US Law: Zero Paid Time Off
As mentioned in Episode 16, the U.S. labor laws do not mandate that employees are required to be given paid time off. As in, the law says you get zero paid time off unless a company either offers it as a perk or allows unpaid time off. The only time off required by law are 10 paid Holidays; usually the random 1 day here and there throughout the year.
First, let’s look how imbalanced the work hours are here in the U.S. in comparison to other countries. Especially if you are in companies with global branches or with remote work options, you could take the opportunity to live a less pressured life abroad. This might pique your interest and have you flipping through Pinterest sites to decide your next place to live.
Many companies have foreign branches or partnerships abroad so employees here in the U.S. are accustomed to working with their peers in other countries. What they’ve come to realize is that the foreign offices have a much different schedule. It’s not about the time zone difference; it’s all about the significant time off and the curtailed work hours.
Countries with the Most Paid Time Off
So, let’s see where you may opt to work in an effort to lower your stress and live a more balanced life. Are you ready for the top 5 countries that have a healthy economy for you to drop into and live you best life?
These countries require 30 days vacation for employees, a combination of paid vacation and holidays, giving employees more than six weeks off every year. Yep, 6 weeks off! That would have taken you at least three years straight to save up and your family would have disowned you for not being there to carve a turkey. These are all fab spots that have opportunities for anyone wanting to make a move.
Number 5: (and there’s actually seven countries because of a couple of ties) but standing on it own for number 5, (drum roll please) Australia! They have 20 days of paid leave plus another 8 days of holiday, mate. We always knew that the Aussies had a great work-life balance because we saw them wherever we were vacationing. But here, they are only in 5th place so the World has learned fast from their lifestyle.
Tied for the Number 4 position: Chile and South Korea, both with 15 days of vacation plus 15 days of holiday for a bold 30 days off a year.
Top 3 Countries for Paid Time Off
Number 3: Germany with 20 days of paid leave and 13 days of holiday! Ok, now we are getting past the 6 weeks off a year. Can you imagine? Here, you have to be a professor with tenure and take a sabbatical to take that much time off and still get paid. But, professors have to work during their sabbaticals, too.
Down to the top two.. Any guesses? Did anyone guess South Korea in the mix already? Number 2: also a tie, France and España! Viva! I know there’s a lot of Francophiles out there but España! Ooh, so much coastline on the Mediterranean. This is where I will be living within the next 5 years and for so many more reasons than just time off.
In the meantime, Spain, and yes, France, comes in with 22 paid vacation days and 14 paid holidays. 36 days off a year, more than 7 weeks. I can see myself on the island of Mallorca for most of that time. The food, wine, sun, sand warmth, clear blue waters… are you relaxing yet?
And number 1? United Kingdom with 28 vacation days and 9 holidays. Now the 6 extra vacation days is tempting because it can be lumped together with more time off than 1 day here and one day there. But still, it’s cold in the middle of the Atlantic and rains a lot in the U.K.; that’s what makes those green, rolling hills and beautiful gardens. So, Spain it is, for me! Which one would you pick?
Golden Visa – Bonuses to Working Abroad
Are you thinking that working for an American company abroad holds you to American strife of no vacation? Nope. The rules of the land govern how employees are to be treated by any company. Like in France, no employee, whether salaried or hourly is allowed to work more than 10 hours a day. Oh, and they have this real thing, the 13th month pay. Now, here the 13th is an unlucky number but in France, basically opposite land, the 13th month pay given around December, basically doubles that month’s salary. I hear you groaning…
Spain has another bonus to living and working in the country: The Golden Visa. You can acquire this visa in many ways but one intriguing method is to purchase property, either individual or a portfolio, that totals at least €500K. It seems like a big commitment but when you read the perks that come with the visa, you may think twice.
You are already getting 36 days off so why not live on the Mediterranean? The Golden Visa automatically provides a work visa for any of the 27 countries in the EU. Plus, free medical care after 5 years with permanent residency. After 10 years, owners can apply for citizenship.
Now, if you are not ready for the permanent move, no worries. You don’t need to be living in Spain full time to maintain the Golden Visa. Once a year, you have to appear in person to renew it. Any time spent in Spain relative to other countries should be considered relative to paying taxes on income from all your sources.
Given that two-thirds of Americans file for bankruptcy to assist with medical bill debt, having access to the Golden Visa and free medical care could be the bonus you needed all along.