Stat of the month: French holidays

40 - the number of days' paid holiday the French get per annum

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Among the major economies, the French and the Finns get the highest average number of days of paid leave, according to the HR consultancy Mercer - 30, plus 10 days' paid public holidays apiece. Little Lithuania tops the table at 41. Most other eurozone countries are in the thirties, the UK included. Well, sort of. We get 28 days plus eight days' public holiday, for a respectable score of 36. Except, confusingly, employers may choose to include the eight in our paid leave, meaning we only get 28, little more than the famously under-vacationed Americans, who get 25 (although US companies have no legal obligation to give them any). Still, both are better than the Filipinos and Vietnamese, who enjoy a mere 19 and 22 respectively.

But there's a difference between being entitled to a holiday and taking it. A recent survey showed that because of fears of redundancy, nearly a quarter of British employees will not be taking their full holiday entitlement - this despite endless research showing that taking time off boosts productivity by relaxing and refreshing staff. However, some staff are suddenly finding that their employers are offering them all the leave they want. The only trouble is it's usually unpaid.

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