Employees in many countries around the world are guaranteed by law that they will be given a specific number of paid days off each year for vacations and holidays. Paid time off is a privilege, not a right, in the United States. There aren’t any laws which mandate that employers pay workers for time off from work.
The Fair Labor Standards Act is a law established in the United States which guarantees that workers are paid at least a minimum hourly wage and are compensated for working overtime. The law does not require employers to pay their employees for time not worked. Employers do not have to pay their workers for vacation days, holidays or sick days. Many choose to do so, but some employers are dropping paid time off as an employee benefit. The financial savings by not paying employees for time not worked can be substantial.
The Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) is a Washington, DC think tank co-founded in 1999 by two economists. The organization’s purpose is to promote discussion about the most important economic and social issues affecting the lives of people throughout the world. CEPR conducted a study among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an association established to promote economic development and world trade. The study reviewed the paid vacation and paid holiday laws of the OECD-member countries. The results of the study, which appears below, does not include paid days off for illness, parental leave or other reasons.