The Countries With the Most (and Least) Paid Vacation Time, Mapped

The U.S. isn’t too generous with mandatory time off.
The U.S. isn’t too generous with mandatory time off. / Westend61/Westend61 via Getty Images

Time is a precious commodity, which is why employees and employers alike are preoccupied with paid vacation. Time off can often be part of a hiring negotiation. More of it leads to increased job satisfaction; less of it and workers can risk burnout.

While it’s common to expect between two to four weeks of paid vacation time in many full-time U.S. positions, not all countries adhere to that standard. The resume consulting site recently examined what kind of mandatory paid time off is common across the world, and the results may surprise you.

A map of vacation time is pictured
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To gather this data, examined statutory paid leave as well as paid public holidays in 197 countries to arrive at a total number of paid vacation days. The result? Iran is the most generous country when it comes to paid time off, with 27 holidays and 26 days of paid leave contributing to a total of 53 paid vacation days. San Marino comes in second, with 46 days total. Overall, many European and African countries contribute to a healthy time off allotment.

The U.S. ranks near the bottom, with an average of just 10 days of paid time off—including federal holidays. Why is it so low? The U.S. doesn’t have any statutory paid leave, meaning it’s at the discretion of the employer as to how much time off employees get. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are not required to compensate workers for time off—or even for federal holidays, for that matter.

This doesn’t mean they don’t offer vacation, only that they’re not legally required to. It’s estimated one in four U.S. workers don’t get any paid time off. Those who do are sometimes too caught up in their work to take advantage of it: In 2018, 654 million hours of paid time off went unused.