Today, many workers at the nation’s largest retail stores, including Walmart and Target, will have to go to work instead of spending the entirety of the Thanksgiving holiday with their families. Many retailers have decided that Black Friday, the biggest retail day of the year, now needs to start on Thursday, despite workers complaints.
Having to miss special occasions and holidays is an all-too-real phenomenon for many of America’s workers, as the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not mandate vacation time. As the Center for Economic and Policy Research found:
European countries establish legal rights to at least 20 days of paid vacation per year, with legal requirement of 25 and even 30 or more days in some countries. Australia and New Zealand both require employers to grant at least 20 vacation days per year; Canada and Japan mandate at least 10 paid days off. The gap between paid time off in the United States and the rest of the world is even larger if we include legally mandated paid holidays, where the United States offers none, but most of the rest of the world’s rich countries offer between five and 13 paid holidays per year.
In the absence of government standards, almost one in four Americans have no paid vacation and no paid holidays. According to government survey data, the average worker in the private sector in the United States receives only about nine days of paid vacation and about six paid holidays per year: less than the minimum legal standard set in the rest of world’s rich economies excluding Japan (which guarantees only 10 paid vacation days and requires no paid holidays).