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How much annual leave do other countries get?

Out of office written in beach sand to signify annual leave.
Four weeks of annual leave might not feel like a lot, but spare a thought for citizens of countries where paid holidays aren't guaranteed. (Source: Getty)

We'd all like some more paid days off, but new research shows Australia's standard 20 days for full-time employees ranks quite favourably when compared to countries like the United States and Canada.

Employees in the US have no statutory entitlement to annual leave at all, with leave entitlements decided at the employer level and and averaging just 14 days per year.

Interestingly enough, workers over the border in Canada may be even worse off, with most Canadian provinces legislating just 10 days per year, one of the lowest annual leave entitlements for a developed nation.


Across the Atlantic in Britain and Ireland, workers enjoy the same annual leave entitlement as Australians, at 20 days. Just a hop, skip and a jump over to Scotland, though, and workers are very happy indeed with a massive 28 days of paid leave per year.

The only European countries to offer more annual leave than Scotland are Earth's second-smallest state, Monaco - on the French Riviera - and Andorra. The diminutive principalities are big hitters when it comes to annual leave, offering 30 days paid to all employees.

Infograph of countries with most paid annual leave days
The principalities of Monaco and Andorra offer workers more annual leave than any other European nation. (Source:

Monaco and Andorra are not alone though, with a surprisingly large number of countries around the world sharing first prize. The Marshall Islands, the Maldives, Bhutan, Comoros, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Togo, Niger, Algeria, Libya, Mali, Panama and Peru all also offer employees 30 days of paid annual leave.

South African employees get one more day than Australians at 21 days, while workers in Africa's largest economy, Nigeria, only receive six days.

What about public holidays?

Of course, annual leave isn't the only consideration when it comes to paid time off. On top of the standard four weeks' paid annual leave most Australians enjoy, there are seven national public holidays each year, as well as an additional two to five days - decided at the state level, depending on where you live. This equates to a total of 29 paid days off for workers in NSW and 32 for full-time workers in Tasmania.

Infograph of countries with most paid public holidays
Iran offers workers 27 paid public holidays every year, in addition to annual leave entitlements. (Source:

With women's rights protests in Iran making headlines recently, it's probably not the first place that springs to mind for progressive social measures, but the Islamic republic does offer a bunch of public holidays at 27 days per year. Factoring in their generous annual leave entitlement of 26 days, Iranian workers are entitled to 53 days of paid leave every year.

If you're willing to forgo many of the social freedoms Aussies are accustomed to, Iran might be a good bet for your next ex-pat gig, but if you fancy somewhere a little less oppressive, the European micro-state of San Marino offers 20 paid public holidays annually, for a total of 46 paid days off every year. They also offer one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the EU at just 16 per cent.

Infograph of countries with most paid vacation days overall
Canada and the United States offer workers less paid time off than almost every other country in the world. (Source:

Although citizens of Canada and the US enjoy nine and 10 annual public holidays, respectively, their low leave entitlements mean the amount of paid days off they receive are among the lowest in the world.

In fact, if you wanted to find a worse deal, you'd have to fly to the furthest reaches of the Pacific, where the citizens of Micronesia are entitled to just nine days of paid days off each year.

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