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May 22nd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Should paid vacation time be mandatory?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As millions of Americans head into a long weekend and the unofficial start of summer, consider this: About 28 million Americans, that's a quarter of the work force, don't get any paid vacation. Enter Florida Congressman Alan Grayson - who has introduced the Paid Vacation Act.

The bill would require companies with more than 100 employees to give a week of paid vacation to both full-time and part-time workers who've been with the company for a year. Once the law is in effect three years - they'd have to give two weeks of paid time off; and companies with more than 50 employees would have to give one week vacation.

Grayson, a Democrat, says his bill would double the number of paid vacations in the U.S. It's also meant to increase worker productivity by having fewer sick days, and to boost tourism - hey, he's from Florida after all.

Grayson points to other countries where paid vacation is a matter of right. Turns out the U.S. is last among 21 industrial countries when it comes to mandatory vacation time; France requires companies to give 30 days of paid leave.

No surprise that the travel industry is all for this bill; but small business advocates say mandatory vacation time could be a disaster for smaller companies, making it unaffordable for them to do business. Some Republicans are against the idea too, saying: "A one size fits all federal mandate is the wrong medicine in troubled economic times."

Here’s my question to you: Should paid vacation time be mandatory?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Richard from Kansas writes:
No, Jack, let's just keep sticking it to the little guy and hope he never realizes how bad he's getting screwed. After all, if we gave him a vacation, where would it end? Next he'll want a wage he can live on, a safe work place, health care coverage, and some hope of retiring before he drops dead at his work station.

Mike from Syracuse, New York writes:
Jack, Interesting that you mention France. The work rules there are pure socialism. Of course, at the rate Obama is having the government buy up U.S. industry, we're well on that path. Next every worker will have the rights of civil servants and we will collapse under our own inefficiency.

Molly from Texas writes:
It should be, especially with larger companies, universities and government entities. The small businesses should be exempt according to the number of employees.

Nancy from North Carolina writes:
I am a small business owner still struggling to try and get insurance for my employees. That's assuming we can maintain enough business to stay open. Adding a mandatory paid vacation to my already overburdened budget would be the last straw.

Sharon writes:
It should be mandated that businesses give employees some paid vacation. We are not a third world country (yet) and every other Western country realizes the importance of giving people time off. It is good for everyone’s mental health, not to mention the so-called "family values" that the right is always screaming about.

Jonathan from Bridgeport, Connecticut writes:
If Congress and the president are given time off, it's only fair for those who pay their salaries to have the same "luxury."

Kyle writes:
Excellent! A mandatory paid vacation means I can pick up more hours at my second job.


Filed under: Vacation
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. Conor in Chicago

    Yes. If you can't enjoy life without missing a paycheck life is worthless.

    May 22, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  2. Alex in Wisconsin

    From a spoiled American point of view, of course paid vacation should be mandatory. After all, isn't it the American dream to get paid to do nothing productive? Nothing like losing my money in Vegas while making up the difference via paycheck at the same time.
    From a psychological point for view, it depends on the type of job because on the job stress can reduce work efficiency and a paid vacation for a week could actually add 2 or more weeks worth of productivity by the employee.
    From a fiscally responsible point of view, absolutely not. In a recession, employees are getting laid off or taking serious pay cuts. making paid vacations mandatory means more lay off or greater pay cuts to make up the difference in the balance sheet.

    May 22, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  3. Greg in Cabot Arkansas

    Thanks to our slumping economy, we already have mandatory paid vacation, only it's called “Reduction of Force” or lay-off, complete with unemployment compensation. Although, Jack, I don’t think this is what you had in mind.

    May 22, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  4. Kelly

    No! Paid vacation should *not* be mandatory—paid vacation is a perk.

    Kelly,
    Minneapolis

    May 22, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  5. David in Natchez

    What are you asking here Jack? Do mean taking time off should be mandatory or just paying for the time? I sell back some of my vacation time and use the money to fund my vacation.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  6. Ken Brown

    No! This is a perk only. People should however be paid a decent enough wage to be able to afford to save and that includes saving for vacations. Employers attract better candidates for their open positions with perks like "paid vacation" and that's as is should be. I say, it aint broke...don't try to fix it.

    Ken Brown
    St. Louis, Missouri

    May 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  7. Joe Kent Island, MD

    Jack,

    We Americans work more hours, and warehouse our children more than most other industrial countries of the world, the least we can ask for is time with our family without the fear of stretching the budget even thinner.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  8. Jenna

    Should paid vacation time be mandatory?

    Yes.

    But if you are like my husband you still work anyways because it is expected.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    May 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  9. MIKE FROM CHICAGO

    no, and neither should mandatory health insurance coverage. Let the job market dictate the compensation

    May 22, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  10. Ron Temecula

    Hi Jack:

    All benefits should be mandatory and paid by the employer, wether it be temporary or direct.

    Ron Temecula, CA

    May 22, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  11. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Vacation time should be mandatory. Whether it is paid or not is another story.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  12. David Alexandria, VA

    Puhlease, Jack. We haven't figured out how to make sick time mandatory or what the cost of doing so would be on the economy, leave alone vacations.

    I have my own business and my "paid vacations" come out of my own pocket. When my people take vacations, (well-deserved, I might add) it comes out of my pocket as well.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  13. Tony from Torrington

    Of course. Let's add more costs to running a business, and we can get to a socialist society even faster. It's not moving fast enough for our President, and if you folks have any other ideas on how to close businesses, you know, those evil people that employ us, please be sure to make your comments here or send them on to the Presidsent at the White House, Washington, DC. I'm sure he'll take them under consideration, but only if it will send those bad business people into bankruptcy.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  14. Ben from Gaithersburg, MD

    'Paid vacation' is a myth, unless one is an hourly worker, and they get none. 'Vacation pay' is factored into every salary

    May 22, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  15. Tina Tx

    Gee they still allow vacations? I would have thought by now you would have to give your arms to even take a day off work.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  16. Susan Frost

    I've been self-employed for over thirty years and haven't found a way to pay myself for not working, which makes me both a terrible boss and a grouchy employee. I don't know about "mandatory" but I'd gladly pay employee-me to go on vacation if boss-me could afford it. When that happens, we'll close up shop for a couple of weeks, lie on the beach and watch pigs fly.

    Susan
    Tuscaloosa AL

    May 22, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  17. Jayne

    One moment while I pick my jaw up off the floor. If there is an individual who does not want to take paid vacation time, we had better hope the upcoming healthcare reform includes psychiatric services.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  18. Brad Mahoney

    But Jack, that would make us like those socialist countries like France! Those countries that have requisite time off for those that do the work of the nation. Those countries that have health care for those that labor for the betterment of their nation. Those countries that give basic respect to someone other than the rich. Why would you want a system that rewards hard-working people? It's only the rich that deserve the spoils, not those that produce them. Right?

