Poll

How many weeks vacation do you have? (only for working people, not FIRE)

2 weeks
33 (10.5%)
3 weeks
77 (24.4%)
4-5 weeks
152 (48.3%)
6-7 weeks
23 (7.3%)
more than 7 weeks
13 (4.1%)
0 days
17 (5.4%)

Total Members Voted: 315

Author Topic: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?  (Read 11897 times)

Linda_Norway

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To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« on: June 16, 2017, 05:58:12 AM »
Hi.

Sometimes I read on this forum that you Americans only have 2 weeks of vacation a year. One of my Norwegian colleagues has American friends who have negotiated a 7 week vacation in their job. Therefore I am curious to know what is the norm.
Here in Norway we have 5 weeks normally. A few companies have 6 weeks (not me).

Thanks for your answers.

Linda

Roots&Wings

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2017, 06:17:53 AM »
I think it varies widely. I get 7 weeks total leave time. Some companies don't distinguish for personal sick leave and vacation. Linda, curious what you get in addition for sick time?

EDIT: also get 9 paid federal holidays.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 05:11:17 AM by step-in-time »

teen persuasion

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2017, 06:21:55 AM »
Hey, where's the zero option?

Yeah, no paid vacation time, no sick time, no other benefits of any kind.  If I don't work, I don't get paid, even for federal holidays.  It's very much a labor of love to work for the local public library.

Linda_Norway

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2017, 06:43:26 AM »
Hey, where's the zero option?

Yeah, no paid vacation time, no sick time, no other benefits of any kind.  If I don't work, I don't get paid, even for federal holidays.  It's very much a labor of love to work for the local public library.

I don't get any paid vacation time either. All my vacation is financed by what my employer withdraws from my salary and then paid out in June. But still, I am only allowed to take off self-financed 5 weeks.

Linda_Norway

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2017, 06:44:52 AM »
I think it varies widely. I get 7 weeks total leave time. Some companies don't distinguish for personal sick leave and vacation. Linda, curious what you get in addition for sick time?

I don't think we are financially punished in any way for being sick. But I hardly know, because I am practically never sick, 0-2 days a year with many years of 0.

teen persuasion

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2017, 06:45:27 AM »
At the other extreme, DH was previously a teacher.  Summer break is 10-11 weeks, and there were breaks at Xmas/New Year (week + day), mid-winter (week including President's day fed holiday), Easter (week + day).  None of these are vacation time in the normal sense, as they cannot be moved, they are just times his employer is not open.  Originally he was paid year round, but after a few years his employer switched to only issuing paychecks during the school year, not for the 5 pay periods of summer break.  He did get PTO and sick time, but rarely used them (catching up afterwards wasn't worth it), so he cashed out an impressive # of hours when he left, even at 50%.

 So not really sure how much "vacation" time he had - 14 weeks + PTO/sick, or only the 3.5 vacation weeks he was actually paid for?
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 06:47:18 AM by teen persuasion »

teen persuasion

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2017, 06:52:29 AM »
Hey, where's the zero option?

Yeah, no paid vacation time, no sick time, no other benefits of any kind.  If I don't work, I don't get paid, even for federal holidays.  It's very much a labor of love to work for the local public library.

I don't get any paid vacation time either. All my vacation is financed by what my employer withdraws from my salary and then paid out in June. But still, I am only allowed to take off self-financed 5 weeks.
Can you explain how this works?  In the U.S., vacation time granted means the # of weeks you are allowed to skip working while still receiving your normal paycheck.  Sometimes the vacation time is granted all at once (say, at the beginning of the year), but more often it accrues slowly all year, a few hours each pay period.  You can take it bits at a time, or all at once.

maizeman

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2017, 06:53:53 AM »
Yup, similar questions here. I don't get any PTO that I can take at my discretion, but do get major holidays off. In addition I don't get paid by my employer over the summer, so technically I could take that time off (but pretty much everyone still shows up to the office every day, so doing that regularly would likely jeopardize my prospects of keeping my current position).
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Nothlit

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2017, 06:59:54 AM »
After several years at my company, I now get 26 days of paid time off, which can be used for vacation, sick time, doctor's appointments, or whatever. Plus 8 holidays. So I put 6-7 weeks even though in reality I don't take that much time off in a given year.

rubybeth

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2017, 07:00:19 AM »
Wow, I guess I'm an outlier so far. I have 11 paid holidays, earn 28 days of paid time off, and one personal day (in lieu of Columbus Day, which we have to work because we do staff training and are closed to the public that day), which comes out to 40 days off or 8 weeks. I'm also now salaried again, so my time is more flexible. My pay probably isn't as high as others here, but the work/life boundaries are EXCELLENT so that helps a lot.

