UK is second worst for bank holidays

seeing as there's heavy shower...

A new study has revealed that the UK is a haven for workaholics. For those of us who like a bit of life in our work/life balance, however, it's the second worst place in the world - because we are almost bottom of the pile when it comes to public holidays.

Consultants at Mercer have revealed that in this country we get just 8 days a year. We share this miserable number of days off with the Netherlands and Hungary, and only Mexico has fewer public holidays - at 7. Compare this to India and Columbia where they have 18, or Argentina or Chile with 15. Even Brazil has 12.

Western Europe generally fares relatively poorly. Finland bucks the trend with 15, Spain manages 14, Austria 12, and Sweden, Italy, France and Denmark all have 11. The picture in Germany varies between states, so some have nine and others have up to 13.

Fewer public holidays are associated with more flexibility and more productivity, so we can expect the number of public holidays worldwide to fall over time. In Portugal, for example, four of the 14 holidays were recently suspended in an effort to boost productivity and improve the company's reputation among investors.

Conversely in the UK there has been talk in recent years about a new Bank Holidays, especially after 2011 and 2012, when an extra day was granted for the Royal Wedding and then the Diamond Jubilee. However, most recently, when the coalition considered marking a new Bank Holiday in October, the plan was to replace May Day - which would have done nothing to improve the total.

Is this fair?
The small consolation is the fact that in countries where there are fewer public holidays, governments and companies tend to make up for it by offering a more generous holiday allowance. Ellyn Karetnick, Leader of Mercer's Global Mobility Practice in the UK explains: "A smaller statutory holiday allowance provided to nationals is often offset by a more substantial provision of public holidays and vice versa, for example the Philippines has a statutory minimum holiday entitlement of five days but has 14 days of public holiday."

And if that's not enough, you could cheer yourself up with the fact that things could be worse. The situation in the US is somewhat strange in that there are 10 holidays, but employers don't have to allow their employees the day off: so you could be spending every bank holiday at your desk. Alternatively consider Norway and Sweden, where Christmas Eve and New Year's Day are not public holidays.

But what do you think? Do you have enough holiday?

Bank holiday infographic

Top countries
India 18
Colombia 18
Thailand 16
Lebanon 16
South Korea 16
Japan 15
Argentina 15
Chile 15
Finland 15
Turkey 14.5

Bottom countries
Mexico 7
UK 8
Hungary 8
Netherlands 8
Serbia 9
Switzerland 9
Ireland 9
Germany 9
United Arab Emirates 9
Puerto Rico 9
Ecuador 9
Bolivia 9
Australia 9
Romania 9

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