    May 22, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  19. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    There's no such thing as paid vacation time because the employer factors in how many vacation days you have when they decide how much to pay you. All "paid vacation" is is an interest free loan to your employer.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  20. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    Because most vacations must be scheduled ahead of time in order to not greatly affect the overall operations of an organization, the affected employees being paid for that vacation time should be mandatory. Appropriate compensation should also be given to employees who elect not to use their vacation time.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  21. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Anybody that works a full time job should have paid vacation available to them. Without it, you run into the "burnout factor" and will have less than productive people working for you. Everyone needs to recharge their batteries now and again.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  22. Frank from Peterborough

    Jack there are numerous things like vacation, less hours of work per day and week, health care coverage and higher wages that should be mandatory but Capitalism and Conservatism doesn't allow for this type of ideology.

    Remember the American dream is for everyone to be a highly paid executive in the Corporate world with little or no thought being put into just enjoying an average existence for the work you perform.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  23. John Webster, Aldergrove BC Canada

    Of course, Jack, but the question should be how much time and not whether or not. Time off to recharge the batteries, get to know family, friends and the lawn and questioning your career in that time are reason enough. For the boss and fellow workers to get time off from you would be in the plus column as well. Now, would you like to rent my boat and RV for your vacation, such a deal I have for you.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  24. Dennis in Grand Rapids, MI

    I would say yes. It's a shame that America–the place that saw the rise of "Welfare Capitalism" is now the place where companies are doing less and less for their employees. If companies could, they would off no time off, no 401k's, no pension plans, no medical benefits, and pay less than minimum wage.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  25. Joe CE

    A good idea, should be prorated for parttime (the geat loophool). How about mandatory jojs.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  26. Marie Ontario

    Almost 10 per cent of the Country is half way there right now with a 52 week a year vacation so now all that is left to do is make it paid.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  27. Mike – Denver, CO

    Jack, how about making vacation time a part of mandatory health care? Since it is proven that vacations contribute to the wellbeing of employees, it is a natural fit.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  28. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    Well, the Europeans certainly have it much better than we do, considering they get much more paid time off and in doing so are also much healthier than we are.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  29. Greg Ontario

    The phrase "paid vacation" has a something for nothing tone to it and that is just wrong. Taking a vacation is about getting away from the stresses at work, that are unhealthy. Keeping employees healthy is a smart business decission, it's not paying someone for doing nothing..

    May 22, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  30. Mark, Bradenton, FL

    Yes this is why Americans are sick and overworked. One week is a joke. When I lived in Germany we had 23 days paid vacation. Americans have the highest rate abseeintism from work. I wonder why?

    May 22, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  31. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    Yes, and it can be paid for by asking corporate heads to reduce their levels of greed. If one employee of a company cannot afford to visit a Caribbean island, and another owns one, something is not right.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  32. Helena, Clearwater, FL

    I would support sick leave before mandatory vacation pay.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  33. Diane/Allentown PA

    Of course it should, if its good enough for Congress, its good enough for the rest of us!

    And think about the amount of time they're on vacation!

    May 22, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  34. Melissa

    Other country's have more paid time off, and longer vacations than the US. Their employees are more well adjusted, and aren't made to feel guilty for going home sick. So yes, I think there should be. There's no reason why not other than greed from the companies.

    At the very least, there should be a mandatory vacation time required to be given even if its without pay.

    Even the Japanese give mandatory vacation days and they're the hardest working people in the world working an average of 12 hours a day.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  35. Randy from Salt Lake City, UT

    No. Paid vacations and health care which the rest of the industrialized world injoys can't be aplied to the US because we are not advanced or sophisticated enough to handle it. The US is a banana republic.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  36. Deanna R from Fayetteville NC

    yes it should, and if the person can't take that vacation time they should be paid that money at the end of the year. There should be no more use or lose for the military! Either they take it or they get it in their January paychecks.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  37. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Yes, it should. If someone worked really hard all year, was on time, didn't cause any problems and did their best, they should be rewarded with a paid vacation. Especially now, workers can't afford to take time off from their jobs without getting paid.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  38. Ray in Nashville

    No, Jack, I don't think we should make it mandatory. The way to make sure that employees get paid vacations is to fix the economy and drive unemployment down so low that employers are begging people to come work for them. They will then have to offer paid vacation and other perks.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  39. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    If we want to have more jobs moved to China, India and Mexico then pass this bill. You can't afford to take a vacation if you don't have a job and you can't make a profit if your people are being paid to spend money they don't have.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  40. Annie, Atlanta

    Of course it should. You know, Jack, with all the things you've pointed out in your pieces regarding what the "industrial nations" do, we don't really qualify. We care only for the "haves." What does that make us?

    May 22, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  41. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    YES that is part of the cost of doing business.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  42. Kirven Dunham

    It is fair and it will make people (labor) happy, so the GOP will say no.

    Kirven

    May 22, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  43. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    It seems the U.S. is always the last to adopt a sensible approach to matters. Many European countries have mandatory vacations of 4 -6 weeks from the moment a person is hired, they also have a health care system. Here in the U.S. nothing happens without a tragedy, whether it's the Triangle Shirt Company or a mining explosion. If not for sensible laws, minimum wages, 40 hour weeks, we'd be more like gulags, 12 hour days, 6 days a week and a half day on Sunday, with only bread and water to eat..

    May 22, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  44. Pugas-AZ

    The government should stay out of it. Individual companies should make their own decisions about vacation planning depending on the logistics, economics, etc. relating to their particular company. One size does not fit all.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  45. Dee

    Yes, of course, in a civilized society time off should be mandatory.
    Sounds like the Republican 'brain' who said "one size fits all.. is the wrong medicine" needs a vacation. Different rules for companies with more than 50 employees v. more than 100 employees, or larger, is hardly "one size fits all."

    May 22, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  46. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Jack, interesting that you mention France. The work rules there are so pure socialism. Of course at the rate Obama is having the government buy up US industry, we're well on that path. Next every worker will have the rights of civil servants and we will collapse under our own inefficiency.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  47. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    Is this guy Grayson goofy? We have millions of people unemployed who would be grateful just to have a job. And we have corporations, once considered as staid as America itself bankrupt or on the verge.

    The great debate in politics is the role of government. It has been going on for centuries. What does government owe its citizens? Safety (i.e. National Defense,) a reliable currency, and infrastructure that a private sector would be unlikely to provide (roads, bridges, etc.)

    Over time, we've included retirement, and now we're debating health care. But vacation time? Come on!

    Rick, OH

    May 22, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  48. don (in naples, florida)

    who is thinking of vacations in these troubled times???? let the congressmen focus their attention on more serious issues- going green, getting away from oil, more policies on conservation and reuse of materials, producing less waste, etc.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  49. Ron from SF

    This measure is long over due. Employees who don't get time off eventually become victims of the law if diminishing returns. The harder they work without a break, the less productive they become. Then their health suffers and their productivity spirals down further. Eventually, they become so ineffective that their employer fires them. Use, abuse and toss. This country's citizens deserve better and long term, the employer benefits from a re-energized employee. Rather than having to take a year to retrain a new person, they get back a well trained and higly effective employee.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  50. Richard, in Kansas

    No Jack, let's just keep sticking it to the little guy and hope he never realizes how bad he's getting screwed. After all, if we gave him a vacation where would it end? Next he'll want a wage he can live on, a safe work place, health care coverage, and some hope of retiring before he drops dead at his work station. Allowing someone to spend time with thier family and enjoy life.... what a silly idea.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  51. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,paid vacations should absolutely not be mandatory,this should be negotiated between applicant and the employer.The government already has to much of it's nose in private business,but I will give this democrat credit,at least he wants to reward people who actually work instead the usual parasites that live on government programs!!!

    May 22, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  52. Cheryl

    We are always dead last of any industrialized country when it comes to any quality of life issue: health care, education, vacation, infant mortality rate, you name it.
    Of course we need to improve all of those elements. However, this is the wrong time to be worried about vacation mandates, when our economy is in the dumps. It WOULD hurt small business now and just wind up increasing the umemployed ranks. Is Congress incapable of settting logical priorities? This sounds like it would be a dandy bill, in about 4 or 5 years when everything else is straightened out.
    Cheryl
    Houston

    May 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  53. JS

    Yes, it's about 6 weeks in Europe!

    May 22, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  54. Molly in Tx

    It should be! Especially with larger companies, universities and government entities. The small businesses should be exempt according to the # of employees. But – it won't work. We live in a greedy society ran by bankers & politicians.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  55. Daniel Indiana

    Yes, it should be. While you're at it, so should health care, pensions and bonuses for the lowly workers. That will give them something to sacrifice when the company goes bankrupt and asks the government for a bailout. Keep the autoworkers in mind. It is the present atmosphere (actually, it has always been that way) that the corporate management will blame their mismanagement on the lowly worker and say it is their greed, high pay and benefits which drove them to bankruptcy.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  56. marlene

    Jack, this plan can not be a federal mandate! The economy is in sad shape and this is not the time to make owning a business more difficult. I don't care if they employ 100 people or 2 people – jobs are jobs. If this idea is important in Florida, let their state pass a "state" law. Marlene in Mich

    May 22, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  57. Mike in Albuquerque,NM

    Millions of workers have already bee given vacation time when their jobs were shipped to China and India. It is kind of a moot point.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  58. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    People living from paycheck to paycheck can't afford a vacation without pay. As an industrial nation, we are last in a whole lot of things like healthcare and paid vacations. We are first in use of petroleum products and prisons. Not something we should be proud of.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  59. Jay in Texas

    I fully support Congressman Grayson's proposal. Where I come from, a company with 100 employees is NOT a "smaller" company.
    Brownwood, Texas

    May 22, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  60. Shasta

    Absolutely not. It should be up to the employers whether or not they want to pay for their employees not to work. It's not the responsibility of the business owner to pay for the tourism industry.

    Casey, Minneapolis, MN

    May 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  61. ken jefferson city mo

    Jack,NO, paid vacation isn't a right , some employers can't afford it and
    people need to remember life isn't fair if you want a paid vacation get a job that offers that.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  62. Patrick

    I wish to see a system of people rotating their schedules to 6 months work, 6 months off, with decent pay, and perks as well. So I'm for more paid vacation. My idea would create double the jobs too! However it would cost more to businesses, however I feel the government can help cover the cost.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  63. Richard Green

    Yes, it should be mandatory. Besides the other benefits already mentioned, it will probably result in more full time and part time employees being hired to replace the lost productivity of those on vacation.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  64. Jason, Knoxville

    No, the government should not dictate how free market businesses operate.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  65. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    Yes paid vacation should be mandatory.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  66. Ken

    So let me get this right. A politician is actually advocating vacation time for the American worker. What a novel idea. Now we can have the same rights as all other western democracies and move ourselves into a new century as far as our labor laws. Too bad that century is the 20th and not the 21st.....

    May 22, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  67. Paul D. Eslinger

    All work and no play make Johnny a dull boy. Just as true today as it was in the past. I'm retired now, and personally, I always returned to my job invigorated after a vacation. Work became refreshing and challenging.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  68. LYNETTE IN CA

    I think so! There are so many who do not take any time off and stay stressed out. Those are the ones who eventually lose control. Also, many companies now have a limit to rollover time off. If you don't use it, you lose it.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  69. Beauregard

    No I don't think that is wise at all. That would mean that a person that throws your news paper 4 days a week because they are now stopping 7 day a week delivery do to the economy would qualify for a paid vacation. It also means your part time bag boy at the grocery store would qualify too. Not that these folks are not important they just work less then 20 hours a week. All the Subway shops in American would now have to pay paid vacation for all their employees and most are part time working under 30 hours per week. These government leaders needs to stop trying to kill small business off or at least be made to purchase a hunting license because they have declared open season on them..

    May 22, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  70. lou

    Are you trying to totally kill what small business owners we have left?

    May 22, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  71. Laurel

    For larger businesses with 100+ employees, sure. They should be able to afford that. For smaller businesses no, but unpaid vacation time should be given with a guarantee that the employee will still have a job when he/she gets back.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  72. Kevin in Ohio

    If I owned a small business, I'd keep it that way....stay under the 100 employee thresshold. Lay off people if necessary to do so. This is why such mandates are so ridiculous and end up HURTING the economy. Why is it that employers are the only consumers that have no rights????

    May 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  73. Lance Schumacher

    NO!! This is an incentive not a RIGHT! Paid vacation/sick leave is part of the negotiations between the employer and the employee. The same is true of paid medical, retirement plans and everything else involved in the job. Don't like the package-don't take the job. The last thing we need is more government interference in the employer/employee relationship. Have we learned nothing from the Unions that have tried to force employers to fund everything at such ridiculous levels that most have "out sourced" the jobs out of the country.
    Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    May 22, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  74. Eric

    Democrats are not going to be happy until EVERY business is broken in half and EVERYONE is unemployed and dependent upon the government. How about getting the hell out of people's lives?

    May 22, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  75. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Congressman Grayson needs to keep his government-uber-alles nose out of the individual affairs of businesses.

    I'm utterly appalled that a US Congressman would have, let alone express, such an arrogant willingness to abuse the power of government.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  76. Lynne Parker in N. Augusta, SC

    Yeah, I'd like to see paid vacation time mandatory but then I'd like to see liveable wages mandatory too.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  77. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    If I want a paid vacation, I'll run for Congress.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  78. Darin

    Yes, it should be mandatory. I've worked with a manager in the past who never took vacation. He drove everyone nuts, because he worked year-round micromanaging everyone and everything. He'd become short-tempered and rude. Employees never got a break from him. Health risks were high on both ends due to the impossible tasks, deadlines, and stress. If the company is paying for you to take vacation, it's for a reason.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  79. Scott in Canada

    *blinks*

    You guys don't have mandatory paid vacation? At all? Between this and torture, it feels like we're in the medieval era again.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  80. Roy - Chicago

    Jack,
    It is interesting that when it comes to women's rights and tax cuts for the rich, the GOP wants 'one size fits all'! So that logic is a bunch of elephant doo doo.

