Canada Has Among The Fewest Vacation Days Worldwide & Offers Less Than Half Of Other Countries

Some nations offer 30 days of paid leave!

A laptop sits on a desk in front of a window.

A laptop sits on a desk in front of a window.

In need of a break? Canadians wanting to take some time off from work may be surprised to learn that Canada actually ranks among the worst in the world when it comes to paid vacation days.

Online resume-writing site analyzed the number of paid vacation days residents of 197 countries are able to use in a year, looking at laws covering both annual statutory paid leave and paid public holidays to determine which nations have the most and least paid time off.

The site found that Canada is actually among the worst countries in the world when it comes to paid vacation time, offering residents only 10 days of mandatory paid leave, in addition to nine paid public holidays in a calendar year, for a total of 19 days of PTO.

This means Canada ranks 16th from the bottom out of 197 countries.

Countries below it include China, where residents get five days of paid leave and 11 paid public holidays (16 days of PTO in total), and Lebanon, where residents can take 15 days of paid time off but only have two paid public holidays (17 days in total).

Second from the bottom of the list is the U.S., where residents aren't guaranteed any paid leave at all and see 10 paid public holidays in the year — beaten for the lowest spot only by Micronesia, where the number of paid leave days is the same but there are only nine paid public holidays.

It's worth noting that in Canada, most employees are entitled to take the day of a public holiday off and receive full salary, but some businesses and essential care facilities require employees to work.

These employees are compensated with no less than 1.5 times their regular wages or sometimes a day off in lieu, as determined by their employer.

In Canada, the official statutory holidays are New Year's Day, Good Friday, Canada Day, Labour Day and Christmas Day, plus others that vary based on province or territory. Under the Canada Labour Code, employees across the country are entitled to at least nine total paid holidays, although some provinces and territories give even more.

Federally regulated employees are also entitled to additional holidays, regardless of where they live, such as the National Day For Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.

Which country has the most paid vacation days?

According to the research, Iran is the country with the most PTO, offering a total of 53 days made up of 26 days of paid leave and 27 paid public holidays.

In terms of where in the world the most paid leave is offered, 22 countries offer 30 days of paid leave alone (in addition to any extra paid public holidays).

Nearly half of these countries are in Africa, including Libya, Madagascar, Niger, Togo and Mali.

The top nine countries with the most paid days off overall are:

  1. Iran (53)
  2. San Marino (46)
  3. Yemen (45)
  4. Andorra (44)
  5. Bahrain (44)
  6. Bhutan (44)
  7. Madagascar (43)
  8. Niger (43)
  9. Togo (43)

Interestingly, no North American countries made the top 10.

With the lacklustre number of paid days off, it's no wonder then that many Canucks are interested in companies offering a four-day workweek.

Many Canadian companies are adopting or trialling a workweek that shortens the number of hours worked while maintaining the same salary and output, giving employees three days off in the week instead of two.

Katherine Caspersz
Katherine Caspersz is a Creator for Narcity Media focused on evergreen travel and things to do, and is based in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario.