Increasing vacation time could bring benefits

Today is the day that Florida congressman Rep. Alan Grayson is supposed to introduce a bill that would give Americans working for companies with 100 employees or more a legal minimum of (wait for it…) one week paid vacation per year.

The United States is a rarity among industrialized nations in that its labour laws make no provision for a minimum amount of annual vacation.

By comparison, federal law in Canada mandates a minimum of two weeks per year, as does provincial law in nine of the ten provinces. (The exception being Saskatchewan, which has a three-week minimum.)

And even that is a very conservative amount compared to the rest of the English-speaking world. Australia, Britain, Ireland and New Zealand all mandate a minimum of four weeks paid vacation per year.

And if you thought that increasing the two-week minimum here in Canada would come at a loss of productivity, think again.

In May 2005, Dr. Andrew Sharpe of the Centre for the Study of Living Standards, one of the country’s leading experts on productivity growth, suggested to the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce that increasing vacation time might be beneficial:

…[A]ctions that reduce working time through longer vacations and more public holidays, whether initiated by government or through collective or individual workplace bargaining, can have two positive effects. First, such policies contribute to economic well-being by increasing leisure. Second, while there is some output and income loss, this is offset somewhat by workers becoming more productive on an hourly basis, the true measure of productivity.


About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

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