    We should give at least one week of paid vacation after one year. This is one week we are talking about, not 30 days like in Europe. Last I heard Europe was not in any worse shape than us econimically because of the vacation day issue.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  81. Jack Martin

    Mandatory? No. The only thing required is real leadership from corporate leaders. Those terrible europeans give and get four to ten weeks vacation and the companies survive and thrive..Our present corporate leaders have only thought of their wallets and perks. Only by force from unions are there any vacations for working people at all. Small companies? Stop the whining. If you can't afford vacations don't start a business. Let someone with a business plan start the businesses.
    Jack in Boynton Beach FL

    May 22, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  82. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Yes, of course! I have always envied the 6 weeks the Europeans get! And they have a lower heart disease rate! Hmmm....... it must be all that relaxation.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  83. Joanna

    Interesting comments – Europeans get this automatically. Maybe that's why they don't have heart disease and high blood pressure? If you work your butt off for your employer so they can make a wad of money and take their "paid" (by employees) vacation, this is the least they can do for you. Hello!!!!

    May 22, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  84. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    Sounds great, but what will workers do when they get laid off from every job just before they hit that one year mark? Think about that, especially for the "at will" employment states.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  85. Independent Joe (Brainerd)

    Jack,

    It's a great idea Jack. But first I need a job to take a vacation from.

    Joe Mussell (Brainerd, MN)

    May 22, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  86. Joanne H from PA

    I work for a company with 25 employees. Yes, we get paid vacation and one week straight is a company requirement. There are several reasons for their feeling this way, but it is wise on the company's part. You have a more rested, more alert, move valuable employee who works harder. If the companies can't see this as in their favor, it's a shame. Happy, healthy, alert workers are always better for production and overall company health.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  87. sabrina

    Yes, other countries they have more paid time off then we do and we work harder.
    Of course companies not have as high profits to take their headquarters out of this country,keeping profits and get to avoid paying taxes on their now established business. It their way of thanking American consumers and workers by leaving them with the tax burden that our govt is accustomed to blowing and getting more in profits.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  88. Jeff Crocket

    Under whose law?? The federal government?? Never!!

    May 22, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  89. Jerry

    Yes, it improves productivity,moral and everyone needs a break from the daily grinds of work

    May 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  90. Nancy, Tennessee

    Sure paid vacation should be mandatory. The small businesses that are not on board with this probably have owners that don't miss their vacation and usually it is a vacation like none of the workers can ever dream of affording. Let the owners come in and fill in for an employee so that they can have a vacation too.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  91. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I'd say that if a company has real flexible time-off rules then paid vacation would be less an issue. But some companies are real sticklers about missing a day of work, and don't give sick days. For these companies mandatory vacation time should be that...mandatory.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  92. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio

    No, for 2 reasons:
    1) It is a recruiting tool for most companies and can be used by prospective employees and current employees as negotiations for hiring / continued employment.
    2) Again this will hurt Small Business in their effort to grow and provide other benefits.

    Then there is the way of the Socialists European countries that provide employees every benefit they need. Of course the tax rate would scare the hell out of us.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  93. tess

    it should be up to whomever runs the company – is it small, large, family run and profitable or not? the government cannot insert itself into every aspect of our lives and this continue to be the america we have known!

    May 22, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  94. Steve Learner

    No..it should not be paid. Companies have enough strikes against them in this climate. Besides, others are right...it is already built into their salaries.

    And to all of you that have mentioned "free" healthcare from the government.....in all the surveys I have seen taken (including CNN) when people are asked would they like universal healthcare the answer is yes. In reality, for most industrialized nations that offer nationalized healthcare the tax rate is 55-65% where in the USA it is 35-40%. I would love to see a survey where people we asked if they would be willing to take a 25% pay cut for national healthcare!

    May 22, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  95. Eric VanSickle, Cedar Falls, Iowa

    I think I should be able to get a paid week or two of vacation every year from where I work. In fact, I do accumulate about an average week's hours of vacation time at a Pizza Hut delivery location every six months, just as long as I average 30 hours or more per week during that time. I just haven't taken the time, because I only would get paid my base $7.25 or so per hour, not the tips I would make when I do work. If Congress is to mandate vacation time, tipped employees like pizza delivery drivers and restaurant servers should be paid the average take-home money per week on top of their base wages.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  96. Anna

    Personally, I believe that if you're not at work then you shouldn't be paid. Whatever happened to just saving your money for that vacation? Oh wait, I forgot. We're Americans- there's no such thing as saving.

    Orlando, FL

    May 22, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  97. Tim FitzPatrick

    If you keep on raising the cost of employing someone, less jobs will be created and the USA will have Europe's high structural unemployment (+10%).

    May 22, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  98. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    It would be preferable ...here we get 1 day a month for less than one year of employment or a 4% paid. From one to five years of employment we get two continued weeks and for more than five years we get three continued weeks or 6%.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  99. Ron - Baltimore, Maryland

    Yes it truly should. With everyone working harder, smarter and longer these day's, the body needs a good healthy break. We need to realize that stress can do serious damange to our health.

    Companies need to ensure that all are taking their vacation time to re-energize themselves.

    The other day I was in a meeting that lasted 2hrs, four fell asleep, one did nothing but yawn and one fell off his chair and hit his chin on the meeting table. It's only May what will happen in these meetings in December if they don't take time off?

    May 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  100. The Broker.

