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International Comparison of Paid Time Off: How Does Canada Compare to Other Countries?

Many Canadians take their paid vacation days for granted, accumulating them until the end of the year. But what about employees elsewhere? Let’s explore the global landscape of paid time off and see how many days employees are entitled to in different countries. Recognizing vacations as prime opportunities for travel, we’ll also introduce a customized travel insurance solution to help you get the most out of your well-deserved break.

Europe’s most generous countries for paid leave

In Europe, several countries stand out for their generous approach to paid leave. If you’ve ever wondered about the number of vacation days you’re entitled to each year, you might find yourself a little envious. Among the top 10 most generous countries in terms of paid holidays, a whopping 8 of them are in Europe. 

Austria, the reigning champion, offers an overall total of 38 paid vacation days, including 25 vacation days and 13 public holidays. Not far behind, we have France, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Spain, all providing 36 days of paid leave. Meanwhile, Germany ensures a minimum of 20 days of vacation, along with an additional 10 to 14 public holidays (depending on the different states or “Länder”). Interestingly, many Germans are fortunate enough to enjoy up to 30 days of vacation, potentially boosting their annual total to an impressive 44 days of paid leave. 

The United States: No guaranteed paid time off

Surprisingly, the United States stands out as the only OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) country without specific leave laws that guarantee paid vacation for employees. In this context, the responsibility for implementing a leave policy falls directly on individual companies. If employees wish to benefit from a paid vacation, they must negotiate this benefit within their employment contracts. 

In practical terms, one in four U.S. employees don’t have access to any paid leave throughout the year.2 Also, among those entitled to paid time off, a recent survey revealed that only 48% of U.S. employees actually use all their allotted vacation days.3 

Canada: Among the countries with the fewest paid holidays

In Canada, there are 18 public holidays, some of which are national, while others vary by province. Consequently, Canadians typically enjoy an average of 9 public holidays, which is the case in Quebec.4 Canadian employees are also entitled to 10 paid vacation days, resulting in a total of 19 paid vacation days per year. 

Across Canada, each province has its own labour code that governs mandatory paid leave. In Quebec, the Act respecting labour standards guarantee two weeks of paid leave. The duration of paid time off also varies based on an employee’s years of service with the same company. The minimum number of paid vacation days remains consistent in other Canadian provinces, except in Saskatchewan, where three weeks of leave is guaranteed.

Top 10 countries offering the most paid time off

  1. Austria: 25 vacation days + 13 public holidays = 38  
  2. Malta: 24 vacation days + 14 public holidays = 38 
  3. Bolivia: 25 vacation days + 12 public holidays = 37 
  4. Greece: 25 vacation days + 12 public holidays = 37  
  5. United Kingdom: 28 vacation days + 8 public holidays = 36  
  6. France: 25 vacation days + 11 public holidays = 36 
  7. Sweden: 25 vacation days + 11 public holidays = 36 
  8. Venezuela: 24 vacation days + 12 holidays = 36 
  9. Spain: 22 vacation days + 14 public holidays = 36 
  10. Finland: 25 vacation days + 10 public holidays = 35

The 8 countries with the least paid leave6 

  1. USA: No guaranteed paid time off 
  2. Philippines: 5 vacation days 
  3. Singapore: 7 vacation days 
  4. Mexico: 6 vacation days + 7 public holidays = 13 
  5. Thailand: 6 vacation days + 13 public holidays = 19 
  6. Canada: 10 vacation days + 9 holidays = 19 
  7. Israel: 11 vacation days + 10 holidays = 21 
  8. Japan: 10 vacation days + 20 holidays = 30

Multi-Trip Annual insurance: Enhance your vacation experience

Regardless of the number of days of paid leave you’re entitled to, maximizing your time off is key. And here’s an exciting tip: our Multi-Trip Annual insurance provides coverage for an unlimited number of trips over a 12-month period. Yes, you read that correctly-unlimited! 

By opting for this travel insurance, you’ll be covered not only during your international adventures but also for getaways within other Canadian provinces or even the United States. Plus, it’s a budget-friendly choice if you’re planning multiple trips within the same year. So go ahead, explore, and make the most of your well-deserved breaks!


1 Unknown author. " Congés payés : TOP 30 des pays les plus généreux " Le coin du salarié, 

2 Sarah Min. "1 in 4 workers in U.S. don't get any paid vacation time or holidays " CBS News, Published May 24, 2019, 

3 Unknown author. " Aux États-Unis, la moitié des salariés ne prennent pas les congés auxquels ils ont droit " Courrier international, Published March 31, 2023, 

4 Guirec Gombert. "A combien de jours de congés a-t-on droit au Canada ? " Hello Workplace, Published February 11, 2016, 

5 Government of Ontario. "Your guide to the Employment Standards Act" Government of Ontario, Published November 22, 2017, Updated December 21, 2023,

6 Editorial team. " Comment fonctionnent les vacances payées? " Indeed, Updated January 6, 2023, 

7 Pierre Galouise. " Top 8 des pays avec le moins de congés payés, RIP les vacances " Topito, Published July 26, 2023,