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Work Hard, Play Hard? US Companies and Workers Don’t Make Time to Play

When workers are asked what they would most desire from their employee, the second most popular answer after a raise is more vacation time. What is the best way for a professional to ask for increased paid time off?

You could find success by directly asking your manager or boss, but research at CareerBuilder indicates that you may need to do much more in order to increase your vacation time this year. The way to best hedge your bet toward getting more time off? Leave the country.

In data provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Workers in the US work more than the people of any other industrialized nation. The organization accounts for time off for holidays, vacation, sick time, and any other days off. Here are their results.

A week = 40 hours
* United States: work 45.6 weeks each year
* Australia: spend 45.4 weeks at work each year
* Spain: work 45 weeks each year
* Japan: spend 44.7 weeks at work each year
* Canada: 43.8 weeks spent at work each year
* Great Britain: 41.7 weeks on the job each year
* Italy: 39.6 weeks at work each year
* Germany: toils 36.1 weeks every year
* France: labors 36 weeks annually
* Netherlands: 33.9 weeks every year

Few would argue that the United States has the most dedicated workers in the world, but do we both work hard and play hard? The answer seems to be no. The US is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t have a law setting a minimum vacation policy. Of all the countries surveyed, Americans enter a new job with fewer vacation days (12) than workers in any other country polled.
Here are some examples of the number of vacation days in other industrialized nations.

* France: 39 days
* Germany: 27 days
* Netherlands: 25 days
* Great Britain: 23 days
* Canada: 20 days
* United States: 12 days

To add insult to injury, Expedia found that only 69% of professionals in the US use all of their vacation time. The average employee gives up to 3 days of vacation back to their employer a year, totaling $54 billion dollars worth of time nationally each year.

You can’t say we’re not dedicated!

Eric operates a top Hispanic jobs posting board, LatPro, which is a comprehensive database of Spanish jobs in the United States and Latin America.