When It Comes to PTO, Americans Get the Short End of the Stick

Share this article:
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Facebook
Email this to someone

Have you noticed your international friends are always traveling and on the go, while your state-side buddies complain they’ve barely been able to make it to the beach at all this summer? The reason for this may be a lack of paid time off (PTO) for American employees.

According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), the U.S. is the only advanced economy (and member of the OECD) that doesn’t guarantee workers even a single day of PTO. The CEPR's report also confirmed 25 percent of America's workers in the private sector don’t get any time off at all.

The statutory minimum paid leave allotted by country, compared to America's 0 days, is as follows:

United Kingdom : days
France : days
Spain : days
Germany : days
Australia : days
Chile : days
South Korea : days
Israel : days
Japan : days
Canada : days
Mexico :

Additionally, the U.S.'s 10 public holidays are not guaranteed to come with pay. Statutory PTO combined with public holidays allows international workers over 35 days of paid vacation in countries like the United Kingdom, France, and Spain.

According to the CEPR, many companies in the U.S. do provide an average of 15 days of PTO a year despite not being legally required to do so, but it's a stark contrast to the fact that this amount of days does not even meet the minimum required by law in 19 of the world's wealthiest countries. Even more interestingly, even when employers do offer their American employees PTO, 52% of workers claim they have unused vacation days at the end of each year according to a 2018 Project: Time Off study.

So, is all that extra office time allowing these workers to get ahead? Not necessarily. Studies conducted by Project: Time Off also revealed that workers who used their vacation days were more likely to be promoted, get a raise, or report higher productivity than those who forfeited them.

Looking for a new job that offers more PTO? Know your worth.