Paid Leave in the US: How Does it Compare with Other Countries?


Jennifer PieniazekWriter at LiveCareer

Monday, June 14, 2021

Research shows the 'Land of the Free' doesn't compare well to other countries when it comes to the amount of paid time off employees are getting.

Infographic 6 Minutes
Paid Leave in the US: How Does it Compare with Other Countries?

Time with a newborn, a decent vacation and time to recover from an illness.

All things that should be a given. Unfortunately, they’re all sorely lacking in the “Land of Opportunity.”

Lack of paid time off is robbing Americans of much-needed time. And it pales in comparison to most other developed countries.

Sadly, America is the only industrialized country in the world which doesn’t offer paid parental leave. More than 20 million Americans go to work sick due to lack of paid sick leave. And vacations?  Most European nations get at least 20 days off compared to a measly 10-15—the typical amount for those Americans who qualify.

Our data team at ResumeNow wanted to find how much time Americans really got. So, we polled 950 Americans on the topic. We also wanted to find out if they knew how the U.S. policies compared with other countries. And boy, were the results disturbing.

Just a few of the unsettling stats which came out of the study:

  • 18% had just 6 to 9 days of vacation
  • 59% of moms avoided calling in sick during pregnancy as they wanted to save their days
  • 27% of moms took just 5 to 6 weeks of maternity leave
  • 26% had never taken two weeks straight of vacation
  • 54% didn’t know that most countries in Europe get 20+ days of vacation
  • 61% didn’t know that the average amount of parental leave in Europe is twenty-six weeks

Paid Leave Worldwide Statistics

Jennifer Pieniazek

Writer at LiveCareer

Jennifer is a LiveCareer career advice writer and career expert. Her insights have been spotlighted in Forbes, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, GoBankingRates and others. Jennifer is passionate about helping people from every background achieve their career goals.


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