Also, my husband just started a new job and they get 22 days off their first year, and 8 paid holidays per year. He works in mental health care, so it's very important for him to have time away from work. I'm excited he gets so much time off right away, and we will have many of the same holidays. They encourage self care and time away, which is awesome!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 07:02:02 AM by rubybeth »
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Linda_Norway

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2017, 07:03:38 AM »
Hey, where's the zero option?

Yeah, no paid vacation time, no sick time, no other benefits of any kind.  If I don't work, I don't get paid, even for federal holidays.  It's very much a labor of love to work for the local public library.

I don't get any paid vacation time either. All my vacation is financed by what my employer withdraws from my salary and then paid out in June. But still, I am only allowed to take off self-financed 5 weeks.


Can you explain how this works?  In the U.S., vacation time granted means the # of weeks you are allowed to skip working while still receiving your normal paycheck.  Sometimes the vacation time is granted all at once (say, at the beginning of the year), but more often it accrues slowly all year, a few hours each pay period.  You can take it bits at a time, or all at once.

We get a normal paycheck 11 times a year, every month except for in June. From this paycheck a certain percentage is withdrawn and kept for your vacation money. This is paid out in the next calendar year in June, instead of salary. This money was also taxed at other occasions, so we receive a nett sum, about the size of a month salary, but without taxes, therefore 35%-ish more than a usual month salary. The taxes are smeared out over the paychecks during the rest of the year.

This also means that the first year you start working, you don't receive anything in that June month. I was in shock when I found out after moving to Norway. Thanks to being frugal and having cheap kind of vacations this wasn't a problem.

If you quit your job, you can ask for this saved up sum to be paid out (fully taxed) immediately. Just to ensure your employer doesn't go bankrupt before the next summer.

But we are only allowed to be away for work for 25 days a year.

We do get paid vacation during Christian holidays and new years day. And we can be sick as much as necessary. In my company we can take 2 hours paid off to visit a doctor or dentist. Not all companies do this, but many do.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 07:06:35 AM by Linda_Norway »

doublethinkmoney

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2017, 07:05:30 AM »
With 10 years in, I have 3 weeks vacation and 7 personal floating holidays (basically vacation days I can break up into 2hr increments). Total of 4 weeks as 2 days. This is considered a good amount of vacation time.

I also have virtually no sick time available. Maybe 4 paid a year.

Most people who just start have 1 or 2 weeks vacation.


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Chris22

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2017, 07:13:28 AM »
15 days of PTO
8 paid holidays (+ the occasional random one, we just got notified we get the 3rd of July off because 90% of people will take it off anyways)
3 personal days
"unlimited" sick days (use what you need, if it becomes a problem need to talk about it)

Having worked for 4 different large companies I think this is a pretty standard package for professionals. 
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teen persuasion

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2017, 07:18:58 AM »
Hey, where's the zero option?

Yeah, no paid vacation time, no sick time, no other benefits of any kind.  If I don't work, I don't get paid, even for federal holidays.  It's very much a labor of love to work for the local public library.

I don't get any paid vacation time either. All my vacation is financed by what my employer withdraws from my salary and then paid out in June. But still, I am only allowed to take off self-financed 5 weeks.


Can you explain how this works?  In the U.S., vacation time granted means the # of weeks you are allowed to skip working while still receiving your normal paycheck.  Sometimes the vacation time is granted all at once (say, at the beginning of the year), but more often it accrues slowly all year, a few hours each pay period.  You can take it bits at a time, or all at once.

