In the United States, the number of people working multiple jobs has been steadily increasing for years. The actual hours worked per job has also increased. Over one-third of workers are guaranteed zero paid time off or paid leave even on nationwide, Federal holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. A new report highlights just how much American workers and working parents get the short end of the stick when it comes to having a few days off that are paid a year.
The U.S. has consistently ranked far behind other Western countries in terms of, well, mountains of policy that would be good for workers and parents: health care, child care, education, work conditions, retirement, and the list goes on. But new data from Resume.io, a career platform, finds that the United States is dead last — not just out of Western countries but out of pretty much every country on the planet — regarding paid leave and other compensated time off.
Why does that matter? Many Americans struggle to make ends meet, frequently taking on multiple jobs or gig work to cover essentials. Many Americans would struggle to handle a financial emergency of just a few hundred dollars. Budget shortfalls are exacerbated by the exorbitant costs associated with health care and child care, which citizens of many other countries don’t contend with due to government-subsidized programs that keep those costs free or affordable.
With all the financial pressure just to stay afloat, the pressure to never miss work, even when sick or grieving or caring for sick family members, is high. And because so many Americans don’t have any paid time off, not even sick time, work by necessity becomes the number one priority over caring for ourselves or our loved ones. Needless to say, mental health and job satisfaction in the U.S. are not great. And work-life balance? For most Americans, that’s just a dream, regardless of its importance.
Paid Time Off Around the World
Analysts from Resume.io examined data from 197 countries (which is technically all of them) and found, surprising no one, that the U.S. is second to last in the world in regards to paid vacation days, which includes paid holidays and paid time off. The only country in the world that ranked lower is Micronesia, which has a population of just over 115,000 people.
They also found that in terms of statutory paid time off, which includes paid days off that are scheduled by the employee, like vacation days or sick leave, the U.S. came in dead last. Out of every country in the world. The average amount of government-mandated paid time off globally is 18.2 days annually. In the U.S., workers are guaranteed 0 days annually.
Top Ten Best Countries For Paid Time Off
A world away from the U.S., both literally and figuratively in terms of PTO, are the countries whose governments require employers to provide their workers with paid vacation, personal, and sick days. Many countries on the top ten list provide at least four weeks of PTO each year, many times on top of paid bank holidays and other holidays in which workers are not given the option to work.
The top ten countries for paid time off, all of which are required to provide employees with 30 days per year, are:
- Monaco Marshall Islands
- Equatorial Guinea
At the bottom of the list, the worst countries for paid time off are:
- Nigeria – 6 days per year
- Mexico – 6 days per year
- Philippines – 5 days per year
- China – 5 days per year
- Tanzania – 3 days per year
- Palau – 1 day per year
- Nauru – 0 days per year
- Micronesia – 0 days per year
- Kiribati – 0 days per year
- United States of America – 0 days per year
As for the U.S.? Will anything change soon? It’s hard to say. President Biden pushed to enact a 4-week federal paid leave program — the first ever — in the United States as part of his major COVID-19 era spending programs. Those plans, however, fell apart, and the United States remains the wealthiest country in the world to not provide this basic benefit to working people, and parents.