America is one of the only few industrially developed countries not to mandate paid vacation time for employees. Additionally, America is the only industrialized nation not to mandate paid time off for women who have just had a baby. If this is the land of freedom and pursuance of happiness, then it seems there is something missing. It’s time to consider whether or not employers should be forced to offer paid vacations.
The American way. Of the 34 countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States is one of only three that does not mandate at least 20 days per year of paid vacation for its workforce. Those employees in Austria and Portugal get 35 paid days off per year! Although it is true that some high-level American employees benefit from employer-paid vacation time, this is generally the exception. On top of that, those with paid time off often leave it on the table, as they feel they can “afford” to take a vacation in any of a number of other ways.
The benefits of vacation time. When you consider the benefits of vacation time, it seems that it would be advantageous to employees and employers alike if paid vacation was mandated in America. Vacation is shown to benefit partakers in a number of ways, including improving mental health, increasing productivity (in the long run), lowering risk of heart attack, bettering sleep quality, strengthening family and community ties, and more. Looking at the nature of these benefits, it makes sense to speculate that the financial strain of paying for employee benefits might well be compensated, and then some, by the renewed employee vitality resultant of vacation time.
A standstill. In 2009, Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, proposed the Paid Vacation Act, its purpose being to require United States employers to provide at least one week’s worth of paid vacation to their employees per year. This proposition was rejected as soon as it was introduced. Today, the Obama family is getting a lot of negative attention in the media for partaking in regular vacations–this, in spite of the family’s vacation prudence relative to the Bush family vacations of past Presidential terms. All things considered, it appears that the United States is at a standstill, or perhaps even moving backwards, when it comes to the possibility of mandating employer-paid vacation time.
There is much debate over what’s best for the people of America, and it seems safe to say that employers are on one side of the line, while employees are on the other. Paid vacations may be advantageous for everyone, and in some unexpected ways, but only time will tell if the American people will ever see this idea to fruition.
If you are offering paid vacations, make sure you note as much when you create your job listings for SmartRecruiters and other classified ads. You’ll want to attract the best candidates possible by showing them what you’re willing to give.