We get a normal paycheck 11 times a year, every month except for in June. From this paycheck a certain percentage is withdrawn and kept for your vacation money. This is paid out in the next calendar year in June, instead of salary. This money was also taxed at other occasions, so we receive a nett sum, about the size of a month salary, but without taxes, therefore 35%-ish more than a usual month salary. The taxes are smeared out over the paychecks during the rest of the year.

This also means that the first year you start working, you don't receive anything in that June month. I was in shock when I found out after moving to Norway. Thanks to being frugal and having cheap kind of vacations this wasn't a problem.

If you quit your job, you can ask for this saved up sum to be paid out (fully taxed) immediately. Just to ensure your employer doesn't go bankrupt before the next summer.

But we are only allowed to be away for work for 25 days a year.

We do get paid vacation during Christian holidays and new years day. And we can be sick as much as necessary. In my company we can take 2 hours paid off to visit a doctor or dentist. Not all companies do this, but many do.

So if I'm understanding you correctly (and I'm not sure that I am), your employer withholds bits of your earnings and prepays taxes to give you back a lump sum in June that seems to be forced savings for you to use to pay for a vacation trip (or other vacation expenses).  Have I got that straight?

I think the confusion is in using the word "vacation" to mean multiple things here.  Employer "vacation" time, at least in the U.S., is paid time off. I.e., you don't work, but get paid as if you did.  During that time off, you MAY go away on a "vacation", which you pay for anyway you like - from savings, or on credit cards, etc.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 07:22:19 AM by teen persuasion »

Linda_Norway

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2017, 07:33:17 AM »

So if I'm understanding you correctly (and I'm not sure that I am), your employer withholds bits of your earnings and prepays taxes to give you back a lump sum in June that seems to be forced savings for you to use to pay for a vacation trip (or other vacation expenses).  Have I got that straight?

Yes, exactly as it is.


I think the confusion is in using the word "vacation" to mean multiple things here.  Employer "vacation" time, at least in the U.S., is paid time off. I.e., you don't work, but get paid as if you did.  During that time off, you MAY go away on a "vacation", which you pay for anyway you like - from savings, or on credit cards, etc.

With vacation time, I mean time that you are allowed to take off. For example here in Norway the people in their first year of working who haven't saved up the vacation money, are still allowed to take 5 weeks off, totally unpaid.

It is funny to see that we in Norway have a total misunderstanding of the rest of the world. Many of us think that Americans (and Japanese) have very little vacation and can hardly take any time off. That is perhaps why the Japanese "do Europe" in just one week. But it turns out that you Americans have very good options of taking vacation (taking free from work) and that you even get paid for many weeks off. It looks to be related to how long you work somewhere.
Sick leave is whole different issue.


desk_jockey

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2017, 07:42:04 AM »
I have 30 days PTO plus the 10 national holidays.  We don't have a specific number of sick days, just take them as needed.   This is my golden handcuffs as it would be difficult for me to switch companies and drop down to 15 vacation days / year.

I work in the U.S. for a European company :-)




 

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2017, 07:59:00 AM »
19 days: Between personal holidays and accrued PTO
6 days: Standard Federal Holidays
1 day: Black Friday

26 days total.

Between Summer Hours and the various days we are dismissed early, we get another 4.5-5 days off.

teen persuasion

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2017, 08:04:23 AM »


It is funny to see that we in Norway have a total misunderstanding of the rest of the world. Many of us think that Americans (and Japanese) have very little vacation and can hardly take any time off. That is perhaps why the Japanese "do Europe" in just one week. But it turns out that you Americans have very good options of taking vacation (taking free from work) and that you even get paid for many weeks off. It looks to be related to how long you work somewhere.
Sick leave is whole different issue.

I believe some Americans have good vacation/leave benefits, especially in corporate America, but there are also many like me that have little to no leave at all (and fewer of those people frequent these forums).  There's no federal rules about minimum benefit levels, so there's a spectrum.

Many employers are redefining "leave" to roll sick time into vacation time, just lumping it all together under PTO.  It's more flexible, you can use your days/hours for doctor appointments or sick days or kids' sick days, or vacation.  That's the drawback, though - you tend to either fritter them away for appointments and daycare emergencies when you have kids, or hoard them for unknown future emergencies, or actually use them for vacation and have nothing left when an emergency truly arrives.  And there's a large group of employees who can't find the time to take a vacation due to work pressures - there's no one to do their job while they are gone, so they don't use the vacation time they have.

