The Netherlands has the shortest work week in the world!

27 July 2013, by

A survey released by the OECD shows that the Netherlands has one of the world's best work-life balances. This puts the Netherlands in an even better position than last year, while the rest of Europe fared well too.

Work-life balance

The survey compared two elements for each country: average work hours per week and average annual wages.

The USA was revealed to have one of the highest average wages (over 50.000 U.S dollars), which corresponds to an average work week of 38 hours.

However, the average salaries of other nations often matched or came close behind the American figure - while their work hours were significantly lower.

For instance, the Swiss average salary nearly matches that of America, but Swiss workers put in an average of 155 fewer hours per year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Netherlands was revealed to have the best work week schedule in the world. The average salary in the Netherlands is an impressive 47.000 U.S. dollars, while the mean work week consists of a measly 29 hours.

Europe does it better

In comparison to the USA, workers in European countries benefit from much less strict working hours.

For instance, seven nations in Western Europe have an average work week of 35 hours or less (Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium).

Photo by Flickr user Phil Whitehouse

These attractive conditions are explained by various official measures within the EU. For instance, there are Dutch laws enforcing paid vacation, promoting a work-life balance and protecting part-time workers. The Netherlands also has favourable conditions for flex workers.

Similarly, Scandinavian countries operate flexible work schedules and government-backed "safety nets" in case of unemployment.

And generous part-time schedules mean that almost 80 per cent of Swiss citizens are employed, compared to 67 per cent of Americans.

Interestingly, while this study looked at countries across the globe, Australia is the only non-European country to make the top 10.

Source: CNN Money

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Elzi Lewis

Elzi swapped rainy Manchester for (rainier) Amsterdam a year ago, and has never looked back. Having ...



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