13% of countries do not offer sick pay

International sick pay

More than one in 10 (13%) of countries do not offer sick pay, according to research by independent health and welfare consultancy organisation Asinta, and employee benefit provider Punter Southall Health and Protection.

Its Global paid time off study, which surveyed Asinta partners across 18 countries, also found that Germany offers employees two mandatory paid holiday days to move to a new house.

The research also found:

  • All countries operating under European law are required to give employees 20 days of paid leave a year, compared to five days for employees working in Japan, no days for the first year for China-based employees, and no days for employees working in the USA.
  • Spain gives employees 30 mandatory paid holiday days and 14 public holidays. Brazil provides 30 mandatory paid holiday days and eight public holidays.
  • Employers based in the USA typically provide 21 days of supplementary holiday days.
  • Employees working in Mexico receive six mandatory paid holiday days and five public holidays only, compared to Canada, where they receive 10 mandatory paid holiday days and seven public holidays, and China, where they receive five mandatory paid holidays and 11 public holidays.
  • Typically, the United Arab Emirates, UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Singapore, Indonesia and the USA would offer employees working in its jurisdiction supplemental holiday days.
  • The Netherlands, Singapore and Indonesia provide mandatory sick pay for 40 days or more, while China has mandatory sick pay provision for as long as the employee requires. Ireland typically provides 40 days or more of sick pay for employees working in its jurisdiction, however this is not mandatory.
  • The UK, Australia and Canada typically provide employees working in its jurisdiction with 10 days of sick pay.
  • More than 30% of countries based in the Americas enable employees to take part time off to get married, compared to 40% of Asia Pacific countries and 30% of European, Middle Eastern and African countries.
  • In Australia, it is mandatory to offer eight weeks of paid leave after 10 years of service.

John Dean, chief commercial officer at Punter Southall Health and Protection, said: “Our clients sending staff overseas often ask how much paid leave they should provide. It’s a complex issue, as industry type, employee demographics, location, culture and even religion all need to be considered. When [employers] add in mandatory paid time off requirements, public holidays and unusual special leave, global harmonisation is far from simple.

“Undertaking this study, we found there is a genuine business case for paid time off. It supports employee engagement, helps staff feel valued and they tend to return from holidays refreshed and motivated. A generous paid time off allowance will also support employee retention and recruitment.”

Wendi Pickerel, global executive director at Asinta, added: “Determining paid time off is a real headache for international [organisations]. Deciding which approach to take requires a good understanding of local paid time off rules and how this fits within the [organisation’s] overall global benefits.”