Here's a little something you might not know: August is vacation month for Europeans. No biggie there, right? August is vacation time in the US, also. There is a huge difference, though.
Did you know that the European Union requires member countries to give workers a minimum of 20 paid vacation days annually. That cannot include public holidays. Know how many paid vacation days the US government requires companies to give their employees? Zero. mmMost Americans do get paid vacation, but a recent study showed that first-year employees get about five days, and depending on the company, that number increases gradually.
My point is not to argue about required paid vacations and such. It will be what it is. What amazes me, though, is that places just close up. Lock. Stock. Barrel. Chiuso. Arrivederci. Buona vacanza. See you in settembre.
There are four bars within the first block of this apartment (and that's just on *this* side of the road). When I arrived on 1 August, all four were open. Three of the four were closed today. One will reopen Thursday, and the other two won't reopen for a few weeks. It's the same with two restaurants on this block, as well as a butcher, a salumeria, a wine store, a kids' store, and a bakery.
I know today's post is probably a bit boring, but maybe you have some questions regarding vacation. Email me if you do, and I'll try to answer. If you want to read more about vacation in other parts of the world, you can do so here.
By the way, I haven't even touched on the hours stores are open. Note the photo above these paragraphs. This particular bakery is open from 7:30-13:30. It closes for lunch and reopens at 4:30 for three hours. I have a few stories about that, but those are for another time....
This is a list, by the way, of paid vacation days required by law in each of these countries. Note that this does *not* include public holidays which add another 10-12 (average) days to the total.
Australia - 20 Austria - 22
Belgium - 20 Canada - 10
Denmark - 25 Finland - 25
France - 30 Germany - 24
Greece - 20 Ireland - 20
Italy - 20 Japan - 10
Netherlands - 20 New Zealand - 20
Norway - 25 Portugal - 22
Spain - 22 Sweden - 25
UK - 20 US - 0