91. Vacation Time

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The stereotype is that Americans are lazy, but studies show that people in the U.S. get less vacation time than people in other parts of the world. A typical American worker gets two or three weeks off out of a whole year for vacation. Most U.S. workers cannot take those two or three weeks consecutively. They usually have to be spread out throughout the year. Even when U.S. workers are on vacation, they are often expected to be in communication with their boss. This means checking in via email and mobile phone. Most U.S. businesses do not encourage their employees to take all the vacation days they are entitled to. In fact, most U.S. companies discourage it.

Other countries, especially countries in Europe, have much more vacation time. In Germany many people have six weeks of paid vacation. At least three of these weeks can be taken consecutively. Maybe this is why Europeans and other travelers vacation in far-off exotic places. Most American families tend to stay closer to home, rarely leaving the country.

The difference in the amount of vacation time is legal. Most companies in countries outside the U.S. have to give paid time off to their employees or else pay hefty fines. However, in the U.S. there is no federal law requiring employers to give workers paid vacation. In fact the U.S. is the only developed country that doesn't guarantee yearly time off to workers. There have been efforts to pass laws giving U.S. workers one week of paid vacation by law, but so far those efforts have not been successful.

Even when U.S. workers do have time off, many are afraid to take it because they worry they may be seen as non-productive workers and lose their job. Other workers worry about going on vacation and having a mountain of work when they return.

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