As if Germany wasn’t already the coolest country in the European Union, it’s increasingly becoming even more enviable.
Keeping the emotional – and physical – well being of their workforce into consideration, German labor minister Andrea Nahles, in September, commissioned a study to assess the psychological impact of work-related stress and calculate its economic effects.
Although the findings will be released in 2016, according to the Huffington Post, an important piece of legislation is expected to be generated by the German government. The new law will make the exchange of work-related emails “illegal” between colleagues after 6 p.m.
"There is an undeniable relationship between constant availability and the increase of mental illness," Nahles told the Rheinische Post.
"We have commissioned the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to work out whether it is possible to set load thresholds. We need universal and legally binding criteria."
The U.S. government could learn a thing or two from Germany here. After all, Americans are arguably overworked and overstressed, working longer days with less vacation time and later retirement.
And it doesn’t just end here.
There are a few more things Germany can teach us.
The new academic session in Germany saw a remarkable progress – free higher education across the board.
“Tuition fees are socially unjust,” says Dorothee Stapelfeldt, senator for science in Hamburg. “They particularly discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up studies. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”
To understand why Americans need to follow suit, click here.
Germany is the largest national economy in Europe, the fourth-largest by nominal GDP in the world. The secrets of their success, as analyzed by a BBC report, include fundamental labor market reform programs, better education system and the Euro.
In addition, Steven Hill of the Atlantic notes:
“The Land of Bismarck has fed its manufacturing machine with a steady supply of technicians, engineers and skilled workers through a superb apparatus of vocational training and technical apprenticeships. Companies work closely with regional technical schools, sometimes sponsoring programs to prepare the graduates so they are immediately job-ready.”
Reasonably More Vacation Time
With just one national public holiday – Oct. 3's celebration of Unity Day – Germany ranks third on the list of countries that offer the most vacation days, according to a report released last year.
There are around nine to 13 paid leaves, in addition to the 24 paid vacation days.
Amazing, isn’t it?
Better Commuting System
Sure, the U.S. has one of the world’s best transportation systems, but it cannot beat Germany’s high-speed trains.
As Alex Davies of Business Insider notes, “Germany's Transrapid TR-09 uses mag-lev technology and is technically a monorail. However, the 279 mph top speed also makes it the second fastest train on the planet.” It and could leave America “in the dust.”
Model Health Care
America, according to a report released in June, ranks dead last in the quality of its health care system as compared to 10 other western, industrialized nations.
Germany on the other hand has a model health care system. Olga Khazan of the Atlantic explains:
“There are no network limitations, so people can see any doctor they want. There are no deductibles, so Germans have no fear of spending hundreds before their insurance ever kicks in.
“There’s also no money that changes hands during a medical appointment. Patients show their insurance card at the clinic, and the doctors' association pays the doctor using money from the sickness funds.”
Also, the insurance card can be used for hospital visits anywhere in Europe.
Strict Gun Laws
Germany has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.
“Handguns are only on sale to those aged 18 or over, with heavier weapons restricted to those over 21. No weapon can be purchased legally without a firearms ownership license, which is only available after personal checks,” states Luke Harding of the Guardian.
Although this has not completely prevented mass shootings, it has at least decreased the number of incidents.
The U.S. can definitely, if not adopt, take a cue from Germany’s gun laws – especially now that the FBI has confirmed that mass shootings have increased at home in the past couple of years.