Kris

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2017, 08:06:50 AM »
If you're polling Americans, "zero" really needs to be an option. "2 weeks or less" doesn't really capture the reality of how many people don't get vacation at all in this country.
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ooeei

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2017, 08:10:36 AM »
I have 3 weeks (just negotiated up from 2, although the extra one is "unofficial" and I had to request it and stand my ground) as an engineer with 5 years of experience.  Most people I know in hourly jobs get little to no paid vacation, and very little unpaid vacation.  Compounding the problem is people in hourly positions are often not making much money, so taking unpaid time off is not something they'll typically do even if it's an option.

I suspect people on this forum are overwhelmingly in salaried positions and work in offices, so that explains why the evidence here is different from the average article about vacation problems in America.  In addition, people I know in tech have far more vacation than other industries.  That could also probably describe a lot of forum members.

KCM5

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2017, 08:12:56 AM »
I get 3 weeks plus if I convert my sick leave (as in I don't use any of it) I can get an extra week. I started at two weeks and didn't have enough sick leave to convert. After working for 5 years I got 3 weeks. I get four weeks at 12 years.

Plus maybe 8 paid holidays throughout the year.

My husband only has two weeks and just now is able to convert his sick leave (we work for the same employer - this converting sick leave is kind of unusual) so can some years get up to three weeks with that.

With Americans, there is the additional reality that many Americans don't take all of their allotted vacation time. But it is also less - a lot of people don't hold jobs for more than a couple of years, so often only have two weeks of vacation for most of their career. Or none, as previous posters have mentioned. There is no standard that everyone gets five weeks or something like that. So of course, on average, we do get less vacation time that any country that does have such a standard.

MMMarbleheader

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2017, 08:16:01 AM »
3 weeks vacation

11-12 holidays

6 half days ( I always take half vacation days on the half days)

So 30 days with 5 years experience.


MMMarbleheader

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2017, 08:18:05 AM »
3 weeks vacation

11-12 holidays

6 half days ( I always take half vacation days on the half days)

So 30 days with 5 years experience.

It is hard to take more than 1 week though.

teen persuasion

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v8rx7guy

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2017, 08:23:40 AM »
17 Days PTO, 9 paid hollidays

cerat0n1a

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2017, 08:25:42 AM »
If you're polling Americans, "zero" really needs to be an option. "2 weeks or less" doesn't really capture the reality of how many people don't get vacation at all in this country.

It doesn't sound to me like Norway is particularly generous relative to EU countries, which surprises me a little.

European Union law (Norway is outside EU, of course) requires full-time (5 days a week) employees to have minimum twenty eight days paid holiday (vacation) per year. If an employee does not take the legal minimum amount of holiday, the employer will be in trouble. If you're self-employed though, you can do what you like. If, like my wife, you only work occasional days, you still get a pro-rata amount of pay for the vacation you would be due.

Most jobs provide far more than the minimum though. My current job we have 25 days paid leave per year, which we can take whenever we like within the year, plus eight days for public holidays. We also get a sabbatical (4 weeks paid leave in one block additional to normal entitlement), every fourth year, which is an unusual benefit. We are also allowed to "buy" an extra week of holiday (at the cost of a week's pay.)

Days off sick do not count against vacation. Many companies will provide full pay for the first 3 days (or week) of illness with self-certification (i.e. you phone in sick), but would require a doctor to certify that you were genuinely ill if absent for longer periods. This is for each instance of illness. There's much less legal protection here though - companies are allowed to fire someone who is repeatedly ill. Those in less corporate jobs may lose employer pay after a week or two of illness and instead get government mandated "statutory sick pay"  instead which may be much lower than normal pay.

One big difference here compared with the US is that there is no real concept of summer camps for schoolchildren, so for the six week summer school holiday, parents will often have to alternate days off between them, send kids to grandparents, have kids stay with friends' parents who are not working etc etc.

