Ugh. What a long Monday. Worked on Saturday too. And it’s not just me. the average middle income family now works four months more in total hours than they did in 1979. Some 80% of men and 62% of women work more than 40 hours a week, and almost 40% of Americans now work more than 50 hours a week.*
According to this website, the French have an average of 25 paid vacation days a year, while the Germans get 30 days. Even the Japanese get 18 days. The U.S.? An average of 12 days. Me? 10 days. Bummer. I love how they call it “two weeks”. To me, two weeks = 14 days!
Italians have it the best, with 42 days of vacation a year. 42 days?! In “corporate speak”, that’s 2 months! I’ve got one of my precious weeks coming up soon, and I am so ready for it. I seriously cannot point out one memorable thing I did since New Year’s. Besides maybe seeing this blog mentioned on TV… and the move, I suppose. But even that is a blur.
WorkToLive.info is trying to change that, partially by advocating a law requiring a minimum of 3 weeks paid leave for all full-time workers, and no retaliation for actually using your vacation. My company doesn’t try to discourage taking vacation, but I guess some do, as twenty-six percent of Americans take no vacation at all.*
?From a European point of view it?s unbelievable how docilely we accept the shortest vacations in the rich world,? says Rick Steves, who’s travel books showed me around Europe in my pre-working-stiff days. And I agree. In fact, I would even take an unpaid week off every year if I was allowed. Or two. We really must be stuck in the Rat Race. I think that having more vacation would actually work out overall, as people would be less stressed and waste less time at work playing FreeCell (you know who you are!) as they can actually look forward to real time off to actually forget about work. 3-day weekends don’t cut it! Why are there no votes on this type of thing…
*Stats from various sources listed here.