The EU study showed that, compared with the Swedes' entitlement of 33 days of paid vacation in 2006, Germans had 30, Italians had 28 and Estonians, who ranked last, had 20.
(These numbers include the statutory minimum paid leave, as well as days added by collective bargaining agreements, but not public holidays. Not all EU countries are included in the study, since the way of gathering data relating to vacations is different in a way that makes comparisons difficult.)
Even more strikingly, Americans had, on average, only nine days of paid vacation in 2006, according to a recent report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. That discrepancy is, in large measure, because the United States has no statutory minimum of paid vacation days.
In the face of this kind of global competition, some are now saying that Swedes must seriously consider giving up some of their cherished summer days off.
The article describes the pressures on Swedish business to keep factories and other facilities running more days of the year. Also, since we use more services even when vacationing the demand for holiday workers has probably risen as a proportion of the total economy.
In a way it makes sense for some governments to legislate more days off. People feel a need to work long hours to compete with others in status hierarchies. Mandatory vacation amounts to a mutually agreed upon ceasefire period where shifts up and down status hierarchies can't happen. People can escape the need to compete because they can know that their competitors are also not spending vacation times competing.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2007 August 21 11:17 PM Economics Labor|