A study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research found Americans get the fewest paid vacation and holidays among industrialized nations surveyed. The federal government does not mandate any paid time off. In contrast, Austria and Portugal require 22 paid vacation days and 13 holidays.
“There’s a lot of benefits that the European countries provide that America falls behind on. It’s a different paradigm on the work life as to what they view as important,” said Michael Macomber, an associate with Tully Rinckey, PLLC.
While not required, 77 percent of Americans receive paid time off averaging ten vacation days and six holidays. About half of lower income workers receive no time off.
“I think employers don’t view that as something they need to do to entice a lower wage employee. There’s no requirement they have to do it so they can get away with it. Whereas higher wage employees, employers realize they want to get those employee and want to keep those employees,” said Macomber.
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) introduced a bill Tuesday mandating employers provide a week vacation.
“Certainly the report stands on its own merit that we’re woefully behind advanced nations. It’s an issue that justifiably should be looked at,” said Rep. Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam).
The bill was submitted to committee where it will be discussed. Most experts don’t expect it to go forward without controversy.
“It’s going to be a significant change,” said Macomber. “I think you’re going to see a lot of corporate America pushing against it because the cost could be huge for them.”