One Quarter of Americans Don't Get Paid Days Off

In every other rich country, paid time-off is guaranteed.

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Nearly a quarter of all Americans work without paid vacation days or holidays, a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research says. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the U.S. is the only "rich" country that does not require paid time-off, even though studies have repeatedly found that less time at work -- and more time relaxing or vacationing -- actually increases productivity.

“It is striking that six years after we first looked at this topic absolutely nothing has changed. U.S. law and U.S. employer behavior still lags far behind the rest of the rich countries in the world,” John Schmitt, senior economist and co-author of the report, said in a statement.

“The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays,” said Schmitt, “Relying on businesses to voluntarily provide paid leave just hasn’t worked.”

According to the report, our faiure to provide paid time-off hits workers who could use it the most -- low-wage part-timers and small business employees -- the hardest:

The lack of paid vacation and paid holidays in the United States is particularly acute for low-wage workers, part-time workers, and for employees of small businesses. Employees of small businesses in the United States are less likely to have any paid vacation (69 percent) than those in medium and large establishments (86 percent). Only 49 percent of low-wage workers (the bottom fourth of workers) have paid vacation, compared to 90 percent of high-wage workers. Part-time workers in the United States are far less likely to have paid vacations (35 percent) than are full-time workers (91 percent).

 

U.S. law does not guarantee any paid holidays, while most rich countries guarantee between 5 and 13 per year (not including paid vacation days).