    Not if they pay bigger wages.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  101. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    I believe employees should be treated with a lot more respect and consideration and time off has been proven to increase productivity but to mandate paid vacations is not within the proper realm of government. Government should not be in the business of business.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  102. Roland(St George,UT)

    No. That's the government going a bit too far. What I am in favor of is the government requiring businesses to allow people at least 1 week time off per year, but allowing the employer to decide whether they want to give it paid or not. A good alternative for those businesses that can't afford to give the 1 week paid time off would be a special savings allotment, where a few dollars is withdrawn from each weekly paycheck and set aside in the vacation account, which would pay the vacation week's salary for you when you take it. That way there is minimal strain on the business, you get the time off, and you still get your regular weekly paycheck. (Roland/St George, UT)

    May 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  103. Uh Clem, Atlanta

    I'm lucky enough to to work for a large corporation in the southeast. I've been here for two years. I am a US citizen. I work full time. I'm still a contractor. I have no vacation time, no sick time, no retirement plan and no benefits. The pay isn't really all that great. I have no choice since most of the jobs in my field have been outsourced. Welcome to work in the "Right to work" states.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  104. vern-anaheim,ca

    if you don't want mandatory paid vacation time ,you can keep on working but lose your vacation pay.everyone needs a vacation occasionally to rest up and re-charge their batteries

    May 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  105. jerry

    The economy would indicate that this might not be possible at the present time. Sometimes I think that if we had an option to not pay our employees while their on vacation, members of congress would seek other professions. They seem to be on vacation most of the time.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  106. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    No. Is this guy delusional? People are lucky to have jobs to pay the rent and put food on the table let alone feel entitled to paid vacation. I believe that in a good economy it should be up to the company to give out paid vacation time. In this terrible economy it would drive some companies right out of business and cost the loss of many jobs. Oh well, these unemployed will be getting unemployment for extended periods and then go on welfare. There's their paid vacations.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  107. jerry

    Sometimes I think that if we had an option to not pay our employees while their on vacation, members of congress would seek other professions. They seem to be on vacation most of the time.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  108. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    You have to have a job before you can worry about vacations. Let's get the jobs first and then worry about the perks. What good is a paid vacation if no one is working?

    May 22, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  109. Joker1956

    Hey, I LIKE this idea! Really, my son is a part-time student and part-time worker and it's really sad that he can't take a vacation from work without worrying about paying his bills.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  110. Pepou

    In Europe people get 4 to 6 weeks paid vacation. But of course some people here will scream "Socialism". It is just common sense to give people time off.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  111. Richard-Arkansas

    Perhaps if people took some time to get some balance in their lives, we wouldn't have all of the current problems caused by the image that getting rich, no matter how, is the only measure of life.

    Europeans have a much better view of life-enjoy family and friends. No 24/7 workdays with two cell phones on your hip and never verturing into a place where a cell tower can't reach you.

    My former German boss said that you needed to take 3 weeks of vacation at a time. One week to clear your mind of the problems you left behind, a week to actually enjoy, and week #3 to get your blood pressure back up in anticipation of what awaits you when you return.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  112. Bert

    George Bush averaged 62.4 vacation days each year. That seems about right.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  113. Anna , Macomb, MI

    Yes, they should but the problem with it is, all the people who can't even get the time off with or without pay now because every company in America is running on skelton shifts with no room to cover a missing employee, there busy making profits on cut wages and less hours for all. Anybody, that wants to take time off is in fear of losing there jobs all together. Most will take the money never take the time off , because we have pay our taxes so our fellow "Reps" in our State Capitals & Washington can get their raises & vacations.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  114. SHARON: Anchorage, Alaska

    YES. As a small business owner (over 12 years) with less than 25 employees; my workers received 1 week paid vacation, after one year. It was a motivator to provide good customer service. Those that were not working out, could be let go before the one year marker. It provides incentive to be a quality employee.

    May 22, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  115. Al from NH

    Sure, not only would it be more like France – It would be more like Congress! Just not as long or paid as much!

    May 22, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  116. Gigi

    I've noticed that many people that have a paid vacation don't want others to have one. They are jerks. It is proven that a vacation helps in many ways not only for the worker but for the employer as well. I worked for a company that began with a weeks vacation after the first year plus a five days pay bonus if you did not miss any work it was given just before the holidays. If you missed work you could use the days to cover the time missed up to five days a year. Most of us wanted the money for the holidays. It helped the employer, the attitude of the workers, safety etc. Yes, a vacation can be a valuable thing all around.

    Oregon

    May 22, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  117. robert

    Before anyone really gets serious about a law like this, we should all analyze The Netherlands mandated vacation time, based on time with company, age, and time in the work force. Then they should look at the fact that that country is one of the lowest productive countries in the industrialized group of nations. It's no wonder savvy Dutch businessmen invest in businesses outside their own country. Love the Dutch.... but vacation doesn't boost productivity. Productivity is boosted by better work methods and better work ethic...

    May 22, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  118. Scott Stodden

    Jack i beleive that this would work for all people with full time jobs, if you have a full time jobs all full jobs should offer a 1 week paid vacation time off. People working at a part-time job usually dont work enough hours and tend not to keep there part-time job very long. So to all full-time jobs and full-time employees should paid vacation after 1 year of service.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Il)

    May 22, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  119. Michael Sullivan from Lafayette, California

    Jack - I think paid vacation needs to be mandatory because there are
    companies out there that take advantage of their employees in every way they can - what's wrong with rewarding competent and hard-working employees with paid vacation time? - this could help with job
    motivation and retention - the employers who make all the money seem
    to get paid vacation time anytime they want - "Who pays for it?" you might ask - "The competent and hard-working employees!"

    May 22, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  120. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Who really needs a vacation now? I am just happy I have a job to go to.

    May 22, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  121. Jude in California

    Jack,

    Have you EVER heard any Republican speak to something that might benefit ordinary working people? I think not! How about meeting somewhere in the middle? Geez what a stupid statement...and as an FYI I get no paid vacation. I guess I'm lucky to have a job.

    May 22, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  122. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    Mandatory is such an ugly word. What if we could call it "temporary workforce reduction", or "downsizing"? I think that would work.

    May 22, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  123. gerry In Toronto

    Vacation pay is deducted from paychecks in Canada to pay the employees "paid vacation', therefore acting as a savings plan for employees.

    May 22, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  124. lynne from NC

    Yes, it should be mandatory. Poor people who work hard can't afford to be off which is the reason my mother never takes vacation time off unless there is death. Make holidays off with pay also.

    May 22, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  125. AndyZ Lynn. MA

    No Jack, we should all be chained to our desks, offices coffee funds should be discontinued, the noon meal should be eliminamted, workers should have to work until the boss says they can go home. Indentured servitude should be brought back. Serf's, vassals, etc. need to be the backbone of the work force. What a dream! Did I say that out loud?

    May 22, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  126. Bruce

    If you don't like working for a company, then leave.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  127. keith, ky

    Depends,are we willing to pay the extra cost that will be added to products and services.And there will likley be a loss of jobs,guess those people will get more time off,just not paid.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  128. Eddy Espineta

    Jack:: By all means and like in most countries it should be a paid 30 day
    vacation. Our workers are just too workaholics. Vacations must be mandatory.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  129. Norman Hoffman

    Heck yeah, Jack
    ! I've been on vacation for two years, and I'm still looking for a check.

    Norman

    Marietta, Ga

    May 22, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  130. Richard in Mexico

    Heck, Jack. I think we should only have to work on Labor Day and get a full year's pay.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  131. Ruuben Becker

    Does this mean that college student employees would get paid time off? That would be AWESOME!

