The best & worst countries for annual leave

The best & worst countries for annual leave

As our summertime - if we can call it summer, that is - almost draws to a close, reflecting on how we spent or are spending our precious time off is a timely subject. Especially as Europe is witnessing a heatwave, Britain is hopefully emerging from an August washout for the upcoming bank holiday and most offices are dwindling in numbers since the kids broke up from school.

But do you know how much holiday you are legally owed? And would they be better if you lived in that dreamy destination on your bucket list?

Well, according to absence management software company Activ Absence, the best place for staff holidays is Kuwait, where employees receive 30 days paid holiday, plus a further 13 days paid public holidays, giving them a total of 43 days off.

Cambodia closely followed behind the Middle Eastern country, with employees entitled to 27 days paid public holidays, as well as 15 normal days. Austria and Malta each had 38 days paid annual leave.

France also has one of the most generous holiday packages in Europe, with workers entitled to 30 days a year. They also typically work a 35-hour week, the shortest in the EU.

One of the worst destinations for paid leave, however, was the US as employees have no right to statutory holiday pay, with holiday a matter for discussion and contract negotiation between employer and employee. According to Glassdoor, Google – one of the more generous employers – gives staff up to 3 weeks of paid holiday.

Canada and Japan were also found to be less generous than other countries across the world, with a legal requirement of just 10 days, data from the World Bank found.

Lucky for us, under European law, all countries are required to give their workers at least 20 days of paid leave and in the UK, employees are automatically entitled to the statutory minimum of 28 days in their first year.

However, there is some confusion regarding bank holidays in relation to annual leave. Legally, employers do not have to pay for bank holidays, which means that the 28 days is often 20 days annual leave plus 8 public holidays. HR should be aware, however, that if a contract states that employees are entitled to ‘statutory entitlement plus bank holidays’, this does not mean 20 days leave plus eight bank holidays.

Following the increase in statutory minimum leave from four to 5.6 weeks in 2009, this wording would grant 28 days holiday as well as eight bank holidays. Furthermore, there is no legal obligation for employers to pay a premium to staff who work over bank holidays. 

Have you enjoyed this piece?

Subscribe now to myGrapevine+ and get access to exclusive new content, and the full content archive.

Be the first to comment.

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.