Photograph by Lars Tunbjörk/Agence VU/Redux         Pictured: Civic administration, Tokyo, from the Swedish photographer’s iconic long-term documentary series, Office, on the color and rituals of modern work life. He passed away earlier this year at the age of 59.

America is unique among Western nations in that our federal government promises no paid leave to workers. As in our health care system, Americans rely on a patchwork of individual employer policies for their time off, and many are left with no alternative but to work or lose their job. Only 11% of private-sector workers are covered by paid leave policies at their companies, and California, Rhode Island and New Jersey are the only states to guarantee paid leave to workers.

 

This state of affairs is finally coming under scrutiny in the current election cycle, as presidential candidates from Bernie Sanders to Carly Fiorina have weighed in on the issue. Recently, cities like New York have passed their own laws guaranteeing sick leave to workers. But a little research shows the U.S. is still far behind the rest of the world in terms of what we promise our workers. 

Hopes&Fears gathered information on the paid leave, whether for vacation, state holidays, illness or parental leave, legally guaranteed to workers in cities around the world. 

Note: These numbers represent PAID leave only. Many of these categories can be extended with unpaid leave. The percentage of wages paid for sick leave and parental leave varies, and we have noted that when applicable. In countries like Mexico, up to 60% of workers are not part of the "formal economy", so though paid leave laws exist, they can not benefit from them. Where listed, "weeks" refer to five days.

 

 

New York City

New York

USA

How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 1.

Vacation days: 0. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave or federal or other holidays. These benefits are arranged as a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee.

Paid holidays: 0. The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that almost 1-in-4 Americans do not receive any paid vacation or paid holidays.

Sick leave: Up to 5 days (40 hours). NYC law requires that employees in the city earn paid sick time at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. If a business has more than 15 employees, workers can accrue up to 40 hours (five days) of paid sick leave per year.

Parental leave: 0. A Better Balance, a New York-based legal advocacy group, found that only 11% of private sector workers in the U.S. have access to paid family leave.

 

 

Los Angeles

California

USA

How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 2.

Vacation days: 0

Paid holidays:

Sick leave: As of 2014, employees who work at least 30 days a year will be able to take three days of paid leave per year after a 90-day employment period with that company.

Parental leave: 0.  Out of 185 countries, the International Labor Organization found that the only two countries to not mandate paid maternity leave were the United States and Papua New Guinea.

 

 

Reykjavik

Iceland

 How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 3.

Vacation days: 24

Paid holidays: 12

Sick leave: 2 per month, and 1 full month after one year of employment.

Parental leave: 3 months for each parent and 3 extra months which can be taken by either, totaling 9 months. (Paid 80%.)

 

 

Copenhagen

Denmark

 How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 4.

Vacation days: 25

Paid holidays: 16

Sick leave: The first sick day is usually not paid. After that, 80% of the income is paid for 364 days and 75% for a maximum of 550 days.

Parental leave: 52 weeks of leave total. Mothers can take 4 weeks of leave before the birth of their child, and 14 weeks after the birth. Fathers can take 2 weeks after the birth of their child. An additional 32 weeks can be split among the two. It is not mandatory for leave to be paid at a full salary.

 

 

Melbourne

Australia

 How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 5.

Vacation days: 20

Paid holidays: 14

Sick leave: 10 days, plus 2 additional days for an illness of a family member.

Parental leave: Mothers are entitled to 18 weeks paid at national minimum wage. Fathers (or same sex partners) can take 2 weeks leave paid at the national minimum wage.

 

 

London

England

 How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 6.

Vacation days: 20

Paid holidays: 8

Sick leave: After three days of illness employees are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay of £88.45 a week for up to 28 weeks.

Parental leave: Mothers are entitled to paid leave up to 39 weeks. They are paid 90% of their average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks and £139.58 (or 90% of their average weekly earnings, if lower) for the 33 weeks after. Fathers may take 2 weeks of paid leave, paid at £139.58, or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

 

 

Mexico City

Mexico

 How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 7.

Vacation days: 6 days (after one year of employment). 

Paid holidays: 7

Sick leave:

Parental leave: Mothers get six weeks paid leave before and after the birth of their child. Fathers get one week (five days) of fully paid paternity leave.

 

 

Beijing

China

 How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 8.

Vacation days: 5

Paid holidays: 12

Sick leave: 3 months after one year of employment, up to 24 months after additional time working for the same company. Wages are paid between 60-100% depending on seniority and length of leave.

Parental leave: Mothers get 14 weeks (98 days)

 

 

Cape Town

South Africa

 How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 9.

Vacation days: 15

Paid holidays: 12

Sick leave: Over three years, workers may take the number of days they work over a six-week period. For example, for someone who works 5 days a week, that would equal 30 days of sick leave over three years. For the first six months of a job, a worker can take 1 day for every 26 days worked.

Parental leave: Mothers may take off one month before their birth and two months after, for a total of three months. Fathers who have worked at a company for more than four months are eligible for three days of paternity leave.

 

 

Tokyo

Japan

 How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 10.

Vacation days: 10 after six months at a job up to 20 after six years.

Paid holidays: 0

Sick leave: 0

Parental leave: Mothers get 6 weeks prior to their child's birth and 8 weeks after. Mothers are paid 2/3rds of their regular salary while on leave.

 

 

Moscow

Russia

 How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 11.

Vacation days: 20

Paid holidays: 12

Sick leave: First three days paid by the employer. After that, the government pays based on the seniority of the worker, between 60% and 100%

Parental leave: Mothers are entitled to 70 days of paid leave (84 for multiple pregnancies). Fathers are only granted paternity leave in the absence of the mother.

 

 

Mumbai

India

 How much paid leave do people get in cities around the world?. Image 12.

Vacation days: 12

Paid holidays: 15

Sick leave: 15 days a year

Parental leave: Mothers get 12 weeks, fathers get 15 days. A woman can receive six weeks of paid maternity leave in the event of a miscarriage or medical termination of a pregnancy. 

 

 

Sources: New York City: 1, 2, 3, 4 Los Angeles: 1, 2, 3, 4 Reykjavik: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Copenhagen: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Melbourne: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 London: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Mexico City: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Beijing: 1, 2, 3, 4 Cape Town: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Tokyo: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Moscow: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Mumbai: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Additional reporting by Kelsey Lawrence