Why are you here?
I’m not even here, I’m in Paris – it’s a holdiay, you know… Americans work way too hard, we don’t take enough vacations. America is the ONLY country in the OECD that doesn’t have any mandated paid vacations and everyone else, other than Japan, takes AT LEAST 20 days off during the year with France at 31. Not only that but the average Parisiene works 40 hours on weeks they do show up while American workers tend to work 47 hours a week.
The really strange thing about this is that America is also the only country where time off is trending DOWN, not up. What’s all this talk about automation if we still have to show up for work every day? After making steady progress to about 20.3 days off through 1998, the twin economic upeheavals of 2001 and 2008 dropped the average US vacation time to 16.2 days, that’s including our 5 public holidays!
The short story is, Americans are generally terrified of losing their jobs so they don’t even take the days off they are entitled to. Yes, our Per Capita GDP of $57,000 blows France’s $42,000 out of the water but I don’t think you’d find many people here who would trade their lifestyles for an extra $13,000 (and all that extra money we make goes towards paying for Health Care and College anyway).
Anyway, American’s REALLY don’t want to get into the GDP measuring game as we fall very far short of other vacation champs like Norway and Ireland ($69,000), Singapore ($87,000), Luxemboug ($104,000) and Qatar ($127,000) and no wonder everyone is jealous of them, right? Luxemborg requires workers to be paid 70% more to work on Sundays and strictly limits the work-week to 40 hours with a minimum of 25 paid vacation days AND 10 public holidays.
Less vacation time is simply another way the Capitalists steal from the workers. As you can see from the chart on the left, more productivity meant more wages until the 70s and, as noted above, that was also the…