Midday rest, 480 days of paid parental leave and a 4-day week – this is how our work-life balance looks compared to other countries
Parents can take up to five days off work to look after their sick children, under new legislation before Cabinet.
Since the pandemic, more and more people have been striving for a better work-life balance as many have realized how little free time they previously had – commuting, working overtime, running the house and caring for children all add to the daily pressures.
Some countries have experimented with a four-day work week, while others are expanding paternity benefits to create a better work-life balance.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Ireland is already in the top 10 countries for a good work-life balance.
We are below the world average (10 percent) when it comes to people working more than 50 hours a week. Only 5 percent of our employees work that long here.
With regard to maternity leave, Irish workers are entitled to 42 weeks of maternity leave – 26 of which is paid and 16 of which is unpaid.
Here is how Ireland compares to the work-life balance of other countries:
According to the OECD, the Netherlands is the country with the best work-life balance.
This is because only 0.3 percent of employees work very long hours (50 or more).
The standard Dutch employment contract is 38 hours a week, but unions call for a standard 30-hour week, with some companies like Dell offering a four-day week.
Maternity leave in the Netherlands is shorter than in Ireland, as mothers are given 16 weeks of paid leave after the birth of a baby.
However, they are offered their full salary for these 16 weeks.
The French are known for their comprehensive worker rights and good work-life balance. Employers in France are very respectful of not contacting employees when they are free.
French workers also enjoy a minimum of five weeks paid holiday and the standard employment contract is 35 hours per week.
France offers mothers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. This period, which covers 100% of workers’ salaries, is paid for by the French social security institutions.
Workers in New Zealand work longer hours than average, with 14 percent of workers in the country working 50 hours or more a week.
Maternity leave in New Zealand is one of the best in the world as new mothers are entitled to 26 weeks of paid leave up to a maximum of NZ$621.76 (€388.80) per week.
In Australia, about 13 percent of employees work 50 hours or more a week, which is higher than the world average of 10 percent.
They also devote 14.4 hours of their day to personal hygiene – which includes eating, sleeping and leisure – below the OECD world average of 15 hours.
Employees in Australia receive 18 weeks of paid maternity leave, paid by the government at the national minimum wage.
Spain was ranked fourth best by the OECD for work-life balance, with 2.5 percent of workers working very long hours.
However, many employees take a siesta during the day, which means they could start work early and finish late, even though they only work eight hours.
The country’s workers devote 15.7 hours a day to personal hygiene, which is higher than the world average.
Mothers in Spain receive 16 weeks of paid maternity leave and are entitled to 100 percent of their salary.
The Czech Republic is also ranked as one of the best countries for work-life balance, with only 5 percent of workers working very long hours.
The minimum requirement for annual leave in the country is four weeks, but government employees are entitled to five weeks.
Women in the Czech Republic are entitled to 28 weeks of paid maternity leave and receive around 70 percent of their salary for this period.
Sweden is ranked as one of the best countries in the world for work-life balance due to its family policies, with parents entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave if a child is born or adopted.
Each parent is entitled to 240 of these days and a single parent is entitled to all 480 days.
For 390 of those days, compensation is based on salary, while the next 90 days are the country’s minimum wage.
Full-time employees in Germany are entitled to at least 20 days annual vacation, plus nine public holidays.
According to the OECD, employees in Germany have a better work-life balance than the world average, only 3.9 percent of employees work more than 50 hours a week.
Anyone who becomes pregnant in Germany is entitled to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave for 13 euros per day.
You can extend your maternity leave to up to 12 weeks if you have a premature birth, multiple births, a caesarean section or a disabled child.
Workers in the UK work slightly longer hours than the OECD average, with 11% of workers clocking in 50 hours or more per week.
Late last year Scotland launched a six-month trial of a four-day working week, involving a number of Scottish companies.
Mothers in the UK are entitled to 39 weeks of maternity leave and receive 90 per cent of their wages or £156.66 (€188.35) a week, whichever is greater.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/siestas-480-days-paid-parental-leave-and-four-day-weeks-how-our-work-life-balance-compares-to-other-countries-41570005.html Midday rest, 480 days of paid parental leave and a 4-day week – this is how our work-life balance looks compared to other countries