So the debate these days in Toronto is whether we Canadians are working too hard and don’t have enough time to relax.
I come from a culture which really values their free time. In India we used to get 22 days vacation (that’s 4 weeks if you factor in the weekends) right away and that number usually increases with number of years you spend in the company. We were also allowed to take all this vacation in one go. Moreover, we were allowed to carry over our leftover vacation up to a certain limit the next year. Furthermore, if you did not want to take the vacation this year you were reimbursed for a part of the vacation. Mind you this was all 5 years ago I am not sure what the culture is like now.
Apart from the vacation, there were 26 statutory holiday!! That’s right, you’ve read correctly. 26 official days off!!! Of course, this number varied quite a lot as quite a few of the official holidays were determined by the state government and not central government. But you get the idea. Workers in India get a lot of time off. And that’s how it was in United Arab Emirates and that’s how it is in most of Europe.
So when I came here to Canada and was told that the holidays and vacation really don’t amount to half of what I got in India, it was quite an eye opener. And if I ever told my boss that I wanted to take my two weeks at the same time, the eyebrows would go up and I would have to explain why I need the full two weeks.
I don’t mind emphasise on work at all. In fact, that’s what was missing in India. Work ethics in India on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best) is probably a 2. This of course is only in the government sector, the private sector is probably a 4. But the work ethic in Canada is a very subtle whipping from the management. You have to get the work done or you are out. It’s as simple as that. And nothing, absolutely nothing, comes in the way of work. Not the family, not an emergency at home, nothing. And it’s not only the company I work for, I have spoken to my friends and family and they all say the same thing. Working in Canada can drive you nuts at times. Which is probably why weekends are so valued in this part of the world. Unless your boss tells you that you are needed over the weekend as well!!
So, I am all for increasing our vacation time.