days off, provided you do your 35 hours a fortnight. (Not sure what the standard working fortnight is, depending on the workplace can vary between 35 - 40 hours)
I have a friend who is working in Japan, and I'm always amazed to hear how hard they work over there. Hardly any holidays at all!
November 1st, 2005, 06:25 PM
Mine doesn't count, since I'm a teacher: I get 2 weeks off in December, 2 weeks off in the spring, 2.5months off in the summer, and random religious and secular holidays throughout the year, averaging about one per month. Plus, 3 other days off of my choice, and 10 sick days a year :D
My DH gets 1.5 weeks off in December, plus 21 paid days off throughout the year, and a few national holidays, but not many.
November 1st, 2005, 10:25 PM
Probably I am a bit lucky.
I have 26 vacation days + all public holidays + compensation days.
I have a contract for 40 hours a week, sometimes I have to work 50 or even 60 hours per week. Half of it I get paid, for the rest I get extra days off.
November 1st, 2005, 11:24 PM
I am in the US. The standard here seems to be 40 hours per week and over for full time and about 25 hours per week and over for part time. I have been with my company for going on 6 years. For the first year, there usually is no vacation time allotted. For years 2 through 5, I had 1 week of paid vacation per year. Starting this year until I have 10 years of service time in, I get 2 weeks of paid vacation a year. However, it is standard in my field to work at least 1 day per weekend (or 1 to 2 weekends a month on a rotation schedule) along with the Mon-Fri job. I also get no holidays off and almost never have a long weekend. If I do have to be off for a holiday, I do not get paid--I just lose the money. I do not have sick days. If I miss work, I miss money. :scared:
My husband works 40 hours plus a week and has about 7 years of service in his current job. He gets 2 weeks paid vacation but also has a week's worth of paid "bank of hours" from which he can draw and take scheduled time off. He also has a week's worth of unpaid bank of hours per year he can draw from, but he does not get paid for time off drawn from the unpaid bank. He does not get sick days.
November 1st, 2005, 11:31 PM
I believe this is true. With the average job in the US you only get what two weeks a year of vacation. I know that there are above average jobs but I'm talking average blue-collar jobs. This number usually increases with years of service and such. Currently, I earn 10 hours of vacation a month. Which equals out to 120 hours or three weeks of vacation a year. My fiancee only gets a week of vacation a year until he's been at his job for five years and then he gets two weeks. They did a study on it and found Europeans do have more vacation time (on average) than we do, but the down side is they also generally make less than we do here. So maybe in the end it evens itself out??
November 2nd, 2005, 12:07 AM
I get 6 weeks of personal time off (PTO) per year, which is to be used for vacation and brief illness-related absences. If I get really sick, have surgery, or take family leave that dips into a different pot of hours for extended illness time. I consider myself very lucky to get this quantity of time off in the US, every other job I had was only 5-10 vacation days per year. Then again, I am salaried and typically need to put in 50+ hours a week just to keep my head above water. And it's difficult, though not impossible, to actually schedule a large block of time off at my company to use the time. :rolleyes:
What I noticed while living and travelling in some European countries is that the work weeks seem shorter (usually somewhat under 40 hours) and an entire month of vacation per year is common. However, salaries are lower and most people are quite frugal in order to survive. Children live at home well into their 20's or even 30's until they are married, or even while married, because it is so expensive to rent or purchase a dwelling. Elders typically move back in with their children, many times it is because of financial issues. Here in America we romanticize the concept of the three-generation household as being built on love and family values, but it is usually because of money. Then again, I have plenty of American friends who are up to their ears in debt from university schooling and/or medical bills. Pick your poison.
Remember, the grass is always greener... :twocents:
November 2nd, 2005, 12:24 AM
Contracted for a 40 hour week (full time), I usually end up between 50-60 hours per week when all is said and done. No paid overtime. 30 days vacation per year, 28 of them paid.
Singindierain is partially correct in her observation about salaries. The differences in salary between different jobs tend to be lower in Europe than in the States - this is especially true in the Scandianvian countries with the quite agressive work that historically has been done to ensure welfare for all and erasing social inequalities.
That in itself an admirable thought, but it does have drawbacks that aren't always positive.
Flipping burgers at McDonalds would probably pay more over here than in the USA, meaning that if both adults in a family do have a job they can generally support themselves and the family on that salary - even on jobs that are traditionally considered low-income.
It usually takes two people working fulltime to support one family, meaning that few have the option to let one parent stay at home while children are small if they so wish to. One income is generally not enough to cover the needs for one family - the most glaring example would be single mothers with small children where many have a hard time making ends meet.
