Magazine article Personnel Journal

Vacations in Europe and America-Who's Ahead?

Magazine article Personnel Journal

Vacations in Europe and America-Who's Ahead?

Article excerpt

Petra Siemens is an English teacher in Berlin. As an educator, she's entitled to approximately 12 weeks of vacation time-scattered throughout the year. Her husband, Hero, is a construction engineer who receives five weeks (six working days per week) each year. Their paid leaves-for their respective professions-are normal by some European standards.

Over the years, both of them have followed their wanderlust dreams-to the United States, India, Spain, France, Italy, Kenya and Hong Kong. This August, the couple will arrive in California-launching a year-long sabbatical that will take them through the United States, Canada, the South Pacific, Laos and Indonesia. "For seven years, I was able to [deduct and bank] one-seventh of my pay and save it for this year off," says Petra Siemens. "Berlin is the only [German] city that established this for its teachers about eight years ago," she says. Her husband, however, had to quit his firm in order to join her. But he's confident he can resume his profession when they return.

Although some European countries, such as Germany, have been known to allow longer paid vacation time-largely due to stronger unions after World War II-some analysts say such practices may not be advantageous in the global marketplace. "Maybe they [the policies] were too generous. The trend toward that structure reached its limit a long time ago," says Mark O'Reilly of Buck Consulting Group in Secaucus, New Jersey.

"There's more appreciation for freer job-market services. …

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