Chart of the Day — Paid Leave and Paid Holidays in OECD Countries

by Kevin Jon Heller

Courtesy of the European Trade Union Institute.  I have no significant commentary to add, other than to say that I’m glad I live outside of the U.S.  Here is the chart:

Hat-tip: The Atlantic.

7 Responses

  1. I too am glad you live outside the U.S.

    No wonder you “have no significant commentary to add.”  Those numbers are statutorily-mandated leave numbers, not actual numbers of days of leave for employees.  Some countries “leave the question of leave” to negotiations between the unions and the companies, rather than imposing legislative floors.  You obviously think the only proper approach is for the legislature to impose minimums.  Perhaps others think the same as you, but perhaps not. 

  2. That chart would also look very different if you looked at the data for government employees (that is, governments as participants in the labor market), rather than private sector requirements by law. U.S. federal employees certainly get paid annual leave and holidays, and I believe a significant number of private employers do give paid time off in varying amounts, just not (as Better Reader indicates) in response to an unfunded legislative mandate.
    As an aside, isn’t the over-generosity of government-guaranteed benefits one of the significant contributing factors to the debt crises in countries like Greece and Spain? 34 days of paid annual leave plus holidays may not look so great if it proves to be unsustainable and your government goes bankrupt.

  3. @ Peter: how does paid annual leave qualify as government-guaranteed benefits? After all, leave is paid for by the employers not by the government. 

  4. It is also worth pointing out that only 15% of American workers are in the public sector.

    And really, describing paid annual leave as an “unfunded legislative mandate” pretty much makes my point about the status of workers in the U.S.

  5. An Hertogen, if employers are required by the government to offer paid annual leave in the amounts indicated by the chart, then I think it can fairly be considered a government-guaranteed benefit, because employers who refuse to allow paid annual leave can get fined or penalized by the government. I would analogize to something like unemployment insurance, which is paid for by the employers because the government says they have to (though I admit unemployment is also administered by the government, which annual leave isn’t, but it’s still a benefit that the government says you have to have access to.)
    Professor Heller, I’m not sure I understand how saying “private employers mostly do this even though the government doesn’t tell them they have to” makes your point about the status of workers in the U.S. In your case, being a law professor, I can pretty well guarantee any academic institution in the country, public or private, would provide you with paid annual leave competitive with, if not in excess of, the other countries in that chart. I’m sorry if the phrase I used to describe it came across as inflammatory, but we’re talking about a government requirement on non-government entities that would not be supported, in part or in whole, by tax dollars; it seemed accurate.

  6. Speaking as an American, I’m perfectly happy to let the market deal with it.

  7. When I was a public school teacher I had paid leave and holidays. As a registered nurse I’ve had paid leave and holidays both when employed at hospitals and a longterm care facility. My husband had paid leave and holidays as a soldier, a private contractor, and airline pilot.

    The only time we haven’t had paid leave and holidays was when he delivered pizzas in college, and I worked at Baskin Robbins. 

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. There are no trackbacks or pingbacks associated with this post at this time.