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Canadians get far fewer holiday breaks than European workers

Which countries give employees the most generous holiday breaks? It's certainly not Canada.

Canada’s total number of statutory and public holidays finished dead last in research released yesterday, meaning Canadians generally have less holiday entitlement than workers in other developed countries. The data, compiled by U.K.-based consultant Mercer, measures the number of annual holiday days that full-time workers would have access to after 10 years in the labour force. Canada finished last out of the 62 countries surveyed.

Canadians have access to 19 work-free days, which accounts for public holidays and the minimum legal requirement that companies must provide their employees. In most European countries, that number is significantly higher. Austrian and Maltese citizens have access to as many as 38 work-free days per year. Twenty-eight European nations have at least twice as many statutory holidays as Canada.

It should be noted that these numbers are malleable; the study has 43 footnotes detailing circumstances that sway holiday time among the surveyed countries. Mercer also mentions that in the U.K., which has the highest number of statutory holidays, companies are allowed to include public holidays as part of their 28-day legal requirement. Still, most of the European Union members already outpace Canada’s holiday allotment on statutory holidays alone—and that’s tough for any European to complain about.

Here is a selection of the countries featured in Mercer’s research and how Canada fares against them.