Vacation Days Around the World: Where to Get the Most PTO

Andrew Buck's avatar Andrew Buck June 3, 2024

In this article, we’re going to look at which major countries have the best paid vacation day entitlements for employees, and how nations like the US, Canada, the UK and more differ in terms of laws and customs for PTO.

We’ll also run through some of the pros and cons of going above and beyond with your team’s leave policy and offering more than the minimum required by law.

Vacation days are one of the most sought-after employee benefits, and with more and more companies hiring employees from various parts of the world, knowing the standard in countries other than your own is more important than ever before.

Vacation Days by Country

In this section, we’ll list the minimum vacation days required by law in a few major markets around the world, as well as the average number of days taken by workers in each of these countries.

We’ve listed the average paid vacation in each following country, as reported by the OECD, as well as various other sources.

Let’s dive in now.

United Kingdom

Minimum paid vacation required by law: Legal minimum is 5.6 weeks per year. These include workers with irregular hours or zero-hour contracts

Average annual vacation days: One of the leaders in the world when it comes to paid vacation with 37 days on average. 


Minimum paid vacation required by law: Full-time employees get a minimum of 20 days based on a 5-day week, or 25 days if based on a 6-day work week depending on the job. 

Average annual vacation days: An average of 33 paid leave days each year.


Minimum paid vacation required by law: A full-time worker gets 22 working days of annual paid leave. The law goes further to require that at least one leave period during the year must be 2 weeks long.

Average annual vacation days: 36 days on average, according to the OECD.


Minimum paid vacation required by law: Workers are entitled to 25 days of paid vacation each year. 

Average annual vacation days: When public holidays are included, Swedes end up taking more than 30 days of annual leave on average.

New Zealand

Minimum paid vacation required by law: All employees that work regular hours in a full-time or part-time job get at least 4 weeks of paid annual vacation. This does not include public holidays. 

Average annual vacation days: Around 30 days of paid vacation.


Minimum paid vacation required by law: 7 paid holidays, plus a minimum of 20 paid vacation days according to federal law.

Average annual vacation days: Keeping with the legal requirements, Australians take around 28 days of paid vacation days each year.


Minimum paid vacation required by law: According to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower, an employee is eligible for paid vacation, after 3 months of service with a company. 

The number of vacation days increases each year, as follows.

This goes on till the 8th year and beyond when an employee gets 14 days of annual leave.

Average annual vacation days – Average of 7-14 days, as explained above.


Minimum paid vacation required by law: Workers in China are allowed an increasing number of vacation days, based on the length in which they have worked:

Average annual vacation days: There is little data available on the average number of annual leave days taken in China, but some sources state that many companies actually provide lower than the legal minimum.

It’s also worth mentioning that in China, if employees don’t end up taking all their annual leave in one year, employers are required to pay 300% of the employee’s average daily wage for each unused vacation day.


Minimum paid vacation required by law: The Factories Act of 1948 entitles workers to 15 days of paid annual leave in India.

Average annual vacation days: Despite the annual vacation entitlement, many Indians don’t take any days off. Around 75 percent of Indians report feeling vacation deprived, one of the highest in the world.


Minimum paid vacation required by law: The minimum vacation days in Canada depend on the length of employment. 

Average annual vacation days: Between annual leave and public holidays, employees in Canada get around 18 days of vacation each year

United States

Minimum paid vacation required by law: At the federal level, there are no requirements for any paid vacation for employees. 

Average annual vacation days: Around 75 percent if employees in the USA still have access to paid vacation through their employers, and the average is around 10 days per year. 

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How Many Vacation Days Should Your Business Provide?

It’s important to know the minimum vacation days requirements to make sure that you stay compliant with all relevant labor laws. But you should know that this the minimum required – you can, and perhaps should, offer more than that.

As mentioned earlier, paid vacation days are one of the most sought-after employee benefits, and can be a great tool to use to attract new talent, keep hold of your existing talent, and keep your employees happier, healthier and more motivated.

Should You Stick to the Minimum Vacation Days Required by Law?

The answer to this question depends largely on where you’re located.

If most of your employees are located in a place like the United Kingdom, where people are already quite happy with their vacation days as required by law, then increasing that number might not make much of an impact.

By contrast, if you’re in the United States, where there are no federal requirements for any paid vacation, and employees on average get 10 days a year, then going above the minimum could be a huge selling point for recruiting and retention.

All in all, there are pros and cons to going above and beyond with your PTO allowance. Let’s examine them in more detail now.

Pros of a Generous Vacation Leave Policy

Competitive advantage in hiring and retention

A generous leave policy can give you an edge over the competition when it comes to recruiting and holding on to your best employees. 

We know that more vacation time is one of the most important benefits that employees consider when deciding whether to take a job or not. Employee benefits surveys show that vacation time ranks second only to health insurance.

So it makes sense that if you offer the most generous vacation leave package, then you’ll have an easier time recruiting high performers (who also tend to value their downtime). 

Boost morale and performance

Contrary to what many believe, more vacation time can actually improve performance for the business. 

Employees who take more time off report greater satisfaction and lower stress both at work and home. 

Happy employees who feel a sense of pride for their work are exactly what you need to propel your business to the next level.

And it will also reduce employee turnover, saving you a lot of money. Replacing an employee can cost up to 33% of their annual salary.

Prevent employee burnout

Giving employees a good amount of time off will allow them to recharge their batteries, both physically and mentally. 

Overworked employees can get burned out and overwhelmed. Not only will it decrease their productivity, but you might also find that they’re more prone to absenteeism and sick leave abuse, causing disruptions to workflow and team morale.

Cons of a Generous Vacation Leave Policy

Staff availability

If you give too much time off to too many of your employees, it might become a challenge to efficiently manage the team absence calendar. 

You might frequently find yourself in a situation where too many team members are gone, and that it’s causing stress on the remaining employees. 

You need to maintain adequate staffing throughout the year to make sure everyone has an optimal workload and that tasks and projects are completed on time.


Too much time off can inadvertently create a culture of absenteeism in your company. 

While it’s recommended that you encourage your team to take enough time off to prevent burnout, their leave calendar needs to be managed efficiently. 

There should be a process of requesting and approving leave that’s geared towards optimizing workload and increasing team efficiency. 

Workflow disruptions

Too many absences can disrupt workflow. Projects often require multiple team members across departments to collaborate. 

Too many people on leave can create situations where the project gets stuck because someone is on vacation and there’s no one to fill in for them. 

Instead of allowing too many vacation days, one thing to consider could be unlimited PTO. It’s a different system altogether where everyone is free to take as much time off as they want, as long as tasks get done and they meet performance standards. 

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The Bottom Line

Vacation time is an important part of today’s workplace. How much vacation you provide and how you manage your team’s absence calendar can significantly impact employee retention, morale, and ultimately your team’s performance. 

Take time to review your local labor laws to make sure you’re covering any minimum requirements as far as vacation days. 

Then consider if it makes sense for your business to provide additional vacation days to improve recruitment, retention, and boost employee morale.

Andrew Buck's avatar

Andrew Buck

Andrew is the content manager at Flamingo. He has managed teams in multiple industries, for both physical and remote businesses, and has experience dealing with the ins and outs of HR and leave management on a daily basis.

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