Five weeks. Let’s just get that out of the way at the very beginning. Austrians get FIVE WEEKS OF VACATION by law. That’s vacation. Paid. No funny-math-calculated HR schemes that combine sick days with holidays plus fire drills or whatever days. Nope. 5 weeks off.
Recovered from that shock? Good. Here’s the next doozy.
That doesn’t include the public holidays.
As a historically Catholic country, Austria has lots of saint days and other important church events that need to be solemnly remembered without the drone of copy machines and the buzz of Outlook reminders to cloud the experience. So how many public holidays are there per year here? 13.5 — plus a day extra for certain religious groups.
So someone working 5 days a week, is entitled to 25 vacation days + 13.5 public holidays = a whopping 38.5 days off a year. Who wouldn’t be inspired to climb every mountain and ford every stream?
So perhaps think again before you angle that computer cam to reflect the shine of those ice-cubes floating in your sweet tea and the slight lifting of your bangs gently fluttering back and forth from the air vent showering a cool breeze over your cubicle. Sure it might be fun to torture those European project partners and American friends dripping and melting abroad without air con. But next week, and perhaps the week after that, and maybe the week after that and perhaps another week in October and maybe a skiing week in February, they could be laying under palm trees, dining on Moussaka, sipping some Tuscany out of a bottle and hitting the fresh powdery slopes, while you, my dear, cool, air-conditioned friend, are chained to the grinding stone in the only advanced economy in the world that does not require paid vacation time.
Yep, Mother Abbess gave good advice. Climb every mountain and ford every stream. Because whether you are Maria strumming on your guitar in an abbey in Salzburg, or Buttercup lazing in your cafe (no wait, she’s in Costa Rica) or Mario stocking Billa shelves in Vienna’s 10th district, Austria has made sure you’d have the time off to follow every rainbow until you find your dreams.
Forbes’s Article about US’s Disappearing Vacation Days
For more cute animal photos from my vacation following my dream to meet Buttercup – check out my Facebook page.