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How are American Employment Laws different than other countries?

American Employment Laws

More than 180 laws govern the activities in the workspace in the US, with over 10 million employers who have a workforce of about 125 million employees. This is one of the largest workforces in the world, which calls for laws to protect both employees and employers. American employment laws cover a broad scope ranging from wages, hiring, harassment, employee benefits, discrimination, hours, and salary, among other employee and workplace issues.

American Employment Laws

There are many differences that the US labor laws have in comparison with other countries, especially when it comes to vacation days, paid leave, the maximum amount of hours a person should work, among other differences that set the country apart. Take a look at some of the critical differences that set apart the country’s employment laws from nations worldwide.

Limit on hours worked

In foreign law, companies are expected to adhere to strict labor laws regarding the number of hours an employee should work and breaks awarded to workers. However, this is different for American employees since federal law doesn’t dictate the number of hours an employee should work and does not outline when employers are supposed to issue breaks. However, most state laws address this issue.

That is why many employees in America are subjected to overtime without a day off. In addition, most countries have specific guidelines in their laws stating the number of hours an employee should work in a day.

Breaks in America

It is evident in US federal law that employers are the ones who set the number of hours and number of breaks awarded to an employee. Foreign countries, on the other hand, outline the number of breaks an employee should be given. For example, in a country like Mexico, employers must provide a one-day break every six working days.

Depending on the state one works in determines the type of break an employee should be given. For example, less than half the states in the US require employers to provide lunch breaks for employees, and only eight states allow rest breaks in their employment laws.

Paid Vacation

The Center of Economic and Policy Research found out that the US is the only developed economy where workers are not guaranteed paid vacation. Unless workers are on call, employers are not mandated to pay their employees while on leave unless it is part of the benefits package. According to federal law, no extra pay should be awarded to employees working on holiday unless it falls under overtime.

A majority of nations strictly mandate workers to be paid when they are off work. The number of days off varies from one country to another, such as Germany with 34 days of paid leave, France has a 31-day policy, and Japan, known for strict working hours, offers ten days of paid leave. These are just a few examples of countries around different parts of the world that provide paid leave to their workforce.

Comparing labor laws across different nations is vital because it helps one understand the ambiguity of employment relationships. It also helps nations regulate this relationship within their borders.

Federal Holidays in America

  • Jan 1 – New Year’s Day Federal Holiday
  • Jan 18 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day Federal Holiday
  • Jan 20 – Inauguration Day Federal Holiday DC, MD*, VA*
  • Feb 15 – Presidents’ Day Federal Holiday
  • May 31 – Memorial Day Federal Holiday
  • Jun 18 – Day off for Juneteenth Federal Holiday
  • Jun 19 – Juneteenth Federal Holiday
  • Jul 4 – Independence Day Federal Holiday
  • Jul 5 – Independence Day observed Federal Holiday
  • Sep 6 – Labor Day Federal Holiday
  • Oct 11 – Columbus Day Federal Holiday
  • Nov 11 – Veterans Day Federal Holiday
  • Nov 25 – Thanksgiving Day Federal Holiday
  • Dec 24 – Day off for Christmas Day Federal Holiday
  • Dec 25 – Christmas Day Federal Holiday
  • Dec 31 – Day off for New Year’s Day Federal Holiday


This all being said, just because the American federal or state government does not mandate heavy regulations upon employers regarding pay, benefits, and time off, most employers use this freedom from the government to entice a more qualified workforce. America gives employers the ability to use their own ingenuity to produce their own labor market by utilizing the principle of “Supply and Demand.” Overall, this provides much more opportunity and more personal growth and wealth to spread around to those willing to work hard and get ahead.  Ultimately, there are many perks to working in the freest and prosperous country in the entire world.


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