Your holidays could be a week longer if you worked in the UK - but a week shorter in the US.

An international survey has put New Zealand in the middle of the pack for the number of public holidays and mandatory annual leave for workers, though Kiwis seem to nonetheless be accumulating days owed rather than taking all their holidays.

The total number of days off a year range from 38 working days - or more than seven weeks - in Austria and Malta down to 19 in Canada.

New Zealand has 31, counting four weeks of annual leave and 11 public holidays.


It is tied for 32nd out of 62 countries, alongside Italy, Lebanon, Norway and the United Arab Emirates, and behind most other European countries.

The company that did the survey, Mercer, said employees in New Zealand had among the highest levels of statutory holiday entitlement in the Asia Pacific.

The country has double the entitlements of China and also beats the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Employers and Manufacturers Association advisory services manager David Lowe said there was no need for more holidays.

"People tend to take a couple of weeks off during Christmas and another during the year, and there's still quite a bit of annual leave that never gets taken," Mr Lowe said.

An EMA survey from November found workers were owed an average of 20.6 days leave - more than a year's entitlement.

This was up from 16.6 in October last year. The unused leave counts as liabilities on companies' balance sheets.

First Union retail spokeswoman Maxine Gay said there was a trend since the recession for workers to feel they could not take their leave.


"At almost every enterprise the one thing you're getting from workers at the moment is concern about workload - employers haven't really replaced people who've left," Ms Gay said.

"So even when you do put in a leave application, you don't always get leave, and workers are very conscious of putting the load on their workmates - it's not that they don't want to go on holiday."

National secretary Robert Reid said there was no push to have more annual leave but many countries offered extra pay during workers' leave to let them go on holidays.

"What we're noticing is many of our members are almost scared to take the leave because of the very low wages that they're on.

"It covers only the bills for the week. I would like to see negotiated an extra payment so workers can afford both to have the leave and take a holiday," he said.

(statutory holiday entitlement+public holidays, in working days)


Austria 38 days
United Kingdom 36 days
New Zealand 31 days
Australia 30 days
United States 25 days (including vacation time)
Canada 19 days