Last week the NZ Herald ran a story on annual leave entitlements in NZ and in other countries. I went digging and found some more information on the OECD situation in a 2007 European Economic and Employment Policy Brief.
The minimum annual leave entitlement in NZ is 4 weeks a year. This can be negotiated up (just as I presume it can be in most other OECD countries). We have another 7 paid public holidays per year plus up to another 4 days depending on which day they fall on that year. Somehow it still doesn't seem like anywhere near enough. We also have paid sick leave provisions – about 10 days a year is average I believe.
Switzerland, Ireland, Australia, Italy and the UK all appear to have a 4 week minimum much like NZ. This seems to be around the standard.
In France the minimum legal entitlement is 6 weeks but this increases if you work more than the legal 35 hours per week. 35 hours? Yes you read right, that’s all you’re supposed to work each week in France. If you work 40+ hours a week you could end up with up to 7 weeks of annual leave a year. The Scandinavians have a 5 week minimum.
The big difference seems to be the cumulative total of annual leave days plus statutory paid holidays and on this scale, NZ and Australia fall below mid point in the range. At the other end of the scale I was surprised to find there is no legal minimum of paid annual leave or public holidays in the United States. I am guessing that even super human Americans need a holiday periodically so I assume it is just managed in a different way. I am interested to know how it works there if anyone can be bothered sharing.