    May 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  132. Joseph Leff

    I'd like to answer, but I can't. I'm on vacation. Joe in Florida

    May 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  133. Asgod Barrantes

    Absolutely! We need more time to relax and take a break from our hectic daily American style of life.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  134. isabella

    Yes I think paid vacation should be mandatory. Why should we be any different from other countries? We all need a break in life.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  135. Kyle

    Excellent! A mandatory paid vacation means I can pick up more hours at my second job.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  136. Jonathan - Bridgeport, CT

    If Congress and the President are given time off, it's only fair for those who pay their salaries to have the same "luxury."

    May 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  137. Steve

    Yes we should have mandatory vacations. There would be less murders at work, happy employees more work done means more profit for comapny thus affording vacation leaves. Come on America lets get on the bandwagon now.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  138. Neil T.

    Paid vacations should be mandatory. Companies should also allow employees to earn "personal days."

    May 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  139. Chris from Minnesota

    Vacation should be mandatory Jack. Everyone needs time to take off to enjoy themselves and take care of personal business. No matter what it is. Looks like you need more time off Jack. Looks like you haven't slept in weeks!!!

    May 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  140. Claudia Kremer

    What about us full-time part-time workers? We work every day just like full-time employees just not as long and we work on the holidays so we don't get those off either. Don't we deserve a little time away from work to vacation with our families, too?

    May 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  141. Priscilla Banks

    Paid vacations are what every worker should be entittled too.
    They should be able to recharge their batteries ! !

    May 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  142. terry in texas

    Every company cafeteria I went to in France had splits of wine either free or cheaper than Coca Cola. Using your reasoning, company purchased splits of wine at every lunch should be the law

    May 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  143. Cody NJ

    First off why does congress need to legislate this type of thing? Isn't it up to the employee to negotiate the best price for his services, which includes vacation? Second Congress gets more vacation than anyone I know and produce less in meaningful legislation. Give me a break I think we are quickly becoming France....soon we will have nationwide strikes and mass hysteria due to this kind of thinking.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  144. Ray Chang

    Absolutely – need I really give a reason why?

    May 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  145. Marcus, Plant City FL

    Sure, but I have a feeling that 364 days is all you would be employed.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  146. nancy from NC

    I am a small business owner strill struggling to try and get insurance for my employees. That's assuming we can maintain enough business to stay open. Adding a mandatory paid vacation to my already overburdened budgt would be the last straw.
    They just don't get it, do they. They really don't realize how the whole world is struggling. They are too busy playing politics.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  147. gwen caranchini

    The question really should be: Are we a super power because we don't have paid vacations (and universal health care and paid maternity leave) like the rest of the industrialized world, or in spite of it? Quite frankly, I'd rather be less of a "super power" and just a plain old "industrialized nation" with these so called "perks" that republicans and business opposes so voraciously.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  148. Allen

    Employers already give vacations its weather I get to use it for that which is the issue.
    Many small employers just call it PTO and no matter what you take
    time off for,you are paid it.
    If government wants to make sure we take a vacation force them to separate sick time from vacation PTO because as the population
    ages many of use end up using a lot of it up for doctors visits and
    sick days.
    I myself get 3 weeks a years of PTO but by the time I get paid out and deducted for every time a holiday or sick day happens there is no days left for vacation.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  149. Jasmine in Germany

    U.S. Americans are amongst the hardest working people in the world, we can be proud of that. It is about time that the U.S. recognizes that every working citizen should have the right to a "vacation" whether they can afford it or not. Other countries have been practising such forms of democracy for many years. It raises the GNP and gives the citizens equal rights, increases the standard of living and good health. I'm am afraid, however, that such a system would be abused in the U. S..

    May 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  150. Dorenda Thomas

    Imposing mandatory paid vacation on companies is wrong and will only further drive down the failing economy. Imposing that companies provide employees with 2 weeks of optional time off each year without pay would still be an imposition, but it might be much more doable.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  151. Arthur James

    YES! I'm 52 years old, have worked for over 35 years straight and have NEVER had a week's paid vacation... until next month, My very first one, and I don't know how I ever made it this far. My mind is mush. I may bnever come back.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  152. Bill Plante

    Yes, with one major provision. I knew someone who came out of retirement, and one week before he would get his vacation, they laid him off. No one else got laid off. Gee, I wonder why. I'd favor vacation time PER MONTH to be taken per year. That would stop the time piracy.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  153. Mikael

    Yes they should Jack.

    I am from Denmark and we have 5 weeks of paid vacation + 11 days that are national holidays. We get paid for those too.

    Americans deserve some paid vacation. It makes them better workers if they get some quality time off.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  154. Sophie from New-Brunswick, Canada

    Yes, paid vacation should be mandatory. In Canada ,4% of the employee's annual salary goes towards paying for vacation time, so the employee contributes. 10 work days is the usual number of vacation days an employee starts with at the begining of their employments. If you think about it, mental health has been an issue in the workforce for a very long time. Taking vacation time helps taking a time out from your day to day activities. I have been with my employers for 19 years. I have 29 vacation days this year and I intend to take them all.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  155. Christopher Dudley

    Yes, Jack I don't see how this bill would destroy small companies. Everybody needs time off. I mean employers are already making us work through Blackberrys and email. Would it kill them to give us a break.
    Chris Dudley
    Denver, Co

    May 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  156. J. Smith

    I think that the Republicans have a point on this one, small businesses may struggle.. however being against it is the wrong approach.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  157. Sharon Resnick

    I think that it be mandated that business should give employees some paid vacation. We are not a third world country (yet) and every other western country realizes the importance of giving people time off. It is good for everyones mental health, not to mention the so called "family values" that the right is always screaming about. Unfortunately in this country, the bottom line is more important then people are.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  158. HW

    Jack,

    I think that mandatory vacations should be required. I get 5 weeks a year of vacation, but with the state of the economy we are doing "more with less." I other words, there are now 8 people in my group that are doing the job that 18 people were doing a year ago. As a result I do not have the time to take my vacation and have hit the accrual limit.

    People need a break from work or they risk burning out.

    HD

    May 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  159. Mary in NC

    Yes everyone needs to refresh and rejuvenate. It would be better for the employer too. Employees would perform better and not leave due to burnout.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  160. Irene of El Paso, TX

    Why not, even the Congress and the President can take a month off from the most important jobs in the world.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  161. Muddfut

    Yes it should, we as Americans don't spend enough family time as it is now or can't afford to take a vacation. I believe quality time is very important for the spirit , not to mention the average person spends 1.22 for every 1 dollar they work for so why not give back.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  162. Chase

    Jack, paid vacation has been a phenomenal success in Europe when it comes to having happier employees, as well as reducing employee fraud and theft. While workers are gone on vacation, it allows the business to examine how it functions differently without that employee there. If an employee is siphoning funds out of the business, it is much easier to spot when the worker is away and the theft has been halted for a couple weeks. It is a win/win for both employees and businesses...in the long run. And that is what American businesses need to understand.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  163. June Seminole Fl

    any company with 100 employees is not that "small" that they would "miss" and average 2 people a week...

