U.S., Canada Less Generous With Time Off

When it comes to time off from work, employees in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Vietnam, and Singapore get the short end of the stick. A study of worldwide employment conditions and practices in 55 countries released by William M. Mercer Cos. Inc. found that the typical paid time off -- not counting paid holidays -- for employees with five years of service at the same company was between 10 and 17 days in those five countries. Japan was the lowest with 10, followed by the U.S. and Canada, each with 15. By contrast, workers with five years of service in Brazil and Germany typically received 30 days off from work, and those in Sweden, Italy, France, and the Netherlands received 25 days off. When you include holidays, Austria, Germany, and Sweden provide the most days off -- 43, 42, and 41 respectively. Vietnam provides the least with 23; followed by Japan, 24; the U.S., 25; Canada, 26. In addition, the study found that most countries worldwide have established 40 to 48 hours as the maximum number of hours that can be worked in a week, and that the U.S. is one of the few nations without a legal limit on the maximum number of hours that can be worked in a week.

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