The flip side of the coin is when you have a job with a lot of responsibility and a higher education with the resulting debt from studying. This type of job pays a lot less than it would over on the other side of the Atlantic. For myself I'm nowhere near low-income in my job, but estimate that I make less than half of what a similar position in the USA would give me.
Add to this a progressive income tax scale where you in some brackets pay more than half of what you earn in tax (not including sales tax (mostly around 25%) and other specific taxes that are paid from already taxed income when you choose to consume something) and you create a system with even less difference in net income in the end.
This produces a situation where some people hesitate to continue studying as the payback for spending four/five/six years longer in school is so minimal that it's sometimes not even considered an option to do so. Another drawback is that there has been quite a considerable 'brain-drain' from the Scandianvian countries, especially after joining the European Union where the labor market is free. Many with an academic degree choose to move elsewhere for their career and many end up outside of Scandiavia for long periods of time.
November 2nd, 2005, 02:24 AM
I live in Germany, have a full-time job which means 39 hours a week. I get 30 days of paid vacation. I work overtime a lot and can take those hours off, so that accounts for at least another 30 days. I´m lucky! :wink:
November 2nd, 2005, 03:04 AM
Here are the conditions when I worked as a newspaper reporter, which tends to be a low-paying job with few benefits. I worked 40 hours a week. We were only allowed to get an hour or two of overtime, for which we were only paid half of our hourly wage for (yes, I said half, not time and a half). If you had to spend a late night at a public meeting, then you took off time from work the next day so you wouldn't go over 40 hours. You got 5 paid holidays during the year (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Fourth of July and Labor Day). For every month you worked, you got 1/2 of a sick day. You didn't get any paid vacation the first year, one week (5 days) paid vacation the second year and two weeks (10 days) the third year. If you were there for 10 years, you started getting more vacation days I think.
November 2nd, 2005, 03:08 AM
If I were working full time in Norway (37.5 hours a week) I'd get 5 weeks of paid vacation a year.
Sick days are 4 x 3 days, I think. Or maybe it's 4 x 4 now. If you have children under (I think) 12, each parent also have 10 'sick kid' days. A single parent gets all 20 days. That might actually be 10 days pr parent pr kid, but I'm not sure about that.
I agree with Fia, there's much less difference in salaries. If you're over 18, I think the lowest pay (that I've heard about, anyway) is about 10 USD an hour.
For the jobs I've had I made more money than older and more educated friends in the US. But I paid more tax. And our price level is higher.
We have the increasing pay -> increasing tax too. My stepdad makes a good salary, but is taxed over 50%. But last time I worked, I made so little money I was only taxed 9 or 10%. Yep, all about evening things out.
November 2nd, 2005, 03:55 AM
Most of my jobs have been part time so there has been no vacation pay. With the full time jobs I've had I earned a weeks vacation time for each 6 months worked. Sick pay was 5 days a year. You had to use them or lose them so everyone made sure they were "sick" 5 days a year.
November 2nd, 2005, 04:44 AM
One of the advantages of a small privately owned shop...I can take time off when I need it and no big deal..still get paid. I do get official 1 week vacation but if I need more no problem.
I have worked the mega corporate world (and hated it) and most vacation time was earned on a per month basis....9 hrs per month for 1-2 years, 10.5 hours per month 3-5 years, 13.4 hours per month 6-10 years and so on. Plus there was sick time and personal time seperate. plus they paid for "other personal time" which included required things like jury duty.
November 2nd, 2005, 04:58 AM
I work in the UK currently and have 28 glorious days of vacation a year, not counting public holidays (7? per year) and company days (3). When I was working in the US I got 5, and the only public holidays I had off were Christmas Day and New Years Day.
My parents both own their own business and they are able to take around 14 days total per year depending on what's going on.
November 2nd, 2005, 05:29 AM
I work as a civil servant for the state of Illinois, so I accrue vacation hours every two weeks along with my paycheck. I only get overtime with special permission from the program director, so I get paid for 37.5 hours a week. I have about 80 hours of vacation right now, but I never seem to ever get the time to really take them, unless a family emergency or other extreme circumstance comes up. We don't have the money to go anywhere special and I am a bit of a workaholic. SO much to do, so little time.
November 2nd, 2005, 05:33 AM
I get three weeks of paid vacation, but I only got that after working at the company for five years. I will have to work there 20 years to get four weeks of paid vacation. The first year we get none, and the second year we start with two weeks.