    May 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  164. Linda B

    Of course it should. Business will see improved productivity if the workers are rewarded in this way.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  165. Angela

    Yes.Maybe that way people will actually start being happier and stop so much violence in the work place. MAYBE they will start spending time with their kids so that kids start caring more about themselves and their education. MAYBE

    May 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  166. Rick Traversy

    Yes. Any small business that would fail if it had to support paid vacation time for their employees should be allowed to fail. Survival of the smartest.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  167. Keb Faver

    Way over do. Employers will have to hire more employees, Yea Vacation areas will have to hire more.Yea Sick leave will go down. Yea.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  168. Larry

    Yes to the Mandatory Vacation. If the owners are worried about loosing money. Let them run the store why there employees relax for a change. They can't lounge around and spend the money we make for them all the time. YEA, GIVE US A BREAK

    May 22, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  169. Steve

    No,No,No. It would help people recieve a paid vacation, but it would also hurt the economy by forcing poor, smaller bussinesses to pay their workers for not working. THAT IS NOT RIGHT! I thought this was a free country? Where am I?

    May 22, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  170. Ricardo

    YES. Its not like were a bunch of machines. Some of us actually have a life.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  171. Sandeep Kumbhat

    Absolutely, no doubt.

    Needless to define the very purpose of vacation – refresh & reboot your batteries for being more productive and alert. Unpaid leave would not let you meet those goals.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  172. john

    making paid vacation mandatory might cost companies a little extra but just think of the savings on industrial injuries and workman's compensation claims, when employees get the rest they need.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  173. Claude from MA

    Absolutely not, Jack. We may rank dead last in paid vacation time, but we also rank #1 in international competitiveness (tied with Switzerland). See a correlation?

    May 22, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  174. Dana Lewis

    YES, any time you can improve someone's quality of life all parties involved benefit. it's that simple! employer/employee, employee/family, family/society

    May 22, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  175. Carl

    In most states, employee break periods during their daily shifts are manditory. This is to protect the health and well being of the individual. I believe the same should go for mandatory paid time off (vacation). I assume that if enacted, the paid time off can be used all together or broken up throughout the year.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  176. Todd Ritchie

    Heck Yeah it should be mandatory!
    I am so sick of the greedy amoral Businessmen hiding behind small businesses to push worker-friendly initiatives such as a higher minimum wage and manadatory paid vacations! Hey, France has small businesses too and you don't see their businesses folding and closing like small businesses in the USA! And France has a mandatory 30 day paid vacation! No wonder the French are in better health than the US!Vacations help people relax and get into better physical and mental health. It's just humane to give people a break from the stress of the workplace! These greedy businessmen believe in working people to death so they can make billions at the expense of the health and well-being of us!

    May 22, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  177. Fernie

    Hello Jack: so small business like to receive all those tax cuts, incentives, but they get away with not providing vacation time or health insurance?
    i'ts like working at the plantation.
    That means that in Europe there are no small businesses?
    why the right wing insist in demonizing the european model of handling health insurance and vacations?
    Europeans don't seem to mind
    It seems like the republicans are the loud mouths for the health insurance and anti-labor lobby....

    May 22, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  178. Bruce - Ontario, CA

    Absolutely. Since labor unions are the modern dinosaurs the federal government should finally step in after 230 years and give workers paid time off. Can you imagine what could happen to society, people will be sick less, the crime rate will go down, and how knows the economy could get a boost. Don't listen to those age-old excuses of doom from businesses, if they can't run their businesses effectively to cope with paid vacations, then they should not be in business.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  179. Audrey

    Yes, There are employers in some states (Alabama for example) that have hundreds of employees but don't give them paid vacation time. These employers get around state laws by not allowing their employees to work full time. If you work less than forty hours a week, you are not a full time employee. There definitely should be a law!

    May 22, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  180. sito

    I agree with this praposal. Our parents lived so much better than us, and had better social skills.

    You work to live, not live to work.

    This would mandate our culture, and give everyone equal footing on participating.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  181. Real

    Everybody should have at least a month of holidays. Quality of life starts with holidays. It will certainly help psychologically many people. Spend time with the family and stop always thinking 'work'.

    Its about time for the society of leisure.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  182. Lisa

    BIG FAT RESOUNDING YES. It' s about time we Americans put the brakes on our workaholic culture. France is extreme (also with their 35-hour work week) – we don't need to go that far. 1 week is a great start. Imagine being a single mom working to make ends meet. Those 5 days with your kids would be golden.

    Neuenhof, Switzerland

    May 22, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  183. analogkidd

    Of course paid vacations should be mandatory, I agree with how the French approach it. Every working person deserves 30 days a year, the problem is the CEOS think they are above the average worker, just look at the salary discrepency, CEOS make an average almost "500" % more than the worker. It all shows how much they appreciate us!!!

    May 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  184. Kathleen Rogers

    As a person who has been self-employed as a consultant for a decade and who has never had a full week of paid vacation (even on my honeymoon!) I would thrill to one week every couple of years, much less one to two weeks per year! The bottom line? I'm just glad to have clients who pay me every month. Quite honestly, the work ethic in this country has morphed into a society that believes in entitlement and leisurely pursuits, not dedication to hard work and enterprise. Heaven forbid we should go the way of the French.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  185. jane

    It should be a right considering so many people spend their lives working to pay rent. Companies don't pay people what they're worth, especially those who work the hardest. Minimum wage is such a joke; the richest 2% own half of the world's wealth. Paid vacations are the least they can do. Considering the economy crash, even though it's their fault (large corps not small bus,) companies should be required to give paid vacations once they are in stabilized good financial health, so monitoring would be necessary.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  186. Elizabeth Watkins

    Yes, paid vacations should be mandatory. The argument that it would destroy small business is a scare tactic. We could make the same argument that having to pay employees at all could destroy small business. These items just need to be budgeted and planned.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  187. Amy Elkridge,MD

    Jack,

    It's funny you should mention this, because in my last paycheck I was awarded over 132 hours of vacation time to use over the next year.

    My company awards 1 week of vacation time for each year of employ and caps at 4 weeks of paid vacation per year. I think it is only fair to give hard working employees this benefit....

    and if there are companies out there who can't see the value in their workforce, maybe they need to be told what to do.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  188. Nancy from NYC

    Absolutely. Europe has a month of paid vacation and they are just as productive and economically strong! It's not about being spoiled Americans; we are the only economic super power that doesn't treat it's workers with respect. We don't have mandatory paid vacation, lunch or health-care, for that matter. As an employee, I think that if a company takes care of their employees, the employee would work just as hard if not harder because it is recognition of good work. It's like flex-time such as 4 days, 10 hour days, it has been proven that people who work that schedule produce more because they have something to look forward to, a three day weekend and time for a personal life with friends and family.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  189. Joe

    No, because this country is lazy enough, suck it up, go out there and work plus some companys do give vaca time anyway. Plus i dont want the government forcing vacations on me. Even though it is nice to get paid as well ;-) but I'll stick with going anywhere i want on my own time.
    NJ

    May 22, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  190. Calvin in davenport ia

    Dang right it should! is it any wonder why the united states leads the world in heart and mental problems? why should the rich be the only ones that can go on vacation and actually be able to enjoy it?