Chris22

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2017, 08:35:40 AM »
European Union law (Norway is outside EU, of course) requires full-time (5 days a week) employees to have minimum twenty eight days paid holiday (vacation) per year.

What we've found here is that when you make laws regarding benefits for full-time employees, you are dis-incentivizing companies from hiring full time employees, and they'd rather hire two part-time employees.  Granted, this is usually done by shitty companies you don't want to work for or do business with anyways (looking at you, WalMart).  Any decent company of any size in America has long since figured out that adequate vacation time/PTO (and other things like maternity/paternity leave) is a competitive advantage when hiring talent.
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Linda_Norway

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2017, 08:40:04 AM »
If you're polling Americans, "zero" really needs to be an option. "2 weeks or less" doesn't really capture the reality of how many people don't get vacation at all in this country.

Fixed it now. Hope it doesn't cause too much trouble for those who voted already.

andy85

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2017, 08:44:24 AM »
"vacation days": 15 days
"floating holidays": 2 days
"personal days": 2 days
Total days: 19
I put them all in quotes because there really isn't any difference in any of the categories except for the fact that if you don't use your floating holidays or personal days then you lose them. We are allowed to roll 5 days of vacation over per year, but cannot do that every single year and keep accumulating weeks.

In addition to the above, we get 40 hours of sick time.

1-5 years = 10 vaca days
6-10 years = 15 vaca days
ect...think it tops out at 5 weeks, or 25 days of "vacation" time

Knaak

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2017, 08:54:56 AM »
23 vacation days
12 sick days
11 holidays

My employer also tends to give extra days off around the holidays.  For Christmas last year we got seven paid days off instead of two.

We can also convert up to four sick days into vacation days for the following year if we have more than 18 sick days accrued at the end of the current year.  Or, for those of us that rarely get sick, we can just turn them into a bunch of three day weekends, which is what I'm doing all summer.

birdman2003

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2017, 09:02:31 AM »
At my company, a new salaried employee gets 2 weeks of paid vacation plus holidays.
The amount of vacation you receive goes up with your length of service.
Now that I am at 10 years of service, I get 4 weeks of paid vacation.

the_fixer

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2017, 09:05:35 AM »
Last company I was up to 5 weeks paid vacation plus 2 weeks PTO (could be used for sick or vacation) plus one floating holiday and 2 personal holiday days totaling 7 weeks 3 days. You also received the standard holidays.  This was after working for the company 15 years and you had to use it or lose it each year. New hires came in at 2 weeks.

New company I am at starts you out at 5 days the first year, 2nd year you move up to 2 weeks and start adding 1 day per year until you reach 5 weeks and that is the cap. You get 2 personal holiday days and one floating holiday. This was almost a deal breaker for me since traveling is our thing and they would not negotiate how much you get per year. When push came to shove they put 5 weeks of vacation in the bank as a buffer to get me to take the job and that is enough for me to make it to our FIRE date.

Wife gets 3 weeks PTO (sick and vacation combined) and has been at her job for 4 years. Her company benefits suck but she loves the job and her co-workers.

Dave1442397

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2017, 09:07:02 AM »
I get:

Vacation Days - 20
Personal Days - 2
Comp Days - 3 this year, granted for various department accomplishments in 2016
Holidays - 9

Total - 34 days

We get paid sick time, but I haven't used any in the past few years. I think I've taken two sick days in seven years.

I can also carry over up to 5 days, which I did for the past couple of years, so my total for this year is actually 39 days.


Linda_Norway

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2017, 09:07:08 AM »
From the old days, when I was still living in the Netherlands, before turning 25, I sometimes had temp jobs. Typically during school holidays. There I always got paid out unused sickmoney that they had reserved for me. I also think that the Netherlands nowadays don't pay 100% salary when you get sick. Only 75-ish%.
They do however pay you salary + 8% extra in the vacation month. Also during your first year.

I guess that we in Norway do something terribly wrong and we are not treated as generous as most Norwegians think, based on this vacation and pay matter.

Kris

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2017, 09:10:53 AM »
If you're polling Americans, "zero" really needs to be an option. "2 weeks or less" doesn't really capture the reality of how many people don't get vacation at all in this country.

