Are we less competitive in Spain for having a month of vacation?  This is how holidays in other countries are regulated

“Having a month’s vacation in this country is outrageous”. The phrase is from the journalist Paco Marhuenda, who in a debate on the topic of the dangers of working too much on the show Liarla Pardo (The Sixth), made a plea against the holidays. “This is how Spain is not very competitive, but cheer up champions, “he said.

In our country, although the exact duration of the vacation is normally established in the collective agreement or through an agreement with the company, the status of workers, in its article 38, states that “in no case will the duration be less than thirty calendar days” -22 working days- and that they must be paid. This means that each worker enjoys at least 2.5 days per month worked.

Marhuenda has directly related the fact of having 30 days of vacation with the economic competitiveness of the country. Are we less competitive in Spain for having a month of vacation?

“That statement lacks much rigor. It is incorrect, “he says. Josep Lladós, professor of Economics and Business Studies at the UOC (Open University of Catalonia). “The problem of competitiveness of the Spanish economy is a productivity issue, of the value that we are capable of creating “, affirms Lladós, who emphasizes that” we do not have more vacations than our main commercial partners, which are EU countries “.

The problem of the Spanish economy is one of productivity, of the value that we are capable of creating “

“Our effective working hours are the same or more than in France or Germany. Our problem is productivity. We have less innovative, less recognized products. Decisions, therefore, are made in other countries and that has a cost “, explains this economic expert before listing the main problems that hinder competitiveness:” A low rate of employability, a production model with a high dependence on construction and tourism, temporary contracts, the lack of innovation capacity of companies … “.” more training, more education, more technology and more science“, resume.

For Lladós, the mirror where Spain has to look at itself is “Germany and the Nordic countries” and not so much China or United States, “reference countries in social protection and the Welfare State”, ironizes.

This UOC professor believes that our country now has a unique opportunity to “digitally transform” and modernize its economy and make it more competitive if it invests well in the 140,000 million euros that you will receive from the Next Generation program of the European Union (EU) to boost economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis.

France and Finland, up to 30 business days off

According to a study prepared by and Universia, France and Finland are the countries in the world that offer the most paid annual vacations to their workers, with a 30 working days average, which would be equivalent to 42 calendar days (counting weekends)

In general, European employees have the most paid vacations and those from countries such as United Kingdom (28 business days), Italy (26), Denmark, Austria, Sweden and Slovakia (25). Germany and the Netherlands (24), Portugal (22) and Norway (21) are also above 20 business days.

Among the countries of the old continent with fewer annual vacation days are Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Cyprus, Ireland, Lithuania, Ireland and Macedonia, all with an average of 20.

China: five days of non-compulsory vacation

On the opposite side, among the countries analyzed that offer fewer days off to their workers are economic powers such as China, the United States and Japan.

The People’s Republic of China, where holidays are not mandatory, offers only five working days of rest to its workers, while in the United States and Japan the average rest period is 10 business days.


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