HOLIDAYS & VACATION in Germany and USA


Welcome to 2016! A brand new year has just
begun, so what time is it now in Germany? Time for everyone to look at their calendars,
figure out when and where the holidays fall this year, and then strategically plan out
their vacations around these days off. Hey everyone! I’m Dana and you’re watching
Wanted Adventure Living Abroad. In Germany there is actually only one national
public holiday and that would be October 3, German Unity Day. All of the other holidays
are technically determined state by state, although many of them, such as Christmas and
New Year’s Day are celebrated by all the states. The state with the most public holidays is
here in Bavaria, where I live, with a total of 13 holidays. Saarland and Baden-Württemberg
come in at a close second with 12, but 9 is the minimum. And of course we all feel so
bad for you if you live in one of the states with only 9. In the U.S. it gets a little bit more complicated.
So you’ve got some people who are working for the government and then you have these
so-called private sector workers, which are people who work for all the stores and companies
that are not governmental. The people who work for the government have certain holidays
off mandated by the government, and I believe that’s 10 days. The private sector workers are actually not
guaranteed any paid holidays off by law, but most U.S. businesses also observe about 6
to 10 holidays during the year, just depending on the company. The funny thing is that a
good handful of the paid days off given by the government are different from the private
sector days off. Doesn’t really help for planning a vacation with your family, but
at least they’re days off! And then, like here in Germany, there are
also state specific days off, such as yay! Rosa Parks Day in California and, oh I’m
so embarrassed to say, Lee-Jackson day in Virginia, which honors two of the Civil War
Confederate leaders, who fought to continue slavery. An interesting thing is, if you look at the
holidays in Germany and the U.S., you will quickly see a stark difference. Except for
New Year’s Day, German Unity Day, and Labor Day, all the German holidays are Christian
religious days off, whereas in the U.S. the only religious holiday is Christmas. The other
ones, for example Labor Day, Independence Day, Presidents’ Day, are all non-religious
holidays. Another interesting thing that I totally miss
and was just completely shocked to find out didn’t happen here in Germany, is that in
the U.S. if a public holiday falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, you still get a day off of work
on the Friday or the Monday. So for example, in 2016, December 25 will fall on a Sunday.
Boo! But in the U.S. it’s no a big deal because people will simply get off on Monday to make up for the fact that the holiday fell on a weekend. But something that I definitely prefer here in
Germany is the number of paid vacation days people are guaranteed in addition to the public
paid holidays. 24! People here are guaranteed a minimum of 24 paid vacation days off. That is
just so amazingly wonderful. In the U.S. there is actually no overall,
country-wide guarantee of paid vacation days. But in most offices you earn your vacation.
So after working for a year you’ve earned so and so many days off, maybe 6 or 10. And
after three years perhaps you’ve earned 14 days off. It’s different from company to company. Another difference is that in the U.S., and
again this depends on your company, but you can often carry over your vacation to the
next year. So, theoretically, you could save up your vacation from year to year, but then
at some point there’s also a maximum number of days you can carry over and take off in
a row. And in many places you can also sell your vacation days back to the company for
moolah. So if you didn’t use your vacation days by the end of the year, you can cash
out and the company will pay you for every vacation day that you didn’t use. And it’s been my experience that there’s
also a different feeling and attitude when it comes to taking vacation in the U.S. and
in Germany. In Germany taking vacation is not only allowed but it’s, it’s encouraged
or even mandatory. When I worked for a company here in Germany my boss, for example, started
sending me emails around September kind of berating me for not using all my vacation yet,
pushing me to schedule in my last days. Whereas in the U.S., in many companies, I’ve
found, that there’s this attitude that not taking vacation somehow shows that you’re
more committed to the job. People are often praised for not taking vacation, as though
it makes them a more dedicated employee than slacker Bob over there who took all his vacation
this year. Clearly Bob’s not interested in getting a raise or climbing the corporate
ladder. It’s a very different vibe here in Germany where people often start planning
their vacations at the very beginning of the year. So my question for you is: what are you going
to be doing with your holiday and vacation days this year, and if you could suggest a
new holiday that you think people should observe, what would it be? Please let me know in the
comments below. Thanks so much for watching. Please don’t
forget to subscribe and hit that like button. And also, for more fun stuff, you can check
me out over here on my Twitter and my Facebook page. Until next time, auf Wiedersehen! All
the best for 2016! Overall, country…that is a tongue twister!
Country-wide. Good handful of the paid days off govern… And then strategically plan their… And then strategically plan their…their
vacations! Is it annoying when I do this? That was a
silly question, huh?

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