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U.S. is One of Nations in the OECD Without Mandated Paid Vacation

Update Date: Apr 05, 2013 01:57 PM EDT
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In order to prevent high burn out rates and inefficient employees, most companies give their employees a set number of vacation days per year so that they can relax.  Despite the importance of vacationing and taking a break from the stressful environment of work, some companies do not offer to pay their employees during these absences. According to report, many countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) choose to pay workers during vacation days. Along with Japan and Canada, however, the report revealed that the U.S. is still one of the countries that avoid mandated paid vacation days.

Vacations allow employees to get more sleep, which would improve their mental health and overall productivity, which is why several countries require paid vacation days. Taking days off can also improve people's stress levels, and help them handle situations better. Despite this, the U.S. continues to allow employers, who chose to not pay their employees for vacations or even holidays, to take advantage of employees. Since vacation days often go unpaid, employees who need the extra money to support their families might forgo their yearly vacations and work instead. The added and continuous stress can lead to more physical and mental health complications.

According to the Huffington Post article that printed the infographic, all of the other countries in the OECD that mandate paid vacations give employees at least 20 paid days day. Employees from Portugal or Austria can get up to 35-paid vacation days. The U.S. does not use this method because the Fair Labor Standards Act does not require them to. Regardless, employers should be encouraged to pay their workers in order to promote productivity. As of right now, most high paid American employees get a set amount of vacation time in their contracts, which mean that these days have already been factored into their salaries.

Due to the fact that the U.S. does not have mandated paid days off, the U.S. also did not fare so well in promoting a healthy life-work balance, which was measured by the relationship between hours of work and leisure time. The chart that Huffington Post created can be found here. Furthermore, the U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not require companies to pay new mothers for off days.

This report reveals how American lives can become so unbalanced that it becomes detrimental to health. It is important to acknowledge the significance of vacations and stress that importance by giving people paid days off. 

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