Holiday Schedules In Different Countries: VA’s Help

There are a lot of myths about working schedules in different countries. In some countries, employees are considered to be more hardworking, than people in other countries, while others even practice flexible working weeks. VAfromEurope works with companies from many countries all over the world and different time zones, that is why we decided to do some investigation into the working hours and weekly schedule of the employees abroad. Let’s take a look at the working schedule across the world.

The United States of America

The USA is actually the only country where US Federal Law does not require a paid leave or vacation at all. But it does not mean that Americans do not rest. On average workers get between 7.6 – 10 days of paid leave after a year of working whining the company. Additionally, the US workers may be offered 8 days of paid holiday (New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Friday after Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day).

In the private sector, some companies are more flexible with their working hours. They sometimes add 6-7 days to a paid holiday schedule (President’s Day, Good Friday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday, Veteran’s Day, Columbus Day, and/or Christmas / New Year’s Eve). The Federal paid holidays in the USA are New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Columbus Day, Christmas Day, Veterans Day.

The US Federal Law does not require either a paid parental leave or paid sick leaves at all.

Full-time female employees in the US work an average 8.33 hours a day, and male employees work up to 9.09 hours. On average a working week comprises 40.5 hours per week. But this year more and more companies in the USA and Canada are testing a 4-day week from April 1 through September to prevent professional burnout and improve work-life balance. Some companies even acquired this model on a regular basis.


Canada is not that ‘ruthless’ in this respect. Employees in Canada are entitled to at least two weeks of paid vacations after a year of working with the same employer. After 5 years of consecutive work with the same employer, a paid vacation increases to 3 weeks, after 10 years – to four weeks.

Canadian employees usually get 10 days of paid holiday a year though provinces differ from each other. The following days are determined by the Canadian Law as paid holidays: New Year, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labor Day, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day.

Some companies offer between 2 to 6 extra days off. Some companies can even close up for a week between Christmas and the 1st of January.

Employees are entitled to 17 weeks of unpaid maternity/parental leave. It can start 13 weeks before the expected birth or right after it. Employees do not have to take maternity leave if they do not want to.

A standard working week in Canada averages between 37.5 and 40 hours per week, which males 7.5 or 8 hours per day Mon to Fri. Employees have a right to have 30-min of an unpaid break after 5 hours of work. If the worker is supposed to be available during the break it should be paid. Coffee breaks are not mandatory. If they exist, they should be paid.

Some companies in Canada got inspired by the Icelandic experiment and are gradually shifting to a 4-day work week striving for productivity.

The UK

Full-time employees in the UK are entitled to 28 days of paid annual leave. The UK law requires an annual paid leave to stand apart from 8 days of public holidays.

There are 8 public holidays when workers are off: New Year, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day.

Sick leave can last up to 28 weeks paid by the employer. Female employees can get 52 weeks of maternity leave. 2 weeks must be taken after the child is born. 39 weeks out 52 are paid. Fathers can get up to 2 weeks of paid parental leave.

Workers in the UK work 1367 hours per year. By law, a working week comprises 48 hours maximum.


Ireland is a bit different from the UK in terms of Employment Law. Full-time employees are entitled to 20 days of paid vacation minimum. There are 11 days of paid holiday in Ireland.

There are 11 paid public holidays in Ireland: New Year’s Day, First Monday in February, Saint Patrick’s Day, Extra Public Holiday, Easter Monday, First Monday in May, First Monday in June, First Monday in August, Last Monday in October, Christmas Day, Saint Stephen’s Day. Good Friday is not a public holiday.

Female employees can get up to 42 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. Fathers can get up to 2 weeks of paid parental leave. Currently, employees are not supposed to pay employees for their sick days.

An average working week in Ireland comprises 39.1 hours per week. By law, a working week cannot exceed 48 hours.


The employees in Australia are guaranteed 20 days of paid vacation. There are 8 public paid holidays: New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Good Friday, Easter, Anzac Day, Queen’s Birthday Holiday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day.

