Living to Work or Working to Live

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The case for guaranteed paid vacation time.

While we may think of vacation time as a luxury, other countries view it as a right. In fact, the U.S. is the only advanced economy that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation days. While the majority of employers do provide paid days off, 28 million people don’t get this benefit (about a quarter of the workforce). Compare this to France where all workers get an average of 30 days or even Japan, known for its strenuous work hours, where employees are allowed 10 days. Even developing countries such as Tanzania (21 days), Sierra Leone (18 days), and Ecuador (15 days) have provisions.   

That’s why has initiated the Vacation Equality Project which hopes to gather 100,000 signatures for a petition aimed at Congress and the White House. The president of, Johan Svanstrom said, “We are a strong believer in the power of vacation and we hope that the Vacation Equality Project will help increase awareness of this issue.” There are several benefits to paid time off. Obviously employees gain from it, but the companies they work for also do as worker performance tends to improve. Additionally it would help the economy. As of 2013, leisure spending came to $620 billion dollars. This included sectors such as air transportation, recreation, and lodging. If 25 percent of the working population were added, billions more would be put into the economy and it would create additional jobs in the domestic tourism industry.

Photo byDamian Gadal, licensed underCreative Commons.

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