Have you ever wondered how many vacation days people from other countries get each year? Or how long new mothers can take off work for maternity leave?
Our latest piece of research gathers data from the World Policy Analysis Center, the International Labor Organization and Globalization Partners to show which countries have the most days off.
To compare different types of time off around the world, use the toggle buttons on the left of the map. You can further refine the map by selecting whether days off are paid, unpaid or both as well as which days are specifically allocated to the different legal genders by using the buttons at the top.
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What constitutes a country?
You might be surprised to learn that there are different definitions of what constitutes a country. In this project, we included the total number of United Nations voting members, its two permanent observers (Holy See and the Palestinian Authority) and Taiwan. This comes to 196 countries.
How do you describe time off?
We elected to define “time off” as any period of time in which a person doesn’t have to work, but remains employed, regardless of whether they are healthy or not.
How do you go about finding which countries have the most time off?
To generate our analysis, we determined the most common types of time off from around the world. In rare cases, we excluded unique instances of time off such as in China where there is marriage leave.
We chose to look at:
- Vacation Days — the number of paid days leave from work guaranteed each year.
- Public holidays — days when almost everyone in a country doesn’t have to attend work.
- Sick leave — time away from work because of illness.
- Maternity leave — a period of absence from work granted to a mother before and after the birth of her child.
- Paternity leave — a period of absence from work granted to a father after or shortly before the birth of his child.
- Paternal leave — a period of absence for either, or both, parents of a newborn child.
What methodology did you use?
To ensure an accurate comparison of time off in each country, we used a number of techniques to normalize the data. Because there are several ways in which countries identify time off from work (e.g. days, weeks and months) we estimated there were 4 weeks in each month and 7 days in each week. When an exact figure was provided, we used this number.
- Vacation Days — To calculate annual paid leave, we primarily used data from the World Policy Center. In cases where annual paid leave was tied to an employee’s tenure with a company, we selected the most days off possible.
- Public holidays — We measured the maximum number of days a person could take off; this took into account a person’s job, religion and where they live within a country, as well as other factors. (1) We counted public holidays without fixed dates as if they occurred on weekdays. We also discounted weekly required rest periods. In cases in which data was unclear, we counted the total number of public holidays for the entirety of 2018, excluding one-off holidays. Finally, when data was unavailable as to whether a public holiday was paid or not, we marked them as unpaid.
- Sick leave — We calculated the total days off a person can take from work, which included extended leave for long-term illness. When an exact figure in days was provided, we used this number. In cases in which a range of time was provided, we selected the most time possible. For a relatively few countries such as Comoros only the lower part of the time range was available; we used this number.
- Maternity leave — We counted the total number of days a mother can take off from work, regardless of compensation.
- Paternity leave — In most cases, countries from around the world offer paternity leave in days. Nevertheless, in some instances the data we found was unclear, and was instead shown as a range of time. In these cases we used the most time off possible. In a few situations, we used the only number available, despite it being at the low end of the data range. For example, in Maldives new fathers are permitted less than 3 weeks of paternity leave, which we translated to 21 days.
- Parental leave — We measured the total days off new parents can take. In cases in which parental leave was specifically designated for mothers, such as in Bahrain, we combined this time off with maternity leave data. Additionally, if a country had a parental leave policy that allows both a mother and father to take days off, we counted this time as maternity or paternity.
Which country has the most vacation days?
No single country holds the crown for most paid vacation days. 31 countries have 30 paid annual leave days per year.
Which country has the most public holidays?
3 countries have tied for the most time off. Cambodia, Iran and Vietnam each have 27 days of public holidays each year. However, of the three countries, only workers in Cambodia are paid for all of the public holidays.
Which country has the most vacation days and public holidays each year?
Bahrain offers 49 paid days off, between annual paid leave and public holidays
Which country has the most sick leave?
8 countries have no maximum for the number of sick days workers can take. They are Andora, China, Iran, Monaco, Mongolia, Russia, Slovenia and Tunisia.
Which country has the most maternity leave?
France and Spain offer the most combined maternity leave, with 1,204 days.
Which country has the most paid maternity leave?
Latvian mothers can take 658 day of paid maternity leave.
Which country has the most paternity leave?
Spain offers a combined 1,107 days off for new fathers. Latvia offers the most paid paternity days, with 556.
Which country has the most paternal leave?
Poland offers the most parental leave, with 1,792 days; the country’s parental leave includes 728 paid days and 1,064 unpaid days. 8 countries share the most number of paid days off for parental leave. These countries offer 1,092 paid parental leave days: Hungary, Azerbaijan, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Mongolia.
Which country has the most time off for women?
Russia offers women the most time off, with 3,093 days.
Which country has the most time off for men?
Russia also offers the most time off for men. Men receive 2,953 days.
Which country has the most unpaid time off?
Kazakhstan residents can take 1,116 unpaid days off.
Which country has the most paid time off?
Mongolia provides 3,061 paid days off.
Could you really take all that time off?
It’s extremely unlikely. The real world just doesn’t work that way. It would be almost impossible to time each type of time off perfectly so they would roll into each other.
Ultimately, the reason we amassed this data is to show the differences ways each country handles its time off and spark a conversation about your next free day.
Whether you have a week’s worth of time off or a months, one thing we can all agree on is that you’ll want to use the time wisely. Get out there and make the most of your time off.
For the full research behind this map including the sources for each country, visit - http://bit.ly/TmeOff
1. For the United States of America, we counted federal holidays, which are public holidays for federal employees. While most private sector employees get some or all of these days off, it is not required by law. Additionally, we did not count state holidays.