Annual leave is paid time off work granted by employers to employees to be used for whatever the employee wishes. Depending on the employer's policies, differing number of days may be offered, and the employee may be required to give a certain amount of advance notice, may have to coordinate with the employer to be sure that staffing is adequately covered during the employee's absence, and other requirements may have to be met. It is considered a benefit for the employees.
|Political Economy||Average Standard
Annual Leave 2003
|Source: FR?; for the sums of annual leave and legal holidays. IWD 2009|
Statutory Vacation 
Most countries around the world have labor laws that mandate employers give a certain number of paid time-off days per year to workers. Nearly all Canadian provinces require at least two weeks; in the European Union the countries can set freely the minimum, but it has to be at least 20 days (plus the national holidays, so the total is usually more than 30 days, 5 full weeks plus holidays in France). Full-time employment in Australia requires twenty annual leave days a year. US law does not require employers to grant any vacation or holidays, and about 25% of all employees receive no paid vacation time or paid holidays. Many US State and local governments require a minimum number of days off; for employees that do receive vacation in the U.S., ten working days with eight national holidays is fairly standard. Members of the U.S. Armed Services earn 30 vacation days a year, not including national holidays.
Where law does not mandate vacation time, many employers nonetheless offer paid vacation, typically 10 to 20 work days, to attract employees. Under US federal law, employers usually must compensate terminated employees for accrued but unused vacation time. Additionally, most American employers provide paid days off for national holidays, such as Christmas, New Years, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.
While US federal and most state law provides for leave such as medical leave, there are movements attempting to remove vacation time as a factor in the free-market labor pool by requiring mandatory vacation time.
Countries (such as the United Kingdom, Italy and Denmark) or particular companies may mandate summer holidays in specific periods. These present issues to parents planning vacations, since holiday companies charge higher prices, and parents have an incentive to use their work vacation time in term time.
Consecutive holidays 
Consecutive holidays refers to holidays that occur in a group without working days in between. In the late 1990s, the Japanese government passed a law that increased the likelihood of consecutive holidays by moving holidays from fixed days to a relative position in a month, such as the second Monday.