A reader writes:

Here in Britain, I get 27 days paid leave, plus 8 public holidays a year, and can add up to 5 extra days unpaid leave if I want to. It’s about average for a middle-class job in Britain these days (probably a few more than when you first came to the US, Andrew, as employers have raised leave rather than salary through the recession). Lack of holidays is one reason why I’ve turned down job offers from the US.  I’ve offered several times to take less pay if I could have the leave instead and, every time, I get looked at like I have two heads.

Another: 

Thanks for posting that enlightening graph! This is something I've been worrying about this year. Here are a couple things to consider:

France's 35-hour work week adds, effectively, 32 days on top. Since our economy is more or less back to pre-recession levels, yet unemployment and take-home pay have seen almost none of that recovery, perhaps cutting the work week and passing some minimum-vacation laws would be a good way to share productivity gains with workers. It would have the additional salutary effect of boosting the economy via increased consumption in off hours and of boosting employment (marginally?) as companies hire more workers to make up for lost time. Just a center-left fantasy for the new year.