Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / AUG. 22, 2014
version 3, draft 3

The UK Has More Paid Leave Than Almost Any Other Country Worldwide

Day after day, work can become overwhelming. Many employees sit at their desk thinking about their next holiday. Many Brit’s simply aren’t aware of how lucky they are in terms of paid leave. Being one of the countries with the highest number of paid leave, it’s time to take advantage! 

 

If you’re a full-time employee, there is no doubt that you work hard. Between your commute, deadlines, and headaches, there’s an encouraging light at the end of the tunnel. Besides France at 30 days, the UK is the second top country, with 28 days of entitled paid leave. That is miles ahead of the United States, where workers are not entitled to one paid holiday.

Before the year 2009, the number of paid holiday days was actually 20. There were 8 bank holidays that firms were not paying their employee’s for, which has since been added to the total. Think about where you could go with 28 days of paid time off. For those that don’t have the travel bug, 28 days over the course of the year can be taken in order to spend time with family, work on your house, or simply relax.

Although the UK sits at the second highest spot, this is not entirely true. Yes, 28 days is nothing to complain about, but when you incorporate paid public holidays, the UK falls into the tenth highest spot. The top ten countries are:

Austria  22 Statutory + 13 Paid Public Holidays 35 days
Portugal 22 Statutory + 13 Paid Public Holidays 35 days
Spain 22 Statutory + 12 Paid Public Holidays 34 days
France 30 Statutory + 1 Paid Public Holidays 31 days
Italy 20 Statutory + 11 Paid Public Holidays 31 days
Belgium 20 Statutory + 10 Paid Public Holidays 30 days
Germany 20 Statutory + 10 Paid Public Holidays 30 days
New Zealand 20 Statutory + 10 Paid Public Holidays 30 days
Ireland 20 Statutory + 9 Paid Public Holidays 29 days
UK 28 Statutory + 0 Paid Public Holidays 28 days

This leave is calculated based on the amount one works. Full-time employees receive more time off than part-time employees for instance. This is because all workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday. So, if you’re working five days a week, your leave is calculated by multiplying your work week by 5.6.

When someone works part-time, the same holds true. For example, if you work three days a week, your leave would be 3 x 5.6, which would be 16.8 days paid leave. However, if you work six days a week, your paid holiday time would still be limited to 28 days.

 

The UK Compared to the United States

Sure, the UK may have some rainy days, but zero paid time off would feel much gloomier. The United States is the only advanced economy that does not offer it’s employees any paid holiday time. There are also no mandatory paid public holidays either. 

Some companies will pay their employees to take some time off, but that is entirely up to them. There has been discussion about the United States being a more unequal society in comparison to many European countries.

 

Unclaimed Time Off in the UK

We’re addicted to our careers. There is nothing wrong with dedication and hard work, as these are key elements of success. However, time off is also vital for one’s well-being. Many UK workers take time off, yet they are still doing work. Time off should encourage employees to detach, allowing themselves to recharge.

It has been found that UK employees are only taking an average of 77% of their entitled holiday time. On average, this means that employees are opting not to use six of their holiday days, essentially working for free during those six work days.

It was found in a survey that the individuals who were least likely to take all of their time off were individuals aged 16 to 24. These young minds are perhaps trying to make a name for themselves, opting to spend more time at work than their expected to.

Employers should be encouraging their employees to take their entitled time. Sure, workers are worth more at work in theory, but time off is essential. It is not only beneficial for the employee in terms of their health and overall well-being, but also for the employer.

Taking a break does wonders for your mental health. When employees are given the opportunity to recharge and gain perspective, they will come back to work more motivated and focused than before. Once your mind and body have time to relax, the results can be astonishing.

 

So, make sure you’re taking your holiday days. Allow yourself to experience the wonders of the world; spend valued time with family and friends; achieve a better work-life balance; and enjoy the perks of working in a country that offers so much paid leave.  

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