The Crazy Amount Of Vacation Time Most Europeans Automatically Get

Vacation time in the EU has Europeans getting about 30 days (or more) of paid vacation time while those in the US are lucky to get 14 days.

By Trista Sobeck | Published

vacation time

Whatever you do, don’t go down this Reddit rabbit hole on the lack of American vacation time. It is a gigantic wall of words with hundreds of people explaining how much the American system of work, time off, pay, paid leave, parental leave, health insurance, and basically, everything around work in the United States is categorically horrendous in comparison to many parts of Europe.

But one thing is for sure, unloading on a website will not change a situation baked into the American culture since our country’s infancy.

According to a recent Reddit thread, the standard amount of time given to United States workers from their employer is two weeks, but Europeans get at least five weeks of paid leave per year, according to a Reddit User. And sometimes, it is much more. For instance, Microsoft offers its employees unlimited vacation days! That’s right – you can take as much time off as you want and not worry about a thing (except for rolling tech layoffs).

Although this sounds like a dream come true for the many people who are forced to live paycheck-to-paycheck due to their job, it also means that they will be sacrificing a substantial amount of money to take extended time off.

Vacations are expensive, and even if you are fortunate enough to have the financial resources, taking days off from work can still lead to potential penalties or worse – termination.

Europeans, especially in countries like Germany, Spain, France, and the UK, typically get at least 30 days of paid leave per year. In addition to this time, these countries also have generous parental leave and free healthcare. Americans, who must pay a lot for healthcare, do not get a lot of vacation time when there is a need to take off work. This paid vacation time is not mandated by the government like it is in European countries. 

According to many sources, the rebuttal for this is Americans simply don’t take their existing vacation days, want to work harder and longer, and see their vacation days wasted. However, is this an excuse for less vacation time or less leave? Probably not, but if an American company is not forced to pay for time off for an employee, they generally won’t allow it. 

But, this is why it is very important for American workers to choose who they work for carefully. Not everyone has this luxury, but in European countries, not everyone has everyday luxuries either.  The tradeoff is that they have many of the basic needs provided by their government in terms of healthcare and paid vacation time.

The American worker should strive to find a company that offers great benefits, including ample vacation time. Every year, studies show that vacationers are better rested and more productive when they return to work. Employers should recognize this and reward their employees with days off to help them be more productive. And, many places do give trips and time off to their employees. 

While the United States may not legally require its employers to provide paid leave, other ways exist to offer vacation time. American workers should research all the options available to them to get the best benefits possible. They should also be aware of the different types of social policies that could be beneficial, such as healthcare and paid vacation time.

With these benefits, workers can feel more secure and have peace of mind. However, one thing is sure: complaining for hours on a website about experiences or sharing negativity over and over will not do much. Knowing how other countries function is essential, but making it sound like bad things don’t happen in European countries will not help. 

However, some sources have explained that Americans don’t take time off because their workload prevents them from enjoying that vacation time. But, the COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly forced American companies to be more relaxed about vacation and sick time.