Why do Swedes have the longest vacation time?

Longest Vacation Time

Vacation in Sweden is something phenomenal. Local residents have 41 paid days annually. The country takes the lead on a global scale.

Nearly two months of the year in total

For many employed workers around the world 41 paid vacation days may sound glorious, but it is only a humble minimum for Swedes. In fact, legally they can be out of office around 2 months of the year. It is calculated with possible absences regarding personal matters, grief leave, public holidays and even a day off when you’re moving house.  

However, the country keeps breaking down the standards: after taking the first 20 holiday days, Swedes are allowed to save remaining time up to five years. In addition, employers are responsible to inform their employees about their vacation situation in order to use it before those days are lost.

The state of efficiency

Probably most of people would assume that this situation would create a negative impact where negative results would be seen in the long run. On the contrary! Long vacation times lead to higher performance in both the local and international economy. The facts speak for themselves: in 2017 Forbes magazine has named Sweden the best country for business. Moreover, the startup ecosystem in Stockholm benefits from one of the highest levels of investment, which makes Sweden second only to Silicon Valley. Undoubtedly, they are definitely the leaders in Europe. 

The change in habits

Typically, Swedes used to take all their vacation days at once in the summer and normally business there would stop in July. But nowadays the habit is changing. People prefer to split their days: summer is still the most popular choice to take some time off, and the rest is taken here and there during the year.

What is the reason for this law?

It seems this case is related to local tradition. Sweden is well known for its forward-looking labour rights. The increase in vacation time was done quite a while ago – in the early 20th century when workers’ rights were brought into force. Their Annual Leave Act ensures the right to the statutory amount of leave based on their terms of employment, and it is illegal to make employment contracts without holiday time inclusion. 

Additionally, Swedes noticed that longer vacation time positively affects their productivity. A long good rest refreshes the employee who comes back to the office recharged and motivated to put in more effort. 

Did you know

Some studies claim that Europeans have the highest amount of annual days of paid leave which makes them the most vacation-priveleged. After all, nobody is complaining about having vacation time.


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