Fixed it now. Hope it doesn't cause too much trouble for those who voted already.

Sucks that it doesn't look like you can change your answer once you've voted.
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ketchup

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2017, 09:11:57 AM »
I get 20 days per year of PTO, plus paid holidays (about six per year).  PTO is treated the same if it's used for sick days or planned days off.  Luckily I don't really get sick anymore, so the last time I used a "sick" day it was because our dog was sick.

This is after six years on the job.  I think it starts around 12 days/year and gradually goes up. 10+ years being the highest "tier".

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2017, 09:12:24 AM »
I have 2 weeks of paid vacation + holidays.  Employees earn an extra week of vacation every 5 years.  I've been with my company for 3 years so I will get an extra week of vacation in two more years. We also have 2 weeks of sick time but with restrictive "attendance policies" to prevent calling in sick just to get extra vacation time so in reality maybe <5 sick days/year.  One of the biggest reasons I want to FIRE is the lack of vacation time at my job.
 
A reoccurring daydream that I have is reaching 10 years with my company and they make a big deal about how I now get 4 weeks vacation but instead I just RE and upgrade myself to 52 weeks!
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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2017, 09:16:57 AM »
Six weeks paid vacation + 18 holidays (office closed).

I don't believe in taking sick days unless too sick to work but I think all Americans get 12 weeks minimum under the FMLA.
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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2017, 09:20:45 AM »


It is funny to see that we in Norway have a total misunderstanding of the rest of the world. Many of us think that Americans (and Japanese) have very little vacation and can hardly take any time off. That is perhaps why the Japanese "do Europe" in just one week. But it turns out that you Americans have very good options of taking vacation (taking free from work) and that you even get paid for many weeks off. It looks to be related to how long you work somewhere.
Sick leave is whole different issue.

I believe some Americans have good vacation/leave benefits, especially in corporate America, but there are also many like me that have little to no leave at all (and fewer of those people frequent these forums).  There's no federal rules about minimum benefit levels, so there's a spectrum.

Many employers are redefining "leave" to roll sick time into vacation time, just lumping it all together under PTO.  It's more flexible, you can use your days/hours for doctor appointments or sick days or kids' sick days, or vacation.  That's the drawback, though - you tend to either fritter them away for appointments and daycare emergencies when you have kids, or hoard them for unknown future emergencies, or actually use them for vacation and have nothing left when an emergency truly arrives.  And there's a large group of employees who can't find the time to take a vacation due to work pressures - there's no one to do their job while they are gone, so they don't use the vacation time they have.

Yeah, there's a huge difference in work perks between big corporate jobs and other jobs (especially retail jobs).

For instance, right now, I'm working, and posting on a forum, which I would get reprimanded for if I worked at McDonald's.

My Mom gets 6 weeks PTO...one of my friends gets 5 weeks PTO and unlimited sick time. My current job just implemented paid paternity leave, which I can guarantee is NOT standard.

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2017, 09:29:33 AM »
I don't believe in taking sick days unless too sick to work

Well, there are other considerations; are you bringing a contagious disease (cold/flu/etc) into the office to spread amongst everyone else?  Do you need time off to go to a doctor (checkup, etc)?  Do you need time off to take care of someone else who is sick (child/parent/spouse)?  I almost never "call out" from work for sickness, but I occasionally need to take care of my kid or go to the doctor/dentist or work from home because I don't want everyone else getting my cold.
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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2017, 09:30:26 AM »
I am a small employer.  Our employees get 2 paid weeks and then an additional paid day for each year of service.  We often grant unpaid leave, but it's on a case-by-case basis.

For me, as the employer, I certainly take days off and still get paid.  But, I would not be able to take 7 weeks in a row off without major financial and professional consequences.  I would at least need to work via email and phone during that time.

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2017, 09:32:50 AM »
Six weeks paid vacation + 18 holidays (office closed).

I don't believe in taking sick days unless too sick to work but I think all Americans get 12 weeks minimum under the FMLA.

Re: FMLA only applies if the employer has 50 employees or more.

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #42 on: June 16, 2017, 09:36:21 AM »
Six weeks paid vacation + 18 holidays (office closed).

