Poll

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

2 weeks
27 (9.7%)
3 weeks
69 (24.7%)
4-5 weeks
137 (49.1%)
6-7 weeks
20 (7.2%)
more than 7 weeks
11 (3.9%)
0 days
15 (5.4%)

Total Members Voted: 279

Author Topic: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?  (Read 7438 times)

gaja

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #50 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.
All Norwegians have 100 % pay for one year, 66 % pay for the next 4, and if you still are not well, you should be heading for disability (also at around 66 %). In addition, each parent can take a minimum of 10 fully paid days for sick children (it increases with number of children, and type of diagnosis). And then there are the nursing money if your child is very ill, paid time off for breast feeding, paid time off to learn how to take care of a disabled child, etc.

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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Chris22

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #51 on: June 16, 2017, 10:21:26 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.


What used to piss me off about the military was the "combining leave and liberty" thing.  What that means (for people unfamiliar) is that if you take, say, a week off from work, you work Friday, you're off Sat-Sun-MTWTF-Sat-Sun, return to work on Monday.

In the "real world" you took 5 days off (MTWTF).  In the backwards-ass military world, you took 9 days off, because you have to count the 2 weekends as leave, not "liberty" (time not at work, i.e. weekends).  It really skews things when you consider the "30 days leave" thing that really isn't. 
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BrandNewPapa

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #52 on: June 16, 2017, 10:42:28 AM »
I "earn" 4.615 hours of vacation every pay cycle, bi-weekly. This comes out to 120 hours of vacation each year, or 3 weeks. This include sick time.

I'm only allowed to "bank" 120 hours. If I earn more hours than that, I don't get anything (use it or lose it)

iowajes

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #53 on: June 16, 2017, 10:57:36 AM »
I have 20 days of vacation a year, plus 10 paid holidays and up to 10 sick days.


My first job I had 5 days of vacation, 7 holidays, and 5 sick days.

When I lost my job in 2008, I interviewed for a job that offered 5 days of vacation, but you could only take them after 1 full year of employment.  There were 7 non-paid holidays and no paid sick days.  I did not take that job.

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #54 on: June 16, 2017, 11:09:20 AM »
15 days of paid vacation
10 days of paid holidays
indeterminate number of sick days

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Travis

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #55 on: June 16, 2017, 11:11:07 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.


What used to piss me off about the military was the "combining leave and liberty" thing.  What that means (for people unfamiliar) is that if you take, say, a week off from work, you work Friday, you're off Sat-Sun-MTWTF-Sat-Sun, return to work on Monday.

In the "real world" you took 5 days off (MTWTF).  In the backwards-ass military world, you took 9 days off, because you have to count the 2 weekends as leave, not "liberty" (time not at work, i.e. weekends).  It really skews things when you consider the "30 days leave" thing that really isn't.

I should have mentioned a commander can authorize up to 4 days off without charging you vacation days. In the Army and Air Force we call it a "pass" while the Navy and Marines call it "liberty."  Like Chris alluded to, you can't game the system by taking a pass on the weekend and immediately follow up with leave for the rest of the week.  There has to be a separation to do both.

Chris22

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #56 on: June 16, 2017, 11:42:37 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.


What used to piss me off about the military was the "combining leave and liberty" thing.  What that means (for people unfamiliar) is that if you take, say, a week off from work, you work Friday, you're off Sat-Sun-MTWTF-Sat-Sun, return to work on Monday.

In the "real world" you took 5 days off (MTWTF).  In the backwards-ass military world, you took 9 days off, because you have to count the 2 weekends as leave, not "liberty" (time not at work, i.e. weekends).  It really skews things when you consider the "30 days leave" thing that really isn't.

I should have mentioned a commander can authorize up to 4 days off without charging you vacation days. In the Army and Air Force we call it a "pass" while the Navy and Marines call it "liberty."  Like Chris alluded to, you can't game the system by taking a pass on the weekend and immediately follow up with leave for the rest of the week.  There has to be a separation to do both.