    May 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  191. David in Stockholm, Sweden

    Jack,
    One week?!
    Here in Sweden we have six weeks paid vacation. Mandatory obviously – just as it should be everywhere.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  192. JVT

    Sure , here in Finland we've had 6 weeks paid vacation for years and if companies want their workforce stay sane they NEED that .
    It doesn't need genius to figure that out.

    JVT

    May 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  193. Skip

    Yes, if you work for someone all year you need time off. This will help that company and reenergies that person to work better.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  194. jd gorman

    Absolutely – every employee (no matter what occupation) in America should be given at least 2 weeks of paid vacation every year – – Plus at least 10 national holidays – – or US Politicians should stop pronouncing the US as the greatest country in the world.

    These pronouncements also ring hollow to the 40+million Americans without healthare insurance.

    If "employers" complain that would put them out of business – – then they are either poor business managers, or should be out of business.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  195. Barbara

    Paid vacation time is a worker's right. Most industrialized nations require payed vacation time, and usually a lot more than just one week. It is considered necessary for health and well being, along with state funded health insurance.

    America's Unions fought long and hard to get us a two day weekend, which we take for granted now. But many people who work more than one job don't get two days, never mind two days in a row, off in a week.

    American companies have trained its worker drones to have disdain for payed vacation time, and state funded health insurance. But our rates of chronic illness, bankruptsies due to medical debt and the abject fear of losing the job that provides the family's health insurance have taken a horrible toll on the strength of our nation's workforce. We need to get our employment policies in line with the rest of the civilized world.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  196. Marsha

    Absolutely yes. It's the lowest income people who are least likely to receive paid vacations - do people really think it's possible to save money for a vacation when you're earning minimum wage? And why limit it to businesses with 100 or more employees? I don't know who the "business advocates" you're talking about are who are saying this would hurt small business, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that employees who are appreciated and properly compensated are more productive and loyal and less likely to quit. Employee turnover is more expensive than paid vacation.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  197. John Crockett

    Mr. Cafferty – without a doubt, American workers deserve and are entitled to paid time regardless of the size of the company in which they are employed. If small companies cannot afford critical necessities such as health care and/ or paid vacation, perhaps they shouldn't be in business at all. After all was our capitalist system not designed and marketed as “survival of the fittest”

    May 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  198. chuck killingsworth

    You bet! Why should US workers be the only ones (out of 21) without mandatory vacation. Production is not negatively affected, in fact, quite the opposite. Not only that did you know that the USA is one of only 4 countries in the entire world that does not have mandatory maternal leave – Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Papua New Guinea are the other 3! This is shameful. It really seems that greed is the primary motivator for far too many businesses – look at the economic mess we're in and how can you argue against this statement. Thanks, Jack!

    May 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  199. Eve Windsor Ontario Canada

    I'm shocked. I can not believe a country like the United States of America does not have mandatory paid holidays.Living in Canada I would have 2 weeks paid holiday within the first year that I work anywhere.Companies can pay up tp 6 weeks. How could someone not have time off to enjoy their lives.This is not healthy.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  200. happy girl

    Absolutely Not! Employers should be free to choose which benefits they grant and which ones they don't. People are free to work where they wish. If vacation time is important to them, they are free to find an employer that offers what they want.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  201. Brandon

    Paid vacations mean more money in an employees pocket, more peace of mind financially, and most importantly, a surge in commerce which can only benefit a dwindling economy. The Right seems to be caught up in granting amenities to the employer to keep them in the States, but are driving the employees to look for more lucrative employment opportunities abroad. The businesses they support may one day find themselves without a workforce, and the country may find itself in a much more dire economic condition as a result.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  202. David P. Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – Paid vacation is a "right" only in countries with some form of socialism. Most underdeveloped countries do not have much if anything in the way of worker's legal rights. Do we, as Americans, want to take the side of the worker, in law, even if it hurts small entrepreneurs, or take the side of the entrepreneur in law, even if it hurts some workers? I am for entrepreneurs in general, because they are the true creators of all wealth, but without standards and guidelines, some entrepreneurs have historically treated workers very badly, making it uneconomic for other to do otherwise. A vacation law makes the playing field more even, although it does raise employer labor burdens too.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  203. fernando

    fernando from eagle pass tx
    congress is always on vacation they dont do anything and still get paid for ir

    May 22, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  204. Karl from SF, CA

    After we get health care up to what the rest of the civilized world has, then we should join them on vacations. It might even cut down on stress related health problems and help the health care inductry, too.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  205. Peter

    Hey Jack,Of course I agree with making paid vacations mandatory.I mean,what average working american would disagree with that.Especially,If they are a blue collared worker.A person should have some time off to relax and be with their loved ones.Life is way too short to always be working and not have any time to stop and smell the roses.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  206. Chika Uzokwe (Greece)

    When a big dog and a small one play, irrespective of the strenght of the big one it always takes turn to fall for the small one. The employer-employee relationship should be like dogs play.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  207. Peter from South Carolina

    Hey Jack,Of course I agree with making paid vacations mandatory.I mean,what average working american would disagree with that.Especially,If they are a blue collared worker.A person should have some time off to relax and be with their loved ones.Life is way too short to always be working and not have any time to stop and smell the roses.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  208. Keith in CA

    It is fairly easy to see from these responses if the writer is a manager, business owner or blue-collar worker. I thought the only companies with more than 100 employees and did not provide vacation time were sweatshops.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  209. Fahim Lodhi

    NO!... the purpose of a vacation is to take time off work. So there should be no paid vacation. PERIOD!

    May 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  210. Stan B

    Only depending on the level of revenue generated by company . Small
    business owners would suffer, while lets say a Walmart would barely feel the hit..

    May 22, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  211. elz

    Any company with over 100 employees should provide 1 – 2 weeks of paid vacation. If you have more than 100 employees, you are not a small business owner.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  212. C. And F.

    My Family runs a small business. It is semi-seasonal due to higher demand in warmer months. It is truly a small business. We have 5 employees. I know of business' that have less than 100 employees-By Far- that will be designated "Small". But to be considered so, would be inaccurate., and when a company is doing this much business with fewer employees than a comparable company with more employees it should reward it's employees; those same employees are providing higher profit per overhead dollar. A paid week's vacation benefits a business far more than it costs.

    It is about time that the people that do the work receive proper compensation without the need to be in a Union Protected Profession. There should be basic laws that do away with the need for unions, but that is a pipe-dream in this dog-eat-dog type of existence.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:57 pm |