Finding a satisfying work-life balance can be extremely important to mental health and happiness. This has become an increasingly relevant topic of discussion since the pandemic led many to reexamine labor norms.
Time away from work can be great for relaxing, disconnecting, and recharging. Some countries give employees significantly more time off than others, and even mandate vacation policies. In 1993, for instance, the European Union passed its Working Time Directive, which guarantees at least 20 days of paid vacation a year for full-time employees.
When it comes to paid vacation days, the United States is tied with the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru as the second worst country in the world, with an average of only 10 days (the worst, also in the Pacific, is the Federated States of Micronesia, with nine days). To make things worse, U.S. workers are guaranteed exactly zero paid leave days a year – and all 10 of the standard paid vacation days are public holidays. (You won’t be surprised to learn that America isn’t even on our list of countries with the best paid leave for new parents.)
Most of the nations of the world are in a considerably better position when it comes to paid time off from work. To compile a list of the countries with the most paid vacation days, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a study by Resume.io, a résumé-building site. The company reviewed data on laws governing annual statutory paid leave and Annual paid public holidays in almost 200 countries, then ranked the countries based on the combined number of statutory Annual paid leave days and Annual paid public holidays per year. (Information on gross domestic product per capita and population comes from the World Bank and is for 2021.) Our list includes all countries with more than 35 paid vacation days a year.
The countries that have the most paid vacation are spread across the globe and function under different forms of government, from democracy to monarchy to theocracy – and their levels of wealth vary drastically: The GDP per capita of seven of these countries is below $1,000, while at the high end, Monaco boasts an equivalent figure of $173,688. (Some of the countries on this list are also home to the cities with the best work-life balance in the world.)
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