You must be looking at your calendar and thinking, “Is it worth taking two work weeks off to travel to…? Or should I save my days for something else?” If you are like me, every PTO day is precious. Between having a sick child, personal illness, a sick nanny and an occasional trip, I find myself holding on to the last few precious hours I have of PTO.

Employers know their employees need a break once in a while. That’s why companies in the US offer paid time off (PTO) in the form of vacation days, holidays, personal leave and sick leave. Depending on the company and length of service, the average PTO in the US can range anywhere from 14-18 days. Sadly, there is no statutory entitlement. If you are fortunate to have PTO, this number does not compare to the Vacation, Holiday and Personal Leave days allotted (by law) in Europe.

  • United Kingdom: A worker’s statutory entitlement is 20 days excluding public holidays. This is a minimum entitlement. This does not include personal illness.
  • Netherlands: A worker’s statutory entitlement is 20 days excluding public holidays. This is a minimum entitlement. This does not include personal illness. Workers are also entitled to a holiday allowance. This comes to a minimum of 8 percent of your gross wages.
  • Ireland: A worker’s statutory entitlement is 20 days excluding public holidays. This is a minimum entitlement. There is no legal entitlement to sick leave; generally it is at the discretion of the employer.
  • France: Every employee has the right to paid holidays (2.5 working days per month worked) which equals out to 30 days paid per year. This does not include public holidays and personal illness. Employers can also provide additional paid holidays.
  • Germany: A worker’s statutory entitlement is 24 days excluding public holidays. This is a minimum entitlement.
  • Norway: A worker’s statutory entitlement is 25 days excluding public holidays. This is a minimum entitlement.

Even though the US PTO standards are not as strong; don’t be too discouraged by the above. I still wouldn’t hold on to your PTO too long; go ahead and book that trip!

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