Countries Where People Get the Least Time Off Work

Source: Dmitry Malov / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

For workers around the globe, paid vacation is well-deserved time off, an opportunity to unplug from the daily grind, recharge the batteries, travel, and rest, and most countries mandate a certain number of paid vacation days – or statutory paid leave – annually.

That means the minimum number of days off employers are required by law to give their workers for vacation or other personal uses. It does not include paid sick days, which are also widely mandated. Statutory paid leave is in addition to paid public holidays, also commonplace in most of the world. (These are the countries with the most paid vacation.)

Some 23 countries mandate 30 days of annual paid leave, independent of paid holidays. Counting paid leave or vacation and paid holidays together, the most generous country is Iran, with a total of 53 paid days off. (The small European nation of San Marino comes in second, with a total of 46.) If all this is a foreign concept to you, that’s because in the U.S. it’s literally a foreign concept.

The United States is the only developed country on earth with zero days of statutory paid leave, sharing that dubious honor with only the tiny Pacific island nations of Nauru, Kiribati, and the Federated States of Micronesia. It also observes one of the smallest number of public holidays – just 10 per year, tying it with Nauru (both finish just above Micronesia, with nine). And except in the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, employers are not legally required to give employees those days off, paid or otherwise – though most do.

To compile a list of the countries with the fewest vacation days, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a study by, a résumé-building site. The company reviewed data on laws governing annual statutory paid leave and annual paid public holidays in more than 200 countries. We ranked those offering fewer than 15 mandatory paid leave days in descending order, based only on paid leave, not on paid public holidays. Information on gross domestic product per capita and population comes from the World Bank and is for 2021.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.