Work-life balance is often considered the key to everything from a healthy lifestyle to psychological well-being. So it’s no surprise that, for anyone thinking of moving, it’s important to understand national attitudes about what work is.

To determine which countries have the best work-life balance, we analyzed the 2023 Global Work-Life Balance Index from technology company HR Remote, which takes into account factors such as mandatory annual leave, the lowest percentage of statutory sick pay and paid maternity leave.

We also analyzed data on work-life balance from the OECD, which looks at how many hours workers work and how much time people spend on leisure and personal care in its 22 member countries.

1. New Zealand

New Zealand leads the way, with 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, which must be supplemented by a relatively high salary, 32 days of statutory annual leave and a minimum sick pay rate of 80%.

Of course, New Zealand is not perfect. OECD statistics show that 14% of workers work more than 50 hours a week, higher than the OECD average of 10%. And they spend slightly less time than the OECD average, 14.9 hours a day, on self-care (such as eating and sleeping) and leisure (including spending time with family and friends, hobbies and watching television).

2. Spain

Spain ranks second in the Remote list, thanks to benefits such as 26 days of annual leave by law. According to OECD data, workers in Spain spend a large proportion of their daily hours on leisure and personal care, more than any other country except Italy and France. Only 2.5% are overworked in paid employment.

3. Denmark

Only % of Danish workers work more than 50 hours a week, much lower than countries like Italy (3%) or the OECD average (10%). They also spend 15.7 hours a day on personal and leisure time, more than the OECD average. And easy work is supported; In fact, the country’s Flexjobs program, where workers can request different schedules, systems or even less physically demanding jobs, was launched in 1998. The country also offers 36 days of statutory annual leave, one of the highest among wealthy countries, and workers must receive 100% of their wages for sick days.

4. France

According to OECD data, the French have 16.2 hours a day for their personal and leisure time, following Italy. In terms of work-life balance, the country ranks third overall, with the highest number of statutory annual leave days (36).

March 15, 2024

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