Lonely Planet Writer

Workers in these countries get the most holiday time…but who is actually using it?

A new study has revealed which countries around the world got the most paid holiday days last year, with the results outlining which places are most likely to take the full amount of time off made available to them.

Spain, France, Finland, Brazil and the United Arab States came out on top of the survey for vacation time.
Spain, France, Finland, Brazil and the United Arab States came out on top of the survey for vacation time.

The poll, which was conducted on behalf of Expedia by Northstar, looked at the holiday habits of employed adults in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The results found that a range of countries across Europe did well in terms of taking time off, with Spain, France and Finland all getting 30 days paid holidays that were fully taken. Brazil and the United Arab Emirates were found to also get and take an average of 30 days paid vacation. The USA came out behind, showing that while Americans received 15 paid vacation days from employers, on average only 12 days were taken. This adds up to approximately 375 million paid vacation days being wasted within the past year in the USA.

On average, US workers only took 12 out of a possible 15 vacation days made available to them.
On average, US workers only took 12 out of a possible 15 vacation days made available to them. Image by Jim Mullhaupt

Workers in Asian countries were found to receive and take less holiday days on average, with South Koreans being given 15 days and taking only eight, while workers in Japan took ten out of a possible 20 available days. Malaysians took 12 out of a possible 16 days while Thai people were shown to take 12 out of 15 days.

 Vacation Practices by Country

Country

Vacation Days Offered

Vacation Days Taken

Unused Days

Australia

20

15

5

Austria

25

25

0

Belgium

24

23

1

Brazil

30

30

0

Canada

15

14

1

Denmark

25

25

0

Finland

30

30

0

France

30

30

0

Germany

30

28

2

Hong Kong

14

14

0

Ireland

21

21

0

India

21

15

6

Italy

30

25

5

Japan

20

10

10

Malaysia

16

12

4

Mexico

15

12

3

Netherlands

25

22

3

New Zealand

20

19

1

Norway

25

25

0

Singapore

18

14

4

South Korea

15

8

7

Spain

30

30

0

Sweden

25

25

0

Switzerland

25

25

0

Thailand

15

12

3

UAE

30

30

0

United Kingdom

25

25

0

USA

15

12

3

 The survey also revealed interesting data regarding how workers viewed time off in relation to job perks, with additional holiday time coming in as the second most prized work incentive after flexible working hours for people in the US. Despite Spain coming out on top of the poll, 68% of the people studied felt that they were very or somewhat holiday-deprived, while 25% of US workers strongly felt that they deserved more time off.