Who Gets The Most Time Off, by Law?

Who Gets The Most Time Off, by Law?

Mercer Insights

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July/August 2014

Who gets the most time off, by law?


Workers in Europe enjoy much more paid time off, as mandated by law, than employees in any other part of the world, according to Mercer’s latest Worldwide Benefit and Employment Guidelines. The report provides an overview of employee regulation and employment practices across 64 countries worldwide. It helps multinational organizations define their benefit policies across the countries in which they operate.

Statutory holiday entitlement is the amount of vacation time off that, by law, employers must provide to their employees. Most countries and territories also mandate paid time off for public holidays. Mandated entitlements can vary by employee tenure, type of work, work schedule — even age. For consistency, reported data are based on employees with 10 years of service who work a Monday-through-Friday week.


Workers in Europe have access to the greatest amount of statutory paid vacation/holiday in the world. The UK leads the way with 28 days each year (although certain public holidays can count toward this total), followed by Poland with 26. Some countries, such as Austria, also mandate one or more vacation bonus payments. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1: Sample Countries With the Most Paid Vacation Days

At the other end of the spectrum, employees in Asia Pacific have relatively lower levels of statutory paid holiday (five to 15 days per year in most countries). The US is least generous, with no statutory vacation/holiday entitlement. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2: Sample Markets With the Fewest Paid Vacation Days


Employees have the potential for additional time off due to public holidays. The countries with the most potential time off for employees — a combination of statutory paid holidays and public holidays — are Austria and Malta, each with 38 days (25 statutory paid holidays and 13 public holidays for Austria, and 24 statutory paid holidays and 14 public holidays for Malta).

Learn more and purchase the report.


Samantha Polovina (New York)
Principal, Talent
+1 212 345 9835

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