Hmmm...that is exactly the opposite of my experiences contracting (1099 and W2). The pay is usually way more than being an FTE. As far as days off, when I did W2, then I would get payed for holidays. I was getting about 75% of the total billing rate (at that time I recall that being pretty standard...maybe it is different now) with that gig, so it's not like I didn't earn those days off -- it just levelled out my paycheck a bit.
The best part of being paid hourly though is...being paid hourly. One gig I started and essentially sat on my butt (well...experimented with code, learned some new APIs etc...) for several months while the business fiddled around trying to figure out what to do. It was great paid training. Once they decided they needed something built, it hit a time crunch so I effectively doubled my income for a month or two working 60-80 weeks. It was glorious. Also I didn't have to worry about the office politics (layoffs were going to happen soon) so it was nice just working on my hourly work.
Yeah - it is harder to deal with getting new contracts, getting let go at any time, etc... but the realty in today's market is that FTEs still have to worry about that too...and are more open to abuse, don't get paid for their work, etc...Why not face reality and at least get compensated for it?