Countries with the Most Paid Time Off Work (PTO)

The list comes from an insurance publication. No surprise, the US isn’t on it.

There are some limitations. The list doesn’t include maternity leave. I’ll discuss the implications of that further down.

The list also focuses on larger corporations. Very small companies and sole proprietorships tend not to have generous vacation policies and may not observe government holidays.

Here are the 34 countries offering the most holidays and paid vacation to employees.(1)

  • Iran: 53 days
  • San Marino: 46 days
  • Yemen: 45 days
  • Andorra, Bahrain and Bhutan: 44
  • Madagascar, Niger and Togo: 43
  • Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Mali, Monaco, Peru, Russia and Turkmenistan: 42
  • Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Guinea, Maldives and Panama: 41
  • Djibouti and Iceland: 40
  • Cambodia, Comoros, Moldova and Oman: 39
  • Austria, Iraq, Malta, Marshall Islands and Scotland: 38

Maternity leave is a game changer.(2) The numbers shown are the minimum required. Many companies allow employees to take more time off at reduced pay.

In Estonia, mothers can take 20 weeks of fully paid maternity leave followed by 62 weeks of optional “bonus” parental leave. These optional weeks may pay a different percentage of the mother or father’s income—for example, Austria offers a minimum of 16 weeks at 100% pay, then an optional 44 additional weeks at 73.1% pay.

  1. Bulgaria — 58.6 weeks
  2. Greece — 43 weeks
  3. United Kingdom — 39 weeks
  4. Slovakia — 34 weeks
  5. Croatia — 30 weeks
  6. Chile — 30 weeks
  7. Czech Republic — 28 weeks
  8. Ireland — 26 weeks
  9. Hungary — 24 weeks
  10. New Zealand — 22 weeks

The US ranks at the bottom of all countries in the OECD in regard to maternity leave. The US minimum is zero weeks. While the Family and Medical Leave Act mandates 12 weeks, the act has numerous exceptions, including all companies with 50 or fewer employees.




  1. Vic, the US business leaders have been for decades speaking of improving employee engagement. As a retired compensation and benefits consultant, manager and former HR manager, the response is simple – employers killed employee engagement, so it is hard for them to wish it back. Having a place where people want to work, learn and interact is what appeals. Money is important, but it is not the only thing. Paid time off programs can make employees more engaged and aligned with a company. They need not be too rich as you do need a workforce, but they need to be more than fair and helpful. A parent should not have to debate leaving a company each time a child is born. And, employees should be encouraged to take time off, not make it a sin.

    The retail, restaurant and service industries have the worst turnover rates. One reason is they treat their employees like chattel. PTO in these industries is notoriously poor. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • As always, thank you. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, I hope, that I totally agree with your comment. However, there’s a backstory to how this came about. My suspicion is the backstory has something to do with offshoring jobs, robots, venture capital and monopolies, but I’m not sure how the pieces fit together. What I do know anecdotally from my work are that immigrants are less likely to want to stay in the US and those who can afford it are splitting time with homes in other countries. Some of my clients see the US as offering outstanding education, but don’t see the US as a place where they actually want to live and raise a family. That’s both sad and something that will have economic repercussions.


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