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Annual leave is a period of paid time off work granted by employers to employees to be used for whatever the employee wishes. Depending on the employer's policies, differing number of days may be offered, and the employee may be required to give a certain amount of advance notice, may have to coordinate with the employer to be sure that staffing is available during the employee's absence, and other requirements may have to be met.[1] The vast majority of countries today mandate a minimum amount of paid annual leave by law.[2]

Among the larger countries, China requires at least five days' paid annual leave and India requires two days of paid leave for every month worked. The United States mandates no minimum paid leave, treating it as a perk rather than a right.[3]


Region Mandated paid vacation days
Argentina 10 – 20
Australia 20[4]
Austria 25
Belgium 20
Brazil 20 – 30
Canada 10 – 20
Colombia 15
Czech Republic 20
Denmark 25 – 30
Finland 20 – 25
France 25
Germany 20 – 30
Greece 20
Hong Kong start from 0 in the 1st year, then 7 – 14[5]
India 25
Indonesia 12
Italy 20
Japan 10 – 20[6]
Luxembourg 26
Mexico 12[7]
Netherlands Employees receive annual leave hours equivalent to 4 times the number of contractual hours per work week.
New Zealand 20
Poland 20 – 26
Portugal 22 – 25
Russian Federation 28 calendar days[8]
Singapore 7 – 14
South Africa 15 – 21[9]
South Korea 11 – 15
Spain 22
Sweden 25 – 30
Switzerland 20
Turkey 14 – 26
United Kingdom 28[10]
United States 0
Note: Paid vacation excludes paid public holidays.[11]

Most countries have labour laws that mandate employers give a certain number of paid time-off days per year to workers.

Canada requires at least two weeks, which increases to three weeks for employees that have worked for a certain number of years (In Saskatchewan this entitlement starts out at three weeks and increases to four weeks).[12] An additional fourth week is provided to federally regulated workers after working for a further number of years.[13]

In the European Union the countries can set freely the minimum, but it has to be at least equivalent to 4 working weeks.[14] In the Netherlands this is achieved by mandating at minimum 4 times the number of contracted hours in a person's working week; e.g. if someone works 4 days of 7 hours a week, the annual leave hours a year is 112 at minimum.

Full-time employees in Australia are entitled to at least 20 annual leave days a year.[15]

In New Zealand, 20 days' paid leave is also the normal minimum in addition to the 11 paid statutory holidays (e.g. Christmas, New Year's Day).[16] However, many employers offer 5 or more weeks, especially in the public sector.

Some countries, such as Denmark and Italy, or particular companies may mandate summer holidays in specific periods.[17]

Argentina has different labour laws for public employment and private employment. Public employees have between a minimum of 21 days paid to 45 days paid for vacations (including holidays and weekends). Private employees have between a minimum of 14 paid days to 28 paid days (including holidays and weekends). In both cases are always relying on the years of service. The more years the worker has worked the more days of paid vacation they will have.

UK employers offer 28 days per annum of annual leave with a further 8 public holidays,[10] these are referred to as Bank Holidays. Some employers may include the 8 bank holidays within their annual leave decreasing it to 20 days.

US federal law does not require employers to grant any vacation or holidays, though, as of 2007, only about 25 percent of all employees receive no paid vacation time or paid holidays.[18] Due to the lack of federal legislative requirements, paid leave in the US is mainly a matter of employment contracts and labor union agreements.[19][20] Some jurisdictions within the US, including the states of Maine and Nevada, require paid time-off days.[21]

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States, the average paid holidays for full-time employees in small private establishments in 1996 was 7.6 days.[22]

Consecutive holidays

Consecutive holidays refers to holidays that occur in a group without working days in between. In the late 1990s, the Japanese government passed a law that increased the likelihood of consecutive holidays by moving holidays from fixed days to a relative position in a month, such as the second Monday.

In New Zealand, consecutive paid holidays occur for Christmas/Boxing Day, New Year's Eve/New Year's Day, and Good Friday/Easter Monday, the last of which straddle a weekend. However, these are among 11 'statutory paid holidays' that are additional to 'paid annual leave'.

See also


  1. ^ "FMLA Frequently Asked Questions | U.S. Department of Labor". Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  2. ^ "Additional leave entitlements for working parents" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 September 2015.
  3. ^ Johanson, Mark. "Life in a no-vacation nation". Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Employees pay, leave and entitlements". Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  5. ^ "The Employment Ordinance, Cap. 57".
  6. ^ Osaka Labour Bureau. "Encouraging Workers to Take Annual Paid Leave" (PDF). Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  7. ^ Diario Oficial de la Federación. "DECRETO por el que se reforman los artículos 76 y 78 de la Ley Federal del Trabajo, en materia de vacaciones" (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 March 2023.
  8. ^ "Labor Code of the Russian Federation". (in Russian).
  9. ^ "Annual Leave and the labour laws in South Africa". Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Holiday entitlement". GOV.UK. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  11. ^ Ghosheh 2013.
  12. ^ Ray, Sanes & Schmitt 2013, p. 10.
  13. ^ Canada, Employment and Social Development (29 July 2015). "Annual vacations". Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  14. ^ "COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 93/104/EC". Official Journal of the European Communities. L 307: 20. 23 November 1993.
  15. ^ Ray & Schmitt 2007, pp. 1–3, 8.
  16. ^ "Minimum leave and holidays". Employment New Zealand. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  17. ^ "NON-STANDARD EMPLOYMENT AROUND THE WORLD" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 April 2020.
  18. ^ Ray & Schmitt 2007, p. 1.
  19. ^ "Leave Benefits". U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  20. ^ "Paid Leave in the U.S." Kaiser Family Foundation. 17 December 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  21. ^ Douglas, Genevieve (12 July 2019). "Paid Leave 'for Any Reason' Laws Embraced by States, Localities". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  22. ^ "Employee Benefits in Small Private Industry Establishments, 1996" (Press release). Washington: US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 15 June 1998. Retrieved 14 July 2018.