Is Vacation Time Legally Required?

Vacation time is legally required for employees in 70 countries, and more than 35 countries legally require a minimum of three weeks paid time off. Austria requires the most paid vacation days, about 42 days as of 2011, and Brazil and France each required 30 days of paid time off. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), no one in the US is legally required to be paid for any time not worked, making the country the only developed country that requires no paid time off. China and Hong Kong require the least amount of vacation time of those that mandate it, with five days off required as of 2011.

More about paid time off:

  • Almost 60% of Americans whose employers did offer paid time off had vacation days that they did not use by the end of 2011 — averaging 11 vacation days that they did not use.

  • In 2012, the European Court ruled that workers who become ill during their paid time off can receive additional time off to make up for it.

  • The US is the only country that does not require any paid leave for women who give birth.
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Discussion Comments


Good post. I liked it!


So why don't Americans take the leave they are entitled to?


I'm moving to another country. U.S. employers run their employees into the ground in an effort to line their own pockets.


We are ruled by conservative dictators who hate working people. They want us to work for peanuts and no benefits but they don't want us voting. They want a theocracy, not a democracy. They should be serving in Saudi Arabia and leave us alone.

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