When it comes to employee holiday entitlements, U.S. employees are lucky to get 15 days vacation and a lump of coal in their stockings.

The U.S. is among the least generous countries when it comes to paid holidays, according to data from a global human resource consulting firm.

U.S. federal law does not mandate pay for time not worked and holiday policies vary widely. Typically, an employee will get 15 days of paid vacation, after five to 10 years of service.

Meanwhile, employees in Western Europe have access to the greatest amount of paid holidays – France with five weeks paid vacation, and Spain with 30 calendar days. In Latin America, Colombia has the greatest number of public holidays with 18.

The data comes from Mercer’s Worldwide Benefit and Employment Guidelines, which gives an overview of employee regulations and employment practices in 62 countries.

Determining which country gives more holidays can be a complex matrix. It all depends on company contracts and the number and treatment of public holidays. For example, in the UK, employees are entitled to 28 days. With the UK also holding eight public holidays, it suggests that employees end up with 36 holidays – or 10 percent of the year. However, some employers include the eight public holidays in the 28-day holiday package.

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But, in today’s economic climate, paid holidays are becoming the new pay raise. Employers are looking for other ways to motivate their staffs, said Dr. Lorna Friedman, partner in Mercer’s Global Health Management practice.

“Despite continued economic turmoil, interest in the issue work/life balance continues to grow,” she said. “Companies recognize that a healthy, happy workforce is a productive one this feeds directly into the bottom line.”

Top three countries with most paid holiday/vacation time:

United Kingdom: 28 statutory holidays; 8 public holidays

Poland: 26 statutory holidays; 11 public holidays

Austria: 25 statutory holidays; 13 public holidays

Top three countries with least paid holiday/vacation time:

United States: no statutory holidays; 10 public holidays

Philippines: five statutory holidays; 15 public holidays

Thailand: 6 statutory holidays; 16 public holidays