Employees want more vacation over other benefits




, Last Updated: 11:43 AM ET

According to a recent study carried out in ten countries, employees would prefer to have more vacation time over most other work benefits.

The study, published on Tuesday by US-based consulting firm Mercer, shows that benefits which provide instant gratification such as paid holidays are preferred by employees over those that could potentially deliver value over the long term, such as contribution to a supplementary retirement plan.

Mercer carried out the poll among 10,400 workers in ten countries including the US, the UK, Ireland, France, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Italy, China and Hong Kong. The poll asked employees to rank the benefits they value the most, from a list that included health insurance, dental coverage, food subsidies, supplementary retirement plans and vision coverage, among others.

Among the ten countries all but China and France listed a week of paid holidays in their top three preferred benefits.

In the US, employees chose a week of paid holiday as their preferred benefit, followed by a pay raise and reduced health insurance premiums. According to another report by Mercer published at the end of 2011, there are no mandatory requirements for holiday in the US, but employees typically get 15 days of paid holiday per year after five to ten years of service.

In the UK, one week of annual leave is also the number one choice followed by disability insurance and private health coverage. The UK has one of the most generous holiday allowances in Europe with a total of 28 days.

In France the number one preferred benefit is dental coverage, followed by optician coverage and disability coverage. Employees in France currently get a minimum legal holiday allowance of 25 days a year. However, thanks to the 35-hour working week, French employees also get RTT (or récuperation du temps de travail) which can add up to between 9 and 12 additional days off per year depending on the type of contract.

In China, commutation assistance (car allowance, commuter bus, etc.) came in first place, followed by housing allowance and savings plans. Employees in China get a total of 10 days of annual holidays.