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How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: Stavs
Date: January 03, 2006 07:44AM
Over the years I've heard things about Europeans getting all sorts of vacation time from work. I was wathcing "The Corporation" (I think it was that) and it mentioned someone had 3 months of vacation a year. Why do they get so much vacation there and we get so little? Also is this paid vacation?

Stavs
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: iaJim
Date: January 03, 2006 07:57AM
Europeans seem to value travel, and therefore the vacation is an important part of their lives. American's don't seem to value travel as much, and would rather fill time working so they can make more money. Vacation doesn't seem as important to Americans, so they don't bargain to get it; rather they bargain for more money. That's my take on it.
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: SteveJobs
Date: January 03, 2006 08:08AM
I beg to differ that Americans don't value vacation.
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: mjgkramer
Date: January 03, 2006 08:16AM
I worked in the Netherlands from 1996 through 1998 first for the NAM (Nederlands Aardolie Maatschappij - the Shell/Exxon oil and gas producing company) in Schiedam and then for Shell International in the labs at Rijswijk. Although most if not all of the folks at Shell and the NAM worked full 40 hour work weeks, it was very common for the Dutch to work only 32 hour weeks. The Dutch people also got a minimum of a month of paid "vakantie" plus other perks such as a free train/tram pass for commuting from from wherever they lived to and from work. It was also very common for people both at Shell and elsewhere to have assigned cars which could be used for both personal use and commuting as well as business. At Shell/NAM lunch was served in heavily subsidized cafeterias.

In spite of the liberal vacation times and cheap lunches, there was apparently a problem with absenteeism, at least at Shell. Whenever you were ill, it was required that you call the medical officer at the office each day to report your health status. There were printed rules for absence due to illness, including such things as you could not leave the house except to see a doctor, you must remain inside the house not in the garden or on a balcony, etc. You also had to have a slip from your doctor proving you were suitably ill before you could return to work.

Then there was the tax issue. The Dutch are bled to death with taxes on everything. All purchases have a BTW (value added) tax of 17.5%. Income is taxed at 40% to 60%. The annual registration for our Land Rover Discovery cost $1200 and would have been higher if it had been diesel rather than petrol. Gasoline was $4.50 or so per gallon mainly due to taxes. I understand it is around $7 a gallon now. There is an a television/radio tax of $100 or so. We also had to pay an apartment tax and there was one for maintaining the sea walls and dikes. There were other taxes that I no longer recall.

I'll take the good old US with its short vacations any day.
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: elmo3
Date: January 03, 2006 08:28AM
mjgkramer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In spite of the liberal vacation times and cheap
> lunches, there was apparently a problem with
> absenteeism, at least at Shell. Whenever you were
> ill, it was required that you call the medical
> officer at the office each day to report your
> health status. There were printed rules for
> absence due to illness, including such things as
> you could not leave the house except to see a
> doctor, you must remain inside the house not in
> the garden or on a balcony, etc. You also had to
> have a slip from your doctor proving you were
> suitably ill before you could return to work.

So, some (many) immature adults abused the system, and therefore ALL adults are treated like 10 year olds who are trying to stay home from school.

I mean, come on--we got that kind of treatment from our mothers when we were kids. "If you're too sick to go to school, you're too sick to go anywhere else or do anything fun."
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: Patroklos
Date: January 03, 2006 08:43AM
mjgkramer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'll take the good old US with its short vacations
> any day.

Just curious - did you feel you had a lower standard of living with all the taxes, or was it a case of preferring the freedom in the US of making some of those economic choices personally, rather than having them be dictated by the government system?



-------------------------------------------------------
"We live in a fast-moving society, with short memories."
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: January 03, 2006 08:52AM
that standard of living was just fine here (as was the growth rate) when the top bracket was 90% - so trickle-down may have its benefits, but I wonder about the real rate of revenue growth (and its source) between 1955 and 2005, and how that graph has changed.

As for the vacation itself - you need the vacation when you are airing and submersed in all the pheromones from your coworkers.

See thread a few above.
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: wurm
Date: January 03, 2006 08:59AM
Guess I know where my mind is. I thought the subject line said:How Come Europeans Get So Much On Vacation.
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: January 03, 2006 09:00AM
That's because that is only where your MIND is, instead of your POST.
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: January 03, 2006 09:06AM
Europeans don't have the Puritan Work Ethic haunting them. "Good" people would rather work than play, "bad" people are sloths who want excessive vacation time.
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: SteveJobs
Date: January 03, 2006 09:24AM
I'm glad we have Stevie to set us straight on all this.
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: January 03, 2006 09:41AM
I wonder how many of us hard working folks are posting here on the company dime :-)



Ha Ha - self excluded as I am self employed and always at work !



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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: January 03, 2006 09:44AM
Does running an unemployment/disability scam count as "company dime?"
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Re: How Come Europeans Get So Much Vacation?
Posted by: martinbc
Date: January 04, 2006 09:37AM
I am European ...... from Denmark to be exact. Let me tell you that no person in the EU get 3 months of paid vacation. In Denmark we get almost 6 weeks of paid vacation. In some countries you get a little bit more, and others less. Generally around 5-6 weeks.

If you wan't more vacation, you have to pay for it.

I have lived 12 years in Los Angeles, and people worked like dogs. No vacation, because the focus was different. You want to show of your big house and your many (European) cars. I saw a lot people living in a "prison" because they were afraid of gettin sick or fired from work. They lived to close to being bankrupt. And don't get me started about the American version of "freedom".

In Nothern Europe the focus is generally different .... you want to work a little bit less (37 hours a week), have more time with your kids, and vacate more. You want your kids to have a good public education, and not worry about getting sick and not be able to pay the bill. Hence the taxes is higher. But you live a better life in my opinion.

Anyway, that was my 2 cents..........

Martin



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2006 09:39AM by martinbc.
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