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HOW MUCH ANNUAL LEAVE / VACATION / HOLIDAY DO YOU GET?

HOW MUCH ANNUAL LEAVE / VACATION / HOLIDAY DO YOU GET?

May 1st, 2011, 08:34 PM
  #1  
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HOW MUCH ANNUAL LEAVE / VACATION / HOLIDAY DO YOU GET?

I've started picking up a trend that Americans tend to limit their trips to around two weeks. Is this due to habit, preference or the amount of time they can get off work?

We get six weeks but pay for two weeks - can get up to twelve weeks if we pay for eight. What does everyone else get and how long is your usual trip?
madgicsh is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 01:02 AM
  #2  
 
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I'm a kiwi and we get four weeks paid annual leave (just a few years ago, we only got three weeks - thank god for a change of government which took care of that issue).

My last trip, which was to Germany at Christmas, was for three weeks. I want to go again at the end of 2012 and take four weeks.
nz101 is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 01:50 AM
  #3  
 
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It's because the annual vacation leave for Americans is dismal. There is no legally mandated vacation time, like in many other countries.

I would say the average annual leave is 2 weeks,maybe 3 weeks if you look at multinational corporations. This is even with several years of service in a company (5,10, etc years). Last year I left my company after 10 years and had 25 days, which was extraordinarily generous.
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May 2nd, 2011, 02:15 AM
  #4  
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Lizzie_17, what a rotten situation! We have a mandated minimum 4 weeks on full pay, but some get 6 weeks. Some employers have a system where you can buy leave; that means you don't get paid for those extra weeks, but your pay for the other weeks is averaged over the whole year so you DO get paid every week (or fortnight). We also get 3 months Long Service Leave after 10 years (pro rata after 7 years), and hubby gets four weeks combined sick / personal / carers and bereavement leave on full pay per year.

Most Mums with young children take the maximum 12 weeks annual leave, which often puts them into a lower tax bracket so the loss of income isn't that noticeable. AND they are not paying for child care when school is out, which probably offsets the loss of income completely.

It may also explain why our unemployment is much lower than yours. Maybe your politicians should introduce something like that? It certainly creates jobs without cost to the employer, and is surely a more topical issue than birth certificates?
madgicsh is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 02:35 AM
  #5  
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nz101 I'm glad you've caught up; we got 4 weeks (and flextime) from Gough Whitlam in 1974; along with galloping inflation etc etc! But once those things are in, they stick. Obviously you liked Germany at Christmas? Did you do a trip report? I have read about the Christmas River Cruises and thought that was a great idea - did you get snow? If I go for a white Christmas it has to be WHITE, really white!

So far we've thought of Leavenworth in Washington for a white Chrissy, it certainly would be white. But open to any idea, especially for short trips. We normally go for 8-10 weeks and then hang out to go again for four years (this is year 3 but who's counting?)

It would be nice to do 2-3 weeks and be able to do it again much sooner; but as you know it's so FAR from down here the temptation is always to really capitalise on that airfare once you get it ;-)
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May 2nd, 2011, 03:04 AM
  #6  
 
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My (American) company starts at 3 weeks vacation, with the option to buy another week. You get an additional day for each year worked during the first 5, so you get 4 weeks after 5 years. You also get 13 paid holidays. So, a 5 year employee has the potential for 38 total days off each year.

Regardless, even though I currently get 6 weeks + holidays as time off each year, 2 weeks is the limit for me for a vacation. Even with a week, the work begins to pile up and every extra week only makes it worse. After 2 weeks, the extra hassles leading up to the vacation, and upon the return, outweigh the benefits of a longer break.

Perhaps if you hate flying, or are really trying to stretch a budget, it might make sense to really drag out a vacation, but if I lived in New York and wanted to go to London and Paris, I'm just as inclined to take two separate trips, as opposed to combining the two cities into a longer trip.

We get six weeks but pay for two weeks - can get up to twelve weeks if we pay for eight.

