European countries that represent the world´s best work-life balance

European countries that represent the world´s best work-life balance

27
May
2024
Steen Uno
Only New Zealand and Australia are able to match a range of Western European countries when it comes to work-life balance - i.e. the balance or harmony between employees' work life versus private life.
27
May
2024
Steen Uno




Scandinavian countries, Italy, France, and Spain, stand out for their ability to maintain some of the world´s healthiest, most harmonious work-life balances of the world.

According to a recent report by the OECD, Italy is at the top, followed by Denmark, Norway and Spain, when it comes to prioritizing the right balance between work and leisure among companies' employees.

HR and recruitment company Remote has ranked New Zealand as the leader in its Global Life-Work Balance Index, ahead of Spain, France, Australia and Denmark.  

This index considers factors such as annual leave, minimum statutory sick pay percentage, and the duration of paid maternity leave. The OECD's work-life balance data analyses how many hours employees work and how much time people devote to leisure and personal care among the 22 member nations.


More spare time

The Remote's top-ranked New Zealand offers its employees 26 paid weeks of maternity leave, a relatively high minimum wage, 32 days of annual leave and a minimum 80% statutory sick pay.

"New Zealand's cultural approach to work-life balance is hard to beat. People's top priorities are family, well-being, recreation, and travel. They value their time as the most precious," Remote states.


 



"New Zealand's cultural approach to work-life balance is hard to beat. People's top

priorities are family, well-being, recreation, and travel. They value their time as the
most precious," Remote states.                                                                      Fotos: iStock 

 


The OECD top runner Italy has full-time employees who spend 69% of their day, 16½ hours, on personal care and leisure activities - that´s 1½ hours more than the OECD average, making Italy the OECD nation where people have the most leisure time.

"The runner-up Denmark has a high tax rate contributing to a strong welfare society with access to free education and health care. Employees enjoy 36 days of annual leave, 100% sick pay and universal health insurance. Just like Norway, Denmark is considered the most LGBTQ+-friendly country in Europe," Remote points out.


Before salary requirements

According to the organization's work-life research, 10% of employees in OECD countries work over 50 hours per week. Male workers make up 14%, while women account for 6%.

Mexico has the highest percentage of employees, 27%, who work significantly most paid hours per week. Turkey follows with almost 25%, and Colombia with 24%.


 



Especially the labour market´s young generations value the balance between their
work and private life by prioritizing flexibility, the options of hybrid work and mental
well-being over salary requirements and benefits.                               

 

 

Recent international research indicates that job seekers prioritize work-life balance over salary and benefits, with 65% of respondents in England and 63% in the USA preferring work-life balance over higher pay.

In particular, the labour market´s younger generations, as Millennials and Gen Z, seem to value the balance between their work and private life by prioritizing flex options for hybrid work and mental well-being in their future workplace.


US ranked 53rd

With Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden considered among the most contented nations in the world, Europe appears to be the happiest continent.

The United States, often criticized for not being worker-friendly, is ranked 53rd by the Remote index, mainly due to the absence of statutory annual leave and sick pay, and the lack of a universal healthcare system.  ●
 

 

Read more:
Remote.com: Global life-work balance index
Bbc.com: Five countries with the best work-life balance

Oecdbetterlifeindex.org: Work-life balance in detail by country
Linkedin.com/pulse: 10 tips to create work-life balance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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