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We're 'all' going on a summer holiday, say the French

A new study finds the French – along with Spaniards and Brazilians – topping the list of countries with the maximum vacation days taken. But the French also tend to lug their work to the beach.


Every summer, like pilgrims in medieval times, the French religiously troop out of town for their annual vacation. Parts of Paris resemble a ghost town while some of the beaches in southern France cannot accommodate another towel. So, a new study that ranks the French among the world champions of vacations should come as no surprise.

The 2012 Vacation Deprivation Study, which was conducted by Harris Interactive for the Seattle-based, found France, Spain and Brazil topping the list of countries with the maximum vacation days taken.

The first Vacation Deprivation study was commissioned in 2000 to determine the vacation habits of Americans. It has since expanded to include countries in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.

Among a host of vacation behaviour patterns, the study examines not only the amount of holiday workers are entitled to in different countries, but also the vacation days actually taken.

Americans take fewer days off than they’re entitled

This year’s study found the French taking their full 30 days of vacation per year, a record rivalled only by the Spanish and Brazilians. Americans, on the other hand, take a few days less than their 12 or 14-day annual vacation quotas.

So, while German workers are entitled to 30-days of holiday, they typically take 28 days off. The UK offers an annual average of 25 vacation days, all of which are typically taken. Among the European countries surveyed, the Italians tend to sacrifice their vacations, by letting go of an average of eight vacation days per year.

Asian workers not only take the fewest days off, they also work the longest weeks with Korean, Singaporean and Taiwanese workers reporting a median of 44 hour work weeks.

Working on the beach

Among the holiday behaviour patterns examined, the French penchant for taking off all together sometime between July and August was clearly demonstrated in the study, with 75% of the French polled opting for a summer break. Only 12% favoured a spring break.

But while the French are almost religious about availing their vacation rights, they tend to lug their work with them on the beach. More than half the French people polled (53%) said they regularly consult their professional emails on holiday - a proportion much higher than the European average of 30% and the global 42%.

The 2012 study was conducted among 8,687 adults in September-October in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.

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