I don't believe in taking sick days unless too sick to work but I think all Americans get 12 weeks minimum under the FMLA.

Re: FMLA only applies if the employer has 50 employees or more.

And believe you need to be there for at least a year before the benefit kicks in.
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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #43 on: June 16, 2017, 09:39:06 AM »
Looking for numbers on how many Americans have zero paid leave I found this:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyamohn/2013/08/13/paid-time-off-forget-about-it-a-report-looks-at-how-the-u-s-compares-to-other-countries/#9d8c046f6526


My issue with articles like this is they tend to ignore the fact that the U.S. is not a monolithic place. Just because the federal government hasn't established paid time off laws doesn't mean individual states and/or cities haven't. Whether the federal government should be responsible for this depends on how Article 10 of the Constitution, etc., is interpreted. Of course, since the Supreme Court has upheld the federal minimum wage, it seems plausible they would uphold a federal paid time off law as well.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 09:44:46 AM by Nothlit »

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #44 on: June 16, 2017, 09:53:34 AM »
I have three weeks official vacation time, unlimited personal and sick time, and 11 paid holidays.  I picked the 3 weeks option but if holidays are included its 5 weeks. 

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #45 on: June 16, 2017, 10:01:56 AM »
I am a small employer.  Our employees get 2 paid weeks and then an additional paid day for each year of service.  We often grant unpaid leave, but it's on a case-by-case basis.

For me, as the employer, I certainly take days off and still get paid.  But, I would not be able to take 7 weeks in a row off without major financial and professional consequences.  I would at least need to work via email and phone during that time.

I forgot to mention that the employees also get paid state/federal holidays where the Courts are closed.  So, probably an additional day per month on average.

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #46 on: June 16, 2017, 10:06:28 AM »
Looking for numbers on how many Americans have zero paid leave I found this:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyamohn/2013/08/13/paid-time-off-forget-about-it-a-report-looks-at-how-the-u-s-compares-to-other-countries/#9d8c046f6526


My issue with articles like this is they tend to ignore the fact that the U.S. is not a monolithic place. Just because the federal government hasn't established paid time off laws doesn't mean individual states and/or cities haven't. Whether the federal government should be responsible for this depends on how Article 10 of the Constitution, etc., is interpreted. Of course, since the Supreme Court has upheld the federal minimum wage, it seems plausible they would uphold a federal paid time off law as well.

There's also the law of unintended consequences.  If we make everyone eligible for 2 weeks' paid vacation, how much closer have we gotten to replacing 90% of WalMart checkout workers and McDonalds order takers with self-serve kiosks?  The ROI on those things is very close to being positive.  Is that a good or bad thing?  I don't know, but it's got to enter the calculus.  There's no situation where you change one variable (*poof* vacation time!) and don't create follow-on effects. 
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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #47 on: June 16, 2017, 10:11:27 AM »
Looking for numbers on how many Americans have zero paid leave I found this:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyamohn/2013/08/13/paid-time-off-forget-about-it-a-report-looks-at-how-the-u-s-compares-to-other-countries/#9d8c046f6526


My issue with articles like this is they tend to ignore the fact that the U.S. is not a monolithic place. Just because the federal government hasn't established paid time off laws doesn't mean individual states and/or cities haven't. Whether the federal government should be responsible for this depends on how Article 10 of the Constitution, etc., is interpreted. Of course, since the Supreme Court has upheld the federal minimum wage, it seems plausible they would uphold a federal paid time off law as well.

There's also the law of unintended consequences.  If we make everyone eligible for 2 weeks' paid vacation, how much closer have we gotten to replacing 90% of WalMart checkout workers and McDonalds order takers with self-serve kiosks?  The ROI on those things is very close to being positive.  Is that a good or bad thing?  I don't know, but it's got to enter the calculus.  There's no situation where you change one variable (*poof* vacation time!) and don't create follow-on effects.

It's got to be part of the conversation, but it's pretty low on the list.  There are all sorts of automations that don't make sense if we drop the minimum wage to $3/hour, but I don't see too many people advocating for that.  2 weeks of vacation is less than 5% of the year.  That's not holding off automation for very long.