I wouldn't employ someone that wants 12 weeks off each year. Perhaps in some industries, or for certain low-level jobs, extended absences are not disruptive, but I wouldn't deal with it.
travelgourmet is online now  
May 2nd, 2011, 04:37 AM
  #7  
 
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12 weeks maternity leave? Wow! I don't even know what my current company's policy is, but 6 years ago I was back to work 2 weeks after my son was born. I wasn't happy but that's the way it was.
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May 2nd, 2011, 05:39 AM
  #8  
 
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In many professional jobs, the issue is also how much time you can take off at one time - few people I know can take more than 2 weeks off without worrying about their jobs, even if they have vacation time accrued. And 4+ weeks is almost unheard of.

Another way to compute vacation time in the US is something called "earned time" or "paid time off" - where your vacation, sick, holiday time is all added together - so if you are never sick, you get more time off to use as you wish.

This started years ago at places like hospitals that needed to staff 7 days/week with certainty of numbers and had difficulty absorbing an unplanned sick call. The idea being it would prevent people from calling in sick when they knew ahead of time they needed the day off. Practice now extends to many regular businesses as well.

Another factor in US - being a large country geographically - is that many people live quite a distance from elderly parents and other family - so some vacation time must inevitably be devoted to visits to them rather than just random vacations. That is really tough for those who get only 2 weeks off.
gail is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 08:58 AM
  #9  
EBZ
 
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Madgicsh,

"Most Mums with young children take the maximum 12 weeks annual leave, which often puts them into a lower tax bracket so the loss of income isn't that noticeable. AND they are not paying for child care when school is out, which probably offsets the loss of income completely. "

By this do you mean each year you can take 12 weeks off work while your children are off on their school breaks? That sounds fantastic! I wish the US would offer something like this... at least my employer will allow me to "flex" my schedule in the summer so I can be home with my children more while they are on break... makes me want to move to Australia!

I have been with my employer working FT/PT over the last 10 years and I get 6 weeeks of vacation/personal days, not including sick days and we have 7 additional paid holidays. IT would be really difficult to leave my employer for a new company and go back to 2 weeks/year.

Thanks for posting very interesting topic!
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May 2nd, 2011, 11:14 AM
  #10  
 
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At my US company a new hire starts with 2 weeks per year, after 10 years, 3 weeks, at 20 years it tops out at 4 weeks. I have 30 years, so I have 4 weeks. I tend to stretch that as best I can using holidays and weekends.

In addition, we have paid time off over the December holidays when everything is shut down. We are off from Christmas eve to the first business day after the new year. The number of days varies from year to year
hpeabody is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 11:16 AM
  #11  
 
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As others have said, here in the US, it's completely employer-dependent. I get three weeks paid vacation (15 work days), and I think we're closed for 10 paid holidays. I could take longer without pay, although it's not formalized.

My DH works for a large national company, he's been there a long time, and he gets something like 35 days of combined vacation-sick days-PTO, plus I think 7 paid holidays.
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May 2nd, 2011, 11:19 AM
  #12  
 
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I get 32.5 paid days, but it is combined Big 5 Holiday/sick leave/vacation.
tenthumbs is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 11:37 AM
  #13  
 
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Most Mums with young children take the maximum 12 weeks annual leave, which often puts them into a lower tax bracket so the loss of income isn't that noticeable. AND they are not paying for child care when school is out, which probably offsets the loss of income completely.

Hopefully they don't then complain about making less money than men. I'm sorry, but I simply wouldn't employ such people in a professional role.
travelgourmet is online now  
May 2nd, 2011, 11:53 AM
  #14  
 
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Many Americans who work as temporary, part-time, or contract workers (a growing segment of the workforce these days) get absolutely no paid time off for any reason. Those who are full time regular employees may get anywhere from zero to 30 or more paid days off; it is entirely at the discretion of the employer to set the policy.