ETA: Since I work for a newspaper, we only get six major holidays off. None of this "every holiday that comes down the pike" stuff. :lol: I also have to work major holidays that do not fall on my regular days off, unless I can snatch the schedule book in time to write myself in. The lady who does the schedule writes herself in for Christmas every year when the secretary hands her the new book. :lol:
I also get 15 (or is it 20?) sick days, and I think I've used them up this year. Of course, I've never used all of them before this year, so maybe they carry over.
Speedy, who actually gets off Christmas this year by sheer luck! :D
November 2nd, 2005, 06:03 AM
24 days annual leave, plus 1 which has to be taken at Christmas
Public Holidays = 5 weeks near as dammit
Sick leave (which is government paid beyond the first few days under a Byzantine scheme only personel officers understand)
I'm also entitled to 'family emergency' leave, which is unpaid so I use annual leave time for this.
November 2nd, 2005, 10:51 AM
I work part time so my holiday is slightly pro-rata, and there's a difference between a rota-d day off (i.e., a day when I am not on the rota to work) and a holiday day off.
This year (Feb 05-Feb 06) I get a total of 20 days paid leave, including eight public holidays, as I am not contracted to work on them. This means I have only 12 days discretionary leave this year and had ten of them so that I could go on holiday with my husband in the summer. The other two days will be allocated to me, probably after Christmas now as I work in retail and it's already incredibly busy. This is because I am in my first company year of service, even though I started working there in October of last year.
Next business year I get 20 days PLUS the eight public holidays but must book those days NOW or risk not getting the holiday I want. Try telling that to other people...oh, if you want to see me, you need to book in advance by about 8-9 months. Thanks. :rolleyes:
I have no problem with the entitlement, just working it out!! My DH works in hospitality and so does "unsocial" hours and gets time off in the week and works at weekends and stuff. So trying to work out anything against his crazy schedule is always going to be difficult. He gets 4 weeks too, but his regular time off is not fixed, so it sometimes looks like more than that.
November 2nd, 2005, 11:04 AM
Cyk is a government employee and currently gets 6 weeks a year. He also gets sick days, (which he has been saving for years). We always turn one week of vacation back in, just in case we need it later, and we usually do. Something always comes up unexpectedly. I think he has about 6 months of sick days saved up. We try to take a week off about every two months, so he does not get burned out. He has a high stress job , ( I know everyone that works for the Post Office does) keeping all the main computers and mail sorting equipment running.
When I worked in Retail Management, I usually got 3 weeks off a year.
November 2nd, 2005, 11:04 AM
At my job I had 2 weeks shutdown every summer and after 4 years I get an additional week off. We also get 10 emergency days but my company makes us get 'official notes' when we take one of them, like if I have the flu I have to go sit in the emergency room at the hosptial and infect everyone else just to have the doc tell me I'm sick and rest is the only medicine :shake: ! Makes no sense whatsoever to me.
At ten years I'll get another week holidays (oh can't wait!). I usually go away every winter for a week so some extra time off would cover all the days I sleep in :grin: .
November 2nd, 2005, 02:02 PM
Lesse, this year, I get about five and half *months* of vacation.
Oh, the trials of being a student! ;)
I only work an actual job four months out of the year, during my summer vacation time. As it's always a temporary job, I obviously get no vacation time from work.
November 2nd, 2005, 03:37 PM
Just major holidays, with one extra day at Thanksgiving and one extra day at Christmas. No actual paid vacation at all beyond that.
BUT, working contract at Microsoft, I have to take 3 months off after a year. During that time, I can work elsewhere (and am doing so right now) as well as take time off.
I usually take 1-3 trips of varying lengths during the 3 months off, and try for quarterly trips the rest of the year. The downside, of course, is that I don't get paid while I'm away.
It makes me crazy when a few acquaintances loudly wish they could travel as much as I do, as it's NOT paid vacation and I save compulsively so I can afford it.
ETA: Not that I'm a complete workaholic/slave. If I need a day or want a day, I take a day. Or a long weekend. Or whatever. I just don't get paid for it.
November 2nd, 2005, 06:00 PM
I work for seven gynecologists in a group practice. I have been in my present job for six years. I have 13 vacation days, 1 personal day, 6 sick days, 7 holidays (New year, Good Friday, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). The sick days have to be used by the end of the second year or are lost. All vac. and sick time accrues at the rate of ?.?? hours/week. The 1st year of employment is 1 week vac. ( 5 days ) 2nd year is 2 weeks, then 1 extra day per year up to 3 weeks. I work full time (40 hours/week). This is considered a generous vacation package here.
My husband works for Wal-mart, the largest employer in the USA and we are still trying to figure out exactly how his vacation and sick time accrue although it seems to come out just about like mine. They have a catch that you can not be paid for the first day that you are off sick, so his 24 hour bug always takes 48 hours to get over.