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Those Lazy Europeans

Comparing vacation days in the US and Europe, Reuters writes "Europe heads to beach, Americans head to work:"
Finland, followed by France, offers working people the most statutory vacation, at more than six weeks per year, the report, an international snapshot of how much paid leave people get by law and in practice in 21 countries, says. The United States is the only country where employees have no statutory leave, and they get about half as much time off in reality as Europeans get, according to the report, compiled by the Washington-based Centre for Economic Policy Research. 'The United States is in a class of its own,' the report says. 'It is the no-vacation nation.'
Liz Ryan writes in Business Week about the vacation customs in France and wrongly assumes that all of Europe is like France:
The Europeans Do It Right: I applaud a whole continent shutting down for a month. The only way we can really shut down and enjoy time off is with our colleagues' help.
All of Europe shutting down for a month? How silly is that? Why do quite a few Americans consider "Europe" synonymous with "France"?
Related: Longer vacations => more happiness?


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Pat Patterson on :

Famously, during the Algerian crisis, de Gaulle said, "l'Algerie Francais" but what he actually said was, "l'Europe Francais." It was simply transcribed incorrectly. That's my version and I'm sticking to it.

Zyme on :

"'The United States is in a class of its own,' the report says. 'It is the no-vacation nation.'" Congratulations! I rather live in a vacation nation though :)

Anonymous on :

Democrats always refer to France instead of Europe when dreaming of the 35 hour work week and longer paid vacations. So the recognition factor is there and it works as a metonomous indicator. Besides, they make movies about France--crazy frogs, even have rats as chiefs...

David on :

"Democrats always refer to France ..." I wonder what foreign reference point the Republicans use as a model. The only thing that comes to mind is Franco Spain.

Pat Patterson on :

Yep, we Republicans like Spain so much we had to hold our breath until Truman exteneded diplomatic recognition in 1951. A mere twelve years after the enlightened actions Labour Party in the UK and Leon Blum's Socialist led Popular Front in France who extended diplomatic recognition Franco's Nationalist Spain. Yikes, we were beaten to the love fest by two socialist parties.

SC on :

"All of Europe shutting down for a month? How silly is that? Why do quite a few Americans consider 'Europe' synonymous with 'France'? JW, I suspect that when Americans do think about the differences between the Continent and the States regarding vacation time and work, it's probably in response to the now traditional summertime stories in the media highlighting the differences. Being something of an extreme case, France is the ready shorthand in these stories for these differences. So, the case of France and the continent as a whole most likely get conflated. After spending several days now painting the exterior of my house, let me tell you, vacations aren't all fun and games. ;)

Javi on :

"all of europe shutting down for a month": Do this person have been recently to "Europe" (or France for that matters)? No country that I know in Europe (I used to live in France, Spain and Sweden, and I know quite a lot of the other ones) is closing during for vacations.. this is quite an "over statement" if I may say so. What usually happens is that people working have different schedules for their holidays, allowing our economy to get on well while on the beach which is quite rewarding actually.

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