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You may have caught me talking about this before, when I did a roundup of etiquette in the US workplace. But it’s come up again, specifically in my quest to get back to Australia for a couple of weeks to see friends, family and renew my visa.

I’ve worked at a non-descript Californian office for 16 months now. In that time I’ve taken a total of seven paid days off. Six of those were spent in Maui and one was in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago.

To people in Japan and anyone who’s grown up in the US, that amount of time off would seem downright decadent. But I’m Australian, and I’m used to 20 days paid “vacation” and eight “holidays” each year.

So when I tried to apply for a measly 10 days off toddle off to Sydney to see friends, enjoy the summer and visit my Dad for his birthday I was not very happy to see that I only had eight days leave owing to me.

Apart from that, two weeks off is considered a “very long” time by managers and the like. Here’s a tip, if you’re an expat who’s looking to move to a country that will support your penchant for travel, Portugal’s your place. All up you get 35 paid days off a year.

All of the countries listed above, and a bunch more have legislated time-off. That means employers must give you a certain number of paid days off, or they’re breaking the law. The US has no such legislation – or at least none that I’ve been able to find.

If you’re working in the US and you have paid vacation days written into your contract, congratulations! Your employer’s doing that off their own back – there’s nothing forcing them to give that to you.Except maybe common sense.

I don’t know of many people who are able to give their 100 per cent best effort to work every day of the year without sufficient downtime. We’re all human, we need some relatively stress-free time with family, friends and to relax. Then we’ll come back to work feeling refreshed and ready to work hard.

Now keep your fingers crossed for me and my vacation time. I really want to visit Australia. Cherry Ripes don’t just appear out of thin air you know.

Paid vacation | Paid holidays | work in the US | vacation | holidays | Aussie | Expat | Aussie Expat in US | expat life
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