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Annual leave is paid time off work granted by employers to employees to be used for whatever the employee wishes. Depending on the employer's policies, differing number of days may be offered, and the employee may be required to give a certain amount of advance notice, may have to coordinate with the employer to be sure that staffing is adequately covered during the employee's absence, and other requirements may have to be met. The vast majority of countries today mandate a minimum amount of paid annual leave by law, though the United States is a notable exception in mandating no minimum paid leave and treating it as a perk rather than a right.
|Country||Mandated paid vacation days|
|Argentina||10 - 20|
|Brazil||20 - 30|
|Denmark||25 - 30|
|Germany||20 - 24|
|Mexico||6 - 24|
|Poland||20 - 26|
|Portugal||22 - 25|
|South Korea||11 - 15|
|Sweden||25 - 30|
|Note: Paid vacation excludes paid public holidays.|
Most countries around the world have labour laws that mandate employers give a certain number of paid time-off days per year to workers. Canada requires at least two weeks (and at least three weeks for most workers in Saskatchewan); in the European Union the countries can set freely the minimum, but it has to be at least equivalent to 4 working weeks. Full-time employment in Australia requires twenty annual leave days a year. US law does not require employers to grant any vacation or holidays, and about 25 per cent of all employees receive no paid vacation time or paid holidays.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States, the average paid holidays for full-time employees in small private establishments in 1996 was 7.6 days. Members of the US Armed Forces earn 30 vacation days a year, not including national holidays. Although the law does not mandate vacation time, many employers nonetheless offer paid vacation, typically around 10 work days in the private sector, to attract employees. Under US federal law, employers usually must compensate terminated employees for accrued but unused vacation time. Additionally, many American employers provide paid days off for national holidays, such as Christmas, New Year's Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.
Argentina has different labour laws for public employment and private employment. Public employees have between a minimum of 21 days paid to 45 days paid for vacations (including holidays and weekends). Private employees have between a minimum of 14 paid days to 28 paid days (including holidays and weekends). In both cases are always relying on the years of service. The more years the worker has worked the more days of paid vacation they will have.
The UK receives 20 days per annum of annual leave with a further 8 public holidays, these are referred to as Bank Holidays.
Consecutive holidays refers to holidays that occur in a group without working days in between. In the late 1990s, the Japanese government passed a law that increased the likelihood of consecutive holidays by moving holidays from fixed days to a relative position in a month, such as the second Monday.