My company gives a maximum of 5 weeks vacation after 15 years of service (some can be carried over from one year to the next), about 2.5 weeks sick leave (which can accumulate, but has no cash value on termination), plus 11 federal holidays. This is quite generous by US standards, far better than I had in previous jobs, but still not on a par with Europe or Australia.
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May 2nd, 2011, 01:06 PM
  #15  
 
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Back when I worked for a major computer manufacturer and had to travel around a lot of the US I was fortunate to get "phantom" vacation, two days at a time.

The company insisted on travel on company time whenever possible so I usually was scheduled to return home on a Friday.

But I worked a deal with the beancounters such that I would return on Sunday and have Friday and Saturday as my days off to tour as I saw fit. In exchange for the company getting a much lower airfare, they covered the two extra days of rental car cost and sometimes a hotel night, depending. I paid my own meals and whatever other hotel these was.

With a dozen or more such trips every year, all over the country, I really got to appreciate the place. It was a super deal!
NoFlyZone is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 02:16 PM
  #16  
 
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Self Employed for 30+ years I never had a vacation. Before that I had the standard 2 weeks assigned.Had two children along the way, one keep me down a week the other had on Friday back at work Monday. Now I do take 2-3 weeks a year as well as a few Saturdays along the way. This was in the days in my case before any maternity leave. Most of my friends who work for corporations have 2-3 weeks even after 20 years.
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May 2nd, 2011, 03:26 PM
  #17  
P_M
 
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As already mentioned most new hires in America get only 2 weeks. It usually takes 5+ years to get a 3rd week. When I was a bank teller I got 2 weeks and never had a problem taking my 2 weeks off. However when I became the bank manager I was discouraged from taking more than a day or two off at at time because it was viewed as my responsibility to be there or to be available even on my days off. Of course this nixed overseas travel and after a short stint as manager I started looking for other work.

My current employer gives new hires get 3 weeks off plus extra holidays, which is most unusual in the US. I now have a few years of senority so I get about 5 weeks off per year. I know this isn't much to a European, Aussie or NZ'er but it's HUGE in the US.
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May 2nd, 2011, 03:45 PM
  #18  
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Thanks Americans (and others) I suspected this; as we told Oprah, we work to live, NOT live to work.

I can't understand the "won't employ a person like this" attitude; if you have a significant number of employees you gain flexibility, since you have more people for the same money.

It also hugely amuses me that YOUR multinationals have to adhere to a lot of these systems in Australia, because it's the law. I bet they hate it. Hubby worked for the now defunct EDS and they certainly begrudged every cent and minute!

It seems to me it should probably have a negative impact on our economy because we don't have a big manufacturing sector - but the opposite has proven to be the case. As these systems grow so does our dollar.

I forgot to mention hubby's employer's 'sabbatical' system. You can work for 75% of income, paid fortnightly; then you get the whole fifth year off with the same fortnightly pay. He's too young yet (53) but we may go for this when he turns 55.

You can also negotiate a percentage of income; one of DH's friends is on 88%. Mostly the people who do that choose to work a shorter day.

BTW, I wasn't talking maternity leave - that's extra, and we have paternity leave as well. Surely the point of work is to facilitate life?

Every one of these iniatives has the same effect; workforces have to be larger, so unemployment drops and productivity soars. No one (in Aussie slang) "chucks a sickie" because it's easier to take legitimate leave.

Our workers in BIG companies and Government often get up to ten days over Christmas; it's summer here and costs too much in air conditioning to run over 3 days where staffing is probably running at 15% anyway. Easier to turn it all off and send the 15% home!

All this fascinates me; but I don't think I'll migrate any time soon.

Sounds like you had a great deal NoFlyZone!

Finally, travelgourmet, OF COURSE they don't complain. Men are doing it too and we've had REAL equal pay (for equal work) since the 1970's; and if you SAID that's why you didn't employ a person you would be prosecuted. That's discrimination and is against the law!
madgicsh is offline  
May 3rd, 2011, 12:27 AM
  #19  
 
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I can't understand the "won't employ a person like this" attitude; if you have a significant number of employees you gain flexibility, since you have more people for the same money.

It is a balance between flexibility and efficiency. Assume I need one tax specialist for roughly 40 hours per week, 48 weeks per year. Theoretically, I could employ two specialists for 24 weeks each year, but how many such specialists are willing to do that? At the end of the day, the investment of time and money that is required of them to attain the specialization will only be justified if they can get a return on that investment, which requires working longer hours for better pay.

And even if I need enough specialists that I could simply swap in more people working fewer hours, there remains the fixed cost of each individual. This can be things like office space or computers or per head benefits. It can also be the minimum training required for the position. It can also be the time it takes to learn institutional knowledge or procedures. It can be the rust that comes with taking extended absences.

Finally, there is the issue of finding enough good people to fill the roles. Certain roles don't require exceptional skill, and one can achieve near-100% efficiency with a wide range of people, with relatively quick uptake time. Other roles benefit, greatly, from having the right person in the right role. The more people you need to find, the higher the risk that you will have to compromise on the person you hire.

Every one of these iniatives has the same effect; workforces have to be larger, so unemployment drops and productivity soars.

Don't confuse unemployment with labor force participation. Labor force participation rates are not appreciably higher in Australia than in the United States. According to the UN data for 2006 (the latest I can easily find), participation rates are largely comparable for both men and women, though the US has a slight edge.

http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?d=GenderStat&f=inID%3A106

As for productivity, the OECD says that Australian productivity is roughly 83% that of the US.

http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=PDYGTH

Finally, travelgourmet, OF COURSE they don't complain. Men are doing it too and we've had REAL equal pay (for equal work) since the 1970's; and if you SAID that's why you didn't employ a person you would be prosecuted. That's discrimination and is against the law!

One of the most destructive myths that has been espoused over the past 30 years is that one can legislate equal pay for men and women and that the hard work is done. The reality is much more complicated, and Australia is no exception. As shown in the data above, Australian women participate in the workforce at much lower rates, particularly during the prime working years. There is also a pay gap of roughly 16% in Australia:

http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/women/p...payequity.aspx

I live in hyper-egalitarian Denmark, which has female labor force participation rates a fair bit higher than Australia and the US. Equal pay is a given. Women still lose 5% of their lifetime earning power for every child they have.

Heck, despite the myths that too many repeat, discrimination based upon sex is illegal in the US, and paying someone less simply because they are a women is illegal and has been so for roughly 40 years. The reality is that equal pay for equal work does not mean that choices don't have consequences. One can choose to devote more time to the home or to work, but those that devote more time to work do earn more, and Australia doesn't seem to buck this trend. I seriously doubt that Australia has any enforceable laws which prevent promotions, higher bonuses, and better raises from going to those that work longer hours, and are more flexible in their work rules.

Finally, I would note that Australians actually work slightly more annual hours than their US counterparts.
travelgourmet is online now  
May 3rd, 2011, 09:33 AM
  #20  
 
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In my company, we get 10 days of vacation to start and then after 5 years, you get bumped to 15. Then each year you get an extra day until you top out at 20 (I am currently at 18 days). We also have 4 floating holidays and 10 fixed holidays. I wish it was more.

I generally take a 2 week vacation sometime during the year, plus a couple smaller vacations - a long weekend here or there, maybe add a vacation day or floating holiday to a fixed holiday, etc. I don't take much time off for December holidays generally because the end-of-year push keeps me busy. I'd like to take off longer at a time, but 2 things keep me from doing that - 1 is that I don't want to use all my yearly vacation at once and the other is that it is hard to get away for longer than a couple weeks. Work piles up like crazy.

The 3 months off a year for moms sounds nice, but as someone without kids, I think I would be resentful of having to pick up the slack for the moms who take off during the summertime. Sure, a company could hire extra people to offset this, but presumably all the moms who choose to, will choose to take off during the months when the kids are out of school - at the same time. Everyone else is left to do the work. I can't help but thing that I would be biased against hiring moms in that situation - whether I tried to be fair or not, the bias would creep in.
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