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Annual leave is paid time off granted by employers to employees to be used for whatever the employee wishes. Depending on the employer's policies, differing number of days may be offered, and the employee may be required to give a certain amount of advance notice, may have to coordinate with the employer to be sure that staffing is adequately covered during the employee's absence, and other requirements may have to be met. It is considered a benefit for the employees.

Employment issues

Most countries around the world have labor laws that mandate employers give a certain number of paid time-off days per year to workers. Nearly all Canadian provinces require at least two weeks, while in most of Europe the minimum is higher. US Where law does not mandate vacation time, many employers nonetheless offer paid vacation, typically 10 to 20 work days, to attract employees. Under US federal law, employers usually must compensate terminated employees for accrued but unused vacation time. Additionally, most American employers provide paid days off for national holidays, such as Christmas, New Years, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.

While US federal and most state law provides for leave such as medical leave, there are movements attempting to remove vacation time as a factor in the free-market labor pool by requiring mandatory vacation time.

Countries (such as the United Kingdommarker and Denmarkmarker) or particular companies may mandate summer holidays in specific periods. These present issues to parents planning vacations, since holiday companies charge higher prices, and parents have an incentive to use their work vacation time in term time.


  1. US law does not require employers to grant any vacation or holidays, and about 25% of all employees receive no vacation time or holidays No-Vacation Nation. Many US State and local governments require a minimum number of days off. For employees that do receive vacation, 10 working days with 8 national holidays is fairly standard. Members of the US Armed Services earn 30 vacation days a year, not including national holidays.

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