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #48 on: June 16, 2017, 10:16:44 AM »
US military here. I accrue 2.5 days of vacation each month, up to 60 days that I can hold onto. The excess disappears every October 1st.  Every federal holiday gets another day added to it so they essentially become 4 day weekends.  If there's a month without a holiday, the commander can designate a "training holiday" giving us a 3-day weekend.  We tend to set aside time around Christmas/New Years, Spring Break, and June for large-scale vacation periods. We call it "block leave" where most of the unit is expected to be gone.  All of this is subject to the unit's training schedule.  If everyone is going to the field, you're not taking vacation.  Since the military takes care of our healthcare, sick days are by doctor's note and not charged to your vacation days.  If I have surgery and a mandatory convalescent period, that is also not charged to my vacation.  I'm leaving for my next duty station this afternoon which I'm authorized a period of up to 30 days of vacation chargeable to me, minus the number of days they estimate it takes to drive to the new assignment. I put in for all 30, but I'll only be charged 27.
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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #49 on: June 16, 2017, 10:19:33 AM »

So if I'm understanding you correctly (and I'm not sure that I am), your employer withholds bits of your earnings and prepays taxes to give you back a lump sum in June that seems to be forced savings for you to use to pay for a vacation trip (or other vacation expenses).  Have I got that straight?

Yes, exactly as it is.


I think the confusion is in using the word "vacation" to mean multiple things here.  Employer "vacation" time, at least in the U.S., is paid time off. I.e., you don't work, but get paid as if you did.  During that time off, you MAY go away on a "vacation", which you pay for anyway you like - from savings, or on credit cards, etc.

With vacation time, I mean time that you are allowed to take off. For example here in Norway the people in their first year of working who haven't saved up the vacation money, are still allowed to take 5 weeks off, totally unpaid.

It is funny to see that we in Norway have a total misunderstanding of the rest of the world. Many of us think that Americans (and Japanese) have very little vacation and can hardly take any time off. That is perhaps why the Japanese "do Europe" in just one week. But it turns out that you Americans have very good options of taking vacation (taking free from work) and that you even get paid for many weeks off. It looks to be related to how long you work somewhere.
Sick leave is whole different issue.

Don't know if the rest of us misunderstand, or if you misunderstand. The five weeks of vacation in Norway is paid, it is just paid based on what you earned while you earned the right to get paid leave. People working 100 % for a year, have the right of 5 weeks paid leave the next year. If you then leave the employer, you can get the payment for the five weeks paid out to you in front. It is your duty to take time off at your new empoyer, and spend the money as and when you see fit. Why am I so certain that my interpretation is the correct one? Because if you were right, the employer would "force save" a larger part of the normal paycheck when the number of vacation weeks were increased from 4.1 to 5 a few years ago. This did not happen. Instead, the normal paycheck was kept at the level it was, and vacation money was increased from 10.4 to 12 % of last year's paycheck; the employee ended up with a net gain.

If you, due to being freshly out of college or something similar, haven't earned any vacation time or money, many unions have negotiated that you get time off with ordinary salary. This is for instance common for teachers their first year. Sorry you didn't have the right union or get the right information about how to ask for this, Linda. A problem we do have in Norway is that many of us know about all the social security systems and how to negotiate them, but we forget to inform newcomers.

That the taxes are pulled at different rates at different times, makes the system more confusing. But the taxes are not prepaid. You get taxed the year you get the money, it is just not pulled from that paycheck, but all the other ones that calender year. It is the same logic that makes them pull only 50 % taxes from the December pay check. You end up paying the same for every Krone earned, but for many people it feels like they get a bonus twice a year.

I think it varies widely. I get 7 weeks total leave time. Some companies don't distinguish for personal sick leave and vacation. Linda, curious what you get in addition for sick time?

I don't think we are financially punished in any way for being sick. But I hardly know, because I am practically never sick, 0-2 days a year with many years of 0.
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Far too few people read the social security law (trygdeloven) with explanations. It is really quite easy to read and understand, and it makes it much easier to negotiate the system. https://lovdata.no/dokument/NL/lov/1997-02-28-19
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