According to a report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the average American working in the private sector receives about 10 days of paid vacation and six paid holidays per year, numbers that would fail to meet the minimum amount required by law in 19 other rich countries analyzed for the report.

The only countries included in the study whose average vacation times are comparable to the United States are Japan and Canada, which guarantee only 10 paid vacation days and no paid holidays, and 10 days paid vacation and nine paid holidays respectively.

The United States currently does not require companies to provide any paid vacations or holidays. According to the report, the lack of legislation has left 23 percent of Americans with no paid vacation or holidays.

Many European countries included in the report have legislation guaranteeing at least 20 days of paid vacation per year. In fact, some countries require employers to guarantee up to 30 days with employee compensation.

Another element of the current American vacation policy the center explored was unequal distribution among companies that offer paid holidays and vacation time.

Merely 49 percent of full-time low-wage workers have paid vacation, a far cry from the 90 percent of high-wage workers that do.

The report reviews data on statutory requirements for paid vacations and paid holidays in 21 wealthy countries.

JJ Feinauer is a graduate of Southern Virginia University and an intern for the Moneywise page on Email:, Twitter: @johnorjj.