Does Your Vacation Time Stack Up?

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As if Brazilians don’t have enough to be thankful for already (amazing beaches and an Olympic bid victory), it turns out they also have the most amount of vacation time of any country.

According to a recent report from global consulting firm Mercer, Brazil tied with Lithuania for the most vacation days, though with slightly different breakdowns. In Brazil, the absolute minimum amount of vacation days offered is 30, plus 11 holidays. Lithuania, on the other hand, requires a minimum of 28 days, with 13 holidays on top.

Add it up and both countries provide their citizens with 41 days off. That’s nearly 6 weeks. Allow me to pause here while I cry a little and start counting up my sick days.

Several other countries offer comparable amounts. Finland, France and Russia all provide employees with 40 days off, including holidays. And every member of the European Union must offer at least 20 days of vacation time plus holidays.

So how do we compare? Yahoo Finance reports that “policies vary widely… many businesses in the U.S. give employees only 15 days, or three weeks of vacation, plus 10 holidays a year.” Only? Most of us don’t even get that much time until we work for five or 10 years. And that’s an optimistic estimate.

One study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research claimed the real number is much lower than the 25 days Mercer suggests if you consider “companies of all sizes and workers of all tenures.” With this formula, the average American gets just nine vacation days and six paid holidays. The study also estimates that close to 25% of Americans don’t get any paid days off.

Still, according to Mercer’s estimates, Americans are better off than their counterparts in China (21 days) and Canada (a measly 19 days).

If you’re stuck in America, look on the bright side. More vacation time means longer and more awkward family vacations. Maybe we’re better off.

—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the BankingMyWay.com Credit Center.

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