Canada ranks 3rd last in the industrialized world when it comes to paid vacation, as the Canadian Broadcasting Company reports. The country's government only requires employers to give their employees 10 paid-time-off (PTO) days in addition to any holidays set by the province. As a business owner, it is your job to attract and keep employees, and their PTO and benefits packages are a big part of the pull. What is the rest of the world doing, and is your company competitive?

Working in America

Unfortunately, you can't emulate the PTO practices of the USA while still being compliant with Canadian employment law. According to Forbes, the United States is the only country in the developed western world to not require employers to give their employees any paid vacation. It is also one of the few countries to not offer paid maternity leave.

If you're trying to attract an American worker, waving a legally-mandated holiday package and some health care might not do the trick. In spite of low mandates, private industries in the country are well known for giving their employees European-style vacation packages along with premium healthcare plans. According to Investopedia, the average American worker gets about ten days off per year once they have been with their company for a few years.

Holidaying in Europe

According to the Washington Post, Europeans get more time off than their North American counterparts. In Austria, workers get 22 vacation days and 13 holidays per year. However, if they stick with the same company, their PTO bumps up to 49 days. Implementing a tiered PTO plan like Austria's is a great way to reward and encourage employee retention.

France, Greece, Germany, and even England require different amounts of PTO, but they all require at least four weeks per year. That's important to consider if you want to attract workers from the global stage. However, if you are going to offer a tiered system or even different packages for different workers, you'll probably want to streamline and organize the process using an online payroll service like Intuit's Quickbooks. Trying to pull that off on your own could be overwhelming.

What Are Your Competitors Offering?

PTOBefore writing your PTO policy or changing your benefits package, look at what your competitors are doing. Every year, the Globe and Mail publishes a list of the top 100 companies to work for in Canada. The list, which is also published at, links to comprehensive information about each company who made the grade. Check out this list of companies to see what others in your industry are offering their employees.

At a tech company that made the Top 100, workers start with three weeks of PTO per year and extra days off during the winter holidays, according to The company also offers PTO for extenuating circumstances like caring for a dying loved one. A hospitality company on the list offers all of its employees two weeks of PTO after their first year on the job. That means that everyone from the managers to the desk clerks to the housemaids get the breaks that they deserve. This figure increases every three years to a maximum of six weeks off. Treating your employees to more than the legally mandated PTO, regardless of their role, is a great way to reward and maintain a reputable employee base.

However, PTO is not the only factor considered when deciding who is a great employer. The Top 100 judges also look at the physical workplace, the atmosphere, and employee benefits. Remember this as you create your own employee compensation plan. If you can't afford to offer more PTO, see if you can compensate for that by offering a nicer physical work space or a more engaging atmosphere.

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