Mercer research: Workers in Western European countries have best statutory paid holiday

Employees in Western European countries have access to the greatest amount of statutory paid holiday in the world, according to research by Mercer.

In contrast, employees in Asia Pacific have the lowest levels of statutory paid holiday.

Mercer’s Worldwide benefit and employment guidelines, which provide an overview of employee regulation and employment practices across 62 different countries, found that employees in the UK have one of the most generous statutory holiday entitlements at an average of 28 days.

Other countries with high statutory holiday entitlement include Austria with 25 days and Malta with 24 days. The Philippines and Canada have the lowest possible entitlements with 20 and 19 days, respectively.

Wolfgang Seidl, head of Mercer’s healthcare consulting business, said: “Despite continued economic turmoil, interest in work-life balance continues to grow. From the employees’ and employers’ perspective, health creates wealth.

“Organisations recognise that a healthy, happy workforce is a productive one and this feeds directly into the bottom line. How employers interpret holiday regulations provision is a major factor.

“With pay rises muted and often below the rate of inflation, organisations are searching for other ways to motivate their staff. Flexible working and a good work-life balance helps improve employee engagement when the usual financial tools are unavailable.”†

Additional findings include:

  • Western Europe – The most generous statutory holiday entitlements include: the UK (28 days); Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg and Sweden (25 days); Malta (24 days); Spain and Portugal (22 days); Norway (21 days); Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland (20 days).
  • Central and Eastern Europe – The most generous holiday entitlements include: Poland (26 days); Hungary (23 days); Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia (20 days); the Ukraine (18 days; and Turkey (17 days).
  • Middle East and Africa – The most generous holiday entitlements include: United Arab Emirates (22 days); Morocco (18 days); and Lebanon and South Africa (15 days).
  • North America – US organisations provide three weeks holiday after five or ten years of service, while in Canada, mandatory holiday entitlement vary between provinces and organisations, though some employers provide up to six weeks’ holiday after 20 or 25 years.
  • Latin America – The most generous holiday entitlements include: Venezuela (24 days); Brazil and Peru (22 days); Argentina (20 days); Mexico (16 days); and Chile and Colombia (15 days).
  • Asia-Pacific – The most generous holiday entitlements include: Australia, Japan and New Zealand (20 days); South Korea (19 days); Malaysia (16 days); Taiwan (15 days); Hong Kong, Pakistan, Singapore and Vietnam (14 days); India and Indonesia (12 days); China (10 days); Thailand (six days); and the Philippines (five days).

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