Some companies in Australia practice compassionate leave of 2 days for each important event.

Employees in Australia get four weeks of paid leave per year. Female employees get up to 12 months of unpaid maternity leave. Employees are also entitled to 10 days of personal leave per year after a year of service.

A working week should not exceed 38 hours.


German employees get 20 days of paid vacation and a year.

Employees are also entitled to 15 days of paid holiday. If the holiday falls on a weekend, it is not celebrated the next day. Those are the public holidays in Germany: New Year, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labor Day, Ascension, Whit Monday, Corpus Christi, Assumption Day, Day of German Unity, Reformation Day, All Saints’ Day, Penance Day, Christmas, St. Stephen’s Day.

Employees can get up to six weeks of paid sick leave. If you are sick for more than six weeks your insurance company takes over your payments. Mothers are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave.

German employees work 1332 hours a year. The average working week in Germany is 34.4 hours a week. This is one of the shortest weeks in Europe. German working week lasts Mon through Friday but cannot legally exceed 48 hours. In 6 to 9 hours working day an employee is supposed to receive 30 min break.


Basically, employees get 25 days of paid vacation. On average employees get 4 weeks of uninterrupted leave in summer.

The official holidays can be divided into Christian and non-Christian. The main Christian holidays are Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost, and All Saints. The non-Christian holidays are New Year’s Day, May Day (Valborg), National Day, and Midsummer. Uniquely celebrated in Sweden is the holiday of Saint Lucia.

In Sweden, if a holiday falls on a weekend, it is not celebrated the next day like in most European countries. But if a holiday falls on Monday or Thursday the employees often get a ‘squeeze day’. It means they get an extra day off between a holiday and a weekend. Closing at noon on a day before a holiday is also a common thing in Sweden.

Seasonal holidays in Sweden often turn into paid holidays when employees are allowed to get an afternoon off with pay.

Female employees can stay on maternity leave until the child is 18 months old. Fathers can get a paternity leave for 10 days after the child is born. An employee can also get a paid 14-day paid sick leave if he is about to work at least for a month more.

A working week in Sweden comprises 39.8 hours per week with an upper limit of 48 hours. Lunch breaks usually last for an hour. Though many companies are now adopting new, more flexible working schedules to improve work-life balance.


Employees get 20 days of paid vacation after a year of service. Employees also enjoy 5 days of paid holiday. There are also plenty of regional holidays that tend to turn into days off.

Most companies practice compassionate leave, which gives you a few days for some important events. If a holiday falls on Monday or Thursday, the employees often get an extra day off between a holiday and a weekend. Closing at noon on a day before a holiday is also a common thing in Switzerland.

Female employees usually get 14 weeks of paid maternity leave. Fathers can get 2 weeks of paternity leave, which makes 10 business days.

An average employee works for 41 hours a week with a maximum of 45 hours Monday through Friday. Smaller companies sometimes experiment with 4-day work weeks, but bigger companies have doubts about it.

All those countries differ in their working schedule. If your business operates on a global market, it means that you need to keep your wheels turning all the time. Being available 24/7 is especially pivotal for companies that provide customer service, etc. If you’ve got customers all over the world, their working and service schedules are drastically different. The only thing that makes them look alike is that a professional VA can back you up and cover those gaps.

Professional, VAs located in Europe, most likely do not celebrate American, Canadian, or Australian holidays and can cater customer service while your employees are getting some rest. What’s more, VAs’ working schedule is entirely up to you, that is why they can cover those ‘Summer Fridays’ and ‘squeeze days’. All in all, professional VAs work, while your employees are having a break.

The benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant are obvious. The main advantage is that holidays schedule and operating hours due to different time zones in counties do not match, which means a VA can easily provide 24/7 service for your business. Don’t you know how it works? Reach out to VAfromEurope and we will make it work.