International Work and Leisure Statistics

Color Coding Key
GREEN Ranked 1st for statistic
RED Ranked last for statistic

The United States ranks last among countries compared in vacation days per year, leave many vacation days untaken, and work the most hours per year, while the French are clearly the best rested.

  Total Paid Work
(in min/day)
Total Unpaid Work
(in min/day)
Days of paid vacation Percent of vacation days not taken Hours worked per year Time for leisure and personal care Work-life balance
Women Men Women Men
Australia 128 248 311 172 20 25 1,728 14.41 6.6
Canada 180 255 257 170 15 0 1,710 14.25 7.5
Denmark 147 211 243 186 25 0 1,546 16.06 9.8
France 126 199 234 148 30 0 1,479 15.33 8.2
Germany 134 222 269 164 30 7 1,397 15.31 8.6
Italy 103 223 305 108 28 29 1,752 14.89 8.2
Japan 165 330 254 77 13 62 1,745 13.96 4.1
Netherlands 146 279 254 133 28 4 1,381 15.66 9.5
Norway 181 250 230 180 25 33 1,420 15.56 9.1
Sweden 201 245 240 194 25 0 1,621 15.11 8.8
United Kingdom 145 233 232 131 25 0 1,654 14.83 7.3
United States 166 252 252 163 12 17 1,790 14.27 6.7


Work time includes compensated market or earning activities and non-market work like cooking, cleaning, and child care. Non-work time includes categories like free time and personal care. Market-oriented production activities are defined by the UN System of National Accounts. Time allocation is based on the average day of the year for population aged 20 to 74. Travel time is usually included with the activity.

View HDR

UN Development Programme (web version), Human Development Report 2015. The year(s) that the data is coming from are listed below. This section of the chart is in minutes per day.

  • Australia 2006
  • Canada 2010
  • France 2010
  • Germany 2001-02
  • Italy 2008-09
  • Japan 2011
  • Netherlands 2005-06
  • Norway 2010
  • Sweden 2010-11
  • U.K. 2005
  • U.S. 2013.

For previous UN Development Program Human Development Reports, check here.

Market activities as a percent of work time View Graphical Data

Free time View Graphical Data

View Expedia travel statistics - 2012 International Vacation Deprivation™ Survey. Results, for 2012; Sweden: see Colwell below.

Days of paid vacation View Graphical Data

Percent of vacation days not taken View Graphical Data

View OECD statistics

Hours worked per year View Graphical Data

Average hours worked per person per year, for 2009; UK for 2008; Australia, Italy, Norway, and Sweden for 2006.

Time for leisure and personal care View Graphical Data

Average number of minutes full time employees spends per day on leisure activities or personal care, for most recent year (1999-2010).

View Better Life IndexView Graphical Data

Scores for Work-life balance, based on several indicators as decribed in the link above. For 2013.


Leisure Activities in 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics

American Time Use Summary, June 2015

Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time (3.05 hrs/day for men, 2.61 hrs/day for women), accounting for more than half of leisure time, on average, for those age 15 and over.

Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for 43 minutes per day.

"The Crazy Progress of the Movement for Paid Sick Days"

Bryce Covert & Dylan Petrohilos, September 2014, ThinkProgress

  • Still the only developed nation in the world that does not require some form of paid sick leave.
  • 15 laws have been passed at the state and local levels starting with San Francisco in 2006.
  • Paid sick leave allows workers stay at home when sick which may reduce flu transmissions by as much as 11 percent.
  • Paid sick leave hasn't been found to hurt economies, and in fact many cities have outperformed after their laws were enacted.

"Contagion Nation: A Comparison of Paid Sick Day Policies in 22 Nations," (pdf) Jody Heymann, Hye Jin Rho, John Schmitt, Alison Earle

Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2009

"The United States is the only country of the 22 studied here that has no legal provisions for paid sick days or leave of some form."

  • U.S. is the only country that does not provide paid sick leave for a worker undergoing a 50-day cancer treatment
  • is 1 of only 3 countries that does not provide paid sick days for a worker missing 5 days of work due to the flu

"French Family Values," Paul Krugman

New York Times, July 29th, 2005

  • GDP per hour worked higher than U.S.
  • unemployment averages 4 percent pts. higher
  • lower disposable income
  • lower personal consumption
  • government regulations dictate the short work weeks
  • people spend more time with family

"A nation with no vacation," Eric Leser

Le Monde, June 29, 2007, based on Center for Economic and Policy and Research (CEPR):

  • US has lowest number of vacation days of ALL developed countries, due in part to no law requiring paid leave
  • U.S.- 1/4 of private sector have no right to any vacation
  • Expedia: 1/3 of Americans do not take the 14 days annual paid leave they are on average entitled to.
  • Almost 1/4 of those taking vacation stay in touch with their company by email or voicemail.

"Why Working Less is Better for Globe," Dara Colwell, May 21, 2007:

  • Americans work more than anyone else in the industrialized world: Sierra Club
  • U.S. - world's largest polluter, 22 percent of fossil fuel consumption, 50 percent of solid waste: CEPR
  • France - greater productivity per person than U.S., $37.01 GDP per hour (U.S. $33.77)
  • US is only industrialized nation with no legal protection for vacations.


Average time spent watching TV per person per day

News as a percent of total TV programming