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The words holiday or vacation have related meanings in different English-speaking countries and continents, but will usually refer to one of the following activities or events. We follow the American meaning of the terms here so vacation refers to:

Longer breaks from a career or occupation also exist, such as a sabbatical, gap year or career break.

While holidays referrs to

  • Official or unofficial observances of religious/national/cultural/other significance, often accompanied by celebrations or festivities (public/religious holiday)


Vacation is a term used in English-speaking North America to describe a lengthy time away from work or school, a trip abroad, or simply a pleasure trip away from home, such as a trip to the beach that lasts several days or longer. In the rest of the English-speaking world the word holiday is used (e.g. "I'm going on holiday to Malta next week"). Americans, especially those of recent British or European descent, may also use the word "holiday." "Annual Leave" is another expression used in Commonwealth countries.

Canadians often use the terms vacation and holiday interchangeably when referring to a trip away from home or time off work. In Australia, the term can refer to a vacation or a public holiday.


Employment issuesEdit

Most countries around the world have labor laws mandating employers give a certain number of paid days of time off per year to be given to a worker. In nearly all Canadian provinces, the legal minimum is two weeks, while in most of Europe the limit is significantly higher. The U.S.[1] does not require employers to give a set mandatory vacation time. However, in the free-market labor system in the United States, many employers offer paid vacation, typically 10 to 20 work days, as an incentive to attract employees, and under U.S. federal law, an employee whose employment terminates generally must receive compensation for any accrued but unused vacation time. Additionally, the vast majority of American employers provide for paid national holidays, such as Christmas, New Years, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving Day.

While U.S. federal law and most state's laws provide for leave, such as medical leave, there are movements attempting to remove vacation time as a factor in the free-market labor pool, and instead require mandatory vacation time for American workers.[citation needed]

In some cases "vacation holiday" is used in North America, which signifies that a vacation trip is taken during a traditional national holiday period, extended on either end of the period by taking additional time off from work. This is common in the United States where employers give far fewer annual vacation days than European employers—so stretching the related national holidays tends to conserve one's accumulated total of eligible days available for longer quality vacation excursions. This is often termed a "long weekend", if a national holiday falls next to a weekend. When national holidays fall on a normal non-working day, such as a weekend, they will sometimes be carried over to the next working day.

In the United Kingdom, there is an annual issue for parents, who only have the mandated summer holidays in order to plan vacations. Accordingly, holiday companies charge higher prices, giving an incentive for parents to use their work vacation time in term time.


Holidays and mental healthEdit

Holidays for disadvantaged peopleEdit

Holidays for looked after childrenEdit

Holidays for people with physical disabilitiesEdit

Holidays for people with learning difficulatiesEdit

Holidays and educationEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Susan E. Richardson (July 2001). Holidays & Holy Days: Origins, Customs, and Insights on Celebrations Through the Year, Vine Books.
  • Lucille Recht Penner and Ib Ohlsson (September 1993). Celebration: The Story of American Holidays, MacMillan Publishing Company.
  • Barbara Klebanow and Sara Fischer (2005). American Holidays: Exploring Traditions, Customs, and Backgrounds, Pro Lingua Associates.
  1. US law does not require employers to grant any vacation or holidays and about 25% of all employees receive no vacation time or holidays No-Vacation Nation. For employees that do receive vacation, 10 working days with 8 national holidays is fairly standard. Members of the US Armed Services earn a total of 30 vacation days a year, not including national holidays.

External links Edit

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