I don't think you can consider taking days off and not counting them as Leave days that you wouldn't have had to work anyways as "gaming the system".
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The_Dude

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #57 on: June 16, 2017, 06:20:09 PM »
I saw it mentioned only once but think it's worth emphasizing that a lot of American's don't take 100% of their allotted vacation time off. 

Each job I've worked in there has been a large portion of coworkers who lose out of vacation because they don't take it and most firms have a cap on how much you can accrue before you lose it.  Most firms/bosses I've seen are supportive of vacation but it's the employees that self impose this behavior.  However, my wife did have one boss that told her she placed too much priority on family and took too much time off despite just using her company allotted vacation. 

C-note

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #58 on: June 16, 2017, 06:30:35 PM »
I get 4 weeks vacation a year.  Use it or lose it - no banking vacation time.  My sick time builds and is paid out.

My better half used to have 8 weeks. The company was bought.  Employees were allowed to bank 160 hours and everyone now has "unlimited" vacation.

Dictionary Time

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #59 on: June 16, 2017, 07:06:31 PM »
I work in a retail store. After three long years, I get 2 weeks paid vacation, 6 paid holidays, and my birthday off paid.

We can't take any days off in the 4th quarter, company policy.

Also, there's no sick time, and you can't use your vacation time towards sick days, in order to disincentivize calling off.

DH works for a retail company, different one, and he's corporate. He's been there 20 years and he gets 5 weeks PTO, plus all the holidays.

Pizzabrewer

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #60 on: June 16, 2017, 09:16:27 PM »
Ha! 

So a small, family-run company I used to work for.  The owners all took multiple vacations each year to Florida.

They were trying to formalize a vacation policy for employees.  After one year, you get a week.  After 3 years you got a second week.  Then they went around asking everyone, "what do you think?  you earn a 3rd week after 7 years or maybe 10 years?"

I no longer work there.

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sparkytheop

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #61 on: June 16, 2017, 10:16:27 PM »
I have about 5 weeks of vacation (it can very though, since I work 12 hour days and 8 hour days).  It's actually 208 hours/year.  I can take off full days or partial days, the shift just has to be covered by someone.

I like to look at the percent of days in a year I work though. 

I work seven days every two weeks (80 hours total), so 50%.

Then I get 10 holidays (but usually have to work three or four of those).  Then my 208 hours of leave (we'll call that 22 days, since I do a mix of 8s, 12s, and partials).  Then, if I use about half my sick leave, that's another five days.

When you calculate all that, I work less than 41% of the days in a year (and anything over that is overtime).  I'd rather be at work a few more hours than another day, so I think it is worth it. 

SwordGuy

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #62 on: June 16, 2017, 10:48:55 PM »
The company I work for offers 2 weeks - period.  AFAIK, that number never gets larger.

I negotiated 3 weeks by negotiating a lower salary than what they offered.   Would have gone for more if they had let me!

(PS - the time to negotiate that is after they indicate they want to make you an offer, not before.)

redbird

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #63 on: June 16, 2017, 10:55:51 PM »
When I still worked, I got 10 paid holidays that didn't count against my time off, 18 days personal time off and 12 sick days off per year. This was extremely generous. Most Americans get nowhere near that.

2 weeks paid vacation time seems to be the average. Time off when you're sick is extremely varied.
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cerat0n1a

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #64 on: June 17, 2017, 12:46:26 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. 

The EU law applies equally to all employees. My wife works at most a few days per month, but she still gets the pro-rata holiday entitlement. The full-time 5-days a week worker does 210 days a year and gets 28 of those days as paid vacation. She does say 30 days a year and gets 4 days of paid vacation.

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #65 on: June 17, 2017, 01:31:24 AM »
I get 3 weeks, but that is only because I've been with this company for 8 years. Before that it was 2 weeks. If I stay till 20 years, it goes up to 4 weeks. Its typical in America to get more time off if you stay with an employer longer.

Sometimes you can negotiate more time off when getting hired.

My mom successfully negotiated or additional time off rather than a raise at her last employer several times. But eventually they said no to even more time, as they became concerned that she couldn't get her job done in less time.
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nnls

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #66 on: June 17, 2017, 02:04:19 AM »
I saw it mentioned only once but think it's worth emphasizing that a lot of American's don't take 100% of their allotted vacation time off. 

