7 Countries Where Employees Are Happier Thanks To Unique Work Policies

The United States is notorious for its poor work-life balance. The pressure to constantly work leads to low productivity. On the other side of the spectrum are these countries.

In case you haven't heard, the work-life balance in the United States is kind of non-existent. In 2014, the U.S. was ranked 29th out of 34 countries for work-life balance, Mic reported.

In 2013, American workers were taking only about 16 vacation days each year, a five-day drop from 2000, U.S. News reported. On top of that, the government hasn't mandated paid sick or family time-off.

Aside from the numbers, most can agree that technology has contributed to a can-do ethos of being enthusiastic about working 24/7 and always checking your email.

In 2013, eight out of 10 American workers considered themselves stressed out by their jobs, due to low pay and work overload, HuffPost reported. This was especially true for women.

This kind of stress takes its toll on the body, increasing our chances of diabetes and heart attacks.

But there are some places in the world that aren't like this and have better work cultures that are more akin to embodying Drake's YOLO mentality.

After all, science suggests that happier employees leads to a 12 percent increase in productivity, while unhappy workers means a 10 percent loss, Fast Company reported.

1. France

Paris, France

Since 1999, the French have been enjoying a 35-hour workweek. But in 2014, it got better. French employers' federations and unions enacted an agreement that made sure workers from companies like Google and Facebook weren't obliged to checking their email after hours.

2. Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

New moms and dads get a total of 52 weeks of parental leave in Denmark. There's also a "universal nursery care" for everyone, which is provided by the government. 

3. Brazil

Ponta Negra Beach in Brazil

People in Brazil get at least 41 days off each year. That includes a minimum of 30 vacation days and 11 public holidays, CNNMoney reported.

4. Lithuania 

Vilnius, Lithuania

The same amount of vacation time applies to Lithuanians, who receive a minimum of four weeks paid leave, plus 13 days of public holidays.

4. Finland

Rovaniemi, Finland

The Finnish government is running an experiment in which it sends about $725 per month to 2,000 unemployed residents ages 25 to 58 years old, The Guardian reported. It's called a "basic income," and continues even if they end up getting a job. It's an effort to support unemployed people to get part-time jobs without a chance of losing unemployment benefits.

5. Sweden

Swedish countryside

Imagine six-hour workdays during which you can still see daylight in the winter. That's the case of many Swedish businesses, which are testing the policy out. Policymakers have been monitoring the project, but regardless, only about 1 percent of Swedish employees work more than 50 hours per week.

6. Switzerland 

Fribourg, Switzerland

Unemployment in Switzerland means you receive up to 80 percent of your old salary, whereas in the U.S., it's typically just up to 50 percent. The legal minimum for paid vacation time is also four weeks. 

7. Norway


Norwegians typically work around 33 hours a week and receive about three weeks of paid vacation. Those with children can also reduce their hours, or take up to 43 weeks of maternity leave if they're new parents.

Time for the U.S. to catch up — or better phrased, slow down.

Banner/thumbnail image credit: Unsplash user Johan Mouchet

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