Derek Thompson has a silly post over at The Atlantic: “The Only Advanced Country Without a National Vacation Policy? It’s the U.S.”
There’s no wrong way to celebrate American exceptionalism, but this might not be the best candidate for cheering this July 4th Week: The United States is practically the only developed country in the world that doesn’t require companies to give their workers time off.
He has a colorful graphic showing 19 OECD countries whose governments mandate paid holidays and/or paid annual leave. At the end of the graph is the United States, with a disheartening zero.
“Still, don’t blame Washington. Blame yourself,” he scolds, citing statistics that Americans don’t take advantage of the paid vacation they already receive. “The United States’ long-hour culture permeates both our day-to-day family choices and our national laws, creating an up-and-down feedback loop of industriousness.”
Thompson at least has this right: Nothing quashes industriousness among citizens like government intervention.
Among the countries whose governments mandate more than 25 working days of paid vacation: France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and Greece.
And, of course, those countries are doing so well.