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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
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Vacation time around the world? by Valarie on 6 December 2005 9:42pm
I've always had the idea that Americans have less vacation time than most other nationalities. At my company, we get 21 vacation days (which could also be used for sick days) along with 10 holidays off a year. That's pretty generous compared to other jobs I've had, so I can finally actually take trips to Europe and such. What about other people? How much time off do you usually get in a year?
Re: Vacation time around the world? by Wild in Africa on 6 December 2005 10:10pm
I've recently finished working for an international humanitarian organisation based in the US (although I was UK based) and they wanted me to accept standard US Annual vacations which amounts to 14 days a year! Naturally I said 'go to hell' as the statutory minimum in the UK is 20 days. 14 days is pathetic and treats your workers like garbage.
Most UK employers give staff between 20-30 days a year on top of public holidays. I believe much of the rest of Europe is even more generous and regards British allowances as stingy.

I don't know how or why Americans put up with it but I suppose it is one result of having weak labour unions and unfettered rampant capitalism.
Re: Vacation time around the world? by sighthound on 6 December 2005 11:18pm
Most jobs I worked at in the US gave me a week off after working a year and then two weeks after that. Vacation time after you worked for between 3 to 5 years sometimes would go up to three weeks but, since I worked in television, very rarely did anyone ever work for more than a couple of years at a stretch in one place and qualify for it. (However, one of the advantages of working in tv in L.A. is that all employers realize that nothing ever gets done between Christmas and New Years so that time would usually be given off as a "Christmas bonus". When I became a producer, I realized that that time off definitely improved productivity.)

With the few or non-existant unions and the rabid capitalistic ethic,it is not going to change any time in the foreseeable future. The old "Puritan work ethic" guilt trip is what keeps it from being challenged - that and the spectre of so many of our jobs being oursourced to places where people work for less.

And it's not only the lack of vacation time, Americans working full-time have longer work weeks, too, which are getting even longer since the Bush administration further weakened overtime regulations. No one I know except the very few people in union jobs works a 40 hour week. I used to work 50 to 60 for no extra pay. Everyone knows you have to put in that extra time to keep advancing in your job or to not be the first person laid off. And the other side of that is the fact that so many big corporate employers now hire as few full-time employees as possible; they keep the number of weekly hours under the minimum needed for the employee to qualify for health, vacation etc. benefits. It's not a good time to be working in the US if you have to work in a corporate situation.
Re: Vacation time around the world? by suzulu on 7 December 2005 12:42am
I am in UK and I get 30 days annual leave plus bank holidays which is very good but it is hard fitting them in with everyone else. My predecessor at a previous job left to work for an American company some years ago and she was only getting two weeks holiday a year!
Re: Vacation time around the world? by tucsonmike on 7 December 2005 1:55am
Americans DO have less vacation time. The most I ever had was 22 days (when I worked for the Parsippany Library). The main reason there was, the salaries were relatively low for local standards, so one of the "perks" was more vacation time.
When I worked for AT&T, it was the American standard two weeks. In my department though, it was considered "bad form" to take it and people would bring laptops to the beach.
I think if I stay in the present rent paying job, I go up to fifteen days in July.
Re: Vacation time around the world? by Blasi on 7 December 2005 2:17am
21 for me. Meh!
Re: Vacation time around the world? by sighthound on 7 December 2005 2:57am
I know about the laptop at the beach situation, lol! The last job I had in LA was for a New York based corporation that couldn't understand why anyone could possibly want to do anything else than be at their boring, non-productive meetings. I had just finished working nearly around the clock for weeks to get a show finished and escaped to collapse and recover with a few days vacation on the Mendocino coast. The powers-that-were insisted that I be phone-patched in to the weekly management meeting for six hours, listening to things that had nothing at all to do with me while I was using up vacation time. At least when my assistants and I had to do that at the LA studio, we could silently play poker or do jigsaw puzzles while the New Yorkers yakked and not be bored out of our minds while we were supposedly on vacation. Boy, I'm glad I'm not doing that anymore....
Re: Vacation time around the world? by perfectbitch on 7 December 2005 11:02am
Some other European countries have more vacation time and some have a couple of extra public holidays than we do here in the UK. Some civil servants get an extra day off on some bank holidays and can also ecrew extra days by working flexitime. I know of a civil servant who is never able to take all her available leave as, as suzulu says, it is impossible to fit in with others and fit her workload in. I think she'd rather extra pay than these "perks".
Re: Vacation time around the world? by peripatetically on 7 December 2005 3:46pm
When I worked, I had 4 weeks vacation time and 10 holidays, plus 10 days sick leave. However, the sick leave has been reduced to 3 days per year. A bout with a bad cold/flu or migraine, etc., eats that up quickly, indeed. I attained the 4 weeks after 10 years service, but new employees got 2 weeks right away. NOW, new employees get 3 weeks immediately.

Full-time employees used to get time and a half overtime pay and on Holidays, plus anothe day for the holiday. Part time people got double holiday pay and no extra overtime pay.

Now, however, everybody gets time and a half, no double time. And it must be approved before hand.

There is only a half hour lunch period for which there is no pay and a 15-minute break each a.m.

Some employees work 10 hour days.

I know Europenas get a two hour lunch break and a good 5-6 , or more weeks of vacation time, plus holidays. They can't understand why we take only 2 week vacations when we travel. We have no alternative, really unless you don't want time off any other time of the eyar except vacation time. There is the option of accumulating time, but on;ly what you are allowed per year PLUS half of that. Anythng after that is lost if you don't take it. Believe it or not, many peole don't take it or just ask for the money.

There have been articles that say studies show that Americans are the hardest workers on the planet, in general.
Re: Vacation time around the world? by tucsonmike on 7 December 2005 5:26pm
Patty, what do you mean WHEN you worked? Get back to work! LOL!
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