Home > Uncategorized > Days off Question #2

Days off Question #2

Que #2  Why do you think this discrepancy in vacation entitlements exists across the globe?

There are no hard and fast rules, so we can only form opinions. One is that once people get something it is very hard to retract it. Since starting with two weeks of vacation entitlement in 1936, the French have seen their allotment grow to five weeks. One worker explains “We’re still very privileged, still living off our social gains. Holidays are sacred.”  Europeans are used to taking several holidays a year which allows trips to the many countries within a day’s travel or less. An auto executive agreed that workers consider an annual vacation “a necessity.” (www.globalpost.com)

This pattern may have emerged because a stronger relationship exists in Europe between employer and employee. Mark Sullivan, a partner at Mercer, a global compensation and management consultant company, says European employers tend to view employees as having an investment in their organization. Employers encourage workers to take breaks of at least two weeks at a time because they recognize vacations prevent long-term sickness and disability that result from work-related stress. (www.money.cnn.com)

References:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/france/090807/the-french-vacation-obsession?page=0,1

www. Mercer.com as cited in http://money.cnn.com/2007/06/12/pf/vacation_days_worldwide/

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Rehan Shr
    July 13, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I can’t really complain. I live in the middle east and we get 40 days off!

    Rehan

    • July 14, 2010 at 4:48 pm

      Thanks Rehan. It’s great to have perspectives outside North America. In your experience, do employees typically use all the days they are eligible for ? Do they appreciate the generous vacation benefit or is it assumed to be more of a “right” as in France ?

      • Michelle Gohlan
        July 15, 2010 at 10:48 pm

        Hi Lisa,

        I’ve worked as HR Director in Dubai for almost 10 years now and from my experience, this is hardly a generous vacation entitlement – despite it being 40 days – as majority of the companies make their employees work 6 days a week, well beyond 48 hours in a week! As companies only pay the airfare once every two years (for junior/middle management level) positions, employees tend to work during the vacation days and earn a bit of extra cash.

        How burnt out they must feel…add 50 degrees of heat to this and it’s not a pretty picture.

        Dubai is still an attractive place to work for most people due to the tax-free income but the work ethics are pretty shallow of the general population.

        International companies based in Dubai have more of a ‘conscience’ and decent benefits to their employees.

  2. July 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    The U.S. political system provides greater weight to corporate interests and less weight to ordinary employees than political systems in other countries. “Right-to-work” (anti-union) and “employment at will” (no requirement for severance) laws in some U.S. states are also reflections of this fact.

    Labor standards vary widely among U.S. states, and in practice employers of undocumented immigrants are able to ignore even weak labor standards. Perhaps some states have a requirement for vacation days, even if there is no national standard.

    Statutory holidays are celebrated (among other reasons) for indoctrination or reinforcement of political or religious beliefs, such as the anniversary of a revolution or a country’s independence, or the end of a war, or the date of birth of a political leader. A government that failed to recognize such an anniversary would lose support in some circles, not simply for eliminating a day off, but for failing to respect an element of the country’s history, religion or culture.

    • July 14, 2010 at 4:21 pm

      Some holidays are combined with weekends so as to avoid giving people an extra day off. Do you think we’ll see more of this practice in the future?

    • July 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm

      I appreciate your explanation of varied reasons for holidays, Nigel. I never really thought about them that way.

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