By Jodie Gummow
Americans as a society generally don’t take vacations. While many of us would love to travel, we live in an economy where job security is rare and most of us live in fear that if we take any time off work, our job may not be waiting for us upon our return. We live on part-time and temporary job contracts where we don’t always know where our next source of income will come from. Our work culture prevents us from taking long vacations abroad and instills within us a sense of guilt for seeking the simple pleasure of time away from the office.
Moreover, America is the only developed nation that doesn’t legally guarantee any paid vacation time for its workers. In a recent study, The Centre for Economic and Policy Research, found that in the absence of government standards, almost one in four Americans have no paid vacation (23%) and no paid holidays (23%) and the average worker in the private sector receives only 10 days of paid vacation per year. Contrast this with European countries where most employees are legally entitled to at least 20 days of paid vacation per year.
What’s more, here in the US we work considerably longer hours than other developed nations. Take The Netherlands, for example, where in many cities, banks are only open four days a week and a three-day weekend is the norm for the service industry. It’s quite the reverse on our soil where it is not uncommon for corporate employees to work 15-hour days some even falling asleep at the job.