Each job I've worked in there has been a large portion of coworkers who lose out of vacation because they don't take it and most firms have a cap on how much you can accrue before you lose it.  Most firms/bosses I've seen are supportive of vacation but it's the employees that self impose this behavior.  However, my wife did have one boss that told her she placed too much priority on family and took too much time off despite just using her company allotted vacation.

So the company can just take it off you? You cant save it up for a big holiday? I know when I was in the USA last year a few people were surprised that I was on an 8 week holiday. But i didnt realise you guys lost it

I am in Australia. I currently have about 16 weeks of leave owing to me, my boss mentioned to me that I will need to take time off next year as its getting a bit high. I cant lose it. I can opt to have it paid out, but I will probably just go on holiday.

The standard here is 4 weeks paid annual leave a year, plus 10 days of sick leave/ carers leave. Both generally accrue. We also get long service leave, which is 8 weeks paid leave (in addition to annual leave) after 10 years of continuous employment, and then an extra 4 weeks every 5 years.

In my role I get 6 weeks of annual leave a year, and then 6 weeks of long service after 5 years.  Plus 3 months of sick leave (but this doesnt accrue, though can be extended to 12 months of paid sick leave at managers discretion, for cancer or whatever )

Pizzabrewer

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #67 on: June 17, 2017, 04:18:20 AM »

So the company can just take it off you? You cant save it up for a big holiday? I know when I was in the USA last year a few people were surprised that I was on an 8 week holiday. But i didnt realise you guys lost it

Yup, "use it or lose it" is very common. Some companies do allow you to carry vacation time into the next year but it's unheard-of for someone to accrue the amount of vacation that you have. And as someone else mentioned, you are often made to feel guilty taking the meagre few days that you do have.

The rest of the world treats workers much better than we do.

StarBright

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #68 on: June 17, 2017, 06:28:44 AM »

So the company can just take it off you? You cant save it up for a big holiday? I know when I was in the USA last year a few people were surprised that I was on an 8 week holiday. But i didnt realise you guys lost it

Yup, "use it or lose it" is very common. Some companies do allow you to carry vacation time into the next year but it's unheard-of for someone to accrue the amount of vacation that you have. And as someone else mentioned, you are often made to feel guilty taking the meagre few days that you do have.

The rest of the world treats workers much better than we do.

^yup. My DH works with a lot of people from other countries and one of their biggest complaints about Americans is how we don't travel to other countries/experience other cultures. But even though I have 15 days I can't take off more than 5 in a row, and even if I could, the limited vacation days means I could either take a nice international trip or visit DH and my's families.

There is a reason why Americans mostly travel internationally when they are retired or in college.

 

teen persuasion

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #69 on: June 17, 2017, 06:38:27 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.
+1

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #70 on: June 17, 2017, 07:00:16 AM »
I don’t understand people who don’t take all their vacation.  I had a coworker at my last job who was always bumping up against his max amount of vacation that he could accrue.  He would grumble that they were “making” him take days off.  I take every day I can (reserving a few days for emergencies). 

StarBright

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #71 on: June 17, 2017, 07:12:51 AM »
I don’t understand people who don’t take all their vacation.  I had a coworker at my last job who was always bumping up against his max amount of vacation that he could accrue.  He would grumble that they were “making” him take days off.  I take every day I can (reserving a few days for emergencies).

I'm sure there are some people that are just work martyrs but I think in a lot of cases there are people whose schedules don't align with their spouse and/or they need to save their days to take their kids to the Doctor and/or their bosses don't approve the vacation days. A combination of all of those things have had me leaving several days on the table for the last few years.

When my kids were an infant and toddler there was one year when I took all 10 vacation days just to cover the days their daycares were closed or they got sick. The next year we didn't schedule any vacation because I needed to save all my days in case my kids got sick. They weren't sick as much and I ended up losing the days. I have 15 days now and still don't get to use all of them because I can never get my boss to approve the days I ask for (he usually makes it up to me in bonus money - but I'd rather have the time off, frankly).

wenchsenior

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #72 on: June 17, 2017, 09:40:18 AM »
I don’t understand people who don’t take all their vacation.  I had a coworker at my last job who was always bumping up against his max amount of vacation that he could accrue.  He would grumble that they were “making” him take days off.  I take every day I can (reserving a few days for emergencies).

