Canada ranks third last among economically advanced countries in the amount of paid vacation time it guarantees its workers, a new U.S. study indicates.

The country, which for the most part mandates 10 vacation days annually, ranks ahead of only Japan and the United States, which is in last place.

Japan also requires 10 days paid vacation for workers, but unlike Canada has no paid statutory holidays. The U.S. — the "no-vacation nation" — doesn't guarantee any paid vacation, the study says.

"In the absence of government standards, almost one in four Americans has no paid vacation (23 per cent) and no paid holidays (23 per cent)," says the report, which was published in Washington by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

The authors call the U.S. "the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation."

They don't delve into the economic or health effects of vacation laws.

In Canada, provincial law governs annual paid leave unless the employee falls under federal jurisdiction, the study notes. All provinces guarantee two weeks paid vacation, except for Saskatchewan, which mandates three weeks.

The best countries for paid vacation are:

  • France: 30 days.
  • The United Kingdom: 28 days.
  • The Scandinavian countries of Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden: 25 days.

The picture changes, however, when statutory paid holidays are added.

Canada, Germany set holidays regionally

On that basis, the leading paid-time-off countries are Austria and Portugal (total 35 days each), Germany and Spain (34 days), and France and Italy (31 days).

Canada and Germany are singled out as two countries that determine public holidays at the regional level.

Canada offers at least five days in each province, and Germany a minimum of nine holidays.

"Again, U.S. law makes no provisions for paid holidays, as is also the case in Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom."

Their results were based on "the most recently available data from a range of national and international sources" in 21 countries, the study says.