I'm sure there are some people that are just work martyrs but I think in a lot of cases there are people whose schedules don't align with their spouse and/or they need to save their days to take their kids to the Doctor and/or their bosses don't approve the vacation days. A combination of all of those things have had me leaving several days on the table for the last few years.

When my kids were an infant and toddler there was one year when I took all 10 vacation days just to cover the days their daycares were closed or they got sick. The next year we didn't schedule any vacation because I needed to save all my days in case my kids got sick. They weren't sick as much and I ended up losing the days. I have 15 days now and still don't get to use all of them because I can never get my boss to approve the days I ask for (he usually makes it up to me in bonus money - but I'd rather have the time off, frankly).

DH is a federally employed scientist and at this point in his career, usually has about 4 weeks of paid leave available. He rarely uses more than 2 weeks because his workload tends to back up so severely if he's gone more than 3 or 4 days at a stretch, stress caused by the missed work accumulation outweighs the benefit of taking the leave.  Instead, he tends to view it as "emergency leave" like for an unexpected funeral trip, illness etc. The last 'real' vacation we took was 2 weeks in Hawaii in 2014. And he actually had a project on deadline that he worked on remotely for several hours/day for 1 of those weeks.

So, what he usually does instead is burn off some of his leave by taking random Fridays or Mondays off in the slowest times of the year (dead of winter, usually).  Then he'll take that time to do house-upkeep projects or just work from home. Even then he rarely actually takes a day completely off.

It kinda sucks.   We have talked some about how we could actually arrange to have completely non-working holidays, but he hasn't quite figured out how to take time off regularly without reducing his projects/students. There is the real workload barrier, but there is also a psychological barrier, we think.

Linda_Norway

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #73 on: June 17, 2017, 12:30:57 PM »

DH is a federally employed scientist and at this point in his career, usually has about 4 weeks of paid leave available. He rarely uses more than 2 weeks because his workload tends to back up so severely if he's gone more than 3 or 4 days at a stretch, stress caused by the missed work accumulation outweighs the benefit of taking the leave.  Instead, he tends to view it as "emergency leave" like for an unexpected funeral trip, illness etc. The last 'real' vacation we took was 2 weeks in Hawaii in 2014. And he actually had a project on deadline that he worked on remotely for several hours/day for 1 of those weeks.

So, what he usually does instead is burn off some of his leave by taking random Fridays or Mondays off in the slowest times of the year (dead of winter, usually).  Then he'll take that time to do house-upkeep projects or just work from home. Even then he rarely actually takes a day completely off.

It kinda sucks.   We have talked some about how we could actually arrange to have completely non-working holidays, but he hasn't quite figured out how to take time off regularly without reducing his projects/students. There is the real workload barrier, but there is also a psychological barrier, we think.

This sounds awful. I was in a somewhat similar simulation last summer. After I planned my vacation someone planned to start something I was responsible for ine week earlier. I decided to go on vacation as planned, but was anxious that whole last week, in a bit before. An when arriving at work after my holiday it was full stress from day one during the next 8 weeks. Not good at all. I hope so much that this year I'll get an easy week right after vacation.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #74 on: June 17, 2017, 01:37:22 PM »
My big fancy pants American hospital provides 6.6 weeks total for vacation, minor illnesses, and holidays, which sounds generous at  first. I work 36 hours/ week so I get fewer hours, but the number of weeks is the same

We have short term disability that kicks in after one week off, but the first week must be covered by PTO. The shitty thing is that there is no parental leave, so one needs to save up  7 weeks of PTO to cover a standard 12 week maternity leave (1 week waiting period, then 5 weeks disability, then 6 weeks PTO). The disability is only 5 weeks even if you have a C-section. Dads and adoptive parents must cover all of their time off with PTO.

My department is open on holidays, so I don't need to use PTO to cover those. People in departments that are closed on holidays have less to use for vacation and sick leave. The company encourages saving 1-2 weeks back for sick time. It rolls over from year to year but can be maxed out after 300 hours.

My side gig (teaching for a state university) provides 2 "make up days" per semester to account for illness, bad weather, etc. I like to save them until the end so I have some time to catch up on grading and so the students don't have clinical in the 2 weeks before finals.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 01:51:35 PM by MrsWolfeRN »

firelight

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #75 on: June 17, 2017, 03:22:09 PM »
I get "unlimited" time off which sounds great on paper but there are so many that don't take any time off in my company. I try to take around 3-4 weeks a year and don't have to worry about sick time, daycare closure dates, etc.

nnls

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #76 on: June 17, 2017, 04:12:04 PM »

So the company can just take it off you? You cant save it up for a big holiday? I know when I was in the USA last year a few people were surprised that I was on an 8 week holiday. But i didnt realise you guys lost it

Yup, "use it or lose it" is very common. Some companies do allow you to carry vacation time into the next year but it's unheard-of for someone to accrue the amount of vacation that you have. And as someone else mentioned, you are often made to feel guilty taking the meagre few days that you do have.

The rest of the world treats workers much better than we do.

^yup. My DH works with a lot of people from other countries and one of their biggest complaints about Americans is how we don't travel to other countries/experience other cultures. But even though I have 15 days I can't take off more than 5 in a row, and even if I could, the limited vacation days means I could either take a nice international trip or visit DH and my's families.

There is a reason why Americans mostly travel internationally when they are retired or in college.

DH is a federally employed scientist and at this point in his career, usually has about 4 weeks of paid leave available. He rarely uses more than 2 weeks because his workload tends to back up so severely if he's gone more than 3 or 4 days at a stretch, stress caused by the missed work accumulation outweighs the benefit of taking the leave. 



that seems crazy to me that you cant take more than 5 days in a row off. Two years ago I took 10 weeks off for a holiday, for this amount of time I was expected to give about 2 months notice that I wanted the time off. They then find other people to cover my work, either get a short term contractor in, or divvy it up amongst work colleagues.

It must cause a lot of burn out in America for people not to be able to take proper time away from work.


accolay

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #77 on: June 17, 2017, 04:16:36 PM »
I can only accrue a total of 360 hours of time off. Sick time, vacation time etc. are all in the same pool.

The problem is that technically by contract I can only take off one work weekend a year. After that it depends on your manager and scheduling if you're able to get another one. Longest I could probably get off is about three weeks.

Edit: adding that I accrue about 15 hours per month/7ish hours per paycheck
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 04:23:40 PM by accolay »

Dave1442397

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #78 on: June 17, 2017, 07:51:02 PM »
We have a lot of Indian employees where I work, and taking three weeks off to fly home for a wedding is not a big deal. I love it, because nobody blinks when I schedule two or three weeks vacation time. If I'm going to visit family, I like to take three weeks. I stay for free, so I might as well make the most of the airfare.

Travis

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #79 on: June 17, 2017, 08:40:40 PM »
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.


What used to piss me off about the military was the "combining leave and liberty" thing.  What that means (for people unfamiliar) is that if you take, say, a week off from work, you work Friday, you're off Sat-Sun-MTWTF-Sat-Sun, return to work on Monday.

In the "real world" you took 5 days off (MTWTF).  In the backwards-ass military world, you took 9 days off, because you have to count the 2 weekends as leave, not "liberty" (time not at work, i.e. weekends).  It really skews things when you consider the "30 days leave" thing that really isn't.

I should have mentioned a commander can authorize up to 4 days off without charging you vacation days. In the Army and Air Force we call it a "pass" while the Navy and Marines call it "liberty."  Like Chris alluded to, you can't game the system by taking a pass on the weekend and immediately follow up with leave for the rest of the week.  There has to be a separation to do both.

I don't think you can consider taking days off and not counting them as Leave days that you wouldn't have had to work anyways as "gaming the system".

If you mean we shouldn't get charged for extending a federal 4-day into a week off but losing the full leave days I'm right there with you.

Anon in Alaska

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #80 on: June 18, 2017, 04:52:23 AM »
I get 4 weeks per year (with 14 years at the company), but no holidays or sick days, so that has to count for everything. I can't take more than one week at a time, or get more than one week a year. I can't take that week at all during a busy time. I "shouldn't" take even that week unless I am all caught up. With my work load I am never all caught up....

Mostly I fritter my "vacation" away a few hours a time making up for weeks I work less than 40 hours.
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Roots&Wings

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #81 on: June 18, 2017, 05:26:20 AM »
I get "unlimited" time off which sounds great on paper but there are so many that don't take any time off in my company. I try to take around 3-4 weeks a year and don't have to worry about sick time, daycare closure dates, etc.

Wait, what? How does this work?

firelight

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #82 on: June 18, 2017, 05:44:49 AM »
I get "unlimited" time off which sounds great on paper but there are so many that don't take any time off in my company. I try to take around 3-4 weeks a year and don't have to worry about sick time, daycare closure dates, etc.

Wait, what? How does this work?
We are allowed to take as many days as we want based on our discretion. I might take 2 weeks in summer and a week in winter while another person in my team would take 4 weeks in summer and none in winter. Yet another might take a month off every two years. Even though there is chance to misuse it, I've not seen anyone do so (or they don't last  in my company if they did). People generally take less vacation than they would if they had defined vacation days. Some colleagues haven't taken more than a week off per year.

The one major advantage for me is that I don't have to worry about making vacation days last till end of year to cover for emergencies and can take, within reason, day or two off for emergencies even if I had taken 3 weeks before for vacation.

The major advantage for company is they don't have to track vacation accrual and usage nor do they have to pay out any vacation time off. Also it removes the overhead of maintaining and managing time off for a large group of employees. And employees take less vacation than in the conventional system. And they can advertise it as a cool perk to attract more talented people.

ETA: I like this system because it gives me the power to decide when I would go on vacation and I feel very adultish about it. Going back to the conventional system would be very hard. This system is also very conducive to work life balance in that I don't have to panic about last minute school/daycare changes.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 05:48:37 AM by firelight »

maizeman

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #83 on: June 18, 2017, 07:08:57 AM »
I get "unlimited" time off which sounds great on paper but there are so many that don't take any time off in my company. I try to take around 3-4 weeks a year and don't have to worry about sick time, daycare closure dates, etc.

Wait, what? How does this work?

Unlimited time off policies means that employers don't have to worry about having to pay out large amounts for unused PTO when employees leave, get fired/laid off. They often sound really nice, helping with recruitment. At the same time, there isn't any protection from being determined to be less productive/less of a "team player" than your coworkers in annual reviews, negative influencing your odds of promotion, raises, or layoff.* Employees generally hesitate to take significant advantage of these policies, and in reported cases the average amount of leave taken often actually goes down after a shift to an "unlimited" time off policy.

*“It’s your responsibility to have an open discussion with your supervisor about your time off and its impact on your performance. As always, future career opportunities are assessed based on your performance and potential”
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LalsConstant

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #84 on: July 25, 2017, 12:38:59 PM »
I accumulate 3 weeks worth in a year, but I currently have six and a half weeks saved up.

I get Federal holidays, a couple of state days and 2-4 discretionary paid days off as well.

Samuel

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #85 on: July 25, 2017, 03:30:21 PM »
I'm a worker bee at a fairly stodgy American megacorp. We start at 2 weeks a year, plus 2 weeks sick leave and 12 paid holidays. After 5 years I now earn 3 weeks vacation a year. We're capped at x2 our yearly vacation days, so the most I could save up and take at once would be 6 weeks. At 15 years of service it climbs to 4 weeks vacation a year, so by then you could potentially take 8 weeks at a time (but I've never seen anyone do that).

My group has no limits on when or how long you can be out, assuming you have the vacation time to cover it. We basically self approve, too. My manager assumes I'll arrange my work in a way that won't suffer in my absence or overly burden co-workers.

Prior to this I worked as a contract employee for 4 years where I didn't get any paid time off at all. Thus I took 1 vacation day and 1 sick day in those 4 years. Even just getting the basic 2 weeks of vacation felt luxurious by comparison.






cats

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #86 on: July 25, 2017, 04:03:12 PM »
I essentially get 144 hours of paid vacation time per year (24 of the hours are called "floating holiday" rather than "vacation"...but if you don't use them in the year they are granted, they convert to vacation hours, and there is not much difference in how they can be used that I've run into).  We're also allowed to elect to take up to 40 hours of unpaid leave each year without triggering the whole process of going "on leave", and get 10 federal holidays off.  You're also allowed to take a half day off once per year for religious observances (no particular religion specified), and two hours whenever there is an election (to vote, though as vote by mail is becoming increasingly common I suspect some people are just using it as an opportunity to leave work 2hours early). So I get 3-4 and a bit weeks off, depending on whether or not I'm willing to take the unpaid week (I am).  I also work a condensed schedule so I have a longer M-Th but don't always work on Fridays, which definitely makes up for not having more vacation.

If I stick around another 5 years at my current company I'll get an additional week, but hopefully won't be here that much longer...

Sick leave is separate, 2 weeks/year.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #87 on: July 25, 2017, 04:08:38 PM »
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.

And you most likely won't get paid for it.  It just excuses you from work and prevents your employer from eliminating your job while you're gone.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #88 on: July 25, 2017, 05:13:16 PM »
10 Paid Holidays
25 Vacation Days
Unlimited sick leave (within reason)
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BlueMR2

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #89 on: August 01, 2017, 04:07:49 PM »
5 weeks vacation
0 sick days
6 company closed days

Took a long time to get to those numbers though.  Really makes it hard to make the jump to another place of work when you know you'll be starting off with 0 vacation days for a year, and then just start with 1 week after that first year.  I use the bulk of my 5 weeks for house repairs, car repairs, and other times I need to visit businesses that are open exactly the same hours I work and don't have any left beyond that.  :-/  I haven't had a real vacation since, I really have no idea...  Even our honeymoon was just a day off at the end of the week plus the weekend!

jmecklenborg

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #90 on: August 01, 2017, 04:19:31 PM »
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.

Restaurant workers, bartenders, and many, many other hourly workers get no paid vacation, no paid sick leave, no paid holidays.  They get no extra pay for working on national holidays.  Many light manufacturing places and warehouses hire swarms of "temp to hire" people who aren't technically full-time and so get no paid vacation either. 

Of places that do offer paid vacation (often doing jobs that were once unionized and so had higher wages and many benefits), many require a full year of employment before granting 5 days of paid vacation.  My company does 1 week after 1 year, 2 weeks after 2 years, and 3 weeks after...12 years.  That's the max. 



Champion5

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #91 on: August 02, 2017, 01:01:26 PM »
Our PTO max is 200 hours for 5-10 years(at 15 years It bumps to 240). Once you hit max you stop getting it banked. I was totally surprised that there are a couple people here that are maxed out and not using their paid time off. I like to keep mine around 140-160 so I'm constantly taking random days off then a couple times a year take a week off here and there. Holidays (9 per year) are not included and paid.
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dougules

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #92 on: August 04, 2017, 11:29:43 AM »

So the company can just take it off you? You cant save it up for a big holiday? I know when I was in the USA last year a few people were surprised that I was on an 8 week holiday. But i didnt realise you guys lost it

Yup, "use it or lose it" is very common. Some companies do allow you to carry vacation time into the next year but it's unheard-of for someone to accrue the amount of vacation that you have. And as someone else mentioned, you are often made to feel guilty taking the meagre few days that you do have.

The rest of the world treats workers much better than we do.

^yup. My DH works with a lot of people from other countries and one of their biggest complaints about Americans is how we don't travel to other countries/experience other cultures. But even though I have 15 days I can't take off more than 5 in a row, and even if I could, the limited vacation days means I could either take a nice international trip or visit DH and my's families.

There is a reason why Americans mostly travel internationally when they are retired or in college.

DH is a federally employed scientist and at this point in his career, usually has about 4 weeks of paid leave available. He rarely uses more than 2 weeks because his workload tends to back up so severely if he's gone more than 3 or 4 days at a stretch, stress caused by the missed work accumulation outweighs the benefit of taking the leave. 



that seems crazy to me that you cant take more than 5 days in a row off. Two years ago I took 10 weeks off for a holiday, for this amount of time I was expected to give about 2 months notice that I wanted the time off. They then find other people to cover my work, either get a short term contractor in, or divvy it up amongst work colleagues.

It must cause a lot of burn out in America for people not to be able to take proper time away from work.

I think most Americans could in theory bank up a lot of leave then take a month off, but in practice a week is considered a big vacation.  Two weeks might be doable, but you start to raise eyebrows.  And 3 weeks, well most of us wouldn't even dare bring up the idea.  Part of the lack of vacations is how much leave time we (don't) get, but more of it is a culture that views taking too much leave as a character flaw.  Remember the US was settled by Puritans.  Idle hands...

And yes, I do think it tends to burn Americans out. 

DarkandStormy

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #93 on: August 04, 2017, 12:27:24 PM »
First job out of college I got 18 days/year with a Fortune 100 company.  After 5 years of service, that bumped up to 21 days/year.  After 10 years, 24 days/year.  I believe it maxed out at that same scale at 27 days/year for 15 years of service plus executives.  There was no separate "sick time" - it was all one bucket.

Of course, I left after 4.5 years and got the standard 2 weeks (10 days).  Our current scale is an additional week (5 days) every 3 years of service, topping out at I believe 20 days (maybe it's 23 but I'm planning to FIRE in <10 years so I don't really care).  We do get sick time separately, at 6 days/year.
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Rosy

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #94 on: August 04, 2017, 04:06:02 PM »
Wow - I'm really surprised at the statistics, only 10% with zero and 10% with 2 weeks - proof that MMrs are generally doing better than the average American.
Voted 4 weeks for Mr. R. - he's worked for the same place forever.
Most people we know have zero to two weeks and the other half have seven weeks vacation, because they work for the school system.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #95 on: August 04, 2017, 04:23:48 PM »
I have no idea how to vote -- the startup I'm working at does not track vacation/sick time. Average seems to be 2-3 weeks a year. I'm probably on the high end but I've not been there that long either.

Laserjet3051

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #96 on: August 04, 2017, 05:27:47 PM »
ZERO.

As an independent contractor I receive zero benefits which equates to no paid vacation days. Any days I take off (which I do regularly) result in lost wages. My situation is far from rare.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #97 on: August 07, 2017, 12:54:15 PM »
I get no paid time off of any kind. However, I can decide to work from home if I need to or take a few days off, or a few hours. I don't have any sort of set schedule and no one really cares if I'm physically at the office as long as I'm getting work done and generating billings.  I work on 100% commission. Although I get a base salary it's just a means to even things out month-to-month as I'm expected to bill enough every month to at lease cover that base salary. If I were to go in arrears for a few months in a row I would probably be out of a job.

My work is generally creating several reports each month which have a timing of 2-4 weeks. If I take off any significant amount of time I have to make sure I finish everything in my pipeline before then and it can take a few days after I get back to start up again. I'm currently on an unpaid leave of absence for my annual training with the National Guard. Contrary to the advertised "two weeks a year, one weekend a month" I'm actually going to end up taking off closer to seven weeks for National Guard training, schools, exercises, etc. this year. this is somewhat atypical but three to four weeks a year has been more the reality than two weeks. In one case I had to take off five months for a school, though I actually made a bit more there than at my civilian job.

aspiringnomad

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #98 on: August 07, 2017, 09:06:12 PM »
Selected 4-5 weeks though maybe I should have bumped up to the next category, because I didn't include the ~10 Federal holidays in that count. Excluding those holidays, but including the "floating holidays" that we can't accumulate, I get 4 weeks and 4.5 days per year. Plus essentially unlimited sick leave, but I rarely use it (knock on wood).

applegrapepie

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Re: To working Americans: how many weeks vacation do you have?
« Reply #99 on: August 08, 2017, 12:18:10 AM »
Guarantee Asia